Parking for Memphis in May Events

Memphis in May can be crowded. Here's how to park eaisly.

Yo Gotti in Memphis at the 2016 Beale Street Music Festival

 Jakerybu / Wikipedia Commons 

The Memphis in May International Festival is the biggest event in Memphis. It lasts a month and includes various events (all huge!)

The Beale Street Music Festival, taking place from May 3 to 5, 2019, attracts some of the biggest musicians in the world to the Memphis stage. This year's lineup includes Dave Matthews Band, The Killers, Cardi B, and OneRepublic among other stars. They play outside on the backdrop of the Mississippi River.

At the World Championship Barbecue Cooking Contest - May 15 to 18, 2019 - nearly 250 teams from around the world compete to create the best ribs and win their share of the $115,000 prize money. There is also the Great American River Run on May 25 and Celebrate Memphis, a festival that celebrates all things local, on the same day.

These events attract a lot of crowds to an area already pressed for parking spots. So finding a place for your car can be a little more expensive or tougher than normal (but still cheaper than most cities!) Here is what you need to know and how to make it easier.

Parking Options for Memphis In May

  1. Parking Garages.
  2. There are several parking lots and garages within walking distance of Tom Lee Park. Be aware, however, that it may cost you more to park in these facilities during the festival than it would on a typical day, between $10 and $25 or more.
  3. Makeshift Parking Areas. These will spring up all over the surrounding area and are generally legitimate. Many businesses will rope off their lots or land and charge a fee ($10 - $25+, generally) to park there. Some of the closest parking can be found in these spots but they may also be the most expensive. There will be clear signs posted or even people waving flags with parking information. 
  4. Take MATA Trolly Buses. Memphis Area Transit Authority's trolley buses will run during Memphis in May events. There is a Main Street Line, a Riverside Line (which will run on Front Street during May), and a Madison Avenue Line. All of the trolley buses run approximately every 15 minutes, so you can park farther away and then ride closer to the festival entrances. To see trolley route maps and fare information, ​go here.
  5. Metered Parking on the Street. Don't count on Forget about finding a metered parking spot on the street. If, by some strange chance you do score such a spot, keep in mind that you don't have to feed the meter on Saturdays and Sundays.

Click here for a map of parking lots and garages downtown. Makeshift lots do not appear on the map because they are not official parking lots and may or may not be open for parking from one year to the next.

Other Traffic Considerations

Riverside Drive in downtown Memphis is closed to through traffic from Georgia Avenue to Union Avenue during Memphis in May events, from late April until the end of May.

On festival days, Memphis in May will close Beale Street from Wagner Place to Front Street and Wagner Place from Beale Street to Linden. 

Alternatives to Parking

Don't feel like dealing with parking during the excitement of Memphis in May, or plan to enjoy a few alcoholic beverages during Beale Street Music Fest or the World Championship Barbecue Cooking Contest? Avoid driving and parking altogether and stay safe by using a rideshare app such as Uber or Lyft, both of which are available in Memphis, or calling a cab. The cab number is easy to remember: 901-577-7777.

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