Home Daily Update Page Reunions Name Index Geographic Index News History Faculty Obituaries Sympathy Submit Profile More (Site Map)
The East High Alumni Page presents:

 Things to do in Memphis!
East High School, Memphis, Tennessee

With an emphasis on free or low cost events/activities

East alumnus during a visit back to his old home town and on a Jimmy Ogle history tour in downtown Memphis said it was  "... the best thing I've done in Memphis."

Booming City: nations best for music buffs
A Best of the World Must See Place

Great Urban Weekend Escape
Among Top 20 Destinations in the World
Two of top 3 Best Iconic Attractions in USA
Fifth best USA City for Starting a Business
Forth Happiest Cities for Job-Seeking College Grads
Fifth Best City for Young Artists
Best Logistics Infrastructure in USA
See the more about these accolades in the right column.

Visitors may want to move here!
If you're visiting be aware that Memphis may make you want to live here! Read about "the 'perfect day' in Memphis and the "I want to live here" response in a Memphis Flyer letter from the editor.

"...recent years have been good to Memphis and made it a city worth visiting... -Chicago Tribune, 2015

New event(s) added November 10, 2015
USAToday: Memphis is a "Booming City"
"Arguably the world’s most notable and unique hotel opening of 2015, the pyramid...But there is a lot more going on. The city already has the nation’s finest collection of attractions for music buffs...But now there are two more noteworthy newcomers" the Blues Hall of Fame Museum and the Memphis Music Hall of Fame. And Overton Square "is suddenly thriving again." USAToday, June 5, 2015

Memphis: Best of the World
National Geographic editors cite Memphis among the "Best of the World 2013," including it in the new year's 20 must-see places! ...[T]here’s something newly electric in the air." Read the article: travel.nationalgeographic.com

Forbes names Memphis one of its "Great Urban Weekend Escapes"
- ...a fantastic choice for a weekend getaway... In fact, I had been to Memphis thrice before but was still shocked by how many stand-out attractions...  Memphis excels, and I mean really excels, in four distinct areas, each worth a visit: attractions, culture/museums, entertainment, and dining... [Read more]

Yet another source agrees, MSN Living is listing Memphis one of it's top 20 travel destinations in the world for 2013. "Today, Memphis is undergoing a revival." [Read more]

Fodor’s Travel names Memphis Zoo a Top 10 Zoo in the nation (2015)

Graceland was named Best Iconic American Attraction in a 2013 USA Today and 10Best readers choice poll, garnering almost half of all votes in its category for a landslide victory. The National Civil Rights Museum took third place, making Memphis and San Francisco as the only cities with two attractions on the list.  [read more: The Commercial Appeal or USA Today]

Beale Street voted America’s favorite iconic street in a USA Today and 10Best poll: USA Today

WalletHub.com rates Memphis as the fifth best USA city in which to start a business. wallethub.com

 Memphis #4 on the list of Happiest Cities For Job-Seeking College Grads  Forbes and CareerBliss.com.

5th “Best City for Young Artists” in 2014 by Bustle

Global Trade magazine picks Memphis for Best Logistics Infrastructure

The list of accolades for Memphis could go on and on. Just know that your hometown of Memphis is making big waves in travel, entertainment and business.

Specific Events
Continuing Events/Exhibits

A Conversation with Peter Guralnick (FREE)
November 11, 2015, 7pm
Brooks Musuem of Art, Overton Park, 1934 Poplar Avenue
Peter Guralnick discusses Sam Phillips: The Man Who Invented Rock ‘n’ Roll, chronicling the life of the visionary genius who singlehandedly steered the revolutionary path of Sun Records. Free admission with no advance reservations. Limited seating available (capacity is limited to 250). Auditorium doors will open at 6:40 pm. A DJ and a cash bar in the rotunda begins at 6 pm. A book signing follows the talk. Guralnick has authored Elvis Presley biography Last Train to Memphis and southern soul narrative Sweet Soul Music: Rhythm and Blues and the Southern Dream of Freedom.

Memphis Firehaus Sports Bar · Food Truck  (FREE*)
Station 3: The Memphis Firehaus, Third Street & M.L.King, Jr. Ave.
October 1 – November 30, 2015, Thursdays-Sundays (see hours below)
The former fire station and recording studio is open Thursdays through Sundays until November 30. It's a gathering place in the same style of the Tennessee Brewery: The Revival. Admission is free but food and drink have a price. Various food trucks and live music performances will line up in the outdoor courtyard during opening hours. 4 to 11 p.m. Thursdays, 4 p.m. to midnight Fridays, 11 a.m. to midnight Saturdays and noon to 10 p.m. Sundays.
The building was erected about 1910 and the organizers hope the attention the temporary events will inspire a new life for the structure.

Jimmy Ogle History Tours (FREE)
The 2015 schedule of history tours is on this page, each type under its own heading

Tuesday Downtown History Walking Tours

Mississippi River Bridge Walks

Shelby County Courthouse Tours

Jimmy Ogle’s 2015 Downtown History Walking Tours (FREE)

It's fun, it's informative, it's free, and it's not to be missed. Jimmy Ogle continues to delight his walking tour audience with history and lore of Memphis from its early days through downtown's rebirth. Unless otherwise noted, each tour begins at 11:45 a.m. and lasts about an hour. Most, but  not all, are Tuesday tours.
  • The fall season of downtown history walking tours has ended for 2015. Look for a spring, 2016, schedule early in the year.
There are three other sections of Jimmy Ogle events on this page, also. Don't miss those listings:  courthouse tours - bridge walks - Riverfront Parks

Ogle tour with 3 East alumni in attendanceThis photo is one of Jimmy Ogle's Downtown History Walking Tours with at least 3 East High alumni in attendance!

Jimmy Ogle's Riverfront Parks Tours (FREE)
See schedule and locations below
  • The Riverfront Parks tours have concluded for the season. Check back in the spring, 2016, for any new schedule.

Hot Rods on Beale (FREE)
Last Tuesday of each month, April-October, 2015, 6-10pm
Come see the American Muscle Car Club and the Perfect Nemisis Car Club and their cool Hot Rods on Beale Street. Participation is limited to those who have parking passes but anyone can come down and check out the Hot Rods for free.

East High School
East High School, circa 1967At least drive by the old school and look at the impressive architecture. But if I were you, I'd at least want to see the impressive marble lobby.If you wish to visit the campus or inside the school, contact the school's office.

The school underwent a $12.7-million dollar renovation in 2007. From the outside, the only notable distinction is the appearance of the first floor windows, where a heavy screen has been added. It makes the lower windows appear dark or even completely covered when you look at it from a distance. For more information about the renovation, see the "Photo tour of $12.8 million renovation as construction rushes toward completion."

By the way, the 2012-2013 was the last that East High was a Memphis City School. The city school system voluntarily surrendered its charter so all city schools became part of the Shelby County school district in the summer of 2013.

2015 Free Music Concert Series (FREE)
Various dates (see schedule below)
Levitt Shell, Overton Park
Every year, the Levitt Shell, formerly known as the Overton Park Shell, presents more than 50 free concerts in the heart of Midtown, Memphis. Concert start times can vary, but historically most start at 7:30 p.m. Any different start times will be noted when they are made available.
  • The free concert seasons have concluded for 2015. Look for a new lineup of concerts in the spring, 2016.
Shelby County CourthouseJimmy’s Ogle's  2015 Tours of the Historic Shelby County Courthouse (FREE)
Meet at noon on the southwest steps of the courthouse located at Second Street and Adams Avenue. Cameras are not usually allowed inside this building. but they are permitted for those on the Jimmy Ogle tour!
  •   Thursday, May 21
  •  Thursday, June 18
  •  Thursday, July 16
  •  Thursday, August 20
  •  Thursday, September 17
  •  Thursday, October 15
  •  Thursday, November 19
  •  Thursday, December 17

Memphis-Arkansas BridgeJimmy Ogle's 2015 Memphis & Arkansas Bridge Walks & Talks (FREE)
There is a sidewalk across this Mississippi River bridge and the group will walk it. All these events start at 2 p.m. Meet at Crump Park, just south of I-55 on Metal Museum Drive.
  • Sunday, July 19
  • Sunday, September 20
  •  Sunday, October 18
  •  Sunday, November 15

South Main Trolley Night (FREE)
When: last Friday, every month all year, 6-9 p.m.
Where: South Main Arts District - Memphis
Every last Friday of the month in the South Main Arts District. The ring of the trolley sounds as the shops, restaurants and galleries in the area open their doors to the throngs of Memphians and visitors who make Trolley Night on Main an fun downtown event. It's a good time to browse the stores and galleries for that unique piece of art, clothing or jewelry while sipping a glass of wine and partaking of the wide array of tasty party foods. Slip onto the trolley for a free ride to the next stop and more shops. Obviously, the merchandise is not free.
Notice: trolley service has been temporarily suspended as of June 11, 2014.  Extra buses running on Front Street at the trolley fare are available during the regular trolley schedule.

The Magevney House (FREE)
Open the first Saturday each month, 1-4 p.m.
198 Adams Avenue
This small, white clapboard cottage was built in the 1830's and was home to Irish immigrant, Eugene Magevney. The house is one of the city's oldest remaining residences, perhaps the oldest. Typical of pre-Civil War, middle-class homes, it is furnished as it might have been in 1850 and features several personal possessions of the Magevney family, including a desk bureau and other antiquities. A kitchen garden and grape arbor are found behind the house.

Mud Island River Park (FREE)
Mud Island Park, foot of Poplar Avenue at Front Street
April-October (closed Mondays)
2015 Season opens April 11, 2015
Experience the River on The River!! See the Mighty Mississippi River up close. Hike down our 5 block long riverwalk model and see the Mississippi in miniature. Explore the 18-gallery Mississippi River Museum including two full size boat models you can board! (Museum is NOT free, tram ride is NOT free, bridge is free.)

Mississippi RiverMississippi River (FREE)
Pretty impressive site. Walk along the Bluff Trail (daylight hours only) or the sidewalks in the parks along/overlooking the river.
Mississippi River parks in Memphis - http://www.memphisriverfront.com/parks
River Walk & Bluff Walk - http://www.memphisriverfront.com/parks/riverwalk

Hiking in Shelby ForestShelby Forest State Park (now know as Shelby-Meman State Park & T.O. Fuller State Park
Tennessee state parks, free. Hiking, camping, picnicking, disk golf, fishing, biking, cabins, horseback riding (horse rental not available), swimming. Check individual park web sites for amenities available at each park.

Overton ParkMajor local parks
Overton Park (FREE) - Golf course, trail through the Old Forest State Natural Area, Rainbow Lake, Overton Park Shell, etc. Some attractions are not free (Golf, some concerts at the shell, the zoo, etc.)

Shelby Farms - (you remember it as the Penal Farm!) (FREE) - good but mostly flat hiking, lakes, horseback riding rentals (not free), etc.

Memphis Botanic Gardens (Not free)

Greenlines & Rails to Trails (FREE):
Greater Memphis Greenline - http://greatermemphisgreenline.org/
Shelby Farms Greenline - website
Wolf River Greenway - website

Cooper-Young Night Out (FREE*)
Every 1st Thursday, 5–9 p.m.
Live music, retail specials, and assorted cuisines in Midtown's historically hip district. Obviously food, drink, and merchandise is not free, but music venues often are.

Famers' Markets (FREE*)
Quite a few farmers' markets offer fresh and locally grown produce during the growing season and in some cases beyond. farmers' markets have become entertainment and social events as well as a food vending venue. Generally speaking, admission is free and any entertainment at the venue is also free. The produce and other products, of course, are not free. So here are a few of Memphis area farmers' markets that seem to verify via the Internet that they are, in fact, in operation as advertised. You are urged to verify the operation of any market via their Internet presence before traveling to one.

Comedy Open Mic Night (FREE*)
Thursday, every Thursday night 9:00pm – 11:30pm
P&H Cafe, 1532 Madison Avenue
Free as in no cover, food and beverages cost. Open Mic Comedy features some of the best and worst comics in Memphis taking the stage every week at the famous P&H Cafe. All are welcome to test their comedy skills or just to come laugh and watch. Ages 21+
For more information:  901-726-0906 or PandHcomedy@gmail.com

Trivia Night at Huey's Downtown (FREE*)
Wednesday, June 19, 2013 (and every Wednesday), 8:30pm – 10:30pm
Huey's Downtown, 77 S. Second Street
Free as in no cover charge, food and beverages cost. Play trivia at Huey's Downtown. The winning team receives a Huey's gift card. All ages.

The Memphis Jazz Orchestra at Alfreds (FREE*)
Sundays, 6pm – 9pm
Alfred's on World Famous Beale Street
Free, as in no cover, but food and beverages cots. The orchestra performs weekly on Sunday's 6pm-9pm. Ages 21+

Memphis Tech Coffee
Every Tuesday morning,  7:30am – 9:30am
Republic Coffee, 2512 Union Avenue
A casual coffee meet up for the Memphis tech community. Come and go as you need to.

Memphis Music Hall of Fame (not free)
Opening July 27, 2015
Open Daily, 10 a.m. - 7 p.m.
Beale Street and Second Street, Memphis
$8 adult; $6 youth ages 5-17
Memphis Music Hall of Fame museum and exhibition will introduce guests to the greatest musicians of all time – each responsible for shaping modern music and changing the world forever, and each an inductee of the Memphis Music Hall of Fame. This fun, fascinating and educational exhibition will feature never-before-seen memorabilia, rare video performances and interviews, interactive exhibits, and more.

Sunset atop the Madison
Thursdays, 7 - 11pm (doors open at 6:30pm)
Madison Hotel Rooftop, 79 Madison Avenue, Memphis
Live entertainment, a special rooftop terrace menu created by eighty3 executive chef Connor O’Neill, a cash bar, and the best sunset view in Memphis!
This is not free, admission/cover $7, cash bar.
The Madison Hotel is in the renovated historic Tennessee Trust (Bank) building and is one of the city's finest hotels. This writer has never attended a rooftop party there but they sound like fun.
The rooftop parties are held every Thursday. According to one observation, "The rooftop is relatively small and has limited seating.  There is room to dance, but the crowd (which is more mature than that of some other rooftop parties) does get cozy."
Facebook site

Lorraine Motel, The National Civil Rights MuseumNational Civil Rights Museum
Located at the historic Lorraine Motel in downtown Memphis where Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated on April 4, 1968. It chronicles the civil rights movement from 1619 to 2000 with historical exhibits, including Room 306, the hotel room where Dr. King stayed in April of 1968.
Free for TN residents w/ID  Mondays after 3 p.m. (museum closes at 5 p.m.)

Memphis ZooMemphis Zoo
Recognized as one of the top zoos in the nation - Free to TN residents with acceptable photo ID Tuesdays, 2 p.m. to close, except in March. If you do not attend when it is free, it is expensive and there is an additional parking fee if you park in the zoo's lot. The parking fee probably applies during the free admission period, also.

Pink Palace Museum
(the exhibits are not what remember from our childhood) - Free Tuesdays from 1-5pm. (Enchanted Forest, IMAX and Planetarium shows are not included)

Lichterman Nature Center
Free Tuesdays from 1 p.m. until closing

Brooks Museum of ArtBrooks Memphis Museum of Art
Overton Park
Near free. Wednesdays admission is per donation only. From a penny to any dollar amount, you decide what you pay. If you're part of a group of 10 or more please call our Tour Coordinator at 901.544.6215. 

Dixon Gardens & GalleryDixon Gallery & Gardens
Park Avenue & Cherry Road
Tuesday: 10am-4pm: Pay-What-You-Can
Saturday: 10am-noon: Free, galleries and gardens
Note: the interior of the gallery will be closed from May 1 to September, 2015 for renovation. Outdoor exhibits will be featured in the gardens.

Sun Studio - birthplace of Rock 'n' RollSun Studio
Union Avenue & Marshall Avenue
Where the first rock 'n' roll record was ever recorded, whether you believe that was Elvis's "That's all right," or Ike Turner and his Kings of Rhythm band's "Rocket 88". Carl Perkins, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis, and once again an active recording studio. A National Historic Landmark  Not free except on rare occasions but highly recommended. The photo to the left shows the main entrance for visiting the studio, though it is and was then a restaurant, not the studio. The studio is next door.

Rock 'n' Soul Museum
Memphis Rock ‘n’ Soul Museum, by the Smithsonian Institution
FedEx Forum
Tennessee residents free admission any Tuesdays 2-7 p.m.with photo ID with proof of residence.

Gibson Guitar Factory & StoreGibson Guitar Factory Tour
Second Street & Lt. George W. Lee Avenue, downtown Memphis, near Beale Street and the FedEx Forum. A tour is offered of the workshops where the guitars are made. Not free but it can be interesting, especially for musicians and woodworkers. There is also a retail store where the guitars are impressive and expensive!

Cotton Museum
Monday-Saturday: 10 a.m.-5 p.m.
Sunday: Noon - 5 p.m.
65 Union Avenue, Memphis
The main exhibit is located on the Historic trade floor of the Memphis Cotton Exchange- where cotton traders once stood at the center of the global cotton economy. This space is now filled with artifacts and exhibits that tell the story of "King Cotton" and its impact on the world. Highlights include original films, detailing specific aspects of the cotton industry, oral histories from individuals involved, and exciting temporary exhibits.

Elvis' home. Various tour packages. Expensive. Or as one person suggests, you can stand outside the pink Alabama fieldstone wall and driveway gate with the famous musical notes for free.

Comedy Open Mic Night (FREE*)
Every Thursday night, 9:00pm – 11:30pm
P&H Cafe, 1532 Madison Avenue
Free as in no cover, food and beverages cost. Open Mic Comedy features some of the best and worst comics in Memphis taking the stage every week at the famous P&H Cafe. All are welcome to test their comedy skills or just to come laugh and watch. Ages 21+
For more information:  901-726-0906 or PandHcomedy@gmail.com

Trivia Night at Huey's Downtown (FREE*)
Every Wednesday, 8:30pm – 10:30pm
Huey's Downtown, 77 S. Second Street
Free as in no cover charge, food and beverages cost. Play trivia at Huey's Downtown. The winning team receives a Huey's gift card. All ages.

The Memphis Jazz Orchestra at Alfreds (FREE*)
Sundays, 6pm – 9pm
Alfred's on World Famous Beale Street
Free, as in no cover, but food and beverages cots. The orchestra performs weekly on Sunday's 6pm-9pm. Ages 21+

Danny Thomas / ALSAC Pavilion (FREE)
8 a.m. to 4 p.m., seven days a week, including holidays
St. Jude Childrens Research Hospital, 262 Danny Thomas Place, Memphis
The life of Danny Thomas and the history of ALSAC and St. Jude Children's Research Hospital are commemorated in the Danny Thomas/ALSAC Pavilion, located on the campus of St. Jude. It contains memorabilia of late entertainer Danny Thomas, founder of St. Jude. The Pavilion is home to Emmy Awards and accolades for Thomas’ television show Make Room for Daddy, as well as other entertainment and lifetime achievements.
Part of the Pavilion is dedicated to Thomas’ life as a humanitarian, highlighting the awards and honors he received for his work on behalf of the world’s children. A centerpiece of this exhibit is Thomas’ Congressional Gold Medal, the highest civilian award given by Congress.
To ensure the Pavilion is not closed for a special event, please call 901-595-4414 or email paviliontour@stjude.org in advance.

U.S. Customs House, Court House, Law School Tour (FREE)
Every weekday the university is open, noon
1 North Front Street, Memphis
Law students give a tour lasting an hour or less each weekday except tours are not scheduled on school holidays including spring break, weekends, or one week before exams or during exams.
Meet in the lobby. These tours are primarily for prospective students, but are open to the public.
Now the Universiy of Memphis Cecil C. Humphries School of Law, this historic building was constructed as the federal courthouse, customs house and post office in the 1880s. Over the years additions were made and the size of the building was almost doubled in 1904 with an addition to the rear of the building. In 1929 the building area was almost doubled again and the façade was altered completely. The building’s two towers, on the north and south side were removed and office wings were added at those locations.

Newby's Open Mic Comedy Night (FREE*)
Every Sunday, 9:30 p.m - midnight
Newby's, 539 South Highland Street
Newby's Open Mic Comedy Night Every Sunday Open Mic comedy where you can see the best and worst comics in Memphis perform. Hosted by Brandon Sams.  Ages 21+ and this is a smoking allowed establishment

Major Annual Events (NOT Free)

Memphis in May
Month of May
Downtown mostly (Tom Lee Park on Riverside Drive)
A month long series of events, including the Beale Street Music Fest, the International Barbecue Cooking Contest, and the Sunset Symphony. Most of the major events occur on or near the weekends.

Memphis Open
Racquet Club of Memphis
The Memphis Open is one of the longest-running American tournaments on the Association of Tennis Professionals World Tour and the only indoor ATP event contested in the United States.

FedEx St. Jude Classic
Southwind Country Club, 3325 Club at Southwind, Memphis
The FedEx St. Jude Classic is a professional golf tournament in Memphis, Tennessee, a regular event on the PGA Tour. It has been held annually since 1958 and typically hosts many of the top players.

Liberty Bowl
Late December/early January
Liberty Bowl Stadium, Fairgrounds, Memphis
The AutoZone Liberty Bowl is held annually at Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium in Memphis, Tennessee. The Bowl is the seventh oldest college football bowl game and is one of the most tradition-rich and patriotic bowl games in America.

Elvis Birthday Celebration (some events are free)
January 7-10
Graceland, 3734 Elvis Presley Boulevard, Memphis

Elvis Week (some events are free)
Graceland, 3734 Elvis Presley Boulevard, Memphis
Elvis Week is a celebration of the music, movies and life of Elvis Presley positioned on and around the date of Elvis Presley's death, August 16. Events often expand beyond a single week. Thousands of people from around the world will attend the Candlelight Vigil which is held the evening of August 15, and it is free.

Africa in April (some events are free)
Robert R. Church Park, Historic Beale Street
The festival was designed to improve communication between different ethnic groups, fostering respect and academic excellence.  Africa In April Cultural Awareness Festival, Inc., a non-profit organization, sponsors year round activities and the Africa In April Cultural Awarenss Festival during the month of April designed to celebrate the arts,  history, culture, and diversity of the African Diaspora.

Major Serial Sporting Events (NOT Free)

Memphis Grizzlies (NBA professional basketball)
FedEx Forum, 191 Beale Street, Memphis

University of Memphis Athletics
Various times of the year, depending on sport
Various locations (home games, football: Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium, basketball: FedEx Forum).

Memphis Redbirds
Spring and Summer
Autozone Park, 200 Union Avenue, Memphis
AAA professional baseball farm club of the St. Louis Cardinals.

As with any city, there are numerous places to stay if you are not staying with family or friends. This writer would likely choose a rather modest hospitality offering, but if you are here to enjoy a Memphis vacation and have the resources, you might wish to splurge. There are several very nice hotels downtown and out east in the Poplar Avenue/Ridgeway/Shady Grove area. In the East High area, there is the nice Holiday Inn University on Central Avenue across from the University of Memphis. Among the fanciest of places would be The Madision (downtown), The Peabody (downtown) and for those who would like a bed and breakfast, the James Lee House (downtown-ish, but not in the core of downtown). These are not sponsored suggestions, just places this writer has toured and by reputation are extraordinary places to stay.

* Admission is free, however, there are possible costs for some activites, i.e. food and beverages, produce, products. If you choose not to purchase those items/services, the entertainment/activity shouldn't cost you anything.

Return to The East High Alumni Home Page