In spring, magnolias burst with fragrant blossoms, azaleas dance with color, and Memphis is more picturesque—and popular—than at any other time of year. April showers and highs in the low 70s mark the start of high season, which runs all the way to September. Why so long? This extraordinary musical city plays host to countless events and festivals year-round, but the best take place in spring and summer.
May takes the cake with pleasant temps from 61 to 80 degrees and the monthlong Memphis in May. It’s the city’s largest and longest festival, with two major highlights: the three-day World Championship Barbecue Cooking Contest and the 60-plus-band Beale Street Music Festival on the riverfront. Despite unbearable humidity in August, Elvis fans come in droves to commemorate the anniversary of the King’s death with a candlelight vigil and a week of events. In late September, cooler days (and celebrations like Midtown’s hip Cooper-Young Festival) beckon some 40,000 fans outdoors.
Fall weather can be unpredictable, but visiting Memphis between October and November is a no-brainer: Days are mostly sunny and pleasantly cool, neighborhood festivals are still abundant, and crowds are thinner yet still vibrant. Lower room rates are also easier to find. In October, artisans and family fun take center stage at the four-day Pink Palace Crafts Fair. Locals favor November for refreshing average temperatures between 43 and 62 degrees.
Winter can be chilly in Memphis, but snow is rare and temperatures are not typically frigid. In fact, average temperatures don’t drop lower than 30 degrees. Visit between December and February and you’ll find room rates are at their lowest, crowds are virtually gone, and Beale Street runs a bit tamer. January is typically the coolest month of the year, but that doesn’t stop the Beale Street New Year’s Eve Celebration—or the Elvis fans celebrating his birthday. No matter the time of year, you can often score bigger savings by staying downtown on a weekend, following the busier weekday business travel.