20 Can’t-Miss Memphis Events Happening in 2020


2019 was a big year for the Bluff City. We celebrated our Bicentennial; 200 years of Memphis being Memphis! Our Tigers won their first AAC Football Championship. And we saw lots of new businesses and restaurants pop up all across the city. It’s true; 2019 will be hard to beat. But luckily for us, there’s a ton of growth, family fun, and Memphis events in store for the new decade. Here are some of our favorites, in no particular order.

**Many of these have been moved due to COVID-19. Make sure to check each event for updated information!

1. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Commemorative Ceremony

memphis events
Courtesy of The National Civil Rights Museum

On Monday, January 20, the National Civil Rights Museum will remember the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., one of the most prolific humanitarians and leaders of the American Civil Rights Movement. Activities include daylong performances, family friendly activities and entertainment, and the National Civil Rights Museum experience. In the spirit of service, admission to this event is free thanks to its sponsor, FedEx. The Museum will also be accepting nonperishable food items and blood drive donations.

2. Beale Street Music Festival

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Courtesy of Memphis in May

The 44th annual Beale Street Music Festival will take place from May 1-3, 2020 (moved to October 16-18!) in Tom Lee Park as one part of the Memphis in May festivities. Early bird three-day passes are one sale now, with the official lineup announcement coming in February. This year’s lineup includes The Lumineers, Mavis Staples, Lil Wayne, The Avett Brothers, Leon Bridges, Brittany Howard, and many more. Click here for more information, or follow the BSMF Facebook page for complete and up-to-date details.

3.  Memphis Tigers Football and Ryan Silverfield

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Courtesy of the @uofmemsports Instagram page

It’s not necessarily easy being a Memphis Tigers fan, but 2020 is sure to be an interesting year for the University’s football team now that they’ve welcomed their new head coach, Ryan Silverfield. If that means a second AAC championship is in the works, we’re all for it! Silverfield previously served as the Tigers’ offensive line coach for four seasons, their run game coordinator in 2018, and this season’s deputy head coach.

4. 20 additional miles of new bike facilities

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Courtesy of Bike/Ped Memphis’ Facebook page

According to the Memphis Flyer, you can expect to see more Memphians riding around on scooters and bikes as the city plans to add approximately 20 miles of new bike facilities next year. According to the article and Nicholas Tyler, bikeway and pedestrian program manager for the city, Memphis will likely add an average of 20 miles worth of new bike facilities each year for the foreseeable future. The majority of newly installed facilities are included in routine street-resurfacing projects.

5. Events for moms and families at Transformama

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Courtesy of Transformama’s Facebook page

Midtown’s mama haven — Transformama Work and Play Studio — is offering a ton of new classes and events this year starting in January, including kids yoga (Mondays at 10 a.m.), open playgroups (Mondays at 11 a.m. – 12 p.m.), the Mindful Moms yoga series (Tuesdays and Thursdays at 1:30 p.m.), the Honest Mothering series (Wednesdays at 7 p.m.), New Mama Mingles (first Thursday of each month), a breastfeeding workshop (on January 25), and group ukulele lessons (Thursdays at 6;30 p.m.). Additionally, they are offering exciting exercise classes for all levels, including TRX circuit classes, Zumba, and strength training classes. For more information, check out their website, like them on Facebook, and follow them on Instagram.

6. The Memphian Hotel at Overton Square

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Courtesy of the Memphis Business Journal and the Renaissance Group, rendering via The Daily Memphian

A new boutique hotel is coming to Overton Square. The Memphian is set to open by the end of 2020. The planned structure will be seven stories tall, consist of 109 rooms, and cost $24 million. Needless to say, it’s sure to be the new centerpiece of Midtown.

7. Bluff City Polar Bear Plunge & Chili Cook-Off

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Courtesy of Special Olympics Greater Memphis

This is one of the few events that can heat you up and cool you down all in one day. Jump into the icy Mississippi River on February 1 at Mud Island River Park to earn yourself some chili afterwards to warm up. This event is hosted by the Special Olympics Greater Memphis.

8. Great American River Run

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Courtesy of the Great American River Run

The 5th annual Great American River Run ‪will take place on Saturday, May 23‬, and stretch from the streets of Downtown Memphis to the banks of the Mississippi River as a part of this year’s Memphis in May festivities. This is the Bluff City’s premier river race with 5 K, 10K, and half-marathon race options. Every finisher will receive a medal, and the fun all culminates with a massive post-race party that includes food, drinks, and live music.

9. International Blues Challenge

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Courtesy of The Blues Foundation

Hosted by The Blues Foundation, the International Blues Challenge opens its stage to blues bands and solo/duo blues acts who are looking for a big break and ready to perform on an international stage. The IBC is judged by blues professionals from across the world who have years of experience in listening to, producing, and creating blues music. Taking place on Beale Street January 28 – February 1, admission to this is event is free to Blues Foundation members, $10 for adults, $8 for students, and free to kids under 12.

10. Memphis Comic Expo

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Courtesy of the Memphis Comic Expo

Don’t miss one of the best con experiences in the Mid-South. The Memphis Comic Expo will be held October 17-18 at the Agricenter. Bringing you the best in local and regional talent, up and coming creators, and of course, the big names. With over 50,000 square feet of comics, a cosplay contest, video game tournament, vendors, artists, writers, food, drinks, and more, there’s something for everyone. Check out the MCX website for more information.

11. Bass Pro Pedestrian Bridge and Pinch District

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Courtesy of the Memphis Business Journal

The city is moving forward with its $3.8 million Pinch District pedestrian bridge project, which will connect Front Street to Bass Pro Shops at the Pyramid. Construction is slated to kick off Spring 2020. This structure is intended to make it easier and safer for visitors to access the new Renasant Convention Center to Bass Pro Shops.

12. Southern Women’s Show

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Courtesy of the Southern Women’s Show

The ladies of Memphis would hate to miss this event specifically tailored for them. Discover hundreds of boutiques filled with the latest fashions, trendy jewelry, gourmet treats, health and beauty, and so much more at this year’s Southern Women’s Show. Enjoy fashion shows, top chefs, and even celebrity guests. Bring your mom, sister, and best friend to the Agricenter on March 6-8 and spend the day doing everything you love.

13. The Renasant Convention Center

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Courtesy of memphistn.gov

The Renasant Convention Center is on schedule to open its doors this fall with a brand-new name and look. According to MemphisTravel.com, “every square inch of the convention center will be touched by this project, bringing hotel-quality finishes and amenities that are desired by meeting planners and their delegates.” When complete, the new structure will feature a column-free 118,000-square-foot main exhibit hall, a new exterior concourse and pre-function space, 46 breakout rooms, the largest in the region, and a 28,000-square foot ballroom to host smaller events.

14.  Memphis Redbirds AAA Baseball Begins

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Courtesy of the @memphisredbirds Twitter page

Nothing says Springtime in Memphis like attending a Redbirds game. This year’s season opener is on April 9-11 versus the Omaha Stormchasers, and there are lots of great games on the 2020 schedule. A Redbirds game is a wonderful event the whole family is sure to enjoy!

15. International Salute to Ghana

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The 2020 Memphis in May International Festival is saluting the Republic of Ghana as this year’s honored country. This week in May brings cultural events to community centers, museums, galleries, performing arts centers, and schools throughout the city. Luncheons and lectures unite the resources of local government and professional cultural agencies with speakers, artists and celebrities from the honored country, opening doors for international commerce and exchange.

16. World Championship BBQ Cooking Contest

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A local favorite each year, the 2020 World Championship BBQ Cooking Contest will take place at Tom Lee Park May 13-16. This is a stand-out culinary event, where global barbecue masters gather in the Bluff City to showcase their grilling expertise and compete for cash prizes, and of course bragging rights. Additionally, spectators can enjoy sauce wrestling, Ms. Piggie Idol, and all featured entertainment at the Cattlemen’s Main Stage.

17. St. Jude Marathon

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Courtesy of St. Jude

The St. Jude Memphis Marathon Weekend is the single largest, one-day fundraising event for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital — one of the world’s premier pediatric cancer research centers. St. Jude is leading the way the world understands, treats, and defeats childhood cancer and other life-threatening diseases. This year’s race will take place on December 5. There are several way other than running the race to contribute to this cause, including fundraising as a St. Jude Hero, volunteering at the event, cheering on the racers, or sponsor a runner. Stay tuned to the race website for more information regarding 2020 registration.

18. The 62nd Annual AutoZone Liberty Bowl

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Courtesy of the AutoZone Liberty Bowl

Proud Memphians make a habit of attending or watching the AutoZone Liberty Bowl each year, and for good reason. This is an exciting local event the whole family is sure to enjoy. Plus, it supports St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. The AutoZone Liberty Bowl Football Classic is the seventh oldest college bowl game and is one of the most tradition-rich and patriotic bowl games in the country. It was founded in Philadelphia in 1959 (hence the Liberty Bell reference), and the inaugural game featured a match-up between Penn State and Alabama. Now, Memphis is proud to host this icon of Mid-South pride. Date and times for the 2020 game TBA.

19.  Revamped Fairgrounds

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Courtesy of the Daily Memphian

The Memphis Fairgrounds haven’t been the same since Liberty Land was lost, but the city has exciting plans to convert 18 acres along Central Avenue into a new sports complex for indoor activities like basketball, cheerleading, and track. Construction is expected to break ground this month (January). The multi-purpose building will have two separate venues, but only one will have 2,700 permanent seats, so it doesn’t compete with the FedEx Forum. Read the full article to learn more.

20. World Golf Championships FedEx St. Jude Invitational

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If golf is your thing, don’t miss Memphis’ stop this year on the PGA tour. Taking place at the TPC Southwind private golf club July 1-5, this sporting event will benefit St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

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Anna Claire is a native Alabamian who now calls Memphis home, along with her husband, Nate; Caleb (December 2018); and two pups, Milo and Libby. She’s a proud Auburn University alumna with a B.A. in journalism (War Eagle!) who has worked for a variety of B2B/B2C magazine publishers and a corporate content marketing team, before becoming an East Memphis SAHM. Her son is her greatest joy and proudest accomplishment, and she is so thankful to spend her days keeping up with him. She’s a self-proclaimed word nerd who loves a good em dash — when used properly. She enjoys iced coffees, late-summer days at the beach, and quality time spent with family and friends. She’s never met a stranger, so don’t hesitate to say hi if you see her around town!