Walking In Memphis: Discovering the City’s Best Parks for Exercise

October 1, 2023

The perfect time to visit Memphis, Tennessee, if you enjoy walking, is in September. I was traveling with my son and was able to enjoy many athletic yet scenic walks along its numerous parks and trails while he was busy working. Memphis is a city known for its rich musical history, delectable cuisine, and vibrant culture, but Memphis also boasts some of the most beautiful city parks in the region. Walking and hiking are my favorite ways to exercise and explore outdoor spaces wherever I travel and in Memphis, there are so many opportunities. In addition to their numerous city parks, Memphis boasts beautiful river parks so you can enjoy the Mississippi River views too. Included below are my favorite walks that I took during my week in Tennessee. 

Overton Park

Location: 1914 Poplar Ave, Memphis, TN 38104

Overton Park, often referred to as the “Central Park of Memphis,” is a true gem in the heart of the city. It was my go to park as it was close to where we were staying and it offered so many different sights. This sprawling oasis is home to the Memphis Brooks Museum of Art, the Memphis College of Art, and the Memphis Zoo. My walks aren’t leisurely as I’m always focused on mileage and I easily achieved my goals at Overton Park. There is so much to see as you stroll through the park’s manicured gardens, visit the iconic Memphis Brooks Museum, play golf on its public course, or simply relax on the lush lawns. As a history buff, I really enjoyed the Veterans Plaza and statues honoring Memphis’ heroes of the past. There was also a dog park and children’s playground on Rainbow Lake. Truly the most interesting features were the gates throughout the park. They were so artistic and a neat way to separate different sections of the park. I also ventured out of the park to Evergreen Historic District to view some of Memphis’ most iconic and historic homes. Walking in a neighborhood really gives you a feel of a city and this neighborhood is beautiful.

Mud Island River Park

Location: 125 N Front St, Memphis, TN 38103

If you’re looking for a unique park experience, Mud Island River Park was just that. This park is situated on a narrow peninsula, surrounded by the Mississippi River, and is accessible via a pedestrian bridge. I took my walk early in the morning and it was quite deserted so I had the entire park to myself. In such a large city, that is a unique treat. I was fascinated with the Riverwalk portion of Mud Island, which features a scale model of the lower Mississippi River, providing a fascinating geographical perspective. The park also hosts concerts and events, making it a lively destination year-round just not at 8 am on a random Tuesday morning.

Greenbelt Park

Location: Greenbelt Park, 202 W. Mallory Avenue, Memphis, TN 38109

Greenbelt Park, often described as a hidden oasis, is located just south of downtown Memphis. As you step into the park, you’ll be greeted by a tranquil atmosphere and the soothing sounds of the Mississippi River gently flowing nearby. The park’s expansive green spaces, dotted with mature trees, provide a perfect setting for a leisurely escape from the urban hustle. I loved walking this park trail as there were so many beautiful trees flanking the river. 

Big River Crossing

Location: Big River Crossing, 357 N. Main St, Memphis, TN 38103

Situated at the heart of the Mississippi River, the Big River Crossing stands as an engineering marvel and a symbol of connectivity. This is the longest pedestrian/bicycle bridge, which spans the mighty river, linking Memphis, Tennessee, to West Memphis, Arkansas. As you step onto the bridge, you embark on a journey that transcends state lines, creating a unique experience of bridging the gap between two distinct landscapes. In fact, halfway through the walk you can stand with one foot in each of the two states, Tennessee and Arkansas, which is a truly unique opportunity to be in two places at once! Next to the covered walking path is a train trestle and you can view trains moving. It was an exciting walk with panoramic views of both the river and downtown Memphis.

Memphis, Tennessee, offers an array of remarkable parks, each with its own unique charm. From the urban nature trails of Overton Park to the scenic beauty of Greenbelt Park, there’s a perfect park for every walking enthusiast. So if you’re ready to get your steps in, put on your shoes and explore these urban oases in the heart of Memphis.

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