Memphis has four distinct seasons with cold winters and hot summers. Spring and autumn can be varied and unpredictable. Severe weather, such as thunderstorms and strong winds, is possible during these transitory seasons. Summers are very humid thanks to moisture encroaching from the Gulf of Mexico, even though the temperature rarely reaches great heights. This makes it feel hotter than it is. Winters, by contrast, can be very cold with temperatures below freezing occurring fairly often. Memphis averages 5.7 inches of snow a year. There is plenty of rain to keep the region green, most falling in thunderstorms, but this does not mean there are not plenty of sunny days.
When to fly to Memphis
May is festival month in Memphis and when most people travel to the town. The weather is warm and breezy, the mood is festive and music wafts through the air. Due to school holidays, summer is the busiest travel time in Memphis but it's also when the temperatures are sweltering and humidity is high. If you travel to Memphis during the summer months, pack light and bring your patience - the city is hot and packed with tourists.
Autumn and winter months are generally unpredictable as it pertains to weather. Heavy rains can hit at any time and while it might not snow, the temperatures can get very cold. If you don't mind packing a jacket and taking a risk, Memphis flights are cheaper and hotel rates are usually discounted during the winter months.
Getting around Memphis
The best way to get around Memphis is by driving. Traffic can be very slow-moving, but the public buses are slow and infrequent. Memphis is easy to get around and parking is usually available. You need a driver’s licence and have to be at least 21 years old to rent a car, but most rental agencies charge you more if you’re under 25. If you’d prefer to take public transport, the downtown Main Street Trolley, which runs on a circular route, is the most useful. You can also take a taxi, but you’ll need to book ahead by phone.
Memphis insider information
- Book a trip along the river on the Memphis Queen Line, which operates several paddle-wheelers from March to November. You can take a sightseeing cruise, sunset dinner cruise or party cruise. For the festive traveller, hop on the sunset dinner cruise and enjoy some live Dixieland and big-band music.
- Don't miss a walk down Beale Street while you're in Memphis. Beale Street is where W. C. Handy brought the blues to life when he penned "Memphis Blues". Today, Beale Street is Memphis's main entertainment district.
- If you travel to Memphis in May, make sure you stop over at the World Championship Barbecue-Cooking Contest.