Every year, 20,000 runners flock to Memphis to run and raise money for the kids at St. Jude. Running a marathon is incredible enough, but when half the city shuts down and shows up to cheer you on while you support a noble cause, it becomes an absolute bucket list item. Not a runner? Join the thousands of people cheering, holding signs, and volunteering along the entire race route.
2. Order a steak sandwich at Jack Pirtle’s Chicken
Though known for barbecue, there’s no shortage of mighty fine chicken in this town. Gus’s is probably the most famous to outsiders, but for the real Memphis-style chicken, you gotta hit Jack Pirtle’s. Go ahead and make your way through the entire menu or just start with the chicken fried steak sandwich with gravy and pickles.
Midtown neighborhood Cooper-Young celebrates its artsiness with an enormous festival every September featuring more than 400 arts & crafts booths, three live music stages, tons of food and beer, and 130,000 people coming and going all day. One must-eat, though, is the Pronto Pup: it may look like just a corn dog, but it's so, so much more.
By now, most folks have figured out that the "BBQ Fest" portion of Memphis in May is actually officially the World Championship Barbecue Cooking Contest, and the only way to taste the award-winning pork is to know someone on a cooking team. Your bucket list mission is to befriend one of these team members, score a wristband, and gorge yourself on barbecue and beer until the wee hours of the morning inside an exclusive tent.
The home of the Memphis Grizzlies NBA team (officially called FedExForum) is never more energetic, inspiring, and heart pounding than during a home playoff game. Witnessing grit 'n' grind basketball, the best in-game entertainment in the league, and the most badass NBA mascot has to be on your list.