Downtown Memphis by Trolley


I love public transportation, really, I do.  Maybe because I drive so much is why I think that this method of travel is something I would want to do always.  Or maybe it is because I don’t always travel this way, and what you can’t have you want type of thing.  But either way, I really enjoy being in a city where you can hop on a bus or get the next train and off you go.  This week, I got to experience downtown Memphis, Tennessee in a way I hadn’t before, by trolley.

We had a field trip, and usually this time of the year is a great time for the Memphis zoo – free state resident admission on a Tuesday afternoon you know.  But this year, we wanted to do a little more.  Then, we found out it was going to rain on Tuesday, so going to the zoo, plus the Peabody with downtown trolley rides, and seeing Mud Island while eating a yummy lunch just wasn’t gonna happen if the weather wasn’t going to cooperate.  Our initial plan for Tuesday was, at the very last minute, rescheduled for Monday.  We also had to downsize the adventure; all of the fun that was originally being planned was just too much for one day.

The Peabodyview of the Peabody from Union and Second

All was well Monday morning except for the late start by me due to an already planned early orthodontist appointment for the boy.  We were on time for that, but the dentist was late.  So when we finally showed up into Memphis, we were just late enough to miss seeing the Peabody Ducks, bummer, but not really.  I had seen them before and the boy really didn’t care that he missed watching ducks waddle out of an elevator into a fountain.  He did, however, get a glimpse of them already in the fountain as we were looking for the rest of our party so he can at least say he saw them.

downtown trolley

Downtown Memphis isn’t that big, at least the part we were wanting to see wasn’t.  There are three trolley lines and they run all day along the main part of downtown, picking up every ten minutes.  For the most part, we were on schedule until we found out that our biggest destination for the day, Mud Island, was closed.  I didn’t catch if it was closed on Mondays or if it was closed because it was Columbus Day, but in any case, the grand finale of our day was not going to be.  Fountains were a great distraction during this time and the unseasonably warm day seemed a little bit less for the few who decided getting drenched was the next best thing – the boy not included.

Memphis Fountains

Mud Island out of the picture, the trolley took over as the main attraction.  We found picnic tables at the visitor center with views of Mud Island for lunch, and a good sized grassy hill for rolling down and running around.  Then, it was back onto the trolley to end the day.  We rode the Riverfront Loop for a sightseeing finish.

Mud Island


Like I mentioned at the start, I love public transportation.  When I heard about the trolley, I thought it more of a tourist attraction than an actual means of navigating the downtown area, and pretty much it was.  There were a few locals getting on and off, but mostly the riders seemed to be taking in the sights just like us.  With so many young children in tow, having a few more hands on activities would have maybe made the day more memorable for them, but for me, I enjoyed being somewhere with public transportation, even though it was downtown Memphis.


4 Replies to “Downtown Memphis by Trolley”

  1. In addition to being a fabulous means of transportation, trolleys seem to add a bit of charm to any city. I loved riding the Memphis trolleys while we were visiting the city… although the crowd seemed to get rowdier later in the evening. 😉 Glad you were able to salvage field trip day!


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