Top attractions, recreation, events and things to do in Covington, TN
Two of the things people living in Covington, TN like most about their city are the great attractions and entertainment options found here. Sure, Memphis and its bluesy Beale Street are just 45 minutes away, but most weekends, Covington residents find plenty to do right in their own town. Families have tons of options in Covington, especially for young children. From great parks and museums to mouth-watering restaurants, there are lots of ways to spend a day in this city.
Here’s a look at some of the best things to do in Covington and nearby:
Restaurants in Covington
Locals know that when there’s smoke rising from the parking lot at Billings Bald Butcher, it’s time to get hot-off-the-grill pork, chicken, sausage and beef. This family-owned restaurant holds true to old Southern traditions, including heaping plates of food, slow-cooked sides and delicious barbecue. Another Covington tradition is Little Porky’s Pit BBQ, which started back in 1965. The business has survived a fire, divorce and flood. Little Porky’s not only offers plates of pulled pork, shredded beef and pulled chicken at its restaurant, but also caters.
Nestled in the historic Court Square in Covington is Old Town Hall & Cafe. Diners describe it as a great little find with a whole lot of flavor. The restaurant offers affordably priced sandwiches, salads and dynamic desserts with cool customer service. Other popular restaurants in Covington include Erwin’s Great Steaks and Pappy & Jimmie’s.
Parks and Recreation in Covington
Six city parks and the Covington Aquatic Center provide residents with a variety of ways to exercise, play sports, and enjoy sunshine and fresh air. The aquatic center features a covered pool open for year-round swimming. Cobb-Parr Memorial Park is Covington’s largest recreational facility, with a variety of athletic fields, walking trails and a playground. Athletic leagues give children opportunities to play a variety of sports, from baseball and soccer to swimming.
Within a short drive from Covington are a pair of national wildlife areas offering fantastic hiking, hunting and fishing. To the north is Chickasaw National Wildlife Refuge, which is cradled in a bend of the Mississippi River. Just east of Covington, following the Hatchie River, is Hatchie National Wildlife Refuge.
Covington Country Club has been named one of the best golf courses in west Tennessee. The club hosts numerous tournaments each year that draw hundreds of golfers to the area.
Festivals in Covington
Memphis may be a mecca for lovers of barbecue, but Covington holds its own with several barbecue restaurants and food events. Hundreds of people come to Covington each June to participate in the World’s Oldest BBQ Cooking Contest, which pits pit masters against each other in a variety of cooking contests. Held at Cobb-Parr Memorial Park, the festival includes live music, a demolition derby, mechanical bull riding, a pig-calling contest and food vendors.
Typically held on the fourth Saturday in September, the Heritage Arts and Crafts Festival celebrates the history of Tipton County with re-enactors taking on the roles of the community’s founding mothers and fathers. This event lets the little ones see life-sized wagons and watch how early settlers cooked and made crafts. There’s also live music, games and vendors.
Characters from novelist Charles Dickens’ stories come to life during the annual Dickens Christmas in Covington. This English-themed festival is held on the historic downtown square during the second weekend in December. Shops around the square are decorated to look like they might have been in such classic tales as A Christmas Carol, and singers perform on the gazebo stage.
Each February, hundreds of people come to Covington’s historic square to taste chocolates offered inside shops. Called the Chocolate Tour, this event included 17 stops last year that featured items like chocolate-dipped potato chips, Nutella pretzels, peanut butter balls, triple chocolate chip cookies and cupcakes.
Music in Covington
Throughout the year, residents of Covington have opportunities to see a variety of musical acts perform. An event called Music on the Square brings bands and singers to Covington’s historic downtown during spring and summer evenings. The Ruffin Theater, an old movie theater with a stage, hosts live performances such as musicals, concerts and plays. There’s also the Covington Integrated Arts Academy, a public school that focuses on bringing different forms of art into the classroom. Enrollment is open to all Tipton County children in kindergarten through eighth grade.
Things to Do Near Covington
Covington’s close proximity to Memphis opens up a broad range of entertainment and sports venues, as well as easy access to college and professional theater groups, art galleries and sports teams. Here’s a list of some of the attractions within a two-hour drive from Covington:
- Discovery Park of America in Union City
- Tennessee Safari Park in Alamo
- Reelfoot Lake State Park in Tiptonville
- Fort Pillow State Park in Lauderdale County
- Pink Palace Museum in Memphis
- Orpheum Theatre in Memphis
- Graceland in Memphis
- National Civil Rights Museum in Memphis
- Grizzlies (NBA team) in Memphis
- Memphis Zoo