My wife and I got married almost two years ago, but as we’ve spent the last two years in Memphis together, we have discovered, or in some cases for me, rediscovered some places that would be great for a first date. Here are some of our thoughts on a few of our favorite spots keeping in mind the type of couple they might appeal to or the type of first date the couple might be looking for.
For the ultra casual first date:
La Michoacana (The Mexican Popsicle Shop)
Nestled in a non-descript strip mall on Summer Avenue lies a great Memphis secret. La Michoacana has been open for a few years now and offers delicious frozen goodies to people looking to avoid the sweltering Memphis summers. They have a variety, quite literally 50+ choices, of homemade popsicles ranging from the traditional strawberry and orange flavors to some more interesting flavors like avocado, cucumber with chili sauce, or coffee. They also have some of the best homemade ice cream in Memphis. If you’re looking for an inexpensive place where you can chat and not feel like you need to get fancy for a first date, this is your place. Also, it’s delicious. You will want to go back again and again.
4091 Summer Ave.
Memphis, TN 38122
For a place to wind down and feel conversational:
The Holding Pen at Hog & Hominy
Hog & Hominy is the toast of Memphis right now. And it should be. It’s a wonderful restaurant, and the national praise it’s getting is well deserved. But their back deck, The Holding Pen, is a great place for a late dinner date. Only serving three kinds of beers (Coors Original, Pabst Blue Ribbon, and High Life) and a few food choices Thursdays through Saturdays after 9:00 PM (burger or a Frito pie) will cut down on decision making for you. This way you can just grab a beer and a burger and get to know that new person a little better. If you need a distraction, you can play bocce ball on their awesome court or discuss some of the eclectic t-shirts hanging on the wall.
707 W Brookhaven Circle
Memphis, TN 38117
Hog and Hominy
For the outdoorsy couple:
Disc golf at Bud Hill
If you want a place to take a cooler of beer, enjoy some fall scenery, and have plenty of time to talk, and if you don’t mind walking through the woods, go play some disc golf at Bud Hill. You can be as competitive as you want or even give up to just hang out should you get tired of playing. It is a little off the beaten path, so make sure you know where you’re going. If you are in need of a buffer or some moral support, it’s also a great place to go as a group.
3905 Old Cuba Benjestown Rd. (Billion Rd.)
Memphis, TN 38127
For the movie buffs:
A movie at the Ridgeway Cinema Grill
The Ridgeway Cinema Grill is the art house movie theater in Memphis. It shows great indie films, festival winners, and smaller releases. You can have a beer or glass of wine while you watch and their food selection is better than your average popcorn and Junior Mints. It’s rarely crowded and the seats are beyond comfortable. It’s a much better atmosphere for a movie than the typical Friday at the Paradiso.
5853 Ridgeway Center Pkwy.
Memphis, TN 38120
Ridgeway Cinema Grill
For the big spender:
Acre is awesome. The food is top notch. The cocktail menu is extremely interesting. The atmosphere is rustic yet modern. And it’s not super fancy. You can definitely get away with wearing jeans. It has a cool outdoor area to enjoy a drink before dinner, and it’s easy to get to from anywhere in Memphis. The only downside? It’s kind of pricy. But come on guys, if you really like the girl, it’ll be worth it to let her know you’re serious. If you really need to cut down on the cost, split an appetizer and an entrée. It should be plenty of food for two.
690 S Perkins Rd.
Memphis, TN 38117
For the music lovers:
A picnic and concert at Levitt Shell
Every summer and fall the Levitt Shell puts on a free concert series featuring great bands Thursday through Sunday nights. Pack a picnic, bring a blanket and some wine, even drag your dog along. You’re sure to have a great time listening to live music in a super relaxed atmosphere. I would recommend picking a night with a more obscure artist for your first date so you don’t have to fight the crowds, traffic, parking, etc. Fun fact: Elvis played his first professional concert here.
1928 Poplar Ave.
Memphis, TN 38104
For a great daytime activity:
Memphis museums or the Memphis Zoo
Memphis has some great museums and one of the finest zoos in the country. Get to know about art, Memphis music, history, or just look at the animals. Museums make for a great way to stay cool in the summer, and you couldn’t find a better place to spend a crisp fall afternoon than the Memphis Zoo. Plus, if you aren’t from Memphis, this is a great way to get to know your new hometown a little bit better.
For the more athletic couple:
A ride on the Shelby Farms Greenline and lunch or an early dinner at Cheffie’s or High Point Pizza
This is a nice, active alternative to boring old dinner and a movie. Take a bike ride right through some great neighborhoods on the beautiful Greenline, and then enjoy a great salad or sandwich at Cheffie’s or some of Memphis’ best pizza at High Point Pizza. You can enjoy a glass of wine or beer and then work it off on your bike ride back to your car. The Greenline intersects several Memphis streets where you could park and start, or you can start out at Shelby Farms if you’re feeling like a longer (in my opinion) bike ride.
Shelby Farms Greenline
483 or 477 High Point Terrace
Memphis, TN 38122
High Point Pizza
For the downtowner, or wannabe downtowner:
Pizza at Aldo’s and a ride to South Main on the trolley
Aldo’s has awesome pizza, a great beer selection, and it’s right on Main St. You can people watch while you eat and then jump on the trolley to ride down to the South Main Arts District, one of Memphis’ most fun neighborhoods. This could be a really fun date on a pretty fall night. You can meet up with friends for a beer and the city’s best juke box at Earnestine and Hazel’s to end your evening. Make sure to bring some small bills to pay for the trolley. It’s cash only.
100 S. Main St. #101
Memphis, TN 38103
South Main Trolley
For the hopeless romantic:
Drinks on top of the River Inn and dinner at Paulette’s
What better way to spend the first part of a first date than enjoying a glass of wine and watching the sun set over the mighty Mississippi? You can do that on the rooftop of the River Inn. Then you can enjoy a romantic dinner at a Memphis institution, Paulette’s. Paulette’s has been serving up Memphis’ finest French food for almost 40 years, and even though they have a new location, the quality is still extraordinary. If you want your date to walk away thinking, “Wow, he knows how to treat a lady.”, this is your best option. It might cost you a little more than most places on this list, but you’ll be glad you did it.
50 Harbor Town Square
Memphis, TN 38103