The I Love Memphis Guide to: Cheap Dates
Sometimes, you want to show that special guy or lady how much you care, but you can't afford to take them to Restaurant Iris or hold their hand courtside seats to a Grizzlies game.
Here are nine Memphis date ideas for when your heart is more full than your wallet.
I know a dive bar doesn't sound like the most ideal date spot, but hear me out: it's cheap, it's usually pretty quiet (unless there's a band), there's a secluded back patio, and you can pick out a soundtrack together on the incredible jukebox.
Cost: $1 for the Jukebox, beers are in the $2 – $5 range.
It's late, neither of you want to go home yet, but you're not really up for another bar. What to do, what to do? Gibsons, my friends. The east Memphis donut shop is open 24 hours a day, and the people watching improves as the night goes on. If you need it to be super cheap, all donuts are half price between 11 p.m. and 1 a.m.
Cost: Less than $5 for the both of you. With coffee.
The Levitt Shell concert series (and the mid-summer Concert Film Series) make for excellent cheap dates. It doesn't matter who's playing – the bands are great, but not the point. The point is lounging on a blanket, eating a picnic dinner and listening to free music. I can personally vouch for this one, as my boyfriend and my's first official date was to see the Otis Redding concert film.
4. Downtown Hotel Rooftops
The views are incredible, they're quiet, and there's no cover (as long as it's not rooftop party night). The Peabody Hotel roof has more space, but the Madison's rooftop bar has a cooler, loungier vibe (and cocktails).
The Metal Museum grounds are open when the museum is open, and admission is free. You can check out the outdoor scuptures, the working blacksmith shop, and the sweeping views of the Mississippi River. You're welcome to bring in a picnic, and you can either eat it on the grounds or atop one of the earthen mounds across the street.
If you're looking for a casual, but classic place to take your date, take him to a ballgame. Tickets to Redbirds games aren't crazy expensive, but they're even cheaper (as in, less than $10) if you opt to sit on the grassy bluff in left field.
Cost: $6 if you buy in advance, or $9 at the gate.
Clean your car out, pick your date up, grab some take out (bonus points if you already stocked the car with movie candy and drinks) and see a double feature at Memphis' only drive-in movie theatre.
Cost: $7.50 per person for two movies
I've tested this one out, and I can say with certainty that I've never had a bad date at Earnestine & Hazel's. Buy your beers (and a $5 Soul Burger if you're hungry), then head upstairs to the ex-brothel portion of the building. There are tiny, semi-private rooms with tables and chairs that are perfect for serious conversation. Also, if it's a weekend, the bar upstairs at the end of the hallway is open, and Nate, the bartender, tells the best stories.
Cost: beers are in the $3 – $6 range, burgers are $5.
9. Pay-What-You-Can / Free Museum Days
Most of the museums in Memphis have a day when admission is free. The Brooks is pay-what-you-can on Wednesdays, and the Dixon's pay-what-you-can day is Tuesday. The Memphis Zoo is free for Tennessee residents on Tuesday afternoons, and Mud Island River Park is always free (as long as you walk across the bridge / park on the Island and skip the museum).
What are your favorite cheap Memphis dates?