In 2011, I Will: 10 Memphis New Years Resolutions for Visitors and Locals

In 2011, I Will: 10 Memphis New Years Resolutions for Visitors and Locals

If you're visiting Memphis in 2011, resolve to:

1. Leave downtown.

Memphis has a fantastic downtown with loads of attractions, shops, bars and restaurants. But if you want to get a feel for the real Memphis, head East. Eat at Sweet Grass or Bari, see an IMAX movie at the Pink Palace, take your kids to My Big Backyard and walk or ride the Greenline to Shelby Farms (America's biggest urban park).

2. Go to a Tigers Game

University of Memphis Tigers at the FedExForum

There are few things more Memphis than University of Memphis Tiger basketball. Get a ticket to one of their home games at the FedExForum and sing along with "I'm So Glad I Go to the U of M" (even if you don't). The U of M has one of the the most enthusiastic student sections (and one of the best pep bands) in the country.

3. Don't skip breakfast

Science (and grade school health class) has taught you that skipping breakfast is a bad idea. Skipping breakfast in Memphis is a really bad idea. We're breakfast champions, a city of people who love their biscuits and gravy and scrambled eggs. You can't go wrong with local favorites like Bryant's, Brother Juniper's and the Arcade.

4. Meet Memphis Music (and not just the old-school kind)

Soulsville, USA, Memphis, Tenn.

If you're visiting Memphis, you need to see at least one (if not all) of the following hallowed musical places: the Stax Museum of American Soul Music, the Rock'n'Soul Museum, Sun Studio, Graceland and the Center for Southern Folklore. After you do that, head to Goner records and ask the guys behind the counter to recommend some of their favorite current local records. Bonus points if you go to the Hi-Tone, the Buccaneer or Minglewood Hall for a show.

5. Say Yes

If you want to get a real, down and dirty, super local Memphis experience, say yes. Make friends with your waitresses and the people behind the counter, and take their suggestions seriously. Let yourself try restaurants that you'd never find at home (if someone offers you a sandwich from the Kwik Check, don't turn it down). Allow yourself to explore, to walk around and to meet people. We're friendly, and we're more than happy to point you towards awesome things happening around town.

If you live in Memphis, use 2011 to:

1. Go out, even when it's raining.

For whatever reason, we as a people don't like to leave the house when it's slightly damp outside. This year, resolve to go see that band, go try that restaurant, go make those plans, even if you'll have to bring an umbrella along.

2. Be a tourist for a day.

Memphis Zoo, Memphis, Tenn.

If you grew up in Memphis, there's a surprisingly high chance that you've never been to Graceland. You probably haven't been to the Pink Palace since elementary school, and you associate the Metal Museum with field trips. This year, spend a day checking out Memphis' museums and attractions. You'll get a unique cultural experience, you'll be able to better answer tourists' questions and the people watching is top notch.

3. Leave your neighborhood.

Midtowners, that means go east of Highland for more than groceries. Suburbanites, that means heading downtown for dinner. Downtowners, that means having a drink in Cooper Young. South Memphis, meet East Memphis. Frayser and Raleigh, have dinner near the U of M. Memphis' beauty is in its diversity, and you need to experience the whole city to see it.

4. Go to a Grizzlies Game.

Or watch one on TV. We've got an NBA team in our city, and they're not half bad. It's fairly easy to get tickets (or to find a game on ESPN). Try it once, and maybe you'll be auditioning for the super fan section next year.

5. Build up your civic self esteem.

Memphis is awesome. It's a place like none other, a place of opportunity and challenge, a place for people with rebellious, creative spirits.  Start creating the communities you want to live in. Take advantage of everything we have. In 2011, I challenge you to be proud of where you live.

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John P
"Midtowners, that means go west of Highland for more than groceries."? East, maybe?
December 30, 2010 2:03pm

Sue Whitt
Go to a reading--and buy the book--at Burke's Book and at Davis-Kidd
December 30, 2010 2:08pm

Listen to Thank you very much
December 31, 2010 3:05am

Great post. Memphians, let's try to continue to make Memphis what we want instead of talking about what we do not like. This is posed to be the best year in Memphis in a very long time.
January 1, 2011 9:25am

I moved to Memphis in 2010, and I have thoroughly enjoyed reading your blog to help me get to know the city! Can't wait to try out more places/things to do and get to know Memphis even better in 2011. Love it here!
January 1, 2011 12:06pm

Claire R
Support our Mayor in his efforts to clean the city up! Celebrate our lowering crime rate! Use our parks! Talk Memphis up! Help fix what's broken! This is a great city-we just need to realize it and promote it. I love Memphis!
January 3, 2011 3:43pm