Memphis, Tenn., has always had serious commitments to its music – world-famous blues, rock ’n’ roll, soul and all things Elvis.
And it is renowned for barbecue – pork, beef ribs and chicken.
But on Valentine’s Day, the city falls head over heels, dimming the lights and putting on a slow-playing record for all the local and visiting sweethearts looking for a special day or evening. It’s a sexy city gone romantic. Check out the Valentine’s Day happenings at www.ilovememphisblog.com/category/love/guides. Whether you’re looking for a party, a romantic dinner, a dance, cocktails in the garden, or a show or concert, you’ll find something here. There’s even a chocolate-casting workshop.
Memphis is full of fine-dining establishments. Try Acre ( www.acrememphis.com), Felicia Suzanne’s ( www.feliciasuzanne.com), Erling Jensen ( www.ejensen.com) or Terrace at the River Inn ( www.terracememphis.com).
Impress your significant other – and get to your destination – with a horse and carriage ride from The Carriage Company of Memphis ( www.carriagecomemphis.com).
Visitors keep coming to see iconic attractions such as the National Civil Rights Museum ( www.civilrightsmuseum.org), which completed a $27 million renovation in 2014; Sun Studio ( www.sunstudio.com), the famous studio that discovered Elvis Presley, Carl Perkins, Johnny Cash and Jerry Lee Lewis; the Stax Museum of American Soul Music ( www.staxmuseum.com), which honors the likes of Isaac Hayes and Otis Redding; and, downtown, the Memphis Rock ‘n’ Soul Museum ( www.memphisrocknsoul.org), which covers the tuneful history of Memphis.
Memphis also keep things lively with things that are new. This spring, both the Memphis Music Hall of Fame ( www.memphismusichalloffame.com) and the Blues Hall of Fame ( www.blues.org) will open downtown.
And what’s old here is being re-tooled with new life.
Opening May 1 is the Bass Pro Shops at the Pyramid. The redeveloped former arena will feature 535,000 square feet of interior space that will include retail, a 32-story observation deck, restaurant, hotel and bowling alley.
Thirty-eight years after closing, the famous Lafayette’s Music Room ( www.lafayettesmusicroom.com) has returned to Overton Square ( www.overtonsquare.com), a popular neighborhood that has reinvented itself as an entertainment district with theaters, bars, restaurants and shops.
You’ve got to come over to the historically hip Cooper Young neighborhood where you’ll find Memphis Drum Shop ( www.memphisdrumshop.com) and Goner Records ( www.goner-records.com), an authentic, old-school record shop. Stop by Phillip Ashley Chocolates ( www.phillipashleychocolates.com) and see why the Oscars got their gift chocolates here.
South Main, Memphis’s first suburb, is where Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated in 1968 and where the National Civil Rights Museum now stands. More than $100 million is being invested in new developments in the area.
Don’t miss the view of the Mississippi River from Beale Street Landing ( www.memphisriverfront.com), which opened in spring 2014. Here you will find a riverboat dock, interior space and a playground with water features. This is home port for the American Queen steamboat ( www.americanqueensteamboatcompany.com).
Good times call for good food, and you won’t go lacking in Memphis. A few must-haves are Gus’s Fried Chicken ( www.gusfriedchicken.com), the Bar-B-Que Shop www.dancingpigs.com), Cheffie’s Café ( www.cheffies.com) and Muddy’s Grind House ( www.muddysgrindhouse.com).
Area info: www.memphistravel.com.