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3 Budget-Friendly Ideas for Dates in Memphis

Being “bae” doesn’t have to break your bank and the romance doesn’t have to die along with those $50 rose bouquets. We’ve got you covered with three different and unique-to-Memphis date plans that are both wallet-friendly and perfect for showing your sweetheart that you are in it to win it. 

High School-esque

An outdoor movie theater with cars parked in the parking lot offering budget-friendly dates in Memphis.

If you’re looking for a low-key hangout with your crush without all the pressures of a formal ‘date’, this selection of fun high school-esque classics is just for you:

  1. Meet up at one of many record shops around town and peruse the shelves and crates for those good finds. No need for a full-on shopping spree, these locations offer a prime lead-in to talking about shared music interests and listening to some obscure 80’s bops you never would have found anywhere else.
  2. Once you’ve had your fill of digging through vinyl (and maybe picked out a couple of singles to remember the day), head to La Michoacana and fill up on authentic Mexican sweets. Wondering what to try? Check this out.
  3. Finally, what’s a lowkey hang without a movie? The Malco Summer Drive-In offers all the same movies you’d want to see in theaters but, from the comfort of your car, no one will get annoyed by your constant whispering, giggling, and popcorn stealing. If you really want to up the ante, make it a late night with their Time Warp Drive-In movie series.

More ways to throw it back to simpler times: Rec Room, East End Skating Center.

Scenic & Suave Day Date

Not all cities are as blessed as Memphis is with gorgeous parks and gardens. Try this date out if you want to show off your down-to-Earth side. Perfect for couples who work nights and love to seize the daylight:

  1. Get started around 10:30 or 11 am and grab a coffee and some delicious pastries at La Baguette
  2. Next, head over to Memphis Botanic Garden. Inside you can find a multitude of installations and exhibits sure to give you something to talk about. Entrance tickets are only $10. With the weather heating up, this daytime date is perfect for heating up your romance as well.
  3. Don’t just end with an awkward parking lot hug! Keep the energy flowing & finish up with lunch at a local restaurant that offers a low-cost lunch special & has a cool patio:

More daytime sights to enjoy: Dixon Gallery and Gardens, Shelby Farms Park, Big River Crossing

Classy & Cultured

A group of dancers performing on a stage.
Cabaret at Playhouse on the Square. Photo by Bill Simmers

That’s right, you can plan a classy date while still saving some cash! If your bae has an elevated sense of romance and courting, try out this daring course of class and culture:

  1. Pre-show drinks are easy to afford with the multiple happy hours offered around town. Some of my favorites include:
    • Local’s happy hour every weekday from 11 am to 7 pm includes $2 off all well drinks and wines.
    • Canvas Lounge’s two-for-one well drinks and beers every day from 4-7pm
    • Loflin Yard has $4 well drinks and half off bottles of wine every Wednesday through Friday from 4 pm – 7 pm.
  2. Playhouse on the Square has Pay-What-You-Can night on the first Thursday of every production’s run. You can catch PWYC for “Cabaret” on Thursday, May 9th. Hattiloo Theatre hosts Pay What You Want performances on the second Thursday during the run of every production. The next opportunity is for “The Parchmen Hour: Songs and Stories of the ’61 Freedom Riders.”
  3. You’re sure to have a lot to discuss after the show, and what a perfect time to show off your own cultured personality! Seal the deal for date number 2 with a romantic stroll around Overton Square. Maybe play a couple of rounds of cornhole, and don’t forget that end of the night kiss underneath the stars, or at least the mural of stars beneath the belltower. The best part? Totally free.

Free entertainment options nearby: Brooks Museum is open later on Wednesdays until 8 pm and admission is free; Levitt Shell Free Summer Music Series

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