Yes, we have good barbeque and lots of it. We also have a lot of tacos! Spend a day visiting the taco trucks around town and deciding which one is your favorite. An individual taco costs anywhere from $1.25 to $2.50 so a $20 will get you far. The trucks typically park along Summer & Jackson Avenues and Winchester & Germantown Roads. These streets will take you around the edges of our fine city and offer up views you might not see otherwise. Combining this activity with hitting up yard sales, thrifting and/or antiquing usually works out quite nicely.
After a string of soul hits in the seventies, and an unfortunate incident involving hot grits, Al Green became a self-ordained minister and bought the Full Gospel Tabernacle Church in Whitehaven, not far from Graceland, in 1976. The Reverend can be found there most Sundays -- either in a full robe or a three piece suit and shades -- around noon, preaching and singing his unique stream of consciousness gospel with his seven piece band. Services draw a faithful flock as well as local, national, and international fans. Tithing is encouraged. Photos are not. Complete this religious experience with some soul food from the Four Way or the Gay Hawk.
The award-winning Crosstown Concourse not only revitalized the abandoned Sears Building, it injected vitality into the surrounding neighborhood. Spend a day familiarizing yourself with the many offerings. Start with a coffee from French Truck or fresh juice from the I Love Juice Bar. Take a class at the Church Health Center. Experience the many art installations on the second level in Crosstown Arts. Catch a performance on the stairs or in the foyer. Have lunch at Farm Burger or Mama Gaia. Do some shopping. Pamper yourself with a manicure. Sit in the lobby or on the deck and people watch. Have dinner at the Kitchen Next Door. Taste the beers at Crosstown Brewing Company. Finally, maybe even spend the night in one of the layover rooms.
Broad Avenue Arts District
The Broad Avenue Arts District is a great place to spend the day walking around, window shopping, socializing, and taking pictures. Start off with a third wave carbonated cold brew at City & State and get a pic on the patio next to the “Well hello” wall or in back by the “Yay, Coffee!” wall. Browse in the gift shop and then head over to the Liquor Store (which is a restaurant constructed in what was once a liquor store) and have full on pancake breakfast, a slice of homemade pie, a Cuban sandwich, and/or a specialty cocktail. Whatever you choose to photograph will look great on the tropical laminate tables or against the bright orange patio umbrellas. Make your way down the street and stop in the myriad boutiques. Falling Into Place has a butterfly mural on their east facing wall you should take in. Enjoy happy hour with a pint of Wiseacre Tiny Bomb, either on the Cove’s back patio and/or at the Wiseacre Brewery Taproom. And no trip to Broad Avenue is complete without a shot of the water tower, preferably at sunset.
Downtown, Soulsville, VECA
Classic juke joints catered to the rural workforce that emerged after emancipation and consisted of plantation workers and sharecroppers who were in need of a place to relax and socialize after a hard week. The hallmarks of a juke joint include food, drink, a juke box, a place to dance, and sometimes gambling. There are still a handful of places around town where you can get a taste of the juke joint life. The most notable here is Earnestine & Hazel’s Downtown, which is said to be haunted. It is THE go place for late night soul burgers, shoving dollars in the jukebox, and enjoying a beer or five. Hard liquor and live music can be found on the weekends. Wild Bill’s out on Vollintine is only open on weekends, but it has a ridiculously stacked house band, cold beer by the forty-ounce, and a dance floor that is guaranteed to be packed. More adventurous types can make a run to the Big S Lounge and Jessie’s Place. Good juke joint rules to follow -- bring cash, tip well, and don't be an asshole.