By Katie Cannon ′15
Not even two miles from campus, Broad Avenue has recently taken on new life as a burgeoning center of art, community, and the green movement. The “New Face for an Old Broad” project began a few years ago with the addition of bike lanes to an otherwise busy thoroughfare, a project initiated entirely by people of the Binghampton community. The key to Broad’s artsy appeal? It’s a revitalization, not a gentrification, preserving its decidedly funky vibe even as it cleans up its streets. Here’s 5 of the coolest things to do on Broad Avenue:
1.Eat Fresh and Local (And Late) at the Three Angels Diner
Enjoy the cheesiest and most sophisticated of sandwiches (aptly named the “Adult Grilled Cheese”) as you view works by local artists. Three Angels has it all: tasty eats, an eco-friendly attitude, and support for their fellow Memphians. Working with local farmers and distributors, the diner uses as many home-grown ingredients as they can, then donates their compost to local farmers. With both excellent brunch options and a cocktail menu, Three Angels smoothly transitions from kid-friendly to late night, all at a student-friendly price.
2. Get Crafty
The Five in One Social Club, a self-proclaimed “Kindergarten for Grown Folks,” is a retail store that not only sells all kinds of products by local artists, but also holds craft workshops every week where you can learn the art of woodworking, silk marbling, copper etching—you name it. In addition to their Social Club every Monday night, where anyone can go work on their art projects for free amongst other artists, they also host comedy nights, bingo, and other fun events. Similarly, The Bead Couture both sells unique handmade jewelry and the supplies and know-how to make it yourself.. Finally, treat yourself at My Heavenly Creations, which specializes in beautiful handcrafted soaps, bubble bath, and scented candles. Then, learn how to recreate them yourself in their soap and candle-making classes.
Though Broad Avenue already offers bike lanes, your cycling experience is about to get even better. Plans for the Hampline, a bike route that will connect the Shelby Farms Green Line walking and cycling trail to Overton Park, are well underway, with construction set to begin in late summer. For the hardcore and most likely insanely in-shape bike enthusiast, there’s Victory Bicycle Studio, where you can get personalized bike fittings and training and take spin classes.
4. Community-Wide Events
Be on the lookout for community-wide events throughout the year, like theLuvGlo 5K coming to Broad on June 20. All proceeds go to Habitat for Hope, and Wiseacre Brewing will be hosting a party before and after the race. And of course, don’t forget to check out the Broad Avenue Art Walk that happens every fall and spring, where art galleries and special exhibits will be open for your perusal as you enjoy live music and delicious food from one of Broad’s eateries or one of many food trucks.
5. Water Tower Pavilion
The Water Tower Pavilion has just had its grand opening, and with it the premiere of a new era in Broad Avenue entertainment. This summer, the new pavilion is home to Dance on Broad, a huge dance party for Memphians of all ages and grooving abilities. Each party has its own theme, including swing, Afro House, Zumba, and Bollywood. After the end of the dance festival, the Pavilion will be available for musicians and performance groups, so get ready for cool concerts and dance troupe performances galore.