Imagine you’re sitting at a cozy table for two on a balcony overlooking the Tennessee River. Between the reflection of the city lights off of the water, the old-fashioned candles, and the strategically placed rose petals, the romantic ambiance is set. To top it all off, a world renowned harp player is in the corner serenading this flawless evening. As you hand your girlfriend her Valentine’s Day gift, in complete confidence you think, “I really outdid myself this year.” As she delicately pulls the ribbon loose and begins to tear away the paper you say, “I hope you like it!’ But suddenly her face is filled with disappointment as she says, “You seriously got me a rhinestone-eyed dolphin charm bracelet?!?!?” Your evening is instantly ruined.

All right, so most of us know that rhinestone-eyed dolphin charm bracelets shouldn’t make the cut of best gifts to give anyone over the age of 7. However, getting the perfect gift is never an easy feat. But don’t worry! I already did the legwork for you lovers out there rummaging through countless stores and websites for that top notch present. You can thank me later.

This is a list of the best places to snag your Valentine a gift that will surely impress. For you Knoxville locals, I have great news. The best places to buy these thoughtful and memorable gifts are right under your nose. Let’s begin our tour at Market Square.

Our first stop will be Local Motors Inc. Whether you are a connoisseur of vehicles and machinery or not, when you walk into this store you will be blown away! The first thing you will see is this rad orange racer. What’s not to like?

If you’re looking for something a bit different, look no further than this Spark Plug Star. This is a unique piece of automotive metal art you can’t find just anywhere. The Spark Plug Star is sure to be a crowd favorite at only $24.99.

As you begin to walk just around the corner, you will run into a hip laid back store called Nothing Too Fancy. Here you will find one of the best selections of Knoxville themed items.

For that beard lover or that beard sportin’ man, this t-shirt is absolute perfection.

They also have just the shirt for that Maryville native! We all know that Murr-uh-vull is truly the correct way to pronounce it, but what a creative reminder. Don’t worry about breaking the bank, the t-shirts at Nothing Too Fancy are only $27.95.

Simply go one door down and you’ll step into The Tree and Vine. Here you will find extra virgin olive oils and balsamic vinegars, fruits of the olive tree and the grape vine and much, much more. They have a lovely set up that allows you to try out a few before you decide on which to purchase. As you can see, they have quite the selection. Prices range from $4.50-$17.95. They also have an assortment of English tea pots and espresso cups for that tea and coffee lover. The English tea pots are $10.99 and the espresso cups are $4.99.

Now let’s drop by the Old City and start with Marc Nelson Denim. When I walked in, their limited edition whiskey stained denim immediately caught my eye. Marc Nelson has teamed up with Smooth Ambler Spirits to create this one of a kind item. Marc Nelson doesn’t only provide top quality denim; they also provide a unique collection of other must haves. For example, their pearl button side vent flannel is an essential in every woman’s closet these days.

While you are in The Old City, you must stop by Hot Horse. This is the place to go for that music lover. You can find the coolest records here, from the Allman Brothers, to The Beatles, to Janis Joplin, to The Arctic Monkeys. Now that you have browsed through the records, look over to your right and you will find a plethora of guitars and basses. They have Gibsons, Fenders, Martins, and I believe I even spotted a Gretsch. Any avid, or aspiring, musician will feel like a child in a candy store at Hot Horse. Speaking of candy, let’s head over to Knoxville Chocolate Company.

So you have grabbed that cozy flannel for your lady and her favorite record, now you have to stop by Knoxville Chocolate Company for an assorted box of chocolates. They come in three sizes:
Large $19.95
Medium $10.95
Small $7.95

Knoxville Chocolate Company makes their chocolate right in front of you so you know it’s fresh! They have countless mouthwatering choices, so be ready to leave with a bag full of goodies.

Blue Slip Winery is next on the list, and this is one place you certainly don’t want to skip over. They offer the finest wines that are sure to please everyone. I also loved their vintage door knobs that have been altered into bottle stoppers, “Knobstoppers”. This unique Knobstopper is only $18.00.

Maybe you still feel like you haven’t found that special gift yet. Don’t worry, I have you covered. Just slip into Patricia Nash and you will find handbags that ooze with craftsmanship. At the front of the store, they have an arrangement of their Signature Map collection bags that will take your breath away. This gift is a guarantee win. They also have the Tooled Veg Tan Large Firenze with a braided strap that is always a great choice. This is a bag that can go anywhere and is only $229.00.

On Saturday night when you hand your Valentine their gift, you can now rest assured they won’t shudder at the sight of a rhinestone-eyed dolphin charm bracelet. Instead, they will get chills when they realize that you listened to them and bought that Credence Clearwater album that they said they wanted months ago; they will begin drooling over their favorite chocolates, and they will be amazed that you snagged the limited edition whiskey stained denim that just screams their name.

No matter the gift…even if it is an rhinestone-eyed dolphin charm bracelet, the true beauty of Valentine’s Day is not what you buy, but the sentiment behind your love.