Holiday Happenings: 10 Must-See Memphis Events for Merry Making

With its location, Memphis is known for mild winters - but you can always count on snow and lots of holiday cheer, thanks to the holiday-themed events that run throughout the season.

From single events including the AutoZone Liberty Bowl - an SEC / Big12 post-season match-up - to the season-long fanciful Snowy Nights in the Memphis Botanic Garden's My Big Backyard, there's something for everyone during the holiday season in Memphis.

If romance is on your mind, there's nothing better than a romantic stroll through the Memphis Zoo at night, or the wild wonderland that is Starry Nights at Shelby Farms Park (they even offer lighted carriage rides). The kids will love the snow and crafts at the Memphis Botanic Garden, which has expanded from Snowy Nights in the children's garden to garden-wide festivities, and those looking for a bit of nostalgic splendor will dig the  Enchanted Forest Festival of Trees at the Pink Palace. The Peabody Hotel's famed ducks get a little holiday groove on, as the lobby of the historic hotel goes all-out, with a huge Christmas tree, garland, a whimsical gingerbread display and more.

Football fans have long known the Liberty Bowl as a great post-season game, and this year's match between teams from the SEC and Big 12 promises to be a hot ticket; a parade and pep rally on Beale Street is all part of the bowl experience. And Beale is ground zero for New Year's Eve, as the guitar drops at midnight, with 50,000 revelers looking on.




Who needs a ball drop, when you can watch a guitar drop during the New Year's countdown on the street that defines American music - Memphis' own Beale Street. The run-up to the midnight countdown at the Hard Rock Café includes live music...  Read More



New Year's at Noon gives the kids a chance to celebrate New Year's Eve, but just a few hours earlier with a 'stroke of noon' countdown. Each year, the Children's Museum hosts the themed party, that is $15 per person or free for museum...  Read More



The annual AutoZone Liberty Bowl pits the SEC against the Big 12 in a nationally-televised post-season match-up with a handful of festive events leading up to the game. The biggest public events include a parade and pep rally on Beale Street...  Read More



There's no better bling in Memphis than Graceland - the home of Elvis Presley, which decks the halls royally every holiday season. The merriment begins with a lighting ceremony, and the mansion and grounds are bedecked in the King's holiday...  Read More



A winter wonderland that enchants children and adults alike started more than 60 years ago, when the display director for the now-defunct Goldsmith's department store created charming tableaus as part of the store's Christmas display. Each year,...  Read More



The Memphis Zoo lights up in the evenings during the holiday season, with fanciful displays, lighted trails, Santa in his workshop, reindeer, and special crafts are all part of the holiday fun. Other animal encounters happen throughout the...  Read More



The lobby of the historic Peabody Hotel is always a festive place to be; with its ornate columns and lush decor, a lively bar and its resident ducks, there's no better place to grab a cocktail in the city. During the holidays, however, the...  Read More



We're suckers for an ice rink - but even better, an outdoor ice rink in an old-growth forest, surrounded by the growls of grizzlies and the chirping of chimps. Memphis Zoo on Ice brings a holiday vibe to the already popular zoo, with ice...  Read More

Starry Nights
Photo courtesy of Shelby Farms Park Conservancy


There's rarely any snow (and sometimes not even cold) to get one into the holiday spirit. So when an annual event like Starry Nights - the amazing, holiday-themed, drive-through tour of lighted displays - pops up in Shelby Farms Park, rest...  Read More

Holiday Wonders at Memphis Botanic Garden
Photo courtesy of Memphis Botanic Garden


Memphis doesn't traditionally get a lot of snow, so Santa and his elves at the Memphis Botanic Garden give us the gift of a winter wonderland every holiday season with Holiday Wonders. From 'Snowy Nights' in My Big Backyard, the children's play...  Read More


Meet Sally Walker Davies

Sally Walker Davies is enchanted by Memphis' music, history, and characters. From the artsy South Main Historic District to the grittiness of her favorite live music clubs to the sophisticated...  More About Sally