Now is the Time. Memphis is the Place.

Guide To Holiday Events In Memphis 2017

Photo: Bill Simmers

Photo: Bill Simmers

It’s never too early to start planning your holiday adventures in Memphis! Grab a coffee or hot chocolate and make plans with our handy guide below.

Memphis Zoo Lights

Memphis Zoo Lights, Photo: Brian Shin

Ongoing Light Displays:

  • Starry Nights at Shelby Farms Park – 11/24 through 12/29
    • November 24th – December 29th (Closed November 27)
      • Open on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day nights.
      • Hours: Sunday – Thursday | 6pm-9pm, Friday + Saturday | 6pm-10pm
    • With more than 1.5 million lights illuminating the night sky, this is the largest annual drive-through holiday light show and festival in the Mid-South. This year, International Paper Starry Nights features a completely new light show that celebrates some of the most iconic places in Memphis, as well as versions of your family favorites.
    • Cost:
      • $20 for car, truck or minivan
      • $50 for limo or 15 passenger van
      • $150 for charter or school bus
    • Things to know:
      • Save time in line and pre-purchase your tickets at the Lake’s Edge Gift Shop.
      • Tickets are also available at the ticket booth the night of the show.
      • If you have pre-purchased your tickets, enter through Gate 10 off of Mullins Station Road.
      • If you need to purchase tickets, enter through the Main Gate off Farm Road.
      • Participants receive a $5 discount per car on tickets purchased at the gate for theme nights:
        • November 30th: Tacky Holiday Sweater Night
        • December 7th: Decorate your car + Park Member Night
        • December 14th: Scout Night
  • Zoo Lights at The Memphis Zoo – 11/17 through 12/30
    • Open select nights from November 17th through December 30th, 5:30pm to 9:30pm
    • Snow is back at this year’s SunTrust Zoo Lights! You’ll see snow in the Courtyard, the return of the 90-foot LED Ferris wheel, see Santa in his shop, go ice-skating, see live reindeer, enjoy thousands of LED holiday lights and more.
    • Things to know:
      • Zoo Lights are open at 5:30pm on Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day.
      • Zoo Lights admission is $7/members, $9/nonmembers
      • Ice skating is $6/person
      • Ferris wheel is $5/persion
      • The ice rink and ferris wheel open daily beginning Nov 18th from 9:30am to 4:30pm.
      • Annual tree lighting ceremony is 11/18 (time TBA)
  • Holiday Wonders at the Memphis Botanic Garden – 11/24 through 12/30
    • Holiday Wonders at the Garden opens the Friday night after Thanksgiving and runs (select nights) through December 30th featuring three distinct areas, each with a different theme but all catering to families, couples and groups.
      • Snowy Nights: Snowy Nights is the outdoor, interactive, family oriented venue. It is a continuation of the popular Snowy Nights in My Big Backyard.
      • Trees Alight: Trees Alight is sure to become a community favorite and features the City of Memphis Christmas Tree as well as a spectacular nightly LED light show. It will be located in the Conifer Garden.
      • Sculptures Bright: Sculptures Bright will light up the growing Sculpture Garden in interesting and evocative ways. The Sculpture Garden features diverse art from many well-known, local artists.
      • IKEA Outdoor Lounge: Adjacent to Sculptures Bright and located in the Rose Garden area will be the Ikea Outdoor Lounge featuring snacks, hot chocolate, adult beverages and fire tables for warming.
      • Holiday Wonders at the Garden opens on Friday, November 24th at 5:30 p.m. with special guests TBA on site to ‘flip the switch’ at 6:15pm illuminating both the City of Memphis Christmas Tree and the broader Trees Alight venue for the very first time.
      • Advance purchase tickets are now on sale for $8.00 for Garden Members and $10.00 for non-members). Reserved ticket times are being offered with a timed entry to cut down on waiting and lines.
      • A series of special evenings are scheduled throughout the season including:
        • Community Night with free admission to the first 1,000 guests on Monday, December 11th
        • Family Thursday with reduced admission ($3.00) for all children over the age of 2 on Thursday, December 14th when a family brings an unwrapped gift for Porter-Leath.
        • Date Night with extended hours (until 10:00 p.m.) on Saturday, December 16th
        • Sunday with the Sculptures on Sunday evening, December 17th
        • On My Last Nerve Night* on Tuesday, December 26th (For when your in-laws, kids and other guests are getting on your last nerve and you need to find something to do that is out-of- the-house!)
        • Also new this year are Winter Wonderland Engagements at the Garden: Four marriage proposal options to help you “pop the question”. Botanic Garden staff will help plan the night; guide you to a romantic, semi-private area, and work to sneak family, friends and even a photographer in to share in the moment. Call (901) 636-4125 for more info.
  • Enchanted Forest: Festival of Trees at Pink Palace – 11/18 through 12/31
    • The Enchanted Forest is a magical experience full of delightful animated characters.  Elves are busy making toys while penguins, bears and mice play in the snow.  A model train winds its way around a miniature snow-covered village while the nearby Gingerbread Village smells delightful! Thousands of twinkling lights shine from dozens of beautifully-decorated trees lining the mezzanine.  Area businesses, churches and other volunteers have decorated the trees, which are sponsored by local corporations and individuals, and you’re sure to find a favorite.
    • Special events:
      • Pictures with Santa  – November 18  –  December 24
      • Enchanted Forest Fridays – Dec. 1, 8, 15 & 22 9am to 9pm
  • Magic of the Holidays Display – Free
    • Every year you can experience 30,000 lights set to music at 6928 Briarhill Drive, in Bartlett.
    • Lights go up on Thanksgiving Day Night.
    • Go here for more info.
memphis holiday christmas trolley

Photo: Kate Lareau

Family Friendly Holiday Shows & Events:

More Upcoming Events:

Photo: Amanda Hill

Holiday Markets & Gift Ideas:

Open Christmas Day:

Events on New Year’s Eve:

We will be updating this list so please send us your holiday events for consideration.

See more December events here.