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.

starry nights at shelby farms park in memphis

Photo: Steven Ward

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.
  • Bella’s Lights Display –  Free
    • Located at 4630 Alexander Rd in Olive Branch, Mississippi, Bella’s Lights is a computerized light show between the hours of 5:30pm to 10:30pm from Nov. 26 through Jan. 6.
    • Donations are welcome in the donation box, as it is to help raise money for several more post ops and checkups and to bring awareness to Osteogenesis Imperfecta.

Photo: Central BBQ

Thanksgiving Day Options – Please call ahead for hours/reservations

memphis at christmas

Photo: Bill Simmers

Christmas Tree Lighting Events:

Where to buy live Christmas Trees:

See Santa:

      • Santa lands at the Pink Palace – 11/18 – 8am to 5pm
        • Santa arrives by helicopter to open the Enchanted Forest Festival of Trees, a fundraiser for Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital! While you wait for Santa, have fun with Rocky Redbird and the Art Project. Metro Eats from the Pink Palace will be on hand selling coffee, hot chocolate and more. Plus Le Bonheur will have donut holes for the kids. Swooping in from the North Pole, Santa’s chopper will land on the lawn of the Pink Palace Mansion, where the young and young-at-heart will greet the jolly old elf with cheers of joy! Once the chopper rotors stop spinning, join in as Santa and the Memphis Second Line Jazz Band lead a parade inside the Pink Palace Museum, officially opening the Enchanted Forest Festival of Trees. Santa’s landing and other lawn activities are free to the public, but an admission ticket is required for the Enchanted Forest.
      • Photos with Santa at the Enchanted Forest at Pink Palace – 11/18 – 12/24
        • Photo Packages: $10-60. Photos by J&B Childress Portrait Art.
      • Santa on the Square – Saturdays, 11/25 through 12/16
        • Santa makes a stop at Collierville’s town square. There will be carriage rides, and the Morton Museum will be open with special activities.
      • Story Time with Santa – 12/1 at 10:30am
        • Enjoy a story with Santa Claus at the Morton Museum! Santa will be available for pictures following the story. Please bring your own camera.
      • Brunch with Santa – More info TBA

        • Kids brunch specials available, holiday movies on the big screen, and appearances by Santa’s elves and Mrs. Claus. Reservations are required.
      • Breakfast with Santa – 12/2 – 9am to 11am
        • Bring your children to experience the magic of the holidays at Shelby Farms Park and enjoy a private breakfast with Santa.
      • Santa comes to Cooper Young – 12/7 – 5pm
        • Local businesses will be lighting up their windows and outdoor displays for the annual Cooper Young “Unwrapped” contest hosted by the CYBA. At the gazebo, see the Peabody School Choir under the direction of Jerry Sanders singing Christmas carols starting at 5pm and Santa will be strolling about listening to holiday wishes and handing out candy. Bring your camera for a picture with Santa! Santa will be at the gazebo area until 6pm. Please bring a small toy under $5 to be added to the Peabody School supply closet for the Peabody Eagle Bucks Program. The Eagle Bucks Program encourages good behavior and helpfulness to others during the school day. Be sure to stay for some wonderful holiday music, cookies and cheer.
      • Photos with Santa at Carriage Crossing – 11/18-12/24

        • Helicopter Arrival Saturday, November 18th, 9 AM, between Marriott and Macy’s. Followed by Keepsake Photos with Santa in suite 737.
      • Photos with Santa at The Shops of Saddle Creek – 11/18-12/24
        • Photos with Santa will be located in Suite 32, between Francesca’s and Soft Surroundings
        • Pet photos with Santa – 11/20
      • Photos with Santa at Wolfchase Mall – 11/3-12/24
      • Santa’s Wonderland at Bass Pro – 11/14-12/24
        • Get photos with santa, donate to Toys for Tots, free crafts, and more
memphis holiday christmas trolley

Photo: Kate Lareau

Family Friendly Holiday Shows & Events:

More Upcoming Events:

Photo: Amanda Hill

Holiday Markets & Gift Ideas:

Celebrate Chanukah:

Celebrate Kwanzaa:

  • Events TBA

Events on New Year’s Eve:

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

See more November events here and December events here.