One of my favorite holiday traditions is driving around Memphis in search of incredible Christmas light displays. It’s a fail-proof way to get me into the holiday spirit. When I was in high school, my favorite house was on Walnut Bend in Cordova. The family had covered their entire yard in holiday paraphernalia. There was a manger scene that included the holy family as well as Santa, a constantly running stream of holiday cartoons projected on the garage door, and a constantly-under-video-surveillance arbor for “mistletoe moments”.
That family moved away a long time ago, taking their epic holiday display with them, but there are still plenty of great places in Memphis to check out Christmas light displays.
(For the record, it’s really hard to take good pictures of Christmas lights.)
Here are a few of my favorites:
- Bellair, off of Poplar, across from Overton Park in Midtown. The entire street looks great – the light poles are wrapped, and there are a ton of awesome blue and white lights.
- The neighborhood around White Station and Quince (between 240 and Park). Some of the displays are epic and others are more modest, but this neighborhood has a really high concentration of decorated houses.
- Chickasaw Gardens (near the Pink Palace). The houses in Chickasaw gardens are huge, meaning more surface area to decorate.
- The Walnut Grove Lake subdivision in Cordova. The houses in this neighborhood are arranged around a lake, and a lot of families decorate their boats and docks.
- There’s a house on White Station just north of Sanderlin that’s kind of amazing. All of the lights flash as though they’ve been timed to music (I wouldn’t rule out the possibility), and the yard is decorated with all sorts of holiday ephemera.
- I got a tip from reader Jonathan T. that his kids love the lights on Durbin Rd. near Mendenhall.
- The residents of Central Gardens in Midtown tend to have some of the most tasteful (yet epic) displays in town.
- These aren’t residential, but the business owners in Cooper-Young and in the Downtown Core always have great window displays.
If you’d rather leave things to the professionals than our local Clark Griswolds, check out these professional displays:
- Starry Nights at Shelby Farms is Memphis’ biggest annual holiday light display, featuring 1.5 million environmentally friendly LED lights. You drive slowly through the park and check out the stunning lights. It’s $20 per car, but every Monday night, you can walk, run or bike through the park ($10 for adults, $5 for kids).
- The halls of Graceland (and the yard, and the front of the mansion) are always completely decked for the holidays.
- If you’re looking for a light display that’s more of an event, check out Zoo Lights. There are millions of lights all over the Zoo, as well as ice skating, hot drinks and winter snacks, train rides and pictures with Santa.
Where are your favorite holiday light displays? Leave them in the comments (and you get bonus points if you include a photo).