Memphis Holiday Events and Traditions Guide 2021

Memphis Holiday Events and Traditions Guide 2021

Here's a handy guide to Memphis and Mid-South holiday events, trees, and lights for Christmas and the holidays in 2021.

Christmas-Themed Trivia and Bingo Nights  - ongoing
Cerrito Entertainment hosts Christmas-movie themed trivia nights and Christmas Music BINGO nights with fun prizes at local restaurants and pubs including Railgarten, Dan McGuinness Southaven, Pimento’s Collierville, and local breweries. Check out the full schedule, including “Christmas Vacation”, “Elf”, “Home Alone”, “The Office”, “Seinfield’s Festivus” and other themes on the Cerrito Entertainment calendar. There are events several nights a week throughout November and December. Just reserve your team’s spots ahead of time online.

Memphis Holiday Markets - ongoing
There are a ton of local markets, pop-up shops, and special shopping events. Check out the full list here.

South Main Lights - through January 2022
South Main businesses and restaurants have turned on brightly colored holiday lights covering the storefronts in downtown Memphis. They'll be lit up each night—perfect for walking through the neighborhood, doing some shopping, or grabbing dinner.

Wonderland Memphis - ongoing
The smart folks behind Memphis Escape Rooms have put together a more celebratory, less puzzling experience for the holidays again this year. The Wonderland Memphis Interactive Photo Experience at the Carriage Crossing in Collierville is multiple rooms with 16 festive backdrops and fun. It’s enough for your holiday photos and cards with plenty left over for Instagram! It’s $25 per person (kids under 4 are free) and you register for 45-minute slot ahead of time. Details.

Christmas at Graceland - starts Thursday, November 18 - January 9
Blue Christmas? White Christmas? Home For Christmas? Whatever your favorite Elvis Christmas song, you'll love Graceland all lit up for the holidays. Starting with the Holiday Lighting Weekend Nov 18-20 (concerts, special tours, “flipping the switch”) you can see the historic home decorated as the King intended both inside and out. 

Zoo Lights - select nights November 12 - January 1
The Memphis Zoo hosts the SunTrust Zoo Lights again this year on select nights through Jan 1 from 5:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. There are lights, singing trees, tram rides, an illusion show, a marketplace, and a few animals on display. It's $12 for Zoo members and $14 for non-members. For an extra $6 each, you can also ride a Ferris Wheel or Ice Skating. You must reserve your tickets ahead of time for a specific night, so don’t expect to show up and walk in

holiday tree lit up in Northwest Passage with totem poles at the Memphis Zoo
Adarryll Jackson
Zoo Lights

Soulsville Holiday Tree - ongoing after November 20
Soulsville USA invites you to their annual Holiday Tree Lighting Ceremony on Saturday evening, November 20. The public is invited to attend this family-friendly event that also features giveaways, hot cocoa, live entertainment, story reading, and more.  

Enchanted Forest Festival of Trees - November 20 - December 31
Is this the oldest holiday display in Memphis? Probably. It's been around since the fifties—definitely has that vintage feel—and now has a home at the Museum of Science and History (aka the Pink Palace) along with their annual Festival of Trees tree-decorating display and photos with Santa. This year, the Enchanted Forest will be open Wednesdays through Saturdays from 10:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sundays from noon to 5 p.m. 

Starry Nights at Shelby Farms - select nights November 26 - January 1
Drive through two miles of beautiful light displays at Shelby Farms on select nights this holiday season! This year you'll see a few familiar display favorites, plus all-new lights and 3-D elements. Tickets are $29.95+fees per carload (card) or $35 cash reserved ahead of time for specific days. Flex tickets are $32.95+fees and can be used any day. There are also a few days available for biking and walking through. Remember, this is the Park's largest fundraiser so enjoy some holiday cheer and support Shelby Farms this year.

Holiday Wonders at Botanic Garden - November 26 - December 23
The Botanic Garden will host several holiday displays for its annual Holiday Wonders experience, including a towering Christmas tree. Open select nights at 5 p.m. You can reserve your timed-entry tickets online. Tickets are $8 for members, $10 non-members, and $12 for same-day tickets (which you still should buy online, no tickets at the gate).

Downtown Holiday Tree Lighting - November 27
See the big holiday tree at the corner of Peabody Place and Main Street get lit up. The event is from 4 p.m. - 7 p.m.

Christmas Tree at the Peabody - November 27
Catch the Duck Marches at 11 a.m. and 5 p.m. while you take in the classiest holiday decor in town. The tree stays up all season. Please note that the Tree Lighting event on the 26th is open to hotel guests only.

Dixon Lights - December 2-4, 9-11, 16-18
On select evenings in December, enjoy exploring the Dixon gardens decorated with a vibrant spectrum of colored lights. Create a holiday craft and treat yourself to festive beverages and snacks available for purchase from Park + Cherry by Chef Phillip Dewayne. 

Saddle Creek Holiday Kick-Off - December 3
Kick off the 2021 holiday season at Saddle Creek with an outdoor screening of The Polar Express, train rides, and a visit from Santa. Bring your own camera for selfies with Santa just outside J.Crew’s front door. Voodoo Cafe will be on-site selling beignets, coffee, and hot chocolate.

Tree Lighting at Chimes Square - December 3
Get in the holiday spirit with Overton Square, in support of Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital, at our annual Tree Lighting event. There will be Santa, snow, holiday treats, music and more.

Botanic Garden Holiday / Logan Young
Holiday Wonders at Memphis Botanic Garden
cars driving through blue and gold holiday lights at Shelby Farms at night
Justin Fox Burks

Holly Jolly Holiday Celebration - December 3 and December 10
Free outdoor holiday experience on December 3rd & December 10th from 5:00pm-7:00pm on World Famous Beale Street. Free pictures with Santa, holiday music will be heard and free hot chocolate will be provided.

A Christmas Carol at Theatre Memphis - December 3 - December 23
Theatre Memphis hosts their annual performances of A Christmas Carol at their Lohrey Stage.

St. Jude Marathon - December 3
No, the St. Jude Marathon is not a "holiday" event, but the annual marathon that will bring tens of thousands of people to Memphis is a big deal and I’m trying to spread the word so we can all be prepared. Check out the official website for a TON of great info. 

Delight at the Concourse - starts Friday, December 3rd
Crosstown Concourse's Central Atrium and the outside Plaza will be lit up all season long with 100-foot tall lights and decor. There will be a low-key public lighting event this year on December 3rd so stop by anytime after that for some shopping, restaurants, and live music in the Theater or Green Room. 

Bilingual Play: The Last Christmas / La Ultima Navidad - December 3-5 
Cazateatro Bilingual Theatre Group Presents a Pastorela Bilingue: The Last Christmas ( La Ultima Navidad) at Evergreen Theatre.

Light Up the Night Community Chanukah Concert + Candlelighting - December 4
Temple Israel hosts a free Chanukah concert at the Crosstown Theater featuring Jewish music heavy-hitter Craig Taubman of Los Angeles, The Brother Brothers from Minneapolis, and Temple Israel's very own Happie Hoffman.

The Children’s Ballet Theater Nutcracker - December 5
Children’s Ballet Theater offers this performance of the classic Nutcracker ballet in a Memphis treasure directed by Mary Van Dyke at the Cannon Center on December 5 at 2 p.m. Included in the performance are guest dancers from Tennessee Ballet Theater, Erin Walter, Artistic Director.

Winter Wonderland at the Children’s Museum of Memphis - December 4 - January 2
This year, CMOM transports us to a winter wonderland full of trees, sparkling lights, and holiday fun, including activities, performers, and photo opportunities. Try sock skating at “Sockefeller Center”, have a snowball fight in the hallway, and write a letter to Santa!

Stumbling Santa Pub Crawl - December 4
Join Santas, reindeer, elves and other Christmas characters to collect toys for Porter-Leath Preschool children while touring the best downtown bars. Participants should bring a cash donation or a new, unwrapped toy that promotes early learning for preschool-age children. Starts at Flying Saucer downtown.

Beale Street Holiday Parade - December 11 Be a part of the grandest holiday parade in the region! Join in the fun on America's most iconic street as we ring in the holiday season with marching bands, steppers, twirlers, floats, and all sorts of sights. Starts at 3 p.m.

Santa and Snow at Chimes Square - December 17
Come meet Santa Claus, play in the snow, write letters to Santa, enjoy a book reading of “The Ginger Bread Man in Memphis” by author Ruth Garrett, go on a scavenger hunt and more at this merry-and-bright event

Ballet Memphis' The Nutcracker - December 17-19
Ballet Memphis returns to the stage at the Orpheum Theatre with their annual holiday show

Christmas Fiesta! - December 18
Join Opera Memphis and Cazateatro Bilingual Theatre Group for a Free international Christmas Fiesta on December 18 at the Dixon Gallery & Gardens! Enjoy traditional Christmas music in English and Spanish, sample Latin food, make a small piñata, or take home a poinsettia. 

What are your favorite Memphis holiday traditions? Let us know in the comments.

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Holly Whitfield
Love it! They're on the list. I had them added put didn't update the post yet *facepalm* It sounds super fun!
November 12, 2020 12:50pm

My daughter and I will be seeing Hamilton on Dec. 26th at the Orpheum. I need to know what restaurants will be open for lunch that day on Beale Street.  Any help??

December 3, 2021 6:11pm
Holly Whitfield

Hi Jennifer! If you want to eat on Beale Street, I recommend Blues City Cafe, King's Palace Cafe, or B.B. King's. I'm almost certain they will all be open—but i would call ahead to double check!

December 6, 2021 10:31pm
Alisa Karney

Looking forward to having a Memphis Christmas experience.

December 16, 2021 9:45pm