13 things, and more to do in Memphis for the holiday season

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — There’s a variety of events going on during December in the communities, to spread some holiday cheer.

1. Zoo Lights (on some evenings) Nov. 12 – Jan. 1

The SunTrust Zoo Lights will be held at the Memphis Zoo on select nights until Jan. 1 from 5:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. Lights, singing trees, tram rides, an illusion show, a marketplace, and a few animals are among the attractions. Zoo members pay $12, while non-members pay $14. You can also ride the Ferris Wheel or go ice skating for an additional $6 apiece. You must reserve your tickets for a specific night in advance, so don’t expect to walk in.

2. Christmas at Graceland - Nov. 18 – Jan. 9

Elvis Presley’s mansion is transformed into a winter wonderland beginning in mid-November. The driveway is lit up with Christmas lights, there’s a life-size Nativity scene, and Santa with his sleigh on the front yard. The mansion’s interior is done out for Christmas, and you can see how Elvis celebrated the holidays.

3. Museum of Science & History’s Enchanted Forest Festival of Trees - Nov. 20 – Dec. 31

Guests can enjoy the beginning of the Christmas season with their family by admiring the trees, visiting the model trains and Gingerbread Village, and taking photos with Santa in his snow glove. Visitors can also sightsee the Giant Screen Theater to enjoy a favorite holiday film, and the AutoZone Dome Planetarium to see the “Season of Light and Laser Holiday” displays.

4. Starry Nights at Shelby Farms - select nights Nov. 26 - Jan. 1

On some nights this Christmas season, drive through two miles of spectacular light displays at Shelby Farms! This year’s display will include some old favorites as well as brand-new lighting and 3-D features. Tickets are $29.95 plus card fees, or $35 cash for certain days reserved ahead of time. There are also a few days when you can go riding or walking. Remember, this is the park’s biggest fundraiser of the year, so spread some holiday happiness and help Shelby Farms out this year.

5. Holiday Wonders at Botanic Garden - Nov. 26 - Dec. 23

For its annual Seasonal Wonders experience, the Botanic Garden will showcase many holiday decorations, including a towering Christmas tree. The garden will be open at 5 p.m. on various nights. Your timed-entry tickets can be reserved online. Members pay $8, non-members pay $10, and same-day tickets cost $12. (which you still should buy online, no tickets at the gate).

6. Christmas Tree at the Peabody - Nov. 27

Watch the Duck Marches at 11 a.m. and 5 p.m. while admiring the city’s most elegant holiday decorations. The tree is up for the entire season. Please keep in mind that the Tree Lighting event on Dec. 26th is just for hotel guests.

7. Christmas in Collierville - Nov. 27 – Dec. 18

For the Christmas season, the Town of Collierville decorates the town with bows, garland, and lights. From Nov. 27-Dec. 18, visitors can meet Santa in the Gazebo, ride in a horse-drawn carriage, take photos along the Holiday Photo Stroll, and more.

8. Saddle Creek Holiday Kick-Off - Dec. 3

An outdoor showing of The Polar Express, train rides, and a visit from Santa will kick off the 2021 holiday season at Saddle Creek. Bring your own camera to take photos with Santa outside J.Crew’s front entrance. Beignets, coffee, and hot chocolate will be sold on-site by the Voodoo Cafe.

9. Holly Jolly Holiday Celebration - Dec. 3 - Dec. 10

On Dec. 3 and 10, from 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm, on World Famous Beale Street, there will be a free outdoor holiday event. Free photos with Santa will be available, as well as festive music and free hot chocolate.

10. Delight at the Concourse - Dec. 3

The Central Atrium and the outdoor Plaza of the Crosstown Concourse will be lit up with 100-foot tall lights and decor throughout the season. On Dec. 3, there will be a low-key public lighting celebration, but you can come any time after that for some shopping, dining, and live music in the Theater or Green Room.

11. Peabody Memphis’ Home for the Holidays Package

With the Home for the Holidays Package, stay at a historic hotel in downtown Memphis. Guests can enjoy unlimited coffee and hot chocolate in the Peabody Deli & Desserts through Dec. 24, as well as a Peabody holiday ornament, a festively decorated hotel lobby, and more.

12. Ongoing Christmas-themed trivia and bingo nights

At restaurants such as Railgarten, Dan McGuinness Southaven, Pimento’s Collierville, and local breweries, Cerrito Entertainment conducts Christmas-movie-themed trivia nights and Christmas Music BINGO nights with fun prizes. On the Cerrito Entertainment calendar, you’ll find “Christmas Vacation,” “Elf,” “Home Alone,” “The Office,” “Seinfield’s Festivus,” and other topics. Throughout November and December, there are events on multiple nights a week. Simply reserve your team’s spots online ahead of time.

13. Wonderland Memphis

This year, the clever minds of Memphis Escape Rooms have put together a more festive, less perplexing experience for the holidays. At the Carriage Crossing in Collierville, the Wonderland Memphis Interactive Photo Experience has 16 festive backdrops and is a lot of fun. It’ll suffice for your Christmas photos and cards, plus there’ll be enough left over for Instagram! The cost is $25 per person (kids under 4 are free).

The Children’s Museum of Memphis Winter Wonderland - Dec. 4 - Jan. 2

CMOM transports sightseers to a winter paradise full of trees, shimmering lights, and festive fun, including games, performers, and photo opportunities, this year. At “Sockefeller Center,” try sock skating, have a snowball fight in the hallway, and send a letter to Santa!

The Beale Street Holiday Parade - Dec. 11

Participate in the region’s largest holiday parade! There will be marching bands, steppers, twirlers, floats, and all sorts of sights on America’s most iconic street, join in the festivities. The event begins at 3 p.m.

Santa and Snow at Chimes Square - Dec. 17

At this merry-and-bright event, see Santa Claus, play in the snow, write letters to Santa, listen to author Ruth Garrett read her book “The Ginger Bread Man in Memphis,” participate in a scavenger hunt, and more.