Santa on Beale Street

Plan a Magical Memphis Holiday

It's about to be the season of sparkly light displays, candy-colored ballets and your chance to see Santa rockin' his way down Beale Street. From Zoo Lights at Memphis Zoo, Christmas at Graceland and Beale Street's holiday parade, to productions of The Nutcracker both classic and remixed, it's not too early to plan your holiday getaway to Memphis.

Holiday Light Displays at Memphis' Best Attractions

Zoo Lights

Discover a wild winter wonderland during Zoo Lights at Memphis Zoo. Explore a fantasy land of more than one million lights, ride the LED Ferris wheel, experience snow in the courtyard and visit live reindeer! Visit Santa in his shop and enjoy all of the Zoo Lights holiday activities during this favorite annual holiday event. Zoo Lights opens Nov. 24, 2023, running select nights through Jan. 6, 2024. 

Holiday Wonders at Memphis Botanic Garden

Holiday Wonders at Memphis Botanic Garden is your chance to bring the whole family to play in the falling "snow,” dig into tasty treats in the Yuletide Yard and visit Santa’s sleigh in Northern Lights. This year's event features eight acres of light displays and themed nights like Santa Sundays, Jingle Jammies and Mistletoe Monday. Holiday Wonders runs select evenings from Nov. 24 through Dec. 30, 2023.

Memphis Zoo Lights
Christmas at Graceland
Shelby Farms Starry Night / Allen Gillespie
Santa on Beale Street


Take a trip through the Enchanted Forest, a time-honored Memphis tradition at MoSH, the Museum of Science and History. You'll meander through magical forests of twinkling trees with various themes, spotting busy elves, playful penguins and cuddly teddy bear friends. Then wander through the snow-covered Gingerbread Village, complete with cozy cottages and toy trains, before visiting Jolly Old Saint Nick himself. Enchanted Forest opens November 18, 2023, and runs through December 31, 2023

Starry NightS at Shelby Farms Park

Take a drive with friends and loved ones through Shelby Farms Park for Starry Nights, the largest holiday light show in the Mid-South, featuring thousands of twinkling lights and holiday displays. Starry Nights will be open for drive-through, walk-through or bike-through tours on select nights beginning November, 24, 2023.

Deck the Diamond at AutoZone Park

New to 2023, Memphis' Triple-A baseball team is using their off-season to brighten downtown with a holiday display at the ballpark. The field will transform into a holiday spectacular featuring 190+ structures, a light tunnel, ice skating rink, fireworks, and more. Deck the Diamond runs November 24, 2023 to December 31, 2023.

Holiday Events at Iconic Memphis Landmarks

Holidays at The Peabody

Visiting the lobby of The Peabody is one of the city’s great holiday traditions. The hotel’s festive holiday decorations include a 30-foot-tall Christmas tree, twinkling lights, garlands strewn along the mezzanine railings and a gingerbread house display that takes an entire month to create. (The hotel's pastry team brings the village to life. Get in the spirit while you're onsite and order a taste of their creations from the hotel's nightly dessert cart.) The fountain belonging to the world-famous Peabody Ducks is decorated with a display of seasonal flowers, making the hotel's twice-daily duck march that much more festive. The famous hotel is decorated in time for Thanksgiving.

Christmas at Graceland

Celebrate the season like the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll at Christmas at Graceland. The season begins with the Graceland Holiday Lighting Ceremony. Hundreds of blue lights will decorate the driveway, and the mansion will be adorned with Elvis’ red velvet Christmas drapes and the same decorations originally found in the Presley home, including a life-size Nativity scene, Santa sleigh and reindeer. The yearly tradition kicks off with the Holiday Lighting Ceremony on Nov. 16, 2023. As part of the Annual Holiday Lighting Weekend, The Enesco Gift Shop & Gallery will open and feature the world’s largest display of Department 56 Lit Villages. Fans and collectors will be able to attend merchandise signings with artist Jim Shore and Village Artists Tom Bates and Scott Enter; meet Melinda Seegers – also known as Ms. Lit Town; plus enjoy visits with Santa, giveaways, and much more.

Spend the Holidays in Memphis
Find holiday hotel packages

Santa's Wonderland at Bass Pro Shops

Make your way to Santa’s Wonderland at Bass Pro Shops at the Pyramid, where you can stock up on outdoor goods for all your winter adventures while the kiddos get a free photo with Santa, play in the laser arcade, make holiday arts and crafts and more.

Holiday Parade on Beale Street

Colorful floats, festive marching bands, steppers and eye-catching twirlers take over iconic Beale Street at the annual Memphis Holiday Parade on Dec. 9, 2023. Be sure to show up early to get a good viewing spot.

Pro tip: If you're downtown after dark, head to the riverfront to see the bridges a glow with the holiday spirit of Mighty Lights or visit the South Main Arts District where all of Main Street buildings are draped with lights.

Plan Your Winter Break Trip to Memphis

Concerts & NBA Games

For some visitors, it's traditional to see a holiday-themed ballet or play this time of year. Others might be looking to give an entertainment experience as a gift this season. With Trans-Siberian Orchestra and Memphis Grizzlies NBA Basketball at FedExForum, Drew and Ellie Holcomb's Neighborly Christmas and The Illusionists – Magic of the Holidays at The Orpheum and so much more, you can plan your winter break trip around your choice of events! 

Plays & Musicals

Snag seats to see Broadway's Six and Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer: The Musical at The Orpheum this November and December. Don’t miss A Christmas Carol at Theatre Memphis, an honored local tradition. Sing along with The Wizard of Oz at Playhouse on the Square, check out Take the Soul Train to Christmas or head to The Circuit Playhouse for the adults-only Who's Holiday!


See the wooden soldiers march and the sugar plum fairies pirouette across The Orpheum’s stage in Ballet Memphis’ Nutcracker. For more holiday magic, check out Clara & The Nutcracker by The Children's Ballet Theater and Memphis Symphony Orchestra's Magic of Memphis, both at the Cannon Center.

Super Grizz at Home Game
Performers at Playhouse on the Square | Bill Simmers
Ballet Memphis performance | Andrea Zucker

About the Author

Born and raised in Memphis, J.T. Mullen has written about the city and its surrounding area for more than seven years. You'll probably catch him in the stands of a Memphis Tigers basketball or football game with barbecue nachos in hand.