One of 250 acts performs at the International Blues Challenge in Memphis, Tennessee
International Blues Challenge /  Alex Shansky
Memphis Events & Experiences to Cure Your Winter Blues

Memphis Events & Experiences to Cure Your Winter Blues

Considering the season’s shorter days—and the fact that you’re still hung over from all that holiday excitement—it’s natural to feel some winter blues. Lucky for you, Memphis has just the cure with an international blues fest, star-studded concerts, cozy hangouts and Black History celebrations set to liven up your January and February. The inspiration starts now.

Elvis’ 85th Birthday Celebration 

Jan. 8-11, 2020; Graceland
Die-hard fans will head to Graceland Jan. 8-11, 2020, for Elvis’ 85th Birthday Celebration. There will be cake, private tours of Graceland Mansion with Priscilla Presley and plenty of live music. But we have 9 other reasons to visit Graceland this winter, especially for fans of rockcountryjam and pop concerts, and followers of the hit soap General Hospital.

36th International Blues Challenge

Jan. 28-Feb. 1, 2020; Beale Street, Memphis
For five days—Jan. 28-Feb. 1, 2020—230 blues acts from around the world will gather in Memphis. They play and compete in Beale Street venues, culminating in a final round on Feb. 1, hosted inside Memphis’ historic Orpheum Theatre. The best part? You can experience any or all of it—find more details and ticket info here. Can’t make it during the festival? No worries. As the home of the blues, Memphis hosts live blues every night of the week, from Beale Street to local-secret spots. 

Elvis Presley's Graceland Mansion / Alex Shansky
Live music in Memphis / Craig Thompson
High Cotton Brewing Co. in Memphis / Craig Thompson
I Am A Man Plaza in Memphis / Logan Young

Winter Music & Theater Events in Memphis

Get ready because there are a lot of big names coming to Memphis this January and February. FedExForum (right on Beale Street) will host Celine Dion, Madea’s Farewell Play Tour and Tool. The opulent Orpheum Theatre will host the Broadway production of Disney’s Aladdin, Garry Goin’s bluesy Road to Memphis concert, the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater and The Beach Boys. Germantown Performing Arts Center will host Seinfeld’s Jason Alexander and the Indigo Girls; the Soundstage at Graceland has Tanya Tucker and Umphrey’s McGee; and the Crosstown Theatre welcomes Memphis soul legend Booker T. Jones. And that’s just a sampling. Check Memphis’ full line-up of events here

Celebrate Black History in Memphis

Start with King Day, Jan. 20, 2020. Commemorating the birth of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Memphis’ National Civil Rights Museum hosts this event, featuring free museum admission, mainstage performances, trivia and more. With King Day and Black History Month so close on the calendar, winter is an especially good time to experience African American history in Memphis. But with the stories this city has to tell, any time of year can be a powerful time to visit. Check out this guide for an overview.

Memphis Beer Events

There’s nothing cozier than warming up with a winter ale. Memphis has a solid selection of local craft breweries—and related events—that will take the chill right off. A few of our favorites:

  • Sample regional brews and local-favorite eats at the Pink Palace Museum’s Science of Beer event 
  • Take a Brewery Bike Tour from downtown to midtown Memphis
  • Spend Sunday Funday at High Cotton Brewing Co. for local brews, live music and artisanal vendors 
  • Enjoy live music and house-smoked meats around the firepits during Bluegrass Brunch at Loflin Yard 
  • Dance to big-band sounds (and indulge in Cajun eats) at a Big Brass Brunch Buffett at Railgarten 
  • Make s’mores around the firepits at River Garden during Firepit Fridays
  • See what the new winter menu holds at Gray Canary 
  • Get to Memphis Made Brewing and toast to curing your winter blues with a glass of “Cold Day In…”—a dark ale with just the right amount of hoppy, roasted flavors