The holidays in Memphis are nothing short of magical. There are many activities, attractions and restaurants for people of all ages to enjoy. Here are just a few of them to check out on your holiday vacation to Tennessee:
You have not fully experienced all that is The King of Rock n’ Roll if you have not been to Christmas at Graceland. In the middle of November, Elvis Presley’s estate is turned into a winter wonderland. If you are able to visit during the middle of November, then you can attend the Graceland Lighting Ceremony by country music stars. If not, do not worry because the holiday experience lasts through the first week of January.
After you pick up your tickets and watch a short video highlighting the life of Elvis Presley, you are shuttled to his mansion. Christmas lights line the driveway and in the front lawn are a life-sized Nativity scene and Santa with his sleigh. During the self-guided audio tour, you are able to see how Elvis lived. The interior of the mansion is decked out in Christmas decorations including the traditional red velvet drapes and Presley Christmas relics. You truly see how Elvis celebrated the holidays as you walk through the iconic Jungle Room, Vernon’s office, Racquetball Building and Meditation Garden.
Starry Night at Shelby Farms Park
Take your family along for a magical nighttime experience at Shelby Farms Park. The park has over 2 miles of light displays you and your family can enjoy as you drive along the trail listening to Starry Radio, a station curated just for this attraction, playing all of the holiday classics. There are also displays along Hyde Lake you can view if you park and take the walking trail.
The fun at Shelby Farms is not limited to lights. Kids can visit with Santa in his workshop and drop off their Christmas wish list letter, experience pony and camel rides along with the petting zoo, and create their very own bear in the new Build-A-Bear Workshop.
Filled with artifacts, replicas, and exhibits, The Pink Palace Museum is rich in cultural and natural history. From the 3D Theater and planetarium to the nature and science center, fun can be had by all ages.
Seasonally, the museum has an exhibit called Enchanted Forest: Festival of Trees. In the Enchanted Forest, animated penguins, elves and other holiday characters are playing in the snow and making toys while a model train circles the snow-filled village. Local Christmas enthusiasts and professionals decorate dozens of trees for guests to admire in the Festival of Trees display. These make for great photo opportunities, too.
Memphis Zoo Lights
Bring out your inner child at the Memphis Zoo this holiday season. Learn about polar bears in the intimate Polar Bear Chat, be entertained by the Sea Lion Show, and experience the new Zambezi River Hippo Camp during the day. At night, enjoy Zoo Lights at the Memphis Zoo. The zoo temporarily closes to prepare for the nightly holiday activities. Upon re-entry you will be awed by a beautiful Christmas Tree and snowfall. As you make your way to the back of the zoo, you will see children enjoying rides and attractions including a Ferris wheel. For more family fun, everyone can bundle up and ice skate to create even more holiday memories.
Located in the historic Sears, Roebuck & Company building, Crosstown Concourse has something for everyone. For the art enthusiast, enjoy the Crosstown Gallery that showcases a variety of artistic mediums. There is also a shared art-making workspace for the professional and hobbyist wanting to bring their creative vision to life. Looking to stay fit during your holiday visit to Memphis? You can get in a workout at the YMCA. Shops lining the West Atrium include: Cheryl Pesce®: The Lifestyle Store, The Curb Market, and Gloss Nail Bar. After exploring all that Crosstown Concourse has to offer you will have worked up an appetite. There are many food options at the concourse that range from coffee shops and bakeries to casual American cuisine and breweries. Before you leave the concourse, be sure to get family photos at one of the many large, beautifully decorated Christmas trees.
Places to Eat in Memphis
You can’t visit Memphis without getting Memphis barbecue. Located downtown is Rendezvous, a historic barbecue restaurant known for their savory dry rub ribs. If ribs are not your preference, they also have brisket, pulled pork, chicken and red beans & rice on the menu. Upon arrival you are greeted with smiles from all of the staff and immediately feel like family. As you dine, you can feel how the restaurant’s rich history and traditions have stood the test of time. Rendezvous also has specialty dry rub available for purchase in stores.
Nestled in the Cooper Young District, a hip and artsy neighborhood, is Alchemy, a restaurant that offers New American dishes and hand crafted cocktails. Their dinner menu includes Duck Confit, Pan Seared Hanger Steak, and a melt-in-your-mouth Dark Chocolate and Peanut Butter Mousse Cake. If you are looking to enjoy a tasty brunch, then stop by on Sunday for Chicken and Waffles, Pan Seared Steak and Eggs, or Shrimp and Grits. After your meal, explore the district's boutique shops and take photos of the murals.
Maximo’s on Broad is a locally-owned restaurant that features tapas and hand crafted signature cocktails. During the holiday season, the dining area is decorated beautifully with a Christmas tree. The dimly lit restaurant is a great romantic escape for a date night and offers up many delicious food options including Lamb Satay, Filet Mignon, and Stuffed Chicken. For Sunday brunch, you can enjoy Omelet Florentine, Hawaiian French Toast and even Belgian Waffles while you sip their freshly made Sangrias.
Where to Stay in Memphis
As for accommodations, Hotel Napoleon, a boutique hotel located in the heart of downtown Memphis has beautiful suites with bay windows and offers breakfast and dinner featuring seasonal tapas and craft cocktails.
Whether you are visiting Memphis for the holidays with a large or small group, there are many seasonal offerings for everyone in your family and many magical memories will be created.