Every season in Memphis is special, but for our regional markets, Memphis has emerged as a great destination to visit during the holiday season. From shopping to sporting events, family-friendly activities to our outdoor offerings and mild temperatures, the river city offers a great venue to experience the holidays.

While we don’t break down economic impact by season, we know that people love to shop and eat here. Not to mention our hotel occupancy across the city is also up. With the upcoming opening of Ikea and the strengths of our other malls and shopping districts, I fully expect another successful holiday season in Memphis. You can also find many boutique and unique shops all over town.

And let’s be honest, no one decorates their city better than us. The atmosphere we create around town is unparalleled and is sure to put all comers in the holiday spirit. No one welcomes visitors like we do.

For those traveling to or living in Memphis this holiday season, here’s a short list of must-do’s…

1. Experience the Peabody. Whether it’s the music, glowing lights or tall Christmas trees, the Peabody is a great place to start your holiday tour.

2. Lights, lights and more lights… Starry Nights at Shelby Farms — If you are traveling with children, this wonderland of lights on the grounds of our largest urban park is incredible. Don’t forget to stop by Santa’s workshop. Zoo Lights — another wonderful tradition. I love seeing the singing Christmas trees and decorated animal exhibits. You can also take a few laps on the ice rink. Graceland Lighting Ceremony – Elvis’ traditional Christmas lights will be officially turned on, and will remain on display through Elvis Birthday Celebration 2017. The lighting ceremony includes a visit from Santa and more.

3. Liberty Bowl – This game has great history and energy as it fits two regional teams against each other. Representatives with the Liberty Bowl estimate fans will spend $23-25 million in Memphis. This year’s game is Dec. 30.

4. New Years Eve on Beale Street — Watch the guitar drop on historic Beale Street. Music, great food and thousands of folks gather for this annual tradition.

5. Elvis Presley’s Birthday Celebration — January 5-8 is a great time to come experience the birthday of the king! And you can see the Christmas lights on the grounds of Graceland.

Clearly there are countless other things to do and see in Memphis during the holidays as there are countless things to do and see in Memphis all the time. I hope to see you in Memphis this holiday season!

Happy Holidays!

Kevin Kane

*photo of Memphis Zoo by Allen Gillespie