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With the holiday season behind us, it’s time to embrace winter with some festive Southern events. Whether you’re looking to enjoy delicious Southern-style food, run a marathon, or catch close-up views of manatees, here are some of the South’s top events to check out this January. Enjoy, and Happy New Year!

20 Southern Events & Happenings: January 2022

Through January 9, 2022: Toyota U.S. Figure Skating Championships — Nashville, TN

The final qualifying competition prior to the 2022 Olympic Winter Games is about to begin, and you can have a front-row seat! The magic of figure skating comes to life at Nashville’s Bridgestone Arena from January 3-9 as Olympic hopefuls take the ice. Watch as U.S. champions are crowned in ladies, men’s, pairs, and ice dance at the championship and junior levels. Tickets begin at $25.

Through January 16, 2022: Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel: The Exhibition — Nashville, TN

If you haven’t had the chance to catch the internationally acclaimed touring exhibition Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel: The Exhibition, now is your chance! Taking place at Nashville’s Opry Mills Mall, the experience features a stunning and innovative display of one of Michelangelo’s most famous works — the ceiling from the Vatican’s Sistine Chapel. Each painting has been reproduced photographically and is displayed in its original size. The exhibit runs through Sunday, January 16, and general admission adult tickets begin at $17.50.

Through January 17, 2022: Glow Wild: An Animal Lantern Celebration — Birmingham, AL

Celebrate the new year with lions, tigers, and bears at the Birmingham Zoo. This unique animal lantern celebration features all of your favorite animals flying high above your head. From 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Wednesday through Sunday nights, bring the whole family for a night of magical fun. Member tickets for adults begin at $11.87, and non-member adult tickets start at $16.95.

RELATED: Worth the Drive: New Restaurants in the South

January 6 – 9, 2022: Elvis’ Birthday Celebration at Graceland — Memphis, TN

The week commemorating The King’s birthday is action-packed this year. Head to Graceland for celebrations ranging from a pops concert with the Memphis Symphony Orchestra to a celebratory gospel dinner. Event capacities are reduced, so it is highly encouraged to order tickets in advance. Tickets begin at $25. To see the complete schedule, visit

January 8, 2022: State Ballet of Ukraine Presents Cinderella — Savannah, GA

The State Ballet Theatre of Ukraine brings the classic fairytale Cinderella to life on the Johnny Mercer Theatre stage on Saturday, January 8. The two-act performance features about 55 of the best performers, a highly admired ensemble, and stunning costumes. The performance begins at 2 p.m., and tickets start at $35.

January 8, 2022: Frostbite 5K Run/Walk — Louisville, KY

The Frostbite 5K is the second race in Louisville’s Polar Bear Grand Prix series, and it’s the most popular. Runners take off at Cherokee Park’s rugby field at 9 a.m. and continue through the Scenic Loop. Registration is $30, and runners receive a quarter-zip long-sleeved shirt on a first-come, first-served basis. A virtual option is also available.

January 8, 2022: 43rd Annual Hill & Dale 8-Miler — Memphis, TN

Start your year off with this 8-mile trail run at Meeman-Shelby Forest State Park. All proceeds benefit the park, and the race begins at 11 a.m. on Saturday, January 8. Registration fees are $11 without a shirt and $22 with a shirt. The race looks a little different this year, so be sure to read the guidelines and changes to the race HERE.

January 12 – 17, 2022: Montgomery Martin Luther King Celebration — Montgomery, AL

Montgomery, AL, is known as the birthplace of the Civil Rights Movement, and the city celebrates the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. from January 12-17. The series begins on Wednesday, January 12, with the Kings Canvas Art Show at the Montgomery Cultural Arts Center. The celebration concludes on Monday, January 17, at 3 p.m. with a parade and birthday party in honor of MLK Day. To see a complete list of events, visit

January 13 – 23, 2022: Charleston Restaurant Week — Charleston SC

The highly anticipated Charleston Restaurant Week is back! This incredible culinary event provides restaurant-goers with the best of Charleston’s famous Lowcountry cuisine, featuring prix fixe lunch and dinner menus from restaurants like Butcher & Bee, High Cotton, Virginia’s on King, Rita’s Seaside Grille, and more.

January 14 – 16, 2022: 45th Annual Art Deco Weekend — Miami, FL

Attend Miami’s longest-running festival, Art Deco Weekend. With events showcasing the beautiful Art Deco buildings on Ocean Drive, this community cultural festival is part of the Miami Design Preservation League’s commitment to preserve and protect historic Miami. In addition to guided architectural tours, the event includes an artisan and antique marketplace, a classic car show, lectures, films, and more. The free festivities take place from January 14-16 at Lummus Park.

January 15 & 16, 2022: 35th Annual Florida Manatee Festival — Crystal River, FL

The Florida Manatee Festival returns for its 35th year in downtown Crystal River. The festival features live music, manatee boat tours, guided kayak tours, and a kids’ zone. Adult tickets are $5, while children ages 12 and under are free. The festival runs from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday and from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday.

January 16, 2022: Let Freedom Sing — Nashville, TN

The Nashville Symphony’s 28th annual Let Freedom Sing concert returns to the Schermerhorn Symphony Center on Sunday, January 16, at 7 p.m. The event is held in honor of MLK Day and includes performances from the Celebration Chorus, the Celebration Youth Chorus, and soprano NaGuanda Nobles. Poet and author Dr. Destiny O. Birdsong also reads her poem “Stand” during the performance. Tickets go on sale for “pay what you can” on Friday, January 10.

January 17, 2022: King Day: A Celebration of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s Birthday — Memphis, TN

This special event at the National Civil Rights Museum showcases Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s work as well as the history of how the national holiday came to be. It also continues the tradition of an MLK Day of Service by encouraging guests to bring nonperishable food items to support the Mid-South Food Bank and to give blood to support the Vitalant Blood Drive. The event is from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Admission is free, but you must make a reservation by Monday, January 3.

RELATED: 5 Southern Civil Rights Museums Within Driving Distance

January 20 – 23, 2022: 50th Annual Birmingham Boat Show — Birmingham, AL

The Birmingham Boat Show celebrates its 50th birthday this year! Now the oldest and largest show in the state of Alabama, the Birmingham Boat Show highlights the latest in boats, motors, fishing gear, guides, outfitters, and related outdoor gear. Tickets are $10 for adults, and hours vary depending on the day. The event takes place at the BJCC.

January 23, 2022: 3M Half Marathon — Austin, TX

The 3M Half Marathon is one of the fastest 13.1-mile racecourses in the U.S.! Join thousands of fellow runners on Sunday, January 23, as you pass some of Austin’s most prominent landmarks and cross the finish line at the Texas State Capitol. Registration for the in-person race is $139, and a virtual option is also available for $55. The race begins at 7:30 a.m.

January 28 – 30, 2022: 12th Annual Clarksdale Film & Music Festival — Clarksdale, MS

Visit Clarksdale, MS, for its 12th annual film and music festival. The nonprofit festival features blues and roots music, Mississippi-themed films, special guest appearances, and more. The fun begins at 6 p.m. on Friday, January 28, and continues through the weekend. Some events are free to attend, while others are ticketed.

January 29, 2022: 16th Annual Gumbo Cook-Off — Opelousas, LA

Every year, The Gumbo Foundation hosts its annual Gumbo Cook-Off event to help raise funds for a local family in need. The event takes place in downtown Opelousas and includes live music, a kids’ corner, auctions, raffles, a motorcycle run, and, of course, plenty of delicious gumbo. The fun begins at 8 a.m., and cook-off registration is $50.

January 29, 2022: Hilton Head Snow Day — Hilton Head Island, SC

Enjoy a magical winter wonderland at Hilton Head Island’s annual Snow Day. Held every January at Shelter Cove Community Park, the event features live entertainment, inflatable rides, and a snowfield. Children’s tickets (ages 2-17) are $10, and adult admission is free. The event is from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

January 30, 2022: Kentucky Wedding Show — Louisville, KY

Calling all brides-to-be! The Louisville Wedding Network hosts its Kentucky Wedding Show at 21c Museum Hotel Louisville on Sunday, January 30. The event features some of the best local wedding professionals in the game. Registration is free for engaged couples, and general admission is $10. The event begins at 2 p.m.

January 30, 2022: BourbonHam — Birmingham, AL

BourbonHam is Birmingham’s annual fundraising event that raises money and awareness for the National MS Society. Attendees can taste 50+ bourbons and whiskeys along with samplings of award-winning barbecue while listening to live music and watching football. Enjoy a wonderful day while supporting a worthy cause. The event is from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. at The Club, Inc., and general admission tickets are $100.

Happy New Year!


To see more great Southern events, visit our Happenings page!

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