Tennessee Tourism Round Up Announces December Events
Monday, December 2, 2019 - by Jill Kilgore
Pictured, left to right: Glow Nashville, "Let it Glow" at Discovery Park of America and Rock City Enchanted Garden of Lights
Usher in the season and create new holiday traditions with light shows, holiday concerts, candlelight tours, s’mores stations, gingerbread workshops and special events like Discovery Park of America’s Let It Glow Christmas Light Show, GLOW Nashville at First Tennessee Park and Rock City’s Enchanted Garden of Lights. For a list of all events as Tennessee transforms into a winter wonderland this December, visit tnvacation.com/calendar.
Union City – Drive through 50 acres of thousands of twinkling lights at the Let It Glow Christmas Light Show synced to classic songs at Discovery Park of America.
The cost is $10 per car. Be sure to purchase a pair of 3D glasses to see dazzling displays.
Nashville – Marvel and celebrate the season at Gaylord Opryland’s “A Country Christmas” featuring more than 3 million lights, nine acres of stunning décor, a Build-A-Bear Workshop, gingerbread decorating corner and ICE! featuring “A Christmas Story” in 2 million pounds of colorful, hand-carved ice sculptures and slides.
Nashville – Witness one of the country’s tallest Christmas trees, millions of lights, and a life-size Santa’s Workshop at First Tennessee Park. GLOW Nashville will have ice skating, tubing experiences and plenty of holiday activities.
Nashville – Celebrate the season with the Holiday Lights at Cheekwood Estate & Gardens with 1 million lights, holiday concerts, cookie decorating, gingerbread workshops, s’mores stations, art and live reindeer.
Hendersonville – Known as the “Stylist to the Stars,” Manuel’s signature designs are known for their elaborate, rhinestone embellishments which have covered Salvador Dali, Johnny Cash, Elvis Presley, Marty Stuart, Dwight Yoakam and more. Check out the Go West Young Man: Western Frontier Couture of Manuel exhibit at Monthaven Arts & Cultural Center until Jan. 5.
Lebanon – Load up the car and see over 2 million lights dancing to the music on the radio during the Dancing Lights of Christmas at the Wilson County and the James E. Ward Agricultural Center.
Clarksville – The city’s 20th year of Christmas on the Cumberland is sure to create lasting memories this holiday season with over 1 million lights, seasonal crafts, dances and activities at McGregor Park/Cumberland River Walk.
Clarksville – The Drive-Thru Christmas Lights at the Clarksville Speedway features over one mile of more than 1 million lights from the comfort of your car from Thanksgiving until New Year’s Eve.
Knoxville - More than 100,000 lights and garlands throughout the Downtown Peppermint Trail create a winter wonderland; and restaurants, bakeries, coffee shops, bars and boutiques offer peppermint specials.
Knoxville - Scout elves will land in Knoxville to begin the scavenger hunt. Children of all ages are invited to pick up a North Pole Pass at any of the participating businesses to help guide them through the adventure of Elf on the Shelf. There will be treats and prizes along the way until adopted scout elves return to the North Pole.
Farragut – Be dazzled by hundreds of lighted displays during Light the Park at Founders Park at Campbell Station. Guests can enjoy lights, entertainment, caroling and children can mail letters to Santa.
Rock City – Rock City’s Enchanted Garden of Lights showcases more than 30 holiday scenes and over 1 million LED lights that transform the gardens into a fantasyland. Enjoy gingerbread cookie decorating, hot cocoa and nightly entertainment.
Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge and Sevierville – Smoky Mountain Winterfest offers a spectacular display of lights and events to celebrate the season along with shopping, award-winning shows and attractions — all while showcasing the winter beauty of Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
Pigeon Forge - Candy Christmas at Crave Golf Club transforms into a candy-themed winter wonderland with garland, wreaths, candy canes, Christmas trees and more lights than Willy Wonka would have ever approved.
Pigeon Forge - Families from around the world make Dollywood’s Smoky Mountain Christmas their tradition year after year. Experience millions of lights, award-winning shows and a winter wonderland featuring a 50-foot Christmas tree.
Sevierville – Outdoor Ice Skating returns to Wilderness at the Smokies. Admission is $10 for guests, $20 for the public. Indoor experiences include visits with Santa, story time with Mrs. Claus, cookie decorating, crafts, games and holiday shopping in specialty gift shops.
Sevierville – Shadrack’s Christmas Wonderland at Smokies Stadium is a 1.5-mile drive through LED light and music experiences with fun activities for the kids, crafts and photos with Santa.
Bristol - Witness the wonder of a four-mile trek through 2 million lights at The Pinnacle Speedway in Lights at Bristol Motor Speedway. Circle the concrete oval as part of the festive drive and visit the Christmas Village at the infield.
Clarksville – More than 20 trees decorate the rooms of the historic Smith Trahern Mansion during Trees of Christmas. The event kicks off with an opening reception 2-5 p.m. Dec. 1. Each tree is decorated by a local organization.
Hendersonville -Hop in the car to see a Christmas spectacular of light displays at the Festival of Lights at Drakes Creek Park.
Clarksville – Ebenezer and his ghostly encounters come to life in a lavish and thrilling musical adaptation of Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol” at the Roxy Regional Theatre.
Jonesborough – Tennessee’s oldest town features events and activities for the holiday season with Christmas in Olde Jonesborough, including music, storytelling, visits from Santa and a Christmas Market.
Knoxville – Climb aboard the "Christmas Lantern Express" on the Three Rivers Rambler and be a part of this beloved Knoxville tradition. Enjoy festive decorations, holiday treats, story time with celebrity readers and a special visit with Santa.
Chattanooga - At Holidays Under the Peaks at the Tennessee Aquarium, underwater appearances by SCUBA Claus, sipping hot cocoa and cuddling up in your coziest jammies while watching The Polar Express 3D are the most jingle-worthy of seasonal traditions.
Nashville – See the Nashville Zoo in a whole new light at the country’s largest Chinese lantern festival. Zoolumination features over 500 custom-made silk lanterns, elaborate displays with animals, holiday-themed scenes and even a 200-foot-long dragon.
Memphis – Bring your furry friends for fun in the flurries. Stroll through the lights and falling snow and take pictures of your pup during Santa Paws: Holiday Wonders at the Garden 5:30-8:30 p.m. at Memphis Botanic Garden.
Cookeville – All roads lead to Cookeville for the 11th annual TSSAA BlueCross Bowl at Tennessee Tech University’s Tucker Stadium featuring the best-of-the-best of Tennessee’s high school football athletes.
Jonesborough – Step back in time with Jonesborough Repertory Theatre’s annual 1940s USO Christmas Show. The radio cast will broadcast live radio skits, sing and dance to patriotic and familiar Christmas tunes and honor military families.
Bristol – Grammy Award-winning artist Mike Farris Sings the Soul of Christmas in a special holiday concert 6-8 p.m. at Paramount Bristol.
McKenzie – Ride the Polar Express McKenzie Station. The movie starts at 7:30 p.m. Friday, shows at 11:45 a.m. and 1:45 p.m. Saturday. There will be a train ride, hot chocolate, cookies, crafts, games, elves, Santa and fun activities. Find tickets here.
Dec. 6-7, 13-14
Piney Flats – Listen to stories of firing the anvil, poor man’s punch, watch traditional dances and listen to music during Rocky Mount State Historic Site’s “Candlelight Christmas” tours. Warm up with coffee, hot chocolate, apple fritters and goodies.
Dec. 6-7, 13-14, 20
Savannah – Join the spectacular Christmas on Main downtown with ice skating, carriage rides, arts & crafts, face painting, kiddie train rides, food vendors, music. Christmas movies and a visit from Santa and Mrs. Claus.
Dec. 6-8, 13-15, 20
Cookeville – Enjoy Christmas Carriage & Wagon Rides in Dogwood Park down the grand sidewalk around the Christmas Tree while the music and light show plays.
Franklin – Studio Tenn is performing Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Cinderella in the Jamison Theatre at the Factory in Franklin. The beloved musical boasts a diverse cast of highly acclaimed artists. Tickets are now on sale.
Portland – “Santa’s Toy Shop” is the theme for the Portland Christmas Festival & Parade. Activities 3-5 p.m. on Main Street include a Santa visit, cookie decorating, food vendors, live music, train ride and live nativity. The parade begins at 5:30 p.m.
Goodlettsville – Yulefest kicks off the holiday season with musicians, storytellers and demonstrators. Visitors can listen to sounds of yesteryear and enjoy period decorations 5-7 p.m. at Historic Mansker’s Station.
Murfreesboro – Usher in the holiday season with the Christmas Candlelight Tour of Homes, featuring distinctive homes, churches and the Oaklands Mansion while listening to the music of carolers from local schools and churches.
Townsend – ‘Tis the Season of Touring Townsend. Participants can tour local restaurants, shops and lodging, including Cades Cove Jeep Outpost, Apple Valley Mountain Store & Café, Smoky Mountain Outdoor Center and more. Tickets are $25. Proceeds benefit the Great Smoky Mountain Heritage Center.
Knoxville – Celebrate the holiday season with the Christmas Open House 5-8 p.m. Saturday and 2-5 p.m. Sunday at Mabry-Hazen Housewith tours, holiday décor, historically-inspired refreshments and caroling.
Dec. 7-8, 14
Pulaski – It’s a chocolatey celebration on the farm during Sundaes with Santa at Milky Way Farm with tours of the manor, sundaes, candy cane hayrides and holiday activities. Tickets are $12.
Dec. 7 + 14
Rugby – Christmas at Rugby brings an old-fashioned Victorian Christmas, with carolers and stories, a community Christmas tree, historic tours and a Christmas buffet at Harrow Road Café. For details on Dec. 7 look HERE and for Dec. 14 HERE.
Dec. 7, 14, 21
Bell Buckle – Enjoy the holiday season at the Old-Fashioned Christmas in Bell Buckle with a Quilt Walk, pet parade, s’mores bar, fire pit, hot chocolate, fun activities and rides in Santa’s old-fashioned sleigh.
Memphis – Graceland’s Holiday Concert Weekend is filled with special Elvis holiday concerts, unique tours of Graceland Mansion, a holiday brunch and other festive activities.
Counce – The 15th annual Christmas in the Park at Pickwick Landing State Park features breakfast with Santa, pony rides, train rides, carriage rides, light displays and fun for all ages.
Union City – All aboard for the Polar Express Weekend. Children dress up in their favorite pajamas to board at the depot at Discovery Park of America. All guests get a seat, hot chocolate, chocolate chip cookie and hear the story read by the conductor.
Historic Collinsville – Docents will take guests on guided tours of the pioneer settlement 4-8 p.m. See 16 structures from mid-19th century adorned with period holiday décor, music, hot chocolate, food vendors and crafts during Candlelight Christmas.
Granville – The 21st Granville Country Christmas will feature carols, story time, craft booths, craft demonstrations, train rides, activities, shopping options, visits and photos with Santa and a Christmas concert.
Elizabethton – Have a festive, old-fashioned time at Sycamore Shoals State Historic Park’s Overmountain Christmas Open House 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. featuring period carolers, Christmas stories, English country dancing, a visit from Santa and an art show.
Franklin - Dickens of a Christmas, returns for its 35th year of filling Main Street with over 200 musicians, dancers and characters from Charles Dickens’ famed stories along with southern artisans and makers from across the South.
Memphis – Get ready for carol-oke fun! Sing favorite holiday carols on a special karaoke stage during Rockin Around the Christmas Tree at Holiday Wonders at the Garden at Memphis Botanic Garden.
Gallatin – Join Santa Claus for an afternoon around the campfire during Santa and S’mores 2-4 p.m. at Bledsoe Creek State Park. Sip on hot cocoa and enjoy yummy s’mores. Dress warmly and bring a blanket. Tickets are $10 for adults, $5 for kids.
Memphis – Wear glowing gear and ring in the new year at Let it Glow during Holiday Wonders at the Garden. Professional hoop dancers will be on hand for special performances. Bring a hula hoop and join the fun at Memphis Botanic Garden.
Nashville – Spend the last night of the year with thousands of your closest friends, live music, fireworks and the midnight Music Note Drop during Jack Daniel’s Music City Midnight with performances by Keith Urban, Amanda Shires and more.
Chattanooga – Join the Chattanooga Zoo for the wildest New Year’s Eve party during Zoo Year’s Eve 10 a.m. 3 p.m. with games, activities and counting down the clock in different time zones around the world.
Gatlinburg – The city will ring in the New Year under the cover of the iconic Gatlinburg Space Needle for the 32nd annual New Year’s Eve Ball Drop and Fireworks Show with live entertainment and activities.