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We've made your vacation planning easy by curating things to do in Nashville and surrounding areas in the winter. Family-friendly activities like Christmas light decorations in cities and towns, holiday treats like donuts and hot chocolate and winter activities like waterfall hikes, hockey games and museum visits are all included. Choose your favorites below.
Delicious Cocktail or Indulgent Treat?
Sadie’s, a Mediterranean restaurant near Music Row serves lunch, dinner and weekend brunch along with an extensive list of cocktails, mocktails, beers, ciders and seltzers. Try sweet and refreshing The Daisy with honeysuckle vodka, grenadine, fresh lime juice and a splash of soda or the Nashville Old Fashioned featuring bourbon whiskey, demerara, angostura and Regan’s bitters. Happy Hour is Monday-Thursday, 4-6 p.m.
Follow the scent of donuts to Five Daughters Bakery in The Factory in Franklin for seasonal flavors that rotate each month. Enjoy delicious 100-layor donuts handcrafted fresh each day. Order a variety half or full dozen to try a bit of everything from s’mores to huckleberry glaze, cinnamon sugar toast and salted caramel apple.
Christmas Lights or Neon Lights?
Open nightly through Jan. 2, 2024, Christmas on the Cumberland dazzles kids of all ages with over 1 million lights at McGregor Park and Cumberland Riverwalk. Grab a hot chocolate and stroll the streets, pausing to take festive photos.
Follow the neon lights to Printer’s Alley in downtown Nashville for a fun time dancing to music and eating amazing food. Hear live jazz bands at Skull’s Rainbow Room. Enjoy delicious food at Black Rabbit, a cocktail bar and restaurant or at Gray and Dudley, a re-imaged restaurant and lounge inside the former Gray & Dudley Hardware Company featuring southern dishes and a great weekend brunch. Kick up your feet at Bourbon Street Blues Bar and DJ performances with a Las Vegas-style night club vibe at Dirty Little Secret.
Country Christmas Show or Timeless Holiday Classic?
Take part in a Nashville holiday tradition by attending the annual Amy Grant & Vince Gill Christmas at the Ryman. The powerhouse husband-and-wife duo fill their 12 concerts with Christmas favorites like “Tennessee Christmas,” “Let It Snow” and “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas.” The concerts will take place Dec. 13-23 at Ryman Auditorium and tickets are on sale now.
In the stunning, historic Temple Theatre in Portland, Tennessee, enjoy holiday favorites and bluegrass classics from Rhonda Vincent & the Rage 3 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Dec. 3. Rhonda is a Grammy and International Bluegrass Music Association award winner as well as a member of the Grand Ole Opry.
Another Nashville tradition is seeing the Nashville Ballet perform “Nashville’s Nutcracker” Dec. 8-24. The unique rendition of the classic feature characters from the city’s history, stunning costumes, live music from the Nashville Symphony and original choreography by Artistic Director Emeritus, Paul Vasterling.
Winter Hike or Cow Meeting?
Stillhouse Hollow Falls is a 90-acre state natural area full of streams, small and large waterfalls and seeps. There are two trails that lead to the falls. The Stillhouse Hollow Falls Trail is rated easy and is 2/3 of a mile (about 36 minutes) and is very popular for birding and hiking. The Stillhouse Hollow Falls Trail to Elk Ridge Trail Loop is considered a moderate hiking trail 1.7 miles in length. The trail includes a hike to the falls, then returning to the trailhead via the Elk Ridge Trail that loops over a forested ridge.
Want to meet a highland cow? Head to Mill Creek Farm in Cookeville. This beautiful farm has tour opportunities where you can brush, feed and take your own photos with some of the friendly cows. There are two farm tours available – a 30-minute session for up to four people and a 60-minute behind-the-scenes tour for up to four people with a pasture visit. Get a photo with an adorable cow and learn more about these incredible animals. Bonus! Calves are usually born in the winter, so you have a higher chance of meeting the babies in January – February.
Drive-thru or Walk-thru Lights?
Fill up on Christmas cheer with a festive drive through Hidden Hollow’s Christmas Light Spectacular now through Dec. 31, 2023. Once you’ve completed the drive-thru display, visit the gift shop and snack bar. The Christmas funnel cake with fruit topping is a must-try.
Embrace the joy of the season by participating in Nashville’s holiday tradition, Holiday LIGHTS at Cheekwood Estate & Gardens featuring over 1 million twinkling lights throughout the garden. Stop by the firepits for a delicious s’more and festive cocktail. Browse the Holiday Marketplace for unique gifts from makers around the region. It’s a great way to make holiday memories with loved ones.
Ice Sculptures or Ice Hockey?
New for Christmas at Gaylord Opryland, ICE! featuring The Polar Express arrives as magnificent, 2 million-pound ice sculptures. Blue parkas are provided as you walk through the immersive 9-degree whimsical scenes inspired by the Christmas movie. After your visit, warm up with hot chocolate, gift shopping and marvel at the millions of lights throughout Gaylord Opryland.
Cheer on the Nashville Predators as they battle for hockey wins at Bridgestone Arena. The famous fanbase will have the place roaring with chants, songs and cheers. The last home game is April 2024, so you have many chances to see them play in person. It’s a great way to spend a winter night in Nashville.
Chic Hotel or Cozy Glamping?
Cozy up at The Harpeth Hotel, conveniently close to Franklin’s historic Main Street. The boutique hotel offers 119 guest rooms and suites along with amazing food and cocktails at 1799 Kitchen & Cocktails, the hotel’s restaurant and bar. When you’re ready to unwind, climb into a king or queen size bed and enjoy the timeless comforts like robes, slippers and oversized bathrooms. The suites include spacious rooms with a separate living and entertainment suite with a king or two queen beds, a luxe bathroom with oversized showers, soaking tubs and incredible view of downtown Franklin.
The sleek Hotel Fraye is a perfect stay when you’re in downtown Nashville. The city’s history and electric energy blend to create ultra-luxe accommodations with amazing rooftop views , elegant rooms and suites and amazing food at the hyper-local Gathre restaurant and the poolside cocktail bar, Eddie Ate Dynamite. Enjoy rooms with a waterfall glass-enclosed shower, Netflix streaming SMART TV, floor-to-ceiling windows and free wi-fi. The King Suite can include a Peloton bicycle so you can stay fit while traveling (must call sales team for availability).
Your Glamping Adventure has two properties and their newest, Morning Mist at Five Meadows Farm, is a spacious glamping dome overlooking incredible mountain and lake views. Outdoor features include a hot tub, wood burning fire pit, gas fire pit, cornhole, Bocce ball and an outdoor dining area. The kitchen is equipped with a Keurig, toaster oven, basic cookware including pots and pans, microwave, induction stove and more. There’s indoor fireplace and queen and king size beds. Hike, fish, explore downtown Smithville and relax in this quiet getaway.
Music Museum or Art Museum?
Immerse yourself in the legacy and celebration of the accomplishments of the many music genres created, influences and inspired by African Americans when you visit the National Museum of African American Music. Dance through the American Soundtrack through interactive technology and engaging exhibits. The unique story flows through the Rivers of Rhythm Pathway that touches on the beginnings of American music, through blues, hip-hop and R&B.
There’s always something new on view at the Frist Art Museum. Step inside the beautiful space during the winter months to enjoy art from nationally and internationally acclaimed artists. Once you’re inspired, visit the interactive Martin ArtQuest Gallery to create your own art piece. It’s a great time for kids and adults.