COVID-19 Travel Info: Learn More

Discovery Park of America lit up for the holidays in Union City, TN
Photo Credit: Carly Kendall

Experience 12 Days of a Tennessee Christmas

Millions of lights illuminate the way in how to spend your Tennessee holidays.

Spend your 12 days of Christmas (or longer) with these special celebrations of the season in Tennessee. From live reindeer to millions of lights, the state is filled with holiday cheer.

*Dates reflect 2021/22 celebrations

East Tennessee

Speedway in Lights at Bristol Motor Speedway - Bristol 

Speedway in Lights is the largest holiday light show in the region Nov. 12, 2021 - Jan. 1, 2022 at Bristol Motor Speedway's Bristol Dragway Entrance on Highway 394 (not on Volunteer Parkway). Approximately four miles and 2 million lights captivate visitors. Other activities include the Christmas Village and The Ice Rink, the only ice skating rink with a 90-minute driving radius of Bristol Motor Speedway. 

Smoky Mountain Winterfest - Gatlinburg, Sevierville, Pigeon Forge

The Great Smoky Mountains are your background for the 30th annual Smoky Mountain Winterfest Nov. 11, 2021 through Feb. 15, 2022 that includes Sevierville, Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg. More than 15 million lights and displays line the Parkway for a magical experience. In Sevierville, Shadrack's Christmas Wonderland illuminates your drive with lights dancing in perfect rhythm to Christmas music played over your radio. New custom built, all-LED displays will surround you with holiday cheer. In Pigeon Forge, all the attractions get festive, like The Old Mill with its two award-winning restaurants, shops filled with gifts, and tours of the 186-year-old working mill. In Gatlinburg, you can do a self-guided Trolley Ride of Lights to see all the holiday decorations around town from the comfort of your car. Check out the stops from the app. Each Dec. 3, Gatlinburg hosts the Fantasy of Lights Christmas Parade, hailed as one of the Top 20 Events in the Southeast. Grab a spot along the route as floats, dancers, marching bands and balloons make their way through downtown Gatlinburg.

Lights Over Gatlinburg at Gatlinburg Skylift Park - Gatlinburg

Experience America's longest pedestrian suspension bridge in a whole new way mid-November through late January as Gatlinburg Skylift Park is decked out for the holidays with more than 60,000 lights coordinated to classic Christmas music. Photo opportunities at the 30-foot tree and lighted trees along the new SkyTrail make for a fun night. The "Lights Across Gatlinburg" gives you access to the SkyBridge during the day where you can experience the new Tulip Tower which offers mountain views on each level while telling an inspiring story of renewal and rebuilding after the 2016 wildfires. Then, you can return at night to see the park twinkle with holiday cheer at no additional cost.

Anakeesta's Enchanted Winter - Gatlinburg

Your visit to the Great Smoky Mountains is made even more magical at Anakeesta's Enchanted Winter event. Immerse yourself in the season starting Nov. 11 to mid-February 2022. See winter decorations including a 40-foot tall Christmas tree at the Anakeesta plaza on the Parkway. Ride a Chondola up to Anakeesta Mountain where you'll be met with enchanting holiday decor, firepits, seasonal shopping, the Arctic Alley of lights and a new lighting experience in the Vista Gardens. Enjoy a sweet treat from the new Hot Chocolate Trail. Kid will love to join Santa and Mrs. Claus for a special breakfast Dec. 4 and Dec. 11 which includes a pre-breakfast Santa parade. Visit with Santa and Mrs. Claus Nov. 26-27, Dec. 3-4 and Dec. 10-11 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Dollywood's Smoky Mountain Christmas - Pigeon Forge 

Dollywood, Tennessee's No. 1 attraction, lights up like a Christmas tree Nov. 6, 2021 to Jan. 2, 2022. With more than 5 million dazzling lights, Smoky Mountain Christmas - now the 13-time Golden Ticket Award winner for "Best Christmas Event" is a family favorite in the Great Smoky Mountains. Meander to Glacier Ridge to see the Christmas Light Show set to symphonic music, a unique walk-through of the Aurora Borealis, and lots of illuminated displays and colorful lights. Christmas stories unfold onstage, celebrating family, song and tradition. And, every Friday and Saturday, weather permitting, the "Merry & Bright" fireworks will fill the sky synchronized to new Christmas tunes.

Santa Haus at The Incredible Christmas Place - Pigeon Forge

The Incredible Christmas Place, a more than 2,000-square-foot complex filled with any and all holiday decor you could imagine, opens Santa's Haus  this holiday season. Christmas-themed activities for children and children at heart include story time with Santa, photo-ops, cookie decorating, ornament making and arts and crafts. Face masks are required to enter Santa's Haus, ages two and up. Keep an eye on their website 2021 plans.  

Christmas in the City - Knoxville

Knoxville is stuffed with holiday activities that'll delights kids and kids at heart. Santa's Scout Elves land in Knoxville to begin the The Elf on the Shelf: A Christmas Tradition Nov. 26, 2021 through Jan. 2, 2022. Pick up a North Pole Pass at Mast General Store or Visit Knoxville to help guide your scavenger hunt. See the downloadable version here. Spend a day (or three) following the Peppermint Trail to discover peppermint specials at downtown bakeries, coffee shops, bars, restaurants and boutiques, illuminated with peppermint-themed lighting displays. New this year is the chance for you to take the Peppermint Trail Challenge, a mobile passport that leads you through the trail with chances to win prizes. You'll find unique, locally made gifts at the Market Square Holiday Market on Dec. 4, Dec. 11 and Dec. 18 and Old City Holiday Market Nov. 27 and Dec. 12. Meet the makers, enjoy holiday treats and the festive atmosphere. Ice skating is back in downtown Knoxville. The open-air rink is under the twinkling lights of Market Square, open day and night every day of the week from Nov. 26, 2021 to Jan. 2, 2022

Enchanted Garden of Lights at Rock City - Chattanooga

Holiday dreams come true with one million lights during the Enchanted Garden of Lights Nov. 19 - Jan. 2, 2022 at Rock City. Explore the gardens by night as your pathway is illuminated with holiday light displays and ambient live music. Stroll through the lighted Grand Corridor in Yule Town, see the icy lights of the Arctic Kingdom and watch the Magic Forest come to life with enchanting displays.

Museum of Appalachia - Clinton

Experience the winter celebration at Museum of Appalachia that showcases the holiday traditions of an Appalachian Christmas. Candlelight Christmas includes old-fashioned decorations in authentic log cabins, an evening tour of the Museum's pioneer village, family-friendly activities, local artisans and craftspeople, traditional musicians, wagon rides, popcorn stringing, storytelling and much more. See demonstrations from spinners, weavers, blacksmiths and more. At the Children's Craft Station, kids of all ages can make ornaments and decorate cookies.

Middle Tennessee

Christmas in the Park - Cookeville

Christmas is heralded in with the lighting of a 40-foot tree in the center of Dogwood Park in Cookeville. The holiday weeks are filled with Christmas-inspired activities ranging from downtown carriage rides, meet and greets with Santa, concerts, Christmas Movies in the Park and the Christmas Forest exhibit at the Cookeville History Museum. While in the area, check out Monterey, Tennessee's Christmas Home & Hearth Celebration; the more-than-50-year-old evening Christmas Parade through downtown Cookeville; and the drive-through light attraction Hidden Hollow Lights that is open Thanksgiving evening through New Year's Day. 

Dancing Lights of Christmas - Lebanon

This lengthy drive-thru will put you in the Christmas mood.
Photo Credit Wilson County CVB

Hundreds of thousands of Christmas lights are set to music in the Dancing Lights of Christmas event, held this year Nov. 12, 2021 to Jan. 2, 2022 at the James E. Ward Agricultural Center in Lebanon, Tennessee. It's Tennessee's largest drive-thru holiday light and music shows. More than 2 million lights along a 2.5-mile route are programmed to music and new, colorful displays. The attraction is open nightly at 5 p.m. rain or shine and on all holidays.  

A Country Christmas at Gaylord Opryland - Nashville

A Country Christmas at Gaylord Opryland Resort & Convention Center takes place Nov. 12, 2021 - Jan. 2, 2022 and includes 3 million lights strung throughout the property inside and out. More than 17 hours of holiday fun can be had at the resort. New this year is an exclusive Gaylord Hotel Original Experience: "Mission: Save Christmas featuring Elf." You can join Buddy the Elf and answer the call from Santa to collect enough Christmas cheer to power the Kringle 3000 and help Santa's sleigh fly. This multisensory experience includes 12 interactive elements and beloved scenes from the film. The Oak Ridge Boys "Christmas in Tennessee" Dinner Show presents classic holiday songs new songs and the timeless songs that contributed to their stardom. You can take part in Christmas-themed scavenger hunts, experience Rudolph's Holly Jolly Breakfast take photos with Santa, embark on a Christmas cruise, snow tubing, ice skating, ice bumper cars and so much more.

Holiday in Lights at Cheekwood Estate & Gardens - Nashville

Cheekwood Estate & Gardens is lit up with more than 1 million Christmas lights for Holiday Lights at Cheekwood Nov. 20, 2021 to Jan. 9, 2022. New this year is the Orchid Tree. Be in awe and take a photo with this year's 20-foot tree designed with an array of orchids. Kids will love the Children's Wonderland that transforms the new Bracken Foundation Children's Garden with holiday delights. The Pinnacles of Light display features cones programmed to holiday music. Tour the gardens and meet Santa's reindeer as well as the Dancing Lights of Trains!, the giant poinsettia tree in the Great Hall of the Frist Learning Center and much more.

The Nutcracker - Nashville

Gather the family together to see the "Nashville's Nutcracker" presented by the Nashville Ballet Dec. 15-24, 2021. Take a sparkling journey through the Land of Sweets with nods to Nashville's history and new, surprise elements. Feel the magic of beloved characters like the Sugar Plum Fairy, Drosselmeyer, Madam Bonbon and, of course, Clara and her beloved Nutcracker. Glittering sets, beautiful costumes and more make this show a Nashville family tradition.

Maury Christmas - Columbia

Columbia goes all out for Christmas with a full calendar of community events. Get an early start on your holiday shopping at A Very Maury Christmas Nov. 20, 2021. You'll find more than 40 vendors with Tennessee made goods and crafts for sale at the market. Herald in the holiday season at the 35th annual Columbia Main Street Christmas Parade and Tree Lighting Dec. 4, 2021. Marvel at the 40-foot Christmas tree and enjoy entertainment by national radio star Blair Garner. Listen to music by American Idol Season 19 finalist Cassandra Coleman at Christmas at The Factory Gala with heavy hors d'oeuvres, open bar and a Christmas Market full of Tennessee made gift items. See Rory Feek in concert during the Rory Feek Home Christmas Concerts at Hardison Mill Homestead Hall on Saturdays in December. Experience the new venue The Mulehouse during the Rejoice Music Series featuring performances by Rhett Walker, Travis Cottrell, Matt Maher and Christy Nickels. Finally, take a stroll through the beautiful historic architecture of Columbia at the Maury Christmas Historic Home Tour Dec. 3-4, 2021. Tour some privately owned homes and historic landmarks at your own pace, taking in the beautiful holiday decor and history.

West Tennessee

Let It Glow Holiday Light Show - Union City

See more than 1 million lights synchronized to Christmas songs during Discovery Park of America's "Let It Glow" light show beginning Nov. 12 through Dec. 31, 2021. The drive-thru light show occurs on the 50 acres of the heritage park. This year, you can walk through part of the light show on the grounds. Food and beverages like hot chocolate will be for sale. Shop local, handmade gifts, Christmas carol karaoke and more holiday surprises.

Graceland Holiday Lighting Weekend - Memphis 

Graceland will gear up a full schedule of music and Christmas tradition during the inaugural Holiday Lighting Weekend Nov. 18-20, 2021. You're invited to experience the lighting of Graceland in holiday cheer, concerts and unique tours of the Graceland mansion. Platinum and gold ticket packages are available that include VIP tickets, VIP reception, front-of-the-house tickets for shows and more.

Museum of Science & History - Memphis

Walk among beautifully decorated Christmas trees during the Enchanted Forest Festival of Trees at the Museum Science & History Nov. 20, 2021 through Dec. 31, 2021. Kick off the holiday season with your family by marveling at the trees, check out the model trains and Gingerbread Village and take photos with Santa in his snow globe. Catch a showing of favorite holiday movies "The Year Without a Santa Claus" and "The Light Before Christmas" at the Giant Screen Theater and see the "Season of Light and Laser Holidays" shows at the AutoZone Dome Planetarium. Before heading home, shop for unique gifts at the museum's gift shop.

Collierville

The Town of Collierville decks the town with bows, garland and lights for the Christmas season. Christmas in Collierville kicks off with the lighting of the 35-foot Christmas tree and nearly a quarter of a million lights in the Collierville Town Square 5:30 p.m. Nov. 23, 2021. Rain date is Nov. 30. Sip hot chocolate and enjoy the live entertainment. The Christmas parade will take place Dec. 3, 2021. (Rain date is Dec. 4.) You can visit Santa in the Gazebo, take horse-drawn carriage rides, snap photos along the Holiday Photo Stroll and more on Saturdays Nov. 27-Dec. 18, 2021.

Dickens Christmas - Covington

Time travel to a Victorian era Christmas during Dickens Christmas in Covington, Tennessee. The historic court square will be transformed into Charles Dickens' world filled with Victorian characters, horse drawn carriages, carolers and more. Make your way downtown to enjoy refreshments, local boutique shopping and more. Victorian era costumes are encouraged. Additional holiday events taking place in Covington include the Festival of Trees at the Tipton County Museum Nov. 30-Dec. 31, 2021 and performances of "A Wicked Christmas Carol" Dec. 10-18, 2021 at the Historic Ruffin Theater.

Make this holiday season one to remember by filling your calendar with some or all of these Tennessee celebrations. For more holiday events, browse the event calendar.

Places in this article

History Comes Alive in Middle Tennessee

With a history that spans 220 years and a location pivotal to so many Civil War battles, Tennessee has plenty to offer.

Read More