NASHVILLE, Tenn. (Nov. 18, 2022) - The holidays are just about here, and across Tennessee, destinations, both big and small, are getting ready to celebrate. From millions of twinkling lights to festive live music, from Dollywood to Graceland, the 2022 season is shaping up to be one the merriest and brightest in recent memory. Discover what’s happening this year during the holidays in Tennessee.
- Pigeon Forge Winterfest (Nov. 10-Feb. 19): During this annual citywide celebration, Pigeon Forge is draped in more than six million holiday lights, creating a winter wonderland for locals and guests alike to enjoy.
- Hatfield & McCoy Christmas Disaster Dinner Feud (Nov. 1 – Dec. 31): Join Pa Hatfield and Ma McCoy as they try to set aside their legendary differences in the spirit of the season during this side-splitting dinner theater experience.
- Smoky Mountain Christmas (Nov. 5-Jan. 1): Voted America's Best Christmas Event for more than a decade, Smoky Mountain Christmas transforms Dolly Parton’s Dollywood into a shimmering holiday dreamscape. The new Dollywood Express Light Experience train ride is a unique way to see the lights as you snuggle up and marvel at the sights and sounds of the season.
- Dolly Parton’s Mountain Magic Christmas (8 p.m./7 p.m. central, Dec. 1): Before or after your Dollywood visit, catch the premiere of Dolly’s new holiday-themed TV special on NBC, featuring the Tennessee country music icon herself and an array of special guests.
- Rock City’s Enchanted Garden of Lights (Nov. 18-Jan. 1): Warm your heart during Rock City Gardens’ nighttime family tradition as you stroll through a magical Christmas lights experience, including the glowing Grand Corridor in Yule Town and twinkling icy lights in the Arctic Kingdom.
- Christmas in the City: Knoxville pulls out all the stops for the holiday season each year. Don’t miss the Elf on the Shelf: A Christmas Tradition (Nov. 25-Jan. 8), which lets kids follow the trail of peppermints on downtown sidewalks to discover all sorts of treats featuring the favorite red-and-white candy. Additional events in the city include the Regal Celebration of Lights (Nov. 25) which features the lighting of the 42-foot Christmas tree, and the WIVK Christmas Parade (Dec. 2), featuring dozens of festive floats and performers.
- Knoxville Arts & Culture Alliance Christmas Shows: Enjoy three spectacular holiday shows in Knoxville this year. Larry, Steve & Rudy: The Gatlin Brothers Country & Christmas (Dec. 3) features the legendary trio playing countrified versions of Christmas favorites. Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer: The Musical (Dec. 6) is a fun-for-all-ages extravaganza with all your favorite characters from Santa to Bumble the Abominable Snowman. And NUTCRACKER! Magic of Christmas Ballet (Dec. 17) celebrates Tchaikovsky’s classic ballet with incredible costumes, dancing and music.
- Candy Land Christmas (Nov. 26-Jan. 8): Named Top Christmas Tree Display in America by Fox News, this free, family-friendly event in downtown Johnson City offers more than 150 12-foot Christmas trees that span across two parks in the historic district. You can also cross off your holiday shopping list during Small Business Saturday on Nov. 26, featuring locally made goods and great deals.
- The Pinnacle Speedway In Lights at Bristol Motor Speedway (Nov. 18-Jan. 7): The largest holiday light show in the region, Speedway In Lights is a four-mile trek through three million lights. Attendees also have the chance to take a lap around “The World’s Fastest Half-Mile,” circling the famed concrete oval as part of their festive drive.
- Christmas in Olde Jonesborough (Nov. 27-Dec. 18): A month-long holiday series held every Saturday between Thanksgiving and Christmas, Christmas in Olde Jonesborough offers a different theme each week. Pay a visit to Santa Claus, get dressed up Dr. Seuss-style for a Whoville Christmas (Nov. 27), sing along with traditional carols, bring your four-legged friends for Doggone Christmas (Dec. 3) and much more. Claim your spot on the parade trail for the nighttime Jonesborough Christmas Parade (Dec. 10), which is filled with bands, church choirs, floats illuminated with Christmas lights and a live nativity scene.
- Jingle Beat: This one-of-a-kind walk-thru experience is back at the Nashville Fairgrounds. This year, Jingle Beat features three immersive dimensions, each with its own singular elements — interactive installations, an outdoor projection-mapped ice rink, curated food and cocktails, laser, light and video spectacles.
- Christmas at Gaylord Opryland: Ice tubing, skating, the Delta Riverboat Christmas Cruise, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer and carriage rides are all a part of holiday fun at Gaylord Opryland. Country fans will want a ticket to the “Christmas in Tennessee” Dinner Show with the Oak Ridge Boys, while ICE! features two million pounds of colorful ice carved by expert artisans.
- Cheekwood Estate & Gardens’ Holiday LIGHTS (Nov. 19-Jan. 8): A beloved Nashville holiday tradition, Cheekwood Estate & Gardens glistens with elegant and creative light displays along a one-mile walking path, complemented by s’mores and bar stations and a 20-foot-tall poinsettia tree in the historic mansion.
- Immersive Nutcracker: A Winter Miracle (Nov. 19-Dec. 31): From the producers of Immersive Van Gogh comes Immersive Nutcracker: A Winter Miracle at Lighthouse Artspace. The 30-minute, three-dimensional production brings the classic ballet to vivid life before your eyes.
- Christmas In The Park: With a 40-foot tree in the center of Dogwood Park as a focal point, the weeks leading up to Christmas in Cookeville are filled with holiday activities — 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.
- Tour the Upper Cumberland this Holiday Season: Gather your group for a custom, private tour, holiday lights, sip + shops, brunch + brews, coffee crawls, ugly sweater pub crawls, dine arounds, dive bars, wineries, breweries, distilleries, New Year’s Eve outings, and more. Rates starting at $55/hour.
- The Dancing Lights of Christmas (Nov. 11-Jan. 1): Discover Tennessee’s largest drive-thru light and music show. The Dancing Lights of Christmas event at the James E. Ward Agricultural Center features more than two million lights programmed to music and colorful displays along a 2.5-mile route.
- Christmas On The Cumberland (Nov. 22-Jan. 2): Experience the captivating displays of over one million lights along the scenic Cumberland RiverWalk. Community organizations lead seasonal crafts, dances, and weekend activities during this holiday favorite.
- Clarksville Speedway's Drive-Thru Christmas Lights (Nov. 25-Jan. 1): Start a new holiday tradition with your family while enjoying over one mile, and over three million lights, all from the comfort of your car.
- Leiper’s Fork Christmas Parade (Dec. 10): The beloved Leiper's Fork Christmas Parade is back for 2022. This is an afternoon filled with festivities, including local school bands, antique tractors, horses, surprise appearances by celebrities and creative floats.
- 36th annual Columbia Main Street Christmas Parade and Tree Lighting (Dec. 3): Since 1986, Columbia Main Street has been hosting the community’s annual Christmas Parade in Historic Downtown Columbia. Lavishly decorated floats, marching bands, school groups, boy scouts & girl scouts, church groups, classic cars and motorcycles spread seasonal cheer as they travel along West 7th Street to the Courthouse Square.
- Christmas At Graceland (Nov. 17-Jan. 8): Voted the #1 Best Historic Holiday Home Tour by USA Today's 10Best Readers four years in a row (2018- 2021), Christmas at Graceland celebrates Elvis’ love of the season by continuing his holiday decorating traditions throughout the grounds of his home, Graceland Mansion.
- Enchanted Forest at the Memphis Museum of Science & History (Nov. 19-Dec. 24): Explore a forest of sparkling, awe-inspiring trees decorated by Memphis designers and locals. Watch miniature trains twist and turn throughout a snow-covered village and visit the Penguin Pond to see hundreds of cuddly-stuffed penguins.
- Zoo Lights at the Memphis Zoo (Nov. 18-Jan. 1): The Memphis Zoo is decking the halls with gorgeous nighttime light displays, including some brand-new decorations, including beautiful Chinese lanterns. Take a snack break at one of the s'more stations or sip on delicious hot cocoa from Ancient Grounds.
- Holiday Wonders at the Memphis Botanical Gardens (Nov. 25-Dec.23): An unforgettable outdoor holiday event, Holiday Wonders in 2022 includes new features, old favorites, brighter lights and an updated layout. On select evenings, visitors will enjoy approximately eight acres of lights and cheer — a larger footprint than ever before — and the larger-than-life Alice’s Adventures at the Garden sculptures.
- Christmas on Main (Dec. 2-3, Dec. 9-10, Dec. 16-17): Enjoyed by thousands, Christmas on Main is a free community festival in downtown Savannah, highlighted by a an open-aired ice-skating rink under the lights of the pavilion at the Savannah Market, a towering 30-foot Christmas tree, live musical performances, trolley and track-less train and rides, local food vendors and much more. Santa and Mrs. Claus are known to make special appearances on the courthouse lawn, too!
- Let It Glow Holiday Light Show (Nov. 11-Dec. 30): See new lights and displays synchronized to Christmas songs at Discovery Park of America on 50 acres of the heritage park. The drive-thru features an all-new route for guests to experience filled with never-before-seen light displays and experiences. More than one million lights will light the way, giving visitors a unique look at the Titan Missile, the 199-foot-tall Discovery Center, the settlement of log cabins and more.
- Christmas In Collierville (Nov. 22-Dec. 23): Collierville goes all out to help create a magical Christmas season. Highlights include the Christmas Tree Lighting on Collierville Town Square (Nov. 22) and the Christmas Parade (Dec. 2), celebrating its 45th year in 2022. On Saturdays between Thanksgiving and Christmas families can visit Santa in the Gazebo (10am-2pm) and enjoy special music performances designed to get you in the holiday spirit. Don't forget to come back in the evening to experience a quarter of a million Christmas lights and horse drawn carriage rides on select nights.
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Mary Katelyn Price