NASHVILLE, TENN. (Dec. 1, 2021) – From reindeer to millions of lights and beautifully decorated small towns, Tennessee is beginning to look a lot like Christmas. Dollywood transformed into a winter wonderland; Graceland is blasting some of Elvis’ greatest holiday hits and Gaylord Opryland has over 17 hours of holiday fun waiting to be had. So, have yourself a very merry Tennessee getaway with these special holiday celebrations and wintertime happenings.
“What a Bright Time, It’s the Right Time” With These Tennessee Holiday Lights
Cheekwood Estate and Gardens is lit up with more than one million Christmas lights for Holiday LIGHTS. 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 then 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.
See more than one million lights synchronized to Christmas songs during Discovery Park of America’s “Let it Glow” light show beginning Nov. 12 through Dec. 31. 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 will be for sale along with local, handmade gifts, Christmas carol karaoke and many more holiday surprises.
Experience America’s longest pedestrian suspension bridge in a whole new way during the holiday season with more than 60,000 lights coordinated to classic Christmas music. Photo opportunities at the 30-foot tree and lights 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 sprawling mountain views on the Tulip Tower and see the park twinkle with holiday cheer at night.
Holiday dreams come true with one million lights during the Enchanted Garden of Lights at Rock City. Explore the gardens by nights 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 stunning displays.
Smoky Mountain Winterfest (Nov. 11 - Feb. 15) – Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge and Sevierville
The Great Smoky Mountains are your background for the 30th annual Smoky Mountain Winterfest Nov. 11 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. In addition, new custom-built all-LED displays will surround you with holiday cheer.
Drive Thru Christmas Light Show at Clarksville Speedway (Nov. 23 – Jan. 1) – Clarksville
Bask in the holiday lights at Clarksville Speedway’s Drive Thru Christmas Light Show now through Jan. 1. With over 3 million lights strung in and around the speedway, friends and family can enjoy the one-mile trek of seasonal delight.
“It’s Beginning to Look A Lot Like Christmas” All Across the Volunteer State
A Country Christmas at Gaylord Opryland Resort & Convention Center takes place Nov. 12 – Jan. 2 and includes three million lights strung throughout the property inside and out. More than 17 hours of holiday fun can be had at the resort including The Oak Ridge Boys “Christmas in Tennessee” Dinner show, scavenger hunts, Rudolph’s Holly Jolly Breakfast, photos with Santa, Christmas cruises, snow tubing, ice skating and ice bumper cars. New this year is the exclusive Gaylord Hotel Original Experience: “Mission Save Christmas featuring Elf.” Guests 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.
Dollywood’s Smoky Mountain Christmas (Nov. 6 – Jan. 2) – Pigeon Forge
Dollywood lights up like a Christmas tree Nov. 6 to Jan. 2 with more than five million dazzling lights. Smoky Mountain Christmas, a holiday family favorite, delights parents and children with a Christmas Light Show set to symphonic music, illuminated displays and colorful lights at Glacier Ridge, hear Christmas stories and tunes unfold on stage, and every Friday and Saturday enjoy the “Merry & Bright” firework show fly through the sky to Christmas tunes.
You have not fully experienced all that is The King of Rock n’ Roll if you have not been to Christmas at Graceland. Starting mid-November, Elvis Presley’s estate is turned into a winter wonderland. Christmas lights line the driveway and in the front lawn is a life-sized Nativity scene and Santa with his sleigh. The interior of the mansion is decked out in Christmas decoration and see how Elvis celebrated the holidays.
Anakeesta’s Enchanted Winter (Nov. 11-mid-Feb) – Gatlinburg
Immerse yourself in the Great Smoky Mountains’ holiday season at Anakeesta’s Enchanted Winter event. See winter decorations including a 40-foot-tall Christmas tree, ride the Chondola up to Anakeesta Mountain to soak in holiday décor, firepits, seasonal shopping, the Arctic Alley of Lights and a new lightening experience in the Vista Gardens. Kids will enjoy sweet treats from the new Hot Chocolate Trail and visits with Santa and Mrs. Claus.
Walk among beautifully decorated Christmas trees during the Enchanted Forest Festival of Trees at the Museum of Science & History in Memphis. Guests can kick off the holiday season with their families by marveling at the trees, check out the model trains and Gingerbread Village and take photos with Santa in his snow glove. Catch a favorite holiday movie showing at the Giant Screen Theater and see the “Season of Light and Laser Holiday” shows at the AutoZone Dome Planetarium.
“Christmas Time is Here” In Tennessee’s Small Towns
Christmas in Collierville (Nov. 28 – Dec. 18) – Collierville
The Town of Collierville decks the town with bows, garland and lights for the Christmas season. The Christmas parade will take place Dec. 3 and visitors can visit Santa in the Gazebo, take a horse-drawn carriage ride, snap photos along the Holiday Photo Stroll and more on Saturday Nov. 27-Dec. 18.
Experience Christmas time in 1776 at historic Ramsey House’s annual Candlelight Christmas Tour where guests can stroll through the beautifully decorated house decked with fresh greenery and candles, dine on holiday treats, sip on warm cider and get warm by the bonfire.
Come and shop and stroll along downtown Savannah’s Main Street as it glistens in white lights all December long. On Dec. 3, head to the downtown gazebo to catch the Christmas tree lighting, listen to carolers, and sip on hot cocoa. From Dec. 3 until Dec. 18, Main Street will be full of holiday activities including pictures with Santa, Christmas on Main’s IceSkating rink, Christmas performances, free Christmas movies and traditional carriage rides.
Herald in the holiday season at Columbia’s 35th annual Columbia Main Street Christmas Parade and Tree Lighting on Dec. 4. 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.
Candy Land Christmas (Nov.27 - Jan.2) – Johnson City
Stroll through more than one million twinkling lights and 157 community decorated Christmas trees at Johnson City’s Candy Land Christmas themed downtown parks. Soak up all the holiday spirit with the Candyland themed parks including Founders Park as the Gumdrop Forest, Commerce Street decked out as Candy Cane Lane and Cupcake (King) Commons.
Dickens Christmas (Nov. 30 – Dec. 31) – Covington
Time travel to a Victorian era Christmas during Dickens Christmas in Covington. The historic court square will be transformed into Charles Dicken’s world filled with Victorian characters, horse drawn carriages, carolers and more. Make you way downtown to enjoy refreshments, local boutique shopping and more. Additional holiday events taking place in Covington include the Festival of Trees at the Tipton County Museum and performance of “A Wicked Christmas Carol” at the Historic Ruffin Theatre.
“Settle Down for a Long Winters Nap” with these Holiday Hotel Packages
Celebrate Christmas at the Read House – Chattanooga
Treat yourself and the family to a stay The Read House Hotel in Chattanooga with their special holiday packages. Bring the kids along and have a magical stay with their Elf Tuck in Package where hotel guest can enjoy a holiday themed craft workshop and a bedtime story with one of Santa’s elves. If looking to liven up the Holidays, check out the Hotsy Totsy Holiday Package where guests receive 15% off, a $20 dinning credit and extra holiday treat.
Now until Jan. 10, the Margaritaville Hotel in downtown Nashville will offer its “& To All A Good Night” Holiday package for its hotel guests which includes two sets of Margaritaville-themed PJs and a midnight snack.
Cozy up in downtown Memphis’ historic hotel with its Home for the Holidays Package. Through Dec. 24, enjoy unlimited coffee and hot chocolate in Peabody Deli & Desserts, a Peabody Holiday Ornament, the hotel’s lobby decked out in Christmas decorations and much more.
Spend the holiday season on Lookout Mountain’s Riverview Inn where if guests can save 20% by booking two or more consecutive nights Nov. 18 through December 31. Experience the Inn’s sweeping views, holiday décor and Chattanooga’s sweet holiday southern charm.
To unwrap more Tennessee holiday fun and winter travel inspiration, click here to explore all the holiday magic, outdoor adventures, indoor fun and cozy places to curl up all across the state.
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Mary Katelyn Price