Music City at Christmas is a special kind of combination. The city adorns itself in its festive best, and the carols take on a special country music stomp and twang, reflecting the joy and warmth of the season.
A tapestry of twinkling Nashville lights, legendary performances, and an ambiance that could warm even the coldest winter night unfurls all over town. Every year, Nashville outdoes itself, presenting newcomers and familiar faces with an array of events that capture the heart and uplift the spirit.
Hunting for the best Nashville lights is something we try to do every Christmas, and there’s no shortage of options in the area. Below is a short list of some of the best places to see lights in the area this holiday season (plus a few bonus recommendations for yuletide fun).
This is our personal favorite. Once the family home of Mabel and Leslie Cheek, this estate now serves the city as a botanical garden. During the holidays, you can venture into a festive fairy tale at Cheekwood’s breathtaking Holiday LIGHTS display, which will remain glittering until Jan. 8. Spanning 55 acres of pristine botanical gardens, over a million lights create a mesmerizing blanket.
Wander the one-mile path that’s absolutely cascading with lights, and don’t miss the grandeur of the poinsettia tree inside the historic mansion. Bonus: there’s no need to fear winter’s chill. Cheekwood has amped up the holiday spirit with s’mores stations, a selection of warm seasonal drinks, a bustling holiday marketplace, and the enchanting Dancing Lights of TRAINS! Exhibit to make sure your cheeks stay nice and pink.
You know those Christmas-themed stores that somehow stay open year-round? They pale in comparison to this place. Gaylord Opryland isn’t just a resort; it’s a Christmas universe. Their yuletide festivity, A Country Christmas, on display until Jan. 1, is Christmas meets Disneyland.
Think four million lights, grandiose Christmas trees, intricate fountain performances, and architectural marvels decked in holiday finery. And for the icy cherry on top? Experience the world of ICE!, which showcases the charm of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer’s world intricately carved out of a staggering two million pounds of ice.
There’s also ice tubing, dinner shows, a skating rink, gingerbread decorating, and more! Do we even need to tell you that your kids will love it?
Nashville Zoo gets a yuletide glow-up this year from November 17 to January 7. This year, it takes the form of the country’s largest Chinese lantern festival! Head to the zoo and stay after sunset to see over 1,000 custom silk lanterns and eye-popping mythical creatures all over the grounds.
There will also be a North Pole Village full of lights and Christmas fun where the kids can see Santa. Beverages from hot cocoa to cider, beer, and margaritas will be available to purchase and concession stands will be serving festive treats.
Most of the zoo’s residents go to sleep at night, but a few animals stay up as late as 8:30, especially to see the cool light displays.
Belmont Mansion, already a beacon of Southern history and charm, dons its holiday best each year, with decorations that capture the grandeur and splendor of Christmases long ago. This historic gem in the heart of the city transforms into a wonderland of yuletide elegance, offering a glimpse into the past adorned with the joy of the present (in the form of festive selfies).
This season, Belmont Mansion hosts a uniquely heartwarming event, “A Holiday to Remember.” The highlight of this celebration is the return of David Alford, a renowned Nashville actor, to the local stage after nearly a decade. Alford brings to life Truman Capote’s, “A Christmas Memory” and “The Thanksgiving Visitor,” through a captivating one-man recitation.
Another winter escape from the big city. Nearby Franklin hosts this annual display to benefit FrankTown Open Hearts—a non-profit ministry that works to benefit at-risk youth. This was our first year going, and boy, was it a spectacle!
Head to Williamson County Agricultural EXPO Park to take a drive-through or walking tour (only on Wednesdays) of their charming lights displays for a good cause. Watch the lights dance to the carols playing on your radio, then head to the firepit to roast some smores for the full holiday experience.
We ended up going around twice to appreciate the beautiful displays and jam out to some Christmas melodies!
Prepare to be enchanted. Step into a holiday fantasy like no other at First Horizon Park. Take a whimsical journey through the world’s largest holiday light event experience, spanning 10 acres. With over 4 million twinkling lights, Enchant creates a maze of the season’s best beauty, featuring story-themed displays and majestic holiday trees soaring over 100 feet high.
Enchant transforms First Horizon Park into an extraordinary winter wonderland. Glide along an enchanting ice-skating trail under a canopy of lights, immerse yourself in the magic of live entertainment, and engage in interactive games for the whole family. Here’s to hoping they return in 2023!
The Wilson County Fairgrounds beckons with Central Tennessee’s premier drive-thru light showcase. But the main attraction? They take the dancing pretty literally here—there’s an animated 35-foot Christmas tree and hundreds of thousands of lights dancing to classic Christmas tunes. You might want to get out and do a little Santa shuffle yourself.
After the tour, stop in for a visit with Saint Nick, go for a spin on the carnival rides, and fill up on fair fare to warm your soul and your toes.
Season’s Greetings from Nashville
As carols join the melodies echoing through the streets and Nashville lights shimmer at every turn, our wish is that you experience the best of the city’s festive offerings. For an added sprinkle of holiday magic, consider these other notable wintertime activities in Music City:
- The Opry Country Christmas Show is exactly what it sounds like: country music and Christmas vibes like only the Grand Ole Opry can deliver. The venue turns into a winter wonderland and brings together big names for nine nights of music and festive celebration. Buy tickets in advance.
- Take a Christmas tour of the Two Rivers Mansion and adjacent 1802 House (Nashville’s oldest brick house). Get in the spirit of learning all about the iconic property’s history while enjoying elegant holiday decorations.
So, here’s to a season filled with warmth, joy, and unforgettable Nashville moments. Book your stay with us, and immerse yourself in the city’s festive best—right from the comfort of our luxurious vacation rentals.