Top Holiday Activities 2023

Posted by Parks Marketing on Monday, November 27th, 2023 at 11:00am.

Embrace the enchantment of Middle Tennessee's holiday festivities, where the spirit of giving and togetherness flourishes. From festive light displays that paint the night sky to charming local markets brimming with handmade treasures, there's something for everyone to enjoy. Gather your loved ones and explore the joyous events that adorn our beautiful region, creating cherished memories that will last a lifetime.

Whether you're strolling through dazzling Dickensian downtown displays, attending the year’s most star-studded concert, or savoring the flavors of seasonal treats at community gatherings, you’re sure to find that our region’s holiday magic is alive and well. Join your neighbors in spreading cheer, attending local performances, and relishing in the shared merriment that makes Middle Tennessee a truly special place to celebrate the most wonderful time of the year.

Keep scrolling for the scoop on some of the top holiday activities in Middle Tennessee in 2023!

Christmas at Gaylord Opryland
2800 Opryland Drive | Nashville

The Christmas extravaganza at Gaylord Opryland is a beloved Nashville tradition, and for good reason. If you have the chance to experience the astounding 3 million Christmas light display (to which entry is free) we enthusiastically recommend it! 

Christmas activities and events at Gaylord Opryland could provide entertainment for the whole family for at least a week! Tickets must be purchased in advance to gain access to the following:

  • Ice skating
  • Frosty’s Pub
  • Celebration On Ice Live Skating Show
  • ICE carved wonderland, created from two million pounds of vibrantly colored ice
  • The Oak Ridge Boys "Christmas in Tennessee" Dinner Show
  • Carriage rides
  • Rudolph's Holly Jolly™ Breakfast
  • Ice Tubing
  • Parade of Trees, decorated by country music’s biggest stars
  • Bumper cars
  • Snowball Build & Blast
  • Delta Riverboat Christmas Cruise
  • Build-A-Bear Workshop
  • Photos with Santa
  • So much more!

Dickens of a Christmas
Main Street, Downtown | Franklin

The 38th annual Dickens festival will be hosted in Franklin’s Town Square on December 9th and 10th. More than 50,000 visitors are expected to attend this magical event, and festivities will include the following: 

  • A Victorian village
  • Entertainment on the main stage
  • Characters from the stories of Charles Dickens
  • Arts and crafts vendors
  • Food and beverage vendors
  • Holiday shopping
  • KidZone
  • A whiskey lounge 

3777 Nolensville Pike | Nashville

The Nashville Zoo has been transformed into the nation’s largest Chinese Festival of Lights! Chinese artists have created mythical creatures and beautiful scenes, so come explore the zoo after sunset daily from now until January 7th, and thereafter every Thursday through Sunday until February 4.

Tickets are required.

Do your children look forward to visiting Santa in the North Pole Village? He will be in residence until December 24th, so bring those wish lists. 

Cheekwood Holiday LIGHTS
1200 Forrest Park Drive | Nashville

November 18, 2023 - January 7, 2024
5:00 pm - 10:00 pm

Cheekwood Estate’s Holiday LIGHTS event elevates what is already one of our country’s most beautiful historic mansions, and you’re invited! Each evening from now until January 7th from 5:00 pm until 10:00 pm, you may meander along the mansion’s mile-long pathway through the botanical gardens. More than one million holiday lights will illuminate your way, including dozens of professionally-lit photo stations.

Visit Santa, bar stations, make s’mores, and take in the beauty of the 20-foot poinsettia.

Tickets go quickly and spaces are limited, so we recommend purchasing tickets for your preferred date as soon as possible.

Opry Country Christmas
600 Opry Mills Drive | Nashville
116 Rep. John Lewis Way North | Nashville

There is no more traditional Nashville holiday concert than the beloved Opry Country Christmas! This year’s festivities will be held in eight performances beginning in late November.

This year’s lineup includes Scotty McCreery, Mandy Barnett, The Gatlin Bros, Hailey Whitters, Jeannie Seely, and many more. Tickets are on sale now.

Thompson’s Station Holiday Market
4683 Columbia Pike | Thompson's Station

On December 2nd from 10:00 am to 3:00 pm, the sprawling, rustic Homestead Manor will present Thompson’s Station Holiday Market. Shop from local handcrafters, boutiques, artisans, and more. Keep warm with a fresh brew from the on-site coffee shop, enjoy lunch at the restaurant, and of course, take your time touring the full 48 acres of Homestead Manor.

Nashville's New Year's Eve Big Bash
600 James Robertson Pkwy | Nashville

Welcome the new year at Nashville’s massive Big Bash at Bicentennial Capitol Mall State Park! This FREE event’s headliners are Lynyrd Skynrd, Thomas Rhett, and Lainey Wilson, with supporting acts being announced as we approach 2024. 

9 3/4 Holiday Pop-Up at Union Station Nashville Yards
1001 Broadway | Nashville

Bring your wands, wizards and witches, and enter the magical world of the 9 ¾ Holiday Pop-Up! Gorgeous decor, including floating candles and house banners, have transformed the lobby of this historic train station. Themed cocktails and small plates can be enjoyed from 1:00 pm to 11:00 pm on Fridays and Saturdays, and from 1:00 pm to 10:00 pm Sundays through Thursdays.

If you’re feeling curious and persistent, try to find the hidden golden snitch! All students should be sure to snap a photo with the luggage cart.

Buddy’s Bar at Downtown Pancake Pantry
1796 21st Ave S | Nashville

The Pancake Factory in downtown Nashville is already so popular that lines extend down the sidewalk, so head out early to Buddy’s Bar, a loving homage to Will Ferrell’s classic Christmas movie Elf. From now until January 6th, Thursdays through Saturdays 6:00 pm - 11:00 pm, enjoy meals and cocktails even Ninny Muggins would recommend!

Chalet 27 at The Westin Nashville
807 Clark Place | Nashville

From now until February 20th, 2024, you’re invited to unwind in pure luxury at Chalet 27, the Westin’s intimate pop-up event. Capture the spirit of the après ski experience under faux fur blankets as you savor themed cocktails and fondue, Alpine salad, and their decadent black forest cake. Be sure to take a selfie on the ski lift!

Nashville Nightmare Before Christmas
1016 Madison Square | Madison

Unleash your spookiest Christmas spirit and head up to Madison’s Nightmare Before Christmas from December 15th through 17th. Indulge in snacks and themed cocktails, explore the gorgeous scenes, meet the characters, and encounter spine-tingling holiday horror.

Ralphie’s Christmas Getaway at Hidden Bar
200 4th Ave | Nashville

What could have been a forgotten Christmas flick is instead an American staple, so where better to celebrate the humorous side of Christmas than at Noelle Nashville’s pop-up, Ralphie’s Christmas? Cocktails like “Nada-finga,” “Fra-Gee-Lay… Must be Italian,” “Oval-tini,” and “Pink Nightmare” along with themed small plates will make this a truly nostalgic experience. 

For the premier Christmas Story evening, book Ralphie’s Christmas Getaway. Complimentary valet parking, $50 to spend at Ralphie’s Christmas, and a fast pass for entry will make you feel like the town sheriff. Don’t go waving that Red Ryder around, though—you’ll put your eye out! 

Visit Sunday through Thursday from 5:00 pm to 12:00 am, and Fridays and Saturdays from 4:00 pm to 1:00 am. Reservations are not available. Guests must be 21+.

The Takeaway

The holidays in Middle Tennessee are exciting, nostalgic, and packed with the Christmas spirit! We hope you enjoy your community, your friends, and your family each day in both this season and throughout the coming year. 

Happy Holidays!

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