Snow in December is a rarity in Nashville, but that doesn’t make the holiday season any less magical. Here are seven attractions sure to add a little cheer to your Music City Christmas.
The Dancing Lights of Christmas
While the concept is hardly unique to the Nashville area, nothing says Christmas quite like a drive-through light show. The largest of its kind in Middle Tennessee, The Dancing Lights of Christmas features hundreds of thousands of LED bulbs, all synchronized to the music, which plays through your car radio. And while it’s not free, the show is well worth the $25 admission fee per car, so load up on hot cocoa and head out to Jennystone Park.
Monell’s Victorian Christmas Dinner
A Nashville tradition for over 20 years, Monell’s Victorian Christmas is an eating experience not to be missed. Diners enjoy holiday favorites like Tennessee bread soup, stuffed jalapeños, and beef with Béarnaise sauce served family style, all while carolers wander through the restaurant singing the classics and taking requests. Book early—even though these meals are scheduled throughout December, they sell out every year.
Deck the Hall
During the holidays, The Country Music Hall of Fame goes all out with their annual Deck the Hall program. In addition to their regular exhibits, tours of the historic RCA Studio B (where you can still see the Christmas lights Elvis installed), cookie decorating, and concerts with acts like The Oak Ridge Boys, Lonestar and Tanya Tucker are all part of the festivities. On your way out, stop by Hatch Show Print for a little Christmas shopping, and pick up one of their signature letterpress designs.
The Gaylord Opryland Resort
This list wouldn’t be complete with the original Country Christmas at The Gaylord Opryland Resort. From mid-November on, this veritable winter wonderland opens to the public, with a massive light display, a Seuss-themed stage show, and a Nutcracker-themed playground made entirely of ice.
Cheekwood Holiday Lights
A newcomer to the Tennessee Christmas landscape, Cheekwood's Holiday Lights are quickly making a name for themselves. Open every evening from 5-10 p.m. (except on Christmas night), the display features hundreds of thousands of bulbs strung throughout the mansion and botanical garden, in addition to live reindeer, s'mores pits, and holiday carolers. Want to visit with the big guy? Rumor has it Santa checks in on the weekends.
Christmas at The Ryman
Tune in to country radio during December, and you’ll be hard-pressed to find a station that doesn’t have Amy Grant’s “Tender Tennessee Christmas" on heavy rotation. See the song performed live by Grant, and her husband Vince Gill during the couple’s series of holiday concerts at the historic Ryman Auditorium. “Christmas audiences are special," said Grant of the annual event. "They tend to involve the whole family, and their emotions are a wonderful mix of anticipation and reverence. It's a thrilling experience for both of us." Tickets are available now at ryman.com.
New Year’s Eve
Once you’ve had your fill of candy canes, gingerbread, and eggnog, head downtown to ring in the new year Music City-style. The Bash on Broadway offers an impressive lineup of acts this year—Kings of Leon, Chris Stapleton, Wild Cub, Kelsea Ballerini—along with fireworks over the river at midnight.