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The Best Things to Do in Nashville at Christmas

By
on
September 24, 2022

Here’s our ultimate guide to the best things to do in Nashville at Christmas time!

Looking for a city that’s full of festive holiday fun without the frosty temps?

Nashville, Tennessee is the perfect location to invigorate your holiday spirit!

This lively city is filled with holiday fun for the whole family including spectacular Christmas light displays, nostalgic shows and ballets, and one-of-a-kind musical experiences!

Look no further for the 11 best things to do in Nashville at Christmas so that you and your family can plan a magical, memory-filled holiday.

Our featured activities are all family-friendly and range in price so that you can enjoy this holiday season without breaking the bank. 

The links on this page are Amazon affiliate links. If you click on links and purchase them, I receive a small commission at no extra cost to you.

Discover the best things to do in Nashville at Christmas from top US family travel blog, Travel With A Plan!
Nashville, TN – Music City!

Christmas in Nashville

The holiday season is a fantastic time of year to visit Nashville, Tennessee!

For practical travelers, temperatures drop low enough to experience full holiday cheer without experiencing truly frigid weather

{December-February daytime temps average in the low 50 degrees F. In Nashville, it only occasionally snows in December, more often in January, and in February.

Snow accumulation is typically less than 1 inch and melts within a day, however, the city comes to a halt as there is no snow removal equipment in Nashville.}

Check out our Nashville packing list, which includes what to wear in Nashville in winter here!

Beyond its mild temperatures, Nashville offers community-focused events that speak to the meaning of Christmas.

These activities will have you feeling like a local as the community invites you and your family to celebrate alongside them.

With that said, you’re always invited to attend the Nashville Christmas Tree Lighting (complete with local food trucks!) that takes place annually in the public square at 3rd Ave. North and Union St.

And psst…check out these related posts before your trip!

Christmas in Nashville on the General Jackson Showboat
General Jackson Showboat

1. General Jackson Showboat Holiday Cruise

Where: 2812 Opryland Dr, Nashville, TN

When: November 7th–December 29th, 2022

Price: Kids 4-11 start at $65. Adults start at $98 (Admission covers the cruise, dinner & show)

As one of the best things to do in Nashville at Christmas, experience true holiday merriment aboard a Music City Christmas Evening Cruise.

This Christmas-themed dinner show is held on the General Jackson Showboat as it travels down the Nashville River.

It features Nashville’s finest entertainment with dance numbers and musical arrangements that embody the Christmas spirit.

It’s an incredible night of dining, as well as singing and dancing to Christmas classics (think Bing Crosby and Nat King Cole) and modern holiday hits (from artists like Mariah Carey and Michael Buble‘).

Additional planning tip: General boarding for the Music City Christmas Evening Cruise begins at 6:45 PM with departure at 7:00 PM. The cruise ends at 9:45 PM.

Dinner is a banquet-style plated dinner and includes a salad, main course, and dessert.

Discover the best things to do in Nashville at Christmas from top US family travel blog, Travel With A Plan!
Christmas at Gaylord Opryland

2. A Country Christmas at the Gaylord Opryland Resort

The Gaylord Opryland Resort & Convention Center, one of Nashville’s premier resort hotels, puts on several amazing holiday events (making Christmas at Opryland an actual destination in itself!).

Here are the two events that I recommend doing during Christmas at Gaylord Opryland.

ICE! Featuring Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer

When: November 11, 2022 –January 1st, 2023

Where: Gaylord Opryland Resort – 2800 Opryland Dr, Nashville, TN

Price: Starting at $22.99 for children 4–11 & $29.99 for adults 

Gaylord Opryland puts on a Christmas experience like no other with ICE!

This immersive exhibit features two million pounds of ice, carved by artisans to create a true winter wonderland. 

This icy spectacle is one of the best things to do in Nashville at Christmas because there’s no other experience like it.

Plus, even if you have been to it before, you’ll want to go again, as the theme changes yearly for an entirely new feel.

This year’s exhibition tells the classic Christmas story of Rudolph on his journey to save Christmas and includes larger-than-life sculptures of Rudolph and his friends that will delight children and adults alike!

Because the sculptures are carved from ice, the exhibit is kept pretty chilly at 9 degrees Fahrenheit.

But fear not!

There’s no need to bring your winter coats as parkas are provided to all guests!

For additional Nashville Christmas fun, take advantage of the hotel’s ice slides, made entirely of…you guessed it, ice!

Winterfest Ice skating

Where: Gaylord Opryland Resort – 2800 Opryland Dr, Nashville, TN

Price: $20.99 per person

If your family is looking for the perfect ice skating experience, look no further!

Enjoy a festive glide at WinterFest, the Gaylord Opryland Resort’s 9,000-square-foot outdoor skating rink. 

Lessons and skate rentals are available so the entire family can join in on the fun!

Other activities to celebrate Christmas at Gaylord Opryland include:

  • The Oak Ridge Boys ‘Christmas in Tennessee’ Dinner Show
  • Snowball Build & Blast interactive game
  • Rudolph’s Holly-Jolly Breakfast
  • Ice Tubing
  • Bumper Cars
  • Gingerbread decorating corner
  • Christmas Fountain Shows
  • Photos with Santa
  • Carriage Rides
  • Delta Riverboat Christmas Cruise
  • And an outdoor nativity
Nashville Christmas activities
Cheekwood Holiday Lights

3. Cheekwood Holiday Lights

Where: 1200 Forrest Park Drive, Nashville, TN

Price: Tickets start at $13 for youth (3–17) & $20 for adults 

Visit the Cheekwood Estate & Gardens’ Holiday LIGHTS for a new Christmas season tradition your family will love.

Enjoy a one-mile walking trail of festive Christmas lights throughout the Cheekwood botanical gardens.

Both kids and adults alike will be dazzled by the beautiful displays.

For more lights, check out the Dancing Lights of Trains, a model-train display decorated with stunning lights and accompanied by music. 

Beyond Christmas lights, the Cheekwood estate features its historic mansion and museum decorated for the holiday season, as well as a 20’ poinsettia tree, s’mores station, and holiday marketplace.

The estate also features drink stations for hot chocolate and hot toddies. 

Discover the best things to do in Nashville at Christmas from top US family travel blog, Travel With A Plan!
The Nutcracker Ballet

4. Nashville Nutcracker Ballet

When: December 9th–24th, 2022

Where: Ryman Auditorium – 116 5th Ave N, Nashville, TN

Price: $35 – $95

If you’re looking for things to do in Nashville in December, consider an unforgettable holiday showing of Nashville’s Nutcracker

There are few things as magical as a live performance and the artistry of the Nashville Ballet combined with live music from the Nashville symphony. 

The ballet is performed in the Ryman Auditorium, which is celebrating 130 years of music and performance this year.

Located in downtown Nashville, the venue itself is worth visiting as it is known as the “Mother Church of Country Music.”

This historic venue makes for a truly special holiday experience and is, by far, one of the best things to do in Nashville at Christmas. 

Nashville North Pole Express
Ride the Christmas train!

5. Ride on the North Pole Express

When: November 19th–December 17th, 2022 

Where: Tennessee Central Railway Museum –  220 Willow St, Nashville, TN

Price: $28 for children under 12 & $52 for adults 

Fans of The Polar Express will love the experience of riding the North Pole Express Santa Excursion Train with Santa Claus and his elves!

This experience includes seasonally decorated train cars, snacks, and hot chocolate on the 2-hour round-trip journey.

Throughout the train, carolers in Victorian garb sing Christmas classics and help bring festive cheer to your experience. 

Additional planning tip: There are morning (9:00 AM) and afternoon (2:30 PM) departures for this event, both of which offer refreshments and souvenirs for sale on board.

Make sure to book tickets far in advance as they sell out quickly!

6. Stephens Valley Festival of Trees

When: December 2nd–New Year’s Eve 

Where: Meriwether Park, Stephens Valley – 441 Union Bridge Rd, Nashville, TN

Price: Free event!

Enjoy festive lights and Christmas trees at Stephen Valley’s Festival of Trees.

This Nashville holiday lights experience is 100% free, so it’s a budget-friendly way to celebrate the season!

Plus, Christmas trees are decorated by local businesses making the event community-focused. 

For those who are able, it’s asked that you bring a donation to the Bellevue Community Food Bank. (After all, the event’s focus on charity and community is what makes it one of the best things to do in Nashville at Christmas!)

Other holiday Stephens Valley events include:

  • Pictures with Santa – December 3rd 
  • Holiday Market – December 3rd 
  • Christmas tree lighting – December 3rd 
  • Christmas movies in the park – December 17th 

7. Mike Farris Sings! at the Country Music Hall of Fame

When: December 10th, 2022

Where: CMA Theater – 224 Rep. John Lewis Way S, Nashville, TN

Price: $55 – $85

Nashville locals will tell you that the Country Music Hall of Fame is a must-stop for any visitor.

So why not turn your visit into a core holiday memory with a concert like no other? 

This year, Mike Farris is performing his annual Christmas concert, Mike Farris Sings!, at the CMA Theater.

The event includes a thirteen-piece band and a night filled with festivities, making it one of the most sought-after things to do in Nashville in December!

Additional planning tip: Combine this holiday celebration with a daytime trip to the on-site museum to get the most out of your experience. 

*Plan and price your visit to the Country Music Hall of Fame here!

Discover the best things to do in Nashville at Christmas from top US family travel blog, Travel With A Plan!
Holiday lights display

8. The Dancing Lights of Christmas

When: 7 days a week, early November–January 1st

Where: Wilson County Fairgrounds/Ward Ag Center – 1033 Sparta Pike, Lebanon, TN 

Price: $30 per family vehicle 

Enjoy stunning light displays and music at the Dancing Lights of Christmas, Tennessee’s largest drive-thru light and music experience.

This is a great choice for a Christmas day celebration as it is open on all major holidays!

Plus, it is very attuned to the intimate, family Christmas experience which is sure to make special lifelong memories for your children. 

Make the most out of your light show experience by stopping at the onsite Santa’s village.

Santa’s Village features:

  • Carnival rides
  • Mechanical reindeer rides
  • Bungee trampoline
  • Train rides
  • Pony rides
  • Inflatables
  • Pictures with Santa Claus

Additional planning tip: Weekends are very busy so expect long wait times to drive through the light show.

Prep kids for a long car ride and come prepared with snacks and car activities.

If possible, try visiting on a weekday for shorter waits. 

9. Opry Country Christmas Show 

When: November 27th–December 22nd, 2022

Where: The Grand Ole Opry – 2804 Opryland Dr, Nashville, TN 

Price: Tickets start at $55

Another one of the best things to do in Nashville at Christmas is to attend the Opry Country Christmas Show!

This event combines classic Christmas music with celebrated country music artists, bringing your family the total Tennessee holiday experience!

There are only eight show nights, each promising special guests and surprises, so be sure to purchase your tickets early as they will likely sell out. 

10. A Century of Christmas at Belle Meade

Where: 110 Leake Ave, Nashville, TN

Price: Starting at $15 for children ages 6-17 and $28 for adults

As one of the most popular of the Nashville wineries to visit during your stay, consider visiting the Belle Meade Plantation & Mansion during Christmas time.

Holiday visits allow guests to learn about Victorian holiday traditions, as well as find out more about how the families who lived in the house at Belle Meade celebrated Christmas.

As a keepsake, guests get to make an ornament to take home to remember their visit!

11. Dickens of a Christmas 

When: December 10th–11th, 2022

Where: Historic Downtown Franklin – 106 3rd Ave N, Franklin, TN

Price: Free event!

Located just 30 minutes outside of Nashville, Franklin hosts middle Tennessee’s largest outdoor Christmas festival – Dickens of a Christmas!

Inspired by the classic Christmas movie, A Christmas Carol, the downtown Franklin area transports you to another time.

The streets are filled with musicians, dancers, and Dickens’ iconic characters.

You’ll even find Victorian Father and Mother Christmas roaming with treats for the children.

This annual festival is one of my favorite things to do during the holiday season because it’s fun and festive for the entire family!

Main street features the Victorian Village – an entire block of holiday festivities.

Plus, kids will keep busy at the KidsZone which is filled with games, fun activities & arts and crafts. 

The Christmas village also has:

  • Festive food trucks and drink options
  • Christmas carols 
  • Arts & crafts vendors
  • Live entertainment 
  • Horse-drawn carriage rides

This festival provides a whole weekend of nostalgia and entertainment, making it one of the best Christmas events in Tennessee. 

Where to Stay in Nashville

As you can see, Nashville’s Christmas activities are located in various spots throughout the city, versus in one central location.

When looking for places to stay in Nashville during Christmas time, I recommend staying in Downtown Nashville (near the honky tonks & Honky Tonk Highway), or at the Gaylord Opryland Resort & Convention Center (near the Opryland Christmas activities and the Grand Ole Opry).

Our favorite places to stay in Downtown Nashville include:

Nashville Christmas Activities Conclusion

Nashville has cemented itself as the perfect Christmas destination as it has all the classic holiday nostalgia with just a hint of Nashville twist.

I hope you and your family take advantage of the unique seasonal events that Nashville has to offer and have yourselves a very merry holiday!

Looking for more winter travel content? Take a peek at these winter holiday destinations and itineraries. 

*Don’t forget to check out Travel Resources Page to find exclusive travel discounts and to book hotels, rental cars, and guided tours.*

Planning a trip to Nashville in winter?  Check out our awesome list of things to do in Nashville at Christmas time!  These Christmas events in Nashville are sure to provide holiday fun for everyone in the family!  #ChristmasinNashville #NashvilleChristmasactivities #NashvilleTN

Planning a trip to Nashville in winter?  Check out our awesome list of things to do in Nashville at Christmas time!  These Christmas events in Nashville are sure to provide holiday fun for everyone in the family!  #ChristmasinNashville #NashvilleChristmasactivities #NashvilleTN
Planning a trip to Nashville in winter?  Check out our awesome list of things to do in Nashville at Christmas time!  These Christmas events in Nashville are sure to provide holiday fun for everyone in the family!  #ChristmasinNashville #NashvilleChristmasactivities #NashvilleTN
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Hi, I'm Jen - founder of the award-winning travel blog, Travel With A Plan! I help families plan fun & fulfilling family vacations by sharing our exact itineraries and "best things to do" lists to popular US vacation spots. Take the stress out of planning a family vacation by using our detailed destination guides and ultra-convenient packing lists to help you travel better. We'll show you how hassle-free family travel is possible - when you travel with a plan!

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