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Discovery Park of America lit up for the holidays in Union City, TN
Photo Credit: Carly Kendall

Experience 12 Days of a Tennessee Christmas

Millions of lights illuminate the way in how to spend your Tennessee holidays.

Spend your 12 days of Christmas (or longer) with these special celebrations of the season in Tennessee. From live reindeer to millions of lights, the state is filled with holiday cheer.

*Dates reflect 2021 celebrations

East Tennessee

Speedway in Lights at Bristol Motor Speedway - Bristol 

Speedway in Lights is the largest holiday light show in the region Nov. 12, 2021 - Jan. 1, 2022 at Bristol Motor Speedway's Bristol Dragway Entrance on Highway 394 (not on Volunteer Parkway). Approximately four miles and 2 million lights captivate visitors. Other activities include the Christmas Village and The Ice Rink, the only ice skating rink with a 90-minute driving radius of Bristol Motor Speedway. 

Smoky Mountain Winterfest - Gatlinburg, Sevierville, Pigeon Forge

The Great Smoky Mountains are your background for the 30th annual Smoky Mountain Winterfest Nov. 11, 2021 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. New custom built, all-LED displays will surround you with holiday cheer. In Pigeon Forge, all the attractions get festive, like The Old Mill with its two award-winning restaurants, shops filled with gifts, and tours of the 186-year-old working mill. Gatlinburg offers guests the opportunity to take the Trolley Ride of Lights to see holiday magic displayed in town.

Lights Over Gatlinburg at Gatlinburg Skylift Park - Gatlinburg

Experience America's longest pedestrian suspension bridge in a whole new way mid-November through late January as Gatlinburg Skylift Park is decked out for the holidays. The "Lights Across Gatlinburg" gives you access to the SkyBridge during the day. Then, you can return at night to see the park twinkle with holiday cheer at no additional cost. Check their website for all the new offerings and displays in 2021.

Dollywood's Smoky Mountain Christmas - Pigeon Forge 

Dollywood, Tennessee's No. 1 attraction, lights up like a Christmas tree Nov. 6, 2021 to Jan. 2, 2022. With more than 5 million dazzling lights, Smoky Mountain Christmas - now the 13-time Golden Ticket Award winner for "Best Christmas Event" is a family favorite in the Great Smoky Mountains. Meander to Glacier Ridge to see the Christmas Light Show set to symphonic music, a unique walk-through of the Aurora Borealis, and lots of illuminated displays and colorful lights. Christmas stories unfold onstage, celebrating family, song and tradition. And, every Friday and Saturday, weather permitting, the "Merry & Bright" fireworks will fill the sky synchronized to new Christmas tunes.

Santa Haus at The Incredible Christmas Place - Pigeon Forge

The Incredible Christmas Place, a more than 2,000-square-foot complex filled with any and all holiday decor you could imagine, opens Santa's Haus  this holiday season. Christmas-themed activities for children and children at heart include story time with Santa, photo-ops, cookie decorating, ornament making and arts and crafts. Face masks are required to enter Santa's Haus, ages two and up. Keep an eye on their website 2021 plans.  

Christmas in the City - Knoxville

Knoxville is stuffed with holiday activities that'll delights kids and kids at heart.  The Drive-In at the Midway series at Chilhowee Park presents holiday films Knoxville's neighborhoods battle to showcase the best lights, garland and bows in the inaugural Knoxville Neighborhood Holiday Trails. A map of participating neighborhoods is available, so guests can take a driving tour. Spend a day (or three) following the Peppermint Trail to discover peppermint specials at downtown bakeries, coffee shops, bars, restaurants and boutiques, illuminated with new, peppermint-themed lighting displays. Downtown Knoxville will be decorated for the holidays, including Krutch Park's forest of twinkling trees and the 42-foot Christmas tree in the Krutch Park Extension on Gay Street.

Enchanted Garden of Lights at Rock City - Chattanooga

Holiday dreams come true with one million lights during the Enchanted Garden of Lights Nov. 19 - Jan. 2, 2022 at Rock City. Explore the gardens by night 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 enchanting displays.

Middle Tennessee

Christmas in the Park - Cookeville

Christmas is heralded in with the lighting of a 40-foot tree in the center of Dogwood Park in Cookeville. The holiday weeks are filled with Christmas-inspired activities ranging from downtown carriage rides, meet and greets with Santa, concerts, Christmas Movies in the Park and the Christmas Forest exhibit at the Cookeville History Museum. While in the area, check out Monterey, Tennessee's Christmas Home & Hearth Celebration; the more-than-50-year-old evening Christmas Parade through downtown Cookeville; and the drive-through light attraction Hidden Hollow Lights that is open Thanksgiving evening through New Year's Day. 

Dancing Lights of Christmas - Lebanon

This lengthy drive-thru will put you in the Christmas mood.
Photo Credit Wilson County CVB

Hundreds of thousands of Christmas lights are set to music in the Dancing Lights of Christmas event, held this year Nov. 12, 2021 to Jan. 2, 2022 at the James E. Ward Agricultural Center in Lebanon, Tennessee. It's Tennessee's largest drive-thru holiday light and music shows. More than 2 million lights along a 2.5-mile route are programmed to music and new, colorful displays. The attraction is open nightly at 5 p.m. rain or shine and on all holidays.  

A Country Christmas at Gaylord Opryland - Nashville

A Country Christmas at Gaylord Opryland Resort & Convention Center takes place Nov. 12, 2021 - Jan. 2, 2022 and includes 3 million lights strung throughout the property inside and out. More than 17 hours of holiday fun can be had at the resort. New this year is an exclusive Gaylord Hotel Original Experience: "Mission: Save Christmas featuring Elf." You 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. The Oak Ridge Boys "Christmas in Tennessee" Dinner Show presents classic holiday songs new songs and the timeless songs that contributed to their stardom. You can take part in Christmas-themed scavenger hunts, experience Rudolph's Holly Jolly Breakfast take photos with Santa, embark on a Christmas cruise, snow tubing, ice skating, ice bumper cars and so much more.

Holiday in Lights at Cheekwood Estate & Gardens - Nashville

Cheekwood Estate & Gardens is lit up with more than 1 million Christmas lights for Holiday Lights at Cheekwood Nov. 20, 2021 to Jan. 9, 2022. 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 that 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.

The Nutcracker - Nashville

Gather the family together to see the "Nashville's Nutcracker" presented by the Nashville Ballet Dec. 15-24, 2021. Take a sparkling journey through the Land of Sweets with nods to Nashville's history and new, surprise elements. Feel the magic of beloved characters like the Sugar Plum Fairy, Drosselmeyer, Madam Bonbon and, of course, Clara and her beloved Nutcracker. Glittering sets, beautiful costumes and more make this show a Nashville family tradition.

West Tennessee

Let It Glow Holiday Light Show - Union City

See more than 1 million lights synchronized to Christmas songs during Discovery Park of America's "Let It Glow" light show beginning Nov. 12 through Dec. 31, 2021. 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 like hot chocolate will be for sale. Shop local, handmade gifts, Christmas carol karaoke and more holiday surprises.

Graceland Holiday Lighting Weekend - Memphis 

Graceland will gear up a full schedule of music and Christmas tradition during the inaugural Holiday Lighting Weekend Nov. 18-20, 2021. You're invited to experience the lighting of Graceland in holiday cheer, concerts and unique tours of the Graceland mansion. Platinum and gold ticket packages are available that include VIP tickets, VIP reception, front-of-the-house tickets for shows and more.

Collierville

The Town of Collierville decks the town with bows, garland and lights for the Christmas season. Christmas in Collierville kicks off with the lighting of the 35-foot Christmas tree and nearly a quarter of a million lights in the Collierville Town Square 5:30 p.m. Nov. 23, 2021. Rain date is Nov. 30. Sip hot chocolate and enjoy the live entertainment. The Christmas parade will take place Dec. 3, 2021. (Rain date is Dec. 4.) You can visit Santa in the Gazebo, take horse-drawn carriage rides, snap photos along the Holiday Photo Stroll and more on Saturdays Nov. 27-Dec. 18, 2021.

Make this holiday season one to remember by filling your calendar with some or all of these Tennessee celebrations. For more holiday events, browse the event calendar.

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