Deck the halls, trim the trees and bust out those Christmas lights—the holiday season is here again! But if you want to get out of your house to explore what's going on in Nashville and the surrounding area, where do you go, and what do you do? We've got you covered with all the best holiday happenings Middle Tennessee has to offer.
Any day of the week, the Adventure Science Center is a cool place to visit, but especially the second Saturday of every month when its Sudekum Planetarium optical star projector lights up the "sky" with 6.5 million stars. The Laser Holidays extravaganza Dec. 17 will take the normal show up a notch with The Longest Night: A Winter's Tale and sync the laser animation to holiday tunes. The on-site theatre is also showing a wintry film, Polaris, on select dates throughout the month of December. Tickets for all shows are $4 for members, $8 for non-members.
Festive Hotel Decor
If you want to get into the holiday spirit, head to one of Nashville's prominent hotels like the opulent Hermitage, which is all decked out in garland, lights and one massive Christmas tree illuminating the lobby. The hotel will also boast holiday window displays if you don't feel like going inside.
But if you're feeling like braving the crowds at Gaylord Opryland Resort, then you'll be rewarded with an even bigger spectacle: A Country Christmas, which runs through Jan. 1 and features upward of 2 million lights. While it's free to roam the grounds, you can also pay to explore the ice sculptures ($21 per child, $29 for adults) which feature Rudolph this year, or take a turn on the five-lane tubing hill covered in 1.5 million pounds of snow ($18 per person). For theatre-goers, that classic tale Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas! The Musical is currently playing next door at the iconic Grand Ole Opry (tickets start at $25).
Holiday Lights Displays
Nashville has a number of neighborhoods worth driving through to see how gussied up they get for the holiday season, particularly around all the country stars' homes in Brentwood and Franklin. But there are also a few, like the RV resort Jellystone Park, that take it further with its The Dancing Lights of Christmas, a drive-through winter wonderland that costs $25 per car and includes hay rides, photos with Santa and snacks, too.
(Credit: Chad's Winter Wonderland)
A more homemade but still worthy lights contender, Chad's Winter Wonderland out in Lebanon allows you to cruise through his property (for $15 a car), which features more than 2 million lights, 350 pieces of holiday décor and a drive-through Santa house.
(Credit: Caitlin Harris)
(Credit: Caitlin Harris)
For the most polished of them all, though, Nashville's charming botanical garden Cheekwood is bringing back its crowd-pleaser, the second annual Holiday LIGHTS, which weaves its way throughout the seven acres with carolers, concerts, cookie decorating and even live reindeer thrown in the mix. The exhibit continues past Christmas through Jan. 1, and there are several special activities such as Sunday Storytime with Santa and Gingerbread Workshops. Tickets are $20 for adults, $15 for youth, and free for children 2 and under.
Hometown Christmas Parades
(Credit: Nashville Christmas Parade)
Most cities and towns across the state will celebrate the kick-off to the season with their official Christmas parades coming up on Dec. 3. For the biggest and best of them all, head into Music City where pop star Kelly Clarkson will grand marshal the 63rd annual Nashville Christmas Parade, "The Musical Mile," which kicks off downtown this Saturday 9- 11:30am and benefits Monroe Carell Jr. Children's Hospital at Vanderbilt.