Nashville is a year-round destination thanks to its thriving music scene, lively bars, the nearby Jack Daniel's Distillery, and some slick new hotels. However, if you visit Nashville in December, you can also enjoy special holiday events and activities. Plus, if you visit in the first two weeks of the month, before Christmas, you'll likely find deals on airfare and hotel rates.
From the third week of November until the week after Christmas, Gaylord Opryland Hotel is host to many holiday activities including the viewing of their spectacular holiday lights, the annual Ice! Exhibit, Breakfast with Charlie Brown, Radio City Christmas Spectacular, Treasures for the Holidays, and taking a General Jackson Holiday Cruise. At the Opry, it's a full month of non-stop Christmas cheer.
Between mid-November and Christmas Eve at Bass Pro Shops Santa’s Wonderland, shoppers can introduce their children to time-honored traditions of making crafts and holiday ornaments. Kids will have fun making moose ornaments, reindeer cone ornaments, Santa bobbers, reindeer hats, candy cane reindeer and Christmas cookies. Plus, photos with Santa are free!
Christmas 4 Kids is held in Hendersonville at the Walmart each year in mid-December and is followed up by a benefit concert normally held at the Ryman Auditorium. The public can tour the buses of some of their favorite country music stars. The proceeds from the event benefit local needy children during the holiday season.
Guests visiting the NashvilleZoo during the holiday season can step back in time and experience a traditional Victorian Christmas at the Zoo’s Grassmere Historic Home. Tours are normally held weekends in December. The zoo will also put on an illuminated Santa's village, where little kids can line up to meet the big guy himself.
In addition to this, Metro Nashville Police Department’s Mounted Patrol Division collects donated toys for its annual Christmas Basket Program every year in early December at the Nashville Zoo. As a bonus the zoo normally offers a complimentary admission ticket for every new toy donated.
The Dickens of a Christmas event on Franklin's Historic Main Street brings the joy and charm of an old-fashioned Victorian Christmas by recreating the world of Charles Dickens' famous A Christmas Carol. More than 200 volunteers participate in this weekend event as characters from Dickens' stories or street performers. On December 13 and 14, 2019, the festival will celebrate its 35th anniversary!
During the holiday season, you can drive through a winter wonderland of lights and Christmas scenery at the Wilson County Fair Grounds. This family-run event features an expansive light display perfectly synced to music. This year display will be up and open from November 16, 2019 to January 4, 2020.
Every month, Nashville offers art-lovers two fun events to discover the local art scene.
Presented by Downtown Clarksville Association, each ArtWalk event is normally held on the first Thursday of the month and highlights local artists at the many boutiques, restaurants & of course the Roxy in Downtown Clarksville Folks can enjoy local art on display in various venues.
On the first Saturday of the month, local art galleries throughout downtown host receptions and art openings with most all offering free wine and other refreshments. As an added bonus, they also provide free shuttles between the galleries!
On the first Friday of every month in and around downtown Franklin you can tour the downtown Franklin art scene with their Franklin Tour of the Arts. Starting at 6 p.m., this evening tour is normally free and, as an added bonus, you can always get unlimited pick-up and drop-off service on their trolley service for a minimum charge too.
Batch Holiday Market
Every Saturday until Christmas you can visit the Batch Holiday Market at the Nashville Farmers Market. You'll find cool-weather farm products and hand-made local crafts, locally made honey, meat, eggs, breads, and tons more. This event celebrates local makers and is also a great opportunity to pick up some new Christmas decorations or maybe some ingredients for your holiday meal!
The Music City Bowl, held in late December, is a NCAA sanctioned event that features the two top football conferences in the country, the Southeastern Conference (SEC) and the Big Ten Conference. Every year, hundreds of college athletes participate in the Bowl and all of the special activities that Music City, USA provides during their Bowl Week experience like Fan Zone on Broadway.
MusicFest is the ultimate party atmosphere downtown the night before the Music City Bowl game. Thousands of fans will converge on world-famous 2nd Avenue for the outdoor party featuring SEC & ACC pep bands and cheerleaders. The event is open to the general public and admission is free.
For over 50 years, the Rudolph's Red Nose Christmas Parade has taken place in downtown Nashville. The parade is normally held the first weekend of December and famously attracts some of the best country music talent to board a float and perform for the crowd. You never know what to expect with everything from cloggers to cheerleaders parading through the streets.
Cheekwood Mansion showcases the sights and sounds of the season by transforming the mansion's many gardens and Museum of Art to become a holiday fantasy with their lavishly decorated grounds, trees, and rooms. The mansion is open for the entire month of December and there will also be special events like ornament and gingerbread house decorating.
The historic Belle Meade Plantation is decorated for the holidays every year from the first week of November to the end of December. Tours are available through the house, which portrays an old-fashioned version of the holiday. It's a great opportunity to learn and experience how Christmas was celebrated during the Victorian era.
Yule Fest and Living History Camp at Mansker’s Station is normally held at Moss Wright Park in Goodlettsville in the first week of December. Re-enactors celebrate the customs of a Colonial Christmas. The reconstruction fort’s cabins are dressed for Christmas with fresh evergreens, ribbons, fruit and candles. Go from cabin to cabin, or throughout the encampment, for refreshments, stories and demonstrations.