Nashville Annual December Event Guide

Nashville is a year-round destination thanks to its thriving music scene, lively bars, a short drive away from the Jack Daniel's Distillery, and slick new hotels. But go in December for some special holiday events and activities. Plus, if you visit in the first two weeks of the month, you'll likely find deals on airfare and hotel rates.

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Opryland's A Country Christmas

  Bob Schatz

From the third week of November until the week after Christmas, Gaylord Opryland Hotel is host to many holiday events including the viewing their spectacular holiday lights, Ice, Breakfast with Charlie Brown, Radio City Christmas Spectacular, Treasures for the Holidays to taking a General Jackson Holiday Cruise. It is four weeks of non-stop activities.

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Nashville's Holiday Lights

Dan Ham

Take a look at all of the sparkling, twinkling displays that take place annually in Nashville, all in celebration of the Christmas Holiday's. They are enough to keep you coming back for more and year after year. Chad's Winter Wonderland and The Dancing Lights of Christmas in Lebanon are both favorites (and not too far from Nashville city center).

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Middle Tennessee Antebellum Mansions & Holiday Tours

Tennessee's Home for the Holidays

Every year in Middle Tennessee, the old antebellum homes are opened up to the public during the holiday season in grandiose style. One can find these wonderful old homes decorated with plenty authentic holiday items from today & yesteryear.

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Bass Pro Shops Santa’s Wonderland

Between November 10 and December 24, 2018 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.

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Belmont Candlelight Tour

 Belmont Mansion

Belmont Candlelight Tour is a newer event that opens the doors of the Historic Belmont Mansion for a tour by the soft, wintry glow of candlelight. Music, hot cider, and cookies are included in the evening. There will also be a special Christmas Dinner held on December 7, 2018. All tours, dinners, and events are ticketed.

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Christmas 4 Kids

 Christmas 4 Kids

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 Christmas 4 Kids proceeds benefit local needy children during the holiday season.

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Christmas at Belmont

 Belmont University

Christmas at Belmont is prestigious annual concert event, normally televised, held at Belmont University that celebrates the holiday season. It will be held at the Massey Concert Hall at Belmont University on December 1-2, 2018 at 7:30 p.m.

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Christmas in Downtown Dickson

Every year in early December, the quaint little town of Dickson hosts a Christmas celebration in downtown. This is event normally includes a tree lighting ceremony and live music as well as local merchants opening their doors in welcoming in the holiday season.

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Christmas on the Cumberland

 Clarksville Parks and Recreation

Christmas on the Cumberland transforms the McGregor Park RiverWalk into a winter wonderland. This magical stroll opens today and runs through New Year's Day.

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Croft House Christmas at Grassmere

Copyright Jan Duke
© Jan Duke

Guests visiting the Zoo 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.

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Dickens of A Christmas

Heritage Foundation of Williamson County

The Dickens of a Christmas event on Franklin's Historic Main Street brings the joy and charm of an old-fashioned Victorian Christmas recreated from the pages of Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol and other Dickens' tales. More than 200 volunteers participate in this weekend event as characters from Dickens' stories or street performers.

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Ernest Tubb Midnite Jamboree

 Ernest Tubb Midnite Jamboree

Traditional country music fans have the opportunity to enjoy a very talented line-up at the Ernest Tubb Midnite Jamboree, which broadcasts LIVE from the landmark Texas Troubadour Theatre every Saturday night beginning at midnight. Admission to these shows is free, and many artists typically stick around after the show to sign autographs in the lobby.

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Festival of Lights

For under $10 a carload, you can drive through a winter wonderland of lights and Christmas scenery at the Wilson County Fair Grounds. Normally open each Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday in December.

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First Saturday Art Crawl

The Arts Company 

Every 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!

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First Thursday ArtWalk

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.

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Frankin Tour of the Arts

Damico Gallery 

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. This evening tour is normally free and, as an added bonus, you can always get unlimited pick-up and drop-off service on their trolly service for a minimum charge too.

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Frist Center Architecture Tour

 Kendyl Matthews

Normally held on the first Saturday of each month, The Frist Center offers a monthly Architecture Tour for those interested in learning more about this Nashville landmark building–the former Downtown Nashville post office and a prominent Nashville architectural treasure from the Art Deco period.

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Grand Ole Opry

Todd Van Hoosear (CC BY-SA 2.0) / Flickr

The Grand Ole Opry, one of the worlds longest running radio shows, normally offers several live shows a week including shows every Friday and Saturday Night as well as a Tuesday Night show. Every year, in late fall, the show leave the Grand Ole Opry House and returns to the Ryman Auditorium Stage for a few months, normally from November to January.

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Holiday Decorating at Travellers Rest

Historic Travellers Rest Plantation & Museum

Everyone has the opportunity to participate in making wreaths and decorations in the style of the early 1800's at this Overton Home. Visitors can join in the more holiday celebrations at Travellers Rest during the entire month of December.

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Holiday Market

 Nashville Farmers' Market

Every Saturday until Christmas you can visit the Holiday Market at the Nashville Farmers Market it's offering cool-weather farm products and hand-made local crafts, locally made honey, meat, eggs, breads, and tons more.

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Music at the Frist

 The Frist Museum

Enjoy some of Nashville's most accomplished and celebrated artists as they perform at the Frist Center on Thursday and Friday evenings. Musicians performing classical, jazz, Latin, Americana, bluegrass and environmental electronic music, as well as some of the area's accomplished singer/songwriters, contribute their talents to the Frist Center each week.

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Music City Bowl

 Michael Reaves

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 amateur athletes participate in the Bowl and all of the special activities that Music City, USA provides during their Bowl Week experience.

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MusicFest & Battle of the Bands

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. Admission is Free! Open to the general public.

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Music City On Stage!

Featuring some of Music City’s most talented up-and-coming artists, Music City On Stage! is packed with a wide range of hits and styles, showcasing why Nashville really is Music City! Held at the Studio Gallery at Fontanel each Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday evenings from 7-9 p.m. Tickets include entry to the show, a home-cooked meal and a voucher (good for one year) to tour Fontanel Mansion. Advance reservations are strongly encouraged.

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Music City Roots

 Music City Roots

Music City Roots is a weekly show built on the Americana music scene and the legacy of WSM's historic roots in live radio. It airs every Wednesday night from live from the Loveless Barn and features three to four artists in 30-minute segments, followed by a free-form "Loveless Jam."

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Nashville Christmas Parade

Piedmont Natural Gas Nashville Christmas Parade

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.

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Nashville Flea Market

The Fairgrounds Nashville 

Held at the Tennessee State Fairgrounds, the Nashville Flea Market is known as one of the best Flea Markets in Tennessee and offers a relaxing day of wandering and discovery for the entire family.Nashville Flea Market is open on the fourth weekend of every month except for December when it's usually held a week earlier.

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Nashville Unleashed

Natchez Hills Vineyard and Nashville Unleashed pair their passions for wine, music, and cuisine in unprecedented fashion, offering music enthusiasts a truly unique and mesmerizing concert experience by centering it all around an up-close-and-personal weekly acoustical performance and dinner concert, known as Nashville Unleashed. It's the perfect date night!

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Nashville Zoo Toy Drive

 Nashville Zoo

Metro Nashville Police Department’s Mounted Patrol Division collects donated toys for its annual Christmas Basket Program every year in early December at theNashville Zoo. As a bonus the Zoo normally offers complimentary Nashville Zoo admission ticket for every new toy donated.

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North Pole Express

 Brent Gaddes

North Pole Express Excursion Train rides into the Tennessee Central Railway Museum bringing Santa along too. Check their website for schedule and additional excursion dates. Expect tickets to go fast!

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Opry at the Ryman

The Ryman

The show that made country music famous returns to its most famous former home, the historic Ryman Auditorium with a special wintertime run every November. The annual series typically runs November through the end of January.

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Poet’s Corner at Scarritt-Bennett

 Ben James

Poet’s Corner at Scarritt-Bennett Center offers a poetry reading on the fourth Thursday of each month. The environment is informal, and conversation between the poet and audience is encouraged. Normally held at The Front Porch at Scarritt-Bennett from 7-8 p.m., the event is Free and open to the public. Reservations are requested but not required.

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Season of Celebration

 Cheekwood Mansion

Cheekwood Mansion showcases the sights and sounds of the season as their many gardens and Museum of Art become a holiday fantasy with their lavishly decorated grounds, trees, and rooms. Open for the entire month of December.

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Second Saturday Book Sale

The Second Saturday Book Sale is monthly book sale that offers plenty of great deals on books each month. This monthly event is held at the Donelson Public Library Branch on the second Saturday of each month, normally from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

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Shakespeare Allowed

Rick Malkin 

Several times every month, Nashville Shakespeare Festival gathers to read one of the works of William Shakespeare. Normally, the readings are held at the Nashville Public Library on the first Saturday of the month (sometimes even the second too) and readings at the Brentwood Library are generally held on the third Saturday.

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Vespers & All That Jazz

 Scarritt Bennett Center

Vespers & All that Jazz offers community worship services for all ages every Sunday evening in Scarritt-Bennett Center’s Wightman Chapel. Inspired by jazz as a process of making music and using the music as a way to experience the interruptive spirit of God, Vespers & All That Jazz encourages compassion, peace, justice and wonder. The services are informal and last approximately 45 minutes.

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Victorian Christmas

The historic Belle Meade mansion is decorated for the holidays every year and normally portrays an old-fashioned holiday. Opens the first week of November and ends on the last day of December.

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Watkins Visiting Artists Series

 Watkins College of Art

The Watkins Visiting Artists Series is an annual year-long program which welcomes nationally and internationally recognized fine artists, designers, filmmakers, educators and critics to the campus and the community. The series explores the artisits and their work through by hosting lectures and art exhibits.

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Yule Fest & Living History Camp

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.

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