A long-held favorite pastime of families in the southern United States is driving around looking at houses decorated with Christmas lights, lawn ornaments, and dazzling displays of holiday cheer. If you're planning to visit Nashville or the Middle Tennessee region, there are plenty of great places to experience the joy of the holiday season with your family.
Chad's Winter Wonderland
Address791 Old Laguardo Rd E, Lebanon, TN 37087-8901, USA
Open nightly from Thanksgiving through New Year's Eve, Chad's Winter Wonderland in Lebanon is just a half-hour drive northeast of Nashville—and totally worth the trip. Along with over two million Christmas lights, the attraction features a drive-through Santa house (with a real Santa inside), Dancing Snowman, and a Christmas train.
For decades, Chad Bernard has been putting up this drive-through holiday light display, one of the nation's largest, and it's become one of the region's residents' favorite places for a fun family outing. Chad's may close during inclement weather, but otherwise you can enjoy the lights from 6 to 10 p.m. each night.
The Dancing Lights of Christmas
Also located in Lebanon, The Dancing Lights of Christmas is a scenic driving tour through the James E. Ward Agricultural Center where visitors get to view numerous lighted displays celebrating the Christmas season.
This season, the drive-through is open nightly from November 16, 2019 to January 4, 2020 from 5 p.m. Activities include getting pictures taken with Santa, pony rides, jumping high in the spider jump machine, climbing the rock wall, or taking a ride on a Christmas train. There's also a special store on site for Christmas gift shopping featuring delicious treats and locally handcrafted items. Costs vary based on the size of your vehicle and can be found online.
Christmas on the Cumberland
About an hour northwest of Nashville on I-24, over one million Christmas Lights are on display in the City of Clarksville's annual festival of lights at McGregor Park. Every year this event attracts over 10,000 people to this small city where the Montgomery County Park's RiverWalk is decorated with several holiday light displays, including giant toy soldiers, animated toys, and a tunnel of lights.
This free event is opens every night at 5 p.m. from November 26, 2019 to January 1, 2020. The City of Clarksville is also putting on several events throughout the month of December in the park, including caroling, making reindeer food, Christmas card creations, letters to Santa, gingerbread house building, elf school relays, and ornament making.
Now over a decade old, Hoover Lights, formerly Lights on Old Charlotte, is located in Chapel Hill, Tennessee. The event puts on a grand show using a computerized Christmas display with, at last count, over 80,000 Christmas lights, and over 7500 channels of DMX control. 2019's opening night is November 29.
Gaylord Opryland's Country Christmas
Nearly two million Christmas lights draw visitors from near and far to see this annual spectacular, a tradition among locals and always a favorite that's completely free of charge to attend.
While there, you can also check out the "ICE! featuring Dr. Suess' How the Grinch Stole Christmas" performances and Christmas display. The resort offers package deals for a holiday stay.
Walk Thru Bethlehem
Started in 1982, Walk Thru Bethlehem, presented by Woodmont Christian Church, has offered Nashville a delightful living recreation of the ancient city, and this year it happens for one night only on December 8, 2019, from 1 p.m. to 7 p.m.
The focus of the even is on the birth of Jesus and the true meaning of Christmas. While there is no admission charge, donations, which benefit local community-based initiatives, will be accepted.