15 Things to Do in Nashville in December (2023)

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, you'll likely find deals on airfare and hotel rates.

Below are the top things to do in Nashville throughout the month of December.

01of 15

Celebrate Christmas at Gaylord Opryland Resort & Convention Center

15 Things to Do in Nashville in December (1)

Address

2800 Opryland Dr, Nashville, TN 37214, USA

Phone+1 615-889-1000

From mid-November until the week after Christmas, Gaylord Opryland Resort & Convention Center promises non-stop holiday cheer, starting with the annual "A Country Christmas Lighting Ceremony" at Magnolia Lawn. At the annual ICE! exhibit, you can marvel at some two million pounds of ice carved into wondrous sculptures and even slides that you can ride. Other activities available throughout the resort include nightly caroling, ice skating lessons, carriage rides, ice tubing, and a holiday-themed riverboat cruise through the resort's Delta Atrium.

02of 15

Make Crafts at Bass Pro Shops Santa’s Wonderland

Address

323 Opry Mills Dr, Nashville, TN 37214, USA

Phone+1 615-514-5200

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 creating moose ornaments, reindeer cone ornaments, Santa bobbers, reindeer hats, candy cane reindeer, and Christmas cookies. Plus, photos with Santa are free!

03of 15

Attend a Benefit Concert With Your Favorite Country Music Artists

15 Things to Do in Nashville in December (2)

Address

116 5th Ave N, Nashville, TN 37219, USA

Get directions

(Video) Nashville BEST Holiday Travel Tips : A Country Christmas | Modern Travel Guide 4K

Phone+1 615-889-3060

Christmas 4 Kids is an annual benefit concert held at the Ryman Auditorium, with the proceeds from the event going to more than 400 underprivileged children in Tennessee. At the concert, you can see the likes of country music artists such as Chris Young, The Frontmen, and Phil Vassar, and you will even have the opportunity to step inside their tour buses. Tickets cost $60 a person.

04of 15

See the Country's Largest Chinese Lantern Festival

Address

3777 Nolensville Pk, Nashville, TN 37211, USA

Phone+1 615-833-1534

This year, the Nashville Zoo at Grassmere is putting on Zoolumination, the largest Chinese lantern festival in the country. The event, held nightly from mid-November through the first week of January, invites guests to wander around the zoological garden, lit up with mythical creatures and 1,000-plus silk lanterns after dark. Throughout the holiday season, the zoo is also home to a North Pole Village, where little kids can line up to meet Santa 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.

Continue to 5 of 15 below.

05of 15

Meet Your Favorite Characters From 'A Christmas Carol'

15 Things to Do in Nashville in December (4)

The annual "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's famous "A Christmas Carol." Throughout the weekend event, more than 100,000 visitors come to the outdoor street festival for music, dancing, and a chance to meet characters from Dickens's stories like Tiny Tim and Ebenezer Scrooge. On Dec. 10 and 11, 2022, the festival will celebrate its 37th anniversary!

06of 15

Drive Through the Dancing Lights of Christmas

Address

1033 Sparta Pike, Lebanon, TN 37087, USA

WebVisit website

(Video) 17 Things to do in Nashville, Tennessee

During the holiday season, you can drive through a winter wonderland at The Dancing Lights of Christmas in Lebanon, an approximate 40-minute drive east of Nashville. Dubbed the largest drive-thru light and music show in Tennessee, this family-run event features an expansive light display perfectly synced to music. This year, the display will be up and open from Nov. 11, 2022, to January 1, 2023; tickets are $30 per vehicle.

07of 15

Get Cultured at Monthly Art Crawls

15 Things to Do in Nashville in December (5)

Every month, there are two fun-filled events for art lovers in Nashville and the surrounding area. On the first Saturday of the month, local art galleries throughout downtown Nashville host receptions and art openings, many with free wine and other light refreshments. As an added bonus, the First Saturday Art Crawl provides free shuttles between the galleries!

About an hour's drive north of Nashville, the First Thursday Art Walk is a monthly self-guided tour of Downtown Clarksville, highlighting local artists at several boutique shops, art galleries, and bars within a five-block radius. In addition to checking out the local art scene, visitors can also listen to live music and participate in other events.

On the first Friday of every month in and around downtown Franklin, you can tour downtown's art scene with the Franklin Art Crawl. 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.

08of 15

Shop for Stocking Stuffers at the Nashville Farmers Market

15 Things to Do in Nashville in December (6)

On Dec. 11 and 17, 2022, the Nashville Farmers Market will host a holiday market where you can shop for artisan stocking stuffers, jewelry, clothing, and ingredients for your holiday meal. As you browse the market, you can also enjoy seasonal drinks and treats, your favorite holiday tunes, and a photo booth (Santa will be there on the 11th!). No matter which day you go, be sure to wear your ugly Christmas sweater.

Continue to 9 of 15 below.

09of 15

Watch the Music City Bowl

15 Things to Do in Nashville in December (7)

Address

Philips Plaza (Building, 414 Union St UNIT 1010, Nashville, TN 37219, USA

Phone+1 615-743-3130

(Video) 11 fantastic, fun and exciting things to do in Nashville Tennessee 2021 (Covid over)

The Music City Bowl, held in late December, is an 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 its 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.

10of 15

See the Holiday Lights at Cheekwood

15 Things to Do in Nashville in December (8)

Address

1200 Forrest Park Dr, Nashville, TN 37205, USA

Phone+1 615-356-8000

From mid-November through the first week of January, Cheekwood Estate & Gardens showcases the sights and sounds of the season by lighting up a 1-mile walking path through the gardens. The estate also hosts interactive displays and "dancing" trains, plus a holiday marketplace with holiday gifts and décor for sale. When you need a pick-me-up, you'll find bars serving up seasonal drinks as well as a s'mores station.

11of 15

Celebrate a Century of Christmas at Belle Meade

Address

Belle Meade, TN, USA

The historic Belle Meade is decorated for the holidays every year from the first week of November to the end of December. Tours are available of the house, which is decorated in Victorian-era style and gives visitors insight into how Christmas was celebrated during that time period. During your visit, you'll also be able to make an ornament that you can bring home with you.

12of 15

Attend Yulefest at Historic Mansker's Station

Address

705 Caldwell Dr, Goodlettsville, TN 37072-3446, USA

Phone+1 615-859-3678

WebVisit website

(Video) THINGS TO KNOW BEFORE YOU GO TO NASHVILLE

Yule Fest is held at Goodlettsville Visitor's Center and Historic Mansker's Station during the first week of December. Historic Mansker's Station, a reconstructed frontier fort that dates back to 1779, is dressed for the holidays with fresh evergreens, ribbons, fruit, and candles. At the event, re-enactors ring in the Christmas season as they did in the 18th century. Go from cabin to cabin, or throughout the encampment, for refreshments, stories, and demonstrations.

Continue to 13 of 15 below.

13of 15

Take a Tour of Belmont Mansion

15 Things to Do in Nashville in December (9)

Address

Belmont University campus corner of Acklen Avenue & Belmont Blvd - behind Freeman Hall, 1901 15th Ave S, Nashville, TN 37212, USA

Phone+1 615-460-5459

The Belmont Mansion, at one point the largest house in Tennessee and listed on the National Register of Historic Places, is a popular destination around the holidays. Every year, there are Christmas-themed tours, where guests can see the home all dressed up for the holidays and learn about Victorian Christmas traditions. This year, actor David Alford will also be performing a rendition of Turman Capote's "A Christmas Memory" and "The Thanksgiving Visitor" at the Belmont Mansion Grand Salon. Accompanied by guitarist Paul Carrol Binkley, the show will be taking place from the end of November to Dec. 3. Guided tours cost $22 per ticket; tickets to the show cost $45 a person.

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Ride the North Pole Express

15 Things to Do in Nashville in December (10)

Address

220 Willow St, Nashville, TN 37210-2159, USA

Phone+1 615-244-9001

From mid-November to mid-December, the Tennessee Central Railway Museum hosts North Pole Express-themed excursions onboard a streamlined stainless steel passenger train. Throughout the 2.5-hour trip, you can take pics with Santa and his elves and purchase snacks to munch on. The train departs from and returns to Nashville, with no layovers. Be sure to reserve your spot well in advance, as tickets are known to sell out quickly.

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Attend the Nashville Christmas Parade

15 Things to Do in Nashville in December (11)

For over 50 years, the Rudolph's Red Nose Christmas Parade has taken place in downtown Nashville. The parade is typically 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.

(Video) 23 Things to do in Nashville, Tennessee

Editor's Note: The Nashville Christmas Parade is not being held in person in 2022; instead, the producers invite everyone to tune into the Nashville Holiday Music Special, which will air nationwide in December.

The Best Places to See Christmas Lights in and Near Nashville

FAQs

Is Nashville worth visiting in December? ›

Visiting Nashville in November and December

Nashville is particularly popular during the Christmas season and right before New Year's Eve. 💡 Cheekwood Holiday Lights – The Cheekwood Estate and Gardens is wonderful to visit year-round. It's a special treat to see the grounds lit up during the holidays.

What is the number one thing to do in Nashville? ›

The 20 Best Attractions and Sights in Nashville
  • Nashville Zoo. ...
  • Frist Art Museum. ...
  • The Hermitage. ...
  • Country Music Hall of Fame & Museum. ...
  • Bluebird Cafe. ...
  • Grand Ole Opry. ...
  • John Seigenthaler Pedestrian Bridge. ...
  • Ryman Auditorium.
2 Sept 2022

What is Nashville like in December? ›

Daytime high temperatures tend to be in the low to mid-50s F (11-13 C) early in the month and falling to upper 40s F (8-10 C) by the end of the month. A few of the warmer afternoons early in December can reach up to mid to upper 60s F (19-20 C).

What is there to do in Nashville during Christmas time? ›

Christmas in Nashville, TN: 10 Things To Do in Nashville at Christmas
  • Holiday LIGHTS at Cheekwood Botanical Gardens. ...
  • A Country Christmas at the Gaylord Opryland Resort. ...
  • Historic Downtown Franklin. ...
  • Christmas Shows at the Ryman or Grand Ole Opry. ...
  • Lighting of the Green at Lipscomb University. ...
  • Nashville's Holiday Pop-up Bars.

What should I pack for 4 days in Nashville? ›

Get into the city mindset when it comes to considering what to pack for Nashville.
...
Bring these clothing items to ensure a comfortable vacation:
  • Undergarments.
  • Pants.
  • Shorts.
  • Shirts.
  • Tank Tops.
  • Sweatshirts/Sweaters.
  • Pajamas.
  • Wool socks (winter)
6 Jan 2020

Is it cold in Nashville in December? ›

December marks the start of winter and brings the first of the season's snowfall. Nashville averages an inch (3 cm) of snow in December along with an average high temperature of 49°F (10°C). The low temperature average is 31°F (0°C).

How do I spend a day in Nashville? ›

Here are six must-see places to explore with one day in Nashville:
  1. Ryman Auditorium. William King/Unsplash. ...
  2. Country Music Hall of Fame. Matthew LeJune/Unsplash. ...
  3. Centennial Park. Centennial Park is a beautiful green public park and a premier attraction in Nashville. ...
  4. Johnny Cash Museum. ...
  5. Cumberland Park. ...
  6. Tootsie's Orchid Lounge.
8 Jul 2022

What type of food is Nashville known for? ›

Nashville is a culinary treasure, known for meat-and-three diners, fiery fried chicken and fluffy biscuits as well as a strong farm-to-table community. Eat like a local with this guide to some of the best places to eat and drink in Music City.

Can you just walk into the Grand Ole Opry? ›

you can walk the grounds which are extremely well cared for in front of the opry for free, along with entrance to the lobby/gift shop area. There are also vendors outside the opry that you can enjoy a drink or a quick bite prior to the start of the show.

What time does it get dark in Nashville in December? ›

Hours of Daylight and Twilight in December in Nashville

The earliest sunrise of the month in Nashville is 6:39 AM on December 1 and the latest sunrise is 18 minutes later at 6:57 AM on December 31. The earliest sunset is 4:32 PM on December 5 and the latest sunset is 10 minutes later at 4:42 PM on December 31.

How many days do I need in Nashville? ›

Nashville is a reasonably small city, so you can really see a lot in a few days. I recommend spending 3 days in Nashville. This will give you plenty of time to go around and see the highlights, hear some live music, and eat some great BBQ.

Is Nashville still fun in the winter? ›

The world's capital of country music is also one of the most inviting cities out there. It doesn't matter if you visit Nashville in winter or another time of the year, you will fall in love with the bustling city!

Is Nashville decorated for Christmas? ›

Christmas is a special time to visit Nashville. The city brings out its finest decorations, some of its best performances, and lots and lots of Christmas lights. Whether you're driving through the biggest light display in Tennessee or checking out a winter pop-up bar, there's something fun for everyone.

Does Nashville have snow? ›

On average, Nashville gets 4.2 inches of snowfall a year, according to NWS data from the past 10 years. In 2021, Nashville recorded 5.2 inches of snow.

What do you wear to the Grand Ole Opry? ›

Is there a dress code at the Grand Ole Opry? There is no particular dress code at the Grand Ole Opry. You'll see everything from faded jeans to business suits, cowboy hats to your Sunday best.

How do people dress in Nashville? ›

What is the clothing style in Nashville? As mentioned before, Nashville is a city known for its music. This means that the style of clothing in Nashville is relatively casual, and most people dress in jeans and a nice top when they go out. The overall style is “Americana” with a bit of a Hipster vibe.

Should you wear cowboy boots in Nashville? ›

Nashville locals may not wear cowboy boots all day every day, but at the same time it probably wouldn't be uncommon to see at least a few wear them every now and then. Should you wear cowboy boots your entire trip? Most definitely not. Your feet will likely kill you by the end of your first day.

How do people dress in Nashville in December? ›

When it comes to what to wear in Nashville in winter, layering is key. A warm coat, scarf, and hat are essential for braving the cold weather, but you'll also want to pack some lighter clothing for when the temperatures warm up.

What is the cheapest time to go to Nashville? ›

The cheapest time to visit Nashville is from November to March, when you will find deep discounts on hotel rooms and airfare. This is a great time to score big discounts at top hotels and resorts that may be out of reach during the booming tourist season, when rates are highly inflated.

Do you need a car in Nashville? ›

Unless you are planning to stay in a hotel in downtown Nashville and mostly visit attractions nearby, a rental car is the best method of getting around Nashville. Be aware that most downtown hotels will charge a parking fee. Plus, a car allows you to take day trips from Nashville to other places in Tennessee.

How do I spend a few hours in Nashville? ›

In One Day in Nashville
  1. Pinewood Social. ...
  2. Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum. ...
  3. Historic RCA Studio B. ...
  4. Bajo Sexto. ...
  5. Hatch Show Print. ...
  6. Schermerhorn Symphony Center. ...
  7. Johnny Cash Museum. ...
  8. Goo Goo Shop.

What is the popular street in Nashville? ›

Free Music | 365 Days a Year Honky Tonk Highway

Find yourself mesmerized by the live music and neon lights of Broadway on Honky Tonk Highway – Nashville's famous street. World-class live music plays 365 days a year on the city's main drag.

What snacks is Nashville known for? ›

7 Delightfully Delicious Snacks That Are Uniquely Nashville
  • Classic GooGoo Clusters. Goo Goo Chocolate Co, 116 3rd Ave S, Nashville, TN 37201, USA. ...
  • Itty Bitty Donuts. ...
  • Local Latte from Fido. ...
  • Five Daughters Donuts. ...
  • Barista Parlor Biscuit Sandwich. ...
  • Bobbie's Dairy Dip Soft Serve. ...
  • Dozen Bakery Blueberry Muffins.
8 Jun 2022

What drink is Nashville known for? ›

So what exactly is a Bushwacker? It's a drink that has a crushed ice base, which is mixed with multiple liquors and rum. It's known for making you tipsy easily while cooling you down on a warm Southern day. Nashville is now one of the bachelorette party capitals of the world.

How much does it cost to get in the Grand Ole Opry? ›

Depending on the ticket you purchase, live show pricing for the Grand Ole Opry is between $69 and $145 per person. The Grand Ole Opry House remains one of the most popular venues in the United States, and they offer several live performances throughout the week from both notable and up-and-coming country artists.

What is the difference between the Ryman and the Opry? ›

Ryman Auditorium is the original site where the Grand Ole Opry was held. Certain times of the year when crowds are smaller, the Opry is held in the Ryman. The larger Grand Ole Opry venue is used most of the year.

Can I wear shorts to the Grand Ole Opry? ›

As with most of Nashville, the attire at the Grand Ole Opry is casual. There were people wearing jeans, shorts, and dresses. Wear what makes you feel the most comfortable and know you will fit in fine.

Is Nashville still fun in the winter? ›

The world's capital of country music is also one of the most inviting cities out there. It doesn't matter if you visit Nashville in winter or another time of the year, you will fall in love with the bustling city!

Is Nashville decorated for Christmas? ›

Christmas is a special time to visit Nashville. The city brings out its finest decorations, some of its best performances, and lots and lots of Christmas lights. Whether you're driving through the biggest light display in Tennessee or checking out a winter pop-up bar, there's something fun for everyone.

Does Nashville have snow? ›

On average, Nashville gets 4.2 inches of snowfall a year, according to NWS data from the past 10 years. In 2021, Nashville recorded 5.2 inches of snow.

How is New Orleans in December? ›

Unlike most places, New Orleans is the perfect place for parades, fireworks, and outdoor sporting events in December. While temperatures do drop, it rarely gets below freezing. With an average high of 64℉ and a low of 45℉ layers, scarves, and gloves are encouraged.

How many days do I need in Nashville? ›

Nashville is a reasonably small city, so you can really see a lot in a few days. I recommend spending 3 days in Nashville. This will give you plenty of time to go around and see the highlights, hear some live music, and eat some great BBQ.

What is there to do in Nashville in winter? ›

7 of the Best Things to Do in Nashville, TN During Winter
  • Ride an Old Town Trolley. ...
  • Explore the Country Music Hall of Fame. ...
  • Be Merry at Gaylord Opryland. ...
  • Experience the Dancing Lights of Christmas. ...
  • See Belle Meade Plantation. ...
  • Ring in the New Year. ...
  • Get Cozy in the Heart of Nashville This Winter!

Where is the Music Row Happy Hour? ›

Where is the Music Row Happy Hour located? Jimmy Buffett's Margaritaville Downtown Nashville: 322 Broadway, Nashville, TN 37201.

How much does it cost to see the Christmas lights at Opryland? ›

Gaylord Opryland Hotel Nashville (Map)

Over 3 million Christmas lights with brand new displays. Lights are on November 12, 2021 – January 2, 2021. Admission is Free.

Does Nashville have Christmas lights? ›

'Enchant,' The World's Largest Christmas Light Spectacular —Coming to Nashville's First Horizon Park—Announces U.S. Event Locations For 2022 Season, Lights Up New Cities as Rapid Expansion Continues, Tickets Go on Sale Sept.

Is Opryland open to the public? ›

Our holiday attractions are open for day guests as well as overnight guests. Many of our guests decide to stay overnight in order to enjoy all the holiday events and attractions available at our resorts. Some of our events do include special perks for overnight guests.

What is the coldest month in Nashville TN? ›

Nashville's coldest month is January when the average temperature overnight is 27.9°F. In July, the warmest month, the average day time temperature rises to 88.7°F.

Is Nashville expensive? ›

Nashville tends to be cheaper than big cities like New York City and Los Angeles, but it's still expensive on its own. Factors like a small developmental area, housing costs, and a large population boom are all to blame for its high costs.

What is the rainiest month in Nashville? ›

April is the wettest month of the year with 5.79 inches of rain. Nashville's average high is 71 F and low is 48 F, with 4 inches of rain and an average of 16 days of total sunshine in April. Unsettled April weather can bring hail storms and occasional tornado warnings.

Is it worth visiting New Orleans in December? ›

While the Big Easy is enjoyable any time of the year, the best time to visit New Orleans is November through December. Temperatures are plenty warm for most visitors, the city is dressed up in holiday decorations, and there are no crowds—which means cheaper rates for travel and accommodations.

How do people dress in New Orleans in December? ›

It's doubtful you'll need shorts or T-shirts in December; however, comfortable pants, good walking shoes, thick socks, long-sleeved shirts and extra layers (sweaters or polar fleeces), and a light winter coat are recommended.

Is Vegas fun in December? ›

Las Vegas in December is all lit up and exceptionally scenic throughout the month. Not just the Strip, the whole city is well decorated to welcome the upcoming year well before. With seasonal displays all around, December in Las Vegas glorifies the city to another level.

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