The 10 Best Places to See Christmas Lights in Tennessee (2023)

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There’s nothing remotely dull about spending Christmas in Tennessee.
In fact, there are literally millions (maybe even billions) of twinkling Christmas lights in Tennessee designed to ensure the holidays are as merry and bright as possible.
If shimmering lights help to fuel your holiday spirit, visiting Tennessee in Winter offers endless options to see them.
Want to wander around a downtown area with Christmas trees and storefronts covered in lights? Check.
Or maybe maybe you’d prefer to attend a full-on festival of lights, with hot chocolate, wandering carolers, and Santa himself on hand? No problem. 
Your Tennessee Christmas can also include quaint little Hallmark-style Christmas towns, Christmas light extravaganzas, Christmas train rides, and a festive boat parade! 
Surprisingly, many of these annual Christmas events are free of charge.So there really is something fun to do during Christmas in Tennessee for every budget.
Read on for our in-depth guide to the best Christmas lights in Tennessee, including some of our favorite Christmas light displays in Chattanooga, Knoxville, Nashville, and the Smoky Mountains of Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge. 

Best Christmas Lights in Tennessee Guide

(Arranged Geographically)

  1. Holiday Trail of Lights (Chattanooga TN)
  2. Reindeer on The Riverfront and Lighted Boat Parade (Chattanooga TN)
  3. Dollywood’s Smoky Mountain Christmas (Pigeon Forge TN)
  4. The Fantasy of Lights Christmas Parade (Gatlinburg TN)
  5. Smoky Mountains Winterfest (Sevierville TN)
  6. Light The Park (Farragut TN)
  7. Christmas at Graceland (Union City TN)
  8. Holiday Wonders at the Garden (Memphis TN)
  9. A Country Christmas at Gaylord Opryland Hotel (Nashville TN)
  10. Holiday Lights at Cheekwood Estate and Gardens (Nashville TN)

READ MORE: The 10 Best Smoky Mountains Hotels to Visit in NC & TN

Christmas Lights in Chattanooga TN

Christmas lights in Tennessee Chattanooga
Photo courtesy of Visit Chattanooga

1. Holiday Trail of Lights

Walnut St Pedestrian Bridge, Chattanooga TN • 423-756-8687

Official Website

Downtown Chattanooga will be all aglow with millions of lights from mid-November 2023 into early January 2024. In our experience, it’s one of the best places to see Christmas lights in Tennessee.

Boats, bridges, cliffs, streets, and storefronts will be fully decked with holiday spirit, celebrating the joy of the holiday season. For a real spectacle, the Walnut Street Pedestrian Bridge is a great place to start.

Stop by Winter Wonderland at the Chattanooga Choo Choo for a visit with Santa, then gaze at the artful displays in the EPB’s  Holiday Windows, a Christmas tradition that dates back to the 1940s.

Family-friendly fun can include a Ruby Falls cave tour to enjoy classic holiday decorations and activities, or climb aboard the Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum’s North Pole Limited Christmas Train for a jubilant two-hour train ride

Don’t leave town without wandering around Rock City’s Enchanted Garden of Lights, which is celebrating its 28th annual holiday light extravaganza this year.

Get lost in wonderment in all of their magical fantasy realms, including Yule Town, Arctic Kingdom, Magic Forest, North Pole Village, Fairyland Caverns, and a brand new Heart of the Mountain display. 

READ MORE: The 15 Best Things to Do in Lookout Mountain GA/TN

Christmas lights in Chattanooga TN
Photo courtesy of

2. Reindeer On The Riverfront and Lighted Boat Parade

850 Market Street, Suite 200, Chattanooga TN • 423-265-3700

Official Website

For the past 40+ years, the Tennessee River in Chattanooga has been lit up with thousands of twinkling lights for the holidays. You’ll see boats decked to the nines sailing along the river, drenching the water in colorful reflections. 

The 2023 Reindeer On The Riverfront event starts at 4 PM on November 24, and continues until 8 PM. Their ever-popular  Holiday Light Boat Parade takes place 6:30 and 7 PM, with extravagantly decorated boats to dazzle the eyes. 

Visit the Walnut Street Bridge for some of the best spots to take awesome pictures of the passing boats, but the event can be viewed from anywhere along the Chattanooga Riverfront. 

This free event includes live Reindeer, photos with Santa, and a fireworks display over the river at 8PM. There will also be plenty of food trucks to keep you fueled, as well as hot cocoa and adult beverages. 

Visitors can browse the holiday craft vendors for some Christmas gift ideas, and kids will enjoy the “Touch a Truck” experience with the Chattanooga Fire Department. 

READ MORE: 20 Ways to Celebrate Christmas in the Blue Ridge Mountains

Christmas Lights in Gatlinburg TN

Christmas in Pigeon Forge TN
Photo courtesy of

3. Dollywood’s Smoky Mountain Christmas

2700 Dollywood Parks Blvd, Pigeon Forge TN • 865-365-1900

Official Website

As if things weren’t already sparkly enough at Dollywood, they somehow become even more dazzling during Christmas in Pigeon Forge TN.

Dolly Parton’s 160-acre theme park will be strewn with over 6 million fairy lights from November 4, 2023, to January 6, 2024, with tickets ranging from $89-$129.

To see these Tennessee Christmas lights in style, hop aboard the Dollywood Express and enjoy a classic train ride, with Christmas music making spirits bright. 
Once you’re back at the station, make your way over to Santa’s Village and stop by Glacier Ridge on the way. Craftsman’s Valley is bursting with holiday colors, with dozens of decorated Christmas trees to fill your heart with wonder. 
If there’s still time, catch an old-fashioned holiday show such as “Christmas in the Smokies” and “Twas the Night Before Christmas,” or outdoor performances of “Appalachian Christmas” and “O Holy Night.”  
Christmas in Gatlinburg TN
Photo courtesy of

4. The Fantasy of Lights Christmas Parade

Baskins Creek Bypass and East Parkway, Traffic Light #3, Gatlinburg TN • 865-436-4178

Official Website

If you’re spending Christmas in the Smokies, plan on celebrating the 48th Annual Fantasy of Lights Christmas Parade in Gatlinburg TN on December 1, 2023.

The parade starts at 7:30PM in the heart of Gatlinburg, so try to arrive early to secure a good spot and settle in for a beloved holiday light extravaganza. 

You’ll see illuminated floats roll by and local bands blasting out Christmas music as they make their way through the magically-lit main street. There are huge balloons and, of course, the star of the show, Mr. Claus himself! 

And don’t miss the illumination ceremony for the Gatlinburg Christmas Tree, which happens at 7:25 PM on the Parkway Plaza at Traffic Light #3.

Christmas Lights in Knoxville TN

Christmas lights Sevierville TN
Photo courtesy of

5. Smoky Mountain Winterfest

110 Gary Wade Blvd., Sevierville TN • 865-453-6411

Official Website

Holiday joy will fill the mountain town of Sevierville (about 28 miles east of Knoxville TN) from November 10, 2023 to February 19, 2024.

This year, the Smoky Mountain Winterfest in Sevierville TN features hundreds of thousands of Christmas lights, as well as  a number of other festive attractions.

The 34th annual Christmas event offers visitors a chance to see a holiday show, eat great food, and get some Christmas shopping done. 

Take a drive through Shadrack’s Christmas Wonderland to experience colorful lights synchronized with music. It’s arguably one of the most immersive Christmas light shows in the USA!

From November 3 to February 18, 2024, you can visit SkyLand’s Festival of Lights at The Ranch for extravagant Christmas light displays and a scenic ride on a chairlift for epic scenic views. 

Finally, guests can hang out around their 25-foot-tall Christmas tree and join in on some joyous caroling, eating, drinking, and general holiday merriment. 

READ MORE: 10 Best Caverns and Underground Caves in Tennessee

Christmas lights in Knoxville TN
Photo courtesy of

6. Light The Park

Campbell Station Rd, Farragut TN • 865-218-3376

Official Website

Join fellow Christmas lovers from November 20, 2023 through Jan 1, 2024 for illuminated festivities at this Tennessee Christmas light show near Knoxville. 

The main events take place at the Campbell Station Inn and along Campbell Station Rd to Mayor Ralph McGill Plaza.

Light The Park festivities begin at 5:30 PM on November 20, with holiday-themed entertainment and a visit from a very special guest from the North Pole at 6:30 PM. The Christmas lights will be switched on promptly at 6:45.

Kids can drop off their letters to Santa at the big mailbox in Founders Park at Campbell Station, and there will be caroling as well as plenty of food trucks to choose from. 

Note that there is limited parking available, so guests are encouraged to park at the Farragut Community Center and the Westgate Christian Church.  

READ MORE: The 15 Best Waterfalls in Tennessee to Visit

Christmas Lights in Memphis TN

Christmas lights in Memphis TN
Photo courtesy of

7. Christmas at Graceland

830 Everett Blvd., Union City TN • 731-885-5455

Official Website

If you find yourself in Memphis at Christmas time, don’t miss out on a very special seasonal spectacle at Graceland, the world-renowned home of Elvis Presley.

From November 16, 2023 to January 8, 2024, visitors can experience the most extravagant and illustrious illuminations you’ll find in the area. 

The whole place is lit up in Christmas lights dazzling enough to please the king of rock ‘n’ roll. And if you visit Graceland in December, you can book a Christmas tour of the house to experience the holidays just like Elvis did!

These guided tours are available from 2-4 PM, with ticket price ranging from $42 to $73. For ultimate fans with a little cash to spare, there’s even a Christmas package that includes spending a night in Elvis’ Guest House. 

For those who just want to see some Memphis Christmas lights, check out the annual Holiday Lighting Ceremony at 6 PM on Nov 16, when thousands of blue Christmas lights will line the mansion’s driveway and illuminate a life-size Nativity.

READ MORE: The 10 Best Fairs in TN to Visit

Christmas in Memphis TN
Photo courtesy of

8. Holiday Wonders at the Garden

750 Cherry Rd, Memphis TN • 901-636-4100

Official Website

On select evenings from November 24 to December 30, 2023, the Memphis Botanic Garden in Audubon Park is in full glow for its Holiday Wonders at the Garden light exhibit.

This annual spectacle invites guests to bask in the glow of trees alight in the Under the Stars Outdoor Lounge, then journey into Snowy Nights in My Big Backyard to twirl beneath falling snow.

Here, kids can experience man-made snow in the famously snowless Memphis Winter!

Stop by Merry Memories to snap Insta-worthy holiday themed selfies at multiple photo-ops and Yuletide Yard to delight in sips & snacks and play light-up games. And don’t miss Santa’s sleigh in Northern Lights along the way.

The event runs from 5 PM to 8:30 PM on select evenings, and tickets range from $12-20 per person. Children under 2 are free.

READ MORE: The 10 Best Campgrounds in Tennessee to Visit

Christmas Lights in Nashville TN

Christmas lights in Nashville TN
Photo courtesy of

9. A Country Christmas at Gaylord Opryland Hotel

2800 Opryland Dr, Nashville TN • 615-889-1000

Official Website

There is so much fun to be had at the 2023 iteration of A Country Christmas at the Gaylord Opryland Hotel in Nashville.

This complete holiday experience includes a 20-40-minute walk through an immersive “Winter Wonderland” adventure.

Running from November 10, 2023 to January 1, 2024, the hotel will be filled with ice and so many twinkling lights (more 3 million!), making it the ultimate place to celebrate the holidays. 

You’ll find larger-than-life ice sculptures, as well as the chance to take a ride on The Polar Express. There are also frozen slides, ice tunnels to traverse, a 9,000-sq-foot ice skating rink. and visits from jolly ol’ St. Nick. 

All these events have different prices, depending on whether you’re a paying overnight hotel guest or not. Check rates and review their website for details. 

READ MORE: The Birthplace of Country Music Museum in Bristol TN/VA

Tennessee Christmas lights
Photo by Nathan Zucker courtesy of

10. Holiday Lights at Cheekwood Estate and Gardens

1200 Forrest Park Dr, Nashville TN • 615-356-8000

Official Website

The 2023 Holiday Lights at Cheekwood Estate & Gardens is billed as “Joyful, Jubilant, and Jolly.” From November 18 to January 7, 2024, guests are invited to stroll the one-mile path of illuminations through the garden

This classic Nashville Christmas tradition displays elegant lights to fill every heart with holiday cheer. Visitors can stop by vendor kiosks and get some hot cocoa, an adult beverage, or s’mores to roast on the fire. 

Their Holiday Marketplace can be found at the First Learning Center Great Hall, where there’s a 9-foot-tall garden-themed ornament wall and myriad holiday gifts and décor available for purchase.

Tickets for the event range from $12 to $31, depending on age and garden membership status. -by Emma Gallagher; featured image of Christmas at Rock City Enchanted Garden of Lights by Bret Love & Mary Gabbett

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We encourage anyone who loves the Blue Ridge region to learn about the Leave No Trace principles of responsible environmental stewardship. 

Stay on marked trails, take only pictures, pack out your trash, and be considerate of others who share the trails and parks you explore. 

Remember that waterfalls and rocky summits can be dangerous. Never try to climb waterfalls or get close to a ledge to get a selfie.

When you're exploring the wilderness, it's better to be safe than to be a statistic!

Born in Britain, writer/photographer Emma Gallagher lives in the Blue Ridge Mountains of NC on a permaculture homestead with her husband, Jonathon. While traveling the world for 13 years, she fell in love with the natural beauty of the Blue Ridge region when she lived at an artist retreat in Burnsville NC before moving to Brevard. Today Emma lives near Stone Mountain State Park and Doughton Park volunteers at the Surry County Fiddlers Convention, and cares for the gardens at the Reeves Downtown School of Music in Elkin. She's also a volunteer for the Elkin Valley Trails Association, which maintains segment 6 of the Mountains-to-Sea Trail.