Christmas Towns in Tennessee Guide
- Christmas in Chattanooga TN
- Christmas in Gatlingburg TN & Pigeon Forge TN
- Christmas in Knoxville TN
- Christmas in Memphis TN
- Christmas in Nashville TN
1. Christmas in Chattanooga TN
EPB’s Holiday Windows
One of our favorite Tennessee Christmas vacations is a trip to the Appalachian Mountain town of Chattanooga.
The city offers visitors lots of caves and caverns, stunning mountain views, and Civil War history throughout the year. But the Christmas lights and holiday decor make these adventures feel even more festive.
EPB’s Holiday Windows is a beloved Chattanooga Christmas tradition dating back to the World War II era.
On display from November 23, 2023 to January 1, 2024, this free Christmas event offers locals and visitors alike a welcome dose of holiday cheer.
Employees start decorating the building’s windows in the Summer so they’ll have time to finish the elaborate seasonal scenes. They can be viewed on the Broad Street and Market Street side of the EPB building.
Rock City’s Enchanted Garden of Lights
Located atop Lookout Mountain on the GA/TN border, Rock City’s Gardens are transformed every year into a Winter Wonderland that ranks among the best Christmas light displays in the state.
In addition to viewing 7 different states from one exceptionally scenic overlook, visitors can also wander down the Grand Corridor in Yule Town, explore the glittering ice in Arctic Kingdom, and marvel at the Magic Forest.
Tickets for the holiday event run from $17 to $32 (depending on age and peak or off-peak times). Note that you must book a specific entry time online, and tickets can be purchased in advance.
2. Christmas in Gatlinburg TN & Pigeon Forge TN
Fantasy of Lights Christmas Parade
These ever-popular Tennessee mountain towns are even more magical during the holidays, when the Christmas lights combine with the neon to create a fantastically festive glow.
This event draws around 80,000 people annually, so get there early if you want to get a good spot!
We recommend bringing hot cocoa and a blanket for warmth, then settling in to watch the festive floats, marching bands, giant balloons, and costumed Christmas characters parading down Gatlinburg’s Main Street.
Great Smoky Mountains Christmas Arts & Craft Show
For more fun during Christmas in Tennessee, visit the annual Great Smoky Mountains Christmas Arts & Craft Show.
Running from November 27 to December 3, 2023, the event is hosted by the Great Smoky Arts & Crafts Community, the largest organization of independent artisans in the USA.
Purchasing these handcrafted gifts is not only a great way to support the artists and crafters of the Smoky Mountains, but also offers unique gifts for everyone on your Christmas shopping list.
READ MORE: The 10 Best Things to Do in Gatlinburg TN
3. Christmas in Knoxville TN
If you fancy spending the holidays in East Tennessee this year, add the city of Knoxville to your itinerary for a memorable Christmas vacation in Tennessee.
Every year Downtown Knoxville transforms into one of the best Christmas towns in TN, offering everything from ice skating and holiday markets to scavenger hunts, eating/drinking along the Peppermint Trail, and more.
Children will love wandering around downtown Knoxville looking at the beautifully decorated storefront windows and sipping on hot cocoa, while adults can enjoy shopping and sipping craft cocktails by candlelight.
Kids can also keep a lookout for Santa’s scouts in 25+ businesses on the “Elf on the Shelf Adventure,” or try ice skating in the open rink under the stars while surrounded by glittering Christmas lights.
Whatever you do, don’t miss the Peppermint Grove in Market Square, which features a 42-foot-tall Christmas tree and lots of fun, festive photo opps!
Fantasy of Trees
For more than 3 decades now, the annual Fantasy of Trees has been raising proceeds for the East Tennessee Children’s Hospital in Knoxville TN.
After raising more than $1.3 million in 2022, the beloved Christmas festival is returning to the Knoxville Convention Center from November 22 to 26, 2023.
Guests can also peruse Christmas decorations, storefront windows, door designs, and an Adopt-a-Tree forest that was decorated by local school children. In short, it’s a great place to buy gifts that give back!
READ MORE: The 10 Best Things to Do in Bristol TN/VA
4. Christmas in Memphis TN
Starry Nights at Shelby Farms
For a festive Christmas experience, check out Starry Nights at Shelby Farms Park, a non-profit dedicated to preserving green spaces. This Memphis park offers 40+ miles of hiking trails, which can also be used for cycling.
Starting the day after Thanksgiving, they’re open on select nights from 6-10 PM (including Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, and New Year’s Eve).
Visit their website for dates and ticket prices, which range from $15.95 to $30 per vehicle.
Beale Street Holiday Parade
If you want to be part of one of the biggest Christmas parades in Tennessee, make plans to visit Memphis TN for the annual Beale Street Holiday Parade.
Starting at 2PM on December 9, 2023, this staple event of Christmas in Memphis makes its way through the Beale Street Entertainment District (best known for its hip music scene).
Locals and out-of-towners alike will line the sidewalks of Beale Street to immerse themselves in the magical Christmas town vibe, with festively decorated floats, marching bands, and Santa himself making an appearance.
There are also other Christmas parades in Memphis this year, including the Whitehaven Christmas Parade on November 18, Germantown Holiday Parade on December 9, and the Arlington Christmas Parade on December 16.
5. Christmas in Nashville TN
The city of Nashville is known for its sparkle. Come Winter, the twinkling lights and holiday cheer make this is a can’t- miss Christmas town in Tennessee!
Christmas at Gaylord Opryland ranks among the most fun things to do in Nashville TN around the holidays. From November 10, 2023 to January 1, 2024, the luxury hotel will be decked out as a magical Winter Wonderland.
Just remember to wrap up warm (they have cozy parkas for guests to borrow), as they’ll massive ice sculptures, frozen slides to whizz down, and ice tunnels to wind your way through.
Fans of the classic Polar Express film can climb aboard a replica train and travel to the North Pole to visit Santa’s Christmas Village, where you’ll see jolly ol’ St. Nick and his elves.
READ MORE: 10 Reasons to Ride the Bryson City Polar Express Train for Christmas
Cheekwood Estate & Gardens Holiday Lights
For an equally lovely way to celebrate Christmas in TN, make your way to Cheekwood Estate’s Holiday Lights, which runs from November 18, 2023 to January 7, 2024.
There will be extravagant holiday decor in the Cheekwood Mansion, as well as Christmas trees, a Poinsettia tree, and gingerbread houses. You can also enjoy S’mores, cocktails, and shopping at the Holiday Market Place.
Tickets for Holiday Lights at Cheekwood Estate & Gardens range from $12- $31, depending on what package you want, your age, and membership status. –by Emma Gallagher; lead image courtesy Visit Gatlinburg