Tennessee in the winter is unflappable, particularly in the month of December. It’s when we put up the big, beautiful Christmas trees and all the sugary candies you can consume. Intrigued? There is more! Depending on where you live in the state, these excursions are at least worthy of a day trip or a Tennessee winter vacation.
Tennessee provides a variety of stunning landscapes, activities, and, of course, holiday lights to dazzle and excite, from the lovely, snow-capped mountains in the east to Nashville, the center of country music, to a trip to Graceland in the west.
Best Places to Visit in Tennessee in December
Check out these fantastic winter destinations in Tennessee to learn about the excitement you shouldn’t miss. Tennessee celebrates Christmas in a distinctive way! Nashville offers a lot of sights and activities in December. Here are a few of our preferred wintertime pastimes:
1. Memphis’ Christmas at Graceland
If you get the chance to visit Graceland all decked out for that most lovely time of the year, you shouldn’t miss the most amazing time of the year in Memphis.
Graceland is worthwhile to visit at any time of the year, but the holiday season is especially enchanted. Please visit the Graceland website to view the lights and to purchase your tickets.
2. Winterfest in Pigeon Forge
The entire town comes together to create one of the most artistic Christmas displays ever. Along with the gorgeous lights, Pigeon Forge Winterfest is packed with events and activities.
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For additional information, be sure to check out the Pigeon Forge Winterfest website. Ride The Great Smoky Mountain Wheel for a fantastic perspective point.
3. Chattanooga’s Rock City’s Enchanted Garden of Lights
You need a ticket for this charming Chattanooga custom, but the enchanted lights that drape Rock City are a sight you shouldn’t miss.
Check out what they did for Rock City’s Enchanted Garden of Lights in 2020 to get a glimpse of how it was in the past. Please go to Rock City’s Enchanted Garden of Lights website to purchase your tickets.
4. Gatlinburg’s Eight Mile Craft Loop
Why do eight miles of trails only get infinitely better in the winter? You now have a reason to buy everything, after all. Visit the Great Smoky Art and Crafts website to learn more about this age-old artistic heritage.
5. Memphis’ Starry Nights
Starry Nights, a breathtaking drive-through display of Christmas lights, is held in Shelby Farms Park. Shelby Farms has a lot to offer during the day, but at night, it becomes quite magical. Make sure you purchase your tickets from the Starry Nights website.
6. Opryland Inn
If you’re in Nashville in December, make your way to the Opryland Hotel for the grand holiday celebration. It is undoubtedly a visual feast and will convert even the most cynical Scrooge or Grinch into a carol-singing believer.
Three million holiday lights and acres of holiday decorations make this more than simply a light show. There are also ongoing celebrations and festivities for approximately two full months of the year.
While there are fees associated with staying at the hotel and some events require a ticket, visiting the hotel to take a stroll and enjoy the festive atmosphere is completely free.
7. Holiday Lights at Cheekwood Gardens
One of Nashville’s best places to see holiday lights is Cheekwood Gardens. The Mile of Lights is open to guests every evening.
Visitors can visit Santa, make ceramic ornaments, sing seasonal carols, participate in a gingerbread workshop, and more, in addition to admiring the brilliant lights.
8. Dollywood’s Smoky Mountain Christmas
I’m a little bit of a theme park junkie, and I’m surprised to say that Dollywood is among the greatest ones I’ve seen. The performances and attractions are enjoyable, the rides are great—especially for a little theme park—and it’s close to the best national park!
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One of the nicest things to do in Tennessee in December is to experience Christmas at Dollywood, which is a bit extra special.
It seems that for the past ten years, Dollywood’s Smoky Mountain Christmas has won the award for “Best Christmas Event” at any theme park worldwide. With four million lights, unique holiday performances, and a festive mood, it makes perfect sense.
Chattanooga in the winter is a fantastic destination to visit in Tennessee. The city is transformed into a winter wonderland, appropriate for every type of vacation. The Enchanted Garden of Lights in Chattanooga is one of the city’s highlights.
These magnificently designed gardens are nestled atop the Lookout Mountains, about 6 miles from downtown Chattanooga. Yule Town, Magic Forest, North Pole Village, and Arctic Kingdom are four unique “realms of wonder” in the gardens. Throughout the trails, there is also live music and amusing activities.
10. The Heart of Knoxville
If you’re in the Knoxville area in the winter and are looking for a pleasant day trip location, Market Square downtown is a fantastic choice. Strong Alley/Graffiti Alley, which runs alongside the square, is home to some beautiful murals and street art as well as numerous restaurants, stores, and events.
During the holidays, Market Square is transformed into a winter wonderland with enormous Christmas trees, an outdoor ice rink, and seasonal art pieces.
Tennessee might not be the best place to spend the winter. However, the state is just as enjoyable in the winter as it is at any other time of the year because of the snowy surroundings and the enchanted holiday season.
If skiing, viewing Christmas lights, exploring indoor exhibits, and attending plays are your preferred pastimes, you can choose to stay outside.