10 Holiday Activities for the Family in Middle Tennessee

Photo of Ice! provided by Gaylord website.

Whether looking for something to do with the kids during the holidays or for out of town guests, Nashville and the surrounding area offer many events and activities. Here are ten favorite things to do during the holiday season. These events include lots of holiday lights, dancing, theater, art, history and more. 

1. Dancing Lights of Christmas

1033 Sparta Pike

Lebanon, Tennessee


Hours:  Sunday through Thursday, 5:00 p.m. until 10:00 p.m.

        Friday and Saturday, 5:00 p.m. until 11:00 p.m. 

The light show admission includes admission to Santa’s Village, a visit with Santa, and time in the petting zoo. The Dancing Lights of Christmas is open rain or shine. They are open seven days a week, with Saturday nights being the busiest and having the longest lines.

2. Ice! At Opryland

2800 Opryland Drive

Nashville, Tennessee

(615) 889-1000


Hours: November 10, 2023 through January 1, 2024

       Monday through Thursday, 12:00 p.m. until 8:00 p.m.
        Friday and Saturday, 10:00 a.m. until 10:00 p.m.
        Sunday, 10:00 a.m. through 8:00 p.m.

There is so much Christmas at Gaylord Opryland Resort during their annual celebration of A Country Christmas. They offer activities like ice tubing and bumper cars, live entertainment, and ICE! featuring The Polar Express™. Zoom down thrilling ice slides and see the awe-inspiring work of artisan ice sculptors who bring to life scenes from this beloved movie with brightly colored ice masterpieces. 

3. Zoolumination

3777 Nolensville Pike

Nashville, Tennessee

(615) 833-1534


Hours: November 11, 2023 through February 4, 2024, 5:00 p.m. until 9:00 p.m. 

Anheuser Busch presents the largest Chinese lantern festival in the country at the Nashville Zoo. It is open daily through January 7, and Thursday through Sunday until February 4.

4. Nashville Ballet’s Nutcracker

Jackson Hall, Tennessee Performing Arts Center

505 Deadrick Street

Nashville, Tennessee

 (615) 782-4040


Hours: Through December 24, Thursday through Sunday

        Thursdays, 7:00 p.m.

        Fridays and Saturdays, 2:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m.

        Sunday, 1:00 p.m. and some 6:00 p.m. performances

Inspired by the 2020 Emmy Award-winning film and named the Best Dance Production of 2022 by Broadway World Nashville, this is Nashville’s can’t-miss holiday event. A uniquely Nashville Ballet rendition of the timeless classic, Nashville’s Nutcracker features original choreography by Artistic Director Emeritus, Paul Vasterling, stunning costumes and sets, live music by the Nashville Symphony, and plenty of holiday magic for the whole family to enjoy! 

5. Nashville Children’s Theatre

25 Middleton Street

Nashville, Tennessee

(615) 254-9103


Hours: Through December 17, Saturdays and Sundays, 2:00 p.m. 

Nashville Children’s Theatre creates artistic experiences for everyone. Theatre can change the world, one audience at a time. Their performances help kids process real-world situations and build a foundation of empathy for their relationships and actions, now and in the future. And that means a better, kinder world for everyone. 

Currently, they are producing “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” based on the book by Roald Dahl. It tells the story of a few specially chosen children who find a golden ticket to allow them to see behind the walls of the mysterious Willy Wonka chocolate factory. 

6. Frist Art Museum

919 Broadway

Nashville, Tennessee

(615) 244-3340


Hours:  Monday, Friday and Saturday, 10:00 a.m. until 5:30 p.m.

         Thursday, 10:00 a.m. until 8:00 p.m.

         Sunday, 1:00 p.m. until 5:00 p.m. 

The Frist Art Museum was conceived as a place for people of all ages, backgrounds, and levels of knowledge to learn about art and deepen their awareness of its role in the world around us. By coming to the Frist Art Museum, people will view their world in new ways and gain a deeper understanding of how artistic expression and art (in all its forms) enrich our lives every day, from the clothes we wear to the vehicles we ride and the tools we use. They have programs designed specifically for kids and families.

7. Cheekwood Estate and Gardens

1200 Forrest Park Drive

Nashville, Tennessee

(615) 356-8000


Hours: Tuesday through Sunday, 9:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m.

Cheekwood is a 55-acre botanical garden and art museum located on the historic estate of Leslie and Mabel Cheek. Built in 1929, the home is one of the finest examples of an American Country Place Era estate. Since being converted into a museum of art and botanical garden in 1960, visitors have enjoyed family activities, programming for all ages and year-round festivals celebrating the four seasons. Now is the time to see their annual Christmas light display.

8. National Museum of African American Music

510 Broadway

Nashville, Tennessee

(615) 301-8724


Hours: Tuesday through Saturday, 10:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m.

         Sunday and Monday, 12:00 p.m. until 5:00 p.m. 

NMAAM is the only museum dedicated to preserving and celebrating the many music genres created, influenced, and inspired by African Americans. The museum’s collections share the story of the American soundtrack by integrating history and interactive technology to bring the musical heroes of the past into the present.

9. Country Music Hall of Fame

222 Rep. John Lewis Way South

Nashville, Tennessee

(615) 416-2001


Hours:  Open every day from 11:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. 

The Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum collects, preserves and interprets the evolving history and traditions of country music. Through exhibits, publications, and educational programs, the museum teaches its diverse audience about the enduring beauty and cultural importance of country music.

10. Andrew Jackson’s Hermitage

4580 Rachel’s Lane

Hermitage, Tennessee

(615) 889-2941


Hours: Open every day from 9:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. 

This 1,120-acre National Historic Landmark is presidential history in Nashville’s backyard. Home to the seventh president of the United States, here visitors learn about a leader who shaped this young nation’s future. Tour the Greek Revival-style mansion. Stroll through the garden fit for a First Lady. Hike trails with your four-legged friend and see more than 20 historic buildings.

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