Everything You Can Do in Nashville This Holiday Season
Consider this our gift to you.
If you’re enthused at the thought of creeping along in your car while listening to holiday music and watching twinkling lights, have we got some good news for you. In these socially distanced times, that sort of experience has become an extremely popular safe way to get in the holiday spirit during the COVID-19 pandemic. Fortunately, there are also plenty of extravehicular activities to enjoy a little holiday cheer in Nashville, ranging from rooftop snuggle huts to holiday concerts to the chance to say howdy to a real live reindeer. Have fun and stay safe!
Last year, one of the most popular dining experiences in town were date nights in the heated igloos on the rooftop of Bobby Hotel. Who knew that they would turn out to be de rigueur in the face of social distancing? Well, they’re back accepting 90-minute blocks of reservations for up to five diners to enjoy seasonal food and drink. For larger pod parties, there’s also a cabin for up to ten people or you can rent out the entire 1956 Scenicruiser bus perched atop the hotel for a road trip to nowhere.
Cost: $250 food and drink minimum
Christian music’s top selling act for more than a decade, Casting Crowns will bring two nights worth of their hits plus holiday classics to the Mother Church of Country Music, the iconic Ryman Auditorium. They’re also fantastic musicians, so they should put on their best shows here in Music City. If you’re not up to live music crowds yet, they’re offering access to a livestream for just twenty bucks.
Cost: $89 and up
Normally, the cars at the Fairgrounds Speedway drive fast and turn left. But for the holidays, you can take your own hot rod for a slow meander along a two-mile track of computerized light displays. Listen to remixes of holiday classics on your car stereo while passing through holiday tableaus of twinkling beauty.
Cost: $45 and up
Afternoon high tea in the lobby of the opulent Hermitage Hotel is one of the refined treats of any weekend in Nashville. In honor of the holidays, the event has been converted to a special Nutcracker tea with special treats like classic Yule Log cake and thumbprint cookies plus seasonal entertainment. It’s the perfect treat for well-behaved children who want to live like Eloise at the Plaza.
Texas troubadour Robert Earl Keen wrote the quintessential ode to dysfunctional family holidays with his 1994 classic, “Merry Christmas from the Family.” He’s expanded the sideways message of that song to an entire evening of family-friendly entertainment that he’s touring around the country. Get your extended fam together for a night of delightful wackiness at the Ryman.
Cost: $89 and up
Live music brunches are always a treat in Nashville, but The Listening Room is raising the stakes with a special guest at their Santa Brunch. They’ll host two morning seatings with shows at 10:30 and 12:30 with a full menu of brunchy food and drink, plus St. Nick will be available before and after the show for free photos with the kids.
Take the short trip down Highway 70 to Kingston Springs for this series of Saturday holiday markets at the Land, a bucolic garden center/gift emporium. Pick out a tree, buy some fresh wreaths and garland, enjoy live musical entertainment and food from K-Town BBQ. Most of all, experience the great outdoors while you cross off a few items from your holiday gift list.
Turn up your seat heater as you sit in your vehicle and drive along more than a mile of track laid out around the Williamson County Ag Center. There will be holiday tunes streaming over your sar radio synchronized with more than 50 different light installations to get you in the mood.
Cost: $25 and up
One of our favorite new downtown bars is Jane’s Hideaway, a throwback to the days when Printer’s Alley was the debaucherous hub of Nashville’s social scene. For the holidays, Jane’s crew has taken over the sixth floor rooftop to create an over-the-top Christmas-themed cocktail bar with a menu of seasonal drinks. Remember, Santa delivers to the top floor first.
Blake Shelton’s Ole Red entertainment complex on Lower Broad has quickly become a magnet for locals and tourists alike. The multi-level bar is topped by a rooftop deck called The Lookout, which will convert to a Polynesian-themed bar for the holidays. Tiki Tidings showcases tropical food and drink items to help take the chill off plus live music with the occasional Christmas song mixed in, tiki decor and all sorts of Instagrammable photo props to help you go viral.
Another year, another edition of the popular Reindeer Games holiday pop-up experience at HQ Beercade. Return visitors will recognize some of the crazy abundance of holiday decorations and even some of the seasonal cocktails like Ho Ho Cocoa and The Naughty List, but there are a few new changes this year. The fun will be spread a little further apart for safe seating, and special family hours will let young ones marvel at the lights during the afternoon. They’ll also be showing classic holiday movies and television shows on their massive screen including a marathon of Hallmark movies.
It’s not too long of a drive out to the Wilson County Fairgrounds in Lebanon, and once you get there you’ll be rewarded with an amazing display of more than two million dancing lights that you can enjoy from the warmth of your own vehicle. The fairgrounds have been putting this spectacular on for more than a decade now, so they’ve got the user experience down pat.
In the escalating arms race to see who can string the most holiday lights, it’s tough to beat the massive Gaylord Opryland Resort who pretty much starts checking bulbs for next year the day after Christmas to be ready with their millions of twinklers. It’s free to park at the mall next store and walk over to see all the lights, but don’t forget about their ticketed Country Christmas activities that range from a holiday dinner show featuring the Oak Ridge Boys to an immersive walk through famous holiday movie sets and dioramas to ice tubing, skating, and bumper cars.
Cost: $13 and up
Santa keeps some of his back-up reindeer at the Gaylord Opryland Resort, kinda like a spare tire in the trunk. While they wait to get called up to the big leagues, you can visit with them and learn all sorts of fun facts about these most magical of hoofers.
Holiday Lights at Cheekwood has become an absolute fixture on the December calendar. Bring your sweetheart or your family for a stroll around the lovely grounds of the botanical gardens amongst the thousands of lights, a massive poinsettia tree, the walk-through Trains! dancing lights exhibit and a new children’s wonderland. Dress warm or snuggle close around the s’more fire pits.
Cost: $9 and up
Sure, skiing is fun and all, but the nearest ski mountain that isn’t just an icy hill is a pretty long plane ride from Nashville. Wouldn’t you rather just eliminate the possibility of injury and start the afterparty anyway? The Lodge on the 14th floor of the new Virgin Hotel on Music Row has created a magical winter wonderland with heated cabins, holiday decor, fire pits and s’mores kits, hot cocktails, and fake snow wafting from the rafters.
Cost: $100 rental fee plus $400 food & drink minimum
L27 is the sleek and sultry rooftop pool lounge looming over downtown atop the Westin. Ordinarily, the pool deck is like a slice of Miami in Music City, but for the holidays it takes on more of an ice cave vibe, with blue and white decor and fur-covered furnishings. Live like a Laplander while you enjoy special seasonal food and drink.
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