This post covers the top things to do in December in Nashville (updated for 2022), including nighttime activities, free things to do, and family-friendly options.
Be sure to read our master post on things to do in Nashville for even more ideas.
This top 10 list has concerts, events, attractions, and festivals to check out during December.
Be sure to check out our popular Nashville posts:
- Hop-On Hop-Off Tours
- Tourist Attraction Discount Passes
- Country Music Hall of Fame Discounts
- Madame Tussauds Nashville
- Andrew Jackson's Hermitage Discounts
1. See a Concert
If you’re looking for a concert, Music City is the place to find it. You can find all the concerts in Nashville here.
We've listed some of the biggest names below:
- The Mavericks | December 1st, 2nd
- JD McPherson | December 1st, 2nd
- Maren Morris | December 2nd
- Jelly Roll | December 9th
- LeAnn Rimes | December 10th
- Trans-Siberian Orchestra | December 14th
- Smokey Robinson | December 16th
- Amy Grant/Vince Gill | December 17th, 18th, 20th
- Widespread Panic | December 30th
Also, the Allman Family Revival will be taking place at Ryman Auditorium on December 9th.
There will also be several performances at the Grand Ole Opry.
Of course, in Nashville, you can find concerts happening every night of the week! Here are some of the most popular venues:
2. Go to a Sporting Event
Nashville is a competitive city that loves its sports!
Check out the teams playing in Nashville this December.
The Nashville Predators will be playing multiple home games this month, giving hockey fans plenty of opportunities to see a live NHL game.
The The Tennessee Titans will be playing three home games, although tickets are selling fast.
Take a look at all the events happening in December.
For more family-friendly activities, check out our full post.
3. Experience the Nashville Symphony
The Nashville Symphony will be performing two holiday themed concerts during the month of December, in addition to other shows.
The first show will be Handel's Messiah, a beloved oratorio. This takes place December 8th, 9th, and 10th at Shermerhorn Symphony Center.
In addition, you may also enjoy a Music City Christmas which will include several popular holiday songs, dancers, Broadway singers, and even an appearance from Santa himself!
This show will run from December 15th - 18th, and it's a perfect idea for families who want to celebrate Christmas in a memorable way.
4. See Backstage Nashville
If you're in Nashville for the country music, you won't want to miss this show.
This new and popular event features some of Nashville's hottest upcoming singers, as well as the folks who write their songs.
This is the place to visit if you want to catch a rising star, or hear from people who have written for the likes of Garth Brookes, Willie Nelson, Bonnie Raitt and more.
The show takes place at 3rd and Lindsley Bar & Grill on December 3rd and on December 10th.
5. See the Cheekwood Holiday Lights
Every year, the Cheekwood Estate & Gardens hosts a holiday lighting event throughout the month of December with more than a million lights spread across 55 acres of botanic gardens!
The Cheekwood Holiday Lights is open seven nights a week, and has included a Reindeer Village, Children's Wonderland, Trains, and more.
The dates for 2022 haven't been released yet but the event usually runs between late November and early January.
6. Experience a Gaylord Opryland Christmas
The Gaylord Opryland Resort & Convention Center will be hosting several incredible experiences in 2022 which will help visitors get into the holiday spirit.
The Oak Ridge Boys will be performing a "Christmas in Tennessee" dinner show between November 23rd and December 25th.
There will also be plenty of activities for families with children.
From November 11th - December 20th, Rudolph's Holly Jolly Breakfast takes place, with games, a sing-a-long, and of course, breakfast.
A Reindeer Games Scavenger Hunt, one that features Rudolph and the Misfit Toys, takes place each day from November 11th - January 1st
There will also be ice sculpture carving, ice tubing, gingerbread decorating, ice skating, a snowball build & blast, the chance to take photos with Santa, and a Christmas fountain show.
This is sure to be one of the best family activities in Nashville, so we recommend getting your tickets as soon as possible!
7. FrankTown Festival of Lights
We love a good holiday light display, especially one we can enjoy from the warmth of our car!
The Franktown Festival of Lights opens on November 18th, 2022, at the Williamson County Ag Expo Center.
Tickets are usually around $25 per car and the proceeds benefit Franktown Open Hearts. Get your ticket here.
For a full list of things to do at night in Nashville, check out our full post here.
8. Zoolumination: Chinese Festival of Lights
The Nashville Zoo lights up this December with the country's largest Chinese lantern festival, Zoolumination.
There will be over 500 custom-made silk lanterns dotted across 60 acres, including a 200-foot-long dragon!
The display is open nightly from 5:00 - 9:00, on select dates between November 18th and January 22nd.
Tickets are $19 for adults, $15 for children (2-12), and free for children under the age of 2.
The is truly one event the whole family will enjoy.
9. See The Nutcracker
Music City isn’t just all concerts. You can find theatre and ballet performances too!
The Nashville Ballet will performing The Nutcracker on select dates between December 9th and December 24th, 2022.
The Nashville Ballet has a great reputation and their performance of The Nutcracker is sure to be a wonderful experience.
For more family-friendly things to do in Nashville in December, check out the kids' section below.
10. Save Money with a Nashville Tourist Attraction Discount Pass
With all the exciting things there are to do in Music City, we suggest getting a tourist city pass for Nashville.
All-inclusive passes are available, and others can include up to 55% discounts on retail prices for select attraction admission, gift shops, and restaurants.
Featured on various passes:
See our full tourist attraction discount pass comparison here.
Nashville has some incredible things to do after dark in December, including the concerts at the venues we've listed in our Top Ten section above.
Here are a few more night time activities for the month of December.
For more nighttime activities, visit our post on things to do at night in Nashville.
Find a Film at Belcourt Theatre
Escape the December cold at the Belcourt Theatre. This is a nonprofit historic movie theatre and film center that has been in operation since the 1920s.
You can find showings for big Hollywood movies, small screenings from independent filmmakers, or special re-releases of classics.
To see what's on and to buy tickets, visit the Belcourt Theatre website.
Visit a Comedy Club
While most big cities have comedy clubs, each is unique to their location. It's a great way to meet locals and get a sense of a city.
In Nashville, Zanies has been around for over 30 years and it a great place to catch a stand-up routine.
Professional comedians from across the country pass through its doors, and you can catch a show almost every night of the week.
There's also food and drink available to turn it into dinner and a show.
Beer, Bands, and Bingo
Come out every Tuesday to Fat Bottom Brewing for a night of beer, bands, and bingo!
Along with a great show, there will be plenty of prizes to win as you bingo the night away. It's free to attend and there's no registration necessary!
Learn more here.
For more free things to do in Nashville, check out our master post here.
Music City New Year's
Want to celebrate the last day of the year with some great country music and a fun crowd?
Try Nashville's Big Bash, a free event with live music (expected in 2022 are Brooks and Dunn, Kelsea Ballerini, and the Zac Brown Band) as well as fireworks.
The event takes place at Bicentennial Capital Mall State Park, on December 31st.
Be sure to let your friends and family at home know to keep an eye out for you because the event will be filmed and shown live on CBS.
Nashville has a bunch of free stuff to do year-round. We've mentioned some in our other sections, like the Beer, Bands, and Bingo event.
For even more budget-friendly ideas, check out our post on free things to do in Nashville.
Dickens of a Christmas
Historic Downtown Franklin is hosting this free street festival that takes you back to the time of Charles Dickens.
As you stroll through you'll recognize the beloved characters of Dickens' stories like Ebenezer Scrooge, Tiny Tim, and more! Most of the activities are free, though some do cost a small fee.
The event takes place on December 10th (at 10:00 am) and 11th (at 5:00 pm).
There will be carriage rides, vintage craft demonstrations, foods to sample from the era, and more! To learn more, click here.
Free Nashville Tours has the best reviews for a tips-based tour of Music City’s downtown. The tour lasts 90 minutes and is led by a local born and bred Nashvillian.
The tour is a nice welcome to the city with many recommendations for other things to do and places to eat/drink/dance, but it is light on history.
There is a lot of history in downtown Nashville to cover in 90 minutes so if you’re interested in some of the hidden stories, check out our self-guided tour to downtown Nashville.
Mt. Juliet's Vendor and Craft Fair
Now celebrating their 10th year, the Mt. Juliet Home for the Holidays' craft fair takes place at Mt. Juliet Community center.
The event is free to enter, and takes place on November 12th, 2022.
There will be over 70 vendors, a silent auctions, swag bags, music and Santa!
Nashville is super family-friendly! There are also so many activity options available, there is sure to be something to fit everyone's tastes.
A few activities we've listed above like visiting the museums open late listed in our nighttime section above are perfect for the whole family!
Be sure to read our master post on things to do with kids in Nashville for even more ideas.
Visit the Tennessee State Capitol
Visiting the Tennessee State Capitol is a great educational way to spend the day, plus it's free!
Built in 1859, it's one of the oldest state capitol buildings in the country.
You can even go on a free guided tour of the historic State Capitol and the grounds surrounding the building.
Tours take place Monday-Friday on the hour from 9:00 am to 3:00 pm (skipping 12pm).
For more free things to do in Nashville in December, check out our free section above.
Storytime at the Tennessee State Museum
The Tennessee State Museum is a free museum and has the most comprehensive display of the state's history.
While great for all ages, they also host a storytime for children once a week.
This event is geared towards children ages 3 to 6, and a staff member will read to the children. Free crafts are also supplied!
For additional kids-related activities at the music, visit their children's page.
Franklin Christmas Parade
In Franklin, just outside of Nashville, there will be a small tour Christmas Parade.
On December 3rd, between 2:00 pm and 5:00 pm, the parade travels down Main Street, welcoming Santa to their city.
Also in Franklin, on November 8th and 8th, is a Flashlight Candy Cane Hunt.