Things to Do in Nashville in December

This post covers the top things to do in December in Nashville (updated for 2020), 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.

 

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TOP 10 EVENTS AND THINGS TO DO IN DECEMBER

This top 10 list has concerts, events, attractions, and festivals to check out during December.

Be sure to check out our popular Nashville posts: 


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: 

There will also be several performances at the Grand Ole Opry, including shows on Christmas Day!

Of course, in Nashville, you can find concerts happening every night of the week! Here are some of the most popular venues: 

Check out all the Nashville events here, or see what other nightlife you can find on our full post. 




2. Go to a Sporting Event

Nashville is a competitive city that loves its sports!

Check out the teams playing in Nashville this December.

 

 

Due to the pandemic, the NHL just finished up its season for 2019-2020, and they won’t be starting their new season until January 2021.

However, the The Tennessee Titans will be performing at least once in December, and limited tickets may be available. 

Take a look at all the events happening in December.

For more family-friendly activities, check out our full post. 


3. Enjoy the Theatre

Music City isn’t just all concerts. You can find theatre and ballet performances, too!

There will only be one major show to see this year, and it will be the Nashville Ballet performing The Nutcracker.

 

 

Due to the pandemic, most of the off-Broadway shows have been canceled or postponed, which means the only theatre taking place is produced by local companies.

Thankfully, the Nashville Ballet has a great reputation and their performance of The Nutcracker is sure to be a wonderful experience.

Find all of Nashville’s theatrical performances here

For more family-friendly things to do in Nashville in December, check out the kids’ section below. 


4. Attend WWE NXT

Wrestling fans will be happy to hear that WWE’s NXT is coming to Nashville on December 18th, just a week before Christmas.

This is an excellent opportunity to see the best young talent in the WWE performing in front of a live audience and working their way into the business.

 

 

This event was rescheduled from the end of March due to the pandemic, so there’s a possibility it may either be canceled or rescheduled again, but it’s still scheduled to take place as of this moment.

Purchase tickets or learn more.


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!

 

 

This event is still scheduled to take place between November 20th, 2020 – January 10th, 2021.

But, they have indicated their dates and hours may change depending upon CDC recommendations as a result of the pandemic.

According to current plants, the Cheekwood Holiday Lights will be open 7 nights a week, and this event will include a Reindeer Village, Children’s Wonderland, Trains, and more.


6. Experience ‘I Love Christmas Movies’

The Gaylord Opryland Resort & Convention Center will be hosting an incredible experience in 2020 which will allow visitors to literally walk through some of their favorite Christmas movies!

 

 

I Love Christmas Movies recreates scenes from several different holiday classics including Elf, A Christmas Story, National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation, Polar Express, and more.

This event is scheduled to take place from November 13th, 2020 – January 3rd, 2021, and tickets are limited due to the pandemic.

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!

Coming back this year is the Franktown Festival of lights, a mile of more than 50 beautiful Christmas displays.

Every night from Thanksgiving through December 26, 2020, drive down this row starting from 6:00 pm to catch the lights.

 

 

Tickets are $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. Annual Nashville Christmas Parade

Since 1927, the Nashville Christmas Parade has been something everyone can look forward to during the holiday season!

 

 

The parade will be going virtual for 2020 due to the pandemic. Tune into WKRN on Saturday, December 5th at 9 am to catch this event live!

There will be some incredible performers including dancer, choirs and marching bands.


9. Take Part in the Holiday Porter Flea Market

Every holiday season, the Porter Flea Market celebrates the holidays with a special pop-up market with dozens of vendors selling a variety of items to last-minute Christmas shoppers.

2020 will be a little different, but the event is still taking place on December 5th & 6th. Because of the pandemic, the Holiday Porter Flea Market will be entirely virtual.

 

Porter Flea Market Holiday Logo

 

Can you imagine doing some flea market shopping without even leaving the house? Well, that’s exactly what they’ll be doing this year!

If you’re looking for a unique Christmas gift, this might be your best opportunity to find something locally handmade and crafted in 2020.


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. 

 

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Featured on Various Passes: 

See our full tourist attraction discount pass comparison here.

 


THINGS TO DO AT NIGHT IN NASHVILLE

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


11. 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.

NOTE: You might be required to wear a mask or socially distance if the theatre is open in order to keep everyone safe during the pandemic.


12. Museums Open Late

Indoor activities are preferred on a chilly December night. Luckily, The George Jones Museum and the Frist Art Museum stay open late! 

The Frist Art Museum is open until 9:00 pm on Thursdays and Fridays and the George Jones Museum open 10:00 am to 10:00 pm most days, and open until 1:00 am on Fridays and Saturdays.

NOTE: If the museums are open late this year, you should expect certain procedures to be in place to help protect visitors from illness, such as mask requirements and social distancing protocols.


13. 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. 

NOTE: You may be required to observe social distancing or mask guidelines at local comedy clubs in Nashville due to the pandemic.


14. 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.

TIP: This event may be canceled or require you to wear a mask and observe social distancing due to the pandemic. 

For more free things to do in Nashville, check out our master post here

 


FREE THINGS TO DO IN NASHVILLE

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


15. 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 Saturday from 10 am – 5 pm and Sunday from 11 am – 4 pm.

There will be carriage rides, vintage craft demonstrations, foods to sample from the era, and more! To learn more, click here.

NOTE: There are currently no plans for this event to take place in 2020, but it will be returning in 2021.


16. Sightseeing Tours

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.


17. Great Smoky Christmas Arts & Crafts Show

Nov 24th-Dec 6th, 2020

There are some beautiful things to discover and buy at the Great Smoky Christmas Arts & Crafts Show!

Vendors will be at the Gatlinburg Convention Center Monday-Saturday from 10 am – 5 pm and Sunday from 10 am – 4 pm to display their unique handmade work.

You’ll find everything from quilts, hand-woven baskets, pottery, candles, and more that will make perfect holiday gifts!

Admission is free so bring the whole family!

NOTE: Although this is still currently scheduled to take place, there’s a chance it will be canceled or that social distancing/mask requirements will be put in place for 2020.


18. Tennessee’s Home for the Holidays

You’re invited to tour the governor’s home this winter at the annual Tennessee’s Home for the Holidays open house.

Take a tour of the Tennessee Residence that was built in 1929 and hear about the history of the home and see it dressed up for the holidays.

To learn more click here

NOTE: This event could be canceled for 2020.


THINGS TO DO WITH KIDS IN DECEMBER

Nashville is super family-friendly! There are also so many activity options available, there is sure to be something to fit everyone’s tastes.

 

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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.


19. Zoolumination: Chinese Festival of Lights

The Nashville Zoo lights up this December with the nation’s largest Chinese lantern festival.

Included in the holiday scenes made up of silk lanterns is a 200-foot-long dragon.

The display is open nightly from 5:00 – 9:00 pm from November 15 – December 30, with the exception of November 28, December 24, & December 25.

Tickets are $19 for adults, $14 for children (2-12), and free for children under 2. 

NOTE: This event might be canceled for 2020, but there are at least a few other holiday lights events taking place in Nashville this year which you will find in our Top 10.


20. 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 tours 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. 

NOTE: As of right now, the Tennessee State Capitol is still temporarily closed due to the pandemic. This activity might not be available during the 2020 holiday season.


21. 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 every Thursday and Saturday.

This event is geared towards children ages 3 to 6, and a staff member will read to the children. Free crafts are also supplied!

 


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About the author

Stephen is the CEO of Free Tours by Foot and has overseen the transformation of a local walking tour company into a global tour community and traveler’s advice platform. He has personally led thousands of group tours in the US and Europe, and is an expert in trip planning and sightseeing, with a focus on budget travelers.

Stephen has been published and featured in dozens of publications including The Wall Street Journal, BBC, Yahoo, Washington.org, and more.