Dazzling holiday light displays in Middle Tennessee to brighten up the season

bundle of Christmas tree lights

Light up your holidays, Nashville.

A favorite pastime of families in the Southeast is driving around aimlessly looking for houses decorated with an absurd amount of Christmas lights and lawn ornaments.

Whether you’re a novice light hanger or a pro like Clark Griswold in National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation, there are plenty of great places to experience some dazzling displays of holiday cheer with your family this holiday season in Middle Tennessee.

These annual sparkling, twinkling displays — all in celebration of the Christmas holiday — are enough to keep you coming back year after year. So, dress the kids in their jammies, throw some hot chocolate in a thermos and load up the minivan. Pick a place you have never visited and create some holiday memories for your whole family.

Listed below are some of the best holiday lights and wondrous displays that Nashville and the surrounding region have to offer during the Christmas season.

Connect with Michael Aldrich on LinkedIn or follow him on Twitter @michaelwaldrich.

Cheekwood’s Holiday LIGHTSCheekwood’s Holiday LIGHTS

1200 Forrest Park Dr
Nashville, TN 37205

Dates: Nov. 23 – Jan. 5

Times: 5:00-10:00 p.m. (Closed Thanksgiving & Christmas day)

Price: $15 adult, $10 child

Cheekwood’s Holiday LIGHTS is set to open November 23. Featuring a one-mile-long path of lights, the carefully planned course offers holiday experiences designed to appeal to all ages. Now in its fifth year, the popular wintertime program attracted more than 60,000 visitors in 2018.

Guests can expect to see returning favorites like live reindeer, s’mores stations, seasonal cocktails and nightly performances from holiday carolers.  Families can meet Santa every evening in December leading up to Christmas, as well as on Saturday mornings. Additionally, guests can sign up for various activities including gingerbread classes, ornament painting, and greenery workshops.

New this year, Cheekwood will introduce Pinnacles of Light, an outdoor display showcasing 17 custom-made LED trees with programmed lights. The estate and garden will also roll out a new poinsettia wall, antique train display and pet portraits with Santa.

“With one million lights in the gardens and a new custom installation, this year’s display is sure to dazzle our guests,” said Peter Grimaldi, vice president of gardens for Cheekwood. “Our team has worked tirelessly to prepare a lights experience designed specifically to complement Cheekwood’s sprawling landscape, and we can’t wait to welcome visitors of all ages to enjoy it.”

chad's winterChad’s Winter Wonderland

791 Old Laguardo Rd E
Lebanon, TN 37087

Dates: Nov. 28 – Dec. 27

Times: 6:00-10:00 p.m.

Price: $15 per car

Open nightly from Thanksgiving through New Year’s Eve, Chad’s Winter Wonderland in Lebanon is just a half-hour drive northeast of Nashville—and totally worth the trip. Along with over two million Christmas lights, the attraction features a drive-through Santa house (with a real Santa inside), Dancing Snowman, live animals, a drive thru Nativity Scene, a Christmas train and new LED displays.

For decades, Chad Bernard has been putting up this drive-through holiday light display, one of the nation’s largest, and it’s become one of the region’s residents’ favorite places for a fun family outing. Chad’s may close during inclement weather. Otherwise, you can enjoy the lights from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. each night.

gaylord opryland lightsGaylord Opryland’s Country Christmas

2800 Opryland Dr
Nashville, TN 37214

Dates: Nov. 21 – Jan. 1

Times: 4-12 a.m.

Price: Free

Over three million Christmas lights draw visitors from near and far to see this annual spectacular at Gaylord Opryland, a tradition among locals and always a favorite that’s completely free of charge to attend.

While there, you can also check out the “ICE! featuring Dr. Suess’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas” performances and Christmas display. The resort offers package deals for a holiday stay.

Dancing Lights of ChristmasThe Dancing Lights of Christmas

945 E Baddour Pkwy
Lebanon, TN 37087

Dates: Nov. 16 – Jan. 4

Times: 5:00 p.m. – 12:00 a.m.

Price: $30 per vehicle (Includes kid’s activities in Santa’s Village)

Also located in Lebanon, The Dancing Lights of Christmas is a scenic driving tour through the James E. Ward Agricultural Center where visitors get to view numerous lighted displays celebrating the Christmas season.

Activities include getting pictures taken with Santa, pony rides, jumping high in the spider jump machine, climbing the rock wall, or taking a ride on a Christmas train. There’s also a special store on site for Christmas gift shopping featuring delicious treats and locally handcrafted items.

With a 2.5 mile route and over two million lights dancing to the music on the radio, each visit will be a new experience. It’s a great evening for the entire family​!

Christmas wonderlandChristmas Wonderland

3540 Line Dr
Kodak, TN 38305

4 Fun Pl
Jackson, TN 37764

Dates: Nov. 8 – Jan. 5

Times: 6:00-10:00 p.m.

Price: $25 per vehicle

This Music Valley drive-thru, fully-computerized LED light and music show is a one-of-a-kind experience from Shadrack Productions found about two hours east or west along I-40 at either the Tennessee Smokies Baseball Stadium in Kodak or the Ballpark at Jackson in Jackson.

At both locations, visitors will enjoy hundreds of thousands of energy-saving LED lights performing in perfect synchronization with the fantastic holiday tunes either by automobile or by horse-drawn carriage at Jellystone Park. Guests can also enjoy Santa’s Village, photos with Santa, “Hey, Hey, Hey!” rides with Yogi Bear, an open fire complete with s’mores, hot dogs, hot cocoa, and other fun activities nightly through January 6, 2019.

christmas on cumberlandChristmas on Cumberland

640 N Riverside Drive
Clarksville, TN 37040

Dates: Nov. 19 – Jan. 1

Times: Sun. through Thurs. 5:00-10:00 p.m., Fri. through Sat. 5:00-11:00 p.m.

Price: Free

About an hour northwest of Nashville on I-24, over one million Christmas Lights are on display in the City of Clarksville’s annual festival of lights at McGregor Park.

Every year this event attracts over 10,000 people to this small city where the Montgomery County Park’s RiverWalk is decorated with several holiday light displays, including giant toy soldiers, animated toys and a tunnel of lights.

The City of Clarksville is also putting on several events throughout the month of December in the park, including caroling, making reindeer food, Christmas card creations, letters to Santa, gingerbread house building, elf school relays and ornament making.

Franktown Festival of Lights at Williamson County Ag CenterFranktown Festival of Lights at Williamson County Ag Center

4215 Long Lane
Franklin, TN 37064

Dates: Nov. 22 – Dec. 28

Times: Sun. through Thurs. 5:00-10:00 p.m., Fri. through Sat. 5:00-11:00 p.m.

Price: $25 per car

Franktown Open Hearts, a nonprofit that serves inner-city at-risk youth and their families in Franklin, will once again host Franktown Festival of Lights with over a mile-long Christmas-spirited experience that features thousands of sparkling holiday lights and new this year, Santa’s Village Nov. 22–Dec. 28 nightly from 6:00-10:00 p.m. at The Williamson County Ag Center.

In its second year, the Franktown Festival of Lights is Williamson County’s only drive-thru light spectacular. Attendees can relax in the comfort of their own car and wind their way through more than 200 light displays while listening to Christmas classics on the radio, some of which will be synchronized with the displays.

New to this year’s route is Lee Company’s Santa’s Village where families can get their photo with Santa, enjoy hot drinks and cookies, camel rides for the kids, holiday activities and a petting zoo.

Hoover Lights Chapel HillHoover Lights Chapel Hill

1390 Neil Rd
Chapel Hill, TN 37034

Dates: Nov. 29 – Dec. 25

Times: 5:00-10:00 p.m. daily

Price: $25 per car

Now over a decade old, Lights on Old Charlotte is located in Franklin, Tennessee and offers a computerized Christmas display with, at last count, over 80,000 Lights, 7,500 Channels of Light-O-Rama computer control (invented in Tennessee), and 21 Channels of DMX Control. The show is broadcasted over a Low-Power FM Transmitter that can be heard on 89.9FM.

Founders and organizers Chad and Kelsi Hoover moved to Spring Hill, Tennessee in 2012, but the couple and their family continue to create the dazzling display in Franklin each year. For the past five, though, they’ve also expanded to have a “Lights on Sparrow Street” display at their Spring Hill home.

In 2018, Lights on Sparrow Street took a year off while Chad and Kelsi were building a new house in Chapel Hill, TN. It was also the final year of a large display at Lights on Old Charlotte. Both displays, now known as “Hoover Lights,” will be combined for one amazing show at our new location in Chapel Hill.

Planning, synchronizing the lights, putting them up, and taking them down is a lot of work, but seeing the joy it brings to our communities makes it all worth it. It truly has become a family tradition, and the Hoovers plan to continue for years to come.

Festival of Lights Drive-thru Holiday Event at Drakes Creek ParkFestival of Lights Drive-thru Holiday Event at Drakes Creek Park

120 E Main St
Hendersonville, TN 37075

Dates: Dec. 1 – 15

Times: 5:00-9:00 p.m. daily

Price: Free

The Hendersonville community has the opportunity to enjoy some holiday festivities with the Festival of Lights Drive-thru Holiday Event at Drakes Creek Park. After looking at the lights, make sure to stop at Demos’ Restaurant for a discount on your meals by showing the tickets.

So, load up the car, drive to the park and get in the holiday spirit while staying warm! This NEW event is presented by HolidayFest, Ultimate Party Super Store, and Hendersonville Parks and Recreation. For more information, please contact the Parks Department at 615-822-3898.

Winter Wonderland at J. Travis Price Park Winter Wonderland at J. Travis Price Park 

4155 Wilks Rd
Springfield, TN 37075

Dates: Dec. 13, 14, 20 and 21

Times: 5:30-9:00 p.m.

Price: Free

Great outdoor family event. Free admission. Follow the lighted candy cane trails at J. Travis Price Park to enjoy festive holiday scenes, decorations, music, feed the animals in the petting zoo (feed machines on site). Santa is waiting for you in the historic cabin. Free hot chocolate (while supplies last). Lots of family photo opportunities.

London’s Lights in LaVergneLondon’s Lights in LaVergne

1001 Ash Cir
LaVergne, TN 37086

Dates: Nov. 28 – Jan. 1

Times: 5:00-10:00 p.m. daily

Price: Free

London’s Lights is a nonprofit organization that provides a beautiful Christmas Light display and facilitates toy donations to under resourced families and children’s hospitals. It was birthed out of the tragic loss of the founder’s daughter, London Jade Henn.

Gill’s Bright LightsGill’s Bright Lights

288 Lake Terrace Dr
Hendersonville, TN 37075

Dates: Dec. 1 – 31

Times: 5:00-10:30 p.m. daily

Price: Free

Gill’s Bright Lights display contains over 60,000 magical lights synchronized to music. We use 144 Channels Light-O-Rama to control the lights in Nashville, TN. This year we are collecting cash donations for the Make A Wish Foundation.

Please visit our site for more Information, Pictures, Videos, and Directions to our Display. Merry Christmas & Happy Holidays. They start decorating the house, bushes and windows in October but start planning next years before this year’s is even done!

Pattarino design nativity, Italy 20th CNativity Scenes Display

1908 Grand Ave
Nashville, TN 37212

Contact: 615-340-7200

The Upper Room Chapel brings back its collection of nativity scenes, called “Night of the Child Nativity Exhibit,” with over 150 renditions from 40 different cultures around the world in the Chapel Museum from November through January each year.

Although there aren’t any Christmas lights in the exhibit, this stunning display is a perfect reminder of the “reason for the season,” and while you’re visiting the Museum, make sure to stop by the famous woodcarving of Leonardo da Vinci’s painting “The Last Supper” sculpted by Ernest Pellegrini.

Walk Thru BethlehemWalk Thru Bethlehem

3601 Hillsboro Pike
Nashville, TN 37215

Dates: Dec. 8

Times: 1:00-7: p.m.

Price: Donations

Started in 1982, Walk Thru Bethlehem, presented by Woodmont Christian Church, has offered Nashville a delightful living recreation of the ancient city, and this year it happens for one night only on December 8, 2018, from 1:00-7:00 p.m.

The focus of the event, located at 3601 Hillsboro Road in Nashville, is on the birth of Jesus and the true meaning of Christmas. While there is no admission charge, donations that benefit local community-based initiatives are encouraged and accepted.

Lights on LunaLights on Luna

176 Luna Lane
Hendersonville, TN 37075

Dates: Nov. 29 – Dec. 24

Times: 5 – 10 p.m.

Price: Free

Lights on Luna is a musical computer animated Christmas light display in Hendersonville, TN. It’s for the young, and the young at heart.

Note: Lights are on Wednesdays and Sundays, but times vary. The home is near a church that allows visitors to the lights to park in their lot, so the homeowner keeps the lights off unto church services are over on those nights. Also, lights will be on Christmas Eve until Midnight.

Music City Light Show in AntiochMusic City Light Show in Antioch

5361 Skip Jack Dr
Antioch, TN 37013

Dates: Nov. 24 – Jan. 1

Times: 5:00-9:00 p.m. daily

Price: Free

Launched in November 2015, Music City Light Show is a synchronized Christmas light display that plays from November 24 – January 1 from 5:00-9:00 p.m. Come on by and Tune in to 90.1FM!

Lights on Logan in GreenbrierLights on Logan in Greenbrier

2760 Logan Rd
Greenbrier, TN 37073

Dates: Dec. 1 – 31

Times: 5:00-10:00 p.m.

Price: Free

The 2019 Lights on Logan light show will begin on December 1. This year we have 35,095 lights synchronized to 384 channels of computer-controlled animation. The show will be running from December 1-31 from 5:00-10:00 p.m.

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