Tennessee knows how to dazzle and delight during Christmas. The state is ablaze with millions of lights, performances, and exhibits that are fodder for creating long-lasting memories. Whether in East, Middle, or West Tennessee, travelers will get into the holiday spirit almost instantly once they cross the state line.
Elvis Presley's Graceland will "Flip the Switch" on holiday fun 6:30 p.m. Nov. 21. Special guests are expected to attend as well as Santa and snow. The "Graceland Christmas" tour is a holiday specialty Nov. 21, 2014-Jan. 8, 2015 as Graceland is dressed in traditional lights and decorations. Hundreds of blue lights flank the driveway and a life-size Nativity, Santa and his sleigh, and more will showcase how Elvis originally decorated his Memphis home. Red velvet drapes, Presley family Christmas photos and artifacts and much more bring a cozy, Christmas glow to the home. After the holidays, Elvis' 80th Birthday Celebration will be observed Jan. 8, 2015 with cake, special guests, lots of events and treats.
More than 2 million lights twinkle and dazzle during "A Country Christmas" Nov. 14, 2014-Jan. 3, 2015 at Gaylord Opryland in Nashville. Tear open the shutters and throw up the sash during ICE! featuring "'Twas the Night Before Christmas" which will be brought to life in 2 million pounds of colorful ice sculptures. A full Nativity in crystal clear ice and a two-story ice slide are also featured. New this year, are ice carvers from Harbin, China who will give demonstrations at the Frostbite Factory. Have even more thrilling fun on the six-lane tubing hill covered in 1.5 million pounds of snow at Arctic Plunge Snow Tubing or take a turn around the 6,000-square-foot outdoor Glacier Glide Ice Skating rink.
One of the largest Christmas light shows in the U.S. can be found at Ford Speedway in Lights Powered by TVA 6-10 p.m. nightly Nov. 14, 2014-Jan. 3, 2015 in Bristol, Tenn. /Va. The driving route is approx. four miles and features 2 million lights and displays. The entrance is new this year, starting at the Bristol Dragway entrance on Hwy. 394. Guests can also enjoy a slide down Chill Hill, a 300-ft snowless slide open Nov. 13, 2014-Jan. 10, 2015. Two lanes and inflated tubes help riders rush full-speed to the bottom. Take a turn around the Johnson Controls Ice Skating Rink which is the only ice skating rink within a 90-minute radius of Bristol Motor Speedway and draws more than 30,000 skaters annually.
Smoky Mountain Winterfest runs now through Feb. 28, 2015 in Pigeon Forge, Gatlinburg and Sevierville, offering a magical celebration with millions of twinkling lights arranged in festive theme displays. Special events are hosted between the three towns, giving guests every chance to get into the holiday spirit.
What do a triple-dog dare, leg-shaped lamp, and an official Red Ryder Carbine-Actions 200-shot Range Model Air Rifle have in common? They're all elements of the hilarious "A Christmas Story: The Musical" which kicks off the holiday season Nov. 25-30 at The Orpheum Theatre. Based on the classic 1983 movie, songs by Benj Pasek & Justin Paul with a book by Joseph Robinette, "A Christmas Story" is family-friendly fun with colorful costumes, sets and precise dance numbers, with Santa making an appearance.
The Victorian era welcomes more than 250 volunteers and approx. 50,000 visitors for Dickens of a Christmas Dec. 13-14 in Historic Downtown Franklin. Ebenezer Scrooge, the Cratchit Family, and even Father and Mother Christmas stroll the streets, interacting with visitors. Dancers and musicians perform throughout the event. Buildings are decorated with Victorian displays and decorations and patrons can take a horse-drawn carriage ride around the Public Square. Arts and crafts are available for browsing and buying. Indulge in turkey legs, roasted nuts, sugar plums and more Victorian treats.
There's a reason Dollywood's Smoky Mountain Christmas is a five-time award winner of America's Best Christmas Event. The event runs now through Jan. 3, 2015 and features 4 million lights and beautifully-produced plays like Dollywood's "A Christmas Carol," a modern-take on the Dickens classic. Enjoy music with concerts and entertainment. The 12-member cast of "Christmas in the Smokies" perform holiday favorites, making this show a musical tradition at Dollywood. Don't miss the Parade of Lights where Christmas floats decked out in colored lights also feature fun characters that bring smiles and holiday joy.