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Tennessee Winter Bucket List

Tennessee Winter Bucket List

Whether you’re packing up the kiddos and heading to take in the sights of Chattanooga or sounds of Nashville, Tennessee has a lot to offer all winter long! I hope our Tennessee Winter Bucket List will inspire you to make your own.


Winter in Nashville

We know it’s cold, but don’t stay inside and hibernate! You’ll miss so much if you do.

On a budget? That’s no excuse to hide inside, either! There are many activities that are free in Nashville, so we always like to check those out first.

Head downtown to visit the historic arcade, several amazing art galleries, and even take an architecture tour during the First Saturday Art Crawl. Spanning across all of downtown, the Art Crawl takes place every first Saturday of the month. As long as you can brave the cold you’ll have plenty to keep you busy all night!

What’s winter without ice skating? Ages 13 and up are $7, Military $6. There are many places to go ice skating across Tennessee so look up your town’s website and see what’s near you.

Escape Games are becoming more and more popular as year-round attractions rather than just Halloween-time ones, which makes me happy! Solve million dollar heists all while escaping the cold at Nashville Escape Game. Escape Games are family-friendly fun, but mostly designed for older kids, teens, and adults. We always call ahead if our kids are at that maybe but maybe not age. You want to make sure it’s not spooky or scary if you have sensitive ones, and obviously you want to make sure everyone is going to have age-appropriate fun. Checking photos out on any Escape Game’s Facebook page is a good idea too as that can give you a better idea of who it’s suited for.

Winter in Gatlinburg & Pigeon Forge

Download the free Gatlinburg App to figure out how to get around, and also to see what’s going on locally while you’re visiting.

Open year-round with tons of indoor fun for the entire family, Fort Fun opens at 10AM each day and closes between 9AM and midnight. Indoor golf, laser tag, bumper cars, escape rooms, gem mining, and an arcade make it easy for kids and grown-ups alike to have a blast!

Another family-fun attraction, the Island Mirror Maze is not just any ol’ maze. Check out the Atomic Rush, Bumper Cars, and Laser Maze to see why this place is so much fun. Tickets are less than $15 each but can add up quickly for a large family, so get your money’s worth by making it a day trip!

Ober Gatlinburg is a ski resort with something for everyone, beginner and expert alike. Even if you’re not into skiing or snow tubing, it’s fun to take a ride up the ski lift and experience a second-to-none view of the Great Smoky Mountains.

From November 8th through January 3rd, you can experience Dollywood’s Smoky Mountain Christmas, with over four million lights and a special guest: Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer! Meet Rudolph and his friends in the truly magical Rudolph’s Holly Jolly Junction.

Christmas Light Displays

If you’re looking for the best Christmas light display, look no further than Rock City’s Enchanted Garden of Lights. Celebrating 22 years of joy, wonder, and magic, Rock City’s Famous Christmas Light Extravaganza is sure to get you in the holiday spirit!

Did you know Christmas was one of Elvis’ favorite times of year? Experience the stunning Christmas at Graceland with your family and create magical memories everyone will cherish for decades to come. See the lights, a life-size Nativity scene, and Santa and his sleigh at Graceland.

Looking for displays in your neck of the woods? Google “Christmas light displays + your town” or “holiday lights + your town” for best results.

What’s your favorite winter activity in Tennessee?

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  1. Paula Adams says
    Years ago I visited Nashville and Memphis and had a really wonderful time. So many things we got to do, but so many more that we didn't have time for. Hope to get back there again in the next couple of years!
  2. Amber Ludwig says
    We vacationed in Pigeon Forge/Gatlinburg this May and wow is it amazing out there!! Maybe next year we'll try a cabin in the winter! I was so sad to see the fires this fall and would love to support the tourism there again!
  3. Colleen Maul says
    I live in Southern Cali and this week for Christmas vacation it has gotten so cold. This is a great article to read for us NON cold dwellers.
  4. Justine says
    The Opryland Hotel in Nashville is a wonderful place to visit for Christmas lights and displays. It's also free to walk around the hotel.
  5. Sarah L says
    I've never been there. We have great light displays here in Denver at the Zoo and at the Botanic Gardens.
  6. Julie Wood says
    I have never been to Tennessee! But I would love to go see Dollywood at Christmas. I bet it is magical and Tennessee sure has a lot of fun things to do.
  7. beth minton says
    I love Tennessee.. can't wait to go back for hubbies big 50th birthday January 21st!
  8. Christina A. says
    I just love Tennessee! Such a beautiful state with lots to do! We are going to Nashville this year and I can't wait!
  9. Dana Rodriguez says
    Tennessee has so many great places to visit. One of my favorite places is The Smoky Mountains!
  10. Diana Bierer says
    Gotta go to Gatlinburg and Dollywood!!
  11. Cheryl says
    Sounds like lots of fun things to do in Tennessee!
  12. Arionna Stanley says
    I always love droving thtough the north Carolina and Tennessee mountains in the winter driving to and hone from my parents home in Memphis and back home to Raleigh.
  13. Angela Saver says
    I would love to visit Tennessee with my family! It really is beautiful!

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