Dec 8, 2023 - Things to Do

A guide to holiday events in Nashville

Animated illustration of holiday lights arranged in an arrow shape.

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

Here is a guide to celebrating the holidays in Nashville, as constructed by our Axios Nashville family.

💡 Lights: Many of your suggestions revolved around the region's best displays of festive lights.

  • Several readers ranked Zoolumination as the best ticket in town. The Nashville Zoo's dazzling tribute to the Chinese Festival of Lights features more than 1,000 custom-made silk lanterns. Yani M. called it a "hands-down No. 1 pick."
  • Cheekwood's annual holiday lights display was also a top draw. This year's exhibit features a twinkling 1-mile walking path and more than 1 million lights. Melendy J. pointed out that you can take your dog to visit Santa this Sunday.
  • The Dancing Lights of Christmas at the Wilson County fairgrounds in Lebanon also got multiple mentions. It's a drive-thru display of lights and music that would pair well with chillier nights.

🍻 Holiday cheers: If you're looking for Christmas in a cup, there are several holiday-themed pop-up bars around town.

  • Melinda E. singled out Buddy's Bar, the "Elf"-themed pop-up at the downtown Pancake Pantry.
  • She also mentioned the JW Starlight at the JW Marriott, which uses 4K HD panels and other technology to make you feel like you're sipping Champagne on a snowy train ride.
  • Savannah M. offered the very merry Miracle pop-up at Pearl Diver in East Nashville.

ğŸŽ­ A night at the theater: Jason S. was one of several readers to suggest attending the annual "It's a Wonderful Life" screenings at The Belcourt. Other holiday classics are playing there throughout the month.

  • The Nashville Ballet's performances of "Nashville's Nutcracker" begin today at the Tennessee Performing Arts Center.

🗓️ More festivities: Don't forget the annual Victorian-themed Dickens of a Christmas in historic downtown Franklin this weekend.

  • Christmas at Opryland is another perennial favorite. Peter M. recommended starting with lunch at one of the resort's atrium restaurants before taking in the cool display of ice sculptures that includes a replica of The Polar Express. (It's a chilly 9°F in the exhibit, but parkas are provided.)

☕️ Celebrate over coffee: Weak Coffee Co. calls its holiday menu "Weak Midwinter." The headliner is its Misfit Mocha, a standard mocha infused with Montana pine.

A mocha cup sitting on a picnic table.
The Misfit Mocha. Photo: Nate Rau/Axios

👋 Nate here: I tried the Misfit Mocha a few days ago and came away impressed. Before I took a sip, I wondered if the pine flavor would be subtle and barely noticeable.

  • Instead, it was strong and blended perfectly with the chocolate and espresso. Maybe one of the best cups of coffee I've had this year — and you can trust that as a working journalist, I've had copious amounts.

Zoom out: Weak Coffee Co., located inside Nelson Drump Shop on Riverside Drive in East Nashville, also serves up a Candy Cane Matcha as part of its holiday menu.

  • Other coffee shops are also getting into the holiday spirit. Beck's Farmhouse Coffee, an Axios Nashville fave, is serving the Peppermint Patty, which is flavored with housemade peppermint-chocolate syrup and topped with whipped cream and crushed peppermint candies.
  • You can't go wrong combining chocolate and peppermint, and the 8th & Roast chain took the assignment to the next level with its Peppermint Bark Mocha. It combines housemade white mocha and classic mocha mixed with mint simple syrup and topped with crushed candy cane.
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