It’s Christmastime again in Music City, bringing with it all the holiday cheer and host of activities that transform the city into a winter wonderland every year. Just two of these festive activities include the Dancing Lights of Christmas at Jellystone Park and the famous Opryland Christmas display and as a newcomer to Nashville, I decided to experience both to get in the holiday spirit.
As someone new to the south, I had never heard of or experienced something quite as spirited as the Dancing Lights of Christmas. Knowing that it’s a local tradition in the area, my roommate, her mother and I decided to hop in the car one Thursday night (we know how popular it is on the weekends) and take a tour of this festive lights display. It’s easy to see why it’s such a celebrated tradition, as Jellystone Park comes alive with the presence of hundreds of light displays, dancing along to a variety of holiday songs ranging from “Carol of the Bells” to Frozen’s “Let it Go.”
From Christmas-themed lights like life-size presents, snowmen and snowflakes, complete with a giant 35-foot Christmas tree in the center, to Nashville style displays like music notes, Jellystone offers a unique holiday experience perfect for the family. From a visitor’s perspective, the experience is a unique one, especially since the lights “magically” dance along to the music, making it more dynamic than the traditional light display.
But the fun doesn’t stop after the drive through the luminous display. Jellystone also features Santa’s Village, full of exciting goodies. In addition to snapping a photo with St. Nick, the village also includes a sweet petting zoo of goats, baby cows and even a llama or two! Vendors are set up inside offering a variety of homemade gifts, while treats galore are also available, ranging from kettle corn to deep fried oreos and of course hot chocolate. It was the ideal way to kick off the holiday season in Nashville.
No Christmas season in Nashville is complete without a stop at Opryland Hotel to see the immaculate lights display that includes more than two million lights that take over the grand hotel and is so beautiful you have to see it to believe. Walking into Opryland is like entering a winter wonderland, as ice skaters and snow tubers enjoy the fun on the right, while hot coco and tasty treats are available on the left. Walking inside is just as much of a thrill, as all kinds of lights display consume your vision as far as the eye can see.
There is something new to see around each corner – from giant decorated hot air balloons and stockings to a Christmas tree purely made of lights, and even a piano player playing holiday tunes as you walk the hallways, it’s amazing what Opryland pulls off every year. The parade of trees is also a sight to see featuring specially decorated trees from country music stars that in the past have included Dolly Parton, Kenny Chesney, Reba McEntire and many more. The outside display is just as exciting as inside, with the option of a carriage ride through the adorned trees bursting with white lights. But nothing beats the gorgeous tree that sits in the middle of the hotel, covered in bright lights and colorful ornaments, with a stunning wreath to match. The best part about exploring Opryland’s light extravaganza? It’s free! Check out the official site for a full list of holiday activities at Opryland.
Whether new to the city or a born and raised local, the Dancing Lights of Christmas and Opryland Hotel are two locations that are a must-see this, and every, holiday season in Nashville.