The most wonderful time of the year is here! Knoxville certainly knows how to celebrate the holidays. While some events will be different this year and others are cancelled due to COVID-19, there are still a fabulous bunch of festivities to make your Christmas spirits bright! Knoxville Moms is here to help you make the most of the season with a comprehensive list of local events, train rides, parades and Santa sightings across East Tennessee in this year’s Knoxville Holidays Event Roundup!
Pigeon Forge, TN
Dollywood Theme Park
2700 Dollywood Parks Blvd. Pigeon Forge, TN 37863
See website for ticket pricing and park hours. Experience millions of lights, award-winning shows and a winter wonderland featuring a 50-foot Christmas tree. You can also see Santa! See website for details.
Take in the experience of a traditional Christmas in the Smoky Mountains with our award-winning festival, named the best in America for more than a decade. Gaze in awe at more than 5 million glistening lights, and for the first time ever, fireworks that light up the winter night sky. Continue your family’s favorite Christmas traditions this year with world-class shows, culinary delights, seasonal shopping and, most importantly, the light that brings us all closer together. Enjoy an all-new Dollywood Christmas tradition: every Friday and Saturday during Smoky Mountain Christmas, the “Merry & Bright” fireworks fill the sky with light and unfolds in rhythm to new holiday Christmas tunes. There are a variety of areas throughout the park where you can view this uplifting display.
Christmas at Dolly Parton’s Stampede
Dolly Parton’s Stampede
3849 Parkway, Pigeon Forge, TN 37863
Ticket prices and show times vary. Dolly Parton’s Stampede Dinner Attraction Christmas Show is beloved and for good reason! Experience the magnificent sights and sounds of Christmas, including a full-scale living Nativity, holiday decorations, Santa Claus and a fabulous four-course Christmas feast. See website for more details.
Zoo Knoxville Zoo Lights
3540 Line Drive, Kodak, TN 37764
11/27/20-1/03/21 5:00PM-9:00PM, Closed Dec. 24th, 25th, 31st and Jan. 1st.
General Admission: $15, $2 off for zoo members, Children under 2 are free
See Knoxville’s newest light spectacular! Light up your nights this winter when you experience the all-new outdoor lantern light-up at Zoo Knoxville. In addition to dozens of glowing lanterns, see an enchanted forest of multi-color trees, enjoy holiday refreshments like hot chocolate and delightful holiday treats. See website for more details.
Christmas at Biltmore
1 Lodge Street, Asheville, NC 28803
See website for ticket pricing as they vary depending on date and day. Purchase online seven or more days in advance to save $8 or more! (Pro tip: Costco often offers Biltmore gift cards for an even bigger discount!) See the hundreds of trees, thousands of lights, and miles of garland around the picturesque estate. Visit Antler Hill Village on Saturdays and Sundays to see Santa! See website for more details.
Shadrack’s Christmas Wonderland
Tennessee Smokies Baseball Stadium
3540 Line Drive, Kodak, TN 37764
11/13/20-1/03/21 6:00PM-10:00PM (or possibly later on the weekends). Open rain or shine and on holidays. Cars or family vans (8 passengers or fewer) Sunday-Thursday $25, Friday & Saturday $30, larger vehicles $50, tour/school buses $100. Fees include admission to Santa’s Village. Credit cards accepted. See a synchronized music and light show that will amaze you from the comfort of your vehicle and then get out at Santa’s Village to see Santa and do much more. See website for more details.
Sevierville’s Winterfest Celebration
Sevierville, Pigeon Forge, and Gatlinburg, TN
Enjoy viewing millions of twinkling lights as you drive down the Parkway through Sevierville, Pigeon Forge, and Gatlinburg. See website for more details.
Anakeesta Enchanted Winter
576 Parkway, Gatlinburg, TN 37738
General Admission: $17.99 (4-11), $19.99 (Seniors 60+) & $21.99 (Adults 12-59). Immerse yourself in an enchanting 1000′ tunnel of twinkling arctic lights, experience a walk-in snow globe, visit with Santa, take in the snow covered mountains and more at Anakeesta’s new Enchanted Winter experience. See website for more details.
I Love Christmas Movies!
Gaylord Opryland Events Center
2800 Opryland Drive, Nashville, TN 37214
Base pricing ranges from roughly $39-$44 depending on age and date. Walk through your favorite Christmas movies in the all-new, never-before-seen 17,000 square foot multi-sensory pop-up exhibit. Some of the scenes are from “Elf,” “A Christmas Story,” “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation” and more. Definitely worth a day trip to Nashville to experience this new Christmas exhibit and tour Opryland decorated for the holidays from top to bottom! See website for more details.
Santa’s Wonderland at Bass Pro Shops
Bass Pro Shops
3629 Outdoor Sportsman Place, Kodak, TN 37764
Enjoy the magic of Christmas inside every Bass Pro Shops and Cabela’s store! The tradition at Bass Pro Shops will continue this year with some changes to enhance safety. Reservations will be required in addition to other measures. See website for more details.
The Elf on the Shelf Adventure
The adventure returns to Knoxville featuring a live Elf on the Shelf Scavenger Hunt (although it will look a little different this year due to COVID-19)! Visit any of the participating locations and pick up your Elf on the Shelf North Pole Pass. Collect a store stamp at each scout elf sighting and continue the adventure. There will also be lots of fun, treats, and additional prize drawings along the way. A list of participating stores can be found on their website.
Peppermint Trail in Downtown Knoxville
Enjoy special holiday flavored treats such as hot cocoa and ice cream at participating businesses. Look for the peppermint sticker on the businesses that will have a special peppermint or holiday flavored treat! Downtown Knoxville will have special decor on Market Square that will be sure to help with the holiday spirit! Walk through and capture some family photos by our 42ft Christmas tree on Gay Street and enjoy thousands of twinkling lights throughout the park! A list of participating businesses can be found on the Peppermint Trail website.
Drive-In at the Midway Holiday Edition
3301 East Magnolia Avenue
Enjoy a classic holiday movie drive-in style at Chilhowee Park Midway! Movie titles will be released November 9th. Movies are free, but due to limited space you must register. See website for more details.
Holidays on Ice
Downtown Knoxville, TN
Knoxville Civic Coliseum
Adults: $11, Children: $8 (12 & under). Admission price includes entry fee, skate rental and unlimited time on ice! Season passes also available.
Holidays on Ice public ice skating will be moving to Knoxville Civic Coliseum this year to allow for more space. Whether with family, friends or on a date you’ll love skating in Downtown Knoxville on the same ice where the Ice Bears play hockey! Parking is available for free at the Civic Coliseum Garages. See website for hours and more details.
Light the Park
Farragut/West Knoxville, TN
Founder’s Park at Campbell Station, formerly Campbell Station Park
405 N. Campbell Station Rd., Farragut, TN 37934
Enjoy this Farragut tradition that sparkles through the entire holiday season! See thousands of holiday lights, hear local performers and drop those letters to Santa in a special mailbox! See website for more details.
Evening with Santa
Lenoir City, TN
War Memorial Building
103 N B St.
Kickoff the holiday season with a visit and photo with Santa, light refreshments and more! See website for more details.
A Candlelight Christmas at the Museum of Appalachia
Museum of Appalachia
2819 Andersonville Hwy, Clinton, TN 37716
Gate tickets: $18/adults, $10/youth 13-17, $6/children 5-12, $42/family, children under 5 and museum members are free.
Experience the serenity of an Appalachian Christmas at the Museum of Appalachia! The centerpiece of this holiday event is an evening tour of the Museum’s pioneer village. The cabins will be adorned with old-fashioned Christmas decorations and festively lit for the occasion. Activities will include storytelling, live nativity, wagon rides, live music, and wagon rides. Demonstrations will include blacksmithing, sorghum making, apple butter churning, and more. Please reserve your tickets in advance; limited tickets available to ensure social distancing. See website for more details.
Holiday Market in Historic Downtown Clinton
Holiday shopping highlighting the unique brick and mortar shops in Historic Downtown Clinton. The shops will be packed full of great merchandise for that special gift. See the Facebook page for more details.
Rocky Hill Christmas Parade Festival
Festival will begin with the Christmas-themed market, food vendors, and live music. Christmas tree lighting following the parade. See website for more details.
Christmas in the Cave
8524 Oak Ridge Highway, Knoxville, TN 37931
Fridays 11/27/20, 12/04/20 & 12/11/20 5:00PM-8:00PM
Saturdays 11/28/20, 12/05/20, 12/12/20 & 12/19/20 3:00PM-8:00PM
Sundays 11/29/20, 12/06/20, 12/13/20 & Sunday 12/20/20 3:00PM-8:00PM
$12 ages 4 and up, free parking. Cash or credit cards accepted. *$1 off with Second Harvest Food Bank donation.*
Come stroll through the underground winter wonderland, get your face painted, do some holiday crafts, and visit with Santa! (Wheelchair and stroller accessible.) See website for more details.
Virtual Jingle Bell Run/Walk
See website for pricing and different race options.
Put on your festive gear to run/walk to support the Arthritis Foundation! See website for more details.
Smokies Santa Hustle 5K and Half Marathon
The Wilderness at the Smokies (start and finish line)
1424 Old Knoxville Highway, Sevierville, TN
12/13/20 Time TBA
See website for pricing and registration. Live and in-person events will be determined at a later date due to the current COVID-19 situation.
Join the race to benefit Keep the Tennessee River Beautiful and get a free sweatshirt, Santa hat and beard along with a medal for the 5K and Half Marathon! See website for more details.
Tour de Lights
Downtown Knoxville, TN
While the traditional Tour de Lights will not be taking place this year due to COVID-19, organizers are encouraging you to decorate your bike for a fun, casual ride to see the holiday decorations. A map of Knoxville Neighborhood Holiday Trails is being created. See website for more details.
Stream The Nutcracker by the Moscow Ballet
You won’t be able to watch “The Nutcracker” ballet this year at the Tennessee Theatre due to COVID-19, but families will be able to stream “The Nutcracker” by the Moscow Ballet. Some of the streaming packages include opportunities to speak with some of the performers. See website for details.
Holiday Festival of Lights at the Cove
Farragut/West Knoxville, TN
The Cove at Concord Park
11808 South Northshore Drive
TBA, excluding Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. 6:00PM-9:00PM
See the park light up each night on a walk around a 3/4 mile loop!
The Muse’s Cheer in the New Year at NOON!
516 N. Beaman Street, Knoxville, TN 37914
Ticket prices TBA
Get ready for the best New Year’s Eve party for kids and families! Details will be announced in the coming days on The Muse website and Facebook page.
New Year’s on the Square
Downtown Knoxville, TN
Celebrate the coming of the New Year in Market Square with a countdown, ball drop, and fireworks!
Christmas Train Excursions:
The Polar Express
Bryson City, NC
Departs from The Great Smoky Mountains Railroad, approximately 2.5 hours from Knoxville.
45 Mitchell Street, Bryson City, NC 28713
See website for departure dates and times, as well as different pricing based on date, age, and seat.
Sip on hot chocolate and listen to the story of The Polar Express during your 1 hour 15 minute ride to the North Pole and back. Santa will board the train and give each child the magic silver sleigh bell. See website for more details.
North Pole Limited Christmas Train Ride
Departs from the Grand Junction Station
4119 Cromwell Rd. Chattanooga, TN 37421
See website for departure dates and times. Ride is 1 hour and 15 minutes long.
See website for various pricing options.
Take an imaginary journey to the North Pole. Enjoy sing-a-longs, refreshments, and story-telling with see Santa from afar. See website for more details.
Townsend Christmas Parade
Enjoy the fun and festivities of the Christmas season at the Townsend Christmas parade. The parade will start at IGA and end at Nawger Nob Village.
Lenoir City Christmas Parade
Downtown Lenoir City, TN
Each year thousands of families join together to watch the Christmas parade in historic downtown Lenoir City! The parade begins at C Street and ends at Pike Street.
Halls Christmas Parade
Enjoy the sights and sounds of the season at the annual Halls Christmas Parade.
Gatlinburg’s 45th Annual Fantasy of Lights Christmas Parade
Downtown Gatlinburg, TN
12/04/20 Time TBA
With over 100 parade entries, Santa and a dozen marching bands, you’re guaranteed to have a jingling good time! Parade route: Begins at Baskins Creek Bypass at 7:30PM and ends at traffic light #10. See website for more details.
Horse Haven Breakfast in the Barn
Lenoir City, TN
2477 Ford Road
Children: $10 breakfast, photo with Santa & craft, Adults: $5 breakfast
Join us for a breakfast in the barn with Twinkie & Santa! Pancakes, sausage, and drinks will be served at 9:00AM. After breakfast children can enjoy making a Christmas craft, write a letter to Santa, and take a photo with Twinkie and Santa! See Facebook page for more details.
Drive-Thru Breakfast from Santa
First Farragut United Methodist Church
12733 Kingston Pike
Children: $5 donation
Santa made a special breakfast just for you! All participants must register in advance. All CDC guidelines will be followed for this event. See the registration website for more details.
Santa at Lawson McGhee Library
500 West Church Avenue
Santa is taking a break from the North Pole to hear kids’ wishes at the Lawson McGhee Library on Wednesday, Dec 18 from 10:30am-11:30am. Be sure to bring your camera! For more details, go to the Peppermint Trail website.
Santa Photo Event with JCPenney Portraits
West Town Mall
A fun photography session with Santa, new holiday backgrounds and prop options. See website for more information on times and details.
Be sure to stay tuned over the next couple of weeks for more information on ways and places to give back to your community this holiday season and another round-up on your local Christmas Tree Farms and best Christmas lights around town. If you have another event you would like to add, please comment below and use our link to add it to our site calendar here.