Holiday Events Around the Southeast

One-Tank Trips

(Above) Photo Courtesy of Stone Mountain Park

‘Tis the season to be jolly, so grab your loved ones and spread some holiday cheer at festive events throughout the Southeast! These majestic winter wonderlands offer enchanting activities and celebrations for all. The best part? They’re only a short drive away.

Less than 100 miles from home:

Adairsville, GA

Light Up the Holidays at Barnsley Resort

WHEN: Nov. 26 – Jan. 2
WHERE: Barnsley Resort
CONTACT: or 770.773.7480
COST: $20 per adult $10 children 6-12
Take a stroll through the historic Manor House Ruins, gardens, and entire Barnsley Resort village decorated with more than 1 million colorful holiday lights. In addition, the resort offers several holiday-themed events, from gingerbread house and wreath crafting workshops to visits from Santa. A special “Light Up the Holidays” offer is also available for those wishing to stay overnight.

Blue Ridge, GA

Blue Ridge Scenic Railway Holiday Express Train

WHEN: Nov. 25 – Dec. 23
WHERE: 241 Depot Street
CONTACT: or 877.413.8724
COST: $52.99/adults; $40.99/children 2-12; FREE/children under 2
Catch the Holiday Express for a festive one-hour train ride during which you can listen to holiday music, hear the story “The Night Before Christmas,” and enjoy hot chocolate and snacks available for sale. Children will receive a Blue Ridge Scenic Railway jingle bell, candy cane, and activity packet while on board.

Light Up Blue Ridge

WHEN: Nov. 26
WHERE: Downtown Blue Ridge
CONTACT: or 706.258.8289
A day full of Christmas cheer, Light Up Blue Ridge has something for the whole family – from strolling Christmas entertainment and food vendors to Santa in the park. The Gingerbread Village will be open to the public Nov. 25 through Dec. 12, while Nov. 25, Blue Friday, will feature store discounts at many downtown merchants.
Less than 150 miles from home:

Dahlonega, GA

Dahlonega’s Old Fashioned Christmas

WHEN: Nov. 25 – Jan. 8
WHERE: Downtown Dahlonega
Experience “the most wonderful time of the year” in historic Dahlonega, where an entire month of activities are prepared for visitors and residents alike. The magic begins on Nov. 25 with an afternoon of music and the Lighting of the Square and Tree. In addition to carriage rides and Santa visits, notable events include the Christmas Market on Dec. 2, 3, 9, and 10 and the Old-Fashioned Christmas Parade on Dec. 10.

Helen, GA


WHEN: Nov. 26-27 and Dec. 3-4
WHERE: Downtown Marktplatz
CONTACT: or 706.878.1908
The Helen Chamber of Commerce will host its 15th Annual Christkindlmarkt, a traditional German event, over two weekends in 2022. Offering everything from unique gifts and decorations to an assortment of savory and sweet foods, drinks, and candied treats, this event promises plenty of festive Alpine cheer in the center of Helen, Georgia.

Stone Mountain, GA

Stone Mountain Christmas

WHEN: Nov. 12 – Jan. 1
WHERE: Stone Mountain Park
CONTACT: or 800.401.2407
COST: $39.95/adults; $34.95/children 3-11
Stone Mountain Christmas offers daytime park attractions like Summit Skyride and Scenic Railroad, plus evenings full of holiday magic. A delightful cast of characters makes up the Christmas Parade, while the Musical Frosted Forest mesmerizes with beautiful lights, sights, and sounds. Take part in a special visit with Santa, then check out the World’s Largest Christmas Light Show to get you in the Christmas spirit.

Nashville, TN

Christmas at Gaylord

Opryland Resort
WHEN: Nov. 11 – Jan. 1
WHERE: Gaylord Opryland Resort
CONTACT: or 615.889.1000
COST: Prices vary by event.
Christmas at Gaylord Opryland is a beloved Nashville tradition. Guests can explore acres of twinkling lights, enjoy more than 17 hours of exciting activities, shows, and events, and step into the winter wonderland of ICE! featuring Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, made entirely of more than 2 million pounds of ice!

Holiday Lights at Cheekwood

Holiday LIGHTS at Cheekwood

WHEN: Nov. 19 – Jan. 8
WHERE: Cheekwood Estate & Gardens
CONTACT: or 615.356.8000
COST: $26-$28 for adults, $20-$22 for youth, $12-$18 for members, FREE for children 2 and under
Holiday LIGHTS at Cheekwood, Nashville’s classic holiday tradition, features elegant, creative light displays along a one-mile walking path that set the gardens aglow. With sparkling interactive features, s’mores and bar stations, and a 20-foot-tall poinsettia tree in the historic mansion, it’ll be a memory-making experience for visitors of all ages.

Less than 200 miles from home:

Gatlinburg, TN

Back in Blue Rail Jam

WHEN: Nov. 18
WHERE: Ober Gatlinburg
CONTACT: or 865.436.5423
COST: FREE for spectators
Ober Gatlinburg Ski Area previews the ski season with an Ober Gatlinburg Freestyle Terrain Park Rail Jam in the Snow Tubing Park. The annual event – taking place from 5 to 10 p.m. – is open to anyone who wants to get the season started early. Spectators can look forward to prizes, music, and local vendors.

Great Smoky Thanksgiving & Christmas Arts & Crafts Shows

WHEN: Nov. 22 – Dec. 4
WHERE: Gatlinburg Convention Center
CONTACT: or 865.412.1012
Find unique handcrafted gifts made by members of the Great Smoky Arts & Crafts Community at this annual show at the Gatlinburg Convention Center. Gorgeous quilts, old-fashioned straw brooms, woven baskets, hand-dipped scented candles, stuffed bears, leather vests, and handmade jewelry are just a few of the offerings that await!

Gatlinburg’s Festival of Trees

WHEN: Nov. 23 – 27
WHERE: Gatlinburg Convention Center
Dozens upon dozens of ornately decorated Christmas trees await visitors in this winter wonderland at Gatlinburg Convention Center’s W.L. Mills Conference Center. Presented by Hospitality Solutions, Inc., the Festival of Trees benefits the Gatlinburg Chamber of Commerce and the Boys and Girls Club of the Smoky Mountains. The event begins daily at 10 a.m.

Gatlinburg’s Fantasy of Lights Christmas Parade

WHEN: Dec. 2
WHERE: Downtown Gatlinburg
CONTACT: or 865.436.4178
For more than 40 years, this popular Christmas parade has thrilled spectators with lighted floats, marching bands, walking units, balloons, and the Jolly Ole Elf himself, Santa Claus. The parade begins at 7:30 p.m. and goes through downtown Gatlinburg.

NYE Ball Drop

New Year’s Eve Ball Drop & Fireworks Show

WHEN: Dec. 31
WHERE: Historic Nature Trail
CONTACT: or 865.436.4178
Count down to 2023 in downtown Gatlinburg at the 34th Annual New Year’s Eve Ball Drop. At the stroke of midnight, fireworks will blast off the rooftop of the 400-foot-tall Space Needle, accompanied by special music and a rhythmic LED light display. Many restaurants and businesses will be offering celebration specials in honor of the new year.

Pigeon Forge, TN

Dollywood’s Smoky Mountain Christmas

WHEN: Nov. 5 – Jan. 1
WHERE: Dollywood
CONTACT: or 800.365.5996
COST: Prices vary by event.
Dollywood’s award-winning festival is home to millions of lights, heartwarming shows, and a winter wonderland featuring a 50-foot Christmas tree. Explore Wildwood Grove and Glacier Ridge, see holiday stories unfold on stage, and sip a mug of hot chocolate as you take in all that Dollywood has to offer.

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