There’s no shortage of events taking place throughout the South during this most magical time of year. Grab your calendar and carve out a day or two to explore the region’s top December events — you’ll be in the holiday spirit in no time!
23 Southern Events for December 2018
Through December 9, 2018: Atlanta Homes & Lifestyles Home for the Holidays Designer Showhouse – Atlanta, GA
This year’s Atlanta Homes & Lifestyles Home for the Holidays Designer Showhouse features a new, 8,232-square-foot Buckhead estate on a 1.5-acre lot. There will be ideas and inspiration that you can take home with you, and photos are encouraged. This event takes place Thursdays through Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Sundays from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. General admission tickets are $30. Check out atlantaholidayhome.com for more details.
Through December 9, 2018: North Pole Express — Birmingham, AL
All aboard! The Magic City’s favorite holiday tradition, The North Pole Express, is back. Grab the kiddos and take a magical trip to the North Pole, a brilliantly decorated destination complete with Santa, Mrs. Claus, elves and a special Christmas story at the Heart of Dixie Railroad Museum. Don’t forget to dress the little ones in their favorite holiday pajamas! Tickets start at $28. Head to hodrrm.org for more details.
Through December 26, 2018: Christmas Town USA — McAdenville, NC
Makes plans to experience the 63-year tradition of an extraordinary holiday light display that earned the small mill town the nickname of Christmas Town USA. The town lights up Monday through Friday, 5:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday, 5:30 p.m. to 11 p.m. For more info visit mcadenville-christmastown.com.
Through December 30, 2018: North Pole Limited — Chattanooga, TN
All aboard for a fun family event in Chattanooga! The North Pole Limited train rides take passengers on a fun adventure to the North Pole, if only an imaginary one. Guests can enjoy seasonal stories, songs and some refreshments as they ride the rails and look at the seasonal light displays. Santa even makes an appearance! Ride times vary by day, and tickets start at $35. Check out tvrail.com for more info.
Through December 30, 2018: Holiday LIGHTS at Cheekwood — Nashville, TN
You don’t want to miss your chance to take part in the cherished tradition of Cheekwood’s Holiday LIGHTS! November 23 through December 30, bring the whole family to see one million lights illuminate the beautiful gardens. From 5 to 10 p.m. SEVEN nights per week, head to Cheekwood for the brightest holiday stroll in Nashville. Reserve your tickets now! For more info visit cheekwood.org.
Through December 31, 2018: Winter Lights at the North Carolina Arboretum — Asheville, NC
If you have plans to check out Christmas at Biltmore, add to your Asheville itinerary a stop at the North Carolina Arboretum to check out Winter Lights. Open nightly from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m., the outdoor holiday light display is breathtaking and bright! Bundle up and get ready to walk through a magical display. Make sure to purchase tickets in advance, as they are date- and time-specific. Check out ncarboretum.org for more info.
Through January 3, 2018: Magical Nights of Lights at Lake Lanier — Atlanta, GA
Drive a little way out of Atlanta to Lake Lanier, and you’ll get to share magical moments of light, water and fun at Magical Nights of Lights. Drive through a twinkling wonderland, take a trip to Santa’s Holiday Village and pick up a few gifts along the way. In December, guests can see a live nativity and tune in on their smartphone or radio to hear seasonal songs with the event’s companion app. Carload prices are $45 at the gate/$35 for advanced online tickets (cars with occupancy up to 10 people). Check the site for various rates for shuttle vans and large buses at lanierislands.com.
Through January 6, 2019: Ice Skating at Railroad Park — Birmingham, AL
Birmingham’s own winter wonderland is back! Presented by Red Diamond Coffee & Tea, experience a classic winter tradition as Railroad Park is transformed into a festive ice rink. This year’s rink is bigger and better than ever with a magical, wintry atmosphere. And The Boxcar Cafe is stocked with Red Diamond coffee, tea, hot cocoa and warm meals. Railroad Park will also offer free skating lessons on Saturdays with advanced ice skating demonstrations on Sundays. Admission is $12 for adults, $10 for children. Or get an individual season pass for $65 or a family pass for $150, both of which include unlimited visits. Head to railroadpark.org for more details.
December 1, 2018: 65th Annual Nashville Christmas Parade — Nashville, TN
Gather with friends and family for this Nashville tradition that dates back to 1927. This year country group Adairs Run will be performing, along with plenty of other amazing talented artists. The parade will begin at 8:30 a.m., but be sure to arrive early. Tickets start at $20. For more info visit nashvillechristmasparade.com.
December 1, 2018: St. Jude Memphis Marathon — Memphis, TN
The St. Jude Memphis Marathon weekend is one the biggest events of the year in our city. Head downtown to cheer on the hundreds of runners filing through downtown Memphis! The 5K and 10K start at 7 a.m. and the marathon and half-marathon start at 8 a.m. The kids marathon starts at 1:30 p.m. Registration fees vary and are selling out fast, so register now!
December 1, 2018: Fashion Beyond Borders Charity Runway Show — Charlotte, NC
Enjoy a night of fashion while also providing educational support to students in Central America! This philanthropic runway show will feature local designers, door prizes and give aways, musical entertainment, food and more. This event takes place from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. at Infinity Ballroom and tickets start at $18. For more info, visit fashionbeyondboarders.info.
December 1-23, 2018: Nashville’s Nutcracker — Nashville, TN
Experience the true magic of the ballet with one of our favorite holiday traditions, Nashville’s The Nutcracker. From December 1 to 23, the Nashville Ballet brings you this beautiful and timeless performance, following the adventures of Clara as she explores the Nutcracker dreamland in an event that the whole family will love. Get your tickets now for performance opportunities in the afternoons and evenings. Head to cart.tpac.org for more details.
December 5, 2018: Acoustic Jam 2018 — Louisville, KY
It’s a night of acoustic magic. Head to the Louisville Palace to see Jon Pardi, Kip Moore, Scotty McCreery, LOCASH, Michael Ray, Jimmie Allen at Acoustic Jam 2018 at the Louisville Palace. A portion of the proceeds will go to benefit the St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. This event begins at 7:30 p.m., and tickets start at $29.50. For more info visit louisvillepalace.com.
Shopping with a martini in hand makes finding something for everyone on your Christmas list much more enjoyable. Join KMAC on Thursday, December 6, from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. as they feature unique items and delightful holiday gifts made by local, national and international artists. Members receive a 15% discount on purchases plus two complimentary drinks. For more details visit kmacmuseum.com.
December 8-10, 2018: An Acoustic Evening with Jason Isbell at The Lyric — Birmingham, AL
Birmingham native, Jason Isbell returns to the Magic City this December 8 at this historic Lyric Theatre. Isbell will perform three nights of shows ideal for kicking off your December the right way. For more information, visit lyricbham.com.
December 14 & 15, 2018: Holiday Concert Weekend at Graceland — Memphis, TN
On Friday, December 14 at 8 p.m., a live orchestra will play Elvis’ biggest Christmas hits with Elvis on the big screen, followed by two concerts on Saturday, December 15: an Elvis Gospel Christmas show at 5 p.m. and an Elvis Star-Studded Rock ‘n’ Roll show at 8:30 p.m. Tickets start at $35. Check out graceland.com for more info.
December 14-23, 2018: Alabama Ballet presents The Nutcracker — Birmingham, AL
Alabama Ballet is proud to present George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker® as one of only eight companies in the world licensed by The Balanchine Trust to perform this holiday masterpiece. Tchaikovsky’s beloved melodies transport the young and young at heart to a magical world where mischievous mice besiege a battalion of toy soldiers, and an onstage blizzard leads to an enchanted Land of Sweets. For more information, visit alabamaballet.org.
December 15, 2018: 2018 Queen City X-Mas Expo — Charlotte, NC
Want to experience all of the best parts of Christmas and holiday shopping in one place? The 2018 Queen City X-Mas Expo is taking place on Saturday, December 15 from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. There will be plenty of kids activities too, so take the whole gang to this free family-friendly event. For more info visit eventbrite.com.
December 15, 2018: Memphis Maker Market — Memphis, TN
Memphis Maker Market is a shopping experience, a party and a celebration of our city all in one. Head down to Muddy’s Midtown outpost for a fun day of shopping local, with at least 75% of makers from Memphis and the rest from the Mid-South. The market is free and open to the public from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Head to memphismakermarket.com for more info.
December 17, 2018: Give-A-Jam to End Homelessness — Louisville, KY
Jam out to fight homelessness in Louisville with live performances by local musicians and artists, soups from Louisville’s best chefs, a silent auction and a cash bar from 6 p.m. to 11 p.m. Admission is $20 and includes 10 food and drink tickets. All proceeds will benefit the Coalition for the Homeless’ efforts to end youth homelessness. Head to louhomeless.org for more info.
December 31, 2018: New Year’s Eve on Beale Street — Memphis, TN
Party with the whole city at a rockin’ New Year’s Eve bash, blues-style! Throughout the night, celebrate with live music, fireworks, food, drinks and more — and be sure and stay for the Hard Rock Cafe Guitar Drop and countdown to midnight. Ring in 2019 in Memphis’ signature style. Festivities start at 10 p.m. For more info visit bealestreet.com.
December 31, 2018: NYE Live! at Fourth Street Live! — Louisville, KY
Ring in the new year with one of the biggest New Year’s Eve parties in Louisville. NYE Live! at Fourth Street Live! will send you into the New Year with live music by 100% Poly, confetti canons, a balloon drop, party favors and the city’s one and only ball drop. This New Year’s Eve party starts at 8 p.m., and tickets range from $55 to $150. Head to nye-live.com for more info.
December 31, 2018: NYE Champagne Dinner in the Winery — Nashville, TN
Ring in the New Year at City Winery’s NYE Champagne Dinner! The intimate, candlelit seated dinner will feature a delicious four-course meal prepared by Executive Chef Donald Counts paired with a Sommelier-curated selection of sparkling wine and champagne with each course. Your $125 ticket will include the full meal, table-side service wine pairing and valet parking. Check out citywinery.com for more details.
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