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!
Through December 31, 2016: 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! Rides take place at 5:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. daily, with additional rides on Saturdays at 11:30 a.m., 1:30 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. Learn more at tvrail.com.
Through January 1, 2017: 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. Learn more at ncarboretum.org.
Through January 3, 2017: Magical Nights of Lights at Lake Lanier — Buford, 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 smart phone or radio to hear seasonal songs with the event’s companion App. Carload prices are $45 at the gate/$36 for advanced online tickets (cars with occupancy up to 10 people). Check the site for various rates for shuttle vans and large buses. lanierislands.com
December 1 – 26, 2016: Christmas Town USA — McAdenville, NC
Makes plans to experience the 61-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.; Saturday and Sunday, 5:30 p.m. to 11 p.m. For more information, click here.
December 3, 2016: Sara Evans at the Alabama Theatre — Birmingham, AL
Country music star Sara Evans will be gracing the stage of the Alabama Theatre this December 3, as she performs her favorite holiday hits during her “At Christmas Tour”! This event is perfect for a romantic date night that will kick off December with gorgeous holiday tunes! Concert begins at 7 p.m. and tickets start at $32. alabamatheatre.com
December 3, 2016: 63rd Annual Nashville Christmas Parade — Nashville, TN
Gather with friends and family for this Nashville tradition that dates back to 1927. This year Grammy Award-winning artist Kelly Clarkson will be the parade’s Grand Marshal. The parade will begin at 9 a.m. and will celebrate the theme “The Musical Mile.” nashvillechristmasparade.com
December 3, 2016: Nutcracker in a Nutshell — Louisville, KY
This is perfect for those of us who love The Nutcracker, but in a shorter, more family-friendly version. The Louisville Palace presents Nutcracker in a Nutshell on December 3, with shows at 2 p.m. and 6 p.m. Tickets are $12.50 for children (18 and under) and $20 for adults. nutcrackerinanutshell.com
December 9 & 10, 2016: Porter Flea Holiday Market — Nashville, TN
Nashville’s favorite holiday shopping tradition is back! The Porter Flea Holiday Market returns in December to showcase hundreds of jury-picked vendors, thousands of the region’s best handmade wares, the city’s finest food trucks and, of course, a surprise or two. Shop pottery by Handmade Studio TN, sweets by Baked in Nashville, furniture by HollerDesign, art by M A J A M A D E, accessories by Seraphine Design, fresh flowers by Amelia’s Flower Truck, apparel by EMLEE Design and so much more. Well-loved vendors return and new vendors make first-time appearances. You’re sure to love them all! In its sixth year, this semi-annual market is a must-attend holiday event! The festivities begin on Friday, December 9, from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. with the Preview Market, a $25 ticketed event, and continues with on Saturday with the free market. porterflea.com
December 9, 2016: Brandshop Speaker Series — Charlotte, NC
The Charlotte Brandshop Speaker Series will feature more than 30 designer shop-in-shops, book signings, workshops, and a speaker series, where guests will hear from inspiring entrepreneurs including Liz Hilliard of Hilliard Studio Method and our very own StyleBlueprint co-founder, Elizabeth Fox! For a daily pop-up schedule and tickets, click here.
December 11, 2016: Memphis Grilled Cheese Festival — Memphis, TN
Who doesn’t love grilled cheese? This fun, first-time event features a yummy cook-off, with categories like “most cheesiest,” “most ridiculous” and, of course, “best tomato soup!” The event, which runs from noon to 6 p.m. at the Hi-Tone, 412 N. Cleveland St., is open to the public. General admission tickets cost $5, and proceeds benefit ALIVE Memphis Rescue. Live music, two bars and a grilled cheese eating competition means this is an event not to miss! memphisgrilledcheese.com
December 28 & 29, 2016: St. Paul & The Broken Bones at the Alabama Theatre — Birmingham, AL
Birmingham’s very own St. Paul & The Broken Bones brings it home for the holidays with two nights of their fabulous, soul-filled sound with special guest Heath Green & The Makeshifters at the Alabama Theatre December 28 and 29. These local boys are making Birmingham proud all around the world as they tour their critically acclaimed sophomore album, Sea of Noise. Catch them while you can at the fabulous Alabama Theatre. Tickets range from $25 to $35, the doors open at 7 p.m. and the show starts at 8 p.m. alabamatheatre.com
December 31, 2016: Chick-Fil-A Peach Bowl — Atlanta, GA
New Year’s Eve is all about college football and seeing which top teams make it to the Chick-Fil-A Peach Bowl. If you think pigskins are a tasty appetizer and “moving the chains” means readjusting your choker, don’t worry, you’ll still have a great time inside the Georgia Dome. Tickets are on sale online and range in price depending on where you sit in the arena. chick-fil-apeachbowl.com
December 31, 2016: Jack Daniel’s Bash on Broadway — Nashville, TN
Ring in the New Year with Keith Urban, STYX, A Thousand Horses, Moon Taxi, Charlie Worsham and The Fisk Jubilee Singers at the Jack Daniel’s Bash on Broadway. This free, New Year’s Eve event features live music, fireworks and the “Music Note Drop®.” Party with your fellow Nashvillians downtown. visitmusiccity.com/newyearseve
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