From parade floats and hot chocolates to Christmas lights and scavenger hunts, these Christmas activities in Knoxville will help you keep the holiday magic alive all season long.
Even better, many of the events below are completely free. So, no matter your budget, you can build memorable family traditions right here at home.
Knoxville Christmas Events That Run All Season Long
1. Three Rivers Rambler Christmas Lantern Express Train Ride
Weekends in December 2023 @ 9:30 a.m., 12:30 p.m., & 3:45 p.m.
2560 University Commons Way, Knoxville
On this fantastic Christmas train ride, guests will enjoy stunning holiday decor, festive stories, treats, and a visit from Santa. Prices Start at $54 for adults and $23 for children.
2. Smoky Mountain Christmas
November 2023 – January 6, 2024
Throughout the holiday season, Dollywood will be covered in stunning Christmas lights and its vendors will offer a variety of Christmas crafts.
You can purchase a nighttime-only pass for $55 or a full-day pass for $92. Child and senior discounts are available.
3. Winterfest at The Island
November & December 2023
The Island, Pigeon Forge, TN
In addition to all the regular attractions, the island will be decked out in tons of Christmas lights and holiday displays. There will also be a big tree-lighting event on November 18th.
4. Bass Pro Shops Santa’s Wonderland
November 6 – December 24, 2023
3629 Outdoor Sportsman Pl, Kodak, TN
At this popular Christmas event, kids can get a free printed photo with Santa and his reindeer. There will also be fun games and kids’ activities to enjoy while you wait.
You can reserve your time slot in advance online.
5. Christmas Skate at Wilderness
November 10, 2023 – January 7, 2024
Wilderness at the Smokies, Sevierville, TN
Enjoy a fun open-air skating rink this Christmas season! It’s $20 per room to add the ice skating package to your stay. You can also buy skate-only passes.
6. Light the Park
November 21, 2023 – January 1, 2024
Campbell Station Park, Farragut, TN
While the gorgeous Christmas lights will illuminate the park throughout the season, there will be a fun kick-off celebration on November 20th at 5:30 p.m. The event will have music, kids’ crafts, food trucks, and a tree lighting.
Related Read: Knoxville’s Most Enchanting Christmas Light Displays
7. A Christmas Carol
November 24 – December 21, 2023 (select dates)
Clarence Brown Theatre, Knoxville, TN
Ring in the season with a performance of this classic Christmas play. Tickets are $55 each.
8. Christmas in the Village
Fridays and Saturdays From November 24 – December 23, 2023
Great Smoky Mountain Heritage Center, Townsend, TN
At this magical holiday event, the historic Appalachian village will be decked out in tons of gorgeous Christmas lights. Of course, there will also be a variety of living history demonstrations throughout the evening.
Tickets are $8 for children, $12 for adults, and $10 for seniors.
9. Holidays on Ice
November 24, 2023 – January 2, 2024
Market Square Knoxville
Holiday’s on Ice, a picturesque open-air skating rink in the heart of downtown Knoxville, is a seasonal family favorite. The cost is $12 for adults and $9 for kids ages 12 and under.
10. Elf on the Shelf Adventure
November 24, 2023 – January 7, 2024
This downtown scavenger hunt sends families searching for everyone’s favorite holiday elf. Pick up your North Pole pass at the Mast General Store or the Knoxville Visitors Center and find fun games and prizes along the way.
11. Peppermint Trail
November 24, 2023 – January 7, 2024
Look for the festive peppermint decals on the sidewalks throughout downtown Knoxville. The decals mark local businesses that are selling delicious peppermint-flavored treats, or festive holiday gifts.
This is a FREE self-guided trail, but of course, you do have to pay for the peppermint treats and goodies you decide to buy.
12. Christmas Cooking Classes
Throughout December 2023
Cutting Edge Classroom, Knoxville
Kids can pick from a variety of delicious Christmas cooking classes including several parent-and-me options. Treats to be made include macaroons, donuts, cookies, cakes, and more!
Class costs start at $115 per parent/child pair. Multi-child packages are also available.
13. Makebreak Christmas Craft Classes
Throughout November & December 2023 (Select Dates)
Michaels Craft Stores (All Locations)
Michaels Makebreak crafting classes for kids include all supplies. The crafts available this year include a snowman ornament, watercolor stockings, DIY holiday cards, and more.
14. Christmas Canvas Art Classes
Throughout November & December 2023
Painting with a Twist, Knoxville, TN
All season long you can choose from a wide variety of winter and Christmas-themed canvas painting classes. Subjects include snowmen, reindeer, the Grinch, and more!
The daytime events are family-friendly and perfect for a parent-and-me outing. Prices start at $35 per painter.
15. Market Square Winter Market
Saturdays in December
Market Square, Knoxville
At this year’s winter market, all your favorite food and craft vendors will be adding a fun holiday twist to their products.
16. Zoo Knoxville Christmas Activities
Weekends in December 2023
Unfortunately, the zoo will not be having its after-dark lanterns or Christmas lights this year. Instead, they are going to plan some fun daytime holiday events on the weekends.
Keep an eye on their website and social media pages to see each weekly event as it’s announced.
November Christmas Activities Knoxville TN
17. Holiday Handcrafter’s Festival
November 11, 2023 @ 10 a.m.
Great Smoky Mountain Heritage Center, Townsend, TN
Shop for holiday gifts at local artisan and craft vendor booths. Admission to the festival is FREE, but of course, the gifts you purchase will cost money. Museum admission is also an additional charge.
18. Christmas at Chilhowee
November 17, 2023 @ 6 p.m.
Chilhowee Park, Knoxville, TN
This is a gorgeous Christmas tree lighting ceremony complete with music, crafts, games, balloon Santa photos, Christmas lights, and more!
19. Christmas Vacation in the Cave
November 18, 2023 (Time Available From 11 a.m. – 8 p.m.)
Cherokee Caverns, Knoxville, TN
This is a unique underground screening of the classic holiday movie Christmas Vacation. Tickets are $12 each.
20. Retropolitan Craft Fair
November 19, 2023 @ 11 a.m.
The Mill & Mine, 227 W. Depot Ave, Knoxville
Each of the vendors at this popular Christmas craft fair is hand-chosen to make sure every table provides unique and high-quality wares. Admission to the fair is FREE.
21. Fantasy of Trees
November 22 – 26, 2023
Knoxville Convention Center
This popular fundraiser for East TN Children’s Hospital features a stunning forest of elaborately decorated Christmas trees. While many people come just to view the quirky-themed trees, they are also available for purchase.
Tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for children 12 and under. You can also purchase a 4 pack of tickets for $25.
The festival will also feature a variety of kids’ craft tables ranging in cost from $2 – $5 per activity. There will also be FREE face painting and visits with Santa.
22. Christmas in the City + Regal Celebration of Lights
November 24, 2023 @ 5:15 p.m.
Krutch Park Extension, Knoxville
This event kicks off the downtown Christmas light season. It will feature a tree-lighting ceremony, live music, and fun activities for kids. The holiday lights will be up to enjoy all season
23. Celebrate The Season
November 30, 2023 @ 4:30 p.m.
Farragut Community Center
This family-friendly Knoxville Christmas event boasts cookie decorating, music, crafts, pictures with Santa, and more!
December Events For Christmas in Knoxville TN
24. WIVK Christmas Parade
December 1, 2023 @ 7 p.m.
Gay Street, Knoxville
This most anticipated Christmas parade of the season is back and better than ever!
25. Fantasy of Lights Christmas Parade
December 1, 2023 @ 7:30 p.m.
A fun and traditional Christmas parade
26. Candlelit History Tours
December 1-2, 2023 @ 6 p.m.
Historic Ramsey House, Knoxville
Historic Ramsey House will be decorated for Christmas with Fresh greenery and candles. There will be a blacksmith, holiday treats, hot cider, and a warm bonfire (weather permitting)! Reenactors in period dress will lead tours throughout the night.
Ticket prices are $15 for adults and $13 for children ages 5-12. Children under 5 are FREE.
27. Nutcracker on Ice
December 1 – 3, 2023 @ 7 p.m. Fri & Sat + 2 p.m. Sat and Sun
Ice Chalet, Knoxville
Enjoy a unique performance of The Nutcracker on Ice. Ticket prices range from $15-$35 depending on the seats you choose.
28. Christmas in the Cave
Fridays, Saturdays, & Sundays From December 1-17, 2023 @ 3 p.m.
Cherokee Caverns, Oak Ridge Highway, Knoxville
At Christmas in the Cave, you and your family will enjoy a stunning underground adventure with thousands of twinkling Christmas lights. Tickets are $15 per person ages 4 and up.
Related Read: Rockin’ Christmas Parades in the Greater Knoxville Area
29. 18th Century Christmas Garrison
December 2, 2023 @ 10 a.m.
Fort Loudon State Historic Site, Vonore
Celebrate Christmas as the soldiers did in the French and Indian War. Reenactors will be present throughout the day to demonstrate a variety of skills and holiday traditions.
There will also be a candlelight tour after dark.
30. Rocky Hill Christmas Parade & Festival
December 2, 2023 @ 3:30 p.m.
Rocky Hill Business District, Knoxville
In addition to an awesome parade, this jam-packed Christmas festival boasts a holiday market, live music, carols, Santa, food trucks, a tree-lighting ceremony, and more!
31. Santa Comes to Town Christmas Parade & Festival
December 2, 2023 @ 1 p.m.
At this popular Christmas festival, you’ll enjoy a fabulous parade, food and craft vendors, kids’ activities, Christmas tree lighting, carolers, a live nativity, food trucks, entertainment, and more!
Activities begin at 1 p.m. and the parade begins at 5 p.m.
32. Sweetwaters Polar Express Experience
December 3, 2023 @ 2 p.m.
Wear your PJs and enjoy a festive reading of this iconic story on Sweetwater’s historic downtown train car. Cookies and hot cocoa will also be served. Tickets are $10 per person, including adults.
33. Rockin’ Santa Half Marathon + Sunshine Santa 5K
December 3, 2023
Victor Ashe Park, Knoxville
Break out your Santa hat and head over to this qualifying Christmas run. Race day registration fees are $45 for the 5K, $70 for the half marathon, and $125 for the half marathon relay race.
Discounted pricing is available if you register before December 2nd.
34. Knoxville Fine Arts and Crafts Center
December 6 & 13, 2023 @ 4:15 p.m.
1127 N Broadway B, Knoxville
The Christmas craft classes include a clay Santa cookie plate on the 6th and a pastel nutcracker painting on the 13th. The cost is $15 per person.
Related Read: Christmas Fun Runs Your Whole Family Will Love
35. Christmas Cookie Crawl & Holiday Craft Market
December 9th, 2023 @ 10 a.m.
Historic Downtown Clinton
This unique holiday event is fun for the whole family! Eat cookies, visit with Santa, and enjoy a variety of family-friendly games and activities.
Downtown shops will be having special sales to help you finish up your Christmas shopping. There will also be local craft vendors and food trucks on site.
36. Tour de Lights
December 9, 2023 @ 3:30 p.m.
Community members are invited to decorate their bikes in Christmas lights to participate in this fun, FREE, and quirky Christmas bike parade. If you don’t want to ride, you can always come out to watch.
Kids are welcome to ride too. Although the event is free, you can pre-register for a chance to win fun prizes throughout the night.
37. Jingle Bell Run
December 9, 2023 @ 9 a.m.
World’s Fair Park
Break out those hideous Christmas sweaters for this holiday fun run benefiting the Arthritis Foundation. Your $45 registration fee also includes a t-shirt and a set of jingle bells.
38. Nativity Pageant
December 9 & 10, 2023 @ 3 p.m. + December 11, 2023 @ 7 p.m.
Knoxville Civic Coliseum
Children are welcome at this hour-long Christmas stage performance. The show starts in pitch-black darkness, so don’t be late!
This event is free to attend but donations are welcome.
December 9 & 16, 2023 @ 9 a.m.
The Muse, Knoxville
This special Christmas activity is for grandparents and their grandkids. Together guests will enjoy breakfast, make gingerbread houses, and explore the museum.
Each $35 ticket includes admission for 1 grandparent and 1 grandchild. Additional tickets will need to be purchased for each additional grandchild.
Related Read: Fun Experience Gifts That Will Keep Your Budget in Check
40. Santa Hustle
December 10, 2023 @ 9 a.m.
Townsend Visitors Center
This silly Christmas fun run will help you get into the holiday spirit. Race entry comes with a themed zip sweatshirt and a fleece headband with ear protection.
The registration fee is $80. There is also a $50 early bird special if you sign up before November 17th.
41. Cookies with Santa
December 12, 2023 @ 4 p.m.
Tennessee Theatre, Knoxville
Come on out to get a picture taken with Santa. There will also be cookie decorating and kids’ craft stations. The cost is $20 per child + applicable fees.
42. Evening with Santa
December 14, 2023 @ 6 p.m.
War Memorial Building, Lenoir City
Kids will enjoy crafts, games, light refreshments, and a meet and greet with Santa.
43. A Candlelight Christmas
December 15-16, 2023 @ 4 p.m.
Museum of Appalachia, Clinton
Enjoy a candlelight tour of authentic cabins, which will be decorated in their Christmas finest. There will also be music, living history demonstrations, kids’ activities, and more!
Tickets are $20 for visitors 13 and up and $10 for children 12 and under. You can also get a family pass for $45. The family pass includes admission for 2 adults and all dependent children.
44. NUTCRACKER! Magic of Christmas Ballet
December 21, 2023 @ 2 p.m. & 6 p.m.
Tennessee Theater, Knoxville
See this classic Christmas ballet come to life on stage. Depending on which seats you choose, ticket prices range from $39 to $187.
Christmas Events Near Knoxville
Though these events are a little bit further out, they are still close enough to Knoxville to enjoy. They also offer unique experiences that you can’t find anywhere else!
45. North Pole Limited
Weekends in November and December 2023
Tennessee Valley Railroad, Chattanooga
On this magical Christmas train ride, you and your family will be whisked away on an imaginative journey to the North Pole, complete with storytelling, songs, treats, Santa, and more!
General admission evening tickets are $39 or $65 to ride in Santa’s private train car. Daytime tickets are $29 for general admission or $55 to ride with Santa.
46. Christmas at Biltmore
November 3, 2023 – January 7, 024
1 Lodge St, Asheville, NC
Enjoy the beauty of Biltmore in stunning Christmas splendor. The mansion restaurants and cafes will also be serving festive fare.
Depending on the day you choose to visit, daytime tickets run from $110 to $145. Candlelit Christmas evening tickets run from $115 – $145.
47. The Great Smoky Mountain Railroad’s Polar Express
November 9 – December 31, 2023
45 Mitchell Street, Bryson City, NC
Based on the popular children’s picture book/movie, this fantastic Christmas train ride will immerse you and your kiddos in all the magic of Christmas. The entire train ride is actually set to the soundtrack of the movie.
While taking in the sights and sounds, guests will also enjoy hot cocoa and a yummy treat. Prices start at $44 for adults and $29 for children.
48. ICE! Featuring the Polar Express
November 10, 2023 – January 1, 2024
2800 Opryland Drive, Nashville
This annual Christmas event boasts acres of stunning Christmas decor and a winter wonderland made entirely of ice. The exhibit includes ice slides, sculptures, and much more.
Depending on the day you choose to go, event tickets are priced between $26 and $38. The hotel will also offer a-la-carte activities including indoor snow tubing, ice skating, holiday shows, yummy festive treats, and craft activities.
49. National Gingerbread Championships
November 27, 2023 – January 2, 2024
Omni Grove Park Inn, Ashville, NC
Marvel at the most stunning collection of gingerbread creations you will ever see in your life. Aside from Sundays after 4 p.m., weekend viewing is limited to resort guests and visitors with dining reservations only.
All are welcome to view the display on weekdays.
While there is no admission charge for viewing the houses, there is a $25 parking fee for self-park visitors. The valet parking fee is $35.
50. Holiday Christmas Light Train
December 26, 2023 – January 7, 2024 + January 12-14, 2024
Tennessee Valley Railroad, Chattanooga
Enjoy a scenic after-dark train ride through a stunning Christmas lights display. Ticket prices are $24 for adults and $15 for children.
Did we miss one of your favorite Knoxville Christmas events? Comment below so we can add it to the list.
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