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Tennessee Winter Bucket List – From Chattanooga, Nashville, to Pigeon Forge

By Life, Family Fun Team


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If you are looking for some great Tennessee winter bucket list activities to put on your radar, look no further than these great suggestions!

It’s winter bucket list time. Have you considered Tennessee? Whether you’re packing up the kiddos and heading out to take in the sights of Chattanooga or to enjoy the sounds of Nashville, Tennessee has a lot to offer all winter long! From music and the arts to skating or enjoying winter at Graceland, this Tennessee Winter Bucket List will help to inspire you to do your own research on fun winter activities that you want to add to your very own winter bucket list!

If you are looking for some great Tennessee Winter Bucket List activities to put on your radar, look no further than these great suggestions! #TennesseeTravel #WinterinTennessee #TennesseeTravelGuide #VisitTennessee

Life’s to short to waste time missing all the amazing opportunities and activities that Tennessee holds! While the state is most famous for the Great Smoky Mountains and the music of Memphis and Nashville, there’s so much more to be seen than just those three iconic ideas. Tennessee is a state rich in culture, history, the arts, and natural beauty. It’s one of those quiet states that people don’t automatically think of when they consider a family getaway, but they absolutely should. It’s definitely winter bucket list-worthy. 

Budget-Friendly Nashville Winter Bucket List

We know it’s cold, but don’t stay inside and hibernate! You’ll miss so much if you do. There are so much beauty and nature that comes alive during winter that exploring winter in Nashville needs to be on your winter bucket list! It’s worth braving the cold to explore this iconic city. From arcades and art galleries to the famous Blue Bird cafe, Nashville is a city with something for everyone.

On a budget? That’s no excuse to hide inside, either! There are many activities that are free in Nashville, so we always like to check those out first. Free can be a lot of fun when you take the time to explore the options!

Related Article: Top 7 Must See Nashville Attractions When Traveling With Kids

Downtown Nashville

Head downtown to visit the historic arcade, several amazing art galleries, and even take an architecture tour during the First Saturday Art Crawl. Spanning across all of downtown, the Art Crawl takes place every first Saturday of the month. As long as you can brave the cold you’ll have plenty to keep you busy all night! (Once you’re used to the cold, it really isn’t all that cold at all!)

While you’re in the neighborhood, don’t forget to stop in to see the iconic Bluebird Cafe. It’s a hot spot for up-and-coming musical talent in the Nashville area where many famous artists have cut their teeth before making it big. Music lovers will also want to take in a show at the Grand Ole Opry and the Ryman Auditorium, as well. 

Ice Skating

What’s winter without ice skating? Lace up those skates and get out on the ice for some winter fun. There are many places to go ice skating across Tennessee so look up your town’s website and see what’s near you. Don’t stop at just one, either. Each ice skating rink in Nashville is different so make certain that you take your time trying out each and every one. Ages 13 and up are $7, Military $6.


Make Your Escape (Game)

Escape Games are becoming more and more popular as year-round attractions rather than just Halloween-time ones, which makes me happy! Solve million dollar heists all while escaping the cold at Nashville Escape Game. Escape Games are family-friendly fun but mostly designed for older kids, teens, and adults. We always call ahead if our kids are at that maybe but maybe not age. You want to make sure it’s not spooky or scary if you have sensitive ones, and obviously, you want to make sure everyone is going to have age-appropriate fun. Checking photos out on any Escape Game’s Facebook page is a good idea too as that can give you a better idea of who it’s suited for.

Winter in Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge

island of pigeon forge

Download the free Gatlinburg App to figure out how to get around, and also to see what’s going on locally while you’re visiting. This app is super useful in helping you maximize your time and efforts to not take time away from any of your winter bucket list activities that you are wanting to do.

Fort Fun

Open year-round with tons of indoor fun for the entire family, Fort Fun opens at 10 AM each day and closes between 9 PM and midnight. Indoor golf, laser tag, bumper cars, escape rooms, gem mining, and an arcade make it easy for kids and grown-ups alike to have a blast!

Island Mirror Maze

Another family-fun attraction, the Island Mirror Maze is not just any ol’ maze. Check out the Atomic Rush, Bumper Cars, and Laser Maze to see why this place is so much fun. Tickets are less than $15 each but can add up quickly for a large family, so get your money’s worth by making it a day trip!

Ski at Ober Gatlinburg

Ober Gatlinburg is a ski resort with something for everyone, beginner and expert alike. Even if you’re not into skiing or snow tubing, it’s fun to take a ride up the ski lift and experience a second-to-none view of the Great Smoky Mountains.

Dollywood Smoky Mountain Christmas

From November 8th through January 3rd, you can experience Dollywood’s Smoky Mountain Christmas, with over four million lights and a special guest: Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer! Meet Rudolph and his friends in the truly magical Rudolph’s Holly Jolly Junction.

dollywood at christmas

Christmas Light Displays in Tennessee

Winter isn’t complete without Christmas lights! Kids and grown-ups alike are captivated by the beautiful light displays that deck the exteriors of homes and municipal buildings this time of year. And the bigger the better! There are some amazing light displays to be found across Tennessee that bring the magic of the holiday season to families as nothing else can. 

Rock City’s Enchanted Garden of Lights

If you’re looking for the best Christmas light display, look no further than Rock City’s Enchanted Garden of Lights. Celebrating 22 years of joy, wonder, and magic, Rock City’s Famous Christmas Light Extravaganza is sure to get you in the holiday spirit!


Did you know Christmas was one of Elvis’ favorite times of the year? Experience the stunning Christmas at Graceland with your family and create magical memories everyone will cherish for decades to come. See the lights, a life-size Nativity scene, and Santa and his sleigh at Graceland. Even Santa knows to stop at Graceland, so this is a winter bucket list must!


Nashville has more Christmas lights than you can shake a candy cane at. From holiday lights at Opryland to a stunning display at Cheekwood Estate & Gardens, Nashville is a Christmas light lover’s dream come true.

Looking for displays in your neck of the woods? Google “Christmas light displays + your town” or “holiday lights + your town” for best results.

Tennessee is a Winter Bucket List Must

Almost everyone knows that Tennessee is overflowing with natural beauty, but what a lot of people forget is that there is so much more to see and do outside of trails and nature hikes, although those are wonderful, too. Tennessee is a state filled with arts, culture, and so much more. Whether you’re taking in lights and a nativity scene at Graceland, enjoying a show at the Grand Ole Opry, or lacing up your ice skates for a few laps around the rink, there is something for everyone’s winter bucket list in Tennessee. 

There are always great winter activities to add to your winter bucket list if you are willing to do a bit of research! Who knows, you and your family may just stumble upon a new family activity in Tennessee that you all love and adore!

What’s your favorite winter activity in Tennessee? Leave a comment or tag me on social media with your thoughts and ideas. I’d love to hear them. 

13 thoughts on “Tennessee Winter Bucket List – From Chattanooga, Nashville, to Pigeon Forge”

  1. Years ago I visited Nashville and Memphis and had a really wonderful time. So many things we got to do, but so many more that we didn’t have time for. Hope to get back there again in the next couple of years!

  2. We vacationed in Pigeon Forge/Gatlinburg this May and wow is it amazing out there!! Maybe next year we’ll try a cabin in the winter! I was so sad to see the fires this fall and would love to support the tourism there again!

  3. I live in Southern Cali and this week for Christmas vacation it has gotten so cold. This is a great article to read for us NON cold dwellers.

  4. The Opryland Hotel in Nashville is a wonderful place to visit for Christmas lights and displays. It’s also free to walk around the hotel.

  5. I have never been to Tennessee! But I would love to go see Dollywood at Christmas. I bet it is magical and Tennessee sure has a lot of fun things to do.

  6. I just love Tennessee! Such a beautiful state with lots to do! We are going to Nashville this year and I can’t wait!

  7. I always love droving thtough the north Carolina and Tennessee mountains in the winter driving to and hone from my parents home in Memphis and back home to Raleigh.


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