Where Every Family Matters

Cheekwood’s Holiday LIGHTS to Open Nov. 18

New installations this year include the Enchanted Esplanade, brightly lit trees showing distinct colorful patterns in motion.

Nashville’s classic tradition Holiday LIGHTS returns Saturday, November 18, 2023, and runs through January 7, 2024. In the setting of Cheekwood Estate & Gardens, light displays with over one million lights are featured along a one-mile walking path. 

“This year’s Holiday LIGHTS is brighter than ever,” says Cheekwood President and CEO Jane MacLeod, “Each year we add a little something new, while still offering the traditional displays our guests have come to know and love. An equally festive experience awaits guests inside the historic Mansion where this year’s theme of candy canes and gingerbread will bring cheer to visitors of all ages.” 

With twinkling lights and dazzling delights to see throughout nine of Cheekwood’s 13 distinct gardens, there is something fun for everyone to enjoy.

What’s New?

The newest feature, the Enchanted Esplanade, on the Carell Dogwood Trail is comprised of nine trees wrapped with programmed RGB string lights, and ground effects along the path. The trees will show distinct colorful patterns in motion, while the ground effects will envelope the walk with shimmering waves of rainbow colors.

Enchanted Esplanade joins other whimsical installations including Peppermint Path, Tunnel of Light, Star Field, Bejeweled Bridge, Luminary Lanterns and the always popular Dancing Lights of TRAINS! 

Holiday Décor in the Mansion

With themes of candy canes and gingerbread, the bedecked Cheekwood Mansion is sure to bring joy to the young and young at heart. A 14-foot candy cane tree will greet visitors in the foyer. The red-andwhite striped theme continues up the grand staircase and into the Drawing Room. The iconic 20-foottall live poinsettia tree on display in the Loggia will also feature a candy cane inspired motif, created by Cheekwood’s garden team. In the Library, a nutcracker tree will complement Cheekwood’s impressive nutcracker collection, with the wooden figurines nestled throughout the period rooms. Gingerbread takes over the Morning Room with gingerbread men and houses, and a 10-foot gingerbread themed tree. 

Holiday Marketplace

Open day and night, the Holiday Marketplace returns to the Frist Learning Center Great Hall with a nine-foot garden-themed ornament wall and a wide range of gifts and decor. This year, the Marketplace features an amazing selection of nutcrackers, reindeer, and cardinals. Other highlights include new Cheekwood ornaments and an expanded selection of Jellycat holiday soft toys. Shop for gifts for loved ones or a memento of the holiday experience at Cheekwood. 

S’mores Stations and Seasonal Libations

While out exploring the luminous landscape, guests can stop by one of the many kiosks throughout the grounds for hot cocoa or festive holiday spirits, including spiked cocoa and apple cider. S’mores kits will be available for purchase to roast at the stations behind the Holiday Marketplace in the Frist Learning Center. 

Daytime Visits with Santa for Families and Dogs 

Families can come visit with St. Nicholas every Saturday and Sunday, beginning December 2 through Saturday, December 23 from 10:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. The visits on December 2, 3, 9, 16 and 23 will be held in the Frist Learning Center. While there, children can bring their letters to put in Santa’s mailbox. On December 10 & 17, special dog visits take place in the Frist Learning Center courtyard, where fourlegged family members can join in on the merriment. 

Late Night Lights

Late Night Lights will offer a discounted ticket price for those who wish to experience the displays later in the evening. The $20 per person Gardens Only passes allow entry at 8:30 p.m. or later Monday through Thursday. 

Military Mondays

Cheekwood is pleased to offer Military Mondays throughout the festival. Military members (active or retired/veterans) along with up to five immediate family members, receive a 50% discount on Gardens Only admission Monday evenings. In partnership with Truist Bank, guests may purchase from a list of gifts in the Cheekwood shops to a donated to a military family. 

To learn more about Holiday LIGHTS and to purchase tickets visit, cheekwood.org.




About the Author

Michael Aldrich

Michael Aldrich is Nashville Parent's Managing Editor and a Middle Tennessee arts writer. He and his wife, Alison, are the proud parents of 4-year-old Ezra and baby Norah.