One million holiday lights are hanging about at Cheekwood Estate & Gardens, glistening in the night. However, you might not know that if you have a rambunctious child ready to take on the one-mile path illuminated with the colorful lights. If he’s anything like my 7-year-old, he’s ready to just run about in the dark outside. Excited at the opportunity to be outdoors. On another note, our 11-year-old loved looking at the lights and taking her time. She actually would have loved to just stroll quietly throughout the premises — without her little brother making so much noise.
Before you go, know this: they offer Late Night Lights! That means adult tickets are just $15 and youth tickets are $10 starting at 8:30 p.m. every night! This is great for kids that you know will pretty much speed through the light display. Sure, they’ll love looking at the lights. But, those little legs tire out quickly. It only took us about an hour and a half to get through the entire walking trail of lights (before our youngest was tired and ready to go home). So, waiting might be better. Plus, that gives you time to go have dinner before you come! Tickets must be purchased at the gate to receive discount. Holiday Lights closes nightly at 10 p.m.
Excitement erupted from our son the moment he laid eyes on the little train display with lights that danced to the music. It actually took him a moment to realize the lights were dancing to the sound of the music (he didn’t believe me when I told him to just watch and listen). Kids waited their turn to rest their feet on the benches right up next to the train tracks to watch them go by, too.
Our favorite spot was by the pond (pictured top of page). The trees looked as if they were hovering over the water and the lights were glistening oh so sparkly. Farther down the trail, the wind picked up. The lights dangling from the branches above swayed in the breeze for another cool visual effect. So, as you’re walking around, don’t just look at the lights, enjoy them in their setting. Something different happens at every turn.
Meet Santa & See Live Reindeer
New this year for Cheekwood Holiday LIGHTS is the chance to meet Santa. However, he’s only hanging around Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday evenings leading up to Christmas. There’s not a professional photographers are not provided for Santa photos; but you are welcome to take you own pictures with your own camera. Although he wasn’t there the night we were, the kids did enjoy seeing the live reindeer. The lights were low and all was calm around them as to not startle the gentle creatures. They stayed back away from the fence quite a bit that night, so we didn’t get that good of a look at ’em. Maybe you’ll have better luck.
Food & Drinks
All that walking about will make your kids hungry. Especially if you come right at opening time, which is 5 p.m. There are two food trucks on site to feed your family, so bring your cash or cards! The S’mores Pits were ablaze and were calling us over to their warming glow, too. It was a nice break from our walk to warm up for a moment before the kids were ready to head off in search of the next brightest set of lights. If you’re kids are willing to hang around the fire a bit longer, consider purchasing a s’mores kit for $5 (roasting sticks are provided). Just be sure to bring some wipes with you — because we all know that melted marshmallow creates a sticky mess!
There’s hot chocolate, too! While the kids did enjoy it and sipped it down quite quickly, I didn’t care too much for it. My mature taste buds wanted a little more chocolate. LOL. It’s piping hot, too, and they were so kind to put a piece of ice or two in the cup for my youngest because he’s a bit impatient and wouldn’t wait for it to cool. There’s adult beverages available for purchase, too.
Where to Go
Cheekwood Estate & Gardens
1200 Forrest Park Drive, Nashville
Nov. 24 – Dec. 31 from 5 – 10 p.m.
Tickets Purchased in Advance Online by 4 p.m.
$22 adults, $17 ages 3 – 17, free ages younger than 2
Tickets purchased at the gate may have a $5 service fee added. Visit on Tuesday or Wednesday night and receive a $3 discount per ticket (not available December 20 and 21).