Our ultimate guide for Nashville, Middle Tennessee holiday parades and lights

The holidays are upon us, and so is a flurry of festivities, including parades, tree lightings and light displays. Looking for an event to get you and your loved ones in the holiday spirit?

Here's a rundown of just a few of the many events around Middle Tennessee.

Holiday parades, lights in Nashville

Friday, Nov. 11 - Sunday, Jan. 1

  • Christmas at Gaylord Opryland

Is there anything as magical as Opryland all decked out for the holidays? Christmas at Gaylord Opryland offers everything from ice skating and gingerbread decorating to dazzling light displays. There are also free tree lighting events nightly from Nov. 11 through Jan. 1. Carolers begin at 4:55 p.m. and the lights are turned on promptly at 5 p.m.

Find a full lineup of events, along with information on tickets, at christmasatgaylordopryland.com.

Friday, Nov. 18 - Sunday, Jan. 8

  • Zoolumination at the Nashville Zoo, ongoing, 3777 Nolensville Pike

The Nashville Zoo will host the largest Chinese lantern festival in the country. The event is open nightly during the holiday season from Nov. 18 through Jan. 8, and Thursdays through Sundays from Jan. 12 to Feb. 4. It features more than 1,000 custom-made silk lanterns, art of mythical creatures and a North Pole Village.

Find out more at nashvillezoo.org/zoolumination.

Friday, Dec. 2

  • Nashville Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony, 6 p.m., 1 Public Square (Metro Courthouse)

Nashville Mayor John Cooper will host the city's annual Christmas tree lighting outside the Historic Metro Courthouse. More than 5,500 multi-colored lights will illuminate the 35-foot-tall spruce tree.

Saturday, Dec. 3

  • Nashville Holiday Music Special, 9 a.m. airing on WKRN (Channel 2)

The traditional in-person Nashville Christmas Parade won't happen this year. Instead, parade organizers are teaming up with the Nashville Convention & Visitors Corp to broadcast a holiday music special on WKRN. The program will include a star-studded lineup of performances and celebrities. It will be filmed around iconic Nashville locations like The Ryman Auditorium and the Grande Ole Opry. Proceeds will benefit Monroe Carell Jr. Children's Hospital at Vanderbilt.

Additional airings on WKRN will run at 12:30 a.m. on Friday, Dec. 9 and at 4 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 24 (Christmas Eve). It will also air nationwide throughout the holiday season. More information, including a full lineup of performers, can be found at nashvilleholidaymusicspecial.com.

  • Donelson Hermitage Christmas Parade, 2 p.m., Donelson Pike

The Donelson Hermitage Christmas Parade, presented by Gaylord Opryland’s A Country Christmas, will feature floats, bands, Grand Marshal William Lee Golden of the Oak Ridge Boys and more. It will also include appearances by Nashville Mayor John Cooper and Vice Mayor Jim Schulman, along with Chris Kirkpatrick from *NSYNC, Grand Ole Opry members Jeannie Seely and Rhonda Vincent, Tennessee Titans cheerleaders, local marching bands and more.

The parade route begins at the corner of Donelson Pike and Elm Hill Pike. It will travel north along Donelson Pike, ending at the Fifty Forward Station.

Looking for more holiday events around Nashville? Check out visitmusiccity.com and click the "holiday" tab along the top.

Holiday parades, lights in the Greater Nashville area

The counties surrounding Davidson County, which is home to Nashville, have a wide variety of holiday parades and tree lighting events. Instead of listing them all, we'll just point you toward their individual websites to find the event that suits you best.

Pro tip: Robertson County is known for hosting lots of Christmas parades and events — and the Springfield parade rolls on Nov. 19 (before Thanksgiving).

Holiday parade in Columbia

Saturday, Dec. 3

  • Columbia Main Street Parade and Tree Lighting, 6 p.m. to 8 p.m., Main Street/Courthouse Square

The parade starts at 6 p.m. at the Trotwood and West 7th Street split and travels east into downtown and around the Courthouse Square. It will be approximately 90 minutes long. The tree lighting will happen on Courthouse Square by the Maury County Courthouse. There will be a buffer of 20 minutes after the parade, with live entertainment, to allow parade-goers enough time to arrive on the square.

More information and events in Columbia can be found at visitcolumbiatn.com/events. More information and events on Maury County can be found at maurycounty-tn.gov.

Holiday parade in Clarksville

Saturday, Dec. 3

  • Downtown Commons Christmas Tree Lighting, 4:30 p.m. to 4:45 p.m. at 215 Legion Street in Clarksville

  • Clarksville Christmas Parade, 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. in downtown Clarksville

Clarksville Mayor Joe Pitts will light the Christmas tree and a parade will directly follow. Parade participants are encouraged to decorate floats in honor of their favorite Christmas movies.

More information and events can be found at visitclarksvilletn.com/events.

Holiday parade in Franklin

Friday, Dec. 2

  • Christmas Tree Lighting on the Square, 6 p.m.-8:30 p.m. on Public Square in Franklin

The City of Franklin will host its annual Christmas tree lighting on Public Square from 6-8:30 p.m. The evening event will feature performances by the Freedom Intermediate School Honors Choir and Grammy-nominated Christian music artist Matthew West.

Saturday, Dec. 3

  • Franklin Christmas Parade, 2 p.m.-5 p.m. along Main Street in downtown Franklin

The Kiwanis Club of Historic Downtown Franklin and Williamson County Schools Fine Arts Club will host a Christmas parade along Main Street from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Dec. 3, to celebrate Christmas traditions and welcome Santa to town.

More information on the parade can be found at franklinis.com/events. More information on the Christmas tree lighting can be found at franklintn.gov/our-city/christmas-tree-lighting-on-the-square.

Holiday parade in Murfreesboro

Friday, Dec. 2 - Saturday, Dec. 3

  • Celebrate Christmas Downtown, 11:30 p.m. Friday Dec. 2 - 2:30 a.m. Saturday Dec. 3 on South Public Square

The celebration will include several performances and kid-friendly activities, including photos with Santa. More information and events can be found at allevents.in/murfreesboro.

Sunday, Dec. 11

  • Murfreesboro Christmas Parade, 2 p.m. along Main Street

The annual Christmas parade will roll along Main Street. It begins at Middle Tennessee State University and ends at the Historic Downtown Square. This year's theme is "Christmas Through the Years."

More information and events can be found at murfreesborotn.gov/calendar.

Toriana Williams contributed to this story.

This article originally appeared on Nashville Tennessean: Christmas 2022: Nashville area holiday parades, lights