Kimiko Kidd
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6 Drive-Thru Holiday Light Displays in Tennessee

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Christmas Decorations on Car Garland Gifts
Photo: Carina One via CC

The holiday season is upon us, and what better way to celebrate than to hop in the car, turn on some Christmas music, and cruise through some festive lights? In the state of Tennessee, there are a handful of drive-thru holiday light displays that are sure to put you in the Christmas spirit.

Chad’s Winter Wonderland

To start the list off strong, we decided to include Chad’s Winter Wonderland. This attraction is located in the city of Lebanon, and features a full-size drive-thru Santa house. Inside, Santa will interact with visitors by taking photos and Christmas wishes. There are live animals in the nativity scene, a drive-thru light tunnel, more than 90 arches, and over 1.4 million LED lights.

Admission is $20 per passenger car and $30 for a limousine or commercial van (cash only). The trail is open from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. every weekday and 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. on the weekends from Nov. 25 to Dec. 31, 2021.

The Dancing Lights of Christmas

From Nov. 12, 2021 to Jan. 2, 2022, the Dancing Lights of Christmas lights up the city of Lebanon with more than half a million lights at the James E. Ward Agricultural Center. The Dancing Lights is the largest drive-thru light and music display in central Tennessee, so it’s a can’t-miss event.

The attraction is open nightly starting at 5 p.m., regardless of weather and holidays. Family vehicles and non-profit organization vans and buses make it through for a $30 admission charge, while limousines are charged $50. If you’re looking to bring a bus, large commercial vehicle, or motor home, expect to shell out $100.

Speedway in Lights

The city of Bristol is home to the Bristol Motor Speedway, a NASCAR short track. To celebrate the holiday season, the Bristol Motor Speedway hosts Speedway in Lights, the largest holiday light show in the South.

The drive-thru display is 4 miles long and has over 2 million lights throughout the track. It is open from Nov. 12, 2021, to Jan. 1, 2022, from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m.

On Sunday through Thursday nights, admission is $20 for passenger vehicles with one to eight passengers; that increases to and $25 on Fridays and Saturdays. On every day of the week, vans with over eight passengers will be charged $50 admission, while buses with 24 or more passengers will pay $125.

Shadrack’s Christmas Wonderland

The scenic town of Sevierville, located just outside of Gatlinburg, is home to one of Tennessee’s finest drive-thru Christmas attractions. Shadrack’s Christmas Wonderland is home to a 300-foot-long tunnel of lights, a 70-foot-tall light tree, and plenty of themed displays, like the brand-new Santa’s Beach Party diorama. And once you’ve traversed the trail of lights, you can visit the nearby Sevierville Santa’s Village, which offers concessions, a petting zoo, and souvenirs.

Shadrack’s Christmas Wonderland is open nightly, rain or shine, from 6-10 p.m., Nov. 5, 2021 – Jan. 2, 2022. Admission starts at $25 per car (up to 8 people) and tops out at $40 per car on popular dates. That ticket also covers entry into Santa’s Village. You can purchase tickets online in advance, or at the gate if that’s your jam.

Franktown Festival of Lights

The annual Festival of Lights is a Franklin community tradition and holds the title of the longest drive-thru holiday light display in Williamson County. The Festival of Lights features more than 200 displays along a 1-mile stretch, synchronized to Christmas music you can play through your car stereo.

The display, which is hosted at the Williamson County Agricultural Center, is open Nov. 25 through Dec. 26, 2021, from 5 to 9 p.m. Entry costs $25 per car and proceeds support the work of Franktown OpenHearts; a non-profit ministry that helps at-risk youth.

Clarksville Speedway

If your family is full of automotive enthusiasts, you just might start a new tradition when you experience the Clarksville Speedway Christmas Lights Extravaganza. This spectacular display covers more than a mile, and features over three million lights. The event runs daily from Nov. 23, 2021 – Jan. 1, 2022. From Sunday through Thursday, the gates open at 5:30 p.m. and close at 9 p.m. If you visit on a Friday or Saturday, the attraction will remain open until 10 p.m.

Admission for family vehicles is $30, $50 for vans with more than eight people, and $100 for tour buses. However, the attraction offers plenty of coupons and special pricing nights for teachers, military personnel, and seniors. Check the website for more details.