Finding a travel destination that puts me in the holiday spirit was always a struggle. That was until I spent Christmas at the Gaylord Opryland Resort in Nashville. Although snow may not be in the forecast for Tennessee, this resort makes you feel like you were teleported to a winter wonderland from the moment you walk through the door. The Gaylord Opryland Resort enhances this experience by offering tons of Christmas-themed activities. Keep reading to find out which of these are essential to your visit.

Those of you who are budget travelers may hear the word “resort” and think it is out of your price range (I will be real…it is expensive); however, the Gaylord Opryland Resort is owned by Marriott, which means that you can use your Marriott Bonvoy rewards points to reduce the cost of your stay. Click here to learn more.

Please note that many of the attractions below are ticketed and are not included in your stay. Tickets must be purchased in advance. Click here to learn more.

Take the Indoor Delta River Cruise

Yes, you read the heading correctly; there is a “river” that runs through the Delta Atrium of the Gaylord Opryland Resort, and you can take a boat ride down it! During the holidays, the areas surrounding the river are decorated with Christmas trees, lights, and sculptures. The boat ride is one of my favorite things to do at the Gaylord Opryland Resort for Christmas, and I love to begin my trip with it to acquaint myself with the resort and get into the holiday spirit. This activity is very child-friendly; one year when I stayed at the Gaylord Opryland Resort, the voice guiding the boat tour was that of one of Santa’s elves!

Check Out the Ice Sculptures (ICE! Show)

Visiting the Christmas ice sculpture exhibition at the Gaylord Opryland Resort (known as ICE!) is something I always look forward to because it is so different every year. Upon entering, you are encouraged to wear a winter coat and gloves (trust me, you need them – it is 9 degrees inside). From there, you are invited to walk through the story of a classic holiday tale, told entirely through ice sculptures. The first time I visited, the theme was Charlie Brown Christmas. I went back a few years later, and the theme was A Christmas Story. This year, in 2022, the theme is Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer. The exhibits normally end with a nativity scene (also made entirely of ice, obviously). As an extra, fun twist, one of the exhibits I visited also ended with an ice slide!

Ride the General Jackson Showboat

The General Jackson Showboat experience offers a southern-style meal and a country Christmas show (which I have seen twice because it is so good). The food is great, and the performers are very talented. If you are interested in listening to classic Christmas music with a country flair, drop whatever you are doing and get your name on the guest list. Although the boat does not leave directly from the resort, they are affiliated. Sailing schedules vary yearly, so click here or contact The Gaylord Opryland Resort for more information.

Ice Skate

Winter and ice skating go hand in hand. Luckily, The Gaylord Opryland Resort makes sure you do not go the holiday season without it. The photo below, which shows indoor skating, was taken during my first trip to the resort; however, during my most recent visit, outdoor skating was available. If you are not an ice skater, buy tickets for a 30-minute private ice skating lesson.

Picture of people on the indoor ice-skating rink at the Gaylord Opryland Resort

Attend a Christmas Musical at The Grand Ole Opry

The famous Grand Ole Opry is right next door to the Gaylord Opryland Resort; how could you not visit it? Even better, the resort produces a holiday musical there each year (schedules may vary, so contact the resort for more information). Although the show does not take place in the Gaylord Opryland Resort itself, it is worth the short walk. During my last visit, we saw Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer, and we were given a Bumble stuffed animal for free (pictured above).

Picture of a Bumble stuffed animal, which was handed out during the Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer show at the Grand Ole Opry

Other Activities

Clearly, there are a ton of Christmas activities at the Gaylord Opryland Resort. This article highlighted the most popular activities, but there are so many more things to do and see. Tubing, scavenger hunts, carriage rides, character breakfasts, photos with Santa, gingerbread decorating, dinner shows, and holiday shopping are just a few of the other things I have enjoyed during my Christmas stay at the Gaylord Opryland Resort. What makes it even more exciting is that new activities are offered every time I visit. That being said, while the activities mentioned in this article have been consistently offered at the resort, I cannot guarantee that they will not be swapped out for new activities.

Lastly, if you happen to find some free time, just take a walk around the resort. It is always decorated beautifully. I have gotten lost while admiring all of the Christmas trees and holiday lights. The Garden Conservatory, Magnolia, Delta, and Cascades Artiums are must-visits, as they are always well-decorated; if you stay at the resort, you are bound to travel through them on many occasions. The outdoor lawns are also always decorated with large Christmas trees and nativity scenes.

Book your stay at the Gaylord Opryland Resort here.

Not only is Nashville an incredible Christmas destination, but it is also one of the most popular cities for bachelorette parties. To find out more, check out Episode 5 of the Runways and Byways travel podcast! It is currently available on SpotifyYouTube, and Anchor. If you’d like to learn more about my podcast in general, click here.

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What activities are you most excited to do at the Gaylord Opryland Resort for Christmas? Contact me or let me know in the comments below!

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