From the Appalachian Trail to the Mississippi River, Tennessee takes New Year’s Eve to the next level with a mix of family-friendly and adult-only celebrations throughout the state. Enjoy fun for all ages at “Watch Nights” in smaller towns such as Clarksville and Murfreesboro, and “Noon Year’s Eve” events during the day in Chattanooga and Pigeon Forge. For adults ready to party, Tennessee is for music lovers. Experience dozens of live performances in the blues bars of Memphis, or see for yourself why Nashville has earned the nickname “Music City, USA.” Enjoy all the natural beauty, hospitality, and charm this state has to offer by booking a stay at a vacation rental in Tennessee for New Year’s Eve. Take a look at Tennessee’s most popular getaway locations.
New Year’s Eve celebrations get off to an early start in Chattanooga, with family-friendly celebrations happening all day and night. Start the day with the kids at the Creative Discovery Museum with live music, apple juice toasts and a workshop for the kids to make their own noisemakers for use later in the day for the parade. For dinner, hop aboard the Southern Belle for an early-bird river boat dinner cruise with live music and pilot house tours. As an alternative, relive a slice of yesteryear with a special New Year’s Eve dinner aboard an elegant 1924 train at the Tennessee Valley Railroad. The train leaves the Chattanooga Grand Junction Station and travels at a leisurely pace into the eastern valley before reversing direction and returning to the Chattanooga Terminal. Diners can choose from several entrees with dinner served in your choice of the authentic dining car or at a table in a restored Pullman car. Then it’s time for Ice on the Landing’s Special Late Skate New Year’s Eve Party with music, skating, and a sparkling cider toast at midnight. For adults without children, the river boat makes a second late-night journey, and there are plenty of parties around town.
Gatlinburg offers a New Year’s Eve celebration for the entire family. Start with a fondue supper at The Melting Pot or a more upscale feast at Blaine’s, both of which offer special meal plans that include music, noisemakers, and dinners. Then enjoy a live DJ and laser light show by the Gatlinburg Space Needle, the 400-foot tower where the Gatlinburg Ball Drop takes place. Immediately following the ball drop, the evening concludes with a fireworks display right from the Space Needle, which you can observe from the Gatlinburg Bypass if you want to avoid the crowds. The Gatlinburg trolley runs a special schedule to avoid traffic and parking congestion, so a vacation rental in town gives you more time to spend celebrating with your family.
3. Pigeon Forge
Families with children should have no problem finding where to go in Pigeon Forge on New Year’s Eve. Start the day with the annual Noon Year’s Eve party for children and adults at the Titanic Museum, with party favors, storybook characters, and a balloon drop. Later on, enjoy a special Christmas at The Smoky Mountain Opry show featuring singers, dancers, ice skaters, aerialists, magicians, and comedians, along with pyrotechnics, a laser light show, and two large screens with a live video feed from Times Square in New York City. At the stroke of midnight, the largest balloon drop in the region falls from the ceiling of the theater, and the stars of the show circulate for you to meet them.
Sevierville is home to an unusual but popular New Yar’s Eve party. Sevier Air is a 38,000-square-foot indoor family adventure park complete with trampolines, advanced and junior Ninja Warrior Courses, and net systems. For New Year’s Eve, attend the Super Hero New Year’s Event dressed as your favorite superhero and enjoy contests, games, party favors, snacks, and non-alcoholic beverages. Only 100 tickets are available for this event, so make reservations early.
Murfreesboro pays homage to the town watchman of years gone by with their family-friendly New Year’s Eve Night Watch Celebration. See downtown beautifully transformed with thousands of lights for this safe night event at the First Presbyterian Church. Local talent performs from 7 p.m., followed by a 21-piece swing orchestra, and ending with the ringing of the church bells at 10 p.m. to ring in the new year. The event coincides with a city-wide Community Service Fair featuring local service agencies and the Community Service Award for an individual who demonstrated exceptional performance in helping those in need for the year.
Market Square is where to go in Knoxville on New Year’s Eve with live bands and a glittery ball drop at midnight. Before that, try one of the local restaurants or clubs to get yourself in the mood. Options range from an elegant five-course dinner, live music, and open bar at Club LeConte, to David Bowie, Nirvana, and Prince cover bands at Scruffy City Hall, where you are encouraged to don your finest 90s gear. There’s also a German Festival at Schulz Brau, a 1920s theme party at Sapphire Lounge, and the Festival of Flowers at Bar Marley with a buffet, bottomless punch, limbo line, fire dancers, and music.
Memphis throws its biggest party of the year with most of the action on or around Beale Street with parties at The New Daisy, B. B. King’s, the Jerry Lee Lewis Cafe and Tin Roof to name a few. You can also boogie down at Paula & Raiford’s Disco or attend a black-tie soiree at Premiere Palace Ballroom. FAt Noon New Year’s at Noon at Children’s Museum of Memphis, kids have a dance party and DJ in the ballroom, a fun day of activities including crafts, temporary tattoos, a balloon drop and a goodie toss.
Nashville is home to some of the biggest names in music, so it is fitting that New Year’s Eve in Nashville is all about music. A number of venues including the famous Grand Ole Opry offer musical entertainment and a free concert sponsored by Jack Daniel’s called Music City Midnight that takes place at Bicentennial Capitol Mall State Park. Here, nationally-famous acts perform a free concert followed by a countdown to midnight, the descent of the 15-foot musical note, and a fireworks display at midnight.
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