Bristol is a beautiful destination any time of the year, with various winter activities to help you get into the festive mood. Whether you prefer a relaxed pace or crave some excitement, Bristol has an array of winter adventures for folks of all ages.
Light Up the Night
One of the most popular events in the city is The Pinnacle Speedway In Lights, held at Bristol Motor Speedway and Bristol Dragway. This annual tradition is the premier holiday light show in the region and features a four-mile drive-through route around the half-mile oval and through Thunder Valley. The event showcases over three million lights and dozens of animated light displays, including the Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies’ Sea of Illumination and Race to Space.
Speedway In Lights attracts tens of thousands of visitors annually, who can experience the Christmas Village stop in the BMS infield. The kids can enjoy rides, arts and crafts, hot chocolate, food, and meet Santa Claus. The event runs from Nov. 17 to Jan. 6. After gazing at the lights, you can enjoy ice skating. The rink is one of the few in the area and is a favorite for people of all ages. You can bring your skates or rent a pair to showcase your skills every day from Nov. 16 to Jan. 14.
Downtown Bristol is always dazzling during winter, particularly during the holidays. State Street, which is in Tennessee and Virginia, is beautifully decorated, and the Christmas Tree Village is always fun to check out. Trees are displayed in multiple locations, including the Downtown Center, Cumberland Square, and Anderson Park. The downtown area also offers plenty of shopping opportunities and several top-notch locally owned restaurants, craft breweries, and distilleries. It’s also home to the Birthplace of Country Music Museum, which features a store filled with handcrafted items.
Indoor and Outdoor Festivities
Located downtown is the majestic Paramount Theater, which features a variety of shows throughout the winter. Beginning in November, you can catch Kathy Mattea, Joan Osborne, Henry Rollins, Chi-Town Transit Authority – Tribute to Chicago, Louis Black, The Nutcracker (performed by the Bristol Ballet), Soultown to Motown – Tribute to Motown, and even an appearance by major league great Pete Rose.
Theatre Bristol, established in 1965, is a community theater focused on reaching children performers and audiences and is always a fun outing. During the holidays, you can enjoy “A Christmas Carol” on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays from Nov. 17 to Dec. 17.
If you’re in need of last-minute gifts, The Pinnacle is the largest retail shopping destination in the region, featuring Belk, Bass Pro, Marshalls, Dicks Sporting Goods, and many other stores. You will also find a variety of dining options and entertainment experiences, including Just Jump’s trampoline park and Pinnacle 12 by Marquee Cinemas, which features two 71-foot Marquee Extreme Cinemas with Dolby Atmos sound and incredibly comfortable recliners. Additionally, you can visit Santa’s Wonderland at Bass Pro, where kids can take a photo with Santa and mail him letters.
Another holiday shopping destination is The Falls, located along I-81 in Bristol, VA, offering a variety of shopping and dining options. Feeling lucky this Christmas? Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Bristol temporary casino offers 870 slots, table games, restaurants, entertainment and live music!
If you’re looking for a great outdoor adventure, especially during snowfall, the Mendota Trail, South Holston Dam, Steele Creek Park and Sugar Hollow Park each offer stunning winter scenery.
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