There’s no better way to escape the Nashville crowds this Christmas season than with a trip to nearby Murfreesboro, Tennessee.
This post was written in partnership with Ready Set Rutherford. We’ve spent a lot of time in Rutherford County and have hand-picked the items on this list just for you!
With free parking across the county, a slew of new restaurants and boutiques opening on the regular, and dozens of fun holiday festivities scheduled throughout the holiday season, this is our new go-to spot for a day trip — especially during this Most Wonderful Time of the Year.
I’ve included a little something for everyone on this list of things to do, whether you’ve been naughty or nice! Check it out and add your own suggestions in the comments.
Perfect your Triple Toe Loop during Winterfest at Murfreesboro’s Fountains at Gateway.
Winterfest is happening now through January 3rd at the new Fountains at Gateway in Murfreesboro — Here, you can glide across Rutherford County’s first and only outdoor ice skating rink, attend movie nights on the rink, enjoy Christmas concerts, and take pictures with Santa. Check the Winterfest schedule for a complete listing of special holiday events.
Conveniently located right beside the ice skating rink, you’ll find The Soda Bar, a brand new dessert shop with coffee drinks, craft sodas and soda floats, edible cookie dough, waffle sundaes, and shave ice.
Enjoy the timeless Dickens classic, A Christmas Carol on the stage.
The show runs Dec 1-17th at The Center for the Arts in Murfreesboro. Showtimes are Fridays and Saturdays at 7:30pm and Sundays at 2pm.
Tickets are $15.00 for adults, $13.00 for students, seniors and military, and $11 for children.
Chop down your own tree at Country Cove Christmas Tree Farm.
Folks come to this Christmas tree farm from miles around in order to chop down their own tree, pioneer-style — Country Cove provides the saw! Visitors can also choose from a selection of pre-cut trees and choose more festive decorations at the farm’s wreath and Christmas shops. Don’t leave without a cup of hot chocolate or cider and a hayride around the farm!
Get a first glimpse of Santa at the Murfreesboro Christmas Parade.
This year’s parade starts at 2pm on Sunday, December 10th near the Middle Tennessee Boulevard / East Main Street intersection. The parade will head West towards the historic Rutherford County Square, ending on West Main Street at Walnut Street, just past the courthouse.
Travel back in time at the Oaklands Christmas Candlelight Tour of Homes in downtown Murfreesboro.
The Tour of Homes takes place December 2, 2017, from 4:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. It includes several historic homes and structures in the downtown area as well as Oaklands Mansion. There will also be a holiday marketplace and a live nativity. Start at any home you like and buy a ticket there, or buy your tickets in advance at www.OaklandsMansion.org. You can drive the Tour of Homes route yourself or take the Raider Express shuttle along the route. Advance tickets are $15 for adults or $20 at the door. Students and children are $10 and kids 6 and under are free.
Take a shopping break for lunch at Fuzzy’s Taco Shop.
This Texas staple just opened at Fountains at Gateway in Murfreesboro and when we stopped by on a recent Saturday, the place was packed. Sit indoors if it’s cold or have a beer around the outdoor fire pit. The tacos look delish!
Explore the science of the Season at the Discovery Center interactive children’s museum in Murfreesboro.
The Discovery Center has all kinds of holiday events in December that are fun for the whole family. Things start off with a Holiday Open House on Saturday, Dec. 2nd. This event is free to the public and includes photos with Santa, gingerbread house decorating, and much more.
Throughout the month, weekday programs at 11am and weekend programs at 2pm are holiday-themed, and include science experiments like making candy cane slime and scented, crafts including creating marbled gift wrap, cookie decorating, and holiday-themed storytimes.
And on Saturday, Dec. 30 from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m, the Discovery Center will be ringing in 2018 with the biggest pajama party in Murfreesboro. Activities will include karaoke, a Wii dance party, a resolution wall, art & tinkering projects and a balloon drop at noon.
Personalize your presents at Board & Brush creative studio.
This is definitely the coolest idea I’ve seen in a while. At Board & Brush in Fountains at Gateway, you can create your own custom weathered wood sign for your own home or someone else’s. Sign up for a workshop with a friend or a group and choose any project you like. Board & Brush workers will help you from start to finish!
Visit with Santa and Mrs. Claus at the annual Lighting of the Rutherford County Christmas Tree.
December 1st at 6pm, Murfreesboro’s Downtown Square will fill with singers, dancers, Santa and Mrs. Claus, and thousands of Rutherford County residents for the lighting of the Christmas Tree. Santa will flip the switch to officially light the tree and afterward, he and Mrs. Claus will be available for photos with children. Downtown businesses will stay open late December 1st to help shoppers celebrate the season.
Shop for all your family and friends at the Hollyday Marketplace.
On December 2nd at the Tennessee Miller Coliseum, more than 80 local and regional vendors will gather for the Junior League of Murfreesboro’s annual Hollyday Marketplace. While the adults shop ’til they drop, the kids can stay busy, too — Children’s activities will include Breakfast with Santa and Mrs. Claus, storytime with local police officers, Santa photos, and holiday painting and cookie decorating.
The Hollyday Marketplace runs from 9am to 4pm. Make a day of it in Murfreesboro by ending with Oaklands Mansion’s Candlelight Tour of Homes that evening. (Details on that are below!)
Is the weather outside frightful? Get active indoors with a family climb at The Ascent in Murfreesboro.
You can’t beat The Ascent’s Family Climb deal. On Sundays from noon to 6pm, $39 covers day passes, gear and safety training for everyone in your immediate household! It’s a great place for indoor fun on a cold or rainy day. The Ascent is located at 831 Park Avenue in Murfreesboro.
Light up your life at the La Vergne Parade of Lights.
La Vergne’s 7th Annual Parade of Lights will be held Saturday, December 2, 2017 at 6 p.m. It starts off at Veterans Memorial Park and ends at City Hall, where the tree lighting ceremony and a fireworks show will take place. Hot chocolate and cookies will be served at City Hall after the parade while the La Vergne High School Choraliers perform holiday songs. Santa and Mrs. Claus will also stop by for a visit!
Find the perfect present at Quinn’s Mercantile.
I absolutely love Quinn’s, which is located in a beautiful 1860s home, and I try to stop in any time I’m in Murfreesboro. You’ll find all kinds of thoughtful gift ideas, home decor, and gorgeous Christmas decorations here, many of which have been crafted by local artisans. Quinn’s is located at 301 N. Spring Street.
Get in the Christmas spirit at the Smyrna Christmas Parade.
The holidays aren’t complete without at least one Christmas parade, and Smyrna’s includes Clydesdale horses! This year’s parade is on December 3rd at 2pm. The theme is “Christmas Around the World.” The parade will include floats, bands, classic cars, dancers, and Santa Claus. The route runs down Lowry Street starting at Mayfield Drive and ending at Nolan Drive.
Get adventurous with delicious burgers and deep fried Oreos at Jack Brown’s Beer & Burger Joint in downtown Murfreesboro.
We finally had a meal at this downtown staple and can’t wait to go back. Opt for a basic cheeseburger or go crazy with Jack Brown’s more, um, interesting burgers like the Elvis, a surprisingly delicious burger topped with peanut butter, mayo, applewood smoked bacon, and cheese. Whatever you choose, it’s pretty much guaranteed to be delicious.
And don’t leave without trying one (or more!) of Jack Brown’s deep fried Oreos! They are AMAZING and one of our new favorite desserts!
Get artsy at the Boro Art Crawl.
The December Art Crawl is set for Friday, December 8, from 6-9pm, and I’m sure a holiday theme will be in full effect. Maps of participating galleries are available on the website.
Choose your holiday party frock at e. Allen.
I’m drooling over this new boutique in Murfreesboro’s Fountains at Gateway. The gorgeous space is filled with the coolest clothing, shoes, and accessories and if you’re anywhere in the area, you owe it to yourself to check this place out.
Hear your favorite Christmas songs at Murfreesboro Symphony Orchestra’s A Christmas Spectacular.
The concert is set for December 14, 2017, at 7:00pm at First United Methodist Church in Murfreesboro. The orchestra will perform cherished Christmas carols and songs of the season, while the Murfreesboro Symphony Chorus sings. Tickets range in price from $15 to $40.
Learn about one of America’s most brutal Civil War battles at the Stones River National Battlefield.
Winter is the best time of year to visit the Stones River National Battlefield if you want a feel for what conditions were like for the soldiers who fought there — The famous Civil War battle, which took the lives of nearly 25,000 soldiers, happened between December 31st and January 1st, 1862. Park Rangers are commemorating the event with several scheduled talks about the battle each day at Stones River National Park between December 26th and January 2nd — It would make for a meaningful and educational way to spend a day of Christmas break with older children. A schedule of events can be found here.
Make time for Murfreesboro and Rutherford County this Christmas — You won’t regret it!
Keep up to date with everything that’s going on right now in Rutherford County by bookmarking Ready Set Rutherford’s Events Calendar.