I'm Lindsay Ferrier, a Nashville writer with a passion for family travel, exploring Tennessee, and raising kids without losing my mind in the process. This is where I share my discoveries, along with occasional deep thoughts, pop culture tangents and a sprinkling of snark. Want to get in touch? Use the CONTACT form at the top of the page.
November 28, 2022
Between pop-up bars, light shows, concerts, holiday markets, and more, we have scores of entertainment choices here in Nashville when Christmas rolls around, and every year the options seem to get bigger, brighter, and a whole lot more expensive. Case in point: Enchant Nashville.
Billed as ‘The World’s Largest Christmas Light Maze & Village,’ the Hallmark-sponsored event features a light maze with more than 4 million lights, a 100-foot holiday tree, an ice-skating trail, live entertainment, Santa visits, a village marketplace, ‘festive culinary treats,’ and holiday cocktails, all located inside First Horizon Park — otherwise known as the baseball stadium. Sounds pretty spectacular, right?
Well… um… about that.
We were sent media passes for opening night and told to arrive at the park no later than 5:30 in order to see the lighting of the tree and Santa’s arrival. Unfortunately, when we arrived, traffic was at a standstill and the event’s traffic directors, ostensibly hired to help those who’d paid an extra $15 dollars for parking find their spots, seemed just as confused as everyone else. It was, in other words, a complete clusterf*ck. Fortunately, we were familiar with the area and knew we’d be able to find free street parking if we were willing to walk a couple of blocks, so we veered down a side street as soon as we could and did exactly that.
Once we arrived, we encountered a line — and not just any line. This was a line of monstrous proportions. It ran the entire length of the stadium, wrapped around the back, and then doubled back on itself, and while ‘angry mob’ might be a little extreme when it comes to describing the people waiting in this line, ‘irritated mob’ seems entirely appropriate. Realizing we’d be waiting at least an hour in this line (later, I read that it was more like two hours) and miss everything we were supposed to see, I texted my media contact to find out what to do. She asked us to meet her at the entrance so that she could get us to the media event on time.
At the gates, we encountered another major issue. I learned that I wasn’t allowed to bring my purse inside. Because Enchant Nashville is in a stadium, only clear plastic bags are allowed inside, something that hadn’t even occurred to me because I was thinking “Christmas event!” not “sporting event!” I wasn’t alone, either. At the gates, it looked like the majority of women had brought purses and were being told they couldn’t bring them inside — all after waiting in that long, long line. Nowhere on the tickets or in the information for the event (that I could find, anyway) did it say that purses would not be allowed inside. Understandably, people were pissed. (I did see that they’ve now put a notice at the top of the Enchant Nashville website that there’s a clear bag policy at the stadium, so hopefully that will solve the problem for most.)
Since a member of the PR team met us at the gate, my purse was tagged, thoroughly searched, and allowed inside. We entered, checked out the media area, and then headed down to the Christmas light maze, the clear centerpiece of the event. It was… okay. There were certainly a lot of lights, although not all of them were working. The maze was spacious, easy to walk through, and took about 15 minutes.
We bought two of the ‘holiday cocktails’ while we were in the maze and with tip, the total came to $51, thereby setting a new record for the most I’ve ever paid for cocktails in Nashville, or anywhere for that matter. The ‘festive culinary treats’ — caramel corn, cookies, etc, were similarly (ridiculously over)priced.
Once out of the maze, we checked out the ice skating trail. It looked like fun, but it would set us back an extra $18 per person. We passed.
Finally, we searched for the ‘village marketplace,’ which was actually just a bunch of wooden stalls lining the main concourse that surrounds the stadium. For me, the effect was less ‘cozy Christmas village’ and more ‘it’s really weird seeing people selling Christmas stuff where we normally buy hotdogs and beer.’ Although a few of the stalls looked like they had locally-made products, most of the merchandise appeared to be mass-marketed and somewhat random. And from the looks of things, most of the people who’d managed to make it inside the stadium never even made it up to the concourse, missing the ‘village’ entirely.
We’d spent about 45 minutes there and decided we were ready to go…. only, we couldn’t find the exit. We circled the entire stadium twice looking for a way out and if I’m being honest, I started to panic a little. An exit — any exit– was nowhere to be found. Finally, we decided to squeeze our way through the people waiting at the entrance. I was sure someone would try to stop us but between the clear bag issue, the metal detectors, and the general confusion, there was so much chaos happening that no one even noticed when we walked out through the in door.
I very rarely write a negative review here — Generally, if I can’t say something nice, I prefer to say nothing at all. But in the case of Enchant Nashville, I think you should know what you’re getting into before you buy those $34 dollar ($40 on weekends) tickets. From what I’ve read, the line issues from the first night have been resolved and people now are getting in quickly. However, while I’d normally say this event is best for kids, I feel like it’s a nightmare for parents who show up and are faced with $18 dollar ice skating fees, $20 dollar ‘festive culinary treats,’ and $25 dollar cocktails. There is no way your kid is going to want to leave the place empty-handed and most of them will want to ice skate, so just be prepared to hemorrhage money while you’re in there and you’ll be good to go! Also be prepared to spend less than an hour seeing everything.
The holiday tree really was beautiful, though.