As one of the most revered spots to enjoy Christmas lights and festivities in the world, Silver Dollar City is of course packed with countless holiday activities and attractions. With so much to see and do, it can be overwhelming.
If you’re on a time budget and want to make the most of your visit, let this list of 10 must-see and do activities be your guide to a joyful — and efficient — Old Time Christmas experience in The City. The festival runs Thursdays (and some Wednesdays) through Sundays from Nov. 5 until Dec. 30.
And if you’ve got a bit more time on your hands, be sure to reference our Ultimate Guide to Christmas at SDC.
1. See the lights!
This is obvious. With over 5,000,000 (read: 5 million) lights strung all over the buildings, streets, and trees, you’ll feel like you’ve been transported into a Christmas wonderland!
2. Watch the live performance of “A Christmas Carol” (60 minutes)
It’s easy to get distracted by the lights and the food and the parades and the… (see what I mean?) and totally forget about the outstanding live shows the park produces. We’re talking Broadway-quality talent, costumes, and staging — the full package. This is an SDC adaptation of Charles Dickens’ 1843 story of Ebenezer Scrooge’s transition from a bitter old man to a gentler, generous soul after a few Christmas “visitors.” The musical numbers are sung live and performed by a live orchestra.
3. Drink hot chocolate and wassail
Hot mulled cider — also known as wassail — and rich hot chocolate. Enough said. Ask for the “loaded” hot chocolate for a delectable drink topped with marshmallows, chocolate chips, whipped cream, and a candy cane.
4. See the tree lighting ceremony (10 minutes)
The stunning tree on Main Street Square comes to life each night at 5:30 p.m. The lighting ceremony begins with a focus on the true meaning of Christmas — the birth of Jesus Christ — and includes the performance of two light “shows” choreographed to upbeat holiday songs. The tree itself is a sight to see with 400 ornaments and over 350,000 colorful LED lights. Light shows take place every 15 minutes for the remainder of the night.
5. Eat a funnel cake or hot apple dumplings with cinnamon ice cream
There is certainly no absence of comfort foods around the park. From harvest-themed “skillets” to walking tacos to fresh fried pork rinds, there’s a flavor for every palette. But for a special holiday treat, try a red velvet funnel cake or hot apple dumplings, complete with cinnamon-infused ice cream.
6. Watch and join in on the nightly light parade (10 minutes)
Who doesn’t love a parade? Rudolph’s Holly Jolly Christmas Light Parade runs twice nightly at 6 and 8 p.m. and includes nine musical floats decked out in 100,000 LED lights, all led by Rudolph himself. The floats are accompanied by 33 costumed characters. The parade itself lasts less than five minutes and we recommend staking a spot near the beginning (Red Gold Heritage Hall) for the most comfortable viewing environment. Once the parade passes you by, don’t be afraid to follow behind on your way to the next destination. Check out photos and video from the parade for a preview!
7. Watch the live performance of “It’s A Wonderful Life” (60 minutes)
Again, don’t discount the live performances. A cast of 14 talented actors perform an SDC original adaptation of the popular 1946 film which follows George Bailey through a number of setbacks before realizing the value of life with the help of Clarence, his guardian angel. Even if you don’t have time to see both of the larger shows, at least block out time for one. Just remember to arrive early as seating is limited and theaters can fill up 30 minutes before showtime.
8. Shop at Jingle Bell Junction and Christmas Hollow
Need some new ornaments or holiday decor to take home? You’ll find a sampling of every style at these two shops. Christmas Hollow is a year-round Christmas shop, while Frisco Barn is transformed into the Jingle Bell Junction, a never-ending spread of Christmas delight. It’s a great place to explore if you’re waiting for the parade to start.
9. Watch a cooking demonstration
Stop by Brown’s Candy Factory to watch a live demonstration of how SDC’s famous brittle and fudge are made and grab a free sample too! You can also watch the bakers in action at Eve & Delilah’s Bakery as they create GIANT cinnamon rolls, eclairs, cookies, and holiday fruit cakes.
10. Ride the sing-along steam train (10 minutes)
The train ride takes you on a behind-the-scenes journey through The City all while singing along to favorite Christmas carols. Halfway through, the train stops in time for Grandpa to tell a story of the true meaning of Christmas from his rocking chair.
TIP: Silver Dollar City tickets should be purchased in advance for the best pricing.