City departments spend weeks preparing for the Christmas in the City season in downtown Knoxville. It’s a big production that involves tens of thousands of lights, swags of greenery, decorated windows and the pièce de résistance, the lighted 42-foot-tall Christmas tree in the Krutch Park Extension at Gay Street.

All Christmas in the City events and updates will be listed on the City of Knoxville’s website:

Mark your calendars for these fun, family-friendly events taking place during Christmas in the City, which kicks off Nov. 23, 2018, and continues through Jan. 6, 2019:


Regal Celebration of Lights

Friday, Nov. 23, 6-9 p.m.

Market Square, Market Street and Krutch Park Extension

The holiday season goes into full swing the day after Thanksgiving with Regal Celebration of Lights. The Holidays on Ice outdoor skating rink, presented by Home Federal Bank, opens for the season at 10 a.m. in Market Square.

Enjoy live music on two stages:

  • At 5:30 p.m., Old City Buskers warm up the stage in the Krutch Park Extension for the 6:15 p.m. Christmas tree lighting ceremony, which includes a visit from Santa and fireworks; and
  • The WDVX Ho Ho Hoedown begins at 6:30 p.m. on the Market Square Stage, featuring cello trio AP Strings playing holiday tunes; high-energy bluegrass/roots tunes from Circus Number Nine; and big band R&B from Soulfinger.

The night’s festivities also include food vendors, activities, children’s train rides, marshmallow roasting and free hot cocoa and doughnuts.


Christmas at Chilhowee

Friday, Nov. 30, 6-9 p.m.

Chilhowee Park, 3301 E. Magnolia Ave.

At this popular annual event, families can get their pictures made with Santa, make crafts, roast marshmallows and enjoy the spectacular lighted drive around Lake Ottosee. Admission is free. The park will be open nightly for self-guided tours Nov. 23, 2018 – Jan. 1, 2019.


WIVK Christmas Parade

Friday, Dec. 7, 7 p.m.

Gay Street

Festival floats, marching bands, vintage vehicles and Nativity scenes promenade down Gay Street during the 46th annual WIVK Christmas Parade. More than 100 community groups participated in last year’s parade. Parade night coincides with Knoxville’s First Friday, so make plans to come early to find a good viewing spot and stay after the parade to browse stores and galleries.


A Safety City Christmas

Saturday, Dec. 8, 5:30 p.m.

Safety City, 165 S. Concord St.

The Knoxville Police Department’s Safety City rings in the holiday season by introducing “A Safety City Christmas.”

Families are welcome to walk through the miniature city decked out in holiday lights and decorations. Children will have a blast playing games, making crafts and rocking out to some wonderful holiday music. Santa will make a special appearance.  This event is free to the public. Safety City will also be open Dec. 11, 13, 18 and 20, 5-8 p.m. for open bicycling rides.


Tour de Lights Bicycle Parade

Friday, Dec. 14, 7:30 p.m.

Market Square, Krutch Park

Tour de Lights is a truly unique Knoxville tradition. Part parade, part bike-decorating contest, this annual event brings together seasoned and amateur bicycle riders of all ages to don their most festive – sometimes outrageous –  apparel and cruise a five-mile course from downtown through some of the City’s most historic neighborhoods. It’s fun for riders and viewers alike – in all kinds of weather.

Based on Tour de Lights’ popularity, there will be two staging areas with bike checks and photo booths – one near the Market Square stage and another near the Krutch Park entrance at Union Avenue. Participation is free, but your bicycle must have a white front headlight and red rear reflector.


New Year’s Eve on the Square, presented by Lloyd’s Electric

Monday, Dec. 31, 10 p.m.

Market Square

Say farewell to 2018 and ring in 2019 with a few thousand friends in Market Square. Bicho Brothers start performing at 10 p.m. followed by a countdown, ball drop and fireworks at midnight. Watch live coverage on WATE Channel 6.