Cheekwood Harvest: Celebrating Autumn in Nashville

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Cheekwood Harvest fun setting for family pics at the Pumpkin Patch 2020-09
Perfect setting for family pics at the Pumpkin Patch
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As the air turns crisp and leaves start to change, fall is upon us in Nashville. Although we say goodbye to days spent splashing in the pool and soaking up the sun, more fun awaits us in the fall. In addition to pumpkin spice lattes and Halloween, annual events like Cheekwood Harvest give families an affordable option for a fun-filled afternoon.

My family attended Cheekwood Harvest last year and it was amazing. Plus, it was extra special with the garden’s 60th anniversary of Cheekwood. Big thanks to Cheekwood Estate for providing media passes for us to explore and share our experiences.

What is Cheekwood Estate and Gardens?

The Cheekwood Estate is the former residence of the Cheekwood family. It was originally built as the home for Leslie and Mabel Cheekwood in 1929. The estate converted into a museum of art and botanical garden in 1960. There are over 225,000 visitors each year to the Cheekwood Estate.

Throughout the estate, there are 13 gardens and two trails for visitors to enjoy. Each garden is home to unique varieties of trees, plants, and flowers, so plan to spend the day exploring each one. Take your time to admire the beauty and variety of trees, flowers, and bushes. As the saying goes, take time to “stop and smell the roses.”

Read: Chihuly at Cheekwood: Amazing Date Night Idea

What is Cheekwood Harvest?

It is an annual event that goes from mid-September to early November. The Cheekwood Harvest celebrates the fall season with changing leaves, pumpkin decorations & activities, and thousands of chrysanthemums in deep autumn hues.

Make sure to visit the Pumpkin House and Village just inside the entrance to Cheekwood Estate. It’s the perfect setting for fall pictures and family fun. You can even purchase pumpkins to carve and paint to decorate your home.

Strategically placed pumpkins throughout the gardens help get you into a festive mood. Explore the gardens while enjoying the crisp autumn air, decorative pumpkins, and a cup of cider from Cafe 29.

As you walk through the estate, you’ll find a “mum explosion” in the gardens. Thousands of chrysanthemums were planted across the gardens to highlight the vibrant fall colors and changing leaves.

Cheekwood Harvest Timothy and Scarlett at the Pumpkin House 2020-09
Timothy and Scarlett at the Pumpkin House

When is Cheekwood Harvest held?

This year, Cheekwood Harvest runs from September 18, 2021, to October 31, 2021. Cheekwood Harvest hours are from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. from Tuesday to Sunday. The Cheekwood Estate is closed on Mondays.

Special events during Cheekwood Harvest add to the fun. This year’s events include:

  • Cheekwood Beer Garden (September 18 to October 24) – enjoy seasonal beers, specialty cocktails, wine, and champagne while listening to live music. Food trucks will be on-site every weekend from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. and local musicians will be performing every weekend from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
  • Thursday Night Out (thru October 28) – live music, food trucks, wellness programs, and more every Thursday night from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m.
  • Garden Tours (Saturdays) – Cheekwood docents lead garden tours every Saturday at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. Tours are available on a first-come, first-served basis and are limited to 20 participants.
  • Tots! (Tuesday to Saturday) – hands-on activities, storytime, and the curiosity craft cart five days a week from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m.
  • Howl’Oween Pooch Parade (October 23) – bring your pup to Cheekwood for a parade of costumed pooches and a virtual Halloween contest.
  • El Dia de los Muertos (October 30 & 31) – a virtual celebration of ancestors and the continuation of life.

Scarecrows are also making a return to Cheekwood Harvest this year. The theme is “favorite artists,” so expect to see scarecrows inspired by Frida Kahlo, Jackson Pollock, or even Salvador Dali.

Dogs are allowed at Cheekwood only during special dog-friendly events.

Chihuly at Cheekwood Scarlett meditating by the Fiori Boat 2020-09
Chihuly blown glass was at Cheekwood in 2020. Scarlett meditating by the Fiori Boat glass blown sculpture by Chihuly.

How much are tickets to Cheekwood Harvest?

Admission is the standard price for entrance to Cheekwood Estate. There is no upcharge to attend the Cheekwood Harvest.

Tickets can be purchased online at Cheekwood.org. You must reserve a timed entrance and buy tickets in advance. Walk-up tickets will not be available. Attendance is limited to encourage social distancing.

Gardens Only
Gardens and Mansion
Member Adult Free Free
Member Youth Free Free
Adult $20 $25
Senior (65+) $18 $23
Student (with ID) $16 $21
Youth (3-17) $13 $18
Ages 2 & Under Free Free

** Please note that there is a $1.50 service fee added to each ticket for processing.

Cheekwood Estates & Garden membership benefits

Memberships start at $65 per person or $90 per family. There are many Cheekwood Estate & Gardens membership options to fit your family’s budget. Discounts for seniors, educators, military, and students are also available.

If you plan on visiting Cheekwood multiple times or would like to support its mission, becoming a member is a great choice. With so many events throughout the year, a membership is a real money saver for Nashville locals.

As a member, you’ll receive unlimited free general admission and parking plus reciprocal admission to nearly 330 botanical gardens, arboreta, and conservatories nationwide. Plus, more than 60 museums in the Southeast also offer free admission to members.

Perks also include:

  • Invitations to member-only events and exhibition previews
  • Discounts for select classes, workshops, and special events
  • Priority registration for children’s camps
  • Discount at Cheekwood Gift Shop and Cafe 29
  • Invitation to special pop-up events
  • Exclusive access to discounts and gifts during Member Appreciation Week
  • Early member purchase period for special events

Over 14,000 households are Cheekwood members. If membership isn’t right for you, purchasing a membership for family, friends, or business associates is an excellent holiday gift idea.

Cheekwood Harvest gate to Howe Garden 2020-09
The gate to Howe Garden

What are the hours for Cheekwood Harvest?

The Cheekwood Estate is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. from Tuesday through Sunday. It is closed on Mondays. All guests must reserve a timed entrance when they buy their tickets.

Thursday Night Out is open from 5 p.m. until 9 p.m. on select Thursdays through October 28, 2021.

From November 20, 2021, through January 9, 2022, days and hours of operation will change for Cheekwood’s Holiday LIGHTS event. Members can buy tickets starting on October 1st, while everyone else can buy tickets starting on October 15th.

Is there an additional fee for Cheekwood Manor?

Yes. If you want to go inside Cheekwood Manor, there is an additional fee of $5 per person. The Manor includes a walking tour, seasonal exhibits, and a gift shop.

Cheekwood Harvest Scarlett discovering this mini house at the Bracken Foundation Children's Garden 2020-09
Scarlett discovering this mini house at the Bracken Foundation Children’s Garden

Exploring Cheekwood Harvest

When you enter the Cheekwood Estate, you’ll be greeted by a pumpkin patch. It includes two large pumpkin houses for children to play in and numerous pumpkins spread around. It is the perfect setting for photos with the family.

Pumpkins and gourds are also for sale. So, if your kids must have one, they’re available to take home. On the plus side, they’re cheaper than a new puppy. Ha!

Cheekwood Harvest Scarlett with white gourds with the Summer Sun in background 2020-09
Scarlett with white gourds with the Summer Sun in the background

Additional events at Cheekwood Estate

Cheekwood Harvest is just one of the many fun events held at Cheekwood Estate. Throughout the year, you’ll find a full calendar of events to enjoy. Here are some of my favorite seasonal events:

Special events are scheduled on a regular basis. Anna and I loved the Chihuly at Cheekwood exhibit that lasted for several months in Fall 2020.

What about coronavirus?

As we venture out and explore attractions and restaurants, the risk of coronavirus is a top concern for many people. As an outdoor venue, Cheekwood Estate and Gardens is naturally conducive to minimizing this risk. While walking through the paths and gardens, it is easy to stay socially distanced from other guests.

Cheekwood issues timed-entry tickets to encourage social distancing. There is a maximum capacity for each timed-entry period. This minimizes the possibility that large groups of people will be in the same place at the same time.

Guests are required to wear masks inside all buildings. These buildings include the Historic Mansion & Museum, Botanic Hall, and the Frist Learning Center.

While masks are optional outdoors, they are always a good idea when social distancing is not possible.

Cheekwood Harvest Scarlett at Howe Garden 2020-09
Scarlett at Howe Garden

The Bald Thoughts

When the weather gets cooler, it is a great opportunity to spend the day outdoors in Nashville with fall activities. Cheekwood Harvest is a fun-family adventure because you can explore 12 botanical gardens throughout the Cheekwood Estate, have fun in the pumpkin patch, and see the Chihuly exhibits. And it is a great way to grab fresh air and tire out the kids as you walk through 55 acres of nature.

Tickets are affordable and can be purchased online from Cheekwood. Cheekwood Harvest is only here for a short time, so make plans to visit today.

* Originally published October 11, 2020. Updated September 21, 2021.


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