During the holiday season, take time to clear the mind and relieve the spirit. Chattanooga’s attractions offer wonderful holiday activities for every member of the family.
Rock City Gardens’ Enchanted Garden of Lights/Nov. 21, 2014-Jan. 3, 2015, Nightly 6-9 pm (Closed Christmas Eve & Christmas Day)
Enjoy the award-winning extravaganza with hundreds of thousands of lights and over 30 holiday scenes that transform the gardens into a nighttime fantasyland. Additional activities include nightly entertainment, decorating gingerbread cookies, sipping hot cocoa, listening to music & more. Dinner with Santa will be Dec. 6, 7, 15 & 16. New in 2014, you’ll get to meet Jack Frost and the Ice Queen and walk through a forest of lighted trees that dance to music!
NEW! Ice on the Landing – Skating Rink/Nov 28, 2014-Jan 4, 2015, Dates & Times Vary
Enjoy this temporary outdoor ice rink on the Chattanooga Green this holiday season. The ice rink is a 50’ x 70’ open-air version of a Rockefeller Center skating experience at Ross’ Landing. There will be special themes, appearances by Santa and warm drinks and food vendors. Santa will make appaearances on Sundays, Noon-4pm and Thursdays, 4-8pm.
NEW! Ruby Falls’ Christmas Underground/Dec. 1-23, Mon-Fri, 3-9pm & Sat-Sun, Noon-9pm (Closed Christmas Day)
Enjoy a brand new Christmas event. Explore the Ruby Falls’ gem mines and discover Joystone, a rare gemstone that helps spread the spirit of Christmas. Your adventure takes you to see Santa but first you have to walk through an ice cave where you will watch miners and elves play, catch a view of the Northern Lights and journey through the Sugar Plum Fairy Village. Help Santa and his miners search for Joystone and experience the celebration of this special holiday in a brand new way. Also, the much-loved carriage rides return.
Tennessee Valley Railroad’s North Pole Limited Adventures/Nov. 21-Dec. 23, Dates & Times Vary
Dates have multiple times - check website for schedule. Enjoy a trip to the “North Pole” pulled by a locomotive with refreshments, storytelling, caroling, visits by Santa Claus and more! These trips sell out so book early.
Tennessee Aquarium’s Holidays Under the Peaks & IMAX 3D/Nov. 21, 2014-Jan. 4, 2015, Daily 10am-6pm (Closed Thanksgiving Day & Christmas Day)
Special programming helps connect families to fascinating creatures from around the world. Quiz Santa divers, penguin experts and other keepers about family units in the wild. Special appearances by SCUBA Claus Nov. 22-Dec. 21.
Creative Discovery Museum’s Gingerbread Workshops/Nov. 28-Dec. 21, Dates & Times Vary
Create your own Holiday tradition by participating in the annual Gingerbread House Workshop. By reservation only.
Creative Discovery Museum’s Winter Wonders Exhibit/Nov. 15, 2014-Jan. 8, 2015, Daily
Explore cold-weather traditions. From cozy cottages to a blizzard maze and learning about animal tracks, this exhibit is a warm welcome for wintertime play.
Chattanooga Zoo’s Holiday Lights/Dec. 4-6, 11-13, & 18-20, 5:30-8pm
The Chattanooga Zoo is transformed into a magical wonderland where you can view hundreds of lights, visit the animals and watch them open their Christmas presents, get your picture taken with Santa and enjoy fun holiday games & crafts.
Chattanooga Choo Choo’s Holiday Enchantment/Nov. 2-Dec. 30, Dates & Times Vary
Have your pictures taken with Santa, take the North Pole Limited train, become an Honorary Elf at the Elf Workshop complete with crafts, arts, games and movies or get tucked in by an Elf! Overnight packages available, including sleeping in a traincar.
Holiday Carolers at the Chattanoogan Hotel/Nov. 30, Dec. 7, 14 & 21,1-4pm & Dec. 6, 13 & 20, 3-6pm
Listen to delightful carolers while enjoying a hot chocolate bar, gingerbread cookies and cookie decorating. Open to the public. There is no fee to attend the event, but there is a small charge for food and beverage offerings.
The Polar Express 3D at the IMAX 3D Theater/Nov. 28-Dec. 24, Dates & Times Vary
When a doubting young boy takes an extraordinary train ride to the North Pole, he embarks upon a journey of self-discovery showing him that the wonder of life never fades for those who believe. Audiences are drawn into this immersive film, grasping at falling snowflakes, ducking as the train screeches into their lap and feeling the howl of the steam whistle in surround sound.
Caroling with the Fishes at the Tennessee Aquarium/Dec. 7, 6:30-9pm
Enjoy the River Journey galleries filled filled with the sounds of the season – including flutes, strings, voices and Dan Landrum on the hammered dulcimer; meet Santa and take your picture with the jolly old elf; and enjoy some holiday treats.
PJs and The Polar Express 3D! at the IMAX 3D Theater/Dec. 19, 9:30-11:45am
All aboard the Polar Express for an extraordinary train ride to the North Pole. Dress in your favorite pajamas and enjoy a special screening of The Polar Express 3D. This is your chance to meet the Conductor, sip hot cocoa, and enjoy brunch muffins before the movie.
Ruby Falls’ Discovery Day/Dec. 30, 8am-8pm
Celebrate the 86th anniversary of the discovery of Ruby Falls. The first 85 guests to arrive at Ruby Falls will receive the original $2 rate, a vintage souvenir postcard, as well as some lesser known facts and legends about the cavern.
Holidays at the Hunter/Nov. 28, 2014-Jan. 4, 2015, Dates & Times Vary
Enjoy this long-standing tradition of visiting the galleries all decked out with festive trees and lighted mantels. You can also enjoy live music from local performers, holiday shopping and a visit from Santa. Guest will get a sneak peak of the new temporary exhibition, The New York Times Photographs, which will feature over 100 works by 35 artists.
FESTIVALS & PARADES
Lighted Boat Parade & Grand Illumination/Nov. 28, 7-9pm
Kick off the Christmas season with this popular lighted parade of approximately 40 boats decorated for the season, holiday music on the stage, holiday craft vendors, food & drink concessions, live Nativity scene and glittering fireworks finale signals the illumination of 130+ downtown buildings, bridges and parks for the winter season. [FREE EVENT]
MainX24/24-Hour Festival/Dec. 6, 6:30am-Dec. 7, 6:30am
Celebrate Main Street & the Southside district with a packed schedule of entertainment, green living, fashion shows, parades and parties, music and motion - on streets. Santa will be at the Choo Choo. Held annually the 1st weekend in December. [FREE EVENT]
ARTS & CULTURE
Special Chattanooga Holiday Market/Dec. 6-7, 13-14, & 20-21, Times Vary
As part of the Chattanooga Market, this market offers a special holiday theme with live music, caroling, festivities and more than 200 vendors providing a great assortment of unique, locally hand-made items, holiday décor and artisan foods for all those holiday gifts. Held at the Chattanooga Convention Center.
The Nutcracker by Chattanooga Ballet/Dec. 12 & 13, 8-10pm & Dec. 14, 2-4pm
Chattanooga Ballet presents Tchaikovsky's magical classic holiday ballet fully staged with music by the Chattanooga Symphony Orchestra. Held at the Tivoli Theater.
Chattanooga Boys Choir’s Singing Christmas Tree/Dec. 6, 2pm & 7:30pm
The 51st Annual Singing Christmas Tree at the Tivoli Theater in downtown along with the Chattanooga Symphony & Opera Youth Orchestra and Ballet Tennessee.
A Christmas Story Musical at the Chattanooga Theatre Centre/Dec. 5-23, Dates & Times Vary
Enjoy this favorite holiday film as a musical. Ralphie Parker wants only one thing for Christmas – an Official Red Ryder® Air Rifle, despite repeated warnings of shooting his eye out.
Home for the Holidays/Dec. 20, 7:30pm & Dec. 21, 3pm
Enjoy the Chattanooga Symphony & Opera’s concert as they celebrate the holidays “Through a Child’s Eyes” in this special, family-friendly tradition. Featuring the CSO and the Chattanooga Boys Choir.
Chattanooga Santa Sightings
Rock City’s Enchanted Garden of Lights
TN Valley Railroad’s North Pole Adventures