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.
Click here for a list of where you can see Santa.
Creative Discovery Museum’s Snow Day/Nov. 21, Noon-4 pm
Let it snow! Let it snow! Let it snow! It’s time to welcome the snowy months of winter. Spend the afternoon enjoying the first “snow fall” in Chattanooga with special guests Jack Frost and Suzy Snowflake with lots of fun, snowy hands-on family activities.
Rock City Gardens’ Enchanted Garden of Lights/Nov. 20, 2015-Jan. 2, 2016, Nightly 6-9 pm (Closed Christmas Eve)
Head high atop Lookout Mountain to the award winning, 21st annual light extravaganza that showcases more than 30 holiday scenes and hundreds of thousands of LED lights that transform the gardens’ natural daytime splendor into a magical fantasyland. The evening includes pictures with Santa, decorating gingerbread cookies, hot cocoa, nightly entertainment and even a VIP Dinner experience with Santa (see website for special pricing & schedule).
Ice on the Landing – Skating Rink/Nov 20, 2015-Jan 18, 2016, Dates & Times Vary
The much anticipated temporary outdoor ice rink on the Chattanooga Green/Ross’s Landing will be even bigger and better in 2015 (60’ by 100’). Schedule includes general skating time, special themes, appearances by Santa, and a rotating schedule to benefit local not-for-profits. Food vendors available.
Ruby Falls’ Christmas Underground/Dec. 3-20, 22 & 23, Times Vary
Ruby Falls’ Christmas Underground offers a magical holiday adventure for the whole family. Explore the cave for the magical “Joystone,” walk through a secret underground ice cave that leads straight to Santa at the North Pole, see the Northern Lights, check out the Sugar Plum Fairy Village, take a horse & carriage ride, and don’t forget to tell Santa everything that you want for Christmas. Carriage rides are an additional cost.
Tennessee Valley Railroad’s North Pole Limited Adventures/Nov. 20-Dec. 26, Dates & Times Vary
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.
Creative Discovery Museum’s Winter Wonders Exhibit/Nov. 21, 2015-Jan. 4, 2016, Daily (Closed Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day & New Year's Day)
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.
Tennessee Aquarium’s Holidays Under the Peaks/Nov. 20, 2015-Jan. 3, 2016, Daily 10am-8pm (Closed Thanksgiving Day & Christmas Day)
Relax and enjoy the holiday season with your family surrounded by some of the world’s most fascinating creatures. Guests of all ages will be delighted by new holiday programs, offered free with Aquarium admission, throughout both Aquarium buildings. Special weekend appearances by SCUBA Claus through Dec. 20.
PJs and the Polar Express/Dec. 18 & 19, 9:30-11:45am
Choo! Choo! All aboard the Polar Express for a trip to the North Pole! Begin winter break in a leisurely style. 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. Fun for the entire family and all who truly believe!
Creative Discovery Museum’s Gingerbread Workshops/Nov. 27-Dec. 20, Dates & Times Vary
Create your own Holiday tradition by participating in the annual Gingerbread House Workshop. By reservation only.
Chattanooga Zoo’s Holiday Lights/Dec. 4-5, 11-12, & 18-19, 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.
The Polar Express 3D at the IMAX 3D Theater/Nov. 27-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.
Christmas Nights of Lights/Nov. 6 2015-Jan. 2, 2016, Daily 6-10pm
Experience the magic of hundreds of thousands of LED lights, driven by over one thousand computer channels, synchronized to both traditional and new rocking Christmas music, all played through your car radio.
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.
Chattanooga Choo Choo’s Holiday Enchantment/Nov. 20-Dec. 22, 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.
FESTIVALS & PARADES
Grateful Gobbler Walk/Nov. 26, 8am
Start a new Thanksgiving tradition, grab some fresh air and bring a bag of canned goods. Donated goods with help those in need throughout the holidays!
Lighted Boat Parade/Nov. 27, 7-8pm
Kick off the Christmas season with this popular lighted parade of approximately 40 boats decorated for the season, holiday music, Ice on the Landing outdoor skating rink and food & drink concessions.
MainX24 24-Hour Festival/Dec. 5, 6:30am-Dec. 6, 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.
ARTS & CULTURE
Special Chattanooga Holiday Market/Dec. 5-6, 12-13, & 19-20, 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.
St. Elmo Christmas Street Market, Dec. 4, 4-9pm
St. Elmo Avenue will be decked out for the holiday season with carolers, handmade gift vendors and entertainers filling the street. The enticing smells of mulled cider, roasted chestnuts and gingerbread will fill the air! Don't miss Santa Claus as he rides in on a big red firetruck to open the holiday season.
Caroling with the Fishes/Dec. 6, 6:30-9pm
The River Journey galleries will be decked with sounds of the season—including Jazzanooga, Dan Landrum on the hammered dulcimer, flutes, strings and more! Here’s your chance to visit with Santa and take home a keepsake photo. Enjoy holiday shopping with special discounts and extended hours at the River Journey Gift Shop. Traditional family caroling with the Metro Musicians in the auditorium concludes this night of fun and good cheer.
The Nutcracker by Chattanooga Ballet/Dec. 11 & 12, 8-10pm & Dec. 13, 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. 5, 12pm & 5:30pm
The 53rd 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. 11-23, 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. 19, 7:30pm & Dec. 20, 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.
Home for the Holidays/Dec. 5-31, Mon-Sat 11am-6pm
Browse In-Town Gallery's December collection of paintings, ceramics, photographs, jewelry, glass, metal and wood sculpture, fiber and etchings, all on display, augmented with several seasonal offerings. Many artists will have gift items for the discriminating shopper.
Chattanooga Santa Sightings
Rock City’s Enchanted Garden of Lights
TN Valley Railroad’s North Pole Adventures