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.
Head high atop Lookout Mountain to the award winning, 22nd 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).
Southern Belle Riverboat’s Holiday Lunch & Dinner Cruises/Nov.-Dec, 2016, dates & times vary
Enjoy lunch or dinner while on a relaxing cruise down the Tennessee River. Options vary per cruise and may include live entertainment, pilot-house tours, dancing, Santa, delicious menus with items such as hand-carved smoked ham, sage-roasted turkey breast, savory cornbread dressing, prime rib, desserts, and more.
Ice on the Landing/Nov. 18, 2016-Jan. 16, 2017, daily times vary (NEW LOCATION)
The much anticipated temporary outdoor ice rink will be located at the Chattanooga Choo Choo Gardens this year. 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. 1-18, Thurs-Sun; Dec. 19-23, daily, 12-8pm (Closed Christmas Day)
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 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.
Tennessee Valley Railroad’s North Pole Limited Adventures/Nov. 18-Dec. 31, dates & times vary
Enjoy a trip to the “North Pole” pulled by a locomotive with refreshments, storytelling, caroling, visits by Santa Claus and more! Dates have multiple times - check website for schedule. These trips sell out so book early.
Tennessee Aquarium’s Holidays Under the Peaks & IMAX 3D/Nov. 18, 2016-Jan. 1, 2017, 10am-8pm (Closed Thanksgiving Day & Christmas Day)
Special programming helps connect families to fascinating creatures from around the world. Quiz divers, penguin experts and other keepers about family units in the wild. Special weekend appearances by SCUBA Claus. Watch penguins receive their presents. See the temporary National Geographic Monster Fish exhibit with its life-sized replicas.
Chattanooga Zoo’s Holiday Lights/December 2-4 & 9-11, 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.
Creative Discovery Museum’s The Amazing Castle Exhibit/Sept. 24, 2016–Jan. 2, 2017, daily
This exhibit encourages role playing and imagination to become inhabitants of a castle village. Children can dress as lords, ladies and villagers, work in the Royal Workshops with the Tailor or Carpenter, pick vegetables in the garden, cook up a royal meal in the Great Hall, and visit the tower to wake Herald, the sleeping dragon.
Chattanooga Choo Choo’s Holiday Enchantment/Nov. 18-Dec. 31, 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.
PJs and The Polar Express at the IMAX Theater/Dec. 17-18, 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. 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 88th anniversary of the discovery of Ruby Falls. The first 88 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.
ARTS & CULTURE
Special Chattanooga Holiday Market/Dec. 3-4, 10-11 & 17-18, 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. 9-10, 8-10pm & Dec. 11, 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.
Miracle on 34th Street at the Chattanooga Theatre Centre/Dec. 9-23, dates & times vary
Filled with humor, spectacle, and festive holiday songs, this joyous, heart-warming musical is pure family entertainment.
Home for the Holidays/Dec. 17, 7:30pm & Dec. 18, 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.