2020 Chattanooga Holiday Event Guide

Home for the Holidays

Your Guide to 2020-2021 Events the Whole Family Can Enjoy

 

The holidays are filled with hot cocoa, caroling, laughter, and shared experiences with family and friends. Each year, many of Chattanooga’s venues and attractions celebrate the festive season in a magical way. Gather your loved ones and use our guide to discover all the holiday fun the Scenic City has to offer!

 

(Above) Rock City’s Enchanted Garden of Lights // Photo courtesy of Rock City

 

Christmas lights and Christmas tree at Ruby Falls this holiday season

Ruby Falls // Photo Courtesy of Ruby Falls

 

 

November & December Events

Ruby Falls

WHEN: Nov. 13-Dec. 31 (closed Dec. 25)

CONTACT: rubyfalls.com or 423.821.2544

COST: $12.95-$32.95

Discover wonder and adventure this holiday season at Ruby Falls! The splendor of Christmas comes alive with magical views of the Cumberland Plateau, holiday decorations on the Village Plaza, and nighttime twinkling city lights. See intricate cave formations along the cavern trail on a Cave Walk to the thundering waterfall, or explore the beauty underground with hand-held lanterns illuminating the trail and waterfall on an after-hours Lantern Tour.

 

 

 

Ice on the Landing at the Choo Choo Gardens

WHEN: Nov. 13-Jan. 25

CONTACT: iceonthelanding.com or 423.265.0771

COST: $10/adults; $8/children 12 and under

This temporary outdoor rink, located in the historic Glenn Miller Outdoor Gardens at the Chattanooga Choo Choo, gives the whole family a chance to experience the fun and nostalgia of open-air ice skating during the holiday season. Please visit the website for the schedule of operation and details for skating, party reservations, and special promotions!

 

 

 

Holidays Under the Peaks at the Tennessee Aquarium

WHEN: Nov. 20-Dec. 31

CONTACT: tnaqua.org or 800.262.0695

COST: $34.95/adults; $21.95/children 3-12 (regular admission)

Spend the season enjoying the wonders of nature with the whole family. Before embarking on your underwater adventure, download a special holiday-themed activity sheet. Along the way, you’ll encounter an electric eel who uses his special skills to light a Christmas tree, and you may even encounter special, unannounced snow days for the otters and penguins. SCUBA Claus will be making virtual appearances during a series of wonder-filled Facebook live events.

 

llamas by holiday lights at the Chattanooga Zoo

Holiday Lights at the Chattanooga Zoo // Photo Courtesy of Chattanooga Zoo

 

 

Rock City’s Enchanted Garden of Lights

WHEN: Nov. 20-Jan. 2 (closed Christmas Eve)

CONTACT: seerockcity.com or 706.820.2531

COST: Check out the online calendar
for nightly event pricing.

In its 26th year, Rock City’s award-winning Enchanted Garden of Lights is a holiday tradition for all. Delight in over a million sparkling lights as you venture through the realms of wonder! Decorate a gingerbread cookie in Downtown Yule Town before experiencing the icy lights of the Arctic Kingdom and the digital enchantment of the Magic Forest’s dancing trees. A visit to see Santa in his workshop and plenty of holiday treats, including hot cocoa, kettle corn, homemade fudge, and beer from Chattanooga Brewing, are also in store. Tickets are sold online only, and admission begins at 5 p.m.

 

 

 

North Pole Limited at the Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum

WHEN: Nov. 21-Dec. 27

CONTACT: tvrail.com or 423.894.8028

COST: $35

Visit the North Pole with the help of the Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum! A Chattanooga tradition since 1999, the magical train journey features lighted displays and a homemade chocolate chip cookie with hot chocolate, while children receive a keepsake boarding pass and bell. Each group will also receive a special keepsake ornament. This family-friendly excursion is 60 minutes and departs from the Grand Junction Station.

 

 

 

Holiday Happenings at the Creative Discovery Museum

WHEN: Nov. 21-Feb. 21

CONTACT: cdmfun.org or 423.756.2738

COST: $15.95 for ages 2 and up

Creative Discovery Museum kicks off the winter season with the return of its “brrr-illiant” exhibit, Winter Wonders! Navigate the Blizzard Pool Noodle Maze, slip and slide on the Sock Skating Rink, explore a cozy cottage, and more. Visitors can also make sweet memories at CDM’s Gingerbread Workshops on weekends Nov. 27-Dec. 30. Sweets and cleanup are provided, while guests create the masterpiece! Registration is required.

 

father and son at a Holiday event at the Creative Discovery Museum

Holiday Happenings at the Creative Discovery Museum // Photo Courtesy of Creative Discovery Museum

 

 

Holiday Events at the Choo Choo

WHEN: Nov. 25-Jan. 1

CONTACT: choochoo.com or 423.266.5000

COST: Varies depending on activity

The Chattanooga Choo Choo decorates in grand style for the holidays. Beginning Nov. 25, check out Hamilton County’s biggest Christmas tree inside the hotel’s historic lobby. Other festive activities include Ice on the Landing in the Glenn Miller Gardens. Partake in seasonal delicacies at the local bars and restaurants, or even stay overnight for a cozy holiday staycation.

 

 

 

Holiday Windows at EPB (Virtual Experience)

WHEN: Nov. 25-Jan. 4

CONTACT: epb.com/holiday2020

COST: FREE

EPB’s annual holiday window display is going virtual in 2020! On Nov. 25 at 5 p.m., EPB will host a live virtual event to unveil its holiday windows. The festive displays can be enjoyed online all season long by visiting epb.com/holiday2020.

 

 

 

Black Friday Holiday Open House at Bluff View Art District

WHEN: Nov. 27

CONTACT: bluffviewartdistrict.com or 423.321.0235

COST: FREE

Honoring the European tradition of an outdoor holiday market, Bluff View Art District offers a unique alternative to the bustle of Black Friday shopping. See local pastry chefs, bakers, coffee roasters, and a French chocolatier create festive treats. Live Christmas music will be playing from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., and shopping specials can be found throughout the district.

 

Southern Belle riverboat lit up for the holidays

Southern Belle and Pier 2 Holiday Events // Photo Courtesy of the Southern Belle

 

 

Grand Illumination Boat Parade

WHEN: Nov. 27

CONTACT: erwinmarinesales.com or 423.266.1316

COST: FREE

Dozens of festively decorated boats will parade along the Tennessee River in the annual Grand Illumination and Lighted Boat Parade. Head on down to the Riverfront Friday evening to watch the procession travel from the Chattanooga Golf & Country Club under the Walnut Street Bridge.

 

 

 

Polar Express 3D at the Tennessee Aquarium IMAX 3D Theater

WHEN: Nov. 27-Dec. 27

CONTACT: tnaqua.org or 800.262.0695

COST: $11.95/adults; $9.95/children ages 3-12

This year, screenings of The Polar Express 3D return to the IMAX 3D Theater on Nov. 27. For years, families have flocked to the Tennessee Aquarium to watch a doubting boy’s incredible journey to the North Pole and a lifelong belief in the impossible. Showings of this modern classic will continue through Dec. 27. As always, this heart-warming film is best enjoyed while wearing pajamas, which are the encouraged (but not required) dress code.

 

 

 

Southern Belle and Pier 2 Holiday Events

WHEN: Nov. 27-Dec. 31

CONTACT: chattanoogariverboat.com or 423.266.4488

COST: Visit the website.

Christmas is in the air at the Southern Belle, where scenic cruises are a great way to celebrate the holidays. Choose from several seasonal cruises including Thanksgiving on the River, Christmas Carol Dinner Cruises, ‘Tis the Season Luncheons, and New Year’s Eve on the River. Each event features a special menu, entertainment, and breathtaking views of the Tennessee River.

 

train station at the north pole on the north pole limited polar express train

North Pole Limited at the Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum // Photo Courtesy of Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum

 

 

Collegedale Holiday Market

WHEN: Nov. 28-29

CONTACT: collegedalemarket.com or 423.648.2496

COST: FREE

Shop local at the Collegedale Holiday Market, located at The Commons in Collegedale. Over Thanksgiving weekend, patrons can find artisan foods and fine arts and crafts, including jewelry, woodworks, soaps, and other personal care products. Start the season with one-of-a-kind gifts, a wood-burning fire, and lots of holiday cheer. 

 

 

 

Christmas Open House at the Georgia Winery

WHEN: Nov. 28, Dec. 5, 12, 19

CONTACT: georgiawines.com or 706.937.9463

COST: FREE

Make a dent in your Christmas shopping list with a visit to the Georgia Winery’s Christmas Open House. Every Saturday before Christmas beginning Nov. 28, guests can enjoy hot mulled wine and refreshments while they browse for unique gifts and gourmet food products. Premade gift baskets are also available.

 

 

 

A Classic Christmas in Cleveland

WHEN: Dec. 4-5

CONTACT: mainstreetcleveland.com or 423.479.1000

COST: FREE

Each year, downtown Cleveland welcomes crowds for A Classic Christmas. On Dec. 4, a community singing and tree lighting will open the holiday season, with the presentation to begin at 6 p.m. at the Old Post Office. On Dec. 5, the Christmas parade will depart from Bradley Central High School and showcase lighted floats and local marching bands.

 

couple ice skating at ice on the landing in chattanooga

Ice on the Landing at the Choo Choo Gardens // Photo by Bonnie McGhee Photography

 

It’s a Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play

WHEN: Dec. 4-6, 10-13, 17-20

CONTACT: theatrecentre.com or 423.267.8534

COST: $25/adults; $15/students

The Chattanooga Theatre Centre will perform this beautiful adaptation of Frank Capra’s classic holiday film over three weekends in December. Directed by Chuck Tuttle, the ensemble cast of five will be playing a few dozen roles to tell the story of the idealistic George Bailey. Extensive safety protocols are in place, and tickets are being sold online.

 

 

 

Chattanooga Holiday Market

WHEN: Dec. 5-6, 12-13, 19-20

CONTACT: chattanoogamarket.com or 423.648.2496

COST: FREE

More than 200 local vendors will gather in the Chattanooga Convention Center for this annual holiday market, open on three separate weekends! With unique gifts ranging from pottery and art to festive food, locally made apparel, wood furniture, and more, there is a present waiting for every person on your list. Hot cocoa and live performances are all part of this shopping tradition.

 

 

 

Holiday Lights at the Chattanooga Zoo

WHEN: Dec. 10-12, 17-19

CONTACT: chattzoo.org or 423.697.1322

COST: Visit the website.

Holiday Lights offers guests the opportunity to see the Chattanooga Zoo completely transformed with sparkling lights for the season. Visit your favorite animals and watch them open presents, and then enjoy walking around with family and friends in the winter wonderland!

 

polar express poster

Polar Express 3D at the Tennessee Aquarium IMAX 3D Theater // Photo Courtesy of the Tennessee Aquarium

 

 

 

Mistletoe Market Holiday Craft & Vendor Show

WHEN: Dec. 12-13

CONTACT: touchtheskyevents.com or 423.650.1388

COST: FREE

Bring the entire family out to the 4th annual Mistletoe Market Holiday Craft & Vendor Show at the Collegedale Commons. This exciting event will have over 150 vendors to shop, 16 food trucks, a petting zoo and pony rides, and campfire s’mores. Kids can get a free photo with Santa and be entered in the Christmas Beauty Pageant sponsored by Poppeas Boutique.

 

 

New Year’s Events

New Year’s Eve Dinner Train

WHEN: Dec. 31

CONTACT: tvrail.com or 423.894.8028

COST: $90 and up, varies by train car

Ring in the new year with a three-course dining experience aboard a restored 1924 dining car. An annual event at the Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum, the New Year’s Eve Dinner Train departs from Grand Junction Station and travels at a leisurely pace toward urban East Chattanooga. Patrons will have their choice of fabulous entrees, tomato bisque, seasonal vegetables, bread, and dessert. Departure times are 5 p.m. and 8 p.m.

 

 

 

The Read House’s New Year’s Eve Mask-erade Party

WHEN: Dec. 31

CONTACT: 423.266.4121

COST: $600/couple

The Read House cordially invites you to its all-inclusive New Year’s Eve Mask-erade Party! The party will be limited to 50 couples and include overnight accommodations. Start the evening off at 8 p.m. with a three-course dinner for two, followed by a celebration – featuring an open bar and entertainment from DJ Ellis + Party Favors – to remember. Dress to impress; fashionable masks are encouraged.

 

Scuba diving Santa Claus at the Tennessee aquarium

Holidays Under the Peaks at the Tennessee Aquarium // Photo Courtesy of the Tennessee Aquarium