Your Guide to 2022-2023 Events the Whole Family Can Enjoy
Each year, many of Chattanooga’s venues and attractions celebrate the festive season in a magical way. Twinkling lights abound, and merry sounds of bells and carols ring throughout the mountains as locals celebrate the most wonderful time of the year. Gather your loved ones and use our guide to discover all the holiday fun the Scenic City has to offer!
Asian Lantern Festival
at the Chattanooga Zoo
WHEN: Nov. 10-Jan. 15
CONTACT: chattzoo.org or 423.697.1322
COST: Visit the website.
This new event is a celebration of art, culture, and the beauty of traditional Asian lantern festivals. There will be illuminated lantern displays featuring zoo animals and traditional Asian lanterns as well as interactive elements throughout the Zoo to create an unforgettable experience for guests of all ages.
WHEN: Nov. 14-Dec. 31
COST: $30 per car, tickets sold online only
This holiday light destination is the perfect opportunity for family fun in any weather! The magical 25-35-minute drive-thru light display at Dallas Island inside Chester Frost Park features a Christmas tree created by custom lasers that’s over 90 feet tall, 125 arches that make up a 500-foot-long tunnel of twinkling lights, and more holiday cheer.
The Chattanooga Choo Choo decorates in grand style for the holidays. Beginning Nov. 17, check out Hamilton County’s biggest Christmas tree inside the hotel’s historic lobby. Other festive activities include photos with Santa and 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 Events at the Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum
The Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum has plenty of fun holiday events to choose from. Visit the North Pole on a magical train journey featuring lighted displays, and children will receive a keepsake boarding pass and bell. A Chattanooga tradition since 1999, this family-friendly excursion is a little over an hour and departs from Grand Junction Station. Or, check out the brand-new experience for all ages at The Homefront Tea Room: A Tea in the Depot that includes a full Christmas high tea along with a ride on the Missionary Ridge Local. The tea will take place in the upstairs viewing room of Grand Junction Depot with a selection of delicious teas and savory and sweet fare.
COST: Check out the online calendar for nightly event pricing.
In its 28th 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 with Mrs. Claus, journey through the icy lights of the Arctic Kingdom, and experience the digital enchantment of the Magic Forest’s dancing trees. A visit to see Santa in his workshop and plenty of holiday treats await, including house-made hot cocoa and fudge, funnel cakes, and festive holiday drinks from Café 7. Tickets are sold online only, and admission begins at 4:30 p.m.
This temporary outdoor rink, located in the historic Glenn Miller 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. Visit the website for ticket reservations, the schedule of operation, and details for skating, party reservations, and special promotions!
Downtown Cleveland is hosting Christmas on the Square and the Community Tree lighting on Nov. 19 from 12 to 6 p.m. Enjoy shopping at the holiday market at the Courthouse Square followed by tree lighting at 6 p.m. at the Old Post Office. On Dec. 3, the Christmas parade will depart from Bradley Central High School and showcase lighted floats and local marching bands.
Live in theaters for the 30th anniversary tour, “NUTCRACKER! Magical Christmas Ballet” is sure to delight with larger-than-life puppets, incredible acrobatics, and fabulous costumes. Enjoy the artistry of an international cast, including the stars of Ukraine ballet.
EPB’s annual holiday window displays can be enjoyed all season long by visiting the EPB headquarters located at 10 West MLK Blvd. in downtown Chattanooga. The festive display will open the night before Thanksgiving and run through the beginning of 2023. The windows are located on the Broad and Market Street sides of the building.
Black Friday Holiday Open House at Bluff View Art District
Reminiscent of a European village, Bluff View Art District offers a unique alternative to the bustle of Black Friday shopping. Start the holiday season with festive treats created by working artists, local pastry chefs, artisanal bakers, and coffee roasters. Live Christmas music will be playing from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. throughout the district.
Dozens of festively decorated boats will parade along the Tennessee River in the annual Grand Illumination and Lighted Boat Parade. This year, the spectacle will be accompanied by live reindeer, family activities, food trucks, and music located on the Chattanooga Green and Ross’s Landing. Be sure to stay for the fireworks finale at 8 p.m.
Experience the famous waterfall and enjoy classic holiday decorations on the picturesque Village Plaza with magical views of the Cumberland Plateau and twinkling nighttime city lights. Stop by to visit Santa and have a professional photo taken on Saturdays and Sundays, Nov. 26-Dec. 18. Stay for a casual meal, local craft beer, and holiday treats by the café’s cozy stone fireplace in historic Ruby Falls Castle. Add your Christmas wish to the Forest of Wishes where thousands of heartfelt holiday aspirations create a colorful display of hope, dreams, and good cheer. Savor the holiday season together at Ruby Falls surrounded by the beauty of nature.
Holiday Events at the Creative Discovery Museum
WHEN: Nov. 25-Dec. 30
CONTACT: firstname.lastname@example.org or 423.648.6085
COST: Visit the website.
Create sweet holiday memories this season at Creative Discovery Museum! Get crafty at the Gingerbread Workshops happening Nov. 25 through Dec. 18. Santa Claus is coming to town for PJs with Santa on Dec. 2-3. And ring in the New Year at Cheers to the New Year on Dec. 30.
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, Santa Breakfast Cruises, and New Year’s Eve on the River. Each event features a special menu, entertainment, and breathtaking views of the Tennessee River.
Your adventure through an underwater wonderland begins with holiday music and décor in the River Journey lobby. Look for seasonal surprises throughout your tour – including a tree twinkling in sync with the jolly jolts of an electric eel. SCUBA Claus will also be diving on select Saturdays, and “The Polar Express 3D” returns to the Tennessee Aquarium IMAX 3D Theater. On Dec. 17, dress in your favorite pajamas and enjoy a special screening of “The Polar Express 3D”! Meet the conductor, enjoy hot cocoa and snacks, and enter to win Polar Express-themed prizes. This event is fun for the entire family and all who truly believe!
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. 26, from 1 to 5 p.m., guests can enjoy free wine tastings and sip hot mulled wine while they browse for unique gifts and gourmet food products. Shop the premade gift baskets or build a custom basket.
Holiday Productions at the Chattanooga Theatre Centre
The 2022-2023 season features two holiday offerings from the Chattanooga Theatre Centre. “Every Christmas Story Ever Told (And Then Some)” is a slightly irreverent play that takes a look at many beloved holiday classics, including “A Christmas Carol,” “It’s a Wonderful Life,” “A Charlie Brown Christmas,” and more. “The Best Christmas Pageant Ever” is a boisterous offering for all ages about the Herdman kids who upend their community’s traditional Christmas pageant.
Chattanooga Boys Choir Holiday Concert “Remembering Decembers”
Held at First Baptist Church (401 Gateway Avenue) with two showtimes to choose from, the Chattanooga Boys Choir will join with the CSO Youth Orchestra and the Metropolitan Bells to put on a wonderful show that’s sure to put you in the holiday spirit.
This 24-hour-long festival, organized by Southside residents, merchants, and friends, features programming all day and night – from parades and live music to cook-offs, open houses, store discounts, crafts, and much more. A schedule of events can be found online.
On Dec. 3, Southern Adventist University celebrates the sounds of the holiday season with a concert by the Wind Symphony, Jazz Ensemble, Steel Band, and Southern Ringtones at 8 p.m. in the Iles P.E. Center. The Symphony Orchestra and choral ensembles also will perform on Dec. 10 at 4 p.m. in the Collegedale Church of Seventh-day Adventists.
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. The market is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturdays and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sundays.
Kick off the holidays with an exlusive experience with characters from Chattanooga Ballet’s“The Nutcracker”! Clara, Drosselmeyer, and the cast of characters will take you on a tour of the theatre to see some of the magic behind the curtain. You can expect children’s activities, professional photo opportunities, a theatrical reading of “The Nutcracker” on the Memorial Stage, and more!
Participate in a traditional English tea at Chattanooga’s Houston Museum of Decorative Arts. With seating times at 1 p.m. and 3 p.m., the tea features authentic treats such as scones, finger sandwiches, and sweets, as well as a special tea blend. Admission also includes a guided tour of the museum. Reservations for this all-ages event are required, and seating is limited.
A Classic Christmas
WHEN: Dec. 4
CONTACT: email@example.com or 423.614.8343
This annual holiday tradition features Lee University’s Choral Union, Symphony Orchestra, Ladies of Lee, Handbell Choir, and more. A variety of the university’s School of Music performers, as well as special guests, work together to make this the most well-attended music event each year. The performance will take place in the Conn Center. Overflow seating and livestream viewing will also be available.
Home for the Holidays
WHEN: Dec. 6
The award-winning a cappella ensemble, Voices of Lee, will present this Christmas concert in Pangle Hall, featuring both sacred and secular Christmas selections. Tickets are complimentary but required.
Lessons and Carols
WHEN: Dec. 8
CONTACT: firstname.lastname@example.org or 423.614.8240
The Lee University School of Music and School of Theology & Ministry present this evening of lessons and carols in the Lee University Chapel. Scripture surrounding Christ’s birth will be interwoven with beautiful Christmas music for a moving service. Tickets are complimentary but required.
Join the Chattanooga Girls Choir for this evening of beauty and peace including traditional holiday music, as well as folk and Broadway selections. As always, alumnae of the CGC will be invited on stage for the closing number, “Edelweiss.”
Southeastern Trust Presents Chattanooga Ballet’s “The Nutcracker”
With the Chattanooga Ballet’s professional company, the CSO performing live, and students from Chattanooga Ballet’s School, you won’t want to miss out on this special holiday tradition. “The Nutcracker” is a story of youth and bravery, and one the entire family will enjoy.
Merriment awaits you and yours at The Read House hotel this holiday season. On Dec. 9, enjoy live entertainment, hot chocolate and cider, and pictures with Santa and Mrs. Claus during the Holiday Jubilee. On the mornings of Dec. 10 and Dec. 17, you can join Santa and Mrs. Claus for a special breakfast with a show-stopping toppings bar for your pancakes, Belgian waffles, and hot cocoa.
Santa and Mrs. Claus will be in attendance again for the Teddy Bear Tea in The Whitebird. For this ticketed event, kids can dress in their coziest pajamas and bring their teddies. There will be a charming gingerbread house display, and bloody marys and mimosas will be available for the adults.
Education meets holiday fun in this annual event at Red Clay State Park. Guests will experience the Red Clay like never before on a lantern-lit tour led by guides straight out of the 19th century. Sweet treats and the traditions of the past await. The program begins at 5:30 p.m., and all guests are asked to register on the state park’s events page prior to attending.
Experiment with and create a variety of craft projects (perfect for gifting to others – or yourself!) while enjoying a drink. The workshop includes all studio materials and a glass of wine or a non-alcoholic beverage. Local artists will be on-site selling artistic gifts for purchase as well. Register with a friend or make new ones at the workshop! Spaces are limited so pre-register at huntermuseum.org.
CSO First Horizon Foundation Pops Series: Home for the Holidays
One of Chattanooga’s most treasured holiday events, Home for the Holidays is the perfect seasonal celebration for the whole family. The CSO is joined by the CSO Chorus, a variety of community groups, and even the big man himself!
Ring in the New Year with a four-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 entrées, 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 Roaring ‘20s Party
The Read House cordially invites you to its New Year’s Eve Roaring ‘20s Party! This party package includes an open bar, live entertainment, a midnight champagne toast, late night snacks, and a room to sleep it off. This year there will also be a time capsule dedication in honor of the hotel’s 150th anniversary. The fun will continue Jan. 1 on the Bloody Mary “Struggle Bus.”