Home for the Holidays

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Holiday Packages at the Chattanooga Choo Choo
WHEN: Nov. 18-Dec. 30 CONTACT: ChooChoo.com or 800-872-2529 COST: Varies by package
The Chattanooga Choo Choo offers five holiday packages that include overnight accommodations (1-2 nights): the Choo Choo Enchantment, the Choo Choo Fantasy, the One-Night and Two-Night North Pole Limited Adventure, and the brand new Ice on the Landing package. Packages include magical holiday touches such as an elf tuck-in service for children, ice skating at the Choo Choo, a keepsake Choo Choo ornament, and tickets to various holiday attractions.


Ice on the Landing at the Choo Choo Gardens
WHEN: Nov. 18-Jan 16   CONTACT: iceonthelanding.com or 423.265.0771 COST: adults $10/children (12 and under) $8
Ice on the Landing brings  the  classic winter tradition of outdoor ice skating to downtown Chattanooga. New for 2016, this family-friendly skating experience will now take place at the festive grounds of the Choo Choo Gardens! Venderors will still be on site offering sweet treats, food, and hot cocoa.


North Pole Limited at the Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum
WHEN: Nov. 18-Dec. 31 CONTACT: tvrail.com or 423.894.8028 COST: $20-$64 depending on date/time of service
One of the Railroad Museum’s most popular annual events is the North Pole Limited train ride, which has been a family tradition since 1999. During the enchanted holiday season, passengers are transported by train on an imaginary journey to the North Pole. Refreshments, storytelling, and sing-alongs provide entertainment during the trip. As the train travels down the rails, a number of lighted displays can be seen outside.


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Rock City’s Enchanted Garden of Lights
WHEN: Nov. 18-Dec. 31, open 6 p.m.-9 p.m. (closed Christmas Eve Night) CONTACT: seerockcity.com/lights or 706.820.2531 COST: adults $22.95 Fri.-Sun. and $19.95 Mon.-Thurs./children (3-12) $12.95 Fri.-Sun. and $11.95 Mon.-Thurs.
Rock City’s Enchanted Garden of Lights is a family holiday season tradition. The gardens’ natural daytime splendor transforms into a winter wonderland with more than 30 holiday scenes and LED lights. Decorate Christmas stockings and gingerbread cookies, or warm up with hot cocoa at the North Pole Lodge. Along the trail, meet holiday characters including Santa, Jack Frost, and Inara the ice queen. New this year, guests can choose their own adventure on different themed paths, allowing multiple starting points. Group rates available.


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Ho, Ho, H2O! – SCUBA Claus at the Tennessee Aquarium
WHEN: Nov. 19-Dec. 18 CONTACT: tnaqua.org or 800.262.0695 COST: adults $29.95/children (3-12) $18.95
Since it’s too cold for a swim at the North Pole, Santa dons his diving gear to become SCUBA Claus at the Tennessee Aquarium! Catch a glimpse of this “Jolly Old Elf” as he brings holiday cheer to the “St. Nick-a-jack” Lake exhibit and swims alongside “Monster Fish” in the River Giants exhibit on weekends between Nov. 19 and Dec. 18.


Holiday Events at the Creative Discovery Museum
WHEN: Nov. 19-Jan. 4 CONTACT: cdmfun.org or 423.756.2738 COST: regular admission $13.95
The Creative Discovery Museum kicks off the wintry season on November 19 with Snow Day. The temporary exhibit, “Amazing Castle,” will be upstairs now through Jan. 2. The Holiday Shoppe, a separate “shop” for children upstairs in Discovery Library, will be open from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays from Nov. 19 through Dec. 23. Gingerbread Workshops (reservations required) will be available starting Friday, Nov. 25, and will then be held on Saturdays and Sundays through Dec. 18. On New Year’s Eve, the Museum will host a New Year’s at Noon party for kids with a parade, live music, and apple juice toast!


Holiday Windows at EPB
WHEN: Nov. 23-Jan. 2 CONTACT: epb.net or 423.648.1372 COST: FREE
EPB will kick off the holiday season by unveiling the annual holiday window display on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving at 5 p.m. at EPB’s downtown headquarters on 10 W. Martin Luther King Blvd. The window displays have been a Chattanooga tradition since the World War II era, and EPB now teams with local STEM school students to create beautiful displays that highlight our city and the people who live here.


Southern Belle and Pier 2 Holiday Events
WHEN: Nov. 24-Dec. 31 (Thurs.-Sun.) CONTACT: chattanoogariverboat.com or 423.266.4488 COST: varies, check website for times and charges
The holiday season brings special cruises to the Southern Belle including Thanksgiving on the River, Breakfast with Santa, ‘Tis the Season Luncheon, Christmas Carol Dinner Cruises, and New Year’s Eve on the River. Each of these events features a special menu, live entertainment, and spectacular views as you cruise down the Tennessee River.


Black Friday at the Bluff View Art District
WHEN: Nov. 25 CONTACT: bluffviewartdistrict.com or 423-265-5033 (ext. 481) COST: FREE
Following the European tradition of an outdoor holiday market, the Bluff View Art District will offer a festive alternative to the bustle of Black Friday shopping. See local pastry chefs and French chocolatiers at work, decorate your own cookies, and sample fresh food and drinks around every corner. Shopping specials can also be found throughout the district as the area transforms into a storybook holiday experience.


Grand Illumination Boat Parade
WHEN: Nov. 27  CONTACT: erwinmarinesales.com or 423.266.1316 COST: FREE
Welcome the holiday season by watching the Grand Illumination Boat Parade from the Downtown Riverfront. Dozens of festively decorated boats will circle between the Walnut Street Bridge and Olgiati Bridge.


Chattanooga State Holiday Concert
WHEN: Nov. 30 CONTACT: chattanoogastate.edu COST: FREE
The music department presents an evening of holiday carols and popular seasonal favorites performed by the Chattanooga State Concert Choir, Symphonic Band, members of the music faculty, and music students.


Ruby Falls Christmas Underground
WHEN: Thurs.-Sun. Dec. 1-18, 10 a.m.-8 p.m.; Daily Dec. 19-23, 10 a.m.-8 p.m. CONTACT: rubyfalls.com/christmas or 423.821.2544 COST: adults and children $11.95; combined with Ruby Falls tour adults $24.95/children (3-12) $16.96
While mining for rubies at Ruby Falls, an underground passage was uncovered that leads to the North Pole! Discover “Joystone” and experience Ruby Falls Christmas Underground as it returns for its third year. Venture through an ice cave, see the Northern Lights, visit the Sugar Plum Fairy Village, and see Santa all in one evening!


A Charlie Brown Christmas
WHEN: Dec. 2-11 CONTACT: theatrecentre.com or 423.267.8534 COST: $10
See Charles Schultz’s beloved Peanuts characters come to life in this stage adaptation based on the classic television special. This year’s performance will be presented on the Circle Stage, so seating availability will be limited.


A Classic Christmas in Cleveland
WHEN: Dec. 2-3 CONTACT: mainstreetcleveland.com or 423.479.1000 COST: FREE
Downtown Cleveland opens the holiday season by lighting the community Christmas tree and welcoming Santa. Visitors can enjoy free carriage rides around the courthouse square and musical presentations on the steps of each historic church downtown. The parade takes place Saturday, Dec. 3 at 6 p.m. and includes floats adorned with lights, bands, and caroling.


Chattanooga Girls Choir Winter Concert
WHEN: Dec. 2  CONTACT: chattanoogagirlschoir.org or 423.296.1006  COST: adults $15/children (12 and under) $8
This year, the Chattanooga Girls Choir is celebrating 30 years of beautiful holiday music. Their annual winter concert entitled “Be a Candle of Hope” will be performed at Ridgedale Baptist Church. This will be a festive night of holiday music the whole family can enjoy. Five choirs will perform a broad range of sacred and secular pieces including familiar carol arrangements to celebrate the Christmas and Hanukkah seasons, along with classic favorites.


Deck the Walls at Chattanooga Workspace
WHEN: Dec. 2 CONTACT: chattanoogaworkspace.com or 423.822.5750 COST: FREE
The Chattanooga Workspace is a collaborative building that houses the working studios of many local artists. For the fourth year in a row, they’ll open their doors and welcome the community for a family-friendly night of food, art, shopping, and more. Meet local artists, explore the open studios, and shop for unique, creative gifts that can’t be found anywhere else.


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Holiday Lights at the Chattanooga Zoo
WHEN: Dec. 2-4, 9-11 CONTACT: chattzoo.org or 423.697.1319 COST: adults $9.95/children (3-12) $6.95/children (2 and under) FREE (member admission half off)
Enjoy the Chattanooga Zoo as it is converted into a magical winter wonderland from 5:30 to 8 p.m. each night. Guests can visit the animals and watch them open their presents. They can also have their picture taken with Santa Claus, while enjoying holiday games, crafts, visiting with live reindeer, and more!


Holiday Open House at Cravens House
WHEN: Dec. 2-3 CONTACT: nps.gov or 423.821.7786 COST: FREE
Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park invites the public to Cravens House to experience how the holidays were celebrated during the Civil War era. Although the Craven family spent the Christmas season away from their home during the war, the house has now been restored to reflect the festive decorations that would have been used. Tours of the historic home and grounds are led every 30 minutes beginning at 6 p.m., and reservations are required due to spacing limitations.


Chattanooga Holiday Market
WHEN: Dec. 3-18 CONTACT: chattanoogamarket.com or 423.648.2496 COST: FREE
Explore the Chattanooga Holiday Market during the first three weekends of December and see the work of 150 artisans selling unique gifts, jewelry, photography, clothing, sculpture, canvas artwork, wooden toys, and much more. Enjoy holiday music and fun for the entire family. The market will be held at the Chattanooga Trade & Convention Center from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturdays, and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sundays.


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Christmas Concerts at Southern Adventist University
WHEN: Dec. 3 & 10 CONTACT: southern.edu COST: FREE
On Dec. 3, Southern Adventist University celebrates the sounds of the holiday season with a special performance by their wind symphony. The university’s symphony orchestra and choral ensembles will also perform a festive Christmas concert Dec. 10.


‘Twas the Night Before Christmas: Chattanooga Boys Choir Singing Christmas Tree
WHEN: Dec. 3 CONTACT: chattanoogaboyschoir.org or 423.634.2299 COST: $15-40, varies by seating
Celebrate the holidays with the Chattanooga Boys Choir in one of the area’s oldest and most revered traditions! The Singing Christmas Tree performance will feature the 120+ members of The Boys Choir, CSO Youth Orchestra Ballet Tennessee, and the Metropolitan Bells. These young musicians will present ‘Twas the The Night Before Christmas. WRCB weatherman Paul Barys narrates this classic holiday poem while musical performances express the excitement and anticipation of awaiting Santa’s arrival.


A Classic Christmas
WHEN: Dec. 4 CONTACT: leeuniversity.edu or 423.614.8343 COST: FREE
The acclaimed seasonal celebration features Lee University’s Choral Union, Symphony Orchestra, and more. Celebrating its 27th year, this festive celebration of Christmas music features a variety of Lee University School of Music performers and guests. Tickets are complimentary but required, so contact the Dixson Box Office for reservations.


Family Fun Day at the Hunter Museum
WHEN: Dec. 4 CONTACT: huntermuseum.org or 423.267.0968 COST: FREE for members/non-member adults $15/children (17 and under) FREE
Bring the whole family for a festive holiday experience featuring fun for all ages with cookies and hot chocolate, holiday craft-making, music performed by Jennifer Daniels, storytelling, an Elf on the Shelf®-inspired scavenger hunt in the galleries, and even a visit from Santa himself.


Holiday English Tea at the Houston Museum
WHEN: Dec. 4 CONTACT: thehoustonmuseum.org or 423.267.7176  COST: adults $25/seniors (65+) $20/children (4-12) $5
Warm up with a hot cup of tea at the Houston Museum’s Holiday English Tea. This tea party features authentic English treats such as scones, finger sandwiches, and sweets. Admission includes a guided tour of the Victorian home that houses the museum and its collection of antiques.


Celebrate Christmas at Covenant
WHEN: Dec. 8-9 CONTACT: covenant.edu COST: FREE
The Covenant College chamber orchestra and ensembles present a collaborative concert to celebrate the joy of Christmas. This year’s recital focuses on the theme of “Giver of Mercy, Bringer of Joy, and Creator of Peace.” Tickets can also be purchased for a dessert reception following the free concert.


Holidays at the Hunter
WHEN: Dec. 8 CONTACT: huntermuseum.org or 423.267.0968 COST: FREE for members/non-member adults $15/children (17 and under) FREE
Celebrate holidays at the Hunter, enjoying the festive holiday decorations and sharing the holiday spirit with friends over light hors d’oeuvres, all while enjoying the incredible ambiance of the museum. A cash bar will also be offering delicious cocktails for visitors to sip while browsing the special Verina Baxter exhibit.


Bryan College Christmas Concert
WHEN: Dec. 9-10 CONTACT: bryan.edu/arts or 423.939.9574 COST: $10
This evening of international Christmas music features a variety of ensembles and soloists.


Miracle on 34th Street, The Musical
WHEN: Dec. 9-23 CONTACT: theatrecentre.com or 423.267.8534 COST: $10
This musical adaptation of the heartwarming film from 1947 is sure to delight people of all ages. Watch as Kris Kringle melts the hearts of non-believers and spreads the joyful spirit of Christmas.


Red Clay State Park Cherokee Christmas Program
WHEN: Dec. 11 CONTACT: tnstateparks.com/RedClay or 423.478.0339 COST: FREE
Visit Red Clay for a fun evening and learn how the Cherokee and settlers in the area celebrated the holidays. History comes to life as people sing traditional songs, cook over the fire, and teach visitors how life was long ago. This will include a candlelit walk back through time and the rare chance to experience the park through the eyes of historic figures who lived in the area.


Lessons & Carols
WHEN: Dec. 15 CONTACT: leeuniversity.edu or 423.614.8343 COST: FREE
Lee University’s School of Music and School of Religion join together to present this service of nine lessons from scripture interwoven with uplifting Christmas music. Tickets are complimentary but required, so contact the box office for reservations.


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A Christmas Carol
WHEN: Dec. 17 CONTACT: ballettennessee.org or 423.821.2055 COST: adults $19/children and seniors $17
See Charles Dickens’ beloved holiday tale transformed into a warm, uplifting, and family oriented ballet. This ballet was choreographed and arranged by local choreographer Barry VanCura, making it a unique and unforgettable performance. Guest artists include Jere Hunt, dancer with Rioux New York, in the role of Bob Cratchit and Fredrick Davis, star of the national documentary From the Streets to the Stage: The Journey of Fredrick Davis, in the roles of Marley and Christmas Future. Performances will be held at 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.


CSO Luken Holdings Pops Series: Home for the Holidays
WHEN: Dec. 17-18 CONTACT: tivolichattanooga.com COST: $15-83, varies by seating
Composer and conductor James Stephenson leads the Chattanooga Symphony and Opera’s annual holiday tradition in seasonal classics, along with his own festive musical arrangements.


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Moscow Ballet’s Great Russian Nutcracker
WHEN: Dec. 21 CONTACT: tivolichattanooga.com COST: $30-177, varies by seating
Now in its 24th season, the Moscow Ballet’s Great Russian Nutcracker brings a whimsical story of adventure and holiday enchantment to life on stage. The classic ballet is sure to entertain the whole family and features a company of nearly 40 dancers, a 60-foot growing Christmas tree, handmade costumes, and spectacular sets hand-painted in Russia. Don’t miss this critically acclaimed performance, coming to the Tivoli Theatre.


Zoo Year’s Eve
WHEN: Dec. 31 CONTACT: chattzoo.org or 423.697.1322 COST: FREE with regular Zoo admission
The Chattanooga Zoo is hosting the wildest family-friendly New Year’s Eve party with an afternoon of games, activities, and more! In addition to counting down the clock in different time zones around the world, guests will also learn how the Chattanooga Zoo is working to stop the clock on extinction for endangered species.


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New Year’s Events at The Chattanoogan
WHEN: Dec. 31-Jan. 1 CONTACT: chattanooganhotel.com or 423.756.3721 COST: adults $24.95/children (6-12) $10.95/FREE under age six
Ring in 2017 with a fabulous evening of dinner, dancing, music, and a champagne toast at The Chattanoogan’s New Year’s Eve Celebration, featuring live music from Power Players. The hotel will also be offering a New Year’s Day Brunch at the Broad Street Grille. Traditional New Year’s foods such as black-eyed peas and collard greens will be served along with champagne and other delicious dishes.


Tennessee Valley Railroad’s New Year’s Dinner Train
WHEN: Dec. 31 CONTACT: tvrail.com or 423.894.8028 COST: varies by train car
Hop on board with the Tennessee Valley Railroad for a special excursion on New Year’s Eve. The trip includes a four-course dining experience in an antique train car. No alcohol allowed on trains. Departs from Grand Junction Station.


New Year’s Eve Party on the Bluff
WHEN: Dec. 31 CONTACT: huntermuseum.org or 423.267.0968 COST: call for pricing
Usher in the New Year in unmatched style at the Hunter Museum this New Year’s Eve! Grab your friends for a special night offering food by Events with Taste, an open bar, music and dancing by SoundForce Entertainment, and the best views in Chattanooga. Tickets are available beginning the first week of December at huntermuseum.org/partyonthebluff.