Home for the Holidays

(Above) Ruby Falls Christmas Underground

 

2019-2020 Local Holiday Events

 

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

 

Ice on the Landing at the Choo Choo Gardens

WHEN: Nov. 15-Jan. 20

CONTACT: iceonthelanding.com or 423.265.0771

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

Located in the historic Glenn Miller Outdoor Gardens at the Chattanooga Choo Choo, this seasonal offering is fun for all once temperatures drop. Take a turn on the outdoor skating rink yourself, or watch family and friends skate while sipping a cup of hot chocolate. The cost includes your skate rental, and season passes are also available.

 

 

conductor punching little boy's ticket on the North Pole Limited train at the Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum

North Pole Limited at the Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum

 

North Pole Limited at the Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum

WHEN: Nov. 16-Dec. 30

CONTACT: tvrail.com or 423.894.8028

COST: $36-$70 depending on date/car

A family tradition since 1999, North Pole Limited takes riders on an imaginary journey to the North Pole. Expect refreshments, storytelling, and the occasional sing-along on this festive ride. Along the way, outdoor lighted displays are a sight to see. As the train rolls into the North Pole, a special guest boards for a visit!

 

 

Kids enjoying fake snow at the holiday events at the creative discovery museum

Holiday Events at the Creative Discovery Museum

 

Holiday Events at the Creative Discovery Museum

WHEN: Nov. 16-Dec. 31

CONTACT: cdmfun.org or 423.756.2738

COST: $14.95/regular admission

The Creative Discovery Museum kicks off the winter season on Nov. 16 with Snow Day, offering educational activities for the whole family. Kids can look forward to face painting, performances, and a visit from Jack Frost. Make sweet memories during the Gingerbread Workshops on Saturdays and Sundays from Nov. 29-Dec. 22 (registration required). The kids-only Holiday Shoppe is open from 1 until 3 p.m. on select dates from Nov. 29-Dec. 23. Then, on New Year’s Eve, join the museum for a special celebration for kids, “New Year’s at Noon.”

 

 

Christmas tree in the lobby of the Chattanooga Choo Choo

Holiday Events at the Choo Choo

 

Holiday Events at the Choo Choo

WHEN: Nov. 15-Jan. 1

CONTACT: choochoo.com or 423.266.5000

COST: Varies depending on activity

The Chattanooga Choo Choo decorates in grand style for the Christmas holidays. Beginning Nov. 15, check out Chattanooga’s biggest Christmas tree inside the hotel’s historic lobby. Other festive activities include photos with Santa and Ice on the Landing, the Choo Choo’s skating rink. Partake in seasonal delicacies at the local bars and restaurants, or even stay overnight for a cozy holiday staycation.

 

 

Rock City's Enchanted Garden of Lights

Rock City’s Enchanted Garden of Lights

 

Rock City’s Enchanted Garden of Lights

WHEN: Nov. 22-Jan. 4 (closed Christmas Eve)

CONTACT: seerockcity.com or 706.820.2531

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

Light up your nights this season for the 25th year of this award-winning holiday lighting spectacular at Rock City. Experience the magic of four uniquely themed realms of wonder that sparkle with over a million lights, join Mrs. Claus for cookie decorating and stories by the fire, and enjoy visits with Jack Frost, Inara the Ice Queen, and Santa! Live musical entertainment, hot cocoa, holiday treats, gifts, and photos are also in store. Admission for the Enchanted Garden of Lights begins at 4 p.m., with leashed
pets welcome.

 

santa claus scuba diving at the tennessee aquarium

Ho, Ho, H2O! – SCUBA Claus at the Tennessee Aquarium

 

Ho, Ho, H2O! – SCUBA Claus at the Tennessee Aquarium

WHEN: Nov. 23-Dec. 22

CONTACT: tnaqua.org or 800.262.0695

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

SCUBA Claus will once again be donning his diving gear and making weekend appearances at the Tennessee Aquarium starting Nov. 23. Catch a glimpse of the “Jolly Old Elf” in either the “St. Nick-a-Jack” Lake exhibit or swimming alongside the “Monster Fish” in the River Giants exhibit.

Holiday Windows at EPB

WHEN: Nov. 27-Jan. 5

CONTACT: epb.com or 423.648.1372

COST: FREE

On Nov. 27, EPB will unveil their annual holiday window display at 5 p.m. at EPB’s downtown headquarters: 10 W. Martin Luther King Blvd. The festive windows, which can be enjoyed all season long, will be filled with scenes featuring EPB’s cast of merry animated holiday characters and thousands of twinkling lights.

Southern Belle and Pier 2 Holiday Events

WHEN: Nov. 28-Dec. 31

CONTACT: chattanoogariverboat.com or 423.266.4488

COST: Visit the website.

The Southern Belle is spreading holiday cheer on its scenic cruises this season! Cruises include 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.

Black Friday Holiday Open House at Bluff View Art District

WHEN: Nov. 29

CONTACT: bluffviewartdistrictchattanooga.com or 423.265.5033

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. Stroll through the decorated district and see local pastry chefs, bakers, coffee roasters, and a French chocolatier create festive treats, and experience working artist demonstrations at River Gallery. Live Christmas music plays from noon to 3 p.m., and shopping specials can be found throughout the district. 

Grand Illumination Boat Parade

WHEN: Nov. 29

CONTACT: erwinmarinesales.com or 423.266.1316

COST: FREE

Dozens of festively decorated boats will parade along the Tennessee River in the 39th annual Grand Illumination and Lighted Boat Parade. Head on down to the Riverfront Friday evening to watch the vessels set sail starting at the Walnut Street Bridge.

Collegedale Christmas Market

WHEN: Nov. 30-Dec. 1, Dec. 7-8

CONTACT: collegedalemarket.com or 423.648.2496

COST: FREE

Shop local this season at Collegedale Christmas Market, located at the Collegedale Commons’ Founders’ Hall. On two separate weekends, gifts ranging from artisan foods to fine arts and crafts will be available for purchase. Santa Claus is also expected to make an appearance!   

Ruby Falls Christmas Underground: A Journey to the North Pole

WHEN: Dec. 1-8 (Thursdays through Sundays), Dec. 12-23 (daily)

CONTACT: rubyfalls.com or 423.821.2544

COST: $16.95/adults and children 3 and up

Take a magical journey through a secret passage to visit Santa at the North Pole. Discover a glittering ice cave, explore Penguin Palace and Polar Creek, find a sparkling geode, see Sugar Plum Fairy Village, play in snow flurries, and more! Admission includes a personal visit with Santa, all activities, a digital photo with Santa, and a keepsake geode. Guests may extend their holiday adventure by adding a Classic Waterfall Tour to their ticket.

Warehouse Row Annual Holiday Open House

WHEN: Dec. 5 (6 to 8 p.m.)

CONTACT: warehouserow.com

COST: FREE

The Chattanooga community is invited to join Warehouse Row in welcoming the holiday season. Grab your friends and family for an evening of local shopping, delicious food by Public House, a visit from jolly St. Nick, and all the music and décor to get you and yours in the spirit. Hours for the Open House are 6 to 8 p.m.

 

Christmas on the Hill

WHEN: Dec. 6

CONTACT: bryan.edu or 423.775.7498

COST: FREE

The Bryan College Performing Arts Department invites the public to this magical holiday performance. The Bryan College choral, piano, and instrumental ensembles will be featured, along with the Hilltop Players – Bryan College’s theatre troupe. The program begins at 7:30 p.m. in Rudd Auditorium.

Deck the Walls at Chattanooga WorkSpace

WHEN: Dec. 6

CONTACT: chattanoogaworkspace.com

COST: FREE

The 7th annual Deck the Walls Open Studio Nights is a local holiday shopping event like no other! Chattanooga WorkSpace is four floors of creative artist studios in the heart of downtown, and from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m., guests are invited to meet the artists and creatives who call the WorkSpace their home. Purchase local art, see live artistic demonstrations, and make new friends at this family-friendly event.

Holiday Programs at the Cravens House

WHEN: Dec. 6-7

CONTACT: nps.gov/chch or 423.821.7786

COST: FREE

Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park present this “living history” holiday event. The Cravens House will be festively decorated to reflect the Christmas season during the Civil War era, and tours of the historic home and grounds will be led every 30 minutes beginning at 6 p.m. Reservations are required due to spacing limitation.   

A Classic Christmas in Cleveland

WHEN: Dec. 6-8

CONTACT: mainstreetcleveland.com or 423.479.1000

COST: FREE

Each year, downtown Cleveland welcomes crowds for A Classic Christmas. On Dec. 6, popular carols and a tree lighting open the holiday season, with musical presentations to take place on the steps of each historic downtown church. On Dec. 7, the Christmas parade will depart from Bradley Central High School and showcase lighted floats and local marching bands. A Classic Christmas at Lee University is set for Dec. 8.

 

Buddy the Elf in the MAINx24 parade

MAINx24

 

MAINx24

WHEN: Dec. 7

CONTACT: mainx24.com

COST: FREE

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, cookie decorating, silent auctions, dancing, fireworks, and much more. A schedule of more than 100 events can be found online.

Chattanooga Boys Choir Singing Christmas Tree

WHEN: Dec. 7

CONTACT: chattanoogaboyschoir.org or 423.634.2299

COST: $15-$40

Held at the Tivoli Theatre with two showtimes to choose from, the Chattanooga Boys Choir Singing Christmas Tree is one of the city’s most treasured holiday traditions. More than 200 performers, including a number of special guests, will grace the stage to present this year’s theme, “Christmas on Broadway,” featuring Broadway staples as well as traditional carols.

 

girl's holiday market place selling homemade gifts

MBD: Girl Edition | Holiday Marketplace

 

MBD: Girl Edition | Holiday Marketplace

WHEN: Dec. 7

CONTACT: getyourmbd.com or 423.634.7600

COST: FREE

Family, friends, and the public are invited to shop this holiday marketplace, where girls ages 7-17 display and sell their own products. Find more than 60 girl-powered booths with home décor, jewelry, gifts, and more. Marketplace hours are 12 to 4 p.m. at Girls Preparatory School.

Chattanooga Holiday Market

WHEN: Dec. 7-8, 14-15, 21-22

CONTACT: chattanoogamarket.com or 423.648.2496

COST: FREE

The Chattanooga Market heads indoors in the month of December. Held at the Chattanooga Convention Center, this annual holiday market hosts more than 200 local vendors selling one-of-a-kind pottery, handcrafted jewelry, local food, natural bath and body products, and much more. While shopping, visitors can enjoy holiday-themed entertainment and a warm cup of cocoa.

Southern Adventist Christmas Concerts

WHEN: Dec. 7, 13-14

CONTACT: southern.edu/music or 423.236.2880

COST: FREE

On Dec. 7, Southern Adventist University celebrates the sounds of the holiday season with a concert by the wind symphony, jazz ensemble, steel drum ensemble, and the Ringtones. The university’s symphony orchestra and choral ensembles will also perform on Dec. 13 and 14.

Christmas Open House at the Georgia Winery

WHEN: Dec. 7, 14, 21

CONTACT: georgiawines.com or
706.937.9463

COST: FREE

Cross items off your Christmas shopping list with a trip to the Georgia Winery’s Christmas Open House. On select Saturdays in December, customers can browse their large selection of unique wine gifts, gourmet food products, premade gift baskets, and more.

Family Fun Day at the Hunter Museum

WHEN: Dec. 8

CONTACT: huntermuseum.org or 423.267.0968

COST: FREE

Start the holiday season festively at the Hunter on Sunday, Dec. 8 during Family Fun Day. Families are encouraged to take part in the holiday excitement as they make their own artwork, visit Santa, and explore artwork throughout the museum. Activities include letter writing to Santa, mixed media art making, and a scavenger hunt.

A Classic Christmas

WHEN: Dec. 8

CONTACT: leeuniversity.edu or 423.614.8240

COST: FREE

In its 30th year, this festive celebration features Lee University’s Choral Union, Symphony Orchestra, 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. Tickets are complimentary but required.

Holiday English Tea at the Houston Museum

WHEN: Dec. 8

CONTACT: thehoustonmuseum.org or 423.267.7176

COST: $32/adults; $20/seniors; $10/children 4-12

Participate in a traditional English tea at Chattanooga’s Houston Museum. The afternoon tea features authentic treats such as scones, finger sandwiches, and sweets. Admission also includes seasonal music performed live by Ralph Miller, a visit from Father Christmas, and a guided tour of the museum. Reservations for this event are required, and seating is limited.

Lessons & Carols

WHEN: Dec. 12

CONTACT: leeuniversity.edu or 423.614.8240

COST: FREE

The Lee University School of Music and School of Religion present this evening of lessons and carols in the Lee Chapel. Scripture surrounding Christ’s birth will be interwoven with beautiful Christmas music for a moving service. Tickets are complimentary but required.

Chattanooga Girls Choir Winter Concert

WHEN: Dec. 13

CONTACT: chattanoogagirlschoir.org or 423.698.2556

Traditional Christmas carols coupled with music by Palestrina, Vivaldi, Monteverdi, and more will fill the First Cumberland Presbyterian Church on Dec. 13. Join the Chattanooga Girls Choir for this evening of beauty and peace. The performance begins at 7:30 p.m. As always, alumnae of the CGC are invited on stage for the closing number, “Edelweiss.”

The Nutcracker

WHEN: Dec. 13-15

CONTACT: tivolichattanooga.com or 423.757.5580

COST: $18 and up (plus fees), varies by seating

Chattanooga residents and visitors alike have four opportunities to catch the Chattanooga Ballet’s own production of “The Nutcracker.” This family-friendly ballet, held at the Tivoli Theatre, features the return of the Chattanooga Symphony Orchestra and exciting new choreography by Chattanooga Ballet’s new artistic director, Brian McSween.

Holiday Lights at the Chattanooga Zoo

WHEN: Dec. 13-14, 20-21

CONTACT: chattzoo.org or 423.697.1322

COST: Visit the website.

See the Chattanooga Zoo transformed into a winter wonderland at this annual event! Have your photo taken with Santa Claus, play holiday games, and watch the animals open their presents. With story time, ornament crafting, carolers, cookie decorating, letters to Santa, and more, there are plenty of activities for everyone.

Holiday Events at The Read House

WHEN: Dec. 13-14

CONTACT: thereadhousehotel.com/holidays or 423.266.4121

COST: Varies depending on activity

On Dec. 13 from 5 until 8 p.m., The Read House hosts Holiday Jubilee – an evening filled with holiday activities ranging from pictures with Santa to a gingerbread house contest. In the Green Room, Santa’s Workshop will be set up with a host of arts and crafts perfect for little ones. The next morning, Breakfast with Santa takes place in the Silver Ballroom, with two seatings at 9 and 11 a.m.

PJs and The Polar Express 3D

WHEN: Dec. 14-15

CONTACT: tnaqua.org or 800.262.0695

COST: $10/members; $14 non-members

Choo choo! All aboard the Polar Express for a trip to the North Pole. Dress in your favorite pair of pajamas to enjoy a special screening of “The Polar Express 3D” at the IMAX Theater. This is your chance to meet the conductor, sip hot cocoa, and sample delicious pastries. It’s fun for the entire family and all who truly believe!

Christmas at Red Clay

WHEN: Dec. 15

CONTACT: tnstateparks.com or 423.478.0339

COST: $1

Education meets holiday fun in this annual event at Red Clay State Park. Guests will experience the historic park through the eyes of the Cherokee people – customary songs, cooking demonstrations over the fire, and celebrations of the traditions of the past await. The program begins at 5 p.m., and all guests are asked to register on the state park website prior to the event.

CSO Pop Series: Home for the Holidays

WHEN: Dec. 21-22

CONTACT: chattanoogasymphony.org or 423.267.8583

COST: $15-$85, varies by seating

This beloved concert by the Chattanooga Symphony & Opera returns in 2019 featuring Seth Carico, a Signal Mountain native and bass-baritone, and David Torns, guest conductor. The CSO Chorus, directed by Darrin Hassevoort, and Metropolitan Bells, directed by Gary Bynum, will perform seasonal selections and modern hits, all taking place at the Tivoli Theatre.

Jim Brickman: A Christmas Celebration

WHEN: Dec. 23

CONTACT: tivolichattanooga.com or 423.757.5580

COST: $49.50 and up (plus fees)

Best-selling piano artist Jim Brickman is coming to Chattanooga for a festive, family-friendly concert. For one night only at the Walker Theatre, audiences will enjoy holiday favorites by Brickman and his special guests. Uplifting and full of laughter and joy, this celebration has been dubbed pure entertainment.

Moscow Ballet’s Great Russian Nutcracker

WHEN: Dec. 24

CONTACT: tivolichattanooga.com or 423.757.5580

COST: $32 and up (plus fees)

This December, experience Christmas magic with the whole family at Moscow Ballet’s “Great Russian Nutcracker” – hosted by the Tivoli Theatre. This dazzling production includes more than 200 costumes, world-class artists, towering puppets, stunning sets, and of course, Tchaikovsky’s timeless score. Two performances (noon and 4 p.m.) will take place Dec. 24.

New Year’s Events

 

boy and his dad petting an animal at Zoo year's eve

Zoo Year’s Eve

 

Zoo Year’s Eve

WHEN: Dec. 31

CONTACT: chattzoo.org or 423.697.1322

COST: FREE with regular zoo admission

Ring in the New Year at the wildest party around! The Chattanooga Zoo will be celebrating with games, activities, and counting down the clock in different time zones around the world, with the fun beginning at 10 a.m. Meet your favorite animals and learn all about New Year’s Eve traditions worldwide.

 

the New year's eve dinner train

New Year’s Eve Dinner Train

 

New Year’s Eve Dinner Train

WHEN: Dec. 31

CONTACT: tvrail.com or 423.894.8028

COST: $85 and up, varies by train car

Make dinner plans with the Tennessee Valley Railroad on New Year’s Eve! Guests will enjoy a four-course dining experience on board a restored 1924 dining car. The approximately two-hour ride departs from Chattanooga’s Grand Junction Station. Departure times are 5 p.m. and 8 p.m.

 

couple dancing in 20s attire at the read house new year's eve party

New Year’s Eve Party at The Read House

 

New Year’s Eve Party at The Read House

WHEN: Dec. 31

CONTACT: thereadhousehotel.com/holidays or 423.266.4121

COST: $150/person

Step back in time to the Roaring Twenties at this New Year’s Eve extravaganza. Hosted by The Read House, highlights of the evening include a 10-piece band – Gwen Hughes and The Retro Kats, heavy hors d’oeuvres and a midnight Champagne toast, and a coffee and dessert bar. Guests are encouraged to don their finest 1920s attire. CS

 

 

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