Holiday Trail of Lights
The Holiday Trail of Lights features more than 12 major points of interest showcasing millions of twinkling lights at Chattanooga’s top holiday attractions. Visitors will also get to enjoy a varied array of festivals, holiday events, delicious holiday meals, Santa sightings, shopping, and live music and entertainment scattered throughout the city. Experiences typically begin around mid-November and run through early January
1. Twinkling snowflakes along the scenic walnut street bridge in downtown chattanooga
View the thousands of twinkling lights in snowflake form along the Walnut Street Bridge, one of the longest pedestrian-only bridges in the world at 2,370 feet. The bridge connects downtown Chattanooga with the historic North Shore District and offers incredible views of the Tennessee River. Both ends of the bridge offer a variety of shopping, green spaces, dining, attractions, galleries, and more.
2. Christmas experience on the bluff
The historic Bluff View Art District, nestled on the bluff overlooking the beautiful Tennessee River, has transformed into a storybook holiday experience with thousands of twinkling lights for you and your family to enjoy. The magic takes you along stone-paved walkways throughout the district, into the Enchanted Forest, around nooks and crannies decked out in red and white seasonal delights, down Candy Cane Lane into the courtyard, on adventures with the little elves Rosemary, Basil, Cocoa, and Cookie, and to the Mezzo to see the grand Christmas tree.
3. Chattanooga riverboat company's holiday season of cheer
Float down the Tennessee River aboard the Chattanooga Riverboat Company’s Southern Belle for a truly unique holiday experience! View the Chattanooga skyline from the water and revel in the winter wonderland of holiday lights. Board a lunch or dinner cruise and have fun listening to live music, dancing, learning more about river navigation on a Pilot House tour, and indulging in a holiday meal.
4. Tennessee Aquarium's holidays under the peaks
Your adventure through a fun-filled underwater wonderland begins with holiday music and decor in the River Journey lobby. Look for seasonal surprises throughout your tour –including a light-bedecked tree twinkling in sync with the jolly jolts of an Electric Eel! In keeping with beloved holiday tradition, The Polar Express 3D returns to the Tennessee Aquarium IMAX 3D Theater (check website for dates/times).
5. Holiday lights at the Chattanooga zoo
Come see the Chattanooga Zoo transformed into a magical winter wonderland where you can view hundreds of lights that weave through the habitats. Holiday Lights at the Zoo offers guests the opportunity to see the Zoo transformed with lights for the season, visit the animals and watch them open their presents, and enjoy walking around in our winter wonderland.
6. Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum's North Pole Limited & Holiday Excursions
Hop on board the Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum’s North Pole Limited for an imaginary journey to the North Pole where a special guest will join the group. Along the way, you’ll be treated to lighted displays just outside the train car windows, refreshments, keepsakes, storytelling and occasional sing-a-longs. The Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum’s other special holiday excursions offer even more fun for children and adults: Christmas Special Dinner Train, Hiwassee Holiday Train, and New Year’s Eve Dinner Train.
7. EPB's 2021 Holiday windows
Explore EPB’s 2021 Holiday Windows, depicting the sights and sounds of the season. The displays feature unique and known holiday characters as well as Chattanooga scenes and landmarks. The Holiday Windows celebration continues a tradition that dates back to the World War II era. View the displays in the windows on the Broad and Market Street sides of EPB’s downtown headquarters building at 10 W. M.L. King Blvd. The EPB Holiday Windows are typically open through New Year’s Day.
8. Holiday magic at the Chattanooga Choo Choo
As if the famous free-standing dome of the Chattanooga Choo Choo isn’t impressive enough, enter the festive lobby to see one of the city’s tallest Christmas trees at 28 feet. The lights and cheer throughout the property create a magical wonderland complete with ice skating at Ice on the Landing, holiday music, Station Street activities, special holiday treats at restaurants, shopping specials at retail shops like the Chattanooga Jewelry Store, and pop-up shops. While on-site, enjoy comedic fun at the Comedy Catch or a Runaway Train Escape Experience. The grounds of the Chattanooga Choo Choo provide endless opportunities for holiday photos, including the soaring Christmas tree, the colorful caboose in Glen Miller Gardens and the dozens of light bulbs that make up the Chattanooga marquee sign.
9. Ice on the landing at the Chattanooga Choo Choo
Make memories on skates under twinkling lights and a crisp winter sky at Ice on the Landing. The outdoor ice-skating rink in the historic Chattanooga Choo Choo’s Glenn Miller Gardens is surrounded by lanterns, fountains, and the holiday grandeur of the Southside’s iconic landmark. The open-air, warm drinks, magical lights, and laughs with friends and family will create a fun holiday evening. The Ice on the Landing experience includes general skating time, special themes, holiday music, a rotating schedule to benefit local not-for-profits, sweet and savory crepes from Adelle’s, hot chocolate, cider, and other toasty drinks. Step Outside named Ice on the Landing the Best Outdoor Rink in Tennessee.
10. Wonder wall at High point climbing and fitness downtown
During the holidays, you typically view the beautiful lights while walking or driving. At High Point Climbing and Fitness downtown, experience the lights of Chattanooga in a whole new way by scaling an architectural wonder glowing with holiday colors – the transparent exterior climbing wall that hangs over Broad Street! Named “the country’s coolest gym” by Climbing Magazine, High Point is one of the nation’s most unique climbing facilities with 30,000 square feet of climbing inside and outside.
Bonus: While you’re climbing the exterior wall, you can see the magical lights throughout the city!
11. Explore lights at the creative discovery museum
Holiday lights come in all forms, and at the hands-on Creative Discovery Museum, kids can explore several kinds! Discover the twinkling lights on the RiverPlay boat. Visit the Barsamian Sculpture, a one-of-a-kind exhibit made especially for CDM. See how the use of light and science trick the eye into seeing the sculpture in animation. Learn how electricity enters your home to power on lights in Make It. Have your kids try their hand at a gingerbread house in one of multiple workshops throughout the holidays
12. Ruby Falls: Discover wonder and adventure
Discover wonder and adventure this holiday season at Ruby Falls! The splendor of the holidays comes alive with magical views of the Cumberland Plateau, holiday decorations on the Village Plaza, nighttime twinkling city lights, tasty festive treats and special activities. See intricate cave formations created over millions of years 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. Find perfect one-of-a-kind gifts and delightful Christmas ornaments at the charming Village Gift Shop. Make Ruby Falls your holiday tradition. Advance timed-entry ticket purchase required at rubyfalls.com, walkup tickets are not available.
13. Rock City's Enchanted Garden of Lights
With over a million lights and 25 holiday scenes, guests can experience the icy Borealis @ lights of the Arctic Kingdom and explore the digital enchantment of the Magic Forest’s dancing trees! Visit Santa in his North Pole workshop, decorate a gingerbread cookie, and enjoy plenty of other holiday treats including house-made hot cocoa, homemade fudge, and festive drinks from Café 7. Tickets are sold online only. Leashed pets are welcome! As in years past, a portion of ticket proceeds from this event benefits the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Greater Chattanooga.