Chattanooga’s Holiday Trail of Lights
A curated, follow at your own pace list.
The Holiday Trail of Lights features major points of interest showcasing millions of twinkling lights at Chattanooga’s top holiday attractions. This list features opportunities where visitors and locals can enjoy a varied array of festivals, holiday events, delicious holiday meals, Santa sightings, shopping, and live music and entertainment scattered throughout the city.
Holiday Trail of Lights Festive Experiences
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.
Float down the Tennessee River for a unique holiday experience. View the Chattanooga skyline from the water and revel in the winter wonderland of holiday lights. Board a breakfast, lunch, or charcuterie cruise and listen to live music, learn about river navigation, indulge in a holiday meal, and maybe even dance a little.
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!
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, take a photo with Santa, 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.
Nov. 2-Jan. 2
EPB's 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 open through New Year’s Day.
Nov. 10 - Jan. 15
The festival features more than 38 illuminated lantern displays throughout the Zoo. Lanterns will feature guests’ favorite zoo animals, traditional Asian lanterns, and natural elements. Movement and interactive displays will ensure a captivating experience for guests of all ages.
Nov. 14-Dec. 31
Experience Chattanooga’s drive-thru holiday lighting spectacular! NoogaLights is one of Chattanooga’s newest holiday lighting events that can be enjoyed by all ages. This magical event is a world-class holiday lights experienced from the comfort of your vehicle. The 1.5-mile route will be lined with handcrafted displays and thousands of lights illuminating the holiday season!
Nov. 18-Jan. 8
Hop on board the Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum’s North Pole Limited Christmas Train for a special two-hour journey to the imaginary North Pole. Along the way, snack on refreshments, see lighted holiday displays outside, and hear heartwarming stories while you write your own letter to Santa. When you arrive at the North Pole, Santa jumps on board for a special visit with all passengers. The Holiday Christmas Lights Train ride is a festive way to continue enjoying the holidays after Christmas Day. This 65-minute ride takes you along light displays of twinkling snowflakes and towering Christmas trees while listening to holiday music and sipping on hot cocoa. During Santa’s Hiwassee Holiday Train, a 75-minute ride, you will travel along the beautiful Hiwassee River Gorge while writing a letter to Santa, enjoying gingerbread cookie and chocolate milk, visiting with Santa!
Nov. 18 – Jan. 1; Closed Christmas Eve
Head high atop Lookout Mountain to the award-winning, 28th annual holiday light extravaganza! Rock City’s Enchanted Garden of Lights showcases all-new holiday scenes and over a million LED lights that transform the gardens’ natural daytime splendor into a fantasyland of six realms of wonder: Yule Town, Arctic Kingdom, Magic Forest, North Pole Village, Fairyland Caverns and brand new this year: Heart of the Mountain! Enjoy gingerbread cookie decorating and hot cocoa in the all-new Bavarian-style Christmas Market, and a visit with Santa in his new workshop and kitchen (thru Dec. 23rd). Taste plenty of sweet treats throughout the Gardens, including fudge, fried cookie dough, and holiday drinks from Café 7. Tickets are sold ONLINE ONLY, and admission begins at 4:30 p.m. Leashed pets are welcome! As in years past, a portion of ticket proceeds benefits the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Greater Chattanooga.
Nov. 18-Jan. 1
This holiday season will be brighter, bolder, and more colorful as the City of Chattanooga’s Summit of Softball Complex is transformed into a vibrant drive-through, holiday-themed light display! From the inside, the comfort of your own vehicle, enjoy the tour’s brand-new displays, including the 32 feet tall, animated Mattel’s Waving Christmas Barbie®, life-sized dinosaurs celebrating the season, BIGFOOT® Monster Trucks, and more. Created with over two million sparkling lights, Magic of Lights is a nostalgic and festive experience for guests of all ages.
Nov. 18 - Jan. 28
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 a Best Outdoor Rink in Tennessee.
Nov. 25 / Reindeer and Santa at 4-6:30 pm; Boat Parade at 7 pm; Fireworks at 8 pm
Fun for the whole family with live reindeer and Santa on-site for free pictures, hot cocoa bar, fire pits, face painting/balloon animals, and holiday tunes followed by the annual Lighted Boat Parade and Fireworks presented by the Southern Belle & Erwin Marine Sales.
Nov. 25-Dec. 18
Kick off the holiday season and create masterpieces out of gingerbread, icing, candy, and more! We'll provide the pre-built gingerbread house along with icing and an impressive mountain of candy to make a truly unique design. And what holiday event would be complete without festive music, cookies, and hot chocolate? This will become a family tradition you won't want to miss! Your reservation includes all day in the Museum for three people in addition to the workshop.
Nov. 25-Dec. 24
Experience the famous thundering waterfall deep within Lookout Mountain 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 through 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, built in 1929. Write your Christmas wish on an ornament and add it to the Forest of Wishes, where thousands of heartfelt holiday aspirations create a colorful display of hope, dreams, and good cheer. Discover one-of-a-kind gifts and delightful Christmas keepsakes at the Village Gift Shop. Savor the holiday season together at Ruby Falls surrounded by the beauty of nature. Cave adventures require advance purchase of timed-entry tickets at rubyfalls.com.
Nov. 25-Dec. 31
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. This year also marks the return of SCUBA Claus, diving on select Saturdays in December (see tnaqua.org for schedule)! In keeping with beloved holiday tradition, The Polar Express 3D returns to the Tennessee Aquarium IMAX 3D Theater.
Santa is taking a break from the North Pole and headed down south on Friday, December 2, and Saturday, December 3. Join us for PJs with Santa -– an exclusive, one-of-a-kind event in Chattanooga for families! Your child will meet Santa and share their wish list with him while enjoying special activities in the Museum, including painting a sliced wood magnet, making a reindeer hat, decorating gingerbread cookies, and more. Santa will be available at 6 or 7 pm for a meet and greet with your child, and all children will leave with a gift from Santa at the end of the night.
All aboard the Polar Express for a trip to the North Pole! Begin winter break in style by dressing in your favorite pajamas and enjoying a special screening of The Polar Express 3D! Meet the conductor, enjoy hot cocoa and snacks, enter to win Polar Express-themed prizes and more. This event is fun for the entire family and all who truly believe!