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.
Plan your journey.
There's no single ticket for the Trail of Lights. Each location may have its own admission policy. Visit one, a few, or all the locations at your own pace. For specific event information, including whether a ticket is required, visit the respective pages of each attraction.
Holiday Trail of Lights Festive Experiences
$ | Nov.-Jan. / Times Vary
The Holiday Trail of Lights isn’t just one event – it's a city-wide celebration! Spanning from November through January, this magical trail connects you to major points of interest, each offering its unique festive experience. Enjoy a varied array of festivals, holiday events, delicious holiday meals, Santa sightings, shopping, and live music and entertainment scattered throughout the city.
Twinkling Snowflakes Along the Scenic Walnut Street Bridge
FREE | Nov.-Jan. / Open 24/7
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.
$ | Nov. -Dec. / Times Vary
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!
Prices Vary | Nov.-Jan. / Times Vary
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!
FREE/$ | Nov.-Jan.
Enter the festive lobby to see one of the city’s tallest Christmas trees! All the lights and cheer create a magical scene complete with holiday music, and the newly restored and renovated Hotel Chalet. While on-site, take a photo with Santa, grab a drink, and enjoy the complex’s amenities.
$ | Nov.-Dec. / Times Vary
Join us for a festive holiday tearoom experience in Grand Junction Depot. All the tasty treats of the season combined into one offering. After your tea, visit the exhibit building and check out the holiday decorations around the property.
$ | Nov. 3-Dec.23, weekends / 6:45-8:45 pm
Enjoy this special 4-course holiday dinner aboard a restored 1924 dining car. The excursion departs from Grand Junction Station and travels through areas of Chattanooga.
$/FREE | Nov. 6 / 6-8 pm
Join us for an evening of fun and kick off the Winter Playland season at CDM! Members can participate in a variety of winter-themed activities and end the evening with a snow surprise and dance party.
$ | Nov. 14-Dec. 31 / Times Vary
Experience Chattanooga’s drive-thru holiday lighting spectacular that is enjoyed by all ages! The 1.5-mile route will be lined with handcrafted displays and thousands of lights illuminating the holiday season!
$ | Nov. 16-Jan. 14, 2024 / 5:30-9:30 pm
Witness the return of the captivating celebration of art, culture, and the magic of traditional Asian lantern festivals! This year's festival promises an even more enchanting spectacle, featuring an all-new collection of over 30 stunning lanterns and 9 interactive displays.
$ | Nov. 17-Dec. 31 / 4:30-9pm (10 pm Fri.-Sun.) Closed Christmas Eve night.
For the holiday season, Rock City’s Enchanted Garden of Lights is a family tradition featuring more than a million LED lights that transform the gardens’ natural daytime splendor into a fantasyland of wonder. Enjoy gingerbread cookie decorating, hot cocoa, and nightly entertainment.
FREE | Nov. 18 / 9 am-5 pm
Start your day out in the square with Breakfast with Santa, photos, and lots of Christmas activities! After that take advantage of shopping at all of the wonderful shops and boutiques that Cambridge has to offer.
$ | Nov. 18-19 / Times Vary
Join us for the Chattanooga Christmas Village Holiday Market at Camp Jordan Arena! Shop over 130 vendors and have the kids’ picture taken with Santa for FREE! $5 admission – kids 12 and under are free!
$ | Nov. 18-Dec. 23 / Times Vary
Enjoy a trip to the “North Pole” pulled by a locomotive with refreshments, storytelling, caroling, and more! During the return ride, Santa makes his way through the train cars to greet every child and presents a keepsake item to all the children.
FREE | Nov. 22-Dec. 31 / Open 24/7
Better Business Bureau (BBB) is partnering with EPB and the city of Chattanooga to present the Festive Forest! The event in Miller Park will showcase 50 lit live trees that are sponsored and creatively decorated by local businesses and organizations
FREE | Nov. 23-Jan. / Open 24/7
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.
FREE | Nov. 24 / 4-8 pm
Holiday joy will fill downtown with live reindeer, Santa Claus, fire pits, face painting, holiday tunes, and more, all while enjoying the Lighted Boat Parade and fireworks.
$ | Nov. 24-Dec. 23 / Times Vary
Return to a simpler time with a classic Christmas on the mountain featuring magical views, beautiful holiday lights on the Village Plaza, and plenty of festive cheer in historic Ruby Falls Castle with special activities, including the Forest of Wishes, photos with Santa, and more!
$ | Nov. 24- Jan. 28 / Times Vary
The much-anticipated temporary outdoor ice rink has moved under cover in the open air at First Horizon Pavilion. The schedule includes general skating time, special themes, appearances by Santa, and a rotating schedule to benefit local not-for-profits.
$ | Nov. 25-Dec. / Times vary per day
Kick off the holiday season with this sweet tradition. The whole family will enjoy creating sweet and sticky gingerbread houses with icing, candy, and other sugary confections. The workshop also includes hot chocolate, cookies, and holiday music. Reservations are required in advance.
$ | Nov. 27-Dec. 31 / Times Vary (closed Thanksgiving and Christmas Day)
This underwater wonderland begins with holiday music and décor in the River Journey lobby. Look for seasonal surprises during your tour, including a tree twinkling in sync with the jolly jolts of an electric eel. SCUBA Claus will also be diving on weekends through Dec. 17!
$ | Dec. / Times vary per date
Enjoy dinner while on a relaxing cruise down the Tennessee River. The cruise includes live entertainment, dancing, a dinner of prime rib, shrimp creole, savory cornbread dressing, desserts, and more. Reservations can be booked online or by phone.
$ | Dec. / Times Vary
Begin your holiday festivities on a one-hour train ride with all the bright trimmings of the season. This experience is for 21 and up, and includes two drinks, a delicious sweet and savory treat box, a souvenir bell, keepsake boarding pass, and a visit from Santa.
$ | Dec. / Date and times vary
Enjoy lunch while cruising down the Tennessee River. The cruise includes live entertainment, Pilot House tours, and a lunch of prime rib, lemon basil chicken, desserts, and more. Reservations can be booked online or by phone.
Free/$ | Dec. 1 / 4pm-9pm (parade at 7pm)
Come join the friends, family, and the Red Bank community for some festive holiday fun. We will have local vendors to help start your holiday shopping, face painters, Buddy the Elf, Anna & Elsa, Santa Claus, bouncy house, and more!
FREE/$ | Dec. 2 / 12 am-12 pm
Celebrate Main Street and the Southside District for a 24-hour long festival held the first Saturday each December. The packed entertainment schedule includes fashion shows, parades, parties, live music, Big Wheel contest, chili cook-off, an ice-skating rink, and so much more.
$ | Dec. 2-3, 9-10, 16-17, & 22-23 / Times Vary
The Hiwassee Holiday Train is a round-trip one-hour and 15-minute ride along the beautiful Hiwassee River Gorge featuring writing letters to Santa, gingerbread cookies, and chocolate milk.
FREE | Dec. 2-3, 9-10, 16-17 / Times Vary
As part of the Chattanooga Market, this market offers a special holiday theme with live music, caroling, festivities and more than 200 vendors providing a great assortment of unique, locally hand-made items, holiday décor and artisan foods for all those holiday gifts.
$ | Dec. 8 / 6-8 pm
Santa is taking a break from the North Pole and heading down south on Friday, December 8! Join us for PJs with Santa, a members-only event for the whole family. Kids will enjoy a meet-and-greet with Santa and other special activities throughout the Museum.
$ | Dec. 8 / 7:30 pm
15-time GRAMMY winner and Country Music Hall of Fame member Ricky Skaggs and his ace backing band, Kentucky Thunder, will play in their refreshing acoustic style all your favorite Christmas songs in this delightful tour along with a few of their special friends.
$ | Dec. 8-10 / Times Vary
Southeastern Trust presents Chattanooga Ballet’s The Nutcracker featuring the professional company, the Chattanooga Symphony Orchestra performing live, and students from Chattanooga Ballet’s School and the region.
$ | Dec. 8-31 / Times Vary
A Musical Twist on a Holiday Classic, Scrooge! is a charming production for all ages to enjoy. This well-loved holiday tale of Christmases past, present, and future is sure to warm hearts this December.
$ | Dec. 9 / 10 am-12 pm
Calling all little bakers and budding artists aged 5 and under to embark on an enchanting journey of creativity and learning. From gingerbread man puppet crafting to snow painting, these captivating hands-on activities will ignite your child’s imagination.
$ | Dec. 9 / 9 am-10:30 am
Join Santa & Mrs. Claus for breakfast in the Silver Ballroom before they start their final countdown in preparation for Christmas! This event will offer a delicious breakfast spread anyone will love and allow photo ops with Santa & Mrs. Claus as they mingle with guests.
$ | Dec. 16 / Times Vary
On December 16, 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.
$ | Dec. 16 / 2 pm
Nooga Santa Pub Crawl is Back & Better Than Ever! We are starting out the day with a Santa Pup Crawl for all the fur babies. Then the big event of the evening starts on the Northshore and makes it way to the Southside with 50+ locations, specials at each location, no covers, and free transportation all night.
$ | Dec. 16-17 / Times Vary
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!
$ | Dec. 23 / Time Vary
The beloved family tradition is back: NUTCRACKER! Magical Christmas Ballet! Gather your loved ones for the warm glow nostalgia of Americas favorite Christmas celebration. Be transported by the magic of jaw-dropping acrobatics, larger-than-life puppets and stunning hand-crafted sets and costumes.
$ | Dec. 26 / 7:30 pm
Embrace the holiday spirit with A Magical Cirque Christmas, a variety show full of nostalgia, charm, and awe-inspiring performances for all ages. Get ready to be dazzled, enchanted, and filled with holiday cheer as you witness the incredible talents of world-class entertainers performing to your favorite holiday music.
$ | Dec. 27 / 7:30 pm
Celebrate the holidays with the entire family at The Illusionists – Magic of the Holidays, a mind-blowing spectacle featuring the jaw-dropping talents of the most incredible illusionists on earth.
$ | Dec. 26-31 / Times Vary
The Holiday Lights Train Ride is a festive way to enjoy the holiday season starting after Christmas Day. The train ride takes you through a variety of light displays, while enjoying holiday music, hot cocoa, and family fun activities.