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.

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.

Reindeer on the Riverfront and Lighted Boat Parade

Nov. 26, Reindeer and Santa at 4:30; Boat Parade at 7; Fireworks at 8 

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. 

EPB’s Holiday Windows

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.

Rock City’s Enchanted Garden of Lights

Nov. 19 - Dec. 23; Dec. 25 - Jan. 2

Guests can decorate a gingerbread cookie in downtown Yule Town, 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 and enjoy plenty of holiday treats including hot cocoa, kettle corn, homemade fudge, and beer from Chattanooga Brewing. Tickets are sold ONLINE ONLY, and admission begins at 5 p.m. 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. Enchanted Realms Map

Holidays at Ruby Falls and the Forest of Wishes

Nov. 26 - Dec. 24; Dec. 26 - 31

Classic holiday decorations and activities make Ruby Falls especially festive this time of year.  Take the entire family on a guided walking tour through the Ruby Falls cavern to the gorgeous underground waterfall and swoon at the sweeping views of the Cumberland Plateau from scenic overlooks. On your way to the glass-front elevator that descends 260-feet into the limestone mountain, make a stop at the Forest of Wishes in the historic Ruby Falls Castle where you can join the tradition of writing your holiday wish on an ornament to hang in the Forest.  Little ones can write a letter to Santa or on select days even tell him in person what’s on their list and have a professional photo taken with St. Nick.

Tennessee Aquarium’s Holidays Under the Peaks & Polar Express 3D in IMAX

Nov. 26 - Dec. 24; Dec. 26 - 31

Head inside under the Tennessee Aquarium’s lighted candy cane peaks for some underwater holiday fun. Whether watching for snowflakes or listening for sleigh bells, plenty of attention is paid to the sky during the holidays, but even underwater, there’s yuletide cheer aplenty waiting at the Tennessee Aquarium. In keeping with holiday tradition, The Polar Express 3D returns to the Tennessee Aquarium IMAX 3D Theater (check website for dates/times). 

Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum’s North Pole Limited & Holiday Excursions

Nov. 20 - Dec. 23

Hop on board the Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum’s North Pole Limited for an imaginary journey to the North Pole where you'll see a special guest. Along the way, you’ll be treated to lighted displays just outside the train car windows, refreshments, keepsakes, and storytelling. The Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum’s other special holiday excursions offer even more fun for children and adults: Christmas Special Dinner TrainHiwassee Holiday Train, and New Year’s Eve Dinner Train.

Chattanooga Riverboat Company’s Holiday Season of Cheer

Check their calendar for event dates and times.

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 breakfast, lunch, or charcuterie cruise and have fun listening to live music, dancing, learning more about river navigation on a Pilot House tour, and indulging in holiday meals. 

Ice on the Landing at the Chattanooga Choo Choo

Nov. 19 - Jan. 30

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. 

Winter Wonderland 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, 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.

Gingerbread Workshops at the Creative Discovery Museum

Nov. 26 - 28, Dec. 4 & 5

Kick-off the holiday season and create treats out of gingerbread, icing, candy, and more! The Museum provides hot chocolate, cookies, pre-built houses, icing, and candy, and festive music. Children and their families decorate a house and gingerbread cookies with icing and an assortment of candy!

Holiday Lights at the Chattanooga Zoo

Dec. 10, 11, 17, & 18

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! 

Wonder Wall at High Point Climbing & 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!

#TrailofLightsCHA