Spooky season is upon us, and with it, some of Chattanooga’s favorite annual events. Want live music around a campfire? You got it. Want apples freshly picked from a Georgia orchard? You can have that, too. Need even more to look forward to? Keep reading for 17 events happening in the Scenic City this October.
October 1-30, Saturdays and Sundays
Celebrate Rock City’s German heritage at its 16th annual Rocktoberfest! This premier fall event features live German music, German food, specialty beer, Birds of Prey shows, costumed characters, pumpkin painting, and fun for the whole family. Enjoy a giant pretzel with beer cheese dipping sauce while dancing along to polka bands The WurstBrats and The Musik Meisters. Don’t forget to pick up some pumpkin spice fudge from Rock City’s Fudge Kitchen before you head home!
October 1-31, Thursday – Sunday Nights + Halloween
A Chattanooga tradition this time of year, award-winning Dread Hollow is bringing three all-new terrifying haunted houses and three mind-bending horror-themed escape rooms to Browns Ferry Road. Escape rooms last 30 minutes and can accommodate six to eight participants at a time. Timed-entry tickets are being sold in advance, and keep in mind that Dread Hollow is not recommended for children under the age of 12!
Ain’t Too Proud – The Life & Times of The Temptations
Kicking off the 2022-2023 Broadway at the Memorial Auditorium season is Ain’t Too Proud – The Life & Times of The Temptations. This smash-hit Broadway musical follows The Temptations’ extraordinary journey from the streets of Detroit to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. Treasured hits including “My Girl,” “Just My Imagination,” and “Get Ready” help tell the story of this legendary quintet. Choose from one of eight performances to see this show come to life!
Halloween Eerie Express
October 7-8, 14-15, 21-22, 28-29
Every weekend this month, the Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum invites passengers to experience a spooky vintage train ride: the Halloween Eerie Express! The train travels over four bridges and through Missionary Ridge Tunnel to reach the Funhouse Station, which offers 20 rooms of gentle thrills. Guests can also expect storytelling, blacklight mini golf, games, temporary tattoos, coloring pages, and bags of treats for children.
Wine Over Water
Calling all wine enthusiasts! Presented by Preserve Chattanooga, much-loved event Wine Over Water will showcase 200 varieties of wine, fabulous tasting experiences from local Chattanooga restaurants, and live music all on the historic Walnut Street Bridge. Tickets are $125 per person and include a commemorative tasting glass and access to the entire festival, with funds going to help continue the work of Preserve Chattanooga as they protect our area’s historic places.
Don your German attire and head to the First Horizon Pavilion for this free two-day festival, which holds the special distinction of being Chattanooga’s oldest and largest Oktoberfest celebration. More than 100 seasonal and local beers, live Oompah music, and Oktoberfest foods are all a part of the celebration, as is the crowning of Mr. and Ms. Oktoberfest. Event times are 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Saturday and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday.
Chattanooga Bacon & Barrel Festival
Giving two Southern delicacies – bacon and spirits – the appreciation they deserve is Chattanooga’s Bacon & Barrel Festival, to take place at the First Horizon Pavilion. From 6 until 9 p.m., some of Chattanooga’s best restaurants will be serving up hearty fare alongside fine bourbons, whiskeys, and more. Tickets include access to all areas of the event, unlimited food tastings, and 15 whiskey tastings. A cash bar with a variety of drinks will also be available, with proceeds benefiting the Chattanooga Market.
Autumn and campfires go hand in hand – throw in a concert under the stars, and you’ve planned the perfect fall evening. Reflection Riding Arboretum & Nature Center is making the magic happen on October 14 with performances by singer-songwriters Matt Bohannon and Daniel Foster. In addition to the entertainment, tickets get you beer, s’mores, and the option to camp out on the property for the night. Gates open at 5:45 p.m., with music to start at 6:30 p.m.
Boo in the Zoo
October 14-15, 21-22, 28-29
Join the Chattanooga Zoo for the most spooktacular event of the year – Boo in the Zoo! This family-friendly celebration will be filled with merry-not-scary decorations, trick-or-treat stations, a scavenger hunt, and costume contests. Hours for the weekend event are 4 to 8 p.m., with timed entry tickets available online only.
Downtown’s West Village is set to host the Chattanooga Motorcar Festival for the third year. This three-day festival has everything from races and rallies to auctions and family-friendly street festivals. Festival-goers have the opportunity to view more than 1,500 cars over the course of the weekend, including some very rare, historically significant cars. All proceeds from the event go to the Fifty Plus Foundation, which benefits the CHI Memorial Foundation and the NeuroScience Innovation Foundation.
Seven Bridges Marathon
Chattanooga’s oldest marathon is back featuring a live DJ, event shirts, medals, and more. The 7 Bridges Marathon starts at Coolidge Park at 7 a.m. Races including a 4 Bridges Half Marathon, 4 Bridges 10K, 2 Bridges 5K, and a family Kiddie K are also on the schedule. This year’s event is happening in conjunction with the Chattanooga Veg Fest – a plant-based food festival – and the AVA’s Between the Bridges Art Festival.
Drink and Discover: Witches Brew
From 7 until 10 p.m., the Creative Discovery Museum is closing to kids while adults 21 and up explore with a drink – specifically, a “Witches Brew” – in hand. Wear your Halloween costume and experience hands-on science and art demonstrations; just some of the fun in store includes witchy wand-making, ghost stories, and a broom relay race. Tickets are $25 and include a souvenir cup and one drink ticket.
Lula Lake Land Trust’s premier beer festival invites you to hike or bike the “Beer Path” leading to the famous Lula Lake and Lula Falls, with lots of stops for delicious brews along the way. Drinker tickets include beer, a Stanley souvenir stein, tasty bites, axe throwing, live music from Jaguar Shark, and more. This event, which runs from noon until 4 p.m., helps support Lula Lake’s conservation efforts.
Local nonprofit First Things First is celebrating its 25th anniversary with this free event in Miller Park. From 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., you’ll find live music, pumpkin painting, food trucks, a fall photo booth, family games and challenges, and an inflatable soccer stadium, among other activities. As an added thank you, First Things First is giving away free family festival t-shirts to the first 300 people who RSVP (text FESTIVAL to 833.269.9827).
Another fun fall outing for the whole family is the Collegedale Apple Festival, held over two days at the Collegedale Commons. Take advantage of fresh apples provided by Mercier Orchards in Blue Ridge, Georgia, as well as a petting zoo, pony rides, trackless train rides, inflatables, and entertainment. More than 180 craft and food vendors will also be on-site. This event has free admission and free parking.
Pull out your Halloween costume for this family-friendly event at the Tennessee Aquarium. Celebrating all things scaly, spooky, and fun, AquaScarium lets you fill up on candy while enjoying the aquarium’s exhibits. Visitors can also enjoy lights, themed decorations, costumed divers, and more!
Songbirds Halloween Smash
Start planning your most frightfully festive costumes now! Songbirds Halloween Smash, a special holiday fundraiser hosted by the Songbirds Guitar & Pop Culture Museum, will feature live music from local bands Psychic Dungeon and Dolphin Group, live painting with Travis Knight and other artists, a silent auction, a costume contest, and much more. Festivities begin at 6 p.m. Tickets are $20, with proceeds to benefit the museum’s Guitars for Kids program.