The turkey is carved, the temperature is dropping, and we’re all getting ready to do a snow dance with our pajamas on backwards – it’s time to celebrate winter in Chattanooga! From family events to festive favorites, there’s something to get everyone in the holiday spirit.
City of Red Bank Christmas Parade
Jumpstart the gift-giving season at the Red Bank Christmas Parade. Held at Red Bank City Park, this family-friendly event is the perfect way to get into the holiday spirit and shake off the post-Thanksgiving blues. In addition to the parade, the event will feature local vendors, face painting, and a chance to meet your favorite holiday characters, including Buddy the Elf, Anna & Elsa, and Santa Claus.
Held on the first Saturday of December, MAINx24 is Chattanooga’s celebration of the Southside. This 24-hour long festival enters its 16th year this season, and locals won’t want to miss it. Kick off the event with a breakfast biscuit from Main Street Meats or a Neidlov’s donut to fuel up while you watch the parade, then enjoy a whole day of festivities up and down Main St. Share a pint with Santa at Poor Taste, put your family recipe to the test in the chili cookoff, or take care of everyone on your nice list at the Pax Breu Ruim vendor market.
Holiday Market at the Chattanooga Convention Center
Weekends in December
In December, the Chattanooga Market moves indoors to the Chattanooga Convention Center. Over 200 vendors, artists, and crafters gather each Saturday and Sunday this month to transform the convention hall into our very own winter market. Shoppers are sure to find fun, unique offerings for everyone on their list. Don’t forget to enjoy delicious food from Chattanooga-based vendors to stay fueled for all the holiday festivities ahead.
Enchanted Garden of Lights at Rock City
Rock City’s 29th annual Enchanted Garden of Lights is a can’t-miss event. Walk through the glittering, dazzling displays and see Rock City in a whole new light. Open until 9pm on weekdays and 10pm on weekends, staggered entry times ensure plenty of time and space to view the beautiful lights on top of Lookout Mountain. Tickets must be purchased online.
Asian Lantern Festival at Chattanooga Zoo
Wednesday Through Sundays in December
The Asian Lantern Festival returns to Chattanooga Zoo, and this year it’s better than ever. With over 30 lanterns and nine interactive displays, this unique celebration of art and culture is a fun and exciting way to enjoy the beauty of traditional Asian lantern festivals. Tickets are available in singles and groups of four and can be purchased at chattzoo.org.
Bobby Stone Film Series
December 2 & 3, 15 & 16, 22
If you’re looking for a family-friendly way to escape the December chill, look no further than the Bobby Stone Film Series at the Walker Theatre. Enjoy Christmas classics like “Home Alone,” “The Polar Express,” “Elf,” and “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation” in the beautiful and cozy Walker Theatre. Tickets can be purchased at tivolichattanooga.com.
CHA Ballet’s The Nutcracker with Chattanooga Symphony & Opera
Be transported to the Lands of Snow and Sweets by Chattanooga’s professional ballet company. Accompanied by the Chattanooga Symphony Orchestra, this performance is sure to get you in the festive mood. Audiences can expect incredible dancing, a dazzling score, and a riveting story as the Soldiers & Sailors Memorial Auditorium transforms to bring this beloved holiday classic to life. Tickets start at $25 and can be purchased at tivolichattanooga.com.
Candlelight Holiday Special
December 8 – 16
The First Cumberland Presbyterian Church hosts the Candlelight Concerts Holiday Special. This hour-long show features a medley of holiday songs, including Christmas jingles like “Deck the Halls” and orchestral classics like Vivaldi’s “Four Seasons.” Enjoy beautiful music in an intimate setting surrounded by candlelight. There’s even the option to book a private concert. Tickets are available on a first come, first serve basis.
Breakfast with Santa at the Read House
December 9 & 16
Join Santa and Mrs. Claus in the Silver Ballroom at The Read House for breakfast with Santa. Snap photos with the North Pole’s most famous residents while you and your family enjoy pancakes, Belgian waffles, and hot cocoa – and did we mention the toppings bar to customize your pancakes to perfection? Tickets must be purchased in advance and are available through The Read House’s website.
Scrooge the Musical
December 8 – 31
Help celebrate The Chattanooga Theatre Centre’s 100th birthday as they perform “Scrooge!”, an adaptation of Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol.” This fun and charming musical is suitable for all ages, so grab the family and prepare to receive a visit from the ghosts of Christmases past, present, and future. Tickets are available online.
Ice on the Landing
Practice your best figure skating moves at Ice on the Landing, now at a new location but with the same icy fun. Debuting at the First Horizon Pavilion, Ice on the Landing is a quintessential Chattanooga holiday event and fun for everyone. Check out their website to book your tickets. Hint: sign the waiver in advance so you can hit the ice as quickly as possible. Happy skating!
North Pole Limited with the Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum
Fridays, Saturdays, & Sundays in December
The Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum’s most popular annual event is the North Pole Limited Train. Trains take riders on a trip to the North Pole as they write their letter to Santa. Enjoy refreshments throughout the ride as the North Pole Limited rolls through Chattanooga, giving riders a front row seat to the beautiful lighted displays outside. Once you get to the North Pole, enjoy a visit from Santa, who takes a break from his Christmas preparations to greet all the passengers. If the North Pole isn’t quite your thing, the Railroad Museum’s website has plenty of other festive rides available.
‘Tis the Season Lunch Cruises on the Southern Belle
Board Chattanooga’s beloved riverboat, the Southern Belle, for a two-hour cruise complete with delicious buffet-style lunch. Enjoy live music and tour the pilothouse, or simply sit back and take in the gorgeous views of the Scenic City from the Tennessee River. If you like a bit more Christmas with your cruise, they also offer a two-and-a-half hour Christmas Carol Dinner Cruise, complete with an appearance from everyone’s favorite guy in the big red coat.
Ruby Falls Discovery Day
Celebrate the 95th anniversary of the discovery of Ruby Falls with a cave walk at the original admission price of $2. Visitors who help Ruby Falls kick off their 95th birthday in style will receive a keepsake postcard and Discovery Day flier. Tickets must be purchased in advance.