With its beautiful riverfront views, outdoor adventures, history, and a growing cultural scene, visitors come to the lively city of Chattanooga, TN throughout the year for a fun Tennessee getaway.
As the holidays near, Chattanooga provides wonderful activities for everyone to enjoy for a festive Tennessee Christmas experience.
If you’re planning to visit Chattanooga at Christmastime, check out our list of 10 things to do in Chattanooga at Christmas!
1. Christmas at the Chattanooga Choo-Choo
You may be familiar with the classic song that popularized Chattanooga’s legendary train. One of the city’s most popular attractions, visitors come year-round to see the actual famous Chattanooga Choo-Choo.
Located in a historic train station, the Chattanooga Choo-Choo is a festive hub of activity at Christmas time. You’ll love seeing the beautiful Christmas tree inside the train station lobby, as well as the famous train decked out in holiday decor (get your cameras ready).
Plus, visitors can go ice skating, enjoy shopping, dining, and entertainment, and even stay overnight in a retired train car!
2. Holiday Window Treasure Hunt
An annual tradition in Chattanooga’s bustling North Shore neighborhood, you’ll want to have the whole family participate in the Holiday Window Treasure Hunt this Christmas season.
Participants grab a game card from a local business and go on a scavenger hunt trying to find hidden items in participating stores’ holiday window displays. If you find the items, you get the chance to win prizes!
Over 30 local shops participate each year, allowing a festive and fun way to explore the city and get some Christmas shopping done too.
3. Rock City’s Enchanted Garden of Lights
Local institution Rock City has been attracting roadside tourists for decades for its picturesque wonders and spectacular views from the famous Lookout Mountain.
For over 25 years each Christmas, Rock City embraces the holiday spirit for three months with the Enchanted Garden of Lights. Make sure to add this to your Christmas in Chattanooga experience!
Visitors can explore 30-plus lighted holiday scenes, amounting to over one million Christmas lights. This winter wonderland also provides opportunities to see Santa, decorate gingerbread cookies, and enjoy some warm cocoa.
4. Chattanooga Holiday Market
The Chattanooga Market, which provides local art, handcrafted goods, and food peddlers to the community throughout the year, gets into the yuletide spirit with its Holiday Market on weekends in December.
Visitors can find unique gifts for the holidays throughout this lively market with over 200 local vendors. Plus, live holiday music and a special cast-iron cookoff make this holiday market a festive gathering place.
Best of all, this market is free. Don’t miss out on this wonderful Christmas in Chattanooga tradition!
5. Christmas along the Walnut Street Bridge
Your visit to Chattanooga at Christmas needs to include a stroll along its famous Walnut Street Bridge. Stretching out over the Tennessee River, the Walnut Street Bridge is one of the longest pedestrian bridges in the world at 2,370 ft.
While providing excellent views of the city and river valley, the bridge itself becomes a festive winter wonderland jaunt over the holidays. Decked out in twinkling snowflake lights, you’ll feel the holiday magic walking along this bridge at Christmastime.
Be sure to look out for Chattanooga’s annual Lighted Boat Parade along your stroll. The Walnut Street Bridge provides an excellent vantage point for experiencing this lovely community tradition each year.
6. Tennessee Valley Railroad’s Christmas Dinner Trains
Looking for a festive place to have dinner during your Christmas in Chattanooga visit? Consider combining the city’s train history and a unique dining experience with the Tennessee Valley Railroad’s Christmas Dinner Trains.
Guests can enjoy a fancy Christmas dinner while aboard a restored historic train as it traverses leisurely through Chattanooga. Experiencing a festive four-course dinner in a classic diner car feels like a step back in time to Christmases past.
Be sure to dress up a bit and enjoy a classy date night or fun family outing!
7. Sewanee’s Festival Service of Lessons and Carols
Just under an hour away, the University of the South, nestled in the mountain town of Sewanee, draws visitors all year wanting to explore the beautiful architecture of its scenic campus.
As the holidays near, visitors from all faiths and walks of life come to the university’s breathtaking All Saints’ Chapel to experience the Festival Service of Lessons and Carols. A community tradition for over 60 years, guests can enjoy a delightful candlelight service of traditional Christmas readings and carols performed by the university’s choir.
During your excursion, be sure to stop at the nearby Mountain Goat Market in Monteagle for a tasty lunch or dinner and some local Christmas shopping.
8. Ruby Falls Christmas Underground
Ruby Falls has brought generations of travelers to Chattanooga to see its underground waterfall and cave year-round. Many visitors will notice historic Ruby Falls roadside advertisements painted on barn roofs as they near Chattanooga.
At Christmastime, Ruby Falls becomes an underground Christmas wonderland with its annual Ruby Falls Christmas Underground festivities. Fun for the whole family, guests can experience beautiful Christmas lights, visit the Sugar Plum Fairy Village, and see Santa.
9. A Rock Climber’s Christmas
Looking for a more unique adventure during your Christmas in Chattanooga experience? You’ll want to check out the city’s famous Wonder Wall at the High Point Climbing & Fitness Center downtown.
Described as an architectural wonder, the Wonder Wall is an outdoor climbing wall that stretches outside over Broad Street in the heart of the city. This transparent wall lights up in holiday colors and allows climbers young and old to see Chattanooga’s Christmas lights in a unique way.
For a city known for its outdoor adventure, climbing the Wonder Wall at Christmas is a must-do during your visit to Chattanooga this December.
10. Holidays Under the Peaks at the Tennessee Aquarium
Chattanooga’s Tennessee Aquarium embraces the Christmas spirit each year with Holidays Under the Peaks. Visitors can marvel at a world-class aquarium and enjoy some underwater holiday fun in the process.
In addition to enjoying Christmas in Chattanooga with tons of fishy friends, you can experience SCUBA Santa and see an electric eel Christmas tree.
Plus, you’ll want to make time to enjoy an IMAX showing of the classic Christmas movie The Polar Express in 3D on Chattanooga’s largest movie screen!
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Did we miss any of your favorite things to do in Chattanooga at Christmas?
Let us know in the comments so we can add more to the list!