10 Best Things To Do At Christmas In Chattanooga, Tennessee

things to do in chattanooga at christmas
| 4 min read

Sprawled on the banks of Tennessee River and set against the Appalachian Mountains, the charming city of Chattanooga turns into a magical place during the happiest time of the year. Snowcapped peaks, bare trees, and enchanting lights dot the city during the Christmas season, making it the perfect destination to soak up the holiday spirit. For a thrilling ride, board the Lookout Mountain Incline Railway and get a glimpse of the stunning greenery and magnificent views of the city from an elevated position. Curious about what else you could do here in the wintertime? Scroll down to learn about the best things to do at Christmas in Chattanooga, Tennessee.

1. Ride aboard the Southern Belle Riverboat

The Southern Belle
Source: Photo by Flickr user Duane Tate used under CC BY 2.0

Take on an exciting excursion on the backwaters of Tennessee River and marvel at the holiday lights streaking the city aboard the Southern Belle Riverboat. It’s a three-decker boat replica of the cruise ships that used to sail on the waters of Chattanooga in the 1800s. Aside from the sightseeing cruise, a dinner and sunset cruise is available if you fancy a floating open-air culinary experience. The vessels typically carry up to 500 passengers per ride, but you can also charter private trips to go sightseeing with only your loved ones.

The excursions usually last for about one and a half hours, but there are longer voyages cruising all the way to Tennessee River Gorge.

Southern Belle Riverboat

Address: 151 Riverfront Parkway, Chattanooga, TN 37402, USA

Website: Southern Belle Riverboat

Opening hours: 9am - 9pm (daily)

Price: from 29.95 USD

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2. Step foot into the Chattanooga Choo Choo

Chattanooga Choo-Choo 02
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user used under CC BY-SA 4.0

After a romantic cruise along Tennessee River, visit the Chattanooga Choo Choo to experience one-of-a-kind seasonal magic. As you enter the lobby, you will be greeted by a 28-foot (8.53-meter) Christmas tree, the tallest in the city. A spectacular winter wonderland awaits you in this free-standing dome, offering vibrant family-friendly activities, such as an ice skating rink, shops, music, holiday-themed snacks, and Santa Clause photo ops too!

Chattanooga Choo Choo

Address: 1400 Market Street, Chattanooga, TN 37402, US

Website: Chattanooga Choo Choo

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3. Take a tour in North Pole Limited Christmas Train

Editor's Note: Photo taken from the establishment's official social account

Posted by Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum on Saturday, December 12, 2020

North Pole Limited Christmas Train transports you to an imagined North Pole. The marvelous light displays will leave you in awe. All passengers with a traditional ticket will receive a complimentary cookie served with a hot chocolate, keepsakes, special souvenirs, and a story-telling experience.

If you want to upgrade your experience, you can opt for the Santa’s Private Car ticket, which includes additional perks, such as an extended meeting with Santa and a Christmas book for your little ones. This special holiday attraction is an hour-long trip and is open from November 18 to December 23.

North Pole Limited Christmas Train

Address: 4119 Cromwell Rd, Chattanooga, TN 37421

Website: North Pole Limited Christmas Train

Opening hours: Mon - Fri: 9am - 4:30pm (closed on Sat & Sun)

Price: 29 USD

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4. Experience a holiday under the peaks at Tennessee Aquarium

TN Aquarium 01
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user used under CC BY-SA 4.0

Looking for something different in Chattanooga? Visit the Tennessee Aquarium and celebrate a holiday under the peaks. This holiday tradition lasts from November 25 to the last day of December. Cheery Christmas carols and a light-drenched tree will welcome you in the River Journey lobby upon your arrival.

Here, you will have fantastic encounters with aquatic creatures. Join the holiday-themed scavenger hunt and watch the underwater pursuits of Scuba Claus.

Tennessee Aquarium

Address: One Broad Street, Chattanooga, TN 37402

Website: Tennessee Aquarium

Opening hours: Sun - Fri: 10am - 5pm; Sat: 9am - 6pm (closed on Dec. 25)

Price: from 21.95 USD

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5. Explore downtown on a horse-drawn carriage

Editor's Note: Photo taken from the establishment's official social account

Take a ride touring the streets of downtown Chattanooga in our classy horse drawn carriages. Just book your ride online...

Posted by Chattanooga Carriage Company on Saturday, April 2, 2022

If you find walking tours bothersome, hop on a horse-drawn carriage instead. You’ll be comfortably seated with the provided blanket as the driver navigates around the downtown area while sharing details about attractions. The tours usually last from 20 to 60 minutes, so you’re sure to pass by plenty of interesting sites.

These tours happen year-round, but there are a few seasonal ones. This holiday season, watch out for the Christmas tours. Cuddle up in the carriage as you ride through the downtown area and gaze upon the shining lights strung up everywhere.

Chattanooga Carriage

Address: 510 Chestnut Street, Chattanooga, TN 37415

Website: Chattanooga’s Horse-drawn Carriage

Opening hours: Fri: 4pm - 10pm; Sat - Sun: 11am - 10pm (closed Mon - Thu)

Price: from 60 USD

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6. Glide through the holidays in Ice on the Landing

Editor's Note: Photo taken from the establishment's official social account

Posted by Ice on the Landing on Sunday, January 22, 2017

Ice skating in the Ice on the Landing is an unmissable experience when visiting Chattanooga during winter. The outdoor ice-skating rink is nestled in the beautifully landscaped setting of Glenn Miller Gardens. The surrounding lanterns and lights give off an enchanting glow. It operates from November 18 to January 29, and skate rentals are provided.

Invite your whole family to try this classic winter tradition to complete your Christmas adventure in Chattanooga. When you need a break, treat yourself to some of the tasty delights offered on-site.

Ice on the Landing

Address: 1400 Market St, Chattanooga, TN 37402

Website: Ice on the Landing

Opening hours: Tue - Thu: 2pm - 9pm; Fri: 2pm - 11pm; Sat: 11am - 11pm; Sun: 12pm - 9pm (closed on Mon)

Price: from 10 USD

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7. Go gift shopping at Chattanooga Holiday Market

Editor's Note: Photo taken from the establishment's official social account

Getting ready today for our Holiday Market opening this weekend! Insider tip: Whiskey Nights Candle Co has a BEAUTIFUL...

Posted by The Chattanooga Market on Friday, December 3, 2021

Christmas is the season of giving, and this holiday market showcases the value of generosity and the warm ambiance particularly felt during the holidays.

Chattanooga Holiday Market boasts over 200 boutique stalls offering a variety of products, from tasty bites to handcrafted items. Local shops will fill the market during the first three weekdays of December, making it the best place to do your gift shopping and guarantee happy smiles on Christmas day.

Chattanooga Holiday Market

Address: Chattanooga Convention Center, 1 Carter St, Chattanooga, TN 37402, USA

Website: Chattanooga Holiday Market

Opening hours: Sat: 10am - 5pm; Sun: 11am - 5pm (closed on weekdays)

Price: Free admission

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8. Cherish holiday flavors in Tennessee Valley Railroad's Christmas Dinner Train

Editor's Note: Photo taken from the establishment's official social account

Two more dates have been announced for our famous Christmas Dinner Train. We'll be heading out on two more dates:...

Posted by Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum on Friday, September 9, 2022

Tennessee Valley Railroad’s Christmas Dinner Train serves an extensive menu of special holiday meals onboard a train that boards at and departs from Grand Junction Station. It offers a four-course fine-dining experience while traveling at a slow pace to let you consume your food without a hassle.

During the meal, you and your loved ones will feast on delectable dishes in authentic dining cars that transport you back in time. This special holiday is only available from November to December, so be sure to book your meal soon.

Tennessee Valley Railroad's Christmas Dinner Train

Address: Grand Junction Station, 4119 Cromwell Road in Chattanooga, Tennessee

Website: Tennessee Valley Railroad’s Christmas Dinner Train

Opening hours: 6:45pm (days vary)

Price: from 220 USD

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9. Witness the spectacular Asian Lantern Festival at Chattanooga Zoo

Editor's Note: Photo taken from the establishment's official social account

COMING SOON: Asian Lantern Festival | Official Teaser

We're thrilled to announce a brand-new light event at the zoo this holiday season, The Asian Lantern Festival at Chattanooga Zoo! A spectacular celebration of art, culture and the beauty of traditional Asian lantern festivals, featuring immersive and interactive lantern displays throughout the zoo. Nightly November 10, 2022 - January 15, 2023 Click here https://www.chattzoo.org/events/asian-lantern-festival for ticket information and event details.

Posted by Chattanooga Zoo on Tuesday, September 20, 2022

The spectacular lantern parade during the Asian Lantern Festival will take your breath away. You can witness 38 displays lighting up Chattanooga Zoo. Apart from that, there will be interactive exhibits to delight you. The event will also showcase animal-themed lanterns that will surely fascinate your kids and even your inner child.

This festival will be held for the first time this year, from November 10 until January 15, 2023, and is expected to provide an exciting, new light exhibit.

Asian Lantern Festival at Chattanooga Zoo

Address: 301 North Holtzclaw Avenue, Chattanooga, TN 37404

Website: Asian Lantern Festival at Chattanooga Zoo

Opening hours: Wed - Sun: 6pm - 10pm (closed on Mon & Tue)

Price: from 16.50 USD

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10. Solve Mysteries in the Saving Christmas Escape Room in Chattanooga (from 28.41 USD)

Editor's Note: Photo taken from the establishment's official social account

Posted by Time To Escape Chattanooga on Saturday, April 20, 2019

Are you ready for a challenging adventure after laid-back escapades? Test your problem-solving and communication skills in this escape room! During the 45-minute interactive activity, you must successfully help Santa find his stolen gifts and save Christmas. Suitable for families and friend groups, this activity promises to create an unforgettable holiday memory for you and your loved ones. Find up to eight people to help you on this puzzling quest.

Saving Christmas Escape Room in Chattanooga

Address: 432 Market St, Chattanooga, TN 37402, USA


Opening hours: 12pm - 8:45pm (daily)

Price: from 28.41 USD

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Have a jolly Christmas in Chattanooga

Jet Train
Source: Photo by Flickr user Eric Kilby used under CC BY-SA 2.0

Christmas in Chattanooga is always festive and romantic. Ice adventures, majestic river cruise experiences, and holiday market strolls wait for you in the city. Check out this list of the best things to do at Christmas in Chattanooga, Tennessee, to make your holidays extra special.

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