Best time to go to Chattanooga, TN

Christmas Lights and Events in Chattanooga 2020

Immerse yourself in a wonderland of dazzling lights in Southeastern Tennessee


Last updated: by Olga Valchyshen
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Disclaimer: Due to COVID-19 concerns, many events might be canceled, postponed, or changed into limited versions, sometimes at very short notice. Please check with event organizers directly for the latest updates (view the "External Resources" section below).

Nestled in the Appalachian Mountains along the beautiful Tennessee River, Chattanooga is a perfect destination to visit during winter holidays. Christmas lights are especially abundant in Chattanooga. Besides that, there are many festivals, Santa visits, special events, shopping, concerts, and various entertainment. Go on a leisurely stroll along the river, take a festive train ride, be mesmerized by lights in a drive-thru, or take your time at the free Chattanooga Holiday Market, held at the Chattanooga Convention Center. It takes place during December weekends, featuring over 200 stalls, carols, and holiday decor.

Holiday Trail of Lights (November 15, 2020–January 17, 2021)

Chattanooga Holiday Trail of Lights is the most impressive Christmas display in Southeastern Tennessee, featuring millions of twinkling lights. Illuminations from this showing can be seen throughout the whole city: on Chattanooga bridges, boats, cliffs, and buildings. Its biggest highlights are the Walnut Street Pedestrian Bridge, adorned with twinkling snowflakes, Ice on the Landing at the Chattanooga Choo Choo, and, of course, Rock City’s Enchanted Garden of Lights. The Trail of Lights events also include Tennessee Aquarium’s Holidays Under the Peaks & Polar Express 3D in IMAX, Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum’s North Pole Limited & Holiday Train Excursions, Chattanooga Riverboat Company special cruises, and Holiday Lights at the Chattanooga Zoo,

Tennessee Valley Railroad’s Christmas Dinner Train (November 20–December 28, 2020)

To get a full Chattanooga Christmas experience, you have to hop on a train. The trip is going to be even more enjoyable with a four-course dinner! It will take place in a luxuriously renovated 1924 dining car. The train departs at 7 pm from Chattanooga's Grand Junction Station. It will arrive at the same spot after a leisurely excursion through East Chattanooga.

Holiday Lighted Boat Parade (November 27, 2020)

The annual Lighted Boat Parade is one of the most awaited Christmas events in Chattanooga. Dozens of boats, decorated with thousands of holiday lights, float along the Tennessee River greeted by the cheerful crowds. The event can be viewed from Chattanooga Riverfront. The decorated Walnut Street Bridge is probably the most impressive spot to take a picture. The parade takes place between 6:30 and 7 p.m.

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