Lil Travel Folks is supported by its readers. If you purchase through a link on my site, I may earn a commission. Learn more

Sharing is caring!

Chattanooga in December is a great place to be during the holiday season. With cooler temperatures ranging from 40 to 70 degrees, thinner crowds, and a festive atmosphere, this time of year is perfect for exploring the city’s popular attractions and special events.

view of chattanooga sign in december decorated for christmas

One of the key events during this time is the Chattanooga Market’s winter extension, where local artisans set up shop at the Convention Center each weekend in December until Dec. 19. With crafts, food, jewelry, and more, you’ll easily find the perfect handmade gift for every person on your list.

Another must-see attraction is the Gingerbread Workshop at the Creative Discovery Museum, where you can create your own gingerbread house and enjoy other holiday-themed activities.

Live holiday music can be found throughout the city, with many venues hosting concerts and performances. From classic carols to modern hits, there’s something for everyone to enjoy. Whether you’re looking for a winter destination to escape the cold or a festive place to celebrate the holidays, Chattanooga in December has it all.

view of the Walnut Street Bridge in December
Walnut Street Bridge in December

Top Attractions

Chattanooga in December is a magical place, with plenty of things to see and do. From panoramic views to small children-friendly activities, there’s something for everyone in this scenic city. Here are some of our favorite attractions to visit during the winter season.

Downtown Chattanooga

Downtown Chattanooga is a must-visit destination in the entire city, with a plethora of popular attractions and historic landmarks. The Bluff View Art District is one of the best places to visit, with its beautiful architecture and stunning views of the Tennessee River. You can also explore the National Register of Historic Places, which includes the Walnut Street Bridge, the Chattanooga Choo Choo, and the Hunter Museum of American Art.

Lookout Mountain

Lookout Mountain is another great thing to explore in Chattanooga, with its panoramic views and fun things to do. One of the most popular attractions is the Tennessee Aquarium, where you can see a variety of aquatic animals and learn about their habitats. You can also visit Ruby Falls, a stunning underground waterfall, and Rock City, a natural wonderland filled with gardens, caves, and rock formations.

Creative Discovery Museum

If you’re traveling with small children, the Creative Discovery Museum is a must-visit destination. This interactive museum offers plenty of hands-on exhibits and activities that are both fun and educational. Kids can explore the wonders of science, art, and music while having a blast.

Chattanooga Market

The Chattanooga Market is a great place to shop for unique gifts and souvenirs, as well as sample delicious food and drinks from local vendors. This bustling market is open year-round, with special holiday events and activities during the winter season.

Chattanooga Zoo

Finally, the Chattanooga Zoo is a fun and educational place to visit, with a variety of animals from around the world. You can see tigers, lemurs, red pandas, and more, as well as learn about conservation efforts and animal welfare.

Chattanooga in December is truly a magical experience, with plenty of top attractions to explore. Whether you’re looking for scenic views, historic landmarks, or family-friendly activities, there’s something for everyone in this beautiful city.

view on the Tennessee River Walk
View on the River Walk

Outdoor Adventures

Chattanooga in December is a great time to enjoy outdoor adventures. We have compiled a list of some of the best outdoor activities to enjoy during this time of the year.

Tennessee Riverpark

The Tennessee Riverpark is a great place to enjoy the great outdoors. It is a 10-mile stretch of parkland that runs along the Tennessee River. The park offers hiking and biking trails, fishing piers, and picnic areas. The park is also home to the longest pedestrian bridge in the world, the Walnut Street Bridge. This is a must-visit spot for anyone visiting Chattanooga in December.

High Point Climbing

If you are looking for an adrenaline rush, then High Point Climbing is the place to be. It is one of the largest indoor climbing gyms in the country, with over 30,000 square feet of climbing space. The gym offers both bouldering and rope climbing, making it a great place for climbers of all skill levels. It is a perfect indoor activity for those days when the weather is not cooperating.

Nature Center

The Chattanooga Nature Center is a great place to learn about the natural world. It is a 317-acre wildlife sanctuary that is home to over 50 species of animals. The center offers hiking trails, birdwatching, and educational programs for visitors of all ages. It is a great place to take the whole family for a day of outdoor fun.

Fishing Piers

Chattanooga is home to several fishing piers that are open year-round. The piers offer great fishing opportunities for anglers of all skill levels. Some of the best spots to fish include the Chickamauga Dam, Chester Frost Park, and Booker T. Washington State Park. These spots are known for their large catches of bass, catfish, and crappie.

Chattanooga in December is a great time to enjoy outdoor adventures. Whether you are looking for hiking, climbing, or fishing, there is something for everyone. So pack your bags and come explore the great outdoors with us!

Kids decorating small gingerbread houses at the Christmas craft party.

Holiday Events

December is a magical time in Chattanooga, with plenty of holiday events to get you in the festive spirit. Here are some of our favorite holiday events to check out during your visit:

Rock City’s Enchanted Garden

Experience the magic of the holiday season at Rock City’s Enchanted Garden of Lights. This magical light display features over one million LED lights, creating a winter wonderland that’s perfect for all ages. Take a stroll through the gardens and enjoy the beautiful light displays, including a life-sized nativity scene and a 42-foot Christmas tree. Don’t forget to warm up with a cup of hot cocoa and some holiday treats at the concession stand.

Polar Express

All aboard the Polar Express! This holiday train ride is a must-do for families visiting Chattanooga during the Christmas season. Climb aboard a vintage train and take a journey to the North Pole, complete with hot cocoa, cookies, and a visit from Santa Claus himself. Kids will love the magical atmosphere and the chance to wear their favorite pajamas on the train.

Holiday Trail of Lights

Take a drive through the Holiday Trail of Lights and experience the magic of Christmas lights in Chattanooga. This drive-thru light display features over 100,000 lights, creating a dazzling display that’s sure to get you in the holiday spirit. The trail includes several stops, including the historic carousel in Coolidge Park and the Chattanooga Choo Choo.

Nightfall Concert Series

Get in the holiday spirit with live music at the Nightfall Concert Series. This outdoor concert series takes place in Miller Plaza and features a variety of musical acts, including holiday-themed performances. Grab a cup of hot cocoa and enjoy the music under the stars.

Gingerbread Workshops

Get creative at one of the Gingerbread Workshops in Chattanooga. These workshops are perfect for families and kids of all ages, and include all the supplies you need to create your own gingerbread house. Get in the holiday spirit and create a masterpiece that you can take home and display all season long.

Chattanooga Holiday Market

Find the perfect holiday gift at the Chattanooga Holiday Market. This indoor market features over 200 vendors selling unique and handmade gifts, perfect for everyone on your list. Browse the booths and find one-of-a-kind items, including jewelry, home decor, and more.

Comedy Catch

Get in the holiday spirit with some laughs at the Comedy Catch. This comedy club features holiday-themed performances throughout the month of December, including performances by local comedians and national acts. Grab a drink and settle in for a night of laughs and holiday cheer.

No matter what your interests are, there are plenty of holiday events in Chattanooga to keep you entertained during the Christmas season. From Christmas lights to gingerbread workshops, there are plenty of great ideas to get you in the holiday spirit.

Southern Belle Riverboat
Southern Belle Riverboat

Winter Activities

If you’re looking for things to do in Chattanooga during the winter months, there are plenty of activities to keep you entertained. Here are some of our top picks for winter activities in the area:

Southern Belle Riverboat

One of the most popular winter activities in Chattanooga is taking a cruise on the Southern Belle Riverboat. This historic paddlewheel boat offers a variety of cruises throughout the year, but their holiday-themed cruises are especially popular. During the holiday season, you can enjoy a Christmas dinner cruise, a New Year’s Eve party cruise, and more. Be sure to check their website for ticket sales and availability.

Hiwassee Holiday Train Ride

Another great winter activity in the Chattanooga area is the Hiwassee Holiday Train Ride. This scenic train ride takes you through the beautiful mountains of East Tennessee, and is especially magical during the winter months. The train is decked out in holiday decorations, and you’ll even get a visit from Santa Claus himself. This is a popular activity, so be sure to book your tickets in advance.

Chattanooga Riverboat Cruise

If you’re looking for a more leisurely way to enjoy the scenery, consider taking a riverboat cruise on the Tennessee River. The Chattanooga Riverboat Company offers a variety of cruises throughout the year, including holiday-themed cruises during the winter months. You can enjoy a holiday dinner cruise, a Christmas carol sing-along cruise, and more. Check their website for ticket sales and availability.

Overall, Chattanooga offers plenty of winter activities to keep you entertained during the cooler temperatures. Whether you’re looking for a scenic train ride, a riverboat cruise, or see some lights, there’s something for everyone during the winter months. Be sure to check ticket sales and availability in advance, as many of these activities are popular and can sell out quickly.

Image from

Where to Stay

If you’re planning a trip to Chattanooga in December, finding the perfect place to stay is essential. Luckily, there are plenty of options to choose from, ranging from historic hotels to trendy boutique accommodations.

Edwin Hotel

Located in the heart of downtown, the Edwin Hotel (seen above) is a luxurious option for those looking for a high-end experience. The hotel features beautifully designed rooms with stunning views of the Tennessee River and Lookout Mountain. The hotel also offers a rooftop bar and restaurant, perfect for enjoying a cocktail while taking in the city’s skyline.

In addition to its prime location and luxurious amenities, the Edwin Hotel is also committed to sustainability. The hotel has implemented eco-friendly practices such as using LED lighting and low-flow showerheads to reduce its environmental impact.

Learn more about the Edwin Hotel and book a room here!

Image from

Chattanooga Choo Choo

For a unique and historic experience, consider staying at the Chattanooga Choo Choo. The hotel is located in a former train station and features beautifully restored train cars that have been converted into guest rooms. The hotel also offers a variety of dining options, including a restaurant located in a restored dining car.

In addition to its unique accommodations, the Chattanooga Choo Choo also offers a variety of activities for guests to enjoy. Take a ride on the hotel’s vintage trolley or explore the beautifully landscaped gardens on the property.

No matter where you choose to stay in Chattanooga, December is a great time to visit. The city is filled with holiday cheer, from festive events to beautiful light displays. We hope this guide helps you find the perfect place to stay during your trip.

This is the hotel my parents always take my boys to when they travel to Chattanooga. They love it so much!

Learn more about the Chattanooga Choo Choo and book a room here!


We hope this article has given you a good idea of what to expect when visiting Chattanooga in December. With chilly temperatures and festive cheer in the air, it’s a great time to explore this charming city.

One of the best ways to experience Chattanooga during the holiday season is by taking a self-guided tour of the city’s Christmas lights and decorations. From the Enchanted Garden of Lights at Rock City to the Chattanooga Choo Choo’s Holiday Trail of Lights, there are plenty of dazzling displays to enjoy.

If you’re in town on Christmas Day, be sure to check out some of the special holiday events taking place throughout the city. Many restaurants and attractions offer special menus and activities to help you celebrate the season.

And of course, New Year’s Eve is always a festive time in Chattanooga. From family-friendly events to parties for the grown-ups, there’s something for everyone to enjoy as we ring in the new year.

Overall, we think Chattanooga is a wonderful destination for a winter getaway. With its charming downtown, stunning natural beauty, and festive holiday spirit, there’s no shortage of things to see and do. We hope you’ll consider visiting this wonderful city during the holiday season and experiencing all that it has to offer.

Similar Posts