CHATTANOOGA ANNUAL EVENTS

($) – Requires an admission fee
(FREE) – Free and open to the public
** – Events that run for several months

Dates of event/location are subject to change. Please check out the event websites for current information before planning your trip to Chattanooga. You can also find more information on www.chattanoogafun.com/events.

 WINTER


Tennessee Aquarium’s – “That’s A Moray!”: February ($/FREE with paid admission into the Tennessee Aquarium)

From sharks’ ritualized swimming to turtles performing their version of synchronized swimming, you’ll learn a lot about the various courtship rituals among everything that swims, flies or crawls at the Tennessee Aquarium. www.tennesseeaquarium.com / 800.262.0695.

Rock City Garden’s Lover’s Leap – “Love on Lookout”: February ($/FREE with paid admission into Rock City Gardens)

Lover’s Leap has always been a very popular engagement and honeymoon spot. Men cherish dropping to one knee and presenting their own “rock” to their significant others - at 1,700 feet above sea level, the only place where you can see seven states and the same legendary site where two Indians publicly professed their forbidden love for one another. www.seerockcity.com / 706.820.2531.


Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum’s Valentine’s Dinner Train Excursions: February ($)

Take your special someone on a Valentine’s Dinner train excursion aboard the Tennessee Valley Railroad. The trip includes a four-course dining experience on board a restored 1924 dining car. Trains depart from Grand Junction Station in Chattanooga at 5:30 p.m., travel at a leisurely pace into Northwestern Georgia and return around 10 p.m. Reservations are recommended.
www.tvrail.com / 423.894.8028.

Southern Belle Riverboat – Valentine’s  Dinner Cruise,: February ($)

Say ‘I Do’ and make this evening extra special, or just relax and enjoy cruising down the Tennessee River with your sweetheart. Reservations required. www.chattanoogariverboat.com /800.766.2784.

Valentine Accommodations Packages: February ($)

Celebrate the season of lovers by spending it in one of Chattanooga’s romantic and historic hotels or bed & breakfast. There are also some great family-friendly packages available. www.chattanoogafun.com / 800.322.3344.

Rock City Garden’s “Shamrock City”: March  ($/FREE with paid admission into Rock City Gardens

Looking for the luck of the Irish?  Visit Rock City’s first Irish celebration and festival featuring music, food and other entertainment. www.seerockcity.com / 706.820.2531.

SPRING


**Spring Break in Chattanooga: March – April ($/FREE depending on event)

During Spring Break, Chattanooga is anything but ordinary – it’s a place where children rule and adventure is everywhere. Our top attractions, Ruby Falls, Tennessee Aquarium, Rock City Gardens, Creative Discovery Museum for Children, Southern Belle Riverboat, Outdoor Chattanooga, Lake Winnepesaukah and the Hunter Museum of American Art join together to offer families a special, unforgettable, action-packed vacation. www.chattanoogafun.com / 800.322.3344.   


Taste of Chattanooga, Chattanooga Convention Center: March ($)

This annual event features items available for tasting from some of the finest restaurants, catering, and wine and beer establishments in the Chattanooga area. 423.265.4397 or 423.756.0001.


Chattanooga Antiques & Garden Show: March ($)

Held at the Chattanooga Choo Choo Holiday Inn, this event features over 30 exhibitors offering antique and garden items for sale, an appraisal fair and much more. www.thehoustonmuseum.com / 423.267.7176.


Conference on Southern Literature: Held in March of odd years (2007, 2009, 2011, etc.) ($)

The Arts & Education Council’s Conference on Southern Literature has been bringing world-class writers to Chattanooga since 1981, allowing writers and their fans to come together and celebrate the written word through discussions, readings and book signings. www.ArtsEdCouncil.org / 800.267.4232.


Tour of Downtown Living: March ($)

Take a peek inside some of downtown’s most unique housing options including new homes and restored historic properties. Tour is available via shuttle bus or on your own. www.downtownchattanooga.org / 423.267.0771.


4 Bridges Arts Festival: April (FREE)

This two-day festival supports original and unique visual arts in a distinctive way, including a fine-art market; fine-art artists; children’s art activities; live music; and a food court – held at First Tennessee Pavilion. www.4BridgesArtsFestival.org / 423.265.4282 ext. 106.

**Chattanooga Market: Every Sunday, April-December, Noon-5 p.m. (FREE)**

The Chattanooga Market is a weekly, open-air market where you will find fresh bread from local bakeries, just picked produce (tax free), live music, artists and artisans selling things they have made in the Chattanooga area. Held downtown at First Tennessee Pavilion. www.chattanoogamarket.com.

SUMMER 


**Chattanooga Summer Adventures: May – August ($/FREE depending on event)

When you head to Chattanooga for a great summer getaway, every member of your family is guaranteed to have an unbelievable and unique experience. With a newly revitalized riverfront, it’s now a sleek and hip city. Chattanooga is rockin’ all summer long – from new exhibits, to rockin’ entertainment to every outdoor activity imaginable, Chattanooga has it all for that all-in-one summer vacation. www.chattanoogafun.com / 800.322.3344.

Armed Forces Day Parade: May (FREE)

The Armed Forces Day Parade is held downtown and celebrates with participants from military service units, area veterans groups, high school bands, patriotic organizations and many others.

Chattanooga Traditional Jazz Festival: May ($)

The Choo Choo City Jazz Society brings this three-day jazz extravaganza to Chattanooga annually. Internationally acclaimed Dixieland jazz bands will perform at the Chattanooga Choo Choo Holiday Inn Imperial Ballroom. 423.266.0944.

**Rhythm & Noon Concert Series: Friday at noon, May– June (FREE)**

For the lunchtime crowd, downtown Chattanooga’s Miller Park comes alive every Friday at noon for free lunchtime music. www.downtownchattanooga.org / 423.265.0771.

Three State/Three Mountain Challenge: May (FREE)

Hailed by cyclists as the most unique century they have ever ridden, this challenge draws athletes and outdoor enthusiasts from all over the nation on a 100-mile, 62-mile or 25-mile route over three mountains in three states. www.chattbike.com / 706.820.1157.

TaleSpin Festival: May ($)  This festival no longer exists. 

This TaleSpin Festival showcases a wide variety of storytellers with themes including stories of youth, culture, humor, history and more. This event appeals to all ages, connecting generations and cultures and conveying traditions and lessons for living. www.downtownchattanooga.org / 423.265.0771.

**Rock City Raptors: Thursday-Sunday, Memorial Day – Labor Day ($/FREE with paid admission into Rock City Gardens)**

Watch the birds of prey take flight. Watch hawks soaring in the sky, get a glimpse at a nocturnal hunter, the owl, and meet a vivacious vulture. Enjoy this rare opportunity to witness these powerful and majestic birds up close. www.seerockcity.com / 706.820.2531.

Rock City’s Founder’s Day: May ($/FREE with paid admission into Rock City Gardens)

Celebrating 76 years! Over 7 decades of families have seen seven states from Rock City’s high mountain-view since 1932, when founders Garnet & Frieda Carter opened the 15-acre preserve to the public. Come listen to big-band music, take a dance lesson, and mingle with characters from Rock City’s history during this fun-filled weekend. www.seerockcity.com / 706.820.2531.

**Nightfall Concert Series: Friday nights, May – September (FREE)**

Held in Miller Plaza, this series brings around 2,500 people downtown every Friday night for a free concert featuring international, national and regional talent. Enjoy food and beverages along with music genres including rock, blues, jazz, reggae, zydeco, funk, bluegrass and folk. www.downtownchattanooga.org / 423.265.0771.

**Lake Winnepesaukah’s “Jukebox Junction” Music Series: Every other Sunday, June-September ($/FREE with paid admission into Lake Winnepesaukah)**

Smiles and a rockin’ beat are guaranteed at Lake Winnepesaukah, the South’s favorite family amusement park. In addition to the rockin’ beat, you will enjoy great rides, games, miniature golf, delicious food and events all summer long! www.lakewinnie.com / 877.525.3946.

Bella Sera: May ($)

Enjoy an evening at Renaissance Park with live music, dancing, silent auction and plenty to eat and drink. Admission includes a wine glass for unlimited wine & five tapas-size servings from any of the sponsoring restaurants. www.bellaseraevent.com / 423.266.1888.

Riverbend Festival/9-day festival: June ($)

Over the past 27 years, the Riverbend Festival has become one of Chattanooga’s signature events. It has grown from a small gathering of performers for a weekend of music, to a riverfront-spanning destination event that draws nearly 700,000 people. This event features nine days of entertainment on six stages and over 100 performances.
    Past performances at Riverbend include Kid Rock, Big & Rich, Steve Miller Band, Earth, Wind & Fire, Brooks & Dunn, Mary Chapin Carpenter, and Travis Tritt. As always, Martin Luther King, Jr. Boulevard will become the location for the biggest and best block party in the Southeast – the Bessie Smith Strut! www.riverbendfestival.com / 423.756.2212.

**Riverfront Nights Music Series: August – September (FREE)**

This Free Saturday night music series is held on a floating barge downtown on Chattanooga’s new riverfront. Enjoy food, drinks and great music every week. Free and fee-based boat parking is also available. www.RiverfrontNights.com.

Pops on the River: July (FREE)

This event invites visitors to pack a picnic and enjoy the sounds of the Chattanooga Symphony Orchestra at Coolidge Park. Concert features the talents of Chattanooga’s Pops Orchestra and a fireworks show. www.downtownchattanooga.org / 423.265.0771.

Movies in the Park: Each Saturday in July (FREE)

First Things First, a non-profit agency dedicated to strengthening families, presents Movies in the Park – for the whole family to enjoy. Movies are free and start at sundown, a little after 9 p.m. www.firstthings.org / 423.267.5383

Southern Brewers Festival: August ($)

Microbrewers from across the country will present over 30 ales and lagers in downtown Chattanooga on the newly revitalized waterfront, including live music and plenty of food. www.southernbrewersfest.org / 423.266.9704.


FALL 


 **Fall in Chattanooga: September-October ($/FREE depending on event)**

Nothing describes autumn’s bounty better than the amazing palette of oranges, reds and golds against the lush evergreens. From the vibrant landscapes to the cool, crisp air to the tantalizing smells of hot cider and kettle corn, Fall in Chattanooga offers a new season of enjoyment to spend together with your loved ones. www.chattanoogafun.com / 800.322.3344.


ChattaBOOga: October ($)

When ChattaBOOga transforms itself from Chattanooga in October, it’s not the typical haunted venue. There’s a haunted cavern carved out of the side of a mountain; an amazing corn maze – friendly by day, but a heart-stopping labyrinth by night; and there’s a killer critter craze where fear factor creatures and their “habits” are explored in all their gorey detail. October in Chattanooga offers thrilling, chilling adventure and family fun you can’t experience anywhere else. www.chattanoogafun.com / 800.322.3344.


War Between the States at the TN Valley Railroad Museum: September ($)

This rail excursion will travel to Chickamauga, Ga. for special Civil War activities. www.tvrail.com / 423.894.8028.


Rail to Wings Special at the TN Valley Railroad Museum: September ($)

This rail excursion will travel to Lafayette, Ga. to experience a fly-in by vintage airplanes at the local airport. There will also be vintage airplane displays and demonstrations. www.tvrail.com / 423.894.8028.


Swingfest at Coolidge Park: August (FREE)

Kick off the Labor Day Weekend with four, big-band orchestras playing swing and jazz music while you swing dance under the stars. A dance floor is provided, and food and drink concessions are available at this free event. www.downtownchattanooga.org / 423.265.0771.


Downtown Gallery Hop: September (FREE)

View and purchase some of the most fabulous, offbeat and intriguing art in Chattanooga’s downtown galleries and artist studios while artists explain the materials, inspirations and methodologies that influence their art. www.downtownchattanooga.org / 423.265.0771.


Wine Over Water: October ($)

Patrons of this event will be treated to wine, hors d’oeuvres, and live music across the historic Walnut Street Bridge. Proceeds benefit the preservation of historical properties in Chattanooga. www.wineoverwater.org / 423.265.2825.

Rock City’s Enchanted MAiZE Maze: September-November ($)

Enjoy 10-acres of fall fun while weaving your way through the labyrinth of twists and turns of this amazing cornfield maze. As darkness surrounds the field, the maze turns a little spooky when 10-foot stalks are outlined in the moonlight to create a hair-raising challenge of those twists, turns and rustling stalks. Visitors will also find a historic birdhouse barn, hayrides, a children’s playground, and on the weekends, a “Forest of Fear” to see what terrible ghouls reside near the maze and hear ghost stories next to the bonfire. The maze is located at Blowing Springs Farm at the foot of Lookout Mountain in Georgia. www.seerockcity.com / 706.820.2531.

Ruby Falls Haunted Cavern: September-October ($)

The terrifying tour through Ruby Falls Haunted Cavern begins as visitors plummet 260 feet below the ground, deep into Lookout Mountain. Hideous creatures will greet you with terror at every turn. This truly horrifying experience is not for the faint of heart or for children under 10 years of age. www.hauntedcavern.com / 423.821.2544.

Hamilton County Fair: September (FREE)

The residents of Hamilton County host a county fair in the grandest tradition. The fair features music, games, country crafts, livestock, rides and more. 423.209.6030.

Culture Fest at Coolidge Park: September (FREE)

This one-day, family-friendly festival celebrates Chattanooga’s rich, cultural diversity through music, dance, food, storytelling, children’s activities and fine arts. www.culturefest.org / 423.267.1218.

Tennessee Aquarium’s Thrills, Gills & Chills: October ($/FREE with paid admission into the Tennessee Aquarium)

Learn about the chilling aspects of the predator/prey relationships in the natural world by uncovering the real facts about the Aquarium’s most notorious animals, such as moray eels, piranha, alligators, crocodiles and sharks. You will also learn how gentoo and macaroni penguins evade fearsome predators like orcas and leopard seals, through porpoising out of the water while swimming at an amazingly high rate of speed. Special costumed divers and gallery programs will also focus on the myths and mysteries of some of the most feared animals on earth. www.tennesseeaquarium.com / 800.262.0695.

The Three Sisters Music Festival: October (FREE)

Enjoy this two-day, one-of-a-kind Bluegrass festival on the Chattanooga’s new Riverfront. Musical performances include the Del McCoury Band, Nashville Bluegrass Band, The Greencards, The Lovell Sisters, Lone Mountain Band, John Cowan Band and The Dismembered Tennesseans. Beer, food & non-alcoholic drink concessions will be available on site. www.downtownchattanooga.org / 423.265.0771.

Folklife Demonstration Series at Miller Plaza: October (FREE)

This series features free educational demonstrations by southeast fold artists at Miller Plaza. www.downtownchattanooga.org / 423.265.0771.

Autumn Steam Excursion: October-November ($)

Enjoy lunch in a dining car and ride an authentic steam locomotive on scenic excursions through Chattanooga and North Georgia – including Missionary Ridge, the Chickamauga Chattanooga National Military Park, and through several small southern towns. www.tvrail.com / 423.894.8028.

Rocktoberfest at Rock City Gardens: Saturdays & Sundays in October ($/FREE with paid admission into Rock City Gardens)

Get in touch with Rock City’s German heritage! Rock City Square will be transformed for a celebration of harvests and fall foliage. Stroll through an atmosphere of German music and food. Enjoy a Bratwurst, Knackwurst, or Polish Sausage along with German Sauerkraut. Specialty beer will be on tap in the Beer Garden. Work off dinner with a “chicken dance” at the Polka Stage. www.seerockcity.com / 706.820.2531.

Chattanooga Head Race: October (FREE)

Chattanooga’s riverfront will be filled with 3,000-5,000 high school, college, and event master rowers as well as spectators for this annual event. Food and beverages will be available. www.outdoorchattanooga.com.

Prater’s Mill Country Fair: October ($)

Historic Prater’s Mill invites visitors to this authentic, working gristmill for an old-fashioned country fair. The fair offers arts and crafts, food, and entertainment in its breathtaking North Georgia setting. 706.694.6455.

GoFest: October (FREE)

GoFest provides people with disabilities and their families the available resources and opportunities that would enable individuals to realize their maximum potential. The fair includes adaptive athletics, a job fair, a petting zoo, adaptive horseback riding, arts and crafts, a climbing wall, exhibitors, and food. www.gofestchattanooga.org

Ketner’s Mill Country Fair: October ($)

This annual fair features family fun, living history and fine crafts. The fair was listed on Sunshine Artists Top 200 traditional crafts fairs nationally. 423.267.5702 or 423.821.3238.

Fall Leaf Cruises aboard the Southern Belle Riverboat: October-November ($)

This four-hour Fall Leaf Cruise into the Tennessee River Gorge sails round-trip to and from Ross’s Landing, where you can see nature’s brilliant canvas of vivid fall colors. The cruise includes a deluxe deli buffet, live entertainment, informative commentary, free bingo with prizes. www.chattanoogariverboat.com / 800.766.2784.

Fall Color Cruise aboard the Southern Belle Riverboat: October ($)

This five-hour Fall Color Cruise through the Tennessee River Gorge sails to or from the Hales Bar Marina site located in Haletown, Tenn. The cruise includes lunch, live band, informative commentary, free bingo with prizes, and bus fare (one way by boat, one way by bus). www.chattanoogariverboat.com / 800.766.2784.

 HOLIDAYS


** “Unwrap the Holiday Spirit”: November- January ($/FREE depending on event)**

Capture the warmth of the holiday spirit amidst the nocturnal fantasyland one million star-bright twinkling lights illuminating the sky; chill out and catch the high tide on a tropical adventure; enjoy a holiday cruise; or sleep in a converted traincar. The Scenic City’s magic unfolds with elegant décor, music and special events for making your holiday memories more joyful than ever before. www.chattanoogafun.com / 800.322.3344.


**North Pole Limited Adventures at the TN Valley Railroad Museum: November-December ($)**

Trains run on select evenings from Thanksgiving through Christmas. Enjoy a trip to the “North Pole” pulled by a steam locomotive with refreshments, storytelling, caroling, visits by Santa Claus, and other surprises! These popular trips sell out well in advance so book now. www.tvrail.com / 423.894.8028.


**Chattanooga Choo Choo Holiday Packages: Nov. – December ($)**

The Chattanooga Choo Choo Holiday Inn presents their 2007 Holiday Packages, which include rooms on authentic train sleeper cars, a ride on the North Pole Limited Train, the Elf Workshop, Elf Tuck-In Service for the little ones, and area attraction tickets. Train dates are limited, so call early for reservations. www.choochoo.com / 423.266.5000.


Head of the Hooch Rowing Regatta: November (FREE)

The Hooch was held for the first time in Roswell, Ga., in 1981 on the Chattahoochee River and is now the second largest rowing regatta in the America, after Head of the Charles. Chattanooga is now home to this event, bringing 10,000 people annually, due to the ideal blend of a challenging race course and an on-land venue second to none. www.headofthehooch.org


**Rock City’s Enchanted Garden of Lights: November-January ($)**

This award-winning, light extravaganza is always a wonderful family tradition. Guests will enjoy 30 holiday scenes and nearly a million lights that transform the gardens’ daytime splendor to a nighttime fantasyland. Festivities include gingerbread cookie decorating, hot cocoa and nightly Music Under the Moon entertainment. Runs nightly from 6-9 p.m. (except Christmas Eve night). www.seerockcity.com / 706.820.2531.


**Ho, Ho, Ho in the H2O at the Tennessee Aquarium: November-January ($/FREE with paid admission into the Tennessee Aquarium) **

Bask in balmy temperatures and explore exotic island wildlife during the tropical holiday adventures at the Tennessee Aquarium. Enjoy narrated dive shows in the saltwater Secret Reef tank, home to enormous sand tiger sharks and thousands or colorful reef fish. Catch keepers feeding the bamboo sharks and stingrays, observe butterfly releases, watch the seahorses slurp their supper, and learn more about the beautiful hyacinth macaws. www.tennesseeaquarium.com / 800.262.0695.


**Polar Express 3D at the Tennessee Aquarium’s IMAX 3D Theater: December-January ($)**

Grasp at falling snowflakes and duck as the train screeches into your lap in this magical holiday film. www.tennesseeaquarium.com / 800.262.0695.


**Ruby Falls’ Deck the Falls: November-January ($)**

Come tour Ruby Falls for the holiday season as it has been magically transformed with an array of enchanting lights and sound effects. Dancing light patterns will wrap the 145-foot waterfall in a vast array of shapes and sizes. www.rubyfalls.com / 423.821.2544.


**Christmas Carol Dinner Cruises aboard the Southern Belle Riverboat: November-December ($)**

Join the singing deckhands for a special selection of Christmas carols, live entertainment, prime rib and shrimp Creole, and a visit from the man in the big red suit! www.chattanoogariverboat.com / 800.766.2784.


Winter Days and Lights: November-December (Some events are FREE & some require $)

The Winter Days and Lights holiday event season downtown has been awarded as a Top 20 Event in the Southeast by the Southeast Tourism Society. This event season runs from November through December, featuring over 120 downtown buildings lit from street to sky and three weeks of family-oriented holiday activities. Christmas on the River and the Grande Illumination: November; Breakfast with Santa: November ; Holiday Starlight Parade: December; Appalachian Christmas: December. www.downtownchattanooga.org / 423.265.0771.

Chickamauga Christmas Special at the TN Valley Railroad Museum: December ($)

This event features a rail excursion to Chickamauga, Ga. for a holiday dinner in a dining car. www.tvrail.com / 423.894.8028.

NCAA Division I Football Championship: December ($)

The NCAA Division I Football Championship is a football game played to determine the champion of the NCAA Division I Football Championship Subdivision (formerly known as Division I-AA). The Championship Subdivision Championship Game is played annually on Finley Stadium/Davenport Field. www.div1fbchampionship.com or www.chattanoogafun.com.

The Mountain Opry Building      

The Mountain Opry - Free Music

Every Friday night on Signal Mountain, there is this concert called the Mountain Opry. It's free admission and you get to see a variety of bluegrass and old-timer country bands play traditional Tennessee mountain music. It usually starts at 8pm and lasts until about 11pm, but depending on who shows up to play, they may start at 7:30pm. They sell refreshments and during the show, they pass around a paper bag for donations.