Add These Chattanooga Gems to Your Holiday Plans
Escaping holiday to-do lists with much-needed downtime surrounded by beautiful nature isn’t just a daydream. Luckily there are perfect spots where holiday wishes come true!
Recharge and Reconnect in the Mountains
Head to the mountains, or in this case, deep inside Lookout Mountain to discover the wonder of nature and adventure at Ruby Falls. It's just a few minutes from downtown Chattanooga even though it feels like a world apart.
It’s impossible to imagine a more perfect backdrop to recharge and reconnect than the country’s tallest and deepest underground waterfall open to the public. The holiday season kicks off at Ruby Falls right after Thanksgiving, on November 24, and continues through December. Visiting Ruby Falls during the holidays is truly bucket-list worthy!
Pick holiday activities perfect for making happy memories and spending time with the people you love. Classic holiday decorations and activities make Ruby Falls especially festive this time of year. Take the entire family on a guided walking tour through the Ruby Falls cavern to the gorgeous underground waterfall and swoon at the sweeping views of the Cumberland Plateau from scenic overlooks. (Even kids can make this almost 1 mile walk successfully on the paved cavern trail or use a front pack carrier for babies as strollers are not permitted it in cave)
Reserving Tickets in Advance is Easy
Planning is blissfully easy and stress-free with timed-entry tour tickets. Tickets are sold only online. For the best availability, buy your tickets at least several days in advance at rubyfalls.com. Ruby Falls is open daily in December, except for December 25.
An evening visit is especially magical thanks to a captivating view of the valley’s twinkling lights and the gentle glow from a giant Christmas tree on Ruby Falls Village Plaza surrounded by classic white lights in the landscaping, historic castle and tower. Fortunately, no matter what time of day you visit or the winter weather forecast, the cave’s 60-degree year-round temperature is nice and cozy. Plan to spend 2- 3 hours to enjoy all the sights and activities Ruby Falls offers.
Visit Santa in Historic Ruby Falls Castle
If you'd like to deliver your wish list to Santa in person, double check your name is on the "nice" list or have the perfect group photo taken with Santa by a professional photographer, plan to visit when Santa is at Ruby Falls! The schedule is available here. Tickets to Ruby Falls aren't necessary to visit Santa or to eat in the cozy Castle Cafe. (Sipping hot chocolate in front of the Castle Cafe fireplace is wonderful!)
Forest of Wishes
On your way to the glass-front elevator that descends 260-feet into the limestone mountain, make a stop at the Forest of Wishes in the historic Ruby Falls Castle. Join the tradition of writing your holiday wish on an ornament to hang in the Forest of Wishes where thousands of heartfelt wishes create a colorful display of good cheer. Little ones can write a letter to Santa and drop it in the special mailbox.
In case you haven’t quite finished your holiday shopping, the Village Gift Shop has gifts you won’t find anywhere else, as well as keepsakes for all ages. The shop is known for its spectacular selection of agates, geodes, and crystal cathedrals.
Return to a Simpler Time
Ruby Falls is an escape from the ordinary and a hidden gem surrounded by exceptional natural beauty.
Be sure to slow down and pause on the picturesque front porch of the Ruby Falls Castle to savor the moment, just like folks have done since 1929!
Hot Chocolatier and Ice Staking
The 2023 ice skating season of Ice on the Landing is open and in a new location this year at the First Horizon Pavilion. This seasonal outdoor rink is ranked #5 in Tennessee's Best Ice Skating Rinks! The rink is open daily and the skating fee includes equipment rental. When you're finished ice skating, drive a few minutes away to St Elmo at the base of Lookout Mountain to the Hot Chocolatier's newest shop for a decedant dessert. The only hard part is choosing which handmade artisian chocolates, pastries and drinks to order. You can't go wrong because it is all delicious.
North Pole Limited Train Ride
Take a real train on an imaginery journey to the North Pole with the Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum. The trip takes about an hour and includes treats, hot chocolate, storytelling and kids may even spy Santa working hard at the North Pole getting ready for his Christmas Eve deliveries.
There is truly nothing like the holiday season in Chattanooga and Lookout Mountain. It is magical and a perfect destination to slow-down and enjoy the season. Happy holidays!
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