Don’t Miss Out On The Many Events Chattanooga Has To Offer
Chattanooga is buzzing year-round with an array of exciting events, including popular music festivals, renowned sports competitions, one-of-a-kind parades, and cultural celebrations. The following events are just the tip of what Chattanooga has to offer!
(above) Chattanooga Ironman, photo courtesy of Chattanooga CVB
With a dramatic backdrop, idyllic weather, and Southern hospitality to boot, Chattanooga is a premier destination for outdoor events and athletic competitions. In 2019, Chattanooga will host two IRONMAN events: IRONMAN 70.3 in May and IRONMAN in September. Also drawing participation from across the country, the Erlanger Chattanooga Marathon Weekend is held in March and offers full, half, relay, and kids’ races.
November’s Head of the Hooch race brings thousands of spectators to Chattanooga’s riverfront. As one of the world’s largest rowing regattas, this two-day event will see more than 2,000 boats racing to the finish along a 3.1-mile stretch of the Tennessee River.
Although live music can be found on any given night, Chattanooga is best known for its award-winning music festivals. Riverbend, featuring headlining acts and up-and-coming artists, has been a Chattanooga favorite for more than 35 years and draws as many as 350,000 people each June. More recently, the Moon River Music Festival has taken over Coolidge Park for two days of family-friendly entertainment. In the summer, downtown’s Miller Plaza hosts Nightfall on Friday nights, while Riverfront Nights at Ross’s Landing takes place on Saturday evenings; both events showcase regional and national acts at no cost. Visitors to Rock City can take advantage of Summer Music Weekends when it’s warm, followed by a toe-tapping experience at the 3 Sisters Bluegrass Festival (held at Ross’s Landing) in the fall. In addition to its popular Pops on the River performance, held in July, the Chattanooga Symphony & Opera conducts more than 30 concerts each season at the Tivoli Theatre and other historic venues around town.
Movie buffs will appreciate the annual Chattanooga Film Festival, deemed by Southern Living magazine as the “Sundance of the South.” Feature and short films, special events, and creative workshops are just a few of the festival’s noteworthy happenings that celebrate the world of cinema.
(above) Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum, photo courtesy of Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum
Throughout the year, residents and visitors can enjoy the festivities at seasonal and cultural events. In the fall, the Chattanooga Market and Rock City celebrate Oktoberfest with German food, beer, music, and more. The Tennessee Aquarium transforms into Aqua-Scarium, and Ruby Falls’ Dread Hollow gives visitors a fright. The winter season includes can’t-miss attractions like Rock City’s Enchanted Garden of Lights, Ruby Falls Christmas Underground, Ten-
nessee Valley Railroad’s North Pole Limited, and the Chattanooga Zoo’s Holiday Lights. Romance at Ruby, complete with a special lantern tour and souvenir photo, is Ruby Falls’ Valentine’s Day event. In the spring, Rock City invites families to experience Shamrock City, EarthDayz, and the Southern Blooms Festival. The Armed Forces Day Parade, which honors veterans and fallen war heroes, and Independence Day celebrations on the river are summer highlights.
Neighborhoods often celebrate their unique cultures, foods, and artists. The Southside’s Mainx24 is a 24-hour-long festival packed with parades, live music, cook-offs, fireworks, and more. At the annual Corgi Parade, residents and visitors gather in St. Elmo to greet costumed corgis and stroll through a variety of local vendors.
In nearby Bradley County, seasonal festivals like the International Cowpea Festival, Cleveland Apple Festival, and Halloween Block Party attract visitors with tasty treats and family fun. The Cherokee Cultural Celebration is held at Red Clay State Park, and downtown Cleveland’s Main Street Cruise-In occurs once a month from April through October.
(above) Chattanooga Zoo, photo courtesy of Chattanooga Zoo
423.697.1322 | chattzoo.org
The Chattanooga Zoo’s mission is to engage and inspire the community to better understand and preserve wildlife by creating meaningful connections between people and animals. In an effort to create these connections, the Chattanooga Zoo is open to the public daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. excluding Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Day. In addition, the zoo hosts numerous seasonal events throughout the year including Hug-a-Bunny Day, Q & Brew, and the Banana Ball. The zoo offers many different educational programming to all ages through Kits and Cubs, Zoo Camp, Senior Safari programs, and more.
THE CHATTANOOGA MARKET
First Tennessee Pavilion
423.648.2496 | chattanoogamarket.com
The region’s largest outdoor market features produce from regional farms and local food manufacturers, as well as handmade artistry at small town prices. Throughout the year, each Sunday Market features a theme in keeping with the season.
ROCK CITY GARDENS
706.820.2531 | 800.854.0675 | seerockcity.com
March features Shamrock City, celebrating Irish, Celtic, and Highlands culture, while April celebrates a different sort of green with EarthDayz. May hosts the Southern Blooms Festival and Founder’s Day celebration, while the summer brings birds of prey raptor shows during Summer Music Weekends. Fall celebrations begin with a corn maze and fall fun at Blowing Springs Farm, while German heritage is celebrated with Rocktoberfest in October. To celebrate the winter holidays, Rock City transforms into the Enchanted Garden of Lights from mid-November through the end of the year.
423.821.2544 | rubyfalls.com
There’s always something new to discover at Ruby Falls with events and tours year-round. Celebrate Valentine’s Day with a Romance at Ruby Lantern Tour, enjoy barbecue and live music at April’s Battle Below the Clouds, and take a magical journey to visit Santa at Christmas Underground in December. It’s been a favorite destination for 89 years!
SOUTHERN BELLE RIVERBOAT
423.266.4488 | chattanoogariverboat.com
The Southern Belle Riverboat offers many cruise options, including daily cruises, dining cruises, seasonal cruises, sightseeing cruises, and private cruises. Seasonal cruises include Valentine’s Dinner Cruise, Easter, Mother’s Day, Thanksgiving, ‘Tis the Season Luncheon, Christmas Carol Dinner, and New Year’s Eve on the River.
In March and April at the Tennessee Aquarium, kids enjoy spring break activities. September highlights include Serve & Protect sustainable seafood events. October features the month-long celebration ODDtober and the family-friendly Aqua-Scarium Halloween Party. In December, visitors are invited to enjoy Holidays Under the Peaks.
TENNESSEE VALLEY RAILROAD MUSEUM
423.894.8028 | tvrail.com
In addition to daily Missionary Ridge Local train rides, the Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum features several seasonal specials, including dinner trains throughout the year, Day Out with Thomas in April/May, excursions to Chickamauga and Summerville (Georgia), Railfest in September, Halloween Eerie Express in October, and the North Pole Limited during the holiday season. Additionally, Hiwassee River Rail Adventure trains run out of Etowah through the scenic Hiwassee River Gorge.
ERLANGER CHATTANOOGA MARATHON WEEKEND
423.765.8689 | erlangerchattanoogamarathon.com
A marathon, half marathon, team relay, 5K, kids’ fun run and EXPO make up the Erlanger Chattanooga Marathon Weekend. Start training today for this weekend of family fun!
THE MOTH BALL®
423.266.3440 | themothball.org
The Moth Ball is a night full of food, fun, and fashions for women in the greater Chattanooga area. This annual event also serves as a fundraiser, and each year the event benefits a different nonprofit in Hamilton County that supports women in need.
4 BRIDGES ARTS FESTIVAL
First Tennessee Pavilion
423.265.4282 | 4bridgesartsfestival.org
Produced by the Association for Visual Arts, 4BAF is a nationally recognized juried art festival that showcases over 120 national and international artists. The festival is an established conduit for connecting visual artists with avid art buyers and offers local food, live music, and kids’ art activities.
ARMED FORCES DAY PARADE
Chattanooga Area Veterans Council
The annual Armed Forces Day Parade features participants from military service units, area veterans groups, high school bands, patriotic organizations, and many others. Each year, the parade features a different service branch. The 2019 parade will feature the United States ARMY on May 3rd at 10:30 a.m. on Market St. beginning at MLK Blvd.
IRONMAN 70.3 CHATTANOOGA
IRONMAN 70.3 Chattanooga offers the perfect training opportunity for those getting ready for the September IRONMAN Triathlon, or a chance to race in one of the sport’s most welcoming race sites. It begins with a point-to-point swim, transitions into a bike course, and then ends with a two-loop run.
(above) Riverbend Festival, photo courtesy of Riverbend Festival
MEMORIAL DAY CELEBRATION
McCoy Farm & Gardens
423.280.0511 | mccoywalden.org
A true Memorial Day commemoration, this free celebration, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., includes a salute to the flag and veterans, the national anthem, picnic food for purchase, a children’s play area, local musical entertainment, and more.