2017 // Annual Events


Did You Know?
The Chattanooga Convention & Visitors Bureau has a mobile app, Chattanooga Fun, that will keep you updated on all the events year – round.



The Chattanooga area has something for everyone— the calendar is jam-packed with events year-round for people of all ages. Nationally and internationally renowned sporting events, music festivals, and a film festival, along with cultural, regional, and neighborhood events fill the calendars of locals and visitors alike. Athletes from all around the world attend sporting events and enjoy first-hand the beautiful weather, Southern hospitality, and spirit of volunteerism the city possesses. Chattanooga is the only city in the world to host four IRONMAN events—IRONMAN (September), IRONMAN 70.3 (May), and both men’s and women’s IRONMAN 70.3 World Championship (September). The Chattanooga Marathon (full, half, and other races) is held in March and draws participants from across the U.S.

In October, world-class and amateur athletes take part in RiverRocks, two weeks of outdoor recreation and games. The competitions include rock climbing, kayaking, river swims, mountain biking, and trail running. Family and beginner events are also held to encourage people of all skill levels to get out and have fun.

The Head of the Hooch, one of the world’s largest rowing regattas, takes place in November and draws 6,000 participants. More than 10,000 spectators line the riverfront and Walnut Street Bridge to watch more than 2,000 boats race by.

Music lovers are entertained year-round. Riverbend, Chattanooga’s largest outdoor music festival, draws as many as 600,000 people each June and features everything from bona-fide superstars to bands on the rise. Downtown’s Miller Plaza hosts the Nightfall Concert Series every Friday, which runs from the beginning of May to the end of August. Admission is free, as it is for Riverfront Nights, a Saturday night music series on the banks of the Tennessee River. Pops on the River is a free concert by the Chattanooga Symphony and Opera held each July in Coolidge Park. Rock City Gardens also hosts a weekend music series during the summer.   In October, and now for over 10 years, the popular 3 Sisters Bluegrass Festival is held. The Chattanooga Symphony & Opera hold over 30 concerts each season and bring in world-renowneded performers to the Tivoli and the Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Auditorium.

For movie buffs, the four-day Chattanooga Film Festival brings regional, national, and student films to our city each spring. Fifty features and 100 shorts are expected to be enjoyed by more than 10,000 guests at the 2017 Chattanooga Film Festival.

Throughout the year, residents and visitors alike enjoy festivities and celebrations at seasonal and cultural events. In the summer, the Armed Forces Day parade celebrates our veterans and fallen war heroes, closely followed by Independence Day celebrations and fireworks on the river. ln the fall, the Chattanooga Market and Rock City Gardens both celebrate Oktoberfest with German food, beer, music, and more. The Tennessee Aquarium transforms into Aqua-Scarium, and Ruby Falls’ Haunted Caverns is a fall favorite. The winter brings Rock City’s Enchanted Garden of Lights, Ruby Falls Christmas Underground, Tennessee Valley Railroad’s North Pole Limited, and the Chattanooga Zoo’s Holiday Lights. Ruby Falls celebrates Romance at Ruby for Valentine’s Day. In the spring, Rock City transforms into Shamrock City to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day and hosts Fairytale Nights to celebrate the magic of stories. Other spring events include EarthDayz and Southern Blooms Festival.

Neighborhoods celebrate their unique local cultures, foods, and more. Hodgepodge, Signal Mountain’s arts and crafts event, is an annual favorite. On the Southside, the December Mainx24 is a weekend event packed with parades, parties, music, and more.

Bradley County also holds seasonal events, including the Cowpea Festival and Cleveland Apple Festival each fall, the Blue Springs Valley Singing and Cherokee Heritage Festival each summer, and Main Street Cruise-In once a  month from April to October.

Year-Round Events

423.697.1322 | chattzoo.org

The Chattanooga Zoo is committed to educating our community and promoting the conservation and preservation of wildlife. In addition to regular viewing hours throughout the year, the zoo is host to a number of popular seasonal events, including Spirits in the Wild in the springtime, Hug a Bunny Day to celebrate Easter, a summer barbecue, Q & Brew, the zoo’s single largest fundraiser, the Banana Ball, Boo in the Zoo in October, and Holiday Lights in December.

First Tennessee Pavilion
Late April through November
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.

706.820.2531 | 800.854.0675 | seerockcity.com

March features Shamrock City, celebrating Irish, Celtic, and Highlands culture, while April brings the eco-friendly EarthDayz. March and April also bring Fairytale Nights, where girls and boys become princesses and knights. May hosts the Southern Blooms Festival, while the summer at Rock City brings Rock City Raptor shows and Summer Music Weekends. October at Rock City features Rocktoberfest celebrating German heritage, and in mid-November through December, Rock City transforms into the Enchanted Garden of Lights.

423.821.2544 | rubyfalls.com

Ruby Falls celebrates Romance at Ruby in February with an intimate night-time lantern tour. The venue also hosts Foto at the Falls and Extended Cavern tours for those who want extra time for photography. Guests are invited to the nationally ranked Haunted Cavern in October. Other holiday events include Ruby Falls Christmas Underground.

Pier 2 At The Landing, 3rd Deck Burger Bar

Cruise the Tennessee River aboard the Southern Belle Riverboat!  Whether you choose a relaxing lunch, Informative Sightseeing Cruise, or a Fabulous Dinner Cruise with Live Entertainment, you are sure to experience Southern Hospitality! Plan a Holiday with the Crew! Valentine’s Dinner Cruise, Easter, Mother’s Day, Thanksgiving, ‘tis the Season Luncheon, Christmas Carol Dinner, New Year’s Eve on the River. We’ve got you covered throughout the year. Fall Foliage is incredible from a River Point of View! Pier 2 – featuring the Grand Chandelier Deck and The 3rd Deck Burger Bar – is right on the Tennessee River so the scene is dramatic, stationary so guests may come and go, and elegant or casual, you decide. Special events, weddings, reunions, showers, birthdays, casual or formal, all hassle-free! Let us help you plan your next event – you and your guests will cherish the memories!

423.265.0695 | 800.262.0695
tnaqua.org | app: tnaqua.org/app

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.

423.894.8028 | tvrail.com

In addition to daily Missionary Ridge Local train rides, the Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum features several seasonal specials, including a variety of 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 on many dates.

Spring Events

Erlanger CHATTANOOGA MARATHON Presented By BlueCross BlueShield of TN
Downtown Chattanooga
March 3-5
(423) 765-8689 | chattanoogamarathon.com

A marathon, half marathon, team relay, Classic 150 5K, and a kid’s fun run make up a weekend of family fun at the Erlanger Chattanooga Marathon. Designed by local runners, the marathon route is designed to showcase the city’s neighborhoods, such as St. Elmo, the Southside, and Riverview.

First Tennessee Pavilion
April 21-23 (preview party April 21)
423.265.4282 | 4bridgesartsfestival.org

For more than 17 years, the 4 Bridges Arts Festival has presented 150 of the nation’s finest artists along with local food, live music, and kids’ art activities.

Downtown Chattanooga
May 5
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 2017 parade will feature the United States Air Force.

Sunbelt Bakery IRONMAN 70.3 CHATTANOOGA Presented By McKee Foods
Downtown Chattanooga
May 21

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.

Summer Events

March through September
423.648.2496 | chattanoogarivermarket.com

The River Market features local artists, craftsmen, and artisans offering handmade goods who are directly involved in the creation of their products. It also features musical performances by local and touring artists.

Miller Plaza
First Friday in May – Last Friday in August
423.265.0771 | nightfallchattanooga.com

This free summer concert series, celebrating its 30th season in 2017, features an eclectic mix of music by national and international talent with local opening acts. Food, beer, and concessions are available during the event. In March, the “Road to Nightfall” events will feature local bands competing to win one headline spot in the Nightfall series.

Downtown Waterfront
June 9-17
423.756.2211 | riverbendfestival.com

Celebrating 36 years, this award-winning eight-day music festival features five stages and more than 100 bands representing various genres of music. Admission can be purchased online.

Coolidge Park
July 3
423.265.0771 | chattanoogapops.com

Celebrate Independence Day under the stars at Coolidge Park while enjoying the Chattanooga Symphony & Opera’s annual patriotic concert and fireworks.

Ross’s Landing
303.664.4022 | southernbrewersfestival.org

For over 20 years, Big River Grille & Brewing Works has presented the Southern Brewers Festival, an annual event benefiting the CraftWorks Foundation and Chattanooga Kids on the Block. More than 50 breweries gather on the downtown Chattanooga riverfront for a day of handcrafted brews, local food trucks, musical acts, and fun.

Fall Events

Chester Frost Park
423.209.6030 | hamiltontn.gov/fair

The residents of Hamilton County host a county fair in the grandest tradition. The fair features music, games, country crafts, livestock, rides, and more at Dallas Island in Chester Frost Park.

Local Chattanooga Galleries
423.265.4282 | avarts.org/gallery-hop

Art enthusiasts can discover intriguing artwork and meet local artists during this free gallery tour of downtown Chattanooga. An event brochure outlines participating galleries, directions, and activities for easy touring.

September 9 & 10

The natural scenery, mild climate, and Southern charm makes Chattanooga the ideal place for the 1.2-mile swim, 56 mile bike course, and 13.1 mile run course that makes up the IRONMAN triathlon. 4,500 international athletes from around the world will be traveling to Chattanooga, Tennessee, to participate in this World Championship.

Little Debbie IRONMAN CHATTANOOGA Presented By McKee Foods
September 24

The natural scenery, mild climate, and Southern charm makes Chattanooga the ideal place for the 2.4-mile swim, 116 mile bike course, and 26.2 mile run course that makes up the IRONMAN triathlon. The 2017 IRONMAN Chat-tanooga offers 40 qualifying slots for the 2018 IRONMAN World Championship.

First Tennessee Pavilion
423.697.3204 | chattanoogamarket.com

Celebrate Chattanooga’s rich cultural diversity at Culture Fest, a free event featuring multicultural performances, colorful booths, multicultural kids’ activities, and food representing cultures from around the world. The event will be held from 11 a.m. until 4 p.m.

First Tennessee Pavilion
423.648.2496 | chattanoogaoktoberfest.com

Chattanooga’s oldest and largest Oktoberfest celebration includes an array of German traditions including Oktoberfest foods and a bier garten with more than eight dozen local and seasonal craft brews. Special events include an Oktoberfest 5k Run, Polka party, and Mr. and Ms. Oktoberfest Crowning.

Events held throughout Chattanooga area
October 1-15 | riverrockschattanooga.com

RiverRocks celebrates the natural resources of the Chattanooga area with two weeks of outdoor recreation opportunities for enthusiasts of all ages and skill levels.

Ross’s Landing
October 6 & 7
423.265.0771 | 3sistersbluegrass.com

This free two-day event features bluegrass music performed by local, regional, and national bluegrass artists on a stage overlooking the Tennessee River.

The Tennessee River
November 4 & 5
470.225.8206| headofthehooch.org

The Head of the Hooch is the second largest regatta in the country. Chattanooga has now been home to this event for more than 10 years, attracting more than 180 teams racing 2,100 boats in 85 events down the Tennessee River. The event draws more than 10,000 spectators annually.

Winter Events

Southside Mainx24
Main Street, Downtown Chattanooga
December 3 | mainx24.com

The Southside hosts its annual MAINx24, a 24- hour-long festival along the Main Street corridor showcasing local businesses and featuring neighborhood parties, as well as the EPB Southside Holiday Parade from 10:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.

Chattanooga Convention Center
Saturdays and Sundays in December
423.648.2496 | holiday.chattanoogamarket.com

The Holiday Market will feature more than 200 vendors featuring handmade original works perfect for the gift giving season. Shoppers will enjoy the festive environment with holiday music, tasty samplings, and artisan finds.