My family visited Rock City Christmas near Lookout Mountain at the Enchanted Garden of Lights , and it was a blast! It’s something I had wanted to do for awhile, but we just hadn’t made it during our busy holiday season before. I’m so happy we made the time! It was a really fantastic time for all of us, here’s a little of what you can expect.
My favorite thing about this Christmas adventure was that it felt like there was so much to do, but it wasn’t overwhelming at all. And new for 2018, over a million lights, and the world’s largest walk-through Christmas tree!
There were four distinct areas to visit (and you could choose which order you visited them), and there were quite a few Christmas characters to meet! It was so well done and themed, and all of the “elves” who worked there were so friendly and helpful. We adored the activities on North Pole Highway, and seeing Jack Frost and Inara the Ice Queen in the Arctic Kingdom!
The Rock City Christmas Lights Trails
The Magic Forest was my favorite trail — but it was also the coldest! So cold and windy up there, but so beautiful and fun. The man behind me put it best when he said, “I think they should consider doing this in the Spring.” Ha! The Magic Forest had the trees lighting up to the music, and then we also continued on through to the Fairyland Caverns and Mother Goose Village — which are my kids’ favorite parts of Rock City during the rest of the year, so I was happy it was still open for this!
The Arctic Kingdom was awesome — the kids met Jack Frost and Inara the Enchanted Garden of Lights Ice Queen, and we also got to check out a super cute polar bear area (they were pretend, but looked so real).
The Yule Town area had so many fun lights for the kids! And this is where you’ll find the famous Needle’s Eye. Can you make it through? (Another famous squeeze is the Fat Man’s Squeeze, but that is closed during the Enchanted Garden Lights event.)
The North Pole Village was where you could meet and get your picture taken with the big man himself — Santa Claus! We didn’t do this, but it looked really well organized and was in a nice, warm building.
The North Pole Village is also where the famous Lover’s Leap area is, and seeing the gigantic star up there was amazing. Our kids also met Mrs. Claus and a giant elf, sipped on hot cocoa, made Gingerbread cookies in the North Pole lodge(for an additional fee), and warmed up while listening to a local choir sing. Such a good time!
While you’re in the area, don’t miss Christmas Underground with the Ruby Falls Classic Waterfall Tour! New for 2019: See the Joystone Express model train chug through the charming, snow-capped replica of Ruby Falls Village and Joystone City, then stroll through Joystone City’s Main Street with whimsical additions decked out in holiday splendor.
TreeTops Winter Lodge, a new addition to Ruby Falls last holiday season, will return Saturdays and Sundays in December featuring a tasty selection of holiday treats and hot cocoa. Relax in the holiday-themed Lodge with table seating or gather around the fireplace enjoying views of the Cumberland Plateau and share a heartfelt holiday wish on the Christmas Wish Tree.
Tips for Visiting the Rock City Enchanted Lights
Overall, I thought the Rock City Garden of Lights was really well done, and we loved visiting Rock City at night. It was chilly the night we were there, but I felt like there were plenty of indoor areas to take a break from the cold.
We went on a weekday right at 6 p.m., and I felt like that was a good time to be there with our young ones. We were able to see everything we wanted to, and we spent a good amount of time there, but I could see it getting busier by the time we left around 8 p.m. New in 2018, select realms begin to open at 4:00pm.
Rock City Gardens is a natural wonder, with lots of different levels. You are walking established paths, but they are often uneven. Due to this, the attraction is not stroller friendly, so if you have little ones be sure to bring a backpack or be prepared to hold your little one when they are done walking.
If you live in the area, you might want to consider a VIP annual pass which gives you unlimited entry to Rock City Gardens, as well as the Rock City Christmas Lights.
Dinner with Santa Amid the Rock City Lights
You’ve probably heard of breakfast with Santa, but at Rock City Enchanted Lights, you can have dinner with the big man in red, and your meal comes with admission to the Rock City Lights.
This is available on select nights and includes extras like VIP access to the characters, a voucher for the gingerbread cookie decorating, and of course a photo with Santa. This is an extra ticket, but a fun add on for little ones.
Unfortunately, this special event is sold out for 2018. Here’s an insider tip for next Christmas – start checking on www.seerockcity.com/lights as early as August of 2019 for available dates!
In closing, Rock City Christmas was beautiful and fun, and really got us in the spirit of the holidays. Inara the Ice Queen was one of my favorites. And if you need further evidence that we had the best time, my son said he “used his biggest smile” for our family photo there – we are definitely adding this as a family tradition. Ha! Happy Holidays, y’all!
Disclosure: Thank you to Rock City for offering complimentary tickets. Opinions here are all our own.
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After 18 years in software development, Lesli bailed on the corporate scene. When she’s not traveling, she’s hiking in the mountains or checking out Atlanta’s culinary scene, whiskey in hand.
Lesli has two kiddos -Cooper and Elliot- plus two bonus kids currently at UGA, and she’s happily married to her soul mate.
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