Rock City is the perfect place to celebrate the holiday season with family and friends. Located on Lookout Mountain, right on the northwest Georgia-Tennessee line, Rock City is a magical place to visit anytime of the year — but is especially amazing during the Christmas holidays.
See Rock City decked out in thousands of Christmas lights, meet fun characters, grab a hot chocolate, and see Santa Claus too!
Ready to learn more about the Rock City Christmas event? Here’s everything you need to know about Rock City’s Enchanted Garden of Lights.
ROCK CITY CHRISTMAS: THE FACTS
This year, Rock City’s Enchanted Garden of Lights will be held from Nov. 17, 2023 – Jan. 6, 2024. (It will be closed on December 24.) Located just a quick drive away from Chattanooga, TN, this event has become a holiday favorite!
When we visited a couple years ago, 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.
The Enchanted Garden of Lights is a walk-through lights experience with several different realms to walk through and visit — each offering their own special adventures.
All guests must reserve an entry time in advance online, and tickets cannot be purchased at the door. Annual Passholders do not need reservations. Pricing for the Enchanted Garden of Lights is based on the date of your visit, and range anywhere from $19.95 to $31.95 for adults, and $9.95-$21.95 for kids 3-12.
Read More: See Rock City: Still Awesome After 90 Years
THE ROCK CITY CHRISTMAS ENCHANTED REALMS
The Enchanted Garden of Lights features seven distinct realms, each one offering something new and different. The journey begins through one of the world’s tallest walk-through lighted Christmas trees. From there, take the North Pole Highway to each of Rock City’s magical realms, including the colorful Arctic Kingdom, Heart of the Mountain and more!
HEART OF THE MOUNTAIN
The Heart of the Mountain realm was introduced last year, and features many Rock City favorites. Hike through Fat Man’s Squeeze while taking in the amazing lighting enhancements that feature both the traditional and creative.
In the Heart of the Mountain realm, you’ll see the Magic Underpass, Fairy Glen, Rainbow Bridge, Rainbow Hall, City Lights, Lovers Leap, the Christmas Star, Rainbow Overpass, and the Hall of the Mountain King: the Hidden Troll, Glow Steps, Heart of the Mountain Falls, and the Waterfall Stairs.
Experience Lover’s Leap; the High Falls; and the Christmas Star on the observation deck, at night!
The Magic Forest has the trees lighting up to the music! It’s so fun and neat to see.
You can also walk through the center of a 40-foot Christmas tree and into a 40-foot-long walk through archway tunnel filled with lights!
Magic Forest features a Light Tunnel, Dancing Forest, 40′ Walk-thru tree, Spring Holiday Flowers, Dancing Canopy, and Glitter Lights.
The Arctic Kingdom was one of our favorite realms when we visited — the kids met Jack Frost and Inara the Enchanted Garden of Lights Ice Queen when we went, and we also got to check out a super cute polar bear area. (There’s no word yet on if Jack Frost or Inara the Ice Queen will be back in 2023.)
The Arctic Kingdom is filled with the traditional icy blue and white, but immersed with the addition of aquamarine and purple creating a design reminiscent of the Aurora Borealis lights. This year, they’ll have new igloos so you can bundle up!
You’ll experience Blizzard’s Pass, Penguins, Arctic Deck, and Glacier Cove here.
The Yule Town area had so many fun lights for the kids!
Gaze in wonder at Lover’s Leap and the Christmas Star; marvel at the city lights below. Warm up with gourmet hot chocolate at Café 7 and enjoy interacting with Jerry the live toy soldier. Make sure to stop for a photo at the gingerbread house!
This area features the Christmas Star, City Lights, Gingerbread House, Café 7, Cliff Terrace, and Jerry the live Toy Soldier.
Make your way to North Pole Village. Stop by Santa’s Workshop and Kitchen to see Santa & Mrs. Claus to enjoy a warm holiday dinner and decorate a gingerbread cookie. Spend time holiday shopping for unique Rock City gifts. Then, journey down Grand Corridor to be whisked away to the joys of Christmases gone by.
In North Pole Village you’ll find Santa & Mrs. Claus, Grand Corridor, Doves in Flight, Toy Land, Sledding Snowman, Packaging Elves, Santa’s Toy Soldiers, and American Flags.
NORTH POLE HIGHWAY
The North Pole Highway realm is full of amazing lights and lots of experiences too.
Make sure to get your photo taken at the Grand Entryway before enjoying the Nativity Light Show. Walk down Candy Cane Lane and see the amazing lights along the way!
Can’t-miss adventures here include the Grand Entryway with Photos, Nativity Light Show, North Pole Lodge, the Christmas Market and walk through a 40 foot Christmas tree!
No visit to Rock City is complete without a visit to the Fairyland Caverns! The caverns cannot be missed by my kids when we visit.
Experience this nostalgic portion of the Enchanted Trail and try to figure out all the fairytales represented here. You’ll find a gift shop here too.
FOOD AND SNACKS AT ROCK CITY
There are plenty of places at the Enchanted Garden of Lights event to find full meals, snacks, cookies, hot cocoa, and more. The following spots will be open from 4:30pm – 10pm on weekdays, and open until 11pm Fridays-Sundays.
- Santa’s Workshop and Kitchen at Big Rock Grill is where you’ll find offerings like hamburgers, chicken fingers, chicken sandwiches, hot dogs, and more for a quick bite. They’ll also have delicious House-Made Hot Cocoa, Apple Cider, Coffee, or Cappuccino.
Instead of the exclusive Dinner with Santa event they’ve offered on select nights in year’s past, this year they’re offering Gingerbread Cookie Decorating with Mrs. Claus here.
- Cafe 7 offers red and white mulled wine, Poinsettias (think Mimosa but made with cranberry juice), hot apple cider and eggnog, regional craft beers and domestics on tap. A variety of small bites also available nightly.
- You can find delicious snacks at Cliff Terrace. Funnel cake and fried cookie dough (!!), hot drinks, pizza, hot dogs, and other snacks are available here.
TIPS FOR VISITING THE ROCK CITY ENCHANTED LIGHTS
Overall, I thought the Rock City Enchanted 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.
This year, they have timed entry and limited capacity per night, so they anticipate crowds to be more evenly divided among most days. Tickets are only available online and they recommend purchasing your tickets early for best availability.
This year the Enchanted Garden of Lights will be open from 4:30 p.m. to 9 p.m., and open until 10 p.m. on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday nights.
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 front carrier, 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.
WHERE TO STAY NEAR ROCK CITY
MORE INFORMATION FOR HOLIDAY FUN IN GEORGIA
- CHRISTMAS TRAIN RIDES: 23 Spectacular Train Rides in Georgia and the Southeast
- CHRISTMAS EVENTS: Your Guide To Only The Very Best Christmas Events In Atlanta
- CHRISTMAS LIGHTS: 27+ Sparkling Christmas Light Displays in Atlanta
- CHRISTMAS TREES: 17+ Unforgettable Christmas Tree Farms in Atlanta You’ll Adore
- ICE SKATING: Avalon Ice Skating Rink: Festive Holiday Skating in Alpharetta
- RUBY FALLS: A Breathtaking Natural Wonder In Chattanooga You’ve Got To See
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