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. 18, 2022 – Jan. 1, 2023. (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.
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THE ROCK CITY CHRISTMAS ENCHANTED REALMS
The Enchanted Garden of Lights features seven distinct realms, including one that’s new in 2022.
HEART OF THE MOUNTAIN
The Heart of the Mountain realm is new in 2022, 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.
For the first time, 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 awesome — 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 2022.)
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.
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! Pass through the Needle’s Eye, see the Nativity scene and Santa’s soldiers, visit Mushroom Rock, and enjoy exploring the Grand Corridor.
In Downtown Yule Town, you’ll find even more — including Santa Claus himself! Santa Claus visits his workshop every evening beginning at 5 p.m., and you and your children can pose for pictures with him after sharing your Christmas wish lists.
You’ll also find Santa’s Kitchen nearby, where you can enjoy a warm holiday meal.
You’ll find a couple of gift shops here too, including Woodland Wonders and the Garden’s Gateway Gift Shop. Both offer unique gifts and awesome Rock City souvenirs. The Fudge Kitchen is also a great place to visit for sweet treats.
NORTH POLE VILLAGE
The North Pole Village area takes you to one of the most recognizable spots at Rock City — the Christmas Star at Lover’s Leap. From here, you can see the city lights below, and it’s a just such a magical spot. You can’t miss it!
The lighted Gingerbread House is in this area too, along with Jerry, a live toy soldier who will interact with you.
You’ll find the Christmas Plaza here, where your child can make a stuffed animal and you can find holiday gifts. There are a couple of dining and snacking options here too, including Cafe 7 and Cliff Terrace.
NORTH POLE HIGHWAY
The North Pole Highway realm is full of amazing lights and lots of experiences too. Enjoy storytime with Mrs. Claus, cookie decorating, or visiting the Christmas Market here.
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!
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.
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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. Santa’s Workshop and Kitchen is open from 4:30 – 8pm (and 9pm Friday-Sunday).
Instead of the exclusive Dinner with Santa event they’ve offered on select nights in year’s past, this year they’ve turned Big Rock Grill into Santa’s Workshop and Kitchen. Every night, guests can have a seated meal and opt for photos with Santa in his workshop.
No reservations are required and seating is on a first-come, first-serve basis, with a pre-set menu. You’ll find items like salad, chicken casserole with sides, cheesecake, and kid-friendly items.
You’ll want to head to North Pole Lodge for hot cocoa, apple cider, coffee, or cappuccino. You’ll also find pretzels, bratwurst and chili here, if you’re looking for something more substantial.
Gingerbread Cookie Decorating is also offered 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. Warm up with delicious dining options like loaded potato soup or a pulled pork plate with mashed potatoes and three-cheese macaroni.
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 5 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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