Located atop the scenic Lookout Mountain, Rock City’s Enchanted Garden of Lights is a 23-year tradition not to be missed for families or grown ups alike. The tour route, which differs slightly from the daytime route, begins at the original 1932 Gatehouse. Visitors then travel through four distinct sections. You can choose from the prescribed route or hop from section to section via the North Pole Highway.
We began our journey along the recommended route with a journey through the Magic Forest, featuring new lights for the 2017 season. Next up was a walk through the Fairyland Caverns and Mother Goose Village. These attractions are enhanced by the colorful holiday lights but may be uncomfortable for the more claustrophobic visitors. After enjoying a tight squeeze through the Needle’s Eye we reached the blue hued Arctic Kingdom. Wave hello to the penguins on your way to the activity packed North Pole Village.
The North Pole Village may be familiar to visitors as the location for the “See Seven States” overlook and Cafe 7. Make sure to stop by the cafe for some hot chocolate, or, for me, mulled wine. Children’s activities atop the mountain include a picture with Santa, Gingerbread Cookie Decorating, and Reindeer Corn (which I took to be kettle corn). From the North Pole Village it’s just a short cruise back down the North Pole Highway to the exit.
I first tried to visit on a Saturday night around 7 pm. There was a three-mile line of cars to even reach the parking lot. When visiting on a Monday night about the same time I was able to find parking in the upper lot with very little trouble. You should be aware, though, that this is an extremely popular attraction. Waiting in line should be expected especially through the Fairyland Caverns and Needle’s Eye, as they are tighter spaces and cause a bit of a bottleneck.
Pricing for the weekend is slightly higher than during the week. These “Premier Nights” are prone to long lines and parking issues, the Rock City website recommends visitors plan on visiting during the week. The gates open at 5:30 pm, however, certain sections are only made available at 6 pm. The last tickets are sold around 9 pm but this may be expanded based on the number of visitors waiting. If you’re looking to avoid lines, go close to closing.
I’d recommend eating before you go, or even before traveling up to Lookout Mountain. There are a number of good eateries in the neighborhood of St. Elmo located at the base of the mountain. There is also a Starbucks directly across from the entrance and warm drinks are allowed to be brought into the park.
If You Go
Rock City is located at 1400 Patten Road, Lookout Mountain, Georgia 30750, right across the border from downtown Chattanooga. Enchanted Garden of Lights operates from mid-November to the beginning of January. There are several ADA compliant sections and dogs are allowed to be brought through. Weekday Pricing is $19.95 for adults and $11.95 for children, while weekends are $22.95 and $12.95, respectively.
Thanks to Rock City for hosting us for Enchanted Garden of Lights.