There is no Christmas Light Show better and more exciting for all ages that the Rock City Enchanted Garden of Lights that sits atop historic Lookout Mountain, Georgia. Rock City has been delighting visitors by beckoning them via ‘See Rock City’ painted in black and white signs on barn rooftops across the country since 1932. Today, the Enchanted Garden of Lights has been providing a light fantasy in the Fairyland Caverns for over sixteen years. Each year it simply gets better.
About Rock City in Northwest Georgia
Rock City was the brainchild of Garnet and Frieda Carter who fashioned a city for all to see out of what was described as Civil War soldiers as a citadel among the rocks, with natural avenues and roads. Frieda spent four years forging a path and marking off trails to the pinnacle and to Lover’s Leap. She also planted wildflowers and added gnomes and fairy sculptures due to her love of European folklore. Garnet, a renowned businessman and promoter, knew that people would pay to see the attraction. It was one of the few tourist sites to come out of the Great Depression.
Yet, the history is older. It was once inhabited for centuries by Native Americans and was a favorite of hikers and geologists both before and after the Civil War. Lookout Mountain was the site of the famous Civil War exchange known as the “Battle above the Clouds.” Lookout Mountain itself straddles both the state of Georgia and the state of Tennessee. The actual state line has been in dispute for over a century. The mountain is a rugged beauty whose peaks overlook the city of Chattanooga, Tennessee below.
Yet, while rugged, Lookout Mountain has been the address of some of the most wealthiest and prominent citizens of the area. Their mansions are perched among the cliffs and most definitely have a view. Central to the area is the Fairyland Club, an exclusive country club. Rock City is one of the area’s most beloved attractions. I began visiting it as a child and today I take my own children there. Spring is fun, but the Christmas Light Show is even better.
The Enchanted Garden of Lights at Rock City
From mid November until New Year’s Day, the mountain that tells of Cherokee folklore and of fairies comes alive under the twinkling lights of Rock City. There are over 30 holiday scenes in this nocturnal fairy fantasy land. All the lights now are completely LED. The walking path meanders around the park with one lighted surprise after another around every corner and crook, with a huge bright star illuminating Lover’s Leap. The view is almost beyond description, especially at night. The claims that one can view seven states from the pinnacle have been around since both Confederates and Union soldiers noted it in diaries and journals.
Nightly Live Entertainment at the Rock City Pavilion
The nights are chilly in December up high in the Georgia Mountains. Part of the price of admission includes nightly live musical entertainment and hot cocoa at the pavilion. Entertainers include local school choruses and orchestras, as well as mountain dulcimer performers and guitarists. This is a fun time to celebrate Christmas through music and song and is sure to delight the children.
Specials and Packages at Rock City on Lookout Mountain
Certainly look into the specials. One event includes a buffet dinner with Santa Claus where children’s Christmas favorites are to be found on the buffet including turkey and dressing, chicken fingers, macaroni and cheese and many other items. Children participating in this two-night only event receive a special voucher for gingerbread cookie decorating in the lodge and will also receive a special gift. Those attending the Dinner with Santa will also be the first allowed those nights onto the Enchanted Garden of Lights trail. Reservations are required and can be made via online or by phone. I would recommend making reservations early before the event fills up.
Starbucks Winter Weekends at Rock City
Starbucks now has a Starbucks Patio that is open at Rock City on Friday and Saturday nights during the Enchanted Garden of Lights event. From 5:30 pm until 9:30 each evening, guests to Rock City can sit by the fire and listen to local folk performers such as Mark Merriman and Rick Davis. Traditional holiday Starbucks drinks will be available including Peppermint Mocha, Gingerbread Latte, Eggnog Latte, Caramel Brulee Latte and Pumpkin Spice Latte.
How to Purchase Tickets for the Enchanted Garden of Lights
Tickets can be purchased either online or by telephone. There is group pricing available and can significantly cut down on costs on a group of fifteen or more. I have attended with a church group several times and this has always been a fun outing with other couples and their children. Tickets range in price from $10.00 for children to around $25.00 for adults depending on the options you choose. If you decide to choose to attend the Dinner with Santa in mid-December, tickets are $30.00 per person from ages 2 and up to adult.