Have you ever been to Chattanooga? Do you have an idea about the top things to do in Chattanooga?
If not, don’t fret. We have got your back! Here I will provide you with a detailed description of the top things to do in Chattanooga.
Chattanooga, the Gateway to Tennessee, is the scenic city of the south. It is nestled in the southeast corner of Tennessee along the Georgia border.
From outdoor adventures in the Mountains and water adventures on the Tennessee River, to bustling restaurants, thriving arts, and history scene- there are a lot of amazing things to do in Chattanooga.
Read this article to know all about the top things to do in Chattanooga.
It is located at a convenient distance from Nashville and the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
The Chattanooga airport is present in the city, but you won’t get a lot of international flights directly from here. The Atlanta International Airport is within 100 miles.
One important note is that Chattanooga is not a flat city. It is along the side of a hill, and there will be a lot of walking. So be sure to wear comfortable shoes. Also, it is a bicycle-friendly city.
Best time to visit Chattanooga
Though Chattanooga is a unique place which attracts tourists all year round, the fall (September- November) is indeed the best time of the year. During this time of the year, you will find a cold temperature along with colorful foliage.
Top things to do in Chattanooga
1. Pay a visit to the Tennessee Aquarium
This Is probably the most popular tourist attraction and one of the top things to do in Chattanooga.
The nation’s largest freshwater aquarium has been repeatedly voted as number one by tourists in terms of customer satisfaction and for good reasons too. It is a beautiful aquarium and probably one of the best in the country. It also has a wide variety of saltwater species.
However, it can be pretty expensive to go in there. But I do highly recommend visiting it. It will cost a family of four 100-120 dollars, depending on the age of the kids.
Tip: There is always a big crowd at the ticket counter. Try buying the tickets online so that you don’t need to face the crowd. The aquarium opens at 10 am.
As soon as you go in, you will find an escalator that takes you to the top. The aquarium is designed in such a way that you go all the way up to the top, and there is a one-way path down to the bottom. You cannot start from the bottom and go to the top.
Don’t miss the playful otters while you are there. They are active during the morning!
2. Take a stroll on the Walnut Street Pedestrian Bridge and explore the North Shore.
If you’re staying in one of the hotels downtowns, near the aquarium, there is a walking bridge, which is a 13-mile paved river-walk that connects the hub with the North shore. So if you’re staying downtown, you can walk across the Walnut Street pedestrian bridge to get to the North Shore.
The bridge itself isn’t a tourist attraction, but it feels good to walk along with it as it provides a good view. The sunrise is also magnificent here. One of the top things to do in Chattanooga is clicking a sunset picture on that bridge. Here if you come early in the morning, you will find a lot of joggers.
I think The North Shore is the cooler part of downtown. The North Shore has little more funky shops and boutiques. Not a lot of tourists go there, but it is the right place for locals along with some good restaurants and bars.
So I think the North Shore is worth checking out.
3. Restaurants, Bars, and Beer!
Tourists mainly hang out on the south side. Most of them tend to stay near the aquarium and not getting very far from it. The truth is none of the restaurants near the aquarium or in the heart of downtown are not that good.
If you want good food, you have to go a little bit farther (not real far away). The North Shore or some of the higher numbered streets have some of, the better restaurants.
Sipping Tennessee Whiskey in a local bar playing country music is one of the top things to do in Chattanooga.
The Main St. Or the 15th street on the south side needs to be mentioned. Some pretty good bars are located here where you can play ping pong or go bowling! MLK Boulevard, which is just east of downtown, has a lot of fancy restaurants.
Hutton and Smith are two of the best microbreweries in town located opposite to each other. There is also a lot of wine tasting and beer tasting events always going on in the city. Wizards beer festival is one such Harry Potter themed beer tasting event, which also happens to be one of the top things to do in Chattanooga, this October. Also, don’t forget to taste the famous Adult Butterscotch Beer while you are there!
4. Chattanooga has a vibrant fine arts and culture scene!
One of the top things to do in Chattanooga is to experience some fantastic art.
Public Art Chattanooga ( A government initiative) has taken up the responsibility of enriching the community with a variety of public art, which also makes it a good experience for the tourists.
River Gallery deserves a special mention too. Wandering around the River Gallery Sculpture Garden is one of the top things to do in Chattanooga. It is this beautiful outdoor space of nearly two acres with a view of the Tennessee River. The thing about Chattanooga’s art is that you don’t need to be an artsy person or an art enthusiast, even the people who don’t understand art will enjoy some of this city’s modern and fun artwork.
5. Visit Iconic Lookout Mountain
One of the top things to do in Chattanooga is to take an exciting ride to the top of the Lookout Mountain in The Incline railway.
First, check out the Ruby Falls, which is a massive underground waterfall that’s been popular with visitors for over 85 years. Ruby Falls is something that you will remember for a long time. It is the tallest and the deepest underground waterfall. Take the elevator down 26 floors, and there you will find a lot of tour guides who will take you along and explain a lot of things. There is a light show going on while you see the waterfall to the ground right in front of you. It is indeed a beautiful scene and one of the top things to do in Chattanooga.
Then take a ride on the Incline Railway, and see “America’s Most Amazing Mile.”
From the top, check out the awe-inspiring views of the Tennessee River and historical landmarks at the Chickamauga Chattanooga National Military Park Unit, part of the oldest and largest of America’s Civil War Parks. Don’t forget to check out the Point Park inside. It has a seven dollar ticket. The New York Peace Monument is inside this Point Park. While on the Lookout Mountain, there are three specific photogenic points.
The first is Ochs Memorial Observatory, located at Point Park, but the only downside is that the park closes early so you won’t be able to catch the sunset from this point.
The second is Sunset Rock, located on the east side of the mountain. This is a tourist favorite, so there might be a bit of a crowd.
The photogenic third place is on top of the mountain just down the road from the Hang Gliding building. It is a peaceful location and a fantastic spot for enjoying a calm sunset.
6. Explore the Rock City
Exploring the infamous Rock City is one of the top things to do in Chattanooga.
Take a stroll through their award-winning rock garden. Click pictures at their swinging bridges and watch your foot while going through the narrow crevasses. Don’t forget to compliment the beautiful garden gnomes.
Look down at the Lover’s Leap and see the seven southern states. Have lunch at one of the small restaurants in Rock City, and don’t forget to catch the sunset. Experiencing the evening here is one of the top things to do in Chattanooga.
7. Sculpture Fields
This isn’t exactly one of the top things to do in Chattanooga, and you won’t find this in a visitor’s guide. It is an area along the Main St where there used to be a factory. The factory was torn down. Instead of leaving an empty field like that, they decided to take some of the old industrial steel girders and turn them into industrial sculptures.
It is a pretty cool place if you want to spend an hour and click a few pictures for your Instagram!
8. Don’t forget the Lake Winnie Amusement Park
A visit to this amusement park is not only for the kids but also for adults. They have all different kinds of rides and is probably one of the most enjoyed amusement parks on the south side.
One of the top things to do in Chattanooga and a once in a lifetime experience- one must take this chance. The Chattanooga Balloon Company provides these rides which give you a mind-blowing view of the Tennessee River, Appalachian Mountains, and Cumberland Plateau. Don’t worry about risks as the service provider takes all the safety precautions.
According to you, what are some of the top things to do in Chattanooga? Let us know!
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An ardent daydreamer who also happens to be an engineering student, Utsa is an enthusiast for trying new things and going to new places. She likes to explore food, travel, and lifestyle and then give her views and suggestions through her articles. She likes to learn and have fun with trying new. She provides her readers with the best content possible for helping them find what they want.