Locating on the Southeastern side of Tennessee and along the Tennessee River, Chattanooga is one of the best cities to visit in the USA. Also, there are tons of enjoyable things to do in Chattanooga because it is filled with mountains, rivers, art, history, delicious food, and wonderful atmosphere.
So, here are the best things to do in Chattanooga to add to your bucket list.
20 Best things to do in Chattanooga
Tour Around River Park in Chattanooga
Tennessee River Park is the most highlighted place in Chattanooga. Bordering to the Tennessee River, this park gives you interesting experiences combined with stunning nature and entrepreneurship. So, you can enjoy many fun and interesting activities.
Aside from the beauty of nature, you can see many industrious people like fishermen and other sellers in this impressive complex. Also, there are many eye-catching art displays as well.
From 6 am to 11 pm, you can tour around this 10 miles long park and feel the beauty, lifestyle, and nature of Chattanooga. Actually, this park is ideal to explore more about the city.
Take a Ride on the Tennessee River
After visiting the Tennessee River Park, you can take a boat ride on the Tennessee River. Actually, it is hard to avoid a boat ride when you are in Chattanooga. And, it is worth it because it offers plenty of gorgeous sceneries around the city.
There are many yachts, party boats, speed boats, rafts, and ferries like options to rent on the shore. I suggest you join with Southern Belle Riverboat Cruise to get the best river cruise experience.
Trust me, it is the best impression of this Chattanooga.
Tour around the City Chattanooga
Well, it is not over. There are so many things to see around this amazing city. Even after a park tour and river cruise, you can tour around the city to explore more.
Since there are well-developed facilities in this city, you can select any travel way to tour around the city. Like: bus, Segway, or by walking. And I suggest you take a Segway tour. Try this link.
You will discover so many impressive things in this city and will get a chance to find new friends as well.
Suggested Reading: 70 things to do in Seattle, Washington
Take a Ghost Tour
Do you believe in ghosts? or do you like horror movies? Well, I don’t believe it. But, still, I recommend you to take this Ghost Tour in Chattanooga.
This is also another option to tour around the city. But, this tour is a combination of chills and thrills. The company Chattanooga Ghost Tours has a huge reputation for handling ghost tours around the downtown of the city. And they are in the list of top 10 ghost tours in the USA.
Also, they claim that you can see or talk to ghosts and spirits in this 2 hours tour. So, it will be unique and delightful for your family, kids, and friends.
Taste Awesome Whiskey
Not only Chattanooga, but the whole of Tennessee is famous for drinks like whiskey. The most appropriate place to taste one of the best whiskey brands in the world is Jack Daniels in Chattanooga. And this is the oldest registered distillery in the USA.
There you will see the process of making high-quality whiskey. The way machines work, how the ingredients added, and finally, taste a glass of whiskey.
The tours in this place are categorized into several packages. They are The Dry Country Tour, The Angel’s Share, and The Flight of Jack Daniel’s Tour. You can get more information and book tours from the above link.
Do not miss this thing to do in Chattanooga.
Climb Stunning Lookout Mountain in Chattanooga
Lookout Mountain is my favorite place in Chattanooga because it is such a great combination of nature and beautiful scenery. Yes, it offers one of the best sceneries in Tennessee.
Locating 2389 feet above the sea level, it spreads on some parts of Georgia and Alabama as well. Aside from the nice sceneries of the area, there are some other wonderful things as well.
Just imagine, a stunning 145 feet waterfall falls through a cave in a place 2389 feet above the sea level. It definitely should be a mesmerizing destination. Therefore millions of tourists and locals attract here annually. And the waterfall is Ruby Falls.
You can go inside the cave and see how it falls through it. I felt like it is artificial. But, we have to accept as it is the amaze of Mother Nature. This cave is the deepest commercial cave in the world. Also, this is the largest underground waterfall in the USA.
So, that means, you can observe Ruby Falls inside the cave as well as outside. However, both views are Instagrammable.
Adventures around Lookout
After watching the falls, you can get some adventure experiences with your family as well. For example, High Point Zip Adventure. It offers you to get vertical and horizontal ziplining through bridges, ladders, and other stuff. Other than ziplining, you can kayak, boat, or paddleboard ride in this area.
On the other hand, there’s another waterfall at Rock City as well.
Visit Chickamauga & Chattanooga National Park
The trail to reach Lookout Point is also interesting with various beautiful landscapes and views. And you should know this heavenly beautiful place is located inside the Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park. Therefore, you are getting a chance to know about civil war history as well.
Both of these parks shows the major highlights of the American Civil War and military history. They are opening from 8.30 am to 5 pm. And to know more details click the above link.
Click the above link to know about Lookout Mountain, Ruby Falls, Incline Railway, and Rock City.
Visit Chattanooga Zoo
Chattanooga Zoo is ideal to visit with kids. And the specialty of this zoo is, it contains a lot of animal species both natives of the area and non-natives. They care about the animals and treat them with absolute love and hospitality.
This zoo was first opened in 1937 and since then it has increased the pool of species more than 200. Like monkeys, big cats, bobcats, marmosets, and many more. Aside from observing animals, this zoo offers some enjoyable activities as well. For example, “Frogwatch USA”.
Just let your inner zoologist come out as the zoo is opened in the whole week from 9 am to 5 pm. And the tickets are around $10. So, this one of the cheapest and best things to do in Chattanooga.
Walk on the Walnut Street Bridge
Walnut Street Bridge is one of the top attractions in Chattanooga. Being the longest pedestrian bridge (2376 feet) in the world, it was built in 1891. And it gives nice city views over the marvelous structural integrity.
This bridge connects the Tennessee River’s north shore with the Downtown Chattanooga. Don’t worry the walk on this bridge is not boring. Aside from the stunning views of the city, you can enjoy some events that happen on it as well. For example wine tasting events on the weekends.
Suggested Reading: 20 Things to do in Interlaken in Switzerland
Take a Hike in Audubon Acres
Audubon Acres offers a great chance for you to experience the stunning nature in the state. And the specialty of this natural place is it has convenient features. For example, it has multiple easy and scenic hiking trails for more than 5 miles. So, this is very famous among hikers.
As I said to you earlier the trails are scenic and easy because Audubon Acres stretches for 130 acres along the South Chickamauga Creek. Therefore you can notice a variety of fauna and flora while experiencing the natural beauty.
(This place is ideal to visit with kids as well)
Aside from Sunday, the trails are open from 9 am to 5 pm. On Sundays, it opens from 1 pm to 5 pm. If you need to get more information about Audubon Acres just visit its visitor center or click the above link. Especially, it has an archeological museum as well.
Visit Tennessee Aquarium
Tennessee Aquarium is the largest freshwater containing aquarium in the world. Locating Downtown, it was around 20 years ago.
It has two parts of freshwater and saltwater. And it shows different sorts of sea creatures with various features. Like sharks, penguins, stingrays.
Also, it offers good educational programs that explain about these marine lives. “Aquarium Adventures: Life in the Swamps” such a great program.
The aquarium is open from 10 am to 6 pm on all seven days of the week and the entrance fee is around $35 for adults while around $20 for kids.
So, you should not miss this place when you are in Chattanooga.
Visit the Art District in Chattanooga
The Art District is an easily accessible place from Downtown. And it contains both impressive arts and restaurants. So, you can tour around the area to see artworks and have delicious food.
Actually, the real name of this small neighborhood is “The Bluff View Art District“. Although it is a small area, it is filled with plenty of artistic things to do. (visiting the River Gallery, take Segway and bike tours, have delicious food)
Explore Raccoon Mountain
Raccoon Mountain Caverns is located a little away from the city center. This is a mapped cave system with more than 5 miles and offers you a lot of adventures.
This stunning cave system is ideal to visit by the whole family because it shows you the beauty of the underground world. And the companies like Wild Cave Expedition and Crystal Palace Tour offer you great tours to get experience in the best way.
If you love to spend more time in the underworld caves, there are chances of camping as well. So, book your campsites through the above link.
Visit the Creative Discovery Museum in Chattanooga
Visiting the Creative Discovery Museum is one of the best things to do with kids in Chattanooga. Because this museum has created a platform for the kids who are curious about all the novel things around them. They can explore special things by playing and learning.
Art, music, science, technology, and history like subjects are covered. And since the museum is located in Downtown, it is easy to visit with kids.
The theme of the museum is “To inspire all children to explore, innovate, create and play”. That means they focus on enhancing the knowledge and skills of kids. Dinosaur Train and Big Pond are some highlighted items in the museum.
The entrance fee for kids is around $12 and for adults, it is around $15. Check the above link to know more.
Suggested Reading: Best Things to do in Atlanta, Georgia
Visit Coolidge Park
Being on the top of the list of tourist attractions in Chattanooga, Coolidge Park is located under the world-famous Walnut Street Bridge. That means along the Tennessee River (15 miles long).
This park provides access to the bridge through marvelous recreational surroundings. Flowers, splashing water fountains, garden chairs, green grasslands are the highlighted things in Coolidge park. After touring the city this place is ideal to relax with your family and friends.
The park is opened from 7 am to 11 pm.
Visit Hunter Museum of American Art
After visiting the Bluff View Art District, if you still feel to explore more arts, then visit the Hunter Museum of American Art.
Opened in 1952, this museum includes any kind of artwork done by American artists. Such as Milton Avery, Daud Akhriev, and Jennifer Bartlet. So, you can definitely grab a great cultural experience when you visit the Hunter Museum of American Art.
The museum opens at different times each day. So, please check the above link. (Mostly it opens at 10 am).
Visit Reflection Riding Arboretum and Nature Center
Do you like to know more about flora or plants in Southeastern US? here’s the chance for that. Just visit Reflection Riding and Arboretum Center.
There, you will find tons of plan species, wild animals, birds, and reptiles. Within the 14 miles of trail, it offers you to experience a well-preserved nature with those creatures.
Red wolves, bald eagles, butterflies, stunning flowers, unique trees, and many botanical features are available in this 317 acres nature center.
On the other hand, you can canoe on Lookout Creek after sightseeing nature.
The admission fee is around $10 and it normally opens at 9.30 am on weekdays while on weekends at 11 am. However, it closes at 6.30 pm.
Visit Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum
Having a history of 50 years, Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum offers you a chance to travel in historical vintage trains. Not only vintage, but it also offers any kind of train rides according to your choice.
For example Dinner on the Dinner rides, Wine Dinner Train rides, Hiwassee Loop rides. And these rides may take from 55 minutes to nine hours. Isn’t these rides are ideal for a special birthday, anniversary, or engagement celebrations? Yes, most of the people do it wonderfully.
As there are plenty of things to see on these rides, you should try the Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum when you are in Chattanooga. Book tickets through the above link.
Visit the International Towing and Recovery Museum
Well, here’s the chance for you to discover more about different towing trucks and the world of towing. Actually, it shows you the amazing evolution of the world of towing.
Starting from vintage tow trucks, you can see the modern ones as well through real vehicles, photos, and videos.
International Towing and Recovery Museum was opened in 1995. And still, it is open from 9 am to 5 pm on weekdays and Saturdays. But, on Sundays, it opens at 11 am.
12 Things to do in Chattanooga with Kids
Apart from the above mentioned enjoyable things, just add these to your bucket list with kids.
Hike Sunset Rock with Kids
Sunset Rock offers one of the best viewpoints in the city. And most importantly, it is an ideal destination to hike with kids as it is not a challenging trail. But, since there are no fences, be careful with your kids. On the other hand, since there are no fences, you can enjoy the stunning views without any barrier.
Just type as Sunset Rock on Google Map, you can easily find the location in the Lookout Mountain area. Or click the above link to know more.
Visit Blue Skies
Blue Skies is a fascinating small shop that anyone can buy gifts, souvenirs, or anything. Books, home decors, toys, and stunning handcrafted jewelry like items. So, it is a good place to visit with kids and let them buy anything as the items are not expensive.
Visit the Hot Chocolatier
Kids always love to eat chocolates. Even we also love to eat chocolates. So, I can’t see any other place to eat chocolates in Chattanooga than The Hot Chocolatier. Locating nearby the Hotel Choo Choo, it offers plenty of hot chocolate flavors.
Homemade artisan chocolates, imaginative hot chocolate flavors, coffee drinks, like things are included in their menus. So, kids will definitely love this place.
Take a Chattanooga Ducks Tour
Another essential thing you should do with kids is taking a boat ride. Chattanooga Ducks are the ideal and safe boat ride providers in the city. So, I can highly recommend them. Ride on the Tennessee River and reach Mclellan Island will be a different experience for your kids for sure.
The tours normally take around one hour. And you have to catch the boats at 503 Market. For more information, just visit the above link.
Visit IMAX 3D Theater
Watching a 3D movie with kids is the next best thing to do. IMAX 3D Theater is the best place in Chattanooga as it has the latest movies with the latest technology. They cast various films hourly and most of the films are 45 minutes long. So, no need to stay for hours to watch the climax.
Kids will love to watch short movies. Just after visiting the aquarium, you can visit this place (right across the road).
Suggested Reading: Jaco Beach, Costa Rica: Travel Guide
Visit Clumpies in Chattanooga
Ice cream always makes the day of a kid wonderful. Clumpsies in Chattanooga is such a place that sells delicious and unique ice creams. It will prove that if you visit here in the summer as the line extends to out the door. Southside salted caramel and strawberry brownie balsamic are more highlighted.
You can easily find Clumpsies on Chattanooga’s North Shore, St Elmo.
Take a Ride on Incline Railway
Incline Railway is a funicular railway and it is known as “America’s Most Amazing Mile”. So, here you are getting the chance ride trolly like cabins up to the Lookout Mountain. As it is one of the steepest railways in the world, it reaches an incline of 72.7%.
So, definitely, you can see amazing views once you reach the top. Do not forget to get some Instagramable photos before heading back down.
Have Fun at Cardboard Hill
This greasy Cardboard Hill is located in the Renaissance Park on the North Shore. Due to its greasy feature, everyone can enjoy boardslide from the top of this small hill. When you visit 100 Manufacturer’s Road, you can easily find this hill with a lot of enjoyable visitors.
Do not forget to bring cardboard or plastic sleds. Kids will surely enjoy this fun activity in Chattanooga.
Visit Lula Lake Land Trust
Lula Lake Land Trust is a privately owned land with a lot of natural wonders. For example, it has two stunning waterfalls. But, keep in mind, this place opens only twice a month (on the first and last weekends of the month).
All you have to do is to check the above link before planning the tour. Once you reach the place, do not forget to get a map before starting the hike. And I must tell you that both trails to waterfalls are easy even for kids.
You can enter this park free of charge. But, they ask for a $15 donation per car at the parking lot. And I highly suggest you visit this destination on your Chattanooga tour.
Visit Locals Only Souvenir Shop
Another great souvenir shop in Chattanooga is Locals Only. Locating just next to Chattanooga Chocolatier, Locals Only offers the coolest options for kids as well as adults. Like Chattanooga signs, ball caps, t-shirts, gift boxes, and any kind of product produced by the locals in this city.
Visit Bleu Fox Cheese Shop
We all know that kids love cheese. Well, in Chattanooga I don’t see any other place to taste various cheese types rather than Bleu Fox Cheese Shop. Yes, it offers various types of tasty cheese and allows you to taste them before purchase.
So, just visit this place and make your kids feel happy.
Shop at the Refindery
The Refindery is a unique and rare place with amazing antique items. And the most important thing is, those items are very attractive and affordable. I can guarantee that you will definitely buy something once you visit this place. So, just give it a try.
Suggested Reading: Cabo San Lucas Beaches in Mexico
10 Fun things to do in Chattanooga
Climbing at High Point Gym
As I said to you earlier, Chattanooga is a great destination for hikers. But, before getting the real hiking experience, you can try and practice it in a gym specifically made for hikers. High Point Gym in Chattanooga is made for mountain climbers. So, you can try different climbing levels and height up to 60 feet.
You can check your fitness level before the hike and improve it as they offer the exact climate (mountains and rock climbing). It has both indoor and outdoor climbing facilities. And the climbing walls are so enjoyable and fascinating.
If you are expecting to go for a hike or become a professional hiker, then High Point Gym is a great place for you. And it is one of the largest fitness centers in the country as well.
The most important feature of this kind of fitness center is you can practice climbing in any weather condition and at any time of the day. (On weekdays from 12 pm to 10 pm and on weekends from 10 am to 8 pm).
Participate in a Baseball Game in Chattanooga
Watching a baseball game in the summer or spring is one of the best things to do in Chattanooga, Tennessee. Yes, this is a real American city with tasty food, hospitality, and baseball games.
Chattanooga Lookouts is the city team and it plays connecting with the team Minnesota Twins. So, I suggest you watch a match at AT&T Field. And it is not expensive. On the other hand, there is no much crowd. So, you can watch the game freely while having a tasty hot dog.
Grab Adventures in Chattanooga
Chattanooga is a city filled with adventures. Like skydiving, and hot air ballooning.
Chattanooga Balloon Company provides aviation opportunities to get stunning aerial views of the city. Isn’t this the most enjoyable thing to do in this city.
The balloon will take you over Tennessee River, skyscrapers of the city, parks, bridges, and trees to offer you spectacular views.
Another adventure to grab in this city is sky diving. For me, it was the most adrenaline rushing activity and Chattanooga Sky Diving Company offers the best opportunity to grab the adventure.
Just imagine the way you see the Tennessee River Gorge and Lookout Mountain from the air with numerous adventure feelings.
Do not hesitate to catch this experience as this company is safe and has a huge reputation.
So, if you need more information, get it from the links above.
Visit Gallery 1401
Gallery 1401 in downtown is another great opportunity in this city to explore creative artworks. As it hosts any kind of art, you can see a huge variation.
For example, it contains the artworks of Eve Plumb, Henry Lepetit, and Jon Davenport like artists. Since it was opened in 1950, it has some old artworks, paintings, sculptures, and photographs as well.
So, if you are an artistic person or love arts, Gallery 1401 is an unavoidable experience. It normally opens from 11 am to 5 pm every day except on Mondays and Sundays.
Suggested Reading: Things to do in Birmingham: Travel Guide
Shop at Chattanooga Market
Visiting Chattanooga Market is one of the best fun activities to do. Because it has hundreds of vendors with different items that were made by themselves.
So, you can shop for high-quality products from this market as these vendors are very artistic and genuine. And the market opens generally from April to December in every year (11 am to 4 am).
Visit JJ’s Bohemia
What is JJ’s Bohemia? It is a great musical institute that follows the bohemian culture. So, you can catch the many musical shows of the upcoming Nashville rock bands. That means you can enjoy the night or evening with your friends.
Not only musical shows, but JJ’s Bohemia also offers comedy events, performing arts, and open mic events. Therefore I suggest you not to miss this place.
Have Burgers in Tremont Tavern
Well, Tremont Tavern is a famous bar among tourists and locals. But, this place is more famous for its big, greasy burgers. So, while having delicious food, you can drink the best beer in Chattanooga.
Trust me, these burgers have unforgettable tastes along with famous drinks.
Visit Oddstory Brewing Co.
Another favorite brewing company in the city is Oddstory Brewing Co. Because it offers the best beer snobs to locals as well as tourists.
If you visit Oddstory Brewing Co., you can have fun with music performances while drinking the best beer.
Visit the Comedy Catch
Locating on 1400 Market Street in Chattanooga Comedy Catch is one of the funniest places to visit. Because it features the best comedy shows by the best comedians in the world since 1985.
You can see the well-known comedians that feature in Netflix, Comedy Central, HBO, and The Tonight Show in Comedy Catch.
And normally more than 100 participants participate in these Comedy Catch shows. On the other hand, after experiencing the laugh out loud comedies, you can have delicious food or drinks in the “Back Stage” bar.
Check the upcoming events and shows through the above link.
Visit Classic Arcade Pinball Museum
Another fun activity that you can enjoy in Chattanooga is playing in Classic Arcade Pinball Museum. Locating in 409 Broad Street, Downtown Chattanooga, this place offers you to play pinball games in various ways. So, if you have some additional time on your tour or love to play games, just visit this place as well.
Visit the Songbirds Guitar Museum
Locating on 35 Station Street in Chattanooga, Songbirds Guitar Museum offers you a chance to experience music instruments with educational programs, preserving music history, and hosting events. So, this is one of the best places to learn music by emerging artists in the world.
To know all the events and programs click the above link.