The southern Tennesse jewel of Chattanooga sits between the Appalachian Mountains and the Cumberland Plateau. It’s home to incredible natural beauty, breathtaking scenic landscapes, and an exciting riverfront full of incredible things to see eat, and do. Thanks to its beautiful downtown riverfront area, the city has earned national recognition for its renaissance and redevelopment.
Whether you are visiting the area for its outdoor opportunities, delicious southern cooking, or lively waterfront scene, Chattanooga is a fabulous place to visit. The city is loaded with fun things to do, making it almost impossible to ever be bored. From indulging in history at the various museums in the city, or enjoying the natural beauty and hiking trails, Chattanooga has something for everyone.
Things to do in Chattanooga
Get to know Chattanooga, Tennessee:
Here are 15 of the best and most fun things to do in Chattanooga.
Visit the Chattanooga Choo Choo
Chattanooga first became a famous destination thanks to the Glenn Miller song, Chattanooga Choo Choo. The original Chattanooga Choo Choo Hotel opened in 1973 and was built inside an old Terminal Station in 1909. Station Street, the hotel’s locals, is full of lively nightlife, bars, shops, and restaurants to explore and a visit to the infamous Chattanooga Choo Choo.
Explore the Tennesse Valley Railroad Museum
The Tennesse Valley Railroad Museum is perfect for those who love trains and vintage railway history. It’s a great experience for the whole family and a fun adventure for those of all ages. Besides the museum, visitors can choose from a 1-hour train ride on the Missionary Ridge Local, a dinner ride, or history buffs can indulge in knowledge on a 6-hour historical tour.
Wander Through the Chattanooga Murals
The downtown region of Chattanooga is full of colorful and impressive murals scattered around the city. It’s even home to the largest mural in the Southeastern United States, “We will not be Satisfied.” Its 42,000 square feet in size and is located between MLK BLD and King Houston Street. Whether you choose to walk or drive, you’ll be delighted will enjoyable artwork in every direction.
Go on a Food Tour
Tennesse is home to some delicious southern-style cooking traditions. From biscuits to grits, to deep-fried everything, there’s a lot to taste and discover in Chattanooga. Spend a day jumping around trying different recipes and dishes at some of the most beloved places in the area such as Southern Star, Public House, Maple Street Biscuit Company, and Screen Door Kitchen.
Walk the Walnut Street Bridge
Walnut Bridge connects North Chattanooga and downtown Chattanooga. Closed for vehicle traffic in 1978, it was reopened to pedestrians in the 1990s and was added to the National Register of Historic Places. It’s one of the longest pedestrian bridges in the world at about half a mile and is a great way to see the city from another perspective.
Stroll the Tennesse River Walk
The Tennesse River Walk is one of the most popular attractions in Chattanooga. For 16 miles, stroll along the majestic Tennesse River and watch the sunset, people watch, or sightsee and enjoy the view. Various cafes, markets, and boutiques can be found in various spots along the walk, in addition to local activities and events.
Take a Chattanooga Riverboat Cruise
The Southern Belle Riverboat offers various riverboat cruise opportunities along the Chattanooga River. Whether you are looking to enjoy a romantic night out, an exciting night with friends, or just looking for a new perspective of the city, opt to take a riverboat cruise along the river. There are options for lunch and sightseeing cruises during the day, dinner and sunset cruises at night, and various holiday events throughout the year.
Spend the Day at Chickamauga Lake
Chickamauga Lake is a reservoir along the Tennesee River. It is 60 miles long and a fabulous place to spend an afternoon exploring the outdoors. Bring along your fishing pole for fishing opportunities, and those who enjoy being on the water can indulge in kayaking and canoeing rentals. If you want to bring your own boat or jet ski, or relax on the water, everything is possible.
Relax at Greenway Farm and Dog Park
Greenway Farm and Dog Park sit along the North Chickamauga Creek in Chattanooga. Besides relaxing and pet-friendly, the farm offers hiking and biking trails, kayak and canoe rentals to enjoy the Chickamauga Creek. For those of you who enjoy Ornithology, it’s a great place for bird watching.
Chattanooga and the surrounding areas provide ample hiking opportunities. Immerse yourself in nature and escape the action of downtown while enjoying the fresh air and gorgeous natural scenery. Some of the best hiking experiences in Chattanooga are Snoopers Rock Trail at Prentice Copper State Park, Sunset Rock, and Laurel Falls.
Brewery Hop Downtown
Chattanooga is full of breweries for those who enjoy a cold drink every now and then. Spend an afternoon downtown hopping around all the local breweries and taste-testing various craft beer specialties. Whether you prefer ales or shandies, there’s bound to be an option for each and every taste bud.
Have a Picnic at Renaissance Park
Renaissance Park sits on the North Shore of Chattanooga. The park is surrounded by nature, and full of hiking trails to explore. It’s an ideal place to relax, enjoy the breeze, or indulge in a delicious lunch picnic. Keep an eye out for the “Ascending Path,” sculpture also located in Renaissance Park.
Tour Raccoon Mountain Taverns
The Raccoon Mountain Taverns are home to breathtaking crystallized rock formations. The first quarter mile of the cave system is naturally decorated with beautiful crystalized rock towers and formations hanging from the ceiling. If you want even more adventure, the Wild cave Expedition tour takes you deeper into the cave system, squeezing and discovering the grandest of places.
Gander at Ruby Falls
Ruby Falls is one of the world’s most fascinating cave waterfalls. Located in the deepest commercial caverns in the country, the Ruby Falls is 145 feet tall underneath the cavern’s incredible rock formations. Visitors can marvel at the Chattanooga Valley in the summer months while soaring on a 700-foot zipline.
Enjoy the View from Lookout Mountain
Finally, enjoy the stunning mountainous views from Lookout Mountain. Sitting along the southern border of Tennessee, Lookout Mountain showcases the majestic natural beauty of the area and incredible panoramic views of the Chattanooga Valley. It is one of the most popular locations in Chattanooga and is definitely a stop that shouldn’t be skipped over.
We hope you have enjoyed this guide to 15 of the best things to do in Chattanooga, and that you refer back here before your next exciting getaway!