15 Best Things To Do in Chattanooga, Tennessee

by Ketki Hanamshet Updated on 15 Oct 2018

Along the Tennessee River in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains, there is a scenic city named Chattanooga in southeastern Tennessee. For those who are looking for a perfect weekend destination, Chattanooga in the United States is the best choice. This seamless city is also an ideal location for romantic couples. Vibrant parks, historical monuments, delicious food options are the highlights of this wonderful city. The breath-taking views and natural wonders of this city have made it the top tourist destination in the United States. If you plan on visiting an amazing place to excite yourself during your holidays, we list you the top 15 places to visit in Chattanooga.

Let's explore these 15 best things to do in Chattanooga:

1. Look out for Lookout Mountain

Located along the southern border of Tennessee, Lookout Mountain is a mountain ridge which offers mesmerizing views of Chattanooga Valley. It is an ideal place to fully explore the beauty of spectacular landmarks of Chattanooga. America’s largest underground waterfall, Ruby Waterfalls can also be admired during this tour. This 145 foot tall cave waterfalls will amaze all its visitors with its unique rock formation and unparalleled magnificence. It is better is check the schedule before visiting this place, since there is always some activity organized in this spot.

2. See the sea in Tennessee Aquarium

Tennessee Aquarium features underwater species with more than 320 fish species. They exhibit both native and rare creatures. Giant catfish, freshwater stingrays, the largest arapaima, stunning jellyfish and cute otters are some of the attractive residents of Tennessee Aquarium. They preserve lots of remote species and save them from extinction. Many interactive shows are arranged in this aquarium to entertain its visitors during the visit.

3. Nature at its best in Raccoon Mountain Caverns

With more than five and a half miles passage, Raccoon Mountain Caverns is a paradise for adventure seekers. The waterfalls, canyons, tunnels & abundant fossils can be admired and awed during this expedition. Crystal Palace Tour can also be enjoyed in this spot. Popular activities carried out in this location include riding in a go-kart, going on ghost tours and gemstone panning, comforting campfire and adoring the splendid views of Lookout and Raccoon Mountains.

4. Make your kids creative in Creative Discovery Museum

Tourist attractions in ChattanoogaImage source: wikimedia.org

Creative Discovery Museum is a great place for people traveling with kids. Kids can walk around, build, learn, and innovate through playing equipment available in this museum. A wide range of programs such as art classes, storytelling, and science demonstrations is offered to motivate the kids. Fun activities like bringing a snake to the hall for the kids to study, excavating dinosaur bones in the sand, River Play, rocking in the music workshop and many more are arranged to amuse the kids.

5. Ride the River

River Gorge and Tennessee River are the two prominent rivers which will leave anyone awestruck with their ravishing beauty. Riding the river should be a must-do activity in Chattanooga since it is surrounded by most beautiful water bodies. There are many recreation centers in this city which can help the tourists in getting into the water. Tourists can charter a yacht, rent a speedboat, go rafting and do many more. Walnut Street Bridge is the longest bike and pedestrian bridge in the world which is located on the Tennessee River. This bridge is famous for its stupendous views it offers to the travelers.

6. Walk leisurely in Coolidge Park

Located from the Chickamauga Dam to the Southern Belle Riverboat, Coolidge Park is a pleasant 15-mile green beauty. This park is named after World War II Army veteran Charles Coolidge. To enjoy the perfect views of Tennessee River and Walnut Street Bridge, people visiting Chattanooga arrive at Coolidge Park. A 100-year-old carousel is a major attraction in this park along with various other rides and activities.

7. Enjoy art in Hunter Museum of American Art

Bluff View Art District in Chattanooga is usually crowded by the art admirers due to the presence of Hunter Museum of American Art. Located on the 24 meter structure offers great views of downtown Chattanooga landscape and the Tennessee River. Hudson River School contributes more works to this amazing museum along with the other modern and ancient arts.

8. Get a dose of Reflection Riding Arboretum & Nature Center

Reflection Riding Arboretum & Nature Center includes a large collection of flora and fauna. A butterfly garden, the Mollie Nelson Garden, and the Arboretum with plant species from Southeastern U.S are the proud inhabitants of this wonderful place. This center includes a library, a canoe training area, and many play areas to fascinate the guests.

9. Admire wildlife in Audubon Acres and Maclellan Island

An 18.8 acre of Audubon Acres and Maclellan Island perfectly sits in the middle of Tennessee River in Chattanooga. Featuring many types of plants and animals, Audubon Acres and Maclellan Island is the oldest wildlife sanctuary in Chattanooga. Besides this, more than 4 miles are dedicated to walking and hiking. Some parts of this Island can be accessed only through waterways.

10. Get thrilled in Southern Belle River Boat Cruise

Southern Belle River Boat Cruise can accommodate up to 450 passengers and travels around the Tennessee River to offer spectacular views of Chattanooga area. Located between the Oligiati and Market Street Bridges, the commuters can enjoy this cruise every day. This one and half hour cruise are quite famous among history buffs and nature lovers.

11. Travel back in history in Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum

Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum is founded while forming National Railway Historical Society in 1960 to protect historic steam engine trains. The rail line that is used for these trains has a legacy of historical value. The visitors are offered a ride through Missionary Ridge Tunnel daily and imparted with more knowledge on the history of trains.

12. Go shopping in Chattanooga Market

Any travel is not complete without shopping. Collecting souvenirs that are unique to the place is the best way to preserve the memories. Chattanooga Market is a lively shopping area with more than 300 vendors. Beautiful arts, attractive crafts, and fresh farmer’s produce can be bought in this lovely market. Many interactive weekend programs such as chef competitions, arts events and celebrations are set up in this market to entertain the visitors.

13. Explore Chattanooga Zoo

Chattanooga Zoo is a wonderful tourist attraction in Chattanooga which houses the world’s largest indoor red panda. This 13 acre zoo on Warner Park throws a charming spell on all its kid visitors with a wide range of indoor and outdoor animal exhibits. Hanuman langurs, snow leopards and chimpanzees are some of the eminent species which exist in this zoo. 

14. Have a drink in Tennessee Stillhouse

Tennessee Stillhouse marks the important landmark for whiskey lovers in Market Place in downtown Chattanooga. They process high quality barley, corn, and rye to produce the best local whiskey. This place is a lab as well as a museum. The visitors are offered a tour to taste different types of Chattanooga whiskey and learn about their preparation. 

15. Learn amazing things in High Point Climbing

High Point Climbing and Fitness Riverside is a training center for rock climbing. If you need practice on climbing rocks, this is a perfect place for you. This facility has a 10,000 square feet of rock climbing areas such as auto-belay walls, top ropes, and leading climbing which is equipped with all types of climbing tools. You can also take aerobic classes, weightlifting, and yoga sessions in this center.

Author: Ketki Hanamshet
Usually lost in a reverie, Ketki is someone who absolutely refuses to live in the practical world. While she has a bachelor's degree in Mechanical Engineering, she should be honored mastery in procrastination. If you see her slouching on a couch, ask...

Top-Rated Tourist Attractions in Chattanooga, Tennessee

Must see places in Chattanooga ranked on popularity. Here is the complete list of Chattanooga tourist attractions & points of interest.

  1. # 1 of 1126 Things To Do in Chattanooga | Added 1152 times in trip plans
    Tennessee Aquarium

    Tags: Aquarium

    Address: 1 Broad Street, Aquarium Plaza, Chattanooga,TN 37402

    Timings: 10:00 am - 06:00 pm Details

    Tennessee aquarium chattanooga is the largest freshwater aquarium of the world which houses more than 9000 creatures. Public chattanooga aquariumlocatedon the banks of the Tennessee River in...Read more

  2. # 2 of 1126 Things To Do in Chattanooga | Added 1119 times in trip plans
    Ruby Falls

    Tags: Water Body, Waterfall

    Address: 1720 South Scenic Hwy, Chattanooga, TN 37409

    Timings: 08:00 am - 08:00 pm Details

    Discover the majestic beauty of Chattanooga. Located within the Lookout Mountain, this thundering 145-foot waterfall with its sheer beauty has offered a thrilling experience for visitors for over eigh...Read more

  3. # 3 of 1126 Things To Do in Chattanooga | Added 1036 times in trip plans
    Chattanooga Choo Choo Hotel

    Tags: Hotel, Museum, Garden, Food And Drinks

    Address: 1400 Market St, Chattanooga, TN 37402, United States

    Timings: 24-hrs Details

    Opened in 1909, this Terminal Station turned Downtown Inn is a historical place to pay a visit. The inn includes hotel with contemporary rooms and suites, Victorian sleeper cars with train theme decor...Read more

  4. # 4 of 1126 Things To Do in Chattanooga | Added 1055 times in trip plans
    Walnut Street Bridge

    Tags: Bridge, Walking Area

    Address: Walnut Street, Chattanooga, TN 37403

    Timings: 24-hrs Details

    Built between 1884 and 1923, Walnut Street Bridge is considered as one of the excellent examples of the Phoenix wrought-iron truss bridge connecting the Downtown Chattanooga with the North Shore. Till...Read more

  5. # 5 of 1126 Things To Do in Chattanooga | Added 1075 times in trip plans
    Incline Railway Of The Lookout Mountain

    Tags: Entertainment, Train Ride

    Address: 827 East Brow Road, Chattanooga, TN 37350 (Top station); 3917 St. Elmo Avenue, Chattanooga, TN 37409 (Bottom Station)

    Timings: 09:00 am - 07:00 pm Details

    Wondering what is the most fun thing to do in Chattanooga? Aboard the incline’s trolley-style cars and take a tour through the scenic beauty of the historic Lookout Mountain, the surrounding mou...Read more

  6. # 6 of 1126 Things To Do in Chattanooga | Added 612 times in trip plans
    Chattanooga Zoo

    Tags: Zoo, Tourist Center

    Address: 301 North Holtzclaw Avenue, Chattanooga, TN 37404

    Timings: 09:00 am - 05:00 pm Details

    Do you wish to go for wildlife adventure? Come to the ‘wildest place’ of Chattanooga named Chattanooga Zoo where you can enjoy unlimited fun at a great price. The zoo lets you go up close ...Read more

  7. # 7 of 1126 Things To Do in Chattanooga | Added 650 times in trip plans
    Rock City Gardens

    Tags: Garden, View Point, Tourist Center

    Address: 1400 Patten Road, Lookout Mountain, GA 30750

    Timings: 08:30 am - 08:00 pm Details

    Rock city gardens located right at the top of the Lookout Mountain. ‘Created by God and enchanted by the man’, this is how this incomparable geological and botanical wonder is of...Read more

  8. # 8 of 1126 Things To Do in Chattanooga | Added 412 times in trip plans
    Southern Belle Riverboat Cruise

    Tags: Water Body, Waterfront, Food And Drinks, Entertainment

    Address: 201 Riverfront Parkway Pier 2, Chattanooga,TN 37402

    Timings: 08:00 am - 04:30 pm Details

    One of the best attractions of Chattanooga, Southern Belle Riverboat takes you on a cruise trip along the Tennessee River and at the same time lets you enjoy cozy lunch or dinner on the boat. Along wi...Read more

  9. # 9 of 1126 Things To Do in Chattanooga | Added 249 times in trip plans
    Lake Winnepesaukah

    Tags: Amusement Park, Entertainment, Lake

    Address: 1730 Lakeview Dr, Rossville, GA 30741, USA

    Timings: 10:00 am - 05:00 pm Details

    Lake Winnepesaukah Chattanooga also known as Lake Winnie. A great place to spend weekend afternoon with kids! Filled with many ‘wow’ factors, Lake winnepesaukah amusement park ha...Read more

  10. # 10 of 1126 Things To Do in Chattanooga | Added 532 times in trip plans
    Moon Pie General Store

    Tags: Specialty Shop

    Address: 429 Broad St, Chattanooga, Tennessee 37402

    Timings: 10:00 am - 08:00 pm Details

    Want to reminiscence your past memories? Come to MoonPie General Store where its retro look will make you feel nostalgic. It’s friendly ambience will remind your childhood days. The toys, candie...Read more

  11. # 11 of 1126 Things To Do in Chattanooga | Added 371 times in trip plans
    Chattanooga National Cemetery

    Tags: Cemetery

    Address: 1200 Bailey Ave, Chattanooga, TN 37403

    Timings: 06:00 am - 06:00 pm Details

    This 120 acre largest cemetery of Tennessee was built as a military cemetery in 1863. It was built to honor the Union soldiers who were killed during the battles around Chattanooga. It is said to be o...Read more

  12. # 12 of 1126 Things To Do in Chattanooga | Added 348 times in trip plans
    River Gorge Explorer

    Tags: Outdoors, Tourist Center, Cruise

    Address: Riverfront Parkway, Chattanooga Pier,Chattanooga, TN 37402

    River Gorge Explorer offer cruise trip on a sleek boat into the scenic Tennessee River Gorge from the Chattanooga riverfront. Guided by an Aquarium naturalist, the high-tech vessel will take you for a...Read more

  13. # 13 of 1126 Things To Do in Chattanooga | Added 189 times in trip plans
    International Towing And Recovery Museum

    Tags: Museum, Tourist Center, Specialty Museum

    Address: 3315 Broad St, Chattanooga, Tennessee 37408

    Timings: 09:00 am - 05:00 pm Details

    It is one of the most unique museums that offer information for everyone. The museum showcases the historical facts related to the towing and recovery. It houses two trucks and towing equipment dating...Read more

  14. # 14 of 1126 Things To Do in Chattanooga | Added 213 times in trip plans
    Reflection Riding Arboretum & Nature Center

    Tags: Outdoors, Trail, Park, Hiking Trail

    Address: 400 Garden Road, Chattanooga, TN 37403

    Timings: 01:00 pm - 05:00 pm Details

    Nestled at the foot of historic Lookout Mountain, this beautiful center covers an area of about 317 acres of land and house nearly 150 classified trees. Moreover, the stunning scenery around the cente...Read more

  15. # 15 of 1126 Things To Do in Chattanooga | Added 208 times in trip plans
    Tivoli Theatre

    Tags: Entertainment, Performance, Theatre, Tourist Center

    Address: 709 Broad Street, Chattanooga, TN 37402

    The center of Chattanooga’s cultural life is how Tivoli Theatre is often defined. From being a community showplace in 1920s to a theater in the 21st century, the Tivoli Theater has traveled a lo...Read more

Activities And Tours

Explore these activities and tours for awesome experiences in Chattanooga: