Chattanooga, Tennessee, is a city that deserves a spot on your list of places to visit. It’s the 4th largest city in Tennessee, making it a convenient weekend trip from many parts of the United States. Travels to Chattanooga and hotel stays are very reasonably priced.
Chattanooga may not be a large city, but it certainly doesn’t lack amazing things to do. Whether you come for a weekend or an extended stay, you can pack your days with exciting activities or keep it low-key with some laid-back outings.
So, if you find yourself in Chattanooga, what should you do? Start by adding these 15 activities to your must-do list.
15. Walk the Walnut Street Bridge
The Walnut Street Bridge is the world’s longest pedestrian bridge. It stretches from downtown Chattanooga to the North Shore. Walkers will enjoy fabulous views of the river and city. The Walnut Street Bridge is open 24/7 year-round. It’s also pet-friendly.
The bridge initially operated for more than 87 years as a highway bridge before being closed in 1978. It sat dormant for years until it was renewed and renovated into the bridge home to many events throughout the year. The Walnut Street Bridge also provides easy pedestrian access to several parks, the aquarium, Tennessee River Walk, and several North Shore hotspots.
14. Drink Some Tennessee Whiskey
(image via Chattanooga Whiskey)
Chattanooga Whiskey is an experimental distillery that offers an amazing experience for whiskey enthusiasts. If you are looking for something you can’t find at your local package store, arrange a one-hour tour and tasting. You’ll enjoy a flight of whiskey at the end and can pick up something to take home in the bottle shop.
13. See a Historic Civil War Site
History buffs shouldn’t miss the chance to visit Point Park Battlefield. This is the historic site of a three-day battle widely considered to be the turning point of the Civil War. The Point Park Battlefield is now a National Park with guided tours, multimedia presentations, and outdoor activities.
12. Visit the Tennessee Aquarium
(image via Tennessee Aquarium)
Chattanooga is home to a world-class aquarium. The Tennessee Aquarium and I-Max theater showcase fish, reptiles, amphibians, mammals, butterflies, and more. Visitors can experience local aquatic life, otters, even sharks and coral from far-off places. Check out the River Journey to see the animals that may be lurking in the nearby Tennessee River. Don’t miss the Ocean Journey to see rays, a reef, even jellyfish.
11. Ride the Chattanooga Ducks
Take a ride down the Tennessee River on a renovated, amphibious Duck Boat from WWII. The Duck Boat starts on land with a tour of several points of interest. Then, you’ll enjoy the once-in-a-lifetime experience of driving into the Tennessee River for a stunning tour with views of downtown and other sites.
10. Tour the Creative Discovery Museum
The Creative Discovery Museum is one of Chattanooga’s highest-rated attractions for families and children. It is full of exciting exhibits, including a rooftop garden, Make it Gallery, Lookout Tower, Barsamian Sculpture, even a honey bee exhibit.
9. Watch a Minor League Baseball Game
Every baseball fan should experience a minor league baseball game. The Chattanooga Lookouts are the double-A affiliates for the Cincinnati Reds, and they play at AT&T field. This is perfect if you love baseball and want to experience a game in a more intimate setting.
8. Climb Lookout Mountain
So many of Chattanooga’s outdoor activities center around Lookout Mountain. If you’ve never climbed a mountain before, it’s five miles to the top hiking up Bluff Trail. That’s perfect for beginners. Would you rather experience Lookout Mountain in other ways? Choose from any of the following sites and activities: Ruby Falls, Rock City Gardens, the Incline Railway, cycling, and hiking.
Check the events calendar for other exciting things to do.
7. Roam the Bluff View Art District
(image via Bluff View Art District)
If you have a day to explore, make plans to visit the Bluff View Art District. This family-owned historic neighborhood is home to gardens, restaurants, a coffee shop, gardens, courtyards, and an art gallery. All of this is set on the bluffs high above the Tennessee River. Bring your camera to capture some stunning views.
6. Explore the Raccoon Mountain Caverns
(image via Raccoon Mountain Caverns)
Raccoon Mountain Caverns feature more than five miles of passageways, natural rock formations, and it’s ready for you to explore. The Crystal Palace walking tour is perfect for families and people of all ages. This event covers the first ¼ mile of the cave and a guide full of interesting information about the cave’s history and geology. Bring a camera. You might see salamanders, bats, or ancient fossils.
Raccoon Mountain Caverns are a part of a complex that includes a campground, RV Pak, and other activities. If caves are a bit too claustrophobic, try panning for gemstones or simply enjoy family time around the fire.
5. Indulge at the Chattanooga Moon Pie General Store
(images via MoonPie General Store)
Have you been to the South if you haven’t experienced a Moon Pie with a bottle of RC Cola on the side? Of course not! Take an hour or so to visit the Chattanooga Moon Pie General Store. You will find the namesake treat, a variety of retro candy, all kinds of merch, even Moon Pie coffee.
4. Ride a Riverboat
The beautiful Tennessee River is immeasurably important to the history of Chattanooga, and you can experience it on the Chattanooga Riverboat Company’s Southern Belle. This riverboat cruises the river multiple times a day, carrying up to 450 passengers at a time. Enjoy a sightseeing tour during the day with lunch and live narration. If you prefer something a bit more romantic, hit up an evening cruise with dinner, music, and dancing.
3. Visit the Chattanooga Zoo
(image via Chattanooga Zoo)
The Chattanooga Zoo is home to more than 500 animals and 200 species. Even better, the zoo is designed for families to experience it at their own pace. It’s stroller-friendly and has activities for people of all ages. Check out venomous snakes, or ride a camel. The zoo is also convenient to downtown, so you can finish your visit and head into the heart of the city to hit an amazing restaurant.
2. Spend a Day as a Foodie
(images via Aretha Frankensteins and Visit Chattanooga)
If you think the South is all about grits, biscuits, and fried food, you may be in for a surprise. Chattanooga is home to a wide selection of restaurants, diners, cafes, and other hotspots that suit various tastes and preferences.
Are you interested in traditional Southern cuisine that is also local, sustainable, and perfectly executed? Try Public House for a romantic wine pairing experience or a satisfying family meal.
If you prefer kitsch to fine dining, you can’t miss Aretha Frankensteins. This is a breakfast joint in a converted house that is perfect for pancake lovers. It’s also perfect for anyone who likes pancakes and eggs with a side of ice-cold domestic beer.
Take a tour of the Chattanooga River Market to enjoy both local music and local food. If you plan on enjoying some of the city’s gorgeous outdoor attractions, this is the perfect place to gather everything you need for a picnic.
1. Take a Haunted Tour
If you are fascinated by the paranormal, look up Chattanooga Ghost Tours. They offer haunted house enthusiasts a selection of tours to choose from, including a haunted history tour and a real ghost hunt. The second option involves all of the cool equipment you see on ghost hunting TV shows. Choose the most exciting experience your nerves can handle! Be aware that tour options are subject to change.
As you can see, Chattanooga has a lot to offer everyone. If you are looking to do more in the surrounding area, check out other weekend trips from nearby Chattanooga, Tennessee.
These areas are perfect for a quick day trip or a long weekend getaway. Explore our favorite things to do or peruse some pre-built itineraries.