Chattanooga is amongst the largest cities in Tennessee and offers historic attractions, museums, nightlife, fine dining, parks, and outdoor adventures to thrill holidaymakers visiting this vibrant town. On your trip to this city, you can head for museums dedicated to local history and American artwork, climb scenic and historic lookouts, visit an aquarium, or go spelunking.

    From the Rock City Gardens to the iconic and famed Chattanooga Choo Choo, discover the 10 best things to do in Chattanooga on your holiday.

    1

    Hunter Museum of American Art

    See panoramic views and historic artwork

    • Families
    • History

    The Hunter Museum of American Art is a fine arts museum situated on a bluff that offers panoramic views of the city and features many genres of historic art. Most of the collection is focused on the Hudson River School of artwork, but other genres are represented, including modernism and American impressionism.

    The museum is housed in a historic mansion that was erected in 1904 in the Classical Revival style. The collection represents art from the Colonial period to today. It's located in the Bluff View Art District of the city, just a few minutes from the centre of city centre.

    Location: 10 Bluff View Ave, Chattanooga, TN 37403, USA

    Open: Thursday–Saturday and Monday from 10 am to 8 pm, Sunday from noon to 5 pm (closed Tuesday–Wednesday)

    Phone: +1 423-267-0968

    Map

    photo by (CC BY-SA 4.0) modified

    2

    Rock City

    Visit a fairy tale kingdom amongst massive geological formations

    • Families
    • Adventure

    The Rock City Gardens on Lookout Mountain include massive rock formations dating to the palaeolithic times with over 400 native plant species and panoramic views of 7 states. The Enchanted Trail that leads you to Rock City not only showcases natural wonders and beauty, but the magical kingdoms of Fairyland Caverns and Mother Goose Village are sure to thrill the kids.

    The attraction also includes a gift shop and a restaurant, the Big Rock Grill, where you can enjoy a great meal. This attraction is located just 6 miles from the heart of city centre Chattanooga.

    Location: 1400 Patten Rd, Lookout Mountain, GA 30750, USA

    Open: Daily from 8.30 am to 6 pm

    Phone: +1 706-820-2531

    Map
    3

    Chattanooga Choo Choo

    Check out a train-themed hotel

    • Nightlife
    • Families
    • History

    The Chattanooga Choo Choo is a historic hotel and entertainment complex located in the old Terminal Station with exciting activities to thrill the entire family. Many of the hotel rooms are themed after authentic Victorian train cars.

    The restaurants on-site offer fine dining and quick food, while the bar offers craft beer, frozen drinks, wine, and cocktails. Just a few steps away, you can explore Station Street with its iconic and storied history of music and nightlife with live entertainment nightly.

    Location: 1400 Market St, Chattanooga, TN 37402, USA

    Phone: +1 423-266-5000

    Map

    photo by (CC BY-SA 4.0) modified

    4

    Coolidge Park

    Walk the Tennessee Riverwalk

    • Families
    • Adventure

    Coolidge Park is a popular waterfront park offering views of the Tennessee River and wide-open spaces as well as one of the largest pedestrian bridges in the world. The park is part of the Tennessee Riverwalk area that spans 15 miles of green space along the Tennessee River from the Chickamauga Dam to the Southern Belle Riverboat.

    The park is on the north shore of city centre on River Street. Amongst the most popular attractions in the park is the historic, century-old carousel with horses, lions, tigers, and other animals, both realistic and fantastic. The park also features a rock climbing area and a water fountain for the kids to escape the heat.

    Location: 150 River St, Chattanooga, TN 37405, USA

    Open: Daily from 7 am to 11 pm

    Phone: +1 423-643-6311

    Map
    5

    Chattanooga Market

    Shop arts, crafts, and fresh food in a public market

    • Shoppers

    The Chattanooga Market is an open-air public market featuring fresh food and locally made arts and crafts held every Sunday from April to December. This is amongst the largest public markets of its kind, run exclusively by producers, and features over 300 different vendors and as many as 6,000 visitors on any given weekend.

    The market is famed for events like the annual Oktoberfest and Holiday Market, celebrity chef competitions, and live music performances. It's a vibrant cultural hub of Chattanooga located in the First Tennessee Pavilion city centre on Carter Street.

    Location: 1829 Reggie White Blvd, Chattanooga, TN 37408, USA

    Open: Sunday from 10 am to 2 pm, April–December (closed Monday–Saturday and January–March)

    Phone: +1 423-648-2496

    Map
    6

    Tennessee Aquarium

    See a catfish the size of a Volkswagen

    • Families
    • Adventure

    The Tennessee Aquarium is popular amongst families and offers up-close experiences with marine life with over 320 species of fish on display. On a visit here, you can see giant freshwater stingrays, electric jellyfish, playful and adorable otters, and catfish that are quite literally the size of a Volkswagen.

    The aquarium is also massive, encompassing 2 different buildings that allow you to follow the way water flows from the mountains to the sea and see some of the most amazing and odd creatures you'll experience. The aquarium is located city centre just south of the Tennessee River.

    Location: 1 Broad St, Chattanooga, TN 37402, USA

    Open: Sunday–Friday from 10 am to 5 pm, Saturday from 9 am to 6 pm

    Phone: +1 423-265-0695

    Map

    photo by (CC BY-SA 4.0) modified

    7

    Southern Belle

    Take a classic riverboat cruise to see the sites from the water

    • Couples
    • Families
    • History
    • Luxury
    • Adventure

    The Southern Belle Riverboat allows visitors to see the city from the waters aboard the boat known as the Pride of the South with food and narrated cruises. The Southern Belle offers daily cruises that take about an hour and a half and offer full lunch as you cruise the river and learn all about local history while viewing the scenery.

    In addition, pilot house tours, sunset tours, and dinner cruises are also available, each offering its own unique luxurious experience, with some including food, music, and dancing. Private events are also available for booking. The main dock is located city centre along the Tennessee River.

    Location: 151 Riverfront Pkwy, Chattanooga, TN 37402, USA

    Open: Daily from 9 am to 9 pm

    Phone: +1 423-266-4488

    Map

    photo by Heavybluesman (CC BY-SA 3.0) modified

    8

    Raccoon Mountain Caverns

    Go spelunking in over 5 miles of deep caves

    • Adventure

    Raccoon Mountain Caverns offers over 5.5 miles of passageways for a subterranean spelunking adventure with guided tours and cave expeditions. You can opt for the 45-minute Crystal Palace Tour to see the highlights of the cave complex.

    Another fun experience is a cave expedition that delves deeply into the caves and may include such highlights as sitting by a campfire, riding go-karts, panning for gemstones, and emerging from the caves to discover a stunning panoramic view of the Raccoon Mountains from the nearby lookout. The cave complex is a 12-minute drive to the west of the city along route 24W.

    Location: 319 West Hills Dr., Chattanooga, TN 37419, USA

    Phone: +1 423-821-9403

    Map

    photo by Tzoghby (CC BY-SA 4.0) modified

    9

    Lookout Mountain

    See a massive underground waterfall

    • Adventure

    Lookout Mountain offers several exciting attractions, from the Ruby Falls cave waterfall to the Lookout Mountain Tower, and thousands come to experience this ridge every year. The Ruby Falls waterfall is located in one of the deepest cave complexes in the country and is one of the largest underground waterfalls, tumbling 140 feet into the vast cave complex.

    The Lookout Mountain Tower, meanwhile, offers a sweeping panoramic view of the entire region showing off the magnificent natural beauty of the Chattanooga Valley.

    Map
    10

    Bessie Smith Cultural Centre

    Learn about African American history in Tennessee

    • History

    The Bessie Smith Cultural Centre is an iconic African American history museum and event centre offering jazz, guest speakers, and education to locals and visitors. The museum, currently in its third location, was established in 1983 and has steadily grown since.

    The collection showcases the contributions of the African American community to the city of Chattanooga and includes hundreds of artefacts, documents, letters, and photos along with exhibits tracing the history of the city through the eyes of African Americans who have lived and worked here.

    Location: 200 E M L King Blvd, Chattanooga, TN 37403, USA

    Open: Monday–Friday from 10 am to 5 pm, Saturday from noon to 4 pm (closed on Sundays)

    Phone: +1 423-266-8658

    Map

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    Attractions and experiences recommended in our guides may be affected. Please check local guidance before you travel.

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