What to Do in Chattanooga: 21 Fun Picks

Find yourself wondering what to do in Chattanooga? We’ve got you covered with a comprehensive guide on top places to visit.

Whether you’re looking for outdoor adventures such as hiking trails and Chickamauga Lake, family fun, history and culture tours, shopping, unique experiences or the best restaurants in town, we’ve got something for everyone.

With so many things to do in Chattanooga TN for couples and families alike, including exploring the Tennessee Riverpark and Chickamauga Lake, hiking trails, and taking tours, it can be overwhelming trying to decide where to start. That’s why we’ve put together a list of the top attractions and free things to do that will help make planning your trip easier than ever before.

So what’s there to do in Chattanooga? From exploring the scenic beauty of Lookout Mountain and Rock City Gardens to experiencing the rich history of the Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum and the Civil War battlefields at Chickamauga & Chattanooga National Military Park, there’s something for everyone.

If you’re looking for fun things to do, take one of the many tours available to see top places like Ruby Falls and the Hunter Museum of American Art. Chattanooga is a great place to visit with endless possibilities for adventure and exploration.

Get ready for an unforgettable adventure as we take you through all that Chattanooga has to offer, including tours of the Tennessee Riverpark, Lookout Mountain, and the beautiful Chickamauga Lake.

Top Attractions: Visit Chattanooga Market and the Chattanooga Choo Choo

1. Explore the Largest Public Market in Tennessee at the Chattanooga Market

what to do in chattanooga - market

If you’re looking for a great place to visit in Chattanooga, don’t miss the Chattanooga River Market.

Located near the Tennessee Riverpark and Chickamauga Lake, this market offers over 200 vendors selling everything from handmade crafts to fresh produce and delicious food.

For those interested in sightseeing, there are also tours available to nearby Lookout Mountain.

Take a fun stroll through the city market and enjoy live music while browsing unique items like handcrafted jewelry, pottery, and paintings.

If you get hungry, grab a bite from one of the many food vendors offering tasty treats like barbecue sandwiches or freshly baked pastries. You can also join tours to explore more places in the city.

2. Take a Tour of The Historic Terminal Station Turned Hotel at The Chattanooga Choo Choo

what to do in chattanooga - ChooChoo

Another must-visit spot in Chattanooga is The Chattanooga Choo Choo. This historic train station has been transformed into a hotel that retains much of its original character.

Visitors can take tours of the train station turned hotel and see vintage trains on display. Located near the Tennessee River and Chickamauga, TN, this destination offers a unique experience for travelers.

The hotel is located in the heart of the city, near popular attractions like the Chattanooga Zoo and the iconic Chattanooga Choo Choo. In addition to its outdoor pool, restaurants, and bars, the hotel offers guided tours of the area.

For a unique stay, guests can choose from accommodations like a converted train car or Victorian-style room.

Outdoor Adventures: Explore Raccoon Mountain Caverns, Ocoee River Rafting, and Rock City Gardens

3. Discover underground waterfalls and crystal-clear pools at Raccoon Mountain Caverns.

things to do in chattanooga tn for couples - raccoon mountain

If you’re looking for adventure tours that take you off the beaten path in Tennessee, Raccoon Mountain Caverns is the place to be. This natural wonder boasts a series of underground caves filled with stunning rock formations, underground waterfalls, and crystal-clear pools.

You can explore these wonders on a guided tour of the caverns that lasts about 1 hour and 15 minutes. The guides are knowledgeable and will take you through narrow passages and show you some of the most beautiful sights in the cave system. While you’re in the area, don’t miss out on other nearby attractions like the Chattanooga Zoo and Chickamauga Battlefield.

Aside from touring the caverns, visitors can also go gem mining or try their hand at panning for gold. These activities provide a fun and educational experience for kids and adults alike. If you’re looking for more things to do in the city, consider taking tours or visiting the Chattanooga Zoo.

4. Experience thrilling white-water rafting on America’s Olympic river at Ocoee River Rafting.

chattanooga best things to do ocoee river rafting

For adrenaline junkies looking for an exciting outdoor activity in Tennessee, Ocoee River Rafting is a must-try experience. The Ocoee River, located near Chattanooga TN, was home to the 1996 Summer Olympics whitewater events, making it one of America’s premier destinations for white-water rafting tours.

After enjoying the thrilling ride, you can also visit the nearby Chattanooga Zoo for more fun and adventure.

There are several different tours available depending on your skill level and desired intensity level ranging from Class I to Class IV rapids.

Each tour is led by experienced guides who prioritize safety while still providing an exhilarating ride down the river. So, if you want to go on a thrilling adventure in your free time while visiting the city, this is the perfect activity for you!

5. Enjoy panoramic views of seven states from atop Lookout Mountain at Rock City Gardens.

chattanooga rock city gardens

Rock City Gardens, located on Lookout Mountain in Tennessee, offers breathtaking views of seven states! Take a tour of the gardens and see over four hundred species of plants, as well as massive rock formations shaped by nature over thousands of years. For more information, call our phone number.

Visitors can walk along winding paths through lush gardens while taking in awe-inspiring views of the surrounding city. If you want to go, just check our phone number or address.

Family Fun: Creative Discovery Museum, UTC McKenzie Arena, and Lake Winnepesaukah Amusement Park

6. Engage in interactive exhibits that inspire learning through play at Creative Discovery Museum.

creative discovery museum

The Creative Discovery Museum is a great place to take your children for an educational and fun experience in the city. The museum is designed to engage children in interactive exhibits that inspire learning through play. There are numerous things to do and explore on science, art, music, and culture that will keep your children entertained for hours.

Some of the popular exhibits include the RiverPlay exhibit, which allows kids to go splash around in a simulated river environment while learning about water currents and erosion.

Another popular exhibit is the Rooftop Fun Factory where kids can learn about simple machines by building their own contraptions using pulleys and levers. It’s definitely worth your time to visit this amazing museum!

7. Catch a game or concert at UTC McKenzie Arena.

things to do in chattanooga - UTC McKenzie

If you’re looking for some live entertainment during your time in Tennessee, then head over to the UTC McKenzie Arena. This multi-purpose arena hosts various events throughout the year such as concerts, basketball games, wrestling matches, and more.

The arena has a seating capacity of 10,928 so you’ll be sure to find things going on during your stay in Chattanooga.

8. Ride roller coasters and enjoy classic carnival games at Lake Winnepesaukah Amusement Park.

what to do in chattanooga - Lake winnepesaukah amusement park

Lake Winnepesaukah Amusement Park is a family-owned park located just outside of Chattanooga, a city in Tennessee. It’s been open since 1925 and has continued to provide families with great things to do ever since.

The park features over 40 rides including roller coasters like the Cannon Ball Roller Coaster which has been thrilling visitors since 1967! In addition to rides, there are also classic carnival games like ring toss and balloon darts that will keep everyone entertained for hours.

So if you’re looking for some family-friendly things to do during your time in Tennessee’s city of Chattanooga, be sure to check out these three attractions.

History and Culture

Discover the Rich History and Culture of Chattanooga

Chattanooga, Tennessee is a city steeped in history and culture, with numerous landmarks and museums that showcase its past. Here are some must-visit things for anyone interested in exploring the city’s rich heritage and spending time learning more about it.

9. Chickamauga & Chattanooga National Military Park

chattanooga national military park

If you’re a history buff visiting Tennessee, then Chickamauga & Chattanooga National Military Park in the city should be at the top of your list. This park preserves two major Civil War battlefields, where Union and Confederate forces fought some of the bloodiest battles of the war.

Visitors can explore miles of hiking trails, visit historic sites like Snodgrass Hill and Wilder Tower, or check out one of the park’s many exhibits at the visitor center.

10. Bessie Smith Cultural Center

what to do in chattanooga - bessie smith

The Bessie Smith Cultural Center celebrates African American music legends like Bessie Smith, who was born in Chattanooga, Tennessee in 1894. The museum features interactive exhibits on blues music, jazz, gospel, and other musical genres that have shaped American culture over the years in Tennessee.

Visitors can also check out live performances by local musicians or take part in workshops on everything from songwriting to dance while in Tennessee.

11. Hunter Museum of American Art

things to do in chattanooga tn for couples - hunter museum

For art lovers in Tennessee, there’s no better place to explore than the Hunter Museum of American Art in Chattanooga TN. This museum showcases works by some of America’s most famous artists spanning several centuries.

From traditional landscapes to abstract expressionism, there’s something here for everyone to enjoy. The museum also hosts special exhibitions throughout the year, so be sure to check their website for upcoming events in Chattanooga TN.

Whether you’re interested in military history or cultural heritage, Tennessee’s Chattanooga has plenty to offer visitors looking to explore its past. So why not plan a trip today?

Shopping: West Village or Hamilton Place shopping

12. Shop local boutiques for unique finds in trendy West Village.

chattanooga west village

Looking for a unique shopping experience in Tennessee? Look no further than West Village in downtown Chattanooga. This charming area boasts a variety of local boutiques and shops, each with its own style and flair. Whether you’re looking for clothing, jewelry, home decor, or gifts, you’re sure to find something special here.

One must-visit shop in Chattanooga, TN is Embellish, which specializes in women’s clothing and accessories. Their selection of dresses is particularly impressive, with styles ranging from casual to formal. Another great option in Tennessee is Sophie’s Shoppe, which offers a wide range of home decor items such as candles, pillows, and wall art.

In addition to shopping, West Village in Chattanooga TN also has plenty of dining options to choose from. Grab a bite at Tupelo Honey Cafe, a popular restaurant chain originated in Tennessee, or enjoy a sweet treat at Milk & Honey.

13. Browse over 200 stores including major retailers like Apple and H&M at Hamilton Place shopping mall.

what to do in chattanoga - hamliton place

For those who prefer more traditional shopping experiences in Chattanooga TN, Hamilton Place shopping mall is the place to be. With over 200 stores spread across two levels and over one million square feet of retail space, there’s something for everyone here.

Major retailers like Apple and H&M have locations within the mall, as well as popular department stores such as Dillard’s and Belk. In addition to clothing and electronics stores, there are also plenty of options for foodies including The Cheesecake Factory and P.F. Chang’s.

If you’re planning on spending the whole day at Hamilton Place Mall (and trust us – it’s easy to do!), be sure to wear comfortable shoes! With so many parts of the mall to explore, you’ll want to make sure your feet are up for the challenge.

Unique Experiences: Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum, International Towing and Recovery Museum, High Point Climbing Gym

14. Take a nostalgic train ride through the scenic Tennessee Valley at the Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum.

chattanooga railway museum

If you’re looking for a unique experience in Chattanooga, look no further than the Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum. This museum offers tours and train rides that take visitors on a journey through history.

The museum is home to vintage trains and locomotives that have been restored to their former glory. Visitors can take a ride on one of these trains through the beautiful Tennessee Valley while learning about the history of railroads in America.

The museum offers several different tours, including day trips and dinner trains. One of the most popular tours is the Missionary Ridge Local, which takes visitors on a four-mile round trip through East Chattanooga. The tour includes a stop at East Chattanooga Depot, where visitors can explore an interactive exhibit about railroad history.

15. Explore the history of towing and recovery vehicles at the International Towing and Recovery Museum.

best things to do chattanooga international towing recovery museum

The International Towing and Recovery Museum is another unique experience that you won’t want to miss in Chattanooga. This museum explores the history of towing and recovery vehicles from around the world.

Visitors can see vintage tow trucks, wreckers, and other vehicles that were used to rescue stranded motorists throughout history.

One of the highlights of this museum is its Wall of Honor, which pays tribute to those who have lost their lives while working in the towing industry. The wall features over 300 names from around the world.

16. Challenge yourself with indoor rock climbing at High Point Climbing Gym.

things to do in chattanooga tn for couples - high point climbing

For those seeking adventure in Chattanooga, High Point Climbing Gym is an awesome place to visit. This indoor gym offers climbers of all skill levels an opportunity to challenge themselves on various routes designed for beginners or advanced climbers alike.

High Point Climbing Gym has two locations in Chattanooga; downtown location features walls up to 60 feet tall with over 30,000 square feet of climbing surface.

Free Things to Do in Chattanooga

17. Walk or Bike Across the Pedestrian-Only Walnut Street Bridge

chattanooga free things to do walnut street bridge

One of the most iconic landmarks in Chattanooga is the pedestrian-only Walnut Street Bridge. This historic bridge was built in 1891 and was converted into a pedestrian walkway in 1993.

Walking or biking across this bridge offers stunning views of downtown Chattanooga, the Tennessee River, and Lookout Mountain. The bridge is also a great spot for taking photos or having a picnic with friends and family.

18. Enjoy Public Art Installations and Green Spaces at Renaissance Park

chattanooga renaissance park

Renaissance Park is located on Chattanooga’s North Shore and features several public art installations, green spaces, and walking trails. The park has a beautiful rose garden, a pond with ducks and geese, and plenty of open space for picnics or playing frisbee. Visitors can also explore the park’s many sculptures by local artists.

chattanooga coolidge park

Coolidge Park is another popular destination on Chattanooga’s North Shore. This park has something for everyone, including fountains to splash around in during hot summer days, an antique carousel that dates back to 1895, and plenty of green space for picnics or playing games. Visitors can also take a stroll along the Tennessee Riverwalk trail that runs through the park.

20. Admire Sculptures by Local Artists Amidst Natural Beauty at Montague Park Sculpture Fields

chattanooga montague park

Montague Park Sculpture Fields is an outdoor museum featuring over 30 large-scale sculptures by local artists set amidst natural beauty. The park covers over 33 acres of land and includes walking trails that wind through meadows, forests, wetlands, and streams. Visitors can spend hours exploring this unique attraction while admiring works of art created from materials like bronze, steel, wood, glass, stone.

Chattanooga River Market

21. Shop for handmade crafts and artisanal goods from local vendors along the Tennessee River.

what to do in chattanooga river market

If you’re looking for a unique shopping experience in downtown Chattanooga, look no further than the Chattanooga River Market. Located along the picturesque Tennessee River, this open-air market is home to over 50 local vendors selling everything from handmade crafts to artisanal foods.

One of the highlights of the Chattanooga River Market is its location. Situated in the heart of downtown Chattanooga, visitors can enjoy stunning views of both the river and nearby attractions such as the Tennessee Riverpark and Southern Belle Riverboat.

The market is also conveniently located near several major bridges and roadways, making it easily accessible by car or public transportation.

In addition to its prime location, the Chattanooga River Market offers a diverse range of products from local artisans and craftsmen. Visitors can browse through booths selling everything from pottery and jewelry to textiles and woodworking.

One popular vendor at the market is Ross, who sells unique handcrafted wooden bowls made from locally sourced hardwoods.

Visitors can also take advantage of nearby attractions while visiting the market. The Bluff View Art District is just a short walk away, offering galleries featuring local artists and delicious dining options.

If you’re looking for a unique way to explore the river, consider taking a ride on one of the many riverboats that dock nearby.

Best Restaurants in Chattanooga

Savor Southern Comfort Food with a Modern Twist at Tupelo Honey Cafe

places to eat in chattanooga tupelo honey cafe

If you’re looking for a place to eat in Chattanooga that serves Southern comfort food with a modern twist, then look no further than Tupelo Honey Cafe. This restaurant is known for its delicious biscuits, fried chicken, and shrimp and grits. They also offer vegetarian and gluten-free options.

One of the must-try dishes at Tupelo Honey Cafe is their famous sweet potato pancakes topped with pecans and whipped cream. If you’re in the mood for something savory, try their fried green tomatoes or pimento cheese nachos.

Indulge in Wood-Fired Pizzas Made with Locally Sourced Ingredients at Alleia Restaurant

best places to eat in chattanooga alleia restaurant

Alleia Restaurant is one of the best places to eat in Chattanooga if you’re craving wood-fired pizzas made with locally sourced ingredients. This Italian restaurant offers an extensive wine list and a cozy atmosphere perfect for date night or a family dinner.

Their Neapolitan-style pizzas are cooked in a wood-fired oven and come topped with fresh ingredients like prosciutto di Parma, arugula, and truffle oil. If you’re not in the mood for pizza, they also offer homemade pasta dishes like spaghetti carbonara and lasagna Bolognese.

Try Award-Winning Barbecue Ribs and Brisket at Sticky Fingers Ribhouse

best restaurants in chattanooga Sticky Fingers

No list of the best restaurants in Chattanooga would be complete without mentioning Sticky Fingers Ribhouse. This barbecue joint has won multiple awards for its ribs, brisket, pulled pork, and wings.

Their Memphis-style dry-rubbed ribs are fall-off-the-bone tender and come slathered in your choice of sauce (or none at all). If you’re feeling adventurous, try their “Wang Dang Doodle” wings coated in a spicy peanut butter sauce.

For an exhaustive deep-dive into the best places to eat in Chattanooga, check out our dedicated article here.

Conclusion

Chattanooga is a city full of exciting activities and attractions for everyone. From exploring the Raccoon Mountain Caverns to visiting the Creative Discovery Museum, there is never a dull moment in Chattanooga. You can also enjoy shopping at West Village or Hamilton Place, or take a unique experience at the Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum or International Towing and Recovery Museum.

Chattanooga offers some of the best restaurants around. Don’t forget to visit the Chattanooga River Market for local produce and handmade crafts.

Whether you’re looking for outdoor adventures or want to learn about history and culture, Chattanooga has something for you. And with plenty of free things to do like walking across the Walnut Street Bridge or enjoying Renaissance Park, you don’t have to spend a lot of money to have fun.

So what are you waiting for? Plan your trip to Chattanooga now and experience all that this amazing city has to offer!

FAQs

1. What are some family-friendly activities in Chattanooga?

Chattanooga offers many family-friendly activities such as visiting the Creative Discovery Museum, UTC McKenzie Arena, Lake Winnepesaukah Amusement Park, and exploring Rock City Gardens.

2. Are there any free things to do in Chattanooga?

Yes! Some free things include walking across the Walnut Street Bridge, enjoying Renaissance Park or Coolidge Park, and visiting Montague Park Sculpture Fields.

3. What are some unique experiences in Chattanooga?

Some unique experiences include visiting the Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum, International Towing and Recovery Museum, High Point Climbing Gym, and exploring Raccoon Mountain Caverns.

4. Where can I find good food in Chattanooga?

You can find some of the best restaurants in West Village or Hamilton Place shopping areas. Don’t forget to visit the Chattanooga River Market for local produce and handmade crafts.

5. What historical sites should I visit in Chattanooga?

Chickamauga & Chattanooga National Military Park, Bessie Smith Cultural Center, and Hunter Museum of American Art are some historical sites you can visit to learn about the city’s history and culture.