Chattanooga is a city that offers something for everyone. Outdoor enthusiasts will find plenty of opportunities to enjoy the great outdoors, while history buffs can explore the many Civil War sites. Art lovers will appreciate the city’s vibrant arts scene, and foodies can indulge in some of the region’s delicious cuisine. There are also plenty of family-friendly activities to enjoy in Chattanooga.
Here are my top 10 things to do in Chattanooga:
Hike the trails at Signal Mountain
Nestled in the scenic mountains of Chattanooga, Tennessee, Signal Mountain is a popular destination for hikers and nature lovers. The area features a network of trails ranging from easy to difficult, making it perfect for hikers of all skill levels. The well-maintained trails provide spectacular views of the surrounding mountains and valleys.
One of the most popular trails is the 1.3-mile summit trail, which leads to the top of 2,196-foot Signal Mountain. From the summit, hikers are treated to stunning views of the city and the surrounding mountains. The Signal Mountain trails are open year-round, and they are especially beautiful in the fall when the leaves are changing color. Whether you’re looking for a challenging hike or a peaceful stroll, Signal Mountain is sure to please.
Visit Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park
Established in 1890, Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park preserves the sites of the Battle of Chickamauga and the Siege of Chattanooga, both crucial turns in the Civil War. The park covers over 9,000 acres of land and features a variety of monuments, historical buildings, and natural features.
Visitors can explore over 80 miles of hiking trails, take a scenic drive through the park, or paddle down the Chattanooga River. The park also offers a variety of ranger-led programs, including tours of the battlefields, canoe trips, and Junior Ranger activities. Whether you’re a history buff or simply looking for a beautiful place to hike, the Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park are sure to impress.
Take a cruise on the Tennessee River
A cruise on the Tennessee River is a great way to see Chattanooga and learn about its history. The river has played an important role in the city’s development, and it remains an important part of the community today. A cruise offers a unique perspective on the city, and it’s a great way to relax and enjoy the scenery. The Tennessee River is one of the most scenic rivers in the country, and Chattanooga is a beautiful city to explore. A cruise is a great way to see both the city and the river up close.
Visit the Ruby Falls
Ruby Falls is a one-of-a-kind geological wonder located in Chattanooga, Tennessee. As the tallest and deepest underground waterfall in the United States, Ruby Falls is well worth a visit. The falls are located inside Lookout Mountain and can be accessed via a short hike or an elevator ride. Once at the falls, visitors can take in the stunning views from an observation deck, or even take a boat ride underneath the waterfall. Ruby Falls is truly a natural wonder and is sure to impress anyone who sees it.
Visit Rock City Gardens
Rock City Gardens in Chattanooga is a must-see for any nature lover. The gardens are situated atop Lookout Mountain and offer stunning views of the surrounding landscape. Visitors can explore a variety of different gardens, including a succulent garden, a wildflower garden, and a rock garden. In addition to the gardens, Lovers Leap is a popular attraction here. The name is derived from the legend of two Native American lovers who were forced to jump to their deaths to escape their pursuers. The view from Lover’s Leap is said to be one of the most beautiful in all of Chattanooga. Visitors can enjoy the spectacular views from the observation deck or take a walk on the nature trails that surround the area.
Take a scenic drive on River Road
For a truly breathtaking experience, take a drive down River Road in Chattanooga. This scenic route follows the Tennessee River for nearly 10 miles, offering stunning views of the river and the surrounding mountains. Along the way, you’ll pass by several parks and recreational areas, making it the perfect place to stop and enjoy a picnic lunch or take a hike. Whether you’re looking for a peaceful drive or an opportunity to explore nature, River Road is sure to please.
See a show at the Tivoli Theatre
Housed in a historic building dating back to 1921, the Tivoli Theatre is one of Chattanooga’s most beloved cultural institutions. The theatre underwent a massive renovation in the early 2000s, and today it serves as a state-of-the-art venue for live music, theatre, and dance.
The Tivoli Theatre also hosts a variety of special events throughout the year, making it the perfect place to experience the best of Chattanooga’s arts and culture scene. Whether you’re looking for an evening of entertainment or a chance to explore Chattanooga’s rich history, a visit to the Tivoli Theatre is sure to be an unforgettable experience.
Wander through the Choo Choo complex
The Chattanooga Choo Choo complex is a historic hotel and event venue located in the heart of the city. The complex includes a variety of different buildings and attractions, all of which are worth exploring. The centerpiece of the complex is the grand terminal building, which was once used by passengers of the Chattanooga Choo Choo train.
Today, the terminal building houses a museum chronicling the history of the train, as well as a restaurant and bar. The complex also includes several other historic buildings, including a former cigar factory and an old-fashioned ice cream parlor. In addition, the complex features a variety of shops and businesses, as well as a stage for live entertainment.
Eat barbecue at The Terminal Brewhouse
The Terminal Brewhouse is Chattanooga’s premier destination for barbecue lovers. The menu features a wide variety of smoked meats, including chicken, ribs, and pulled pork. The meats are cooked over a wood fire, infusing them with a rich smoky flavor. The sides are also not to be missed, particularly the baked beans and coleslaw. And of course, no meal at The Terminal Brewhouse would be complete without one of their delicious craft beers. Whether you’re looking for a casual meal or a night out with friends, The Terminal Brewhouse is sure to please.
Explore Fort Negley Park
Fort Negley Park is a hidden gem in Chattanooga, Tennessee. The park is home to the largest restored Civil War fort in the United States. Visitors can explore the fort’s tunnels, barracks, and massive stone walls. The park also features several hiking trails, a playground, and a picnic area. Fort Negley Park is a great place to learn about Chattanooga’s history and enjoy the outdoors.
Chattanooga is the perfect destination for anyone looking to explore things to do in Chattanooga. Whether you’re an outdoor enthusiast, a history buff, or just want some family-friendly things to do with your kids, this Tennessee city has it all! What are some of your favorite things about Chattanooga? Let me know in the comments below and I’ll be sure to include them on my list of things not to miss when exploring this great city. Additionally, you may want to read my detailed travel story about my trip to Chattanooga and the Smoky Mountains.