Home Destinations 15 Best Things to Do in Chattanooga 2024 for Adults, Kids, or Couples

15 Best Things to Do in Chattanooga 2024 for Adults, Kids, or Couples

by Naoi Rei
15 Best Things to Do in Chattanooga 2024 for Adults, Kids, or Couples

Chattanooga, tucked by the mighty Tennessee River and embraced by picturesque mountains, shines as a southern travel hotspot with a wide mix of attractions for every kind of explorer. If you’re into the great outdoors, digging into history, or just want some fun with the family, there’s loads of stuff to keep you busy in Chattanooga that’ll thrill grown-ups and youngsters alike. Let’s jump into the 15 best things to do in this charming city.

1. Explore Ruby Falls

Deep inside Lookout Mountain lies Ruby Falls, a stunning underground cascade. Tour guides will lead you through the twisty caverns to the grand finale—a 145-foot waterfall hidden beneath the earth. Gasp at the amazing rock shapes and uncover the caves’ secrets and tales. For anyone trying to figure out the best things to do in Chattanooga, Ruby Falls is a can’t-miss spot for families and sweethearts.

2. Ride the Incline Railway

Climb aboard the world’s steepest passenger railway for a ride you’ll never forget. The Incline Railway zips you up Lookout Mountain’s sharp incline, serving up killer views of Chattanooga as you go. This ride is both a brainy adventure and a fun thrill, pulling in visitors up for excitement and a nod to amazing achievements in engineering.

3. Discover the Tennessee Aquarium

Plunge into the wonders of water at the Tennessee Aquarium, where sea and river creatures call two massive structures home. Kids and grown-ups can marvel at critters like playful river otters, graceful jellyfish, and a sparkling butterfly garden. Stopping by this place is a top-notch thing to do in Chattanooga to keep everyone entertained and learning.

4. Visit the Chattanooga Zoo

The Chattanooga Zoo introduces you to an incredible lineup of creatures from across the globe. Journey through spots like the Himalayan Passage and the Gombe Forest to watch red pandas, jaguars, and chimpanzees in their element. The zoo shares a fun experience for the little ones and a chill stroll for adults, leaving every visitor with a big grin.

5. Take a Stroll on the Walnut Street Bridge

As one of the world’s longest footbridges, the Walnut Street Bridge links downtown Chattanooga with the vibrant North Shore. Soak in awesome river and city views—perfect for a chill walk, a romantic outing, or a scenic run. Also, keep your eyes open for community events and fun festivals that might pop up during your visit.

6. Learn at the Creative Discovery Museum

Built to awaken kids’ curiosity about art, science, and cultures, the Creative Discovery Museum is filled with interactive displays. Little explorers can play in the RiverPlay area, dig for dinosaur fossils, or even make their own music. It’s a Chattanooga highlight for sparking the imagination of young ones.

7. Soak in History at the Chickamauga Battlefield

As a key Civil War battleground, Chickamauga Battlefield provides a glimpse into America’s history. Take a tour of the museum, catch a war film, and trek or cruise through the historic lands. Signs along the way tell the story of the fierce battles waged there, making it not only an educational activity in Chattanooga but also a solemn nod to history.

8. Admire Art at the Hunter Museum of American Art

Holding a vast collection of American art, the Hunter Museum showcases works from colonial times to today. Perched on a cliff above the Tennessee River, the museum itself is pretty impressive. This spot is inspirational for art fans and a neat trip for those wanting to expand their culture game.

9. Hike or Bike on Lookout Mountain Trails

The trails of Lookout Mountain are where outdoor action happens in Chattanooga. Ready for a tough hike or a laid-back bike ride? The mountain’s pathways cater to adventurers of all levels. The awesome sights from Point Park are a sweet reward at the end of your journey.

10. Enjoy Rock City Gardens

Step into the magic of Rock City Gardens, a land of maze-like trails, curious rock formations, and vibrant gardens. The “See Seven States” viewpoint is jaw-dropping, letting you feast your eyes on the Tennessee Valley spread far and wide. Rock City is equally fantastic for family trips and couple getaways.

11. Cruise the Southern Belle Riverboat

Cruise down the Tennessee River on the Southern Belle Riverboat. With dining cruises, sightseeing trips, and private parties, it’s a standout way to see Chattanooga’s sights from the waves. The riverboat sets the scene for a dreamy night or a peaceful day with the family.

12. Relax in Coolidge Park

Coolidge Park invites you to enjoy its wide-open fields perfect for picnics, tossing a frisbee, or just chilling under the sun. Kids get a kick out of riding the restored antique merry-go-round, while others cool off splashing in the fountains when it’s hot out.

13. Gaze at the Stars at the Baylor Planetarium

A night at the Baylor Planetarium is a wonder-filled experience for visitors of all ages. The high-tech dome lights up with star-studded skies, often with cool educational talks. It’s a peaceful and mind-blowing addition to what to do in Chattanooga.

14. Conquer the Adventure Sports Innovation (ASI) Park

Adventure Sports Innovation Park is where adrenaline-junkies and techy types can test out the latest in high-energy sports equipment. Have a go at flyboarding, e-foiling, or hop on virtual reality rides for some top-notch fun—perfect for lively youngsters and active adults.

15. Experience the Chattanooga Market

The Chattanooga Market is paradise for those who love good eats and shopping. Dive into the lively atmosphere, taste local treats, and score one-of-a-kind keepsakes. This weekly gathering is a fun, community-powered event that shows off Chattanooga’s vibrant spirit.

FAQs

What’s the best way to get around Chattanooga to visit these attractions?

Chattanooga gives you lots of ways to get around, like a free electric downtown shuttle, bike rentals, and a handy bus system. Many cool spots are also just a short walk from each other, especially around the city center.

Are there any outdoor activities in Chattanooga for adventure lovers?

Absolutely, Chattanooga is heaven for people who crave outdoor thrills, with stuff like rock climbing, mountain biking, whitewater rafting, hang gliding, and caving. Raccoon Mountain Caverns and the Ocoee River are hotspots for those after a heart-pumping good time.

Can you recommend dining options near these Chattanooga attractions?

Chattanooga’s food scene is buzzing with tasty spots close to most big attractions. The North Shore, right next to Coolidge Park, offers eats from chill to fancy. The Bluff View Art District treats you to yummy bites with gorgeous river vistas, and the Southside neighborhood is all about trendy spots to grab a bite or sip on coffee.

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