15 Fun Things to Do in Chattanooga | 2024 (with Photos)

Natalija Marković

Natalija Marković - Travel Writer

Published: June 29, 2023

Hey there! I'm Natalija, your guide to the best things to do in Chattanooga. With my firsthand experience and amazing photos, I'll help you make the most of your trip and have a blast in this awesome city!

Chattanooga, Tennessee

Located in the heart of Tennessee, Chattanooga is a vibrant city known for its stunning views of the Tennessee River and Lookout Mountain.

There are many fun things to do in Chattanooga, including the Creative Discovery Museum, the Tennessee Aquarium, and the Chattanooga Market. All of these attractions are easily accessible from the Chattanooga Airport, which is well connected to the city center.

In the heart of the city, Downtown Chattanooga is a bustling hub of activity with a thriving arts and culture scene, fantastic restaurants, and unique shopping opportunities.

Whether you're interested in outdoor adventures or indoor explorations, Chattanooga has something for everyone. Let's take a closer look at the top 15 fun things to do in Chattanooga.

Most Recommended Thing to Do

Rock City

Top Choice Hotel

The Read House

Our Top Choice Restaurant

Our Top Choice Bar for Nightlife

Best Time to Visit

Spring and fall offer pleasant weather for visiting.

Average Temperature

Mild to warm climate, with four distinct seasons.

Transportation Options

Buses, electric shuttles, trolleys, bike lanes, and walking.

Average Cost ($, $$, $$$)


My Top Recommendation

The Tennessee Aquarium is an absolute must-visit, with its mesmerizing exhibits showcasing a diverse range of marine life. For a truly immersive experience, I highly recommend taking a riverboat cruise along the Tennessee River, where you can marvel at the stunning scenery and learn about the city's fascinating past.

And, of course, no trip to Chattanooga is complete without a visit to Rock City. Standing atop Lookout Mountain and soaking in the panoramic views of seven states is an awe-inspiring experience that will leave you feeling humbled and inspired.

What You'll Need to Bring

  1. Valid identification (such as a passport or driver's license)
  2. Comfortable shoes for exploring the city by foot
  3. Weather-appropriate clothing

What Not to Miss

  1. Lookout Mountain
  2. Tennessee Aquarium
  3. Ruby Falls
  4. Walnut Street Bridge
  5. Chattanooga Riverwalk

What to Avoid

  1. Rush hour traffic
  2. Unfamiliar neighborhoods
  3. Excessive noise

1. Get in Touch with Nature in Rock City Gardens

Rock City Gardens

Atop Lookout Mountain, Rock City Gardens is a popular tourist attraction just a few miles from the Chattanooga Airport.

This unique natural attraction offers visitors of Lookout Mountain stunning views from its scenic lookout point, as well as a variety of hiking trails and other outdoor activities such as the Chattanooga National Military Park.

Other nearby attractions you can have fun exploring include Fort Oglethorpe and Point Park, both of which offer historical insight into the American Civil War.

Whether you're interested in exploring the great outdoors, learning more about American history, or just enjoying a scenic stroll or rock climbing, Rock City Gardens is a must-visit destination in Chattanooga and on Lookout Mountain.

2. Walk Along the Tennessee Riverwalk

the Tennessee Riverwalk

The Tennessee Riverwalk is a scenic 13-mile trail that winds along the Tennessee River, offering stunning views of the water and surrounding mountains.

The trail is part of the larger Tennessee Riverpark system, which includes multiple parks and access points along the river.

The walkers can enjoy a variety of outdoor activities such as scenic hiking, jogging, biking, and fishing at many fishing piers while taking in the beautiful natural scenery.

The Riverwalk also connects to the Walnut Street Bridge, a pedestrian bridge that offers breathtaking views of the river and Downtown Chattanooga.

3. Hug the Trees at Reflection Riding Arboretum

Trees at Reflection Riding Arboretum

Reflection Riding Arboretum and Nature Center is the cleanest and most beautiful 317-acre nature preserve located on the western side of Lookout Mountain.

The center features over 15 miles of hiking trails, an impressive collection of native plants and wildlife, and educational exhibits for visitors of all ages.

The arboretum is home to over 2,000 species of plants and offers guided hikes and workshops throughout the year.

If you love this attraction, you can also check out the Elise Chapin Wildlife Sanctuary at Audubon Acres. This is the headquarters of the Chattanooga Audubon Society and boasts the South Chickamauga Creek.

If you are taking a plane, Chattanooga Airport is also nearby, so this is one of the best things to do in Chattanooga on your last day in town.

4. Get Terrified on a Chattanooga Ghost Tour and Wash it Down with Some Chattanooga Whiskey

Chattanooga Ghost Tour

For those into spooky stories, Chattanooga ghost tours are a ton of fun. On Chattanooga ghost tours, you will learn learn historic tales of strange and scary local activity.

After your Chattanooga ghost tours experience, you can head to Chattanooga Whiskey Experimental Distillery and try some good old Chattanooga whiskey.

You could also get something to eat at the Chattanooga Market which is right next door. Chattanooga Market offers a wide choice of different produce throughout the year.

5. Soak Up the View at Walnut Street Bridge

Walnut Street Bridge

The most important spot in this scenic city is The Walnut Street Bridge, a pedestrian bridge that spans across the Tennessee River in Downtown Chattanooga.

Originally built in 1890 as a vehicular bridge, it was converted into the world's longest pedestrian bridge in the 1990s and has since become a beloved landmark and popular destination for locals and tourists alike.

From the bridge, visitors can take in stunning views of the Tennessee River and the surrounding mountains.

The bridge also provides easy access to Downtown Chattanooga, where visitors can enjoy a variety of attractions such as the Tennessee Aquarium, Chattanooga Lookouts baseball stadium, and the trendy North Shore area.

Whether you're looking to take a leisurely stroll or snap some scenic photos, the Walnut Street Bridge is a great starting point for exploring the best things to do in Chattanooga.

6. Befriend Animals at Chattanooga Zoo at Warner Park

Chattanooga Zoo

The Chattanooga Zoo at Warner Park is the number one attraction for animal lovers and families with kids. Located near the Tennessee Aquarium and the Visitor Center, it's perfect for spending an afternoon with family and friends.

The Chattanooga Zoo features a variety of animals such as chimpanzees, jaguars, snow leopards, and red pandas. It also offers educational programs and interactive exhibits for visitors to learn about conservation efforts and animal habitats.

The Chattanooga Zoo is situated on the grounds of Audubon Acres, which offers nature trails and hiking opportunities for those who want to explore the outdoors.

It's a fun and educational experience of nature for visitors of all ages, but especially kids. As such, it should make the list along with the Audubon Acres and Reflection Riding Arboretum & Nature Center.

7. Take a Stroll Through Tennessee Riverpark

Tennessee Riverpark

The Tennessee Riverpark is a beautiful park located along the banks of the Tennessee River in Chattanooga.

This park is a popular destination for visitors and locals alike, offering stunning views of the river and surrounding landscape.

The park also features access to Prentice Cooper State Forest, which offers hiking trails and outdoor recreation opportunities.

Whether you're looking for a peaceful retreat or a fun-filled day of outdoor adventure, the Tennessee Riverpark is a must-visit destination and one of the best things to do in Chattanooga.

8. Discover the International Towing and Recovery Museum

International Towing and Recovery Museum

Not something you see every day, the International Towing & Recovery Museum is a unique attraction in Chattanooga that features exhibits and displays related to the history and evolution of towing and recovery vehicles.

The International Towing and Recovery Museum also showcases the role of tow trucks built by Ernest Homes Company during the American Civil War.

Visitors can combine their visit to the museum with a ride on the Lookout Mountain Incline Railway or a stroll through the River Gallery.

Its location in the heart of Chattanooga's Southside neighborhood is another bonus when visiting this memorable spot.

9. Be Cool at Coolidge Park

 Coolidge Park

Nested between two bridges and located on the north shore of Chattanooga, Coolidge Park is a popular destination both for locals and tourists.

Once in Coolidge Park, you can take a ride on a restored 1894 carousel or play with an interactive water fountain. Also, there is plenty of green space in Coolidge Park for picnics and recreation.

Nearby, Renaissance Park offers another natural setting with walking trails and wildlife viewing. Visitors can also catch a ride on the Southern Belle Riverboat for a scenic cruise along the Tennessee River.

10. Enjoy Art at the Hunter Museum of American Art in the Bluff View Art District

the Hunter Museum of American Art

For all the artistic tourists in town, the Hunter Museum of American Art is an interesting destination in Chattanooga, Tennessee.

Located in the picturesque historic neighborhood of Bluff View Art District, the Hunter Museum of American Art boasts a diverse collection of American art from the colonial period to the present day.

The bulk of exhibitions is made of renowned artists such as Winslow Homer, Mary Cassatt, and Andy Warhol, as well as regional artists from the southeastern United States. Thus, the museum is considered the most notable site in the Bluff View Art District.

Once there, you can take a walk along the Bluff View Art District and admire local public art such as the biggest mural in the world located at Bessie Smith Cultural Center.

11. Take a Look at Vintage Trains at Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum

Vintage Trains at Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum

As a historical spot, the Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum offers visitors a chance to step back in time and experience the golden age of railroads.

The Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum features a heritage railroad that offers a ride through scenic Chattanooga, Tennessee, as well as a collection of vintage trains and railway artifacts.

Moreover, visitors can also check out the Chattanooga Whiskey Experimental Distillery, located nearby, for a taste of the city's signature Chattanooga whiskey.

Moreover, if you are into trains, you shouldn't miss the Missionary Ridge Local dinner train ride. For museum enthusiasts, the Coker Museum is also nearby.

12. Ride the Lookout Mountain Incline Railway

Mountain Incline Railway

The Lookout Mountain Incline Railway, located in Chattanooga Valley, is another of the most popular things to do in Chattanooga.

The railway is an iconic part of the city's history and offers visitors a unique way to experience the beautiful scenery of Lookout Mountain and passes many Chattanooga lookouts.

Along with scenic views, visitors can also enjoy nearby attractions such as the Tennessee River Gorge, and a variety of other rock climbing and hiking trails.

Chattanooga National Military Park focused on American Civil War is also in proximity to this local marvel, as well as Chattanooga Airport.

13. Learn at Creative Discovery Museum

Creative Discovery Museum

The Creative Discovery Museum in Chattanooga, Tennessee, is a place where children can learn and have fun at the same time.

The museum's collection includes several permanent and rotating exhibits that encourage children to explore, experiment, and create.

In addition to the museum displays, the Creative Discovery Museum also has art galleries, a music room, and an outdoor play area.

Visitors can also enjoy a stroll across the historic Walnut Street Bridge nearby, which connects the museum to the Hunter Museum of American Art on the opposite side of the river.

14. Be Mesmerized at Ruby Falls

Ruby Falls

At Ruby Falls, you will stand in wonder. If you're visiting Chattanooga, don't miss the opportunity to explore Ruby Falls, the tallest underground waterfall in the United States.

Located deep beneath the surface of Lookout Mountain, the Ruby Falls natural wonder is a sight to behold.

The journey to the waterfall takes you through a series of stunning underground rock formations before arriving at the awe-inspiring falls.

Along the way, knowledgeable guides share the history of the cave and its geological wonders. The whole experience is a fun and educational adventure for all ages.

15. Explore Raccoon Mountain Caverns

Raccoon Mountain Caverns

Another amazing attraction is Racoon Mountain Caverns in Chattanooga, especially (you guessed it) for those who love exploring caves and caverns.

Nested on the scenic Raccoon Mountain, this cave system is home to some of the most stunning formations you'll ever see, including stalagmites, stalactites, and other unique features.

Tourists can choose from a variety of guided tours of Raccoon Mountain Caverns that cater to different interests and skill levels, including spelunking and wild cave expeditions.

To top it over, for even more outdoor adventure, Raccoon Mountain also offers zip-lining and camping options.

After visiting Ruby Falls and Lookout Mountain, the Raccoon Mountain Caverns are a great addition to any itinerary in Chattanooga.

FAQs About Things to Do in Chattanooga, Tennessee

Let's take a look at some frequently asked questions about things to do in Chattanooga, TN.

Is Chattanooga worth visiting?

Yes, Chattanooga is worth visiting. There are so many cool things to do in Chattanooga, from the Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum to the Chattanooga Zoo and the Creative Discovery Museum. With great flight options to Chattanooga Airport, your stay will be smooth and fun. Chattanooga Airport is very close to the center of town.

What kind of attractions are there in Chattanooga, Tennessee?

There are a lot of natural attractions in Chattanooga, including Audubon Acres Park, Raccoon Mountain Caverns, Tennessee Riverpark, Lookout Mountain, and Coolidge Park. For family fun, there is Chattanooga Zoo and Tennessee Aquarium. And finally, for culture lovers, there are a lot of museums, including the Coker Museum and Creative Discovery Museum.

What are the most fun things to do in Chattanooga, Tennessee?

Finally, for those interested in really extreme sports, there is the Chattanooga Skydiving Company, where you can see Chattanooga from a bird's eye view. Moreover, you can admire Ruby Falls which is a one-of-a-kind attraction, or visit Audubon Acres for a day in nature.

What are some hidden gems in Chattanooga, Tennessee?

There are so many things to do in Chattanooga that some attractions are hidden gems and can be missed by tourists. The International Towing and Recovery Museum on Broad St, Chattanooga, TN tells the story of the worldwide tow truck industry, and the Chattanooga Market offers always fresh produce.

Summing Up: Fun Things to Do in Chattanooga, Tennessee

From Station Street to Downtown Chattanooga, there is something for everyone in this beautiful city. From its historic landmarks to its natural beauty, there's no shortage of things to see and do.

Culture lovers can explore the city's aviation history at the Coker Museum, take a boat tour of the Tennessee River on the Southern Belle Riverboat, or enjoy a leisurely stroll through the Bluff View Art District. Chattanooga's night scene is equally vibrant and diverse.

Set your GPS to Chattanooga, TN, 37402, and get ready to fall in love with this railroad town.