30 Best Things to Do in Chattanooga at Night & Late Afternoon | 2024 (with Photos)

James A. Smith

James A. Smith - Chief Editor

Published: August 23, 2023

Hey there! I'm James, and I've got the inside scoop on the 30 best things to do in Chattanooga at night and late afternoon. Get ready to explore this incredible city through my personal recommendations and stunning photos.

Chattanooga, a charming city nestled along the Tennessee River and the Appalachian Mountains, offers a plethora of entertainment options for visitors and locals alike.

From exploring the scenic Riverfront to admiring the city's stunning skyline from Lookout Mountain, there's plenty to do in the Scenic City after dark.

Read on to find our list of the best things to do in Chattanooga at night and during the late afternoon. Get ready to discover the best of Chattanooga's nightlife.

Most Recommended Thing to Do

Top Choice Hotel

The Edwin Hotel

Our Top Choice Restaurant

Our Top Choice Bar for Nightlife

Best Time to Visit

Spring or fall for pleasant weather and outdoor activities.

Average Temperature

Mild winters, hot summers, with occasional temperature fluctuations.

Transportation Options

Buses, taxis, rideshares, bikes, scooters, ferries, walking paths.

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

$$

My Top Recommendation

To kickstart your journey, be sure to explore the jaw-dropping wonders of Lookout Mountain. Take a picturesque hike along the trails, or hop on the Incline Railway for a scenic ride to the mountain's summit.

Afterwards, spend a day exploring the revitalized downtown area, where you can wander through the historic districts, marvel at the stunning artworks in the Hunter Museum of American Art, or catch a live performance at the Tivoli Theatre.

What You'll Need to Bring

  1. Comfortable walking shoes
  2. Layered clothing for unpredictable weather
  3. Sunscreen and sunglasses

What Not to Miss

  1. Lookout Mountain
  2. Tennessee Aquarium
  3. Walnut Street Bridge
  4. Rock City Gardens
  5. Ruby Falls

What to Avoid

  1. Traffic:
  2. Tourist traps
  3. Lack of preparation

1. Go on a Tennessee River Sunset Cruise

On this Southern Belle Riverboat cruise, you can sit back and enjoy the stunning views of the river while the sun sets over the horizon.

The peaceful atmosphere and the waters reflecting the warm hues of the sunset provide an experience that you won't soon forget. You can also enjoy live music while you take in the picturesque scenery.

So if you're looking for a memorable way to spend an evening in Tennessee, consider taking a Tennessee River sunset cruise on the Southern Belle Riverboat.

2. Go to Sunset Rock for an Amazing Date Night

Sunset Rock is one of the most popular spots to catch a captivating sunset in the Scenic City and is perfect for a unique date night.

It's located on West Brow Road in Lookout Mountain and offers 180-degree views of the Tennessee River, Wauhatchie Battlefield, and Prentice Cooper State Forest.

The trail to the top of the rock is a leisurely hike from the historic Cravens House. Once you arrive, you'll be rewarded with unparalleled views of the stars.

3. Attend a Special Event at Rock City Gardens

The Rock City Gardens in Lookout Mountain near Chattanooga are home to stunning rock formations, gardens, and beautiful views of the surrounding mountains and valleys.

During the holiday season, you can enjoy the "Enchanted Garden of Lights" event at Rock City Gardens transforming the gardens into a winter wonderland of festive lights and holiday cheer.

The twinkling lights and holiday scenes create a magical atmosphere that captures the essence of the season.

4. Admire the Ruby Falls

Located in Chattanooga, Ruby Falls is an attraction featuring the tallest underground waterfall in the US, cascading 145 feet below the surface.

The breathtaking view of the waterfall, along with its vibrant colors, makes it a fantastic sight to behold. Visitors can also enjoy various shopping and dining options on-site.

Ruby Falls is truly a highlight of any trip to Chattanooga and the surrounding area.

5. Take an Evening Stroll along Walnut Street Bridge

The Walnut Street Bridge is a historic bridge built in 1891 and one of the longest pedestrian bridges in the world, spanning the Tennessee River at an impressive 3,375 feet long.

The bridge connects Chattanooga's downtown with the city's northern part and offers stunning views of the city skyline and the river.

The bridge is especially magical at night, with the city lights reflecting on the water and the peaceful atmosphere providing the perfect setting for a romantic stroll.

6. Have a Fun Night at The Comedy Catch

The Comedy Catch is an iconic comedy club at Market Street that hosts a variety of national stand-up comedy acts as well as local up-and-comers.

Many of the comedians who perform at The Comedy Catch have appeared on notable networks and outlets such as HBO, Showtime, the Tonight Show, and Comedy Central.

The intimate setting of the club makes for an unforgettable night of laughs and entertainment.

7. Take a Trip to the Wilderness Outdoor Film Theatre

The Wilderness Outdoor Film Theatre is a drive-in theatre in Dade County, Georgia, just a short 25-minute drive from Chattanooga.

It claims to have the largest outdoor screen in the world, where you can enjoy new and classic films under the stars.

The theatre provides a perfect backdrop for a romantic night out or a family outing, with a variety of films to choose from and a snack bar offering movie favorites like popcorn and soda.

8. Take a Scenic Stroll in the Tennessee Riverpark

Tennessee Riverpark offers over ten miles of paved trails that wind along the Tennessee River, providing breathtaking views of the water and the surrounding mountains.

The park is also the location for the renowned Tennessee Riverwalk which stretches over 22 miles along the river.

The Riverpark also features fishing piers, gardens, and public art spaces, making it a great destination for families looking to spend a relaxing evening outdoors.

9. Check out the Classic Arcade Pinball Museum

The Classic Arcade Pinball Museum in Chattanooga is a must-visit for fans of classic arcade games and pinball machines.

Located on Broad Street in the city center, this museum features a collection of vintage pinball machines and classic arcade games such as Pac-Man, Space Invaders, and Donkey Kong.

Visitors can see how the machines have evolved and understand the impact they had on popular culture.

10. Play Mini Golf at Sir Goony's Family Fun Center

Sir Goony's Family Fun Center is a must-visit recreational complex in Chattanooga that has been operating since 1960.

It offers an array of activities, including mini-golf courses and bumper cars, making it a perfect destination for families with kids or groups of friends looking for some fun.

Whether you want to test your putting skills or race around the track in bumper cars, Sir Goony's has something for everyone.

11. Explore the Beautiful Architecture of Downtown Chattanooga

From historic buildings to modern structures, downtown Chattanooga has a diverse mix of architectural styles that are best appreciated at night when the city lights up.

The city's downtown has been revitalized in recent years and has many new restaurants and breweries, but it still has plenty of Southern charm.

The city's iconic landmarks, such as the Chattanooga Choo Choo and the Walnut Street Bridge, are beautifully lit up at night, creating a magical atmosphere that's perfect for a romantic stroll.

12. Explore the Spooky History of the City on a Ghost Tour

Chattanooga Ghost Tours take visitors on a historical trip to Chattanooga's dark side, exploring the city's haunted past.

Led by experienced storytellers, the tours delve into the dark stories of things that took place in the city back in the day, from haunted buildings to mysterious disappearances.

If you're looking for a fun and spooky night out, the Chattanooga Ghost Tours are a great way to explore the city and learn about its legends and eerie past.

13. Head to Improv Chattanooga for a Fun Saturday Night

Improv Chattanooga in the Southside Historic District features a talented group of local comedians who are known for their quick wit and hilarious performances.

The intimate setting of the club and the audience participation aspect of improv comedy makes for a fun and engaging night out with friends or family.

Chattanooga's Premier Improv Comedy Troupe has shows Friday and Saturday nights at 8 pm and 10 pm. If you're looking for a fun nighttime activity, Improv Chattanooga is definitely worth a visit.

14. Explore Coolidge Park

Coolidge Park is a 13-acre park on the north shore of the Tennessee River that offers stunning views of the river and the surrounding mountains.

Visitors can take a stroll along the riverfront, have a picnic on the lush green grass, or cool off in the park's interactive water fountain.

Coolidge Park is also home to a beautiful antique carousel dating to 1894**,** which provides a charming and nostalgic ride.

15. See a performance at the Tivoli Theatre, the "Jewel of the South"

The Tivoli Theatre in Chattanooga is a stunning and historic theatre that has been in operation since 1921.

The theatre hosts Broadway plays, live music, and classic cinema events throughout the year.

The Tivoli is the perfect place to view seasonal favorites like ''The Rocky Horror Picture Show and It's a Wonderful Life.

16. Head to Warehouse Row for Shopping and Dining

Warehouse Row is a premier shopping and dining destination in the heart of Chattanooga that has been completely revitalized in recent years.

The shopping center, located on Market Street, was established in 1904, standing on a historic Civil War site. The 330,000-square-foot development features luxury retail stores and various dining establishments.

Whether you're looking for high-end fashion, unique gifts, or delicious cuisine, Warehouse Row has something for everyone.

17. See the Bluff View Sculpture Garden

The River Gallery Sculpture Garden, located in the Bluff View Art District of Chattanooga, was designed by landscape architect Joe Baasch and spans two acres of outdoor space.

Situated on a hill overlooking the Tennessee River, the garden boasts a formal garden, a meditation area, and an informal garden featuring a recycling mountain stream.

Visitors can admire the beautiful sculptures dotting the garden, which are created by a variety of artists from around the world.

18. Sleep in the Deep at the Tennessee Aquarium

Sleep in the Deep is a unique overnight program offered at the Tennessee Aquarium in Chattanooga that allows visitors to spend the night among the aquarium's aquatic creatures.

The program includes a guided tour of the aquarium's marine life, a chance to meet an animal ambassador and a Scavenger Hunt After-Dark. Guests can also enjoy an evening snack and a light breakfast in the morning.

Take your family and friends to the Tennessee Aquarium for the chance to sleep beside stingrays and sturgeons, enjoying a truly unforgettable experience.

19. Take your Friends to an Escape Room

The Escape Experience is one of the top-rated escape rooms in the city and offers a variety of exciting scenarios for visitors to enjoy.

One of the most popular rooms is the C-Block Prison Break, where you and your partner will have just 60 minutes to escape from a maximum-security prison.

The experience is designed to test your problem-solving skills and teamwork abilities, making it a great activity for a fun evening with your family, friends, or coworkers.

20. Attend a Free Stargazing Party

The Barnard Astronomical Society is a non-profit organization that is dedicated to promoting the study of astronomy and providing public education about the wonders of the universe.

The astronomical society offers free stargazing parties that are worth a visit. These parties are open to the public and are held at various locations around Chattanooga.

The stargazing parties are a great opportunity to observe the night sky through high-quality telescopes and learn about the constellations, planets, and other celestial objects.

21. Drink a Cup of Hot Chocolate at The Hot Chocolatier

If you're a chocolate lover, then a visit to The Hot Chocolatier in Chattanooga is a must. 

This charming shop offers artisanal chocolates inspired by chocolate-making traditions in France and Belgium.

In addition to their delicious chocolate truffles, The Hot Chocolatier is also known for their hot chocolate, which is rich, creamy, and a perfect drink for a cold winter night.

The Hot Chocolatier also offers a variety of pastries and desserts.

22. Go Rock Climbing at High Point Climbing Gym

For an adrenaline-fueled experience in Chattanooga, make sure to visit High Point Climbing Gym. This state-of-the-art facility offers a wide range of climbing walls, from beginner to advanced.

In addition to rock climbing, High Point Climbing Gym also offers yoga, bouldering, spin classes, and fun kid activities at the designated Kid Zone.

You can also try the exterior climbing walls and get incredible views of a busy street and the Tennessee River from the top.

23. Camping in the Prentice Cooper State Forest

Camping in the Prentice Cooper State Forest is an ideal way to experience the beauty of nature in Chattanooga.

This forest, located in Southeast Tennessee, offers over 6,000 acres of protected land, with over 35 miles of hiking trails and plenty of options for RV camping or backcountry camping.

The forest also has picnic areas, fishing spots, and scenic overlooks, making it the perfect destination for nature lovers visiting the region.

24. Try Great Spirits at Gate 11

Gate 11 in Chattanooga is an award-winning distillery, located in the historic Chattanooga Choo Choo Terminal.

It offers an array of great spirits, including Gate 11 Gin, Vodka, Rum, Rye Whiskey, and Infame Absinthe Blanche.

Visitors can take a guided tour of the facility, learn about the distilling process, and enjoy tastings of the different spirits.

25. Experience the Lookout Mountain Incline Railway

The Lookout Mountain Incline Railway is one of the world's steepest passenger railways, taking visitors up the famous Lookout Mountain.

The railway has been in operation since the 1800s and has become a popular tourist attraction. As you ascend the mountain, you'll be treated to stunning views of the Chattanooga Valley and the Tennessee River.

Once you reach the top, you can explore the historic Point Park and the Battles for Chattanooga Museum. Point Park is open daily from 8:30 am-Sunset.

26. Tour the Chattanooga Whiskey Experimental Distillery

The Chattanooga Whiskey Experimental Distillery is an innovative distillery dedicated to crafting unique whiskeys using locally sourced ingredients and cutting-edge techniques.

Visitors can take a tour of the distillery to learn about the distillation process and the history of whiskey-making in Tennessee.

You'll have the opportunity to sample some of their award-winning whiskeys and learn about the different characteristics that make each one unique.

27. Take a Kayaking Bat Tour

Kayaking bat tours in the Nickajack Cave Wildlife Refuge are an experience that you should not miss when visiting Chattanooga.

Located less than 30 minutes from downtown Chattanooga, this refuge offers a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to witness thousands of bats as they fly out of the cave in search of food.

Guided tours are available through Outdoor Chattanooga from July – September each year.

28. Explore the Hunter Museum of American Art

The Hunter Museum of American Art is a top destination for art enthusiasts in Chattanooga, especially during the evening hours on Thursdays when it stays open late.

Perched atop a 90-foot bluff overlooking the Tennessee River, this beautiful museum is home to a diverse collection of American art, spanning from the colonial period to the present day.

In addition to its impressive permanent collection, the museum also features rotating exhibits and special events.

29. Enjoy a Concert at the Songbirds Guitar & Pop Culture Museum

The Songbirds Guitar Museum invites visitors to explore the rich history of music in Chattanooga through its amazing collection of vintage musical instruments and memorabilia.

At night, the exhibition area transforms into an intimate concert venue that hosts music performances by local artists.

With a capacity to host up to 200 seated guests and 500 standing guests, Songbirds Guitar Museum is the perfect spot for a night of entertainment.

30. See a Concert at Reflection Riding Arboretum

Reflection Riding’s Campfire Concert Series brings together some of the best local musicians and provides a magical atmosphere for a night of live music.

The concerts provide a perfect opportunity to unwind after a long day and enjoy good music among the greenery of local plants and trees.

If you're looking to enjoy some great music and a cozy campfire, then don't miss the chance to attend the next Campfire Concert series.

FAQs: The Best Things to do in Chattanooga at Night

Let's also explore some common questions and answers relating to the best things to do in Chattanooga at night.

Does Chattanooga have a nightlife?

Yes, Chattanooga has a vibrant nightlife scene, with numerous bars, clubs, music venues, and theaters.

Visitors and locals can enjoy live music, comedy shows, karaoke, dancing, and other fun activities after dark.

What to do in Chattanooga after dark?

There are plenty of things to do in Chattanooga after dark.

You can take a stroll on the scenic Riverfront or visit Lookout Mountain to witness the city's stunning skyline.

You can also catch a show at the Tivoli Theatre, go on a ghost tour, or enjoy a drink at one of the many bars and pubs.

What is the popular street in Chattanooga?

The most popular street in Chattanooga is the historic Main Street, home to several restaurants, cafes, shops, and galleries.

The street is also known for its stunning architecture, such as the Read House Hotel and the James Building.

What's Chattanooga famous for?

Chattanooga is famous for its natural beauty, thriving arts and culture scene, and rich history that you can explore on one of the many Chattanooga tours.

It is also known as the site of the famous Battle of Chattanooga during the Civil War, and home to the Tennessee Aquarium, one of the best aquariums in the world.

Summing Up: The Best Things to Do in Chattanooga at Night & Late Afternoon

Chattanooga offers a wide range of exciting activities to do at night, from strolling along the Tennessee Riverwalk to ghost tours and enjoying live performances.

Whether you're planning a date night or a solo adventure, there's something for everyone in Chattanooga.

So plan a visit to Chattanooga today and experience all that this vibrant city has to offer after dark.

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