Did you know that Chattanooga, TN was named one of the “Top 45 Places to Go” in the WORLD by the New York Times?! I’m going to tell you ALL the fun things to do in Chattanooga Tennessee so you can have the best time!
Located along the lovely Tennessee River, Chattanooga has plenty of rich history, outdoor fun, unique attractions, amazing restaurants, live music, and more.
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Visiting Chattanooga, Tennessee
Ranked one of the top 100 best places to live in the United States, Chattanooga is a great laid-back town with a variety of attractions. It’s hard to pack everything into a weekend trip because there are so many options for fun things to do. There’s definitely going to be something for everyone here!
When is the best time to visit Chattanooga, Tennessee?
It’s truly an awesome town to visit at any time of year, but the BEST time to visit is in the fall. There are fewer crowds and temperatures are between 40-80 degrees. Fall is a great time of year for exploring the hiking trails, taking train rides, and seeing all the natural beauty of fall foliage at the most famous tourist attractions.
I'm excited Andrea, let's skip right to it!
All the Fun Things to Do in Chattanooga, Tennessee
Take a Fun Guided Tour
If you’ve read anything I’ve written over the last few years, you know that one thing I think you MUST do every time you travel is to take some sort of tour. Luckily, Chattanooga has a ton of unique tour options so you can make some core memories on your trip!
PRO TIP: Take a city tour at the beginning of your trip so you get ideas for shopping and restaurants in the area.
Chattanooga Trolley Tours
I took my first trolley tour on my awesome trip to Nashville, TN and I’ve been taking them ever since. A Chattanooga trolley tour is a great way to see several famous attractions while you learn some history about the area.
Are you looking for a quick trolley ride that primarily drives past the major attractions? Here’s a trolley tour that’s only 1 hour long with just one 15-minute stop at Chattanooga Choo Choo train terminal. This tour is best if you’re just in it for a fun trolley ride.
The 2-hour trolley tour drives past most attractions and has 2 short stops. This is the tour that works best for getting familiar with the layout of the city.
My oldest son, Thomas, was a HUGE fan of trains when he was little. Actually, he loved anything that moved! This 3-hour and 45-minute, 1/2-day tour, is best for anyone who LOVES transportation and wants to learn a little more about its history.
Visitors of all ages will enjoy experiencing the scenic city by trolley with this extended hop-on hop-off trolley tour.
The 4 tourist attractions you experience are:
~ The Chattanooga Choo Choo (20 min at this 100-year-old train station)
~ Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum (2 hours at this historic railroad museum with train rides)
~ Chattanooga National Cemetery (5 minutes at the oldest and 2nd largest cemetery in the United States)
~ Choker Museum (pass by this automotive and motorcycle museum)
Chattanooga Segway Tours
Have you ever tried a Segway tour? We did one when we took our trip to Savannah, Georgia and it was the BEST tour we’ve ever had on a trip! You HAVE to give it a try at least once in your life.
The best part of this type of tour is that you cover a lot of ground in a short amount of time. The tour guide also gives you time to hop off and get some pictures. Get Your Guide has 2 great options for Segway tours.
Historic Downtown Segway Tour:
This 2-hour medium group tour (limited to 10 people) takes you to see a large portion of the downtown Chattanooga area. You will learn about the secrets and hidden gems of the city. This is a great way to get ideas for restaurants to dine at during your visit.
North Shore and Coolidge Park Segway Tour:
This 1.5-hour small group tour (limited to 4 people) takes you around the North Shore area and Coolidge Park. You will see the Dome Building, Tivoli Theatre, and Ross Landing. You can also get a peek at some of the historic downtown areas.
Chattanooga Spooky Walking Tours
Are you looking for an adventurous and economical way to tour Chattanooga? There are a couple of options for walking tours at night, that are a little spooky.
The 1.5-hour Adults-only Haunted City Walking Tour takes you to see Miller Plaza Pavilion, the Mountain City Club, and the Cherry Street Tavern. You will learn all about the dark secrets and haunted history of Chattanooga.
The 1.5-hour Spooky and Family-Friendly Walking Tour takes you by some popular attractions like the Tennessee Aquarium, the Hunter Museum of American Art, and the Tennessee Riverwalk. This tour shares some supernatural history stories but is made suitable for children.
Chattanooga Helicopter Tours
I love helicopter tours! One of the coolest things I’ve ever done was a helicopter ride over the Hawaiian Islands.
Chattanooga has several helicopter tour options and they are likely to sell out so if you’re interested then you should reserve your tickets NOW!
The great thing about this unique experience is they have options ranging from 5-30 minutes. Chattanooga is the perfect place for your 1st short helicopter ride to see spectacular views of the Appalachian mountains!
PRO TIP: I always get tickets through Get Your Guide or Viator because you can reserve now and pay later. The best part is if your plans change you can cancel for FREE.
Instagrammable Photo Spots in Chattanooga
There are some really cute spots for photo ops all over the city. I’m going to quickly share my top 5 favorite Instagrammable places around Chattanooga.
NOTE: I go into more detail about some of these locations below so anywhere you see this camera icon, that means it’s an INSTAGRAMMABLE SPOT.
Top 5 Instagrammable Locations in Chattanooga, Tennessee
Umbrella Alley Location: 298-200 W 8th St, Chattanooga, TN 37402
In the West Village, there are tons of colorful umbrellas suspended in the air all down a small alleyway. This little gem is beautiful during the day or at night when it is all lit up. It’s one of the most Instagrammable places in Chattanooga, TN.
This little street is perfect for a photo shoot. It’s where my friend, Abbey, took the profile picture that I use everywhere for A Capone Connection!
Walnut Street Bridge Location: 1 Walnut St., Chattanooga, TN 37403
This historic pedestrian bridge is a great spot to take pictures during the daytime or at night. I took this picture during the day and added a relevant quote to it for my Instagram.
Antique Carousel at Coolidge Park Location: 150 River St, Chattanooga, TN 37405
You will LOVE the antique carousel at Coolidge Park. It is beautifully restored! Here’s a short video with an added quote for an Instagram reel.
The Edwin Hotel Location: 102 Walnut St, Chattanooga, TN 37403
The Edwin Hotel is ranked #1 out of 103 hotels in Chattanooga. I stayed here and I absolutely recommend it for the stunning rooms, exquisite decor, amazing restaurants, and perfect downtown location.
There are COUNTLESS Instagrammable spots with captivating modern design elements throughout this hotel! Make sure you check out the top–notch restaurants and rooftop bar for amazing views.
The Dwell Hotel:
The Dwell Hotel is ranked #17 out of 103 hotels in Chattanooga. I recommend it for the cool retro vibes and great downtown location.
This is a boutique vintage hotel with a ton of cute Instagrammable areas throughout the first floor. Here’s an Instagram reel showing some cute photo opportunities inside.
Shopping in Chattanooga
Warehouse Row Shopping Mall Location: 1110 Market St, Chattanooga, TN 37402
Warehouse Row is a really cool area to do some inside shopping and take in the amazing architecture of the old building. There are about a dozen stores and a few great restaurants. This is a perfect spot to walk around when it’s too hot or rainy outside.
PRO TIP: I recommend grabbing food & drinks at Tupulo Honey restaurant while you are in this area.
The downtown area is one of my favorite parts of Chattanooga, Tennessee. This area is so walkable! You can shop, explore cool restaurants, visit attractions like the Tennessee Aquarium, see trains and the train station, and check out one of the longest pedestrian bridges you’ve ever seen.
There are TONS of Instagrammable hotels, restaurants, and street art in the downtown area.
Chattanooga usually has a bunch of different events scheduled throughout the year. Make sure you check out their calendar to see what festivals, concerts, and sporting events are happening during your visit.
There are so many great restaurants located downtown. If you’re not sure where to go OR if you’d just like some company while you eat then you should try a food tour.
This 2 1/2-hour food tour takes you to 3 different restaurants. One for the appetizer, one for the main dish, and one for dessert.
Tennessee Aquarium Location: 1 Broad St., Chattanooga, TN 37402
If you like going to the aquarium then you should definitely plan to visit when you’re downtown. It’s ranked #7 out of 122 things to do in Chattanooga by TripAdvisor and it also won the Travelers’ Choice Award.
Currently, it’s suggested to get your timed entry tickets online in advance.
This non-profit aquarium has two buildings. One is The Oceanside and one is The Riverside. It’s known as the largest freshwater aquarium in TN, which holds 618,000 gallons of water.
With 800 different species and 12,000 animals, there is plenty to see during your visit to the aquarium.
Plan to set aside 2-3 hours for your visit. The aquarium is a great place to take young children on a hot or rainy day, but try to avoid visiting on a busy weekend if possible.
Walnut Street Bridge
Walnut Street Bridge Location: 1 Walnut St., Chattanooga, TN 37403
You will love seeing the world’s longest pedestrian bridge. The Walnut Street Bridge connects North Shore to downtown Chattanooga.
Built in 1890, this amazing wrought-iron and steel truss bridge is listed in the National Register of Historic Places. I think the pedestrian bridge is a MUST-SEE when you visit Chattanooga. Apparently, TripAdvisor agrees because it’s ranked #4 out of 122 things to do in Chattanooga and it received the Travelers’ Choice Award.
PRO TIP: The best evening views of the Walnut Street Bridge can be seen from the rooftop bar at the Edwin Hotel.
Classic Arcade Pinball Museum
Classic Arcade Pinball Museum Location: 409 Broad St., Chattanooga, TN37402
I spent a rainy afternoon at the classic arcade pinball museum and it was so much FUN! It’s ranked as the #1 museum in Chattanooga and when you visit you will see why.
Expect to spend 1-2 hours at this small but interactive museum. Honestly, it feels more like a classic arcade than it does a museum, and that’s probably why it’s one of the most fun things to do.
Tickets are $20.00 for Adults and $16.00 for children 10 and under. It includes UNLIMITED play on all the games for the day. That means you can leave and then come back later if you’d like to.
PRO TIP: Go Tues-Friday at 1:00 when they open so it's less busy and tickets are half-price!
Coolidge Park Location: 150 River St., Chattanooga, TN 37405
You definitely need to visit this beautiful park in the North Shore area when you are in Chattanooga. With 7 acres of space, it’s an ideal place for a picnic. There’s even an interactive water fountain, which children love to play in on hot days.
You will find concerts and festivals here, but my favorite part about Coolidge Park is the 1894 fully restored antique carousel. Tickets are only $1.00 per person to ride!
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Incline Railway Location: 3917 St. Elmo Ave., Chattanooga, TN 37409
I talked about the Lookout Mountain Incline Railway in my Ultimate Guide to Lookout Mountain. It’s one of the 3 most popular attractions in the area.
Known as America’s most amazing mile it’s a unique experience where you ride one of the steepest passenger railways in the world, to the top of the mountain, and take in the beautiful views.
The Incline Railway is on the National Register of Historic Places and it’s a GREAT way to see the fall foliage in Chattanooga.
If you’re feeling extra adventurous then you can take the Incline Railway Bike Tour. You ride the incline to the top and see the views of the Chattanooga Valley. Then, you get fitted for a bike and ride around a bit at the top. Finally, you will bike down the 7-mile stretch back to the bottom and enjoy your complimentary Clumpies Ice Cream.
Ruby Falls Location: 1720 Scenic Hwy, Chattanooga, TN 37409
You should plan to spend 2-3 hours visiting this unique attraction. It’s amazing to see the tallest and deepest underground waterfall in the US, that’s open to the public.
I mentioned Ruby Falls in my Ultimate Guide to Lookout Mountain because it’s one of the 3 most popular attractions in the area. There are a few different tour options, but you definitely want to purchase your tickets in advance because they sell out quickly.
Rock City Gardens
Rock City Gardens Location: 1400 Patten Rd, Lookout Mountain, GA
Okay, this attraction is not actually located IN Chattanooga, TN but I included it in the Chattanooga attractions because you HAVE to check it out when you are in the area. It is only a 15-minute drive and it’s an amazing experience. This is my favorite place to visit!
It can be confusing to understand the difference between Rock City Gardens, and Lookout Mountain. You need to read my Ultimate Guide to Lookout Mountain for ALL the details on the 3 top tourist attractions that collectively are referred to as “Lookout Mountain”.
Are you planning to see the most popular tourist attractions in the Chattanooga area? Luckily, I wrote an entire post about these 3 main attractions. CLICK HERE to read about the Incline Railway, Ruby Falls, and Rock City Gardens!
Rock City Gardens is one of my favorite things to do when I visit Chattanooga because it is such a unique adventure. You get to walk around and through incredible natural rock formations to see the best panoramic views from the top of Lookout Mountain.
The video below gives you a glimpse of what you will experience at Rock City Gardens. You really have to see the breathtaking views for yourself!
After walking through huge rock formations you will find yourself at the part of Lookout Mountain where you can see 7 states all in one place.
At the end of your tour through Rock City Gardens, you can finish with free wine tastings from The Georgia Winery.
If you’re looking to create some amazing memories then you should try white-water rafting down the Ocoee River. Viator has several guided tour options depending on your preference.
The 1/2 day tours are approximately 3 hours long. The full-day tours are 5-6 hours long.
Chattanooga 1/2 day White-water Rafting Tours
If you’ve never tried white-water rafting before then I suggest that you start out with the 1/2-day tour to make sure that it meets or exceeds your expectations.
The tour starts out with you boarding a bus and riding through the Cherokee National Forest to get to the launching point. There’s even an opportunity to swim in the river if you’d like to.
The best part is there is NO EXPERIENCE NECESSARY for this amazing 3-hour river journey. Must be 12+ years and older to join in the fun.
Chattanooga Full day White-water Rafting Tours
Are you ready for an entire day full of outdoor adventure? Check out one of these full-day trips down the Ocoee River.
Just like with the 1/2-day tour, you start out boarding a bus and riding through the Cherokee National Forest to get to the launching point. The full-day tour includes a picnic lunch alongside the river.
NO EXPERIENCE is NECESSARY and you must be 12+ years old to participate in this cool outdoor adventure.
Are you ready to get packed for your trip to Chattanooga, Tennessee? CLICK HERE to read about How to Pack a Suitcase That Saves You Money!
Tennessee Valley Rail Road Museum
Tennessee Valley Rail Road Museum Location: 4119 Cromwell Road, Chattanooga, TN 37421
Maybe it’s just me, but when I think of Chattanooga I think of the famous Chattanooga Choo Choo train. The Tennessee Valley Rail Road Museum is a great way to learn more about the railroad industry. It ranks #9 out of 122 things to do in Chattanooga and it won TripAdvisor’s Travelers’ Choice Award.
The Tennessee Valley Rail Road Museum has tons of railroad artifacts and memorabilia as well as vintage trains and actual train rides! Check out their website for the variety of train ride options and events. Make sure you look at the dinner train options as well!
Chattanooga Choo Choo
Chattanooga Choo Choo Hotel Location: 92 Choo Choo Avenue, Chattanooga, TN 37408
The old train station has been transformed into an amazing hotel. It is on the National Register of Historic Places so even if you don’t get a room you need to take a look inside the terminal station to see the amazing architecture.
I was there in November and it was beautifully decorated for Christmas. They transform the entire area into a winter wonderland for the winter season.
PRO TIP: Can't get enough of trains? Stay at the Chattanooga Choo Choo Hotel!
Visit Station Street
Station Street is a popular street in Chattanooga, known for great bars & restaurants, parties, festivals, and outdoor concerts.
FUN FACT: It’s one of the few cities in America where you are allowed to openly drink alcohol.
See a Comedy Show
The Comedy Catch Location: 29 Station St, Chattanooga, TN 37408
Ranked as #3 out of 22 places for nightlife in Chattanooga, The Comedy Catch, is a REALLY fun place to go see a live comedy show.
This comedy club has hosted some big stars and it has an open mic night if you want to test out your funny material. I saw Killer Beaz from the show Moonshiners when I was there and it was a great time!
Songbirds Guitar & Pop Culture Museum
Songbirds Guitar and Pop Culture Museum Location: 35 Station St, Chattanooga, TN 37408
Check out this non-profit museum, which is ranked #2 for Theater and Concerts in Chattanooga. At Songbirds Guitar & Pop Culture Museum you can see vintage and celebrity guitars while you learn some music history. Plan on spending 1-2 hours seeing the rare and vintage instruments.
There are 2 stages with live music so check out Songbird’s website for upcoming events.
Bars & Restaurants
There are a few cool bars and restaurants on this strip to check out. Tailgate Brewery Chattanooga, Frothy Monkey, STIR, American Draft, Westbound Honkey-Tonk, Reagans Retro Bar, and The Boneyard. Here are the cute vibes inside the Frothy Monkey.
I ate at the nearby restaurant Alleia. It is located just behind Station Street. Seriously, it was SO good! If you like Italian food, you will love it there!
To be honest, I ate at several restaurants all over Chattanooga and they were all pretty amazing. The atmosphere is consistently just as good as the food! I really hope you are able to try ALL the fun things to do in Chattanooga, Tennessee.
If you liked All the Fun Things to Do in Chattanooga, Tennessee and you’re ready to look for your hotel, then you might want to read Top 5 Things You Need to Know When Finding a Hotel!
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LET’S CONNECT: Which one of the suggestions from “All the Fun Things to Do in Chattanooga, Tennessee” do you think you’d definitely want to try? Comment below!