Did You Know?
ConventionSouth magazine named
Chattanooga #1 on the list of “The
South’s Cool Spots for Summer Events.”
Voted “Best Town Ever” twice by Outside magazine and one of the “Top 45 Places to Go” by the New York Times, Chattanooga boasts over 3.5 million visitors a year and offers museums, attractions, and adventures for the whole family.
One of Chattanooga’s top destinations, the Tennessee Aquarium offers unique and educational exhibits in freshwater and saltwater aquariums. From the mountains to the river and into the sea, visitors can follow a single raindrop through its lifecycle, while meeting playful penguins, mischievous otters, and monster fish along the way. The IMAX 3D Theater at the Tennessee Aquarium adds to viewer experience, boasting the latest laser projection technology, seen in fewer than 15 theaters worldwide.
Located on historic Lookout Mountain, Rock City, Ruby Falls, and the Incline Railway are among Chattanooga’s most iconic attractions. Full of charm, Rock City features beautiful gardens and rock formations with quirky gnomes dotting the path leading to a stunning panoramic view of seven states. Ruby Falls, the nation’s deepest waterfall open to the public, is located 1,120 feet beneath the earth’s surface. Ruby Falls’ newest attraction, ZIPstream Aerial Adventure, offers a rope course, zip line, and climbing tower. The Incline Railway, one of the steepest passenger railways in the world, takes passengers on a ride straight up Lookout Mountain at a 72.2% grade.
High Point Climbing and Fitness Downtown features 30,000 square feet of indoor and outdoor climbing space and offers Kid Zone, beginner’s lessons, and expert routes. The historic Chattanooga Choo Choo and the Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum are also popular attractions for the family. At the Creative Discovery Museum, hands-on exhibits encourage creativity and learning.
With the beauty of the Appalachian Mountains and Tennessee River, outdoor activities are available year-round. Guided by a Tennessee Aquarium naturalist, residents and visitors can travel downstream from the Chattanooga Pier to the Tennessee River Gorge aboard the River Gorge Explorer. Scenic tours can also be enjoyed on the Southern Belle.
Lake Winnepesaukah, a family-favorite amusement park, features more than 40 rides, miniature golf, paddle boats, and a water park. Chattanooga Ducks allows guests to take a tour through downtown streets on an authentic WWII amphibious landing craft and then splash into the Tennessee River with a historic ecological tour.
For sports fans, the UTC Mocs athletic teams, the Chattanooga Lookouts AA minor league baseball team, the semi-professional Chattanooga Football (soccer) Club, and the Nooga Rugby team call Chattanooga home. For tennis fans, Chattanooga is hosting the 2017 NCAA Men and Women’s Tennis Championships in May. Manker Patten, Chattanooga’s premier tennis club, is home to top tennis matches. A number of tennis courts, as well as golf courses, are open to the public.
For wildlife viewing, visitors and locals alike enjoy the Chattanooga Zoo, which houses hundreds of animals, including camels, red pandas, snow leopards, and more. The Reflection Riding Arboretum and Nature Center offers more than 300 acres to explore.
With 13 miles of paved trails, parks, picnic areas, and piers, the Tennessee RiverPark offers a beautiful view of the river and city. Bike rentals are available at several locations along the RiverPark and downtown. Tours on a double-decker bus or horse-drawn carriage offer great views and interesting stories about the city.
Several music festivals call Chattanooga home, as well as entertainment venues. The Riverbend Festival is a nine-day music extravaganza that draws in 600,000 people and features more than 100 bands on six stages. Nightfall (Friday evenings, May to August) and Riverfront Nights (Saturday evenings, August to September) are free outdoor concert series that feature a local opener and national acts. Track 29 at the Chattanooga Choo Choo, Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Auditorium, and the Tivoli are home to world-class entertainment.
Seasonal and cultural events are held throughout the year. In the fall, the Chattanooga Market and Rock City Gardens celebrate Bavarian culture with German food, beer, music, and more. The Tennessee Aquarium’s Aqua-Scarium and Ruby Falls’ Haunted Caverns are favorite fall activities as well. The winter brings Rock City’s Enchanted Garden of Lights, Ruby Falls Christmas Underground, Tennessee Valley Railroad’s North Pole Limited, and the Chattanooga Zoo’s Holiday Lights. Ruby Falls celebrates Valentine’s Day with Romance at Ruby. In the spring, Rock City transforms into Shamrock City to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day and also hosts Fairytale Nights, Southern Blooms Festival, and EarthDayz. In the summer, the Armed Forces Day parade celebrates veterans and fallen war heroes, closely followed by Independence Day celebrations and fireworks on the river.
No matter what season, Chattanooga provides events and attractions for the whole family.