Main menu Open search menu

Things To Do In Chattanooga

Officially nicknamed the “Scenic City,” Chattanooga, Tennessee has far more to offer than just top notch views. Located between the Cumberland Plateau and Appalachian mountains, the city also offers both visitors and residents plenty of things do. Whether you’re a history buff, an outdoors enthusiast, a sports fan, a foodie, or a music lover, the city of Chattanooga has something special to offer. If you’re planning your next trip to Chattanooga, discover some of the vacation ideas curated below.

The city of Chattanooga has tons of amazing things to do. Though the city is relatively small, residents and visitors alike are afforded many opportunities to go out and enjoy the city.

Some of the best things to do in Chattanooga include the following ideas:

  • Though pizza may not be traditional southern cuisine, anyone spending time in the city should eat at Alleia, which has amazing pizza and Italian food
  • The city has a number of unique coffee shops to visit
  • Lake Winnepesaukah Amusement Park is simply a must-do activity in Chattanooga
  • A tour of the Tennessee River via boat, board, walking or bike is one of the best things to do while visiting
  • Lookout Mountain offers dramatic views of the city and is one the city’s featured attractions

Taking a vacation on a budget is always tricky, but never impossible, especially in a city like this. Visitors and residents have plenty of affordable or even free things to do in Chattanooga. If you are trying to find fun things to do without digging too deeply into your wallet, look no further.

Cheap or free things to do in Chattanooga include the following:

  • The Chattanooga Market is a street and flea market that brings out vendors and entertainers of all types
  • If window shopping and browsing indoors are more your style, then check out the Hamilton Place Mall, which is home to a number of different shops and restaurants
  • Fort Wood Historic District is worth exploring
  • A quick walk on the 13 mile long Tennessee Riverwalk just outside of downtown Chattanooga
  • Firebirds Wood Fired Bar and Grill have Happy Hour specials every day of the week

The city of Chattanooga has a long and rich history. For history buffs in particular, there are lots of options to explore. If history is not your thing, don’t worry, the city has plenty of other great tourist attractions to check out!

Below are a few popular tourist attractions near Chattanooga:

  • The Coolidge Park Historic Carousel is a top tourist attraction for visitors of all ages. With an admission cost of only $1, this is great bang for your buck
  • The Chattanooga Choo Choo Hotel is a must see tourist attraction. Formerly a train station, the Hotel was named after a popular 1941 song
  • For car enthusiasts, the Coker Tire Museum is a must see. With over 120 years worth of automotive history, one can spend hours here
  • The Chattanooga Zoo is one of the city’s top tourist attractions and on some weekends offers visitors the chance to ride a camel
  • The city has a number of historic buildings, many of which are included on the National Register of Historic Places

As a major transportation hub and college town, there is always something fun to do in Chattanooga. A huge variety of music, sports, food, and drink help make the city authentic.

Continue reading for a few exciting activities near Chattanooga:

  • The Lookout Mountain Incline Railway tour takes riders to 3 amazing view points
  • Rent paddleboards and explore the Tennessee River
  • Explore the Bluff View Art District which has many cafes, shops, gardens, and art galleries
  • Chattanooga FC is the city’s semi-pro soccer team and is one of the best teams in their league
  • Segway tours are a technologically-advanced way to explore the downtown Chattanooga area

Chattanooga is a college town, which allows for a thriving nightlife. With bars and restaurants scattered throughout the city, there are plenty of things to do for anyone looking to enjoy their evening to the fullest.

A few nighttime activities near Chattanooga include the following vacation ideas:

  • Tremont Tavern offers southern style food and an awesome beer selection, in addition to fun events like trivia night
  • Located at the world famous Chattanooga Choo Choo, the Comedy Catch is where you can find your next favorite comedian
  • In a city with as many historic buildings as Chattanooga, haunted buildings are easy to explore
  • Track 29 is a music venue that hosts nationally known bands and musical acts of all genres
  • Take an evening pedaling bar tour and bar hop in style

As a bustling, small city with plenty of things to do, the weekend is a great time to be in Chattanooga. Whether you’re looking for an adventure packed weekend or something more mellow, these options can help you plan your next Chattanooga vacation.

Below are a few weekend activities near Chattanooga:

  • Take a tour of Chattanooga Whiskey, a local distillery
  • Each January, the city hosts Chattacon, a festival focused on science fiction and fantasy based literature
  • Go to a music festival! The city is home to a number of music festivals throughout the year
  • Though it may be called a duck tour, this unique tour of downtown Chattanooga includes much more than just ducks
  • For olive lovers, Olive Chattanooga is a fine oil and balsamic tasting room

Chattanooga has plenty of activities fit for kids of all ages. There are many parks and open spaces scattered throughout the city, which combine recreation and discovery.

Family-friendly things to do near Chattanooga include:

  • The Creative Discovery Museum is a fun and educational option that kids will love
  • The Noah’s Little Ark Petting Zoo is another fun, family friendly activity
  • Check out the Air Bounce Party, which has mini golf, bouncy houses, and more
  • Sir Goony’s Family Fun Center offers batting cages, go-karts, bumper cars in the summer and fall seasons
  • The Learning Express Toy Store focuses on offering products that help kids learn while having fun

If you are looking for a lovely, weekend getaway, Chattanooga has plenty of romantic things to do. The city has a lively nightlife, but there are a few date ideas you can only do in this Tennessee city.

Date night ideas near Chattanooga include:

  • The Hart Gallery, a fun, unique Chattanooga date idea
  • Hutton and Smith Brewing Company, which offers patrons a variety of beers and mid-week specials, making this a perfect spot for a weeknight date
  • The Glen Falls trail is an easy hike with a with a scenic waterfall at the end
  • Catch a movie at the city’s IMAX Theatre
  • A riverboat tour is a romantic way to tour the city

It is hard to imagine a better way to plan a vacation than one that includes all of your friends. Though planning itineraries for the entire group can be challenging, Chattanooga offers a huge variety of things to do that everyone should like.

Below are a few things to do with your friends near Chattanooga:

  • The Tivoli Theater has entertainment options that range from Broadway style shows, to top musical acts, to comedy
  • The Chattanooga Lookouts are a double A minor league baseball team that offer cheap tickets throughout their entire summer season
  • The city is home to a number of escape rooms, each of which present you with 60 minutes and a unique puzzle to solve
  • Rock City, a dramatic rock outcropping just outside the city, offers a few fun hikes and an amazing view of 7 nearby states
  • Brewhaus Bar is a great option for trivia nights for groups looking to get out during the week

A long vacation full of action packed days can start to wear on you over time. Taking the chance to sit back and relax is a key part of a successful vacation. Though Chattanooga is full of exciting activities, there are plenty of laidback things to do as well.

Below are a few Chattanooga things to do indoors:

  • The Tennessee Aquarium is home to more than 9,000 different animals and focuses on educating visitors about freshwater ecosystems
  • A class at Yoga Landing’s downtown studio is a great way to spend some time relaxing indoors
  • Polly Claire’s is an old style tea room, where guests are treated like royalty
  • The Woodhouse Day Spa, located in downtown Chattanooga, is an easy way to spend the afternoon relaxing
  • A favorite spot for locals, Focus 4 Massage is the place to go for a stress relieving massage

Chattanooga is a hub for outdoor sports and activities. Biking, hiking, paddling, and caving are all a major part of the city’s thriving explorer community. A visit here is only complete by going on a hike or outdoor adventure. If you are the adventurous type, be sure to check out some of the following options.

For active things to see in Chattanooga, check out the following:

  • Located just outside of downtown Chattanooga, visitors to the Raccoon Mountain Caverns can camp and explore
  • Chattanooga features a number of bike paths and bike friendly roads throughout the city
  • The Ocoee River offers class III and IV whitewater rafting
  • If you are looking for an epic to hike, check out the Big Daddy Trail
  • Chattanooga has plenty of natural features for experienced climbers, but also features a few climbing gyms too

Like most other parts of the country, Chattanooga is home to a few things that help give the city its unique charms. These are some of the hidden gems near the city.

Here are a few must-see places near Chattanooga:

  • The Head of the Hooch Race is a rowing race held each November on the Tennessee River
  • The city is home to the Skyhoundz Disc Dogathon World Championship
  • Ruby Falls, a 145 foot tall underground waterfall is a must see attraction while in Chattanooga
  • Lover’s Leap, located at Rock City, is a scenic viewpoint with historical significance
  • The Delta Queen Hotel, the last fully operational, overnight steamboat in the country is now moored along the river, offering guests a unique lodging option