13 Things To Do In Chattanooga
Chattanooga is a beautiful town that is very easy to navigate. Furthermore, it’s a walkable city but there are electric shuttles and bike rentals available too. The shuttle runs 15-30 minutes through the north shore, downtown, and st. Elmo/incline.
We stayed at The Read House Hotel and this place was spectacular. The hotel just completed a 30 million dollar renovation with all new luxury furnishings and amenities. The Read House Hotel is a historic property with completely redone rooms, the addition of a 10th-floor penthouse, and an upscale Bridgeman’s chophouse. Definitely recommend grabbing a cup of coffee from Sleepyhead Coffee around the corner.
If you’re heading to Chattanooga with your family or friends for the weekend, here are 13 things to do in Chattanooga!
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13 Things To Do In Chattanooga, Tennessee
1. MUSEUM OF AMERICAN ART
After I checked into our hotel, we visited the Hunter Museum of American Art. The museum was built overlooking the Tennessee River on a 90-foot limestone bluff. Hunter Museum of American Art is a 1905 classical mansion with 100 years of architecture and some of the finest collections of American art. The collections showcase American art history from the colonial to the present day.
2. BLUFF VIEW ART DISTRICT
The Bluff View District is made up of 2 restaurants, 2 museums, a coffee shop, a B&B, a gallery, a bocce court, and an outdoor sculpture garden. The Bluff is known for making its own bread, pastries, pasta, and chocolates. They roast their own coffee and grow herbs in their own garden. We had dinner at Tony’s Pasta Shop. Not only was the food amazing but the views of the Walnut Street Bridge, Tennessee River, and Maclellan Island were incredible.
3. WHISKEY THIEF
A perfect nightcap was at the rooftop bar, Whiskey Thief, inside The Edwin Hotel. The Edwin Hotel is an upscale, 5-story hotel on the South end of Walnut Street Bridge. The name comes from a Master Distiller’s most critical tool as this tool ”steals” a sample of a whiskey batch straight from the barrel and releases it into a cup.
4. MASSAGE AT AMA SPA
The Edwin Hotel is home to the Ama Spa which blends the essence of healing water from the mountains of Chattanooga with spa experiences that soothe and rebalance the soul. Ama is from the Cherokee for water which is a sacred element. The treatment at Ama Spa is created to embrace water as a source of life to preserve the mind, body, and spirit for the whole well-being. The Cherokee Indians have a daily ritual called ”going to water” submerging themselves in the river to wash away physical and spiritual elements.
5. TENNESSEE AQUARIUM
The aquarium is located on the bank of the Tennessee River and there are 2 buildings that feature a variety of freshwater animals. We loved looking at the river otters, trout, alligators, and turtles. Ocean Journey features saltwater habitats with penguins, touchable stingrays, spectacular coral reefs with sharks, turtles, and stingrays, and a walk-through butterfly garden.
Chattanooga has so many amazing neighborhoods that each showcase a different part of Chattanooga’s history. The Northshore District is home to eclectic shops, bookstores, and art galleries. Renaissance and Coolidge parks hosts antique carousel and interactive water fountains. Mean Mug Coffeehouse is a locally owned favorite among locals. They have a full espresso menu, drip coffee, Kyoto-style cold brew, and slow bar options. Mean Mug has both breakfast and lunch served all day featuring comfort food, vegan to paleo options, and in-house baked items.
7. WALK ACROSS THE WALNUT STREET PEDESTRIAN BRIDGE
From the Northshore District, you can walk across one of the largest pedestrian walkways in the world. It connects Northshore to downtown Chattanooga. The bridge was built in 1891, and for almost 3 decades it was the only way to cross the river.
8. TRY SOME WHISKEY
Chattanooga has a deep history of distilling. Chattanooga Whiskey Experimental was founded in 2011 to bring whiskey back to the people. In 2014, they opened a micro-distillery that provides tours and a tasting room. They released the 91 and Cask 111 which is the only Tennessee high malt whiskey.
9. SOUTHSIDE DISTRICT
The Southside District is home to the Chattanooga Choo Choo complex. There is pedestrian friendly station street full of delicious food and drinks, shopping, art galleries, breweries, and more. We had dinner at STR which is located in the historic remnants of the Chattanooga Choo Choo Terminal Station.
10. SCULPTURE FIELDS
Sculpture Fields at Montague Park is curated and designed by world-renowned artist John Henry. The park is filled with 30+ large-scale sculptures by local and world-renowned artists. This nonprofit outdoor museum with walking paths for outdoor recreation, gardens, picnics, and yoga.
11. ROCK CITY
Rock City has amazing geological and botanical wonders. The Enchanted Trail features massive rock formations, a 140-foot waterfall over Lookout Mountain which gives a panoramic view of seven states, and a Swing that Long bridge. Rock City has a fairy exhibit that was fun and two restaurants as well. Rocky City is family-friendly and they allow pets. I was a little nervous about doing the trek with my hip injury but it was relatively easy and I managed just fine. My 3-year-old was running circles around me.
12. LOOKOUT MOUNTAIN INCLINE RAILWAY
Chattanooga is home to ”American’s Most Amazing Mile.” Lookout Mountain Incline Railway is the world’s steepest passenger railway where you’ll see amazing panoramic views of the valley. You can ride the trip in different ways: round trip, top to bottom, or bottom to top. At the base of Lookout Mountain is the Reflection Riding Arboretum and Nature Center, home of 300+ acres of a public park, nature center, wildlands, and outdoor adventure. Plus there is a 3-mile gravel loop offering hardwood forests, wildflower meadows, and wetlands habitats. Make sure to stop at the bottom for some ice cream!
13. BLUEGRASS FESTIVAL
Chattanooga is home to the 3 Sisters Bluegrass Festival. Three Sisters honors the musical legacy of bluegrass fiddle Fletcher Bright. The festival is a 2-day free event for the community that features the biggest names in bluegrass and American Country magazine named 3 Sisters as one of the Top 5 Bluegrass Festivals in the country.
Bonus: Creative Discovery Museum is a great place for kids if you have extra time!
Ready for a fun weekend in Chattanooga, Tennessee? Hope you enjoyed my list of 13 things to do in Chattanooga. If you have a favorite I didn’t mention, let me know!
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*This post is sponsored by Chattanooga Tourism, all opinions are my own.