Consider the Tennessee River’s sweep as it passes through Chattanooga from the summit of Lookout Mountain. This bustling metropolis, currently home to 180,000 people in southeast Tennessee near the Georgia border, was formerly a Cherokee settlement. View the Appalachian Mountains’ foggy slopes in the distance where past and present have merged.
One of the most well-liked travel destinations in the Southern US is the city made famous by the 1941 Glenn Miller song Chattanooga Choo-Choo. Want to remember your trip with a thrilling ride? The world’s steepest grade and the site of renowned Civil War battles are reached by the Lookout Mountain Incline Railway.
Best Places to Visit in Chattanooga
Chattanooga, one of the most walkable cities in Tennessee, has broad sidewalks and access to walking trails. Accessible on foot are some of the top attractions. For your next visit to our list of Chattanooga attractions and things to do, take the free electric shuttle through the city’s center.
1. Nashville Aquarium
With two “journeys” contained under one roof, the Tennessee Aquarium brings together an unparalleled collection of freshwater and marine life. In the River Journey, immerse yourself in the bustle of riparian life. The Ocean Journey inspires you to learn more about the animal species and habitats in marine ecosystems as well as to protect them.
The River Journey is a freshwater excursion that includes displays that highlight the Appalachian Cove Forest, a delta swamp, and some of the most famous rivers in the world. Scuba divers from the team can be seen swimming among vibrant schools of fish in spacious waterways.
2. Ruby Falls on Lookout Mountain
Those who enjoy waterfalls and caverns should visit Ruby Falls on Lookout Mountain. Ruby Falls is the highest and deepest cave waterfall accessible to the general public in the United States, and it is concealed behind the limestone Cavern Castle that you can see from the road. A 260-foot lift and a short trail allow access. A waterfall and naturally occurring rock formations are imaginatively lighted in a rainbow of hues.
At the Ruby Falls entrance, another elevator leads to the rooftop of the Lookout Mountain Tower. The tower offers views over Chattanooga, the Tennessee River, and the Appalachian foothills to the north and east, respectively. Purchase mementos at the gift shop.
3. Travel to Lookout Mountain and nearby attractions via an incline railway
The most inventive and thrilling way to reach the escarpment is by using the Lookout Mountain Incline Railway. The funicular train has been operating for 125 years and is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the city.
Near the summit of the line, a 72.7 percent slope is reached by two trolley-like railcars as they gently ascend and descend “America’s Most Amazing Mile”.
- The 10 Best Tranquil Places to Visit in Northern Wisconsin – Let’s Explore!
- The Most Unbelievable 10 Best Places to Visit Near Tampa Florida, USA!
- Discover the Top 10 Best Interesting Places to Visit in Southern Michigan!
You can board the train in St. Elmo at the base of the mountain, depart from the station at the summit of Lookout Mountain, or go back from either station.
4. Travel by Tennessee Valley Railroad
Trains are explained, shown off, and run by the Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum. Visit the Chattanooga Grand Junction Station’s museum railway yard first to get the most out of your time there.
Schedule a trip on a vintage passenger train that is propelled by a steam or diesel engine. The most well-liked excursion is a six-mile journey on a steam-powered railway from the 1930s close to Chattanooga. Three bridges are crossed during the way, and a railroad tunnel from the Civil War is also traversed. A seat in the dome car is expensive.
5. Visit Reflection Riding Arboretum and Nature Center to get in touch with nature
A public estate with meadows, shoreline pathways, and wildwood sanctuaries is within a 10-minute drive from the Reflection Riding Arboretum and Nature Center. You can reach Lookout Creek and historically significant regions under National Park Service management with brisk walks and runs.
Canoes and bicycles are brought by visitors for fun and fitness. Families with young children go on hikes in the pasture to observe retired horses.
6. Creative Discovery Museum
The Creative Discovery Museum is a well-known children’s museum in the heart of Chattanooga that promotes active learning and pleasure. Science, the arts, and music are all included in exploration, along with all other fields and interests.
This museum appeals to young minds with its rooftop RiverPlay display, garden, and workshop where children may create their own inventions.
7. Hunter American Art Museum
The Hunter Museum of American Art is devoted to American painters’ early works, spanning as far back as the 1700s. There are paintings, sculptures, glassworks, and furniture on display. A contemporary section of the museum is perched atop an 80-foot promontory with a view of the Tennessee River, while a portion of it is situated in a 1904 Classic Revival mansion.
Walk one block to the east from the Hunter Museum of American Art to reach the free Sculpture Garden at Bluff View. The Bluff View Art District, which highlights the downtown arts sector, is anchored by the museum.
8. Houston Decorative Arts Museum
Fine collections of vintage furniture, music boxes, coverlets, glass, and ceramics can be seen at the Houston Museum of Decorative Arts.
- Get Ready to Know 10 Best Places to Visit in Catskills, New York, USA!
- Top 10 Best Incredible Places to Visit in Spain With Family!
The majority of the unusual things on show come from the collection of the late Anna Safley Houston, a well-known antiquities dealer, and are housed in an 18th-century Victorian residence. Shop the museum’s gift shop for inspiration.
The Bluff View Art District, Chattanooga’s artistic district, includes the Houston Museum of Decorative Arts, which is located at the top end of High Street. Rembrandt’s Coffee House, boutiques, art galleries, studios, and restaurants can all be found here.
9. Zoo in Chattanooga
The 13-acre Chattanooga Zoo transports guests from sub-Saharan Africa to the Himalayan Passage. The habitats include savannas, jungles, and woods. Red pandas, snow leopards, dromedary camels, giraffes, and chimpanzees are some of the larger creatures you might observe.
Through “keeper chats” with staff, learn more about the animals. “Storytime” captivates young minds with tales about particular animals. Children are encouraged to explore exhibits inspired by animals and habitats in “Nature Play”.
10. Recognize the African American experience and Bessie Smith
Bessie Smith, a native of Chattanooga and the world’s “Empress of the Blues,” is revered here for her renowned voice. Before the Great Depression, the Bessie Smith Cultural Center tells the story of a woman who overcame adversity to become the highest-paid African-American artist.
One of the best-known vocalists in American history and one of the most prolific songwriters in the country lost his life tragically in a vehicle accident in 1937.
It’s difficult to be bored in Chattanooga. One of the biggest freshwater aquariums in the world is the Tennessee Aquarium, to start. The biggest underground waterfall in the nation is Ruby Falls, and the biggest and oldest military park in the country is Chickamauga & Chattanooga National Military Park.
One of the world’s highest-incline railways is the Lookout Mountain Incline Railway. And with only 112 blocks, the Bluff View Art District might be the tiniest community you’ve ever heard of. With so many accolades, it’s surprising—and we’re not the only ones—that Chattanooga became known for the Chattanooga Choo Choo song.