Edwards Point in Chattanooga TN
Photo Credit: Josh Ness

Things to Do in Chattanooga

Outdoor adventure and music await in the gorgeously scenic Chattanooga.

Chattanooga has made a name for itself as a city where outdoor adventures are some of the best and free things to do in Chattanooga. From exploring fantastical gardens to feeling like a bird as you swoop and sweep above the hilltops that hug this burgeoning city, browse below for a full list of things to do in Chattanooga either as a solo traveler, if you're a traveling couple or visiting with friends and family.

Lookout Mountain Incline Railway

"America's Most Amazing Mile," Lookout Mountain Incline Railway takes riders in trolley-style cars up the world's steepest ride for scenic views of historic Lookout Mountain. When you come back down the mountain, you can find a collection of shops, restaurants and attractions. Check out homemade candle making, unique coffee, outdoor local dining, hand-dipped ice cream, microbrewery tours and more. Rides are every day 8:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. Advanced tickets are highly recommended.

Ruby Falls

You can journey 1,120 ft. under the earth to see Ruby Falls, the largest and deepest waterfall open to the public in the U.S. Make your way through the cave that was discovered in 1928 by Leo Lambert. Learn his story of how he came to find the waterfall and how he named it. After a tour, soar above the trees on ZipStream Aerial along 700 feet for an adventurous roundtrip flight. The 40-ft. Climbing Tower has five routes of scurrying challenges.

Rock City

See seven states in one place; take a panoramic photo at Lover's Leap that also houses the beautiful High Falls; and travel through Fairyland Caverns. Some of Rock City's famous gnomes guide you as you meander through the cave. Walk along the 180-foot suspension bridge to take in the views of the Chattanooga Valley.

Outdoor Chattanooga

Get outside in Chattanooga for adventures in paddle boarding, skydiving, hang gliding, horseback riding, and caving, camping, mountain biking and hiking. Whether by land, sea or air, Outdoor Chattanooga has you covered. Pack a lunch and explore in Tennessee State Parks like South Cumberland State Park, Harrison Bay State ParkBooker T. Washington State Park and Savage Gulf State Park. Natural areas are full of wonders and photogenic views like in Prentice Cooper State Forest.

High Point Climbing & Fitness

Whether you're into bouldering, challenging climbing or need some beginner tips, come to High Point Climbing & Fitness with 30,000 sq. ft. of indoor and outdoor climbing. The outdoor climbing wall is on transparent climbing material with Chattanooga's downtown laid out before you. You can cross-train as well with yoga, weight and aerobic cardio rooms.

Tennessee Aquarium

There's a reason the Tennessee Aquarium has been named by visitors as the best aquarium in the U.S. for overall guest satisfaction. Travel under the sea without needing a swimsuit at the Aquarium's two buildings: River Journey and Ocean Journey. Discover the animals and habitats of not only Tennessee, but the world. Otters, exotic plants, seahorses and octopi are ready to be observed. Experts are always on hand to answer questions and even host immersive programs around penguins, butterflies, alligators and more.  

Chickamauga & Chattanooga National Military Park

Chickamauga & Chattanooga National Military Park tells the Civil War's Battle Above the Clouds that took place November 1863. The Chickamauga Battlefield is the largest part of the military park. Meander among the monuments, battlefields, forests and urban landscapes of the U.S.'s first military park (it was dedicated in 1895).

Hunter Museum of American Art

Artwork from Colonial period to present day are housed in the Hunter Museum of American Art that is perched on an 80-ft. bluff on the edge of the Tennessee River. Mixed media, sculpture, photography and paintings by some of the world's leading artists from past and present are on display for visitors to interact.

Charles H Coolidge National Medal of Honor Heritage Center

Learn about the first Medal of Honor recipient Private Jacob Parrott who served in “The Great Locomotive Chase” that ended outside of Chattanooga and the other 3,500 soldiers, Marines and sailors after him who showcased patriotism, citizenship, courage, integrity, sacrifice and commitment in their service to the U.S. The heritage center is home to more than 6,000 items that commemorate military heroes such as firearms, uniforms, personal scrapbooks, dioramas and more. 

Songbirds Guitar & Pop Culture Museum

Newly reopened Songbirds Guitar & Pop Culture Museum brings the music history of the guitar to Chattanooga's Southside District. Experience interactive, hands-on exhibits that dive into the history behind the guitar and legendary artists who played. Concerts, master classes and guitar lessons are also offered. When you visit Songbirds Foundation Museum you can help make a difference - every $100 that is raised provides a child in the South a guitar and 10 weeks of free lessons who otherwise would be without a musical education. 

Keep planning your Chattanooga trip with these ideas and itineraries: 

Plan Your Getaway to Chattanooga

Chattanooga Comes to Life with Live Music

Where to Chow Down in Chattanooga

History Buffs: Here's Your Chattanooga Itinerary

Plan Your Perfect Day Trip from Chattanooga

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