Where Is Chattanooga Tennessee
Before we start our countdown of the best outdoor attractions in Chattanooga, lets discuss where the city is located.
Chattanooga sits in the southeastern side of the state of Tennessee. The city is located along the Tennessee River right near the border of Georgia.
Since it is only a two hour drive from cities such as Nashville, Knoxville, Birmingham, and Knoxville/Gatlinburg, Chattanooga provides easy access to other metropolitan areas.
This convenient location makes Chattanooga the perfect spot for a quick weekend getaway or for a fall break vacation from school.
The activities listed below can easily fit into a short trip. However, you will find plenty to do in Chattanooga if you have even more time to spend.
For the sake of this post, we will focus on OUTDOOR attractions that you can enjoy with your family.
Holiday Lights At Chattanooga Zoo
The Chattanooga Zoo at Warner Park is always a fun place to take kids.
Its small enough to tour even with the littlest of kids. Its also really affordable!
For Christmas, the zoo goes all out by decorating with Christmas lights and by providing family-friendly activities.
When you spend time at the zoo during their Holiday Lights at the Zoo event, you will be able to take part in activities such as crafts, games, Santa meet and greets, and animal exhibits.
Stay At The Chattanoogan Hotel
- Beautiful views from the room
- Comfy beds
- Desk for remote work and learning
We loved our stay at the Hilton Curio Collection, The Chattanoogan Hotel.
Located in the Southside District it gave us easy access to all places of interest in Chattanooga. We loved the ability to walk around the Southside area our favorite. And downtown is also an easy 15-20 min walk away or a quick drive down Broad Street.
The Chattanoogan Hotel is also a block away from the citys electric shuttle, which provides complimentary transportation in downtown Chattanooga.
The hotel was perfect for families with upscale amenities and modern rooms for an affordable price. We had beautiful views outside our window over the roof top bar and surrounding mountains.
Sunset from our room was a winner. The hotel has three restaurants, a spa, and a roof top bar.
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Ride A Historic Carousel At Coolidge Park
Its a must to ride the antique carousel at Coolidge Park. Its been a whimsical fixture at the park for more than 125 years. With more than 52 hand-carved animals and a calliope organ playing music as the carousel turns, you and your kids will love this old-fashioned experience.
As a wallet-friendly bonus, its only $1 per ride, a must-do when youre looking for fun, inexpensive things to do in Chattanooga, TN.
Southern Belle River Boat Cruise
See the city from a unique perspective on the Southern Belle River Boat, The Pride of the South. Built in 1985, the river boat has a capacity of 450 passengers and operates on the Tennessee River around the Chattanooga area. Docked between the Oligiati and Market Street Bridges, the Southern Belle offers cruises every day.
The regularly scheduled daily cruises are narrated and include lunch: on these one and a half hour tours passengers enjoy the scenery while learning about local history. The other tours are the Pilot House Tour, the Sunset Tour, and a variety of Dinner Cruises with music and dancing. The company offers group events from conventions to weddings.
201 Riverfront Parkway, Chattanooga, TN, Phone: 423-266-4488
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The Ultimate Guide To Vacation In Chattanooga With Kids
Posted on by Bethany Winston |
Is your family planning a vacation to Chattanooga, Tennessee? There are so many fun things to do in the Chattanooga/Lookout Mountain area that we have put together a full guide for you. We will share attractions to visit, places to eat, suggestions on where to stay, and more for the Chattanooga/Lookout Mountain region.
For even more ideas on fun family trips near Greenville, see our travel guide.
This article includes:Where Should We Stay in Chattanooga
Find a place to stay in Chattanooga. This article contains Stay22 affiliate links.
Spending just a weekend in Chattanooga? Dont miss this easy family itinerary for a weekend getaway to Chattanooga, TN.Weve done all the planning work for you!
Walk The Walnut Street Bridge
- Walnut St Bridge
- The island we kayaked to!
- North Shore
The Walnut Street Bridge connects downtown Chattanooga with the historic North shore District, including Coolidge Park.
Built in 1891, its known as one of the longest bridges in the world and the oldest surviving Truss Bridge of its size in the South.
It offers beautiful views, and you can get your birds eye view of the island and cliffs you kayaked to.
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Bluff View Art District
Address: 411 E 2nd St, Chattanooga, TN 37403
- Located in Downtown Chattanooga.
- Perfect for a days visit.
Why you should go: This district is a small neighborhood that sits on a bluff that overlooks the Tennessee River.
Here you will find three forms of art: landscape, culinary, and visual arts.
Bluff View Art District is very small in size but is home to some of the most notable attractions in Chattanooga.
The Houston Museum of Decorative Arts, Hunter Museum of American Art, and The River Gallery are all located in this lovely neighborhood.
Famous eateries like Trattoria, Tonys Pasta Shop, and Rembrandts Coffee are all found here.
Things to do: Thanks to its small size, most of the attraction places in the Bluff View District are in proximity to each other.
You can easily walk from one place to the other. Owing to its size, you will only need a day to explore the district.
In your schedule for things to do in Chattanooga, dedicate a full-day tour to Bluff View Art District.
Visit the Hunter Museum of American Art to explore its art exhibits which display a permanent collection of photography, sculptures, and paintings.
For a unique art experience, you can visit the River Gallery, which boasts a lovely sculpture garden.
You can have a taste of Chattanoogas cuisine in any of the eateries mentioned above.
It is a beautiful experience.
You will dine and wine with a breathtaking view of the Tennessee River, beautiful architecture, and the surrounding landscape.
Enjoy Train Rides On The Tennessee Valley Railroad
From the Riverwalk, you can access various Tennessee Valley Railroad trains for some fun ride. There are the historic rides where you are going to feel like you are seated in a moving museum. The Missionary Ridge Local ride, for example, will take you from the Grand Junction to East Chattanooga passing through the Missionary Ridge tunnel that was built before the American Civil War.
There are romantic dinner rides such as the Valentine Dinner Train that includes a four-course eating experience as you travel at a leisurely pace through some eye-catching heart-warming places.
Train rides for kids exist too, e.g. rides with Santa and more. Train rides duration range from an hour to eight hours, and you can take go on a ride any time of the year.
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Hiking To Snooper’s Rock
Snooper’s Rock is another stunning viewpoint that offers high returns for little effort. Head to Prentice Cooper State Forest near Signal Mountain to the north of downtown.
You’ll have a longish winding drive down dusty forest service roads that always feel like you’ve gone a little too far, but the walk from the trailhead to Snoopers Rock itself isn’t long at all, just a little steep.
The end result is a panoramic view of the gorge between Signal and Raccoon Mountains through which the Tennessee River has carved its path. Hawks circle in the updrafts overhead and tiny houses peek out of the dense green foliage coating the mountainsides. It’s one of the best views in Chattanooga that will rarely appear on a tourist brochure.
Chattanooga Tn Points Of Interest: Bluff View Art District
Located on East Second Street, the Bluff View Art District is a historic neighborhood in downtown Chattanooga. Stretching for one and a half city blocks, the art district is set high above stone cliffs that afford spectacular views of the Tennessee River, the Walnut Street Bridge, and downtown Chattanooga.
It is a vibrant area full of art galleries, bed and breakfasts, coffee shops, courtyards, gardens, restaurants, and much more. The first business in the district opened in 1992 and many other businesses soon began to add to the charm and popularity of the area.
411 East Second Street, Chattanooga, Tennessee, Phone: 423-265-5033
“Best Things to Do in Chattanooga, Tennessee for Locals & Tourists – Restaurants, Hotels” Back to Top or Beautiful places near me, what to do, restaurants for breakfast, travel guide, nearest beach
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Explore The Tennessee River
The Tennessee River winds through the heart of Chattanooga. Spend an afternoon or evening exploring on board the Southern Belle riverboat. Daily sightseeing cruises are available as well as dinner cruises. For a hybrid sightseeing experience, the Chattanooga Duck combines land and water for a splashing good time!
Cross over the river with a walk on the Walnut Street Bridge. Erected in 1890, the Walnut Street Bridge connects the north shore of the Tennessee River to downtown Chattanooga. Standing 2,376 feet high, its one of the longest pedestrian bridges in North America. Time your stroll for sunset when the lights of the city begin to decorate the sky.
Coolidge Park at the foot of the bridge provides an ideal place for an afternoon of picnicking and Frisbee. Central to the park, a restored antique carousel with 52 whimsical hand-carved animals offers rides for $1. On warm days, the youngsters can splash about in interactive fountains carved as lions, turtles and more.
Take a leisurely bike ride or walk along the Chattanooga Riverwalk also known as the Tennessee Riverpark. Currently stretching 13 miles from St. Elmo to the Chickamauga Dam, the Riverwalk will eventually span 22 miles.
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Diy Classes For Kids And Adults
Home Depot offers FREE monthly workshops for kids featuring a variety of make-and-take woodworking projects. These sessions are a great way to teach kids basic DIY skills and hopefully spark a lifelong love of creating!
Home Depot also offers a variety of free workshops for adults to help you upgrade your house. Topics include tiling, gardening, painting techniques, woodworking projects, and more. For adults, some of the larger projects do have a small fee.
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What Is There To Do In Lookout Mountain
Rock city is a 4100-foot garden trail that winds through natural rock formations. One of the most significant parts of the park is a lookout point where you can see up to 7 states.
1400 Patten Road, Lookout Mountain, GA
Take an elevator 26 stories down to see a cavern and the waterfall that it hides over 1,000 feet underground.
1720 South Scenic Hwy, Chattanooga, TN
The Chattanooga Choo Choo Hotel is fun to visit, even if you dont stay there. We also took a cruise on a river boat. Nearby to Chattanooga is Rock City, which was a lot neater than I was expecting. We also went down into caves and saw Ruby Falls and took an incline railroad ride. We did a combo ticket for the falls, railroad, and Rock City attractions.
The railway descends Lookout Mountain with a descent that goes up to 72.7% grade. This grade is one of the steepest railway grades in the world.
The top of the railway offers a panoramic view of the surrounding areas.
Tickets are round-trip.
This National Park is the site of a famous Civil War battle near Chattanooga that was called the Battle Above the Clouds.
110 Point Park Road, Lookout Mountain, TN
Like Trains Chattanooga Has A Rather Famous Choo Choo
Youve no doubt heard the song, and the Chattanooga Choo Choo is alive and well today in the form of the downtown complex at Terminal Station. Here kidsold and youngcan climb aboard a replica. If you want to spend the night in a restored Pullman train car, you can do that too at the Chattanooga Choo Choo Historic Hotel.
The Tennessee Valley Railroad engages train enthusiasts with a ride aboard a full-size steam train. This moving museum showcases the history of the railroad and its importance during the Civil War. There are several trains to choose from, but I recommend the Missionary Ridge Local which begins at the Grand Junction Station and takes passengers along one of the original railroad lines in Chattanooga, crossing four bridges and passing through pre-Civil War Missionary Ridge Tunnel, which was completed in 1858.
When youre heading up to Lookout Mountain, take a ride on the Lookout Mountain Incline Railway. This trolley-style train climbs through the mountains natural beauty at a 72.7% grade making it one of the steepest passenger railways in the world.
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Fun Things To Do In Chattanooga With Kids Family Friendly Activities
- Emily Appelbaum
If your next family vacation is in the culturally rich city of Chattanooga, then let us say were undeniably jealous.
There are so many memorable attractions here that you and your fam are sure to have a blast.
In our experience, the only hang-up is choosing where best to go. So to help you out, heres a list of fun things to do in Chattanooga with kids.
Relive History At Battles For Chattanooga + Point Park
Time for a little Civil War history with the narrated 3-D map and footage of the famous Battle above the Clouds in the Battles for Chattanooga theater.
Youll learn about the confederates defense of Lookout Mountain and the Shermans final victorious assault at Missionary Ridge before his victorious March to the Sea. It was a turning point in the Civil War the Death Knell for the Confederacy.
I recommend watching the short 30-minute production before crossing the street to Point Park, which is part of the national park services Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park.
As it looks over the Chattanooga Valley, you can easily picture in your mind how this battle took place. Its a small, tranquil park that again, offers stunning views over the horseshoe shaped Moccasin Bend in the Tennessee River.
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Downtown Chattanooga Walking Bridge
One of the most visible attractions to the city of Chattanooga is the Walnut Street Bridge.
This pedestrian only bridge is a beautiful spot to take pictures as it provides amazing views of downtown Chattanooga.
The Chattanooga Walking Bridge connects the tourist friendly downtown area to the more low key Northshore region of the city where you will find Coolidge Park.
Visitors young and old love walking along the bridge to really gain a panoramic sense of the breathtaking city on the river.
If you are looking for FREE things to do in Chattanooga with your kids, the Walnut St. Bridge is a great option!
Hike To A Downtown View At Stringers Ridge
For a postcard worthy ridgetop view of downtown Chattanooga, walk the short Cherokee Trail at Stringers Ridge, a 92-acre urban wilderness in Chattanoogas North Shore. its an easy family friendly activity if you want to stretch your legs in the forest.
Mountain bikers will also love riding a few of the trails through the forest here.
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Things To Do With Kids In Chattanooga
Pack the bags, load up the car , and corral the kidsyoure headed to the best place for em!
People all over know Chattanooga as a kid-friendly destination, and for good reason! Theres something for the whole fam.
So go on and take a look. See what we have to offer the littlest ones in your family. We can already hear the chorus of are we there yet?
Explore The Bluff View Arts District
- Sculpture Park
- Hunter Museum of American Art
Ready to be transported to Europe?
Perched high on the riverside Bluffs is the two-block region of the Bluff View Arts District. Buildings and alleyways look like they belong in France and Italy.
Grab a coffee, cake and homemade chocolate from Rembrandts and enjoy it in their garden area.
Take a walk through the River Gallery Sculpture Garden, a 2-acre outdoor art exhibit overlooking the Tennessee River. Youll also find the impressive Hunter Museum of American Art with prime position on the very edge of the bluffs.
- Low Country Linguine
- Patio seating
Tonys Pasta Shop and Trattoria is the place to be for a delicious Sicilian dishes and Italian wine.
Get there early and aim for ta table on the deck with a view of the Tennessee River. When we dined her by 6pm the parking lot was filled with waiting groups of diners.
My low country linguine with sautéed crawfish and Cajun alfredo sauce was delicious. Savannah loved her pizza. They have an extensive gluten free menu.
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