Chattanooga is the fourth largest city in the state of Tennessee and is located and home to a Civil War battlefield, numerous historic mansions and antebellum homes, and a variety of indoor and outdoor attractions. The city is located on the foothills of Lookout Mountain, and caters to travelers with a thirst for adventure, as well as those who want to learn about the rich history and culture of the Tennessee Valley.
From the attractions to the shopping district, here are some highlights for first-time visitors heading to Chattanooga:
Types of Attractions in Chattanooga
Chattanooga features a variety of indoor and outdoor attractions, and many are located within a short drive for the Tennessee Valley and Lookout Mountain. Tourists can explore open-air markets, museums, historic railways, Civil War attractions, wineries, mountain attractions, caverns, aquariums and zoos, and amusement parks in Chattanooga.
Ruby Falls, America’s deepest commercial cave and home to the most-visited underground waterfall, offers guided tours that include a climb up to the Lookout Mountain Tower. Chickamagua and Chattanooga Military Park, the nation’s first and largest military park, is the site of the bloodiest Civil War battle and offers guided and self-guided tours.
Types of Accommodations in Chattanooga
Tourists who want to enjoy easy access to the attractions, Civil War sites and shopping areas in downtown Chattanooga and the foothills of Lookout Mountain can stay in a secluded cabin near the mountain, or a hotel in the downtown area. Several bed and breakfasts in the area are located inside antebellum homes and restored mansions. For example, Mayor’s Mansion Inn located at 801 Vine Street, was built circa 1889 and has been named “one of the best inns in the South” by National Geographic Traveler Magazine.
Popular Activities in Chattanooga, Tennessee
Lookout Mountain offers a wealth of activities for outdoor enthusiasts, including hiking trails, birdwatching areas, rock climbing, miniature golfing, wildlife viewing and train rides. Tourists can spend the day golfing, boating on the lake, exploring caverns, taking a self-guided driving tour around the base of Lookout Mountain, visit art galleries, attend a Civil War dinner theater in an antebellum church, and attend community events such as music concerts, theater performances and craft festivals.
Shopping in Chattanooga
Hamilton Place, Tennessee’s largest shopping complex, is located in Chattanooga and features over 200 specialty stores, restaurants and six department stores. Tourists interested in antique shopping and browsing locally-owned boutiques can explore the stores on Frazier Avenue in the NorthShore area. The Southside of Chattanooga boasts several art galleries, trendy cafes and a handful of gift shops. A flea and farmers market, one of Tennessee’s largest indoor flea market, is open only on weekends. It is located at 6725 Ringgold Road.
Annual Events in Chattanooga, Tennessee
Chattanooga hosts a number of expos, galas, charity events, antiques shows, arts festivals and holiday celebrations throughout the year. Some events are held on the shores of Lake Winnepesaukah, on the grounds of championship golf courses, or in downtown Chattanooga. Tourists may consider attending annual events and festivals such as the Chattanooga Boat and Sport Show, Mardi Gras Gala, 4 Bridges Art Festival, Relay for Life, Annual Shoe Shoe at the Choo Choo and the Indy 500.