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8 Incredibly Fun Things To Do in Chattanooga, Tennessee

Riverwalk, Chattanooga, Tennessee

Chattanooga, Tennessee is full of fun and exciting things to do! From museums and history to outdoor adventures, there’s a little something for everyone to enjoy.

Explore a magical, rocky mountain top, go deep beneath the surface, head to the riverfront, and see what secrets the waters hold.

Chattanooga has some amazing attractions!

Start planning your trip with these fun things to do in Chattanooga, Tennessee.

Fun Things To Do in Chattanooga

Follow our guide and get ready to explore the city’s top attractions, from the fascinating Tennessee Aquarium to the picturesque Walnut Street Bridge. With its vibrant culture and world-class activities, Chattanooga offers an unforgettable experience!

See Rock City

Lover's Leap, Rock City Gardens

You’ve probably seen the signs, some painted on the sides of barns and some on regular billboards: See Rock City.

This magical garden oasis is one of Chattanooga’s top attractions, and it’s technically in Lookout Mountain, Georgia. But it’s only 6 miles from Downtown Chattanooga, though.

Rock City Gardens is an elaborate rock garden designed around natural rock formations. When the area was discovered in the 1800s, it was praised as a “citadel of rocks” with large boulders arranged as “as to afford streets and lanes.”

Rock City Gardens Enchanted Trail

In 1924, Garnet Carter and his wife Frieda started building a new community atop Lookout Mountain named Fairyland. The neighborhood never panned out, and Frieda began working on an expansive rock garden on the land.

She mapped out the trail with string and transplanted wildflowers all along the trail. She populated the trails with German statues of gnomes and fairytale characters. Garnet realized his wife had built something that people would pay to see, and Rock City opened as a public attraction in 1932.

The Enchanted Trail still follows the Frieda’s 4,100-foot path around and through the incredible rock formations, including Fat Man’s Squeeze and Lover’s Leap. From Lover’s Leap Overlook, on a clear day, they say you can see seven states. The garden also includes Fairyland Caverns and Mother Goose Village full of gnomes and characters from Frieda’s favorite fairytales.

Explore Ruby Falls

Ruby Falls

The magnificent Ruby Falls was discovered completely by accident.

In 1928, local cave enthusiast Leo Lambert was looking for an alternate way into the sealed off Lookout Mountain Cave. Instead, his team discovered this cave, 160 feet above Lookout Mountain Cave, along with its 145-foot underground waterfall.

Lambert named the waterfall after his wife, Ruby.

Ruby Falls, Chattanooga, Tennessee

Lambert’s first trip to the falls took 17 hours, but a regular cave tour today takes only an hour and 15 minutes to walk the one mile round trip. Make sure you bring good walking shoes that you don’t mind getting dirty!

The caves feature many unique rock formations, but the highlight of the tour is the waterfall illuminated by a colorful LED light show.

Check out the Tennessee Aquarium

Tennessee Aquarium River Journey

The Tennessee Aquarium is one of Chattanooga’s best attractions. It has two buildings that trace aquatic life from the mountains to the sea: the River Journey building and the Ocean Journey building.

The River Journey introduces you to freshwater animals like otters, trout, alligators, catfish, turtles, and more. This is where you’ll learn about native species you might find right outside in the Tennessee River.

Tennessee Aquarium River Journey

The Ocean Journey explores the saltwater habitats of penguins, stingrays, and a spectacular coral reef full of sharks and fish.

You can even rent out the Tennessee Aquarium for weddings, which is pretty cool. If you ever have the chance to go to a wedding at the Aquarium, definitely do it!

Related tour: Chattanooga City Trolley Tour with Coker Museum visit

Ride the Incline Railway

Lookout Mountain Incline Railway, Chattanooga, Tennessee

The Lookout Mountain Incline Railway is a mile-long ride that takes you up the steep side of Lookout Mountain.

This funicular railway (meaning it’s a cable system counterbalanced by one ascending car and one descending car, which is especially good for traversing steep inclines) has been in operation since 1895.

Your ride starts at the lower station and takes about 10 minutes to reach the top. The Incline Railway travels at less than 10 miles per hour.

Lookout Mountain Incline Railway, Chattanooga, Tennessee

Near the top there is a 72.7% grade, which makes for a thrilling feeling ; this is also when you’ll get the best views on the ride. Because of this, the Incline Railway is one of the steepest passenger railways in the world.

At the top there is an observation deck, historical photographs, the engine room that you can look into, a café, and a gift shop. Trains leave from each station every 20 minutes, so you have plenty of time to look around before descending the railway to the lower station.

Related tour: Chattanooga Derailed Trolley Tour and Train Ride

Go on a Ghost Tour

Read House Historic Inn, Chattanooga, Tennessee

I love a good ghost tour for getting the history of a city.

On the Murder & Mayhem Haunted History Tour from Chattanooga Ghost Tours , you’ll explore the downtown area. This will give you a good look at Downtown Chattanooga and you’ll learn a lot about some of the city’s most historic buildings.

Stops include the Hunter Museum of American Art, where you may catch a glimpse of a figure in the window that has been boarded from the inside; an underground parking lot that harbors a spirit in its corners; the Tivoli Theatre with a ghost that demands acknowledgement before the show can go on; and a trip inside the Read House Historic Inn & Suites, with a room so haunted they’ve changed the room number and turned it into a storage closet.

Related tour: Chattanooga Adults-Only Haunted City Walking Tour

Go Skydiving

Skydiving, Chattanooga, Tennessee

Want to get an incredible view while visiting Chattanooga?

Then go skydiving!

This activity is for the adventurous crowd. I couldn’t bring myself to do it, but Kevin loved it! (And the pictures are priceless.)

With Chattanooga Skydiving Company, you’ll enjoy a scenic plane ride and then an exhilarating tandem jump from 14,000 feet.

For those who want their feet planted firmly on the ground, I recommend a visit to Rock City while the rest of your crew jumps from a plane.

Explore Chattanooga’s Riverwalk

Riverwalk, Chattanooga, Tennessee

Chattanooga’s Riverwalk spans 16.1 miles on the south bank of the Tennessee River.

There are various access points along the Riverwalk, but most people will probably find their way to the riverside near the Tennessee Aquarium.

From here, the trail goes upriver toward the Bluff View Arts District or downriver past Ross’s Landing, the Riverfront Playground, and where the Southern Belle Riverboat docks.

Cross the Walnut Street Pedestrian Bridge

Walnut Street Bridge, Chattanooga, Tennessee

At 2,376 feet long, the Walnut Street Pedestrian Bridge is one of the world’s longest pedestrian bridges.

This iconic blue bridge was constructed in 1890 as a bridge for vehicles and pedestrians alike. In 1978, the bridge was closed to motor vehicles and was in disrepair for nearly a decade before being modified and turned into a pedestrian bridge.

A short walk across the bridge connects Chattanooga’s downtown with the Northshore neighborhood. On the south side, the bridge is located between the Tennessee Aquarium and the Hunter Museum of American Art. On the north side, it connects to Coolidge Park, Renaissance Park, and the independently owned shops, restaurants, and galleries of Northshore.

Top Chattanooga Tours

With so much to see, Chattanooga can be overwhelming for any first-time traveler. To take some of the stress out of planning your visit, opt for a guided tour! Check out this list of the top Chattanooga tours to help you make the most of your time in this beautiful part of Tennessee.

Where to Stay in Chattanooga

Find the perfect place to rest your head on your visit to Chattanooga, from the top rated accommodations to unique stays you can’t get anywhere else.

More Things to Do in Chattanooga

Explore all that Chattanooga, Tennessee has to offer! These fun itineraries will help you plan your perfect Chattanooga vacation.

Ready to visit Chattanooga, Tennessee? Plan your trip with these tips.



8 Incredibly Fun Things To Do in Chattanooga, Tennessee

What are your favorite things to do in Chattanooga, Tennessee? Let me know in the comments!

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