With an economy that depends heavily on tourism, Chattanooga is not short on “must-see” attractions. From museums to battlefields, from the barn-famous Rock City and Ruby Falls to the music-famous Chattanooga Choo Choo, anyone visiting the city — or living here, too — has plenty to see and experience.
AT&T Field — Home of the Chattanooga Lookouts
Grab a hot dog and a foam finger and cheer on the Lookouts, Chattanooga’s AA minor-league team that’s an affiliate of the Los Angeles Dodgers.
201 Power Alley
Bessie Smith Cultural Center
This museum showcases black history from around the world and within Chattanooga. It is named after the famous blues singer and Chattanooga native who was nicknamed the Empress of the Blues. She died in 1937 in a car accident in Mississippi.
200 E. M.L. King Blvd.
Chattanooga Choo Choo
One of the city’s best-known attractions has been converted into a historic hotel, restaurants and gardens. Its complex also contains Track 29, a recently opened music venue that has featured everyone from Fleetwood Mac’s Lindsey Buckingham, to guitarist Ted Nugent, rockers All-American Rejects, singer/songwriter John Hiatt and rockabilly queen Wanda Jackson.
1400 Market St.
Stop by the market any Sunday (and some Saturdays) between April and December and pick up locally grown organic produce, handmade arts and crafts and an afternoon snack. In December before Christmas, an expanded market moves into the Chattanooga Convention Center.
First Tennessee Pavilion
1829 Reggie White Blvd.
Chattanooga Theatre Centre
Whether you’re into drama, comedy, musicals or dance, the Chattanooga Theatre Centre has a show for you. Among the productions still to come this season are “Bloody, Bloody Andrew Jackson” in June and “Legally Blonde” in July.
400 River St.
Get up close and personal with all manner of exotic animals including snow leopards, spider monkeys and red pandas.
301 N. Holtzclaw Ave.
Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park
With 45 miles of hiking and horse trails and a seven-mile self-guided car tour, visiting the historic park is worth the 15-minute drive from downtown for nature and Civil War fans alike.
3370 LaFayette Road
Fort Oglethorpe, Ga.
Creative Discovery Museum
The Creative Discovery Museum is hailed as the area’s premiere hands-on museum for the young and the young at heart. Families can dig for dinosaur bones, play instruments or just play on the museum’s rooftop playground.
321 Chestnut St.
Delta Queen Hotel
The last fully operational, overnight wooden passenger steamboat in the country, the Delta Queen now is permanently moored in the Tennessee River near Coolidge Park and serves as a hotel.
100 River St.
Hunter Museum of American Art
Boasting an impressive permanent collection of American Art, the Hunter also welcomes traveling and exclusive exhibitions of varying media from photographer Dorothea Lange to painter Norman Rockwell. The Hunter is also host to String Theory, an annual chamber music series founded by Lee University assistant professor of music Gloria Chien.
10 Bluff View
Enjoy panoramic views of the Scenic City as you take a straight shot — like virtually straight up at one point — from St. Elmo to the top of Lookout Mountain.
St. Elmo Station (bottom)
3917 St. Elmo Ave.
Lookout Mountain Station (top)
827 East Brow Road
Walk through gardens and impressive rock formations and see if you can spot all seven states visible from the lookout point. While there, enjoy some food and music at the renovated Lover’s Leap.
1400 Patten Road
Lookout Mountain, Ga.
This 80-year-old attraction is the deepest commercial cave and most-visited underground waterfall.
1720 S. Scenic Highway
Whether you’re boarding for lunch, dinner or simply sightseeing, the historic riverboat offers a unique touring adventure on the Tennessee River.
201 Riverfront Parkway
Around since 1987, the aquarium guides visitors through the lives of sea horses and sea dragons, river otters and fish, butterflies and Antarctic penguins. The complex also has an Imax theater, or you can take a ride on the River Gorge Explorer, a specially equipped boat that heads down the Tennessee River to the fourth-largest canyon in the U.S. east of the Mississippi.
1 Broad St.
Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum
Chattanooga might be best known for its Choo Choo, now permanently in station, but residents and visitors alike can still travel the rails from the Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum. Founded in 1961, the TVRM celebrates the history of trains in the South. Trips range from 55 minutes to six hours, with holiday journeys that include special menus.
4119 Cromwell Road
Walnut Street Bridge
One of the longest pedestrian bridges in the world, the Walnut Street Bridge, which connects Chattanooga’s North Shore to downtown, recently underwent a facelift and now is open to dogs as well as people. Closed to traffic in 1978, the bridge was threatened with destruction but the city rallied around and it was reopened as pedestrian-only, wooden-slate bridge in 1993.