A Local’s Guide to Chattanooga: Top 10 Must Do’s

There’s a reason Chattanooga is included in the nation’s must-see destinations by the New York Times, Southern Living, Outside, Travel+Leisure, Garden & Gun, U.S. News & World Report, and the Today Show.

From water fun to mountain adventures. Nightlife to family time. Walking tours to unique rides. I want to show you more than our major attractions and give you some real local insights to make the most of your time in our fair city. So let’s dive in!

Chattanooga at night

#1 Hitting the Major Highlights

You can find these major attractions on every website about Chattanooga out there. For that reason, I wanted to make sure they at least make this list, but we won’t dwell on them.

Quick Local Tip: if you’re staying in a local hotel, many of them can help you get discounts to these major places to go in the city, so ask your hotel desk about how to save.

  • The Tennessee Aquarium: From monster fish to penguins and everything in between you can easily spend a couple of hours having fun with the animals that call the aquarium home.
  • Rock City: Tour this marvel of nature and enjoy massive ancient rock formations, gardens with over 400 native plant species, and “See 7 States” panoramic views.
  • Lookout Mountain Incline Railway: Enjoy a ride on the world’s steepest passenger railway up to the Lookout Mountain Station where you’ll enjoy the view from the highest overlook on Lookout Mountain.
  • Ruby Falls: Enjoy the journey through the caves to visit a breath-taking 145 foot tall underground waterfall and then relax on the mountainside deck and enjoy the view.

#2 A Bird’s Eye View


For the more adventurous of you, head on up to Lookout Mountain Hang Gliding Flight Park and Training Center to one of the oldest and largest hang gliding school and resorts in the United States.

If you are a beginner, you can fly tandem with one of their instructors three thousand feet around Lookout Mountain. Or you can take classes and learn to fly by yourself.

And the fun doesn’t stop when you land!

You’ll touch down on a 44 acre landing zone that includes amenities such as:

  • A Pool
  • Rental Cabins
  • Bunkhouse
  • RV Hookups
  • Camping (with bathrooms)
  • Volleyball
  • Bonfires
  • And more!

#3 Zip Your Way to Good Times


Enjoy over 6 thousand feet of zipline fun that lasts over 2 hours at Ocoee Zipz!

You can start with the smallest launch tower, the Cowardly Lion, at a mere 30 feet off the ground. Or if you’re feeling brave, then you can climb right up to the The Wiz where you’ll zip along at heights from 5 to 95 feet and go up to 45 miles per hour.

The Flying Monkey Guides will lead your adventure. Between The Lion and The Wiz you’ll meet Dorothy and Toto, The Tin Man and The Scarecrow and then ride the amazing Wicked Witch of The West to round out your tour of Oz.

So head over to really experience the beauty of Chattanooga from new heights.

#4 Ride in Style with the Chattanooga Ducks


If high-flying isn’t quite your style, then sit back and enjoy a pleasant ride through downtown and straight into the Tennessee River for a great blend of nature, city, and history.

You’ll enjoy a narrated tour of Chattanooga while riding aboard an authentic renovated WWII amphibious landing craft. After touring the town, you’ll head over to Ross’ Landing and splash down into the river where you’ll begin a history and ecology tour of the waterfront.

It’s a great way to spend an hour and gain some amazing one-of-a-kind memories you can’t experience anywhere else.

#5 Tour the Battlefield


The Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park (NMP) is one of the oldest and largest of Civil War Parks in America.

You can visit the museum, tour the park, or even join a ranger-guided car caravan tour all for free. Be sure to check their site ahead of time to find out the times for the tours.

While you’re there, make sure you check out Wilder Tower. If you can make it up the steep steps to the top, you’ll enjoy some amazing views of the battlefield.

And if you like seeing wild deer you’ll enjoy seeing lots of them as you cruise through!

#6 Scream for Ice Cream!


If you don’t mind driving toward Knoxville about an hour you can enjoy a tour of the Mayfield plant. You’ll see how Mayfield products are made and wrap up your tour in the Ice Cream Parlour!

And if you don’t like driving, then you can always enjoy some amazing ice cream at Cold Stone Creamery located in the heart of downtown next to the Aquarium:


Or if you’re closer to the Incline Railway, check out Clumpies. Their locally homemade micro-batch ice cream is a Chattanooga treat: http://www.clumpies.com

#7 Get Lost in the Sea


While you’re up in Sweetwater touring the Mayfield Dairy, you can head over to the Lost Sea and head down to America’s Largest Underground Lake.

At 4.5 acres and 140 feet below the entrance, you can learn all about underground rock formations and enjoy views below you in the glass-bottom boat.

You will also learn how the Cherokee Indians and Confederate soldiers used the cave!

#8 Spend the Day in the Park


Coolidge Park is one of the best spots for great views of the river and plenty of grassy places to relax. During the summer you can splash in the fountain to stay cool.

You can also enjoy a ride on a beautifully restored 100-year-old carousel!

And if that’s not enough for you, then you can head across one of the world’s longest pedestrian bridges and splash around some more in the many water features surrounding the aquarium.

When you get hungry, there are tons of great local spots all around the park and the walking bridge to grab anything from a cold drink to a quick bite to amazing ice cream and other local favorites.

#9 Ride the Belle


The Southern Belle steamboat is a local icon gliding the Tennessee River. It hosts sightseeing tours as well as narrated lunch and dinner cruises.

You’ll enjoy music, an onboard Burger Bar on the 3rd deck, spectacular views from the deck, or relaxation in their living room with TV, Wii, Darts, foosball, and more.

#10 Local Libations


The Chattanooga Brewing Company in 1890 was one of the finest German-style beers in the nation. The brewery grew to a six-story brewhouse that occupied an entire block of Broad Street, producing over 150,000 barrels a year, until Prohibition forced the brewery’s closure. Over a century later brought together by their mutual love for beer two engineers set off on a brewing adventure in the city they both love. A new chapter for Chattanooga Brewing Company is up and flourishing, grounded in the long history of German-style ales and lagers which put its namesake on the map over 100 years ago.

On top of some great libations, add some delicious food to compliment the brews! Their goal is to locally source ingredients whenever possible. Add some fun events and entertainment! You’ll be set for a lively and delectable experience with local brews and chews.

We wanted to share our Top Ten Must Do’s that offer a variety of experiences for individuals and families surrounding Chattanooga. Our Business Concierge staff at The Concierge Office Suites are here to help our clients make the most of their lives and pursue their interests. We want to help you focus on your work to succeed and experience all Chattanooga has to offer.