Boredom is hard to come by in Chattanooga. Here’s some fun things you can take advantage of during the winter months. There’s so much to do we’ll post again next week with another list. By the way, if you can’t tell we’re very proud of our city!!
Tennessee Aquarium / IMAX 3D One Broad Street, Chattanooga, Tennessee, Phone: 800-262-0695
The Tennessee Aquarium is one of the world’s largest freshwater aquariums, and easily Chattanooga’s biggest attraction, contributing more than $115 million to the city’s economy annually. And for good reason: The Tennessee Aquarium isn’t your average fish tank. The aquarium aims to take visitors on a journey, and features eclectic animals that dwell above and below sea level. The theme of the journey is the migration of a raindrop as it makes its way from atop a mountain stream to the bottom of the ocean. Through the “River Journey” exhibit, visitors travel through ecosystems such as the Appalachian Cove Forest and the Tennessee River, meeting many friends along the way, including chirping birds, river otters, alligators, turtles and more. The “Ocean Journey” exhibit follows, where penguins, jellyfish, sharks and colorful reef fish live. There is also a pool of stingrays, which visitors are allowed to touch, featured along the journey.
Rock City 1720 S Scenic Hwy, Chattanooga, TN, Phone: 423-821-2544
This popular 4,100-foot path located on the Georgia side of Lookout Mountain offers attractions to appease many different types of travelers. Outdoor enthusiasts will enjoy weaving through the tall boulders situated at Needle’s Eye and Fat Man’s Squeeze along the Enchanted Trail. Children will feel like adventurers crossing the 180-foot Swing-a-Long Suspension Bridge and likely delight in the figurines depicting fairytales and classic children’s stories in the Fairyland Caverns and Mother Goose Village. Couples looking for a photogenic moment will appreciate Lover’s Leap, a lookout point adjacent to the mountain’s 140-foot waterfall. And everyone will have fun trying to see how many states they can spot from 1,700 feet above sea level at the See Seven States viewpoint.
Chattanooga Choo Choo 1400 Market Street, Chattanooga, TN 37402, 423-226-5000
After hearing this building’s name and seeing its architecture, you may be wondering whether you’re visiting a train station or a hotel. Well, it’s both. This building was originally a hotel before the Southern Railway acquired it in 1905. Four years later, it opened as Terminal Station and eventually became a major hub, transporting more than 50 passenger trains a day. From the time it opened to its closure in 1970, all trains traveling south passed through Chattanooga. Although well-known in the railroad industry, the Chattanooga Choo Choo didn’t became a household name until the Glenn Miller Orchestra created a song of the same name, which was featured in the 1941 movie “Sun Valley Serenade.”
Ruby Falls 1720 Scenic Highway, Chattanooga, Tennessee, Phone: 423-821-2544
Located along the Tennessee River Gorge just south of downtown Chattanooga, Ruby Falls is one of Lookout Mountain’s most popular attractions — and it was discovered completely by accident. In 1905, railroad construction forced the closure of the Lookout Mountain Cave, making it inaccessible to the public. Years later, local cave explorer Leo Lambert sought to reverse this and gathered a team of excavators to help build an elevator from the surface that would lower visitors into the cave. One day, a team member drilled into an 18-inch opening that led to a new cave, where Ruby Falls now stands.
Bluff View Art District 411 East Second Street, Chattanooga, Tennessee, Phone: 423-265-5033
Those who find themselves beat after traversing the city’s many natural attractions should consider taking a stroll through the charming Bluff View Art District. Situated atop a bluff overlooking the Tennessee River and downtown Chattanooga, this district is barely a neighborhood: it stretches across just 1½ blocks. But what it lacks in size, it makes up for in character. Lush vines hug buildings, public works of art are carefully strewn along the waterfront and some of Chattanooga’s most popular eateries, including Rembrandt’s Coffee House and Tony’s Pasta Shop & Trattoria, call this area home.
Chattanooga Zoo 301 North Holtzclaw Avenue, Chattanooga, TN, Phone: 423-697-1322
Wild encounters, tours, camel rides, oh my! Go wild at the Chattanooga Zoo, the city’s 13-acre zoological park that is home to dozens of the world’s most exotic creatures. Located in Warner Park, the Chattanooga Zoo also offers wild encounter experiences, zoo tours, and the Zoo Choo Train.
Creative Discovery Museum 321 Chestnut Street, Chattanooga, Tennessee, Phone: 423-756-2738
Let your little ones explore, learn, and grow at the Creative Discovery Museum in downtown Chattanooga. This popular learning center features a litany of interactive, hands-on exhibits that will allow your child(ren)—ages 0 through 12—to play and grow. Exhibits include:
Hunter Museum of American Art 10 Bluff View Avenue, Chattanooga, Tennessee, Phone: 423-267-0968
The museum’s collections include works representing the Hudson River School, 19th century genre painting, American Impressionism, the Ashcan School, early modernism, regionalism, and post World War II modern and contemporary art.
Tennessee Riverpark is one of the most popular Chattanooga parks, especially during the long hot summers. It starts at the Chickamauga Dam and winds for the next ten miles along the mighty Tennessee River until it reaches downtown Chattanooga.
Walnut Street Bridge
The Walnut St. Bridge, the longest pedestrian bridge in the world, connects the north shore of Tennessee River to downtown Chattanooga. It is a favorite weekend destination of Chattanooga residents and visitors alike. Walnut Street Bridge, erected in 1890 and standing 2,376 feet high, was the first non-military bridge across the Tennessee River.
The bridge was called the “county bridge,” and at the time it was built it connected the mostly white south side city with the mostly black north side Hill City population. In 1978, the bridge was closed to all motor vehicles and today it hosts a range of events such as Wine over Water wine tasting and the Riverbend country music festival.
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