Rising 2000 feet above sea level, Lookout Mountain dominates the landscape of Chattanooga in Tennessee. The views are amazing, the attractions are awesome, and when you're done exploring the top of the mountain, you'll find a bunch of things to do at its base. Whether you want to ride the Incline Railway, tour the dramatic Ruby Falls, cast your eye over seven states at “See Seven States” view, or maybe just indulge in some retail therapy at nearby Chattanooga Market, you're guaranteed to come away with plenty of lasting memories. To make sure your visit goes with a bang, check out these 10 awesome things to do in Lookout Mountain in Tennessee.
10. Stroll the Riverwalk
If you want to enjoy some blissful views and give your legs a good stretch at the same time, try the 13-mile Riverwalk for size. Stretching along 13 miles of the Tennessee River, the path connects numerous parks, marshes, fishing piers, and wildlife observation areas, offering plenty of opportunities to meander away from the beaten path and enjoy some of the area's stunning natural beauty. If you want to keep track of just how far you've walked, leave the pedometer at home and keep your eyes peeled for the sculptures and fish tiles that mark mile and half-mile distances along the path.
9. Shop until you drop at Chattanooga Market
If you're visiting Lookout Mountain between April and December, don't miss a visit to Chattanooga Market. Open every Sunday between April and December, it's the perfect place to hunt down some artisan food, unique handmade goods, or fresh local produce. Over 130 local farmers, artists, and craftspeople descend on the market each week, guaranteeing a vast selection of goods to browse and buy. Lively, vibrant, and with plenty of food trucks and live music to enjoy, it's the kind of place the whole family will enjoy.
8. Check out the hot rods at Coker Tire Car Museum
If you're a car or motorcycle freak, don't miss a stop at Coker Tire Car Museum at the Honest Charley Speed Shop while you're visiting Lookout Mountain. Believed to be one of the oldest hot rod shops in the US, Honest Charley Speed Shop is a restoration garage with a fondness for all things vintage. Since teaming up with Coker Tire Group ( the only classic and vintage tire manufacturer in the country), it's taken its love for classic motors to the next level by giving over half the store to a museum of them. The private collection is an intriguing mix of hot rods, old bicycles, vintage motorcycles, classic cars, and trucks... there's even a couple of airplanes.
7. Enjoy a picnic at Point Park
Lookout Mountain isn't short on picnicking options, but for true picking perfection, there's only one place to head - Point Park. Part of the Chickamauga-Chattanooga National Military Park, the grounds mark the site of the "Battle Above the Clouds" that was fought on Lookout Mountain in 1863. Offering dreamy views, plenty of shade, and more history than you can shake a stick at, it's the ideal spot for some alfresco dining. Thanks to the mountain elevation, you can also be assured of gloriously cool temperatures even when the summer sun is baking the city below.
6. Visit Bluff View Art District
Ranked by afabuloustrip.com as one of the highlights of any visit to Lookout Mountain, Bluff View Art District is a creative community packed with gardens, galleries, historic inns, cafes, and restaurants that all beg to be explored. Located on the Tennessee Riverwalk, it's within easy reach of a number of other top attractions including Hunter Museum of Art, the Tennessee Aquarium, and Coolidge Park.
5. Chattanooga Lookouts
If you're a sports fan, take the advice of Lookout Mountain and plan an evening at a Minor League Baseball game while you're in Lookout Mountain. The local team is the Chattanooga Lookouts, the local stadium is AT&T Field, and the local mascot is Louie Lookout. Combine those three things with wacky contests, theme nights, post-game fireworks, giveaways, and great snacks, and you're looking at an evening of first-rate entertainment for less than the price of a trip to the movies.
4. Ride an antique carousel
If you're visiting Lookout Mountain with kids, don't miss checking out the antique carousel from 1894 at Coolidge Park. The beautifully restored fairground ride boasts 52 hand-carved animals and gold leaf benches to choose between. Younger kids in particular will love it, but even grown-up kids will get a kick out of the carousel's vintage beauty - if ever a ride was made for Instagram, it was this.
3. Take the Enchanted Trail at Rock City Gardens
Recommended by Adventure Dragon as one of the best things to do in Lookout Mountain, Rock City Gardens is a 4100-foot walking trail located at the pinnacle of Lookout Mountain. Scattered along the Enchanted Trail are an array of attractions, including botanical gardens, art exhibits, soaring rock formations, mossy forests, caves, and plenty of mythic creatures lurking in the undergrowth. The highlights of the trail (and its ultimate destination) are the breathtakingly beautiful Lovers Leap and High Falls, which cascades off of it. Be sure to check out the world-famous "See Seven States" view while you're there.
2. Ride the Incline Railway
The Incline Railway was built in 1895, and while it's certainly no place for anyone with a fear of heights (the trolley car travels up the funicular railway to the very top of Lookout Mountain, traveling at a 72.7% grade all the way), it's an amazingly scenic trek that offers an unmissable experience for everyone else.
1. Explore Ruby Falls
In 1928, Leo Lambert stumbled on the opening to a cave while he was excavating an elevator shaft deep within Lookout Mountain. While exploring it, he discovered a mammoth cascading waterfall flowing through a huge cavern. He named the fall after his wife, Ruby, and a year later, the attraction opened to the public. These days, it attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors each year with its underground charms. Three guided walking tours are available, with each kicking off with a 26 story descent in a glass elevator into the cavern. As the tallest waterfall open to the public in the US, it's an unmissable experience.
Written by Dana Hanson
Read more posts by Dana Hanson