10 Things to do in Chattanooga, TN for First Time Visitors

Chattanooga is one of the top picks for travelers going on vacation in the United States. If you’re planning to join in on the fun, but have not yet been there, you’re in for a real treat. The city is brimming with Southern charm and there is a lot to see and do. We’ve put together a few ideas and chosen the ten most popular for your consideration.

1.Visit the Arboretum and Nature Center

This is a popular tourist attraction and the locals enjoy it as well. You’ll find some of the most beautiful and amazing collections of plants and there are also wild animals that you can spot while you’re there. Plan on spending some time there though. The Arboretum features fourteen miles of trails to walk and there’s something of interest around every bend. While you’re there, take in the butterfly garden, go to the boardwalk and see a blue heron and much more.

2. Go for a ride on the River

The Tennessee River Gorge is an amazing place to visit and you’ll have plenty of options that will take you out on the river for the tour of a lifetime. Choose from party boat rentals or charter a yacht and take some friends with you. You can also go rafting or take a tour of the river via speed boat. There are so many different recreational activities offered on the river that you may have a tough time deciding how to spend your time there.

3. Visit the Chattanooga Zoo

The Chattanooga Zoo is a must see if you’re traveling with children, and even if you’re not. This zoo is home to over 300 animals, a few hundred species, some of them from the endangered list, and get up close and personal to them. The cost of admission is really a bargain with tickets costing just $10 for adults and $7 for kids.

4. Go Rock Climbing

You don’t even have to leave the city to join in this fun and healthy activity. The High Point Climbing and Fitness Center is located in Chattanooga and they have everything you need to scale the side of a cliff in a safe environment. The facility offers both indoor and outdoor climbing walls, along with a variety of difficulty levels and instruction for beginners.

5. Go on a Whiskey Tasting Tour

Who could pass up a chance to do some whiskey tasting in the region that is known for its production of the finest Tennessee whiskey. While you’re there, visit the Jack Daniels whiskey distillery, which just happens to the the oldest registered operation in the entire United States. This is one of many distilleries that you can visit and sample their finest spirits. This will be a golden opportunity to find your new favorite and you’ll be choosing from the best Tennessee Whiskey on the planet.

6. Schedule a Ghost Tour

Chattanooga Ghost Tours Inc. offers guided tours for those who enjoy a little fright and excitement. This organization has been named as one of the best tours of its kind in the nation. They offer a down town tour for both kids and adults, and there are also tours that are more for adults because they take you to a haunted tavern or a haunted cemetery. It’s been rumored that tourists have gone on the downtown tours at nights and have seen and spoken to spirits and ghosts.

7. Visit the Art District

The Art District is a must see for all first time visitors to Chattanooga. This area is filled with numerous art exhibits, shops and unique hand crafted items. There are also quaint restaurants and eateries so you can catch a bite to eat while you’re browsing.

8. Tour the City of Chattanooga

There are plenty of tour guides who would be happy to sign you up for an informative and eye opening tour of the city. This will help you to become familiar with the area and it will also let you see some interesting new attractions, restaurants or interesting shops that you might have otherwise not seen. There are several ways to see the city including walking, taking a Segway or you can even take a bus.

9. Visit Ruby Falls

Ruby Falls in found on the inside of Lookout Mountain. This fascinating attraction is located within a cave. There are two waterfalls and caves to see. Guided tours are available to take you through the underground waterfalls and cave structures so you can get the full benefit and find out all of the cool facts about the area.

10. Go for a hike in Audubon Acres

Audubon Acres is located outside of the city and it’s a hikers/walkers paradise. The area boasts five miles of hiking trails which range from easy to moderate in challenge level. The trails lie within a 130 acre area that runs along the South Chickamauga Creek. The visitor’s center will tell you all about the famous Trail of Tears.


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