Summer in Chattanooga, Tenn. means events, festivals, music, arts, extreme outdoor adventures, baseball, delectable delights, shopping and so much fun you'll find something for everyone in the family to do on a great two to three-day getaway. Chattanooga is less than a two-hour drive from Atlanta, Nashville, Knoxville, Huntsville and Birmingham. We're located along the Tennessee River and surrounded by picturesque mountains.
CHATTANOOGA'S TOP 10 ADVENTURES
We're not just a day trip and it's easy to plan your multi-day vacation to include a variety of Chattanooga adventures.
1. BOATING CRUISES: Explore the downtown riverfront and the Tennessee River on an eco-cruise aboard the Tennessee Aquarium's River Gorge Explorer or on the Blue Moon; a sightseeing, lunch or dinner cruise on the Southern Belle Riverboat or a scenic ride along the riverfront aboard the amphibious Chattanooga Ducks.
2. WILDLIFE ENCOUNTERS: Come face-to-face with sharks, stingrays, penguins & thousands of other animals that swim, fly and crawl at the downtown Tennessee Aquarium; go an exotic voyage into the wild at the Tennessee Aquarium's IMAX 3D Theater; or venture near snow leopards, red pandas, jaguars and more at the Chattanooga Zoo.
3. FESTIVALS & LIVE ENTERTAINMENT: Be entertained at numerous downtown music festivals throughout the summer including the 9-day Riverbend Festival featuring Miranda Lambert, Brian McKnight, Beach Boys, Casting Crowns & more; 5-month Nightfall Concert Series; Riverfront Nights Music Series; Southern Brewer's Festival or year-round concerts at Rhythm & Brews.
4. CULINARY DISCOVERIES: Whether you're looking for upscale restaurants or trendy dives, you'll find an array of establishments downtown that have attracted food reviewers and celebs including Rachel Ray's $40 a Day show. For fine-dining, Wine-Spectator-Award-winning restaurants, you can't miss Table 2 and 212 Market or the James-Beard-nominated St. John's. If you're looking for to-see-and-be-seen in places, check out one of the watering holes with the finest local brews at Big River Grille, Market Street Tavern, Hair of the Dog Pub, Urban Stack or The Terminal.
5. HISTORICAL EXPLORATIONS: Visit the famous Chattanooga Choo Choo in the Southside District; the Trail of Tears passage at Ross's Landing on the downtown riverfront; the Chickamauga-Chattanooga National Military Park, International Towing & Recovery Museum; Bessie Smith Cultural Center or the Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum, only 15 minutes from downtown.
6. ARTS & CULTURAL ACTIVITIES: Take in one of the nation's largest collections of American art at the Hunter Museum of American Art; stroll through museums & galleries in the North Shore, Bluff View Arts & the Southside Districts; create your own masterpiece at the interactive Creative Discovery Museum for children or enjoy public art along First Street, Main Street and the downtown area.
7. SHOPPING SPREE: You'll find an eclectic variety of boutiques, galleries, quaint shops, antiques & restaurants in the downtown North Shore and Southside Districts; and just 15 minutes from downtown visit Hamilton Place, Tennessee's largest mall, that features over 200 shops and eateries.
8. LOOKOUT MOUNTAIN FUN: Cool down high atop Lookout Mountain, just six miles from downtown. Venture through the trails at Rock City Gardens; 260 feet below the ground at Ruby Falls; straight up & down Lookout Mountain on the world's steepest passenger railway, the Incline Railway; and much more.
9. THRILLING ADVENTURES: If you're up for a thrill, try hang gliding 2,000 feet in the air along Lookout Mountain; whitewater rafting on the wild Ocoee River only 45 minutes from downtown; or plummet 14 stories to the ground 50 miles per hour on the OH-ZONE! at Lake Winnepesaukah Amusement Park.
10. OUTDOOR RECREATION: Land, air and water - we've got it all. Try out rock climbing downtown at Coolidge Park or numerous other places, biking along the Tennessee River on the Tennessee Riverwalk, kayaking or canoeing downtown, hiking, fishing, golfing, and more. Outdoor Chattanooga is the central resource for information about outdoor recreation. They also host guided hiking, biking, and kayaking trips, classes, and demonstrations.
For more information on Chattanooga's Summer Adventures including maps & itineraries, visit