Taken at the Great Smoky Mountains near Gatlinburg, TN.

When I think of Tennessee and places to see, I think of Nashville, Memphis and the Great Smoky Mountains. While all those places are incredible and have something to offer, you are missing out if you do not visit Chattanooga TN! We stayed at the most beautiful cabin in the clouds located in Dunlap, TN. Forty minutes away is Chattanooga TN, and we fell in love with this small but mighty city! Save your favorite things from our list of things to do when you visit Chattanooga TN to plan your own adventure!

1. Have a Unique Dining Experience

If you are looking for the ultimate unique dining experience, make sure Aretha Frankenstein is on your list! They offer breakfast, lunch and dinner with the most unique dining area. We went there for breakfast and enjoyed the espresso, but later in the day they offer specialty beers. They have a porch and outdoor patio area.

The Frothy Monkey is a housed in an old railway building and offer a variety of specialty coffees, pastries and a breakfast menu. If you are in the Bluff View Art District, consider visiting Tony’s Pasta Shop & Trattoria. They offer make your own pizza or pasta options paired with wine and bread with oil as you wait for your food. My last suggestion is for those who want more than one style of cuisine, try State of Confusion! They have authentic dishes made from scratch from Latin America, New Orleans and North Carolina. They also offer a variety of unique cocktails to try.

2. Shop the Historic Downtown North Shore District

Are you wanting to shop but don’t have a lot of time to explore? You will find everything you need in the North Shore Historical District. One of my favorite stores to explore is the Japanese Import Boutique, I Go Tokyo. If you are wanting to go clothes shopping or looking for souvenirs, check out Chattanooga Souvenirs, Four Bridge Outfitters, Locals Only Gifts & Goods, River City Apparel, Sophie’s Shoppe and Ugly Duck Vintage.

Looking for a good read? Winder Binder is a unique store that features books, records and everything music. While you’re in the area, don’t forget to check out the beautiful murals and art in Chalk Alley.

3. View Chattanooga from Lookout Mountain at Point Park

We enjoy history and a beautiful view, so it was only natural that Point Park was on our list. Point Park is a 10 acre memorial that overlooks the Lookout Mountain Battlefield and the city of Chattanooga. This area was also known as Battle of the Clouds, where Union solider overwhelmed the confederate army. Today there are beautiful paved trails that wind around the edge of the mountain, giving a panoramic view.

4. Walk Walnut Street Bridge

If you are in the North Shore Arts District area, make sure to park your car and walk across the historical Walnut Street Bridge. This was one of our favorite parts of visiting the North Shore District. It was built in 1891 and is one of the largest pedestrian bridges in the country. We had a gorgeous view of Chattanooga’s downtown Tennessee River waterfront and a glimpse of Lookout Mountains in the distance.

5. Explore Ruby Falls

Have you ever seen an underground waterfall before? We haven’t either, until we booked a tour of Ruby Falls! Your adventure starts with taking an elevator down to start a cave walk. Throughout your walk, your tour guide will point out some neat formations along the way to the falls. We suggest wearing good footwear and dressing warm as the cave is very cold. The tour lasted about an hour, and you will have plenty of opportunities for pictures. Afterwards, we were able to climb the tower to get a bird’s eye view of Chattanooga. Ruby Falls is Cost for adults is $29.95.

6. Picnic at Coolidge Park

Coolidge Park is located near the North Shore Historical District and it borders the Tennessee River. It is the best place for a picnic in the warmer months. It also has an interactive water fountain and is near Walnut Street Bridge.

7. Enjoy the Sculpture Park in Bluff View Art District

Image from https://bluffviewartdistrictchattanooga.com/

If you enjoy art, then Chattanooga’s first ever art district is for you! Bluff View Art District is family owned and is a historical neighborhood filled with places to eat, gardens, courtyards and plazas. There are also coffee houses and bakeries in this area. The district is 1.5 blocks on top of cliffs that overlook the Tennessee River. You can spend an afternoon walking the winding curves of the River Galley Sculpture Garden complete with a meditation garden and a recycling mountain stream.

8. Rent a Cabin in the Clouds

One of our favorite parts of our visit to Chattanooga was getting to stay at one of the coziest cabins overlooking the bluffs and the city lights. The Window Rock A Frame was spacious, with a gorgeous deck hosting an ever changing view, a grill, and the coziest hot tub. Out of all the cabins I have stayed at, we have never experienced one with as stunning of a view from a hot tub at the Window Rock A Frame. We loved the location and that we were “away from it all” in the rolling bluffs, yet 35 minutes away from Chattanooga.

9. Have a Drink at These Unique Bars

Anyone who knows me, knows one of my favorite things to do during travel is to find unique places to try cocktails, breweries and coffee flights. Chattnooga did not disappoint! For breweries, we suggest trying a flight at Naked River Brewery paired with their delicious pretzel bites. Second, we would encourage you to visit the Wanderlinger Brewing Company, where your visit for a variety of local beer is paired with art and live music. It also has a great food menu and a pet friendly patio.

If beer isn’t your thing, plan a visit to the classy Lady Naps Winery. You can show up for wine tasting or go to an event. Looking for something more casual? Check out the Bitter Alibi, known for their unique cocktails, this bar has three levels (I loved the basement!) and outdoor seating. The food is delicious, so make sure to come hungry! We hope to go back to Chattanooga, and we want to be sure to try the Unknown Caller as well.

10. Enjoy the Tennessee Aquarium

Image credit to https://tnaqua.org

Chattanooga is well known for it’s Tennessee Aquarium, which is home to over 1,000 animals! The Tennessee Aquarium is equipped with an Imax theater, and aquatic animals from otters, sharks and turtles to penguins, reptiles and mammals alike! It’s located downtown along the Tennessee River.

Bonus: Enjoy the Great Smoky Mountains

We have been on a journey to visit all National Parks across the country, so we knew we wanted to make the 2.5 hour drive from Chattanooga to the Great Smoky Mountains. We only had one day to spend there, but we could have stayed for an entire week and filled our itinerary!

So what did we end up doing in just a day? We stopped at Sugarlands Visitor Center and went on a short hike to the waterfall in the back. From there, we cruised Newfound GAP Road to get the best views of the rolling mountains. We also stumbled across Abrams Falls. On our way to Clingman’s Dome, we stopped at the overlook marking the border of North Carolina and Tennessee. We hope to return to the Great Smoky Mountains in the future, and explore the Cedar Cove area and more waterfall hikes!

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