Chattanooga Tennessee is consistently rated one of the top cities in America to visit since its revitalization effort in the 1990's. Beautiful scenery, family friendly attractions, reasonable prices, and an exciting waterfront all add to the allure of downtown Chattanooga. When visiting Chattanooga there are many things to see and do. A town once remembered only for its choo-choo, now has so much more to offer for its guests and those who call it home. Here are 5 fun things to do while in this lovely southern Tennessee city.
The Tennessee Aquarium
One of the largest attractions in all of Tennessee is the Tennessee Aquarium in downtown Chattanooga. The Tennessee Aquarium is one of the largest in the United States. The Aquarium riverfront complex has two different buildings, each of which is the size of a standard aquarium attraction. The two buildings include the River Journey and the Ocean Journey. One ticket allows you in both buildings.
Chattanooga Downtown Waterfront
The Downtown Waterfront
Take a stroll around the waterfront. The revitalized downtown riverfront area is a sight to see. The area surrounding the Tennessee Aquarium is particularly nice, along with the waterfront fountains, restaurants, shops and little gems like the location of the original moonpie store.
Ruby Falls Entrance
When visiting Chattanooga, a trip up to Ruby Falls is a must. You have seen the billboard signs all the way from Kalamazoo, now go the extra mile, on the outskirts of town to Ruby Falls. There is ample free parking, near the entrance to Ruby Falls. Visitors travel in timed groups down to the falls so check in as soon as you get there to avoid waiting too long. You will have plenty of time to look around the large gift shop after your trip to the falls.
Boat Cruises in Chattanooga
Boat Cruise on the Tennessee River
There are three ways to take a boat tour of the beautiful Tennessee River.
- Southern Belle riverboat. This 3 deck riverboat is available for diner cruises along the downtown waterfront and the Tennessee Valley. Lunch cruises and boat cruises without a meal are also available most days seasonally. The Southern Belle docks just down river from the Tennessee Aquarium.
- Duck tours. The Chattanooga amphibious ducks tour the trendy market street area and the waterfront for great views of the fountains and downtown area. Duck tours launch from Market and 5th Street.
- Aquarium hydrofoil waterfront/River Gorge tours. The Tennessee Aquarium now hosts river tours in its 70 passenger hydrofoil boat. The tours leave adjacent to the aquarium at the river.
Sugar's Ribs in Downtown Chattanooga
BBQ Ribs for Dinner in Chattanooga
Chattanooga is home of two world's famous BBQ ribs restaurants including Sugar's Ribs and the southern favorite, Sticky Fingers Ribs. Both BBQ restaurants have two locations in town, both downtown near the water front and on the east side of town. Sugar's east side location is their oldest, located off of Interstate 24 on 15th Avenue, just before ascending up the hills. This location has a nice view of the city. Sugar's serves smoked spare ribs, slow cooked for a delicious flavor. They also have very tasty pulled pork and slow-cooked BBQ chicken.
Sticky Fingers second location is on the far east side of town off exit 4A (Hamilton Place Blvd.) from Interstate 75. Sticky Fingers has baby back ribs, pulled pork, and beef brisket. I highly recommend ordering your ribs only cooked with the dry rub. There is a nice assortment of different BBQ sauces on the table to top off your ribs once they arrive. If you like ribs you will not be disappointed with either restaurant.
Not in the mood for BBQ, try the pizza extraordinaire at the Mellow Mushroom or try a restaurant with a great menu and nice local flair at the 212 Market.