Chattanooga Checklist 2022

Summer Fun

Opportunities abound for a summer of fun in Chattanooga. We’ve put together the ultimate checklist so you don’t miss a thing all season long. Grab a paddle, a picnic basket, or a pair of tennis shoes and join us in conquering each activity before the leaves turn orange.

(Above) Photo Courtesy of Tennessee Aquarium

Photo Courtesy of Ruby Falls


Marvel at spectacular falls.  

A trip to Ruby Falls has been a Chattanooga tradition since 1929. The journey to the tallest underground waterfall open to the public in the U.S. is part of the fun. Descend deep into Lookout Mountain in a glass-front elevator and join a guided walk along the winding cavern trail passing peculiar ancient geological formations. An impressive light show at the majestic waterfall highlights this natural wonder 1,120 feet below the summit of Lookout Mountain. Want an extra dose of adrenaline? Whoosh through the treetops on soaring zip lines and conquer the 40-foot climbing tower at Ruby Falls’ High Point ZIP Adventure.

Photo by Jered Martin/Volume Collective


Sharpen your throwing skills. 

Indulge in a little medieval sporting with a visit to Valkyrie Axe Throwing in downtown Chattanooga. Each lane is set with an assortment of axes ranging in size and heft from beginner-friendly to axepert-level. For those seeking a little more variety in their throwing weapons, Valkyrie offers a weapon pack that includes additional items like throwing knives. Each lane can accommodate groups of up to eight members. Alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages are available for purchase.


illustration of an axe


Bring the fun to your event.  

The Valkyrie trailer is 20 feet long, 8-and-a-half feet wide, and roughly 11 feet tall with two full targets completely enclosed with caging and padding. The trailer is perfect for outdoor events. Booking details and pricing can be found on the website.

Photos Courtesy of Tennessee Aquarium


Encounter aquatic life up close.

The Tennessee Aquarium is home to more than 12,000 beautifully unpredictable animals from all seven continents. Every trip through its two buildings offers up unique moments and unexpected interactions. Armed with a print-at-home activity sheet, guests of all ages can learn more and form lifelong memories while watching the exciting – and often funny – behaviors of amazing animals like giant Pacific octopuses, sand tiger sharks, river otters, and American alligators. Purchase timed-entry tickets in advance online.


Immerse yourself in learning. 

Whether you’re a first-time guest or a lifelong member, there are sides to the Tennessee Aquarium that you never see during a typical visit. This summer, get a 90-minute sneak peek at the aquarium’s inner-workings during a Deeper Dives guided tour. Knowledgeable experts lead groups of up to eight, offering new insights and perspectives on the aquarium’s amazing residents and exhibits. Deeper Dives must be booked in advance online and are offered Thursday, Friday, and Saturday mornings. $45 for members/$85 for nonmembers.


See the world in 3D.

With its state-of-the-art IMAX with laser projection technology, the IMAX 3D Theater presents films at an exceptional level of quality. Its latest offering, Ocean Odyssey 3D, whisks viewers to the waters of Australia as they follow the journey of a mother humpback whale and her calf along oceanic currents to Antarctic feeding grounds. Along the way, audiences learn how oceanic currents serve as underwater superhighways, affecting everything from migrations to global weather to a host of charismatic animals. IMAX tickets are just $8.

Photos Courtesy of Chattanooga Zoo


Connect with your wild side. 

Animal lovers will relish visiting the more than 650 animals who take residence at the Chattanooga Zoo. Guests will encounter animals from all over the world, including giraffes, chimpanzees, jaguars, red pandas, and snow leopards. Visitors can also learn about the importance of conservation and preservation of animals and the natural world – core values of the zoo’s mission. The zoo educates thousands of children each year on these important topics through their numerous educational offerings.


balloons with a sign reading Happy 85th!


Celebrate an anniversary. 

This year, the Chattanooga Zoo celebrates its 85th anniversary. The zoo was formally established in 1937 in Warner Park with the construction of a small habitat for two Rhesus monkeys. In the five years that followed, the zoo acquired lions, buffalo, alligators, bobcats, and more. In recent years, the zoo has focused intently on growing its educational offerings, promoting conservation efforts, and continuing to provide the highest quality of care for its animal residents. 


Check out the red pandas’ new digs.

The Chattanooga Zoo recently finished construction on its new outdoor red panda habitat. In addition to enjoying an increased amount of space, the pandas have a variety of new climbing structures to play on, including bridges, tunnels, ladders, and platforms. Their new exhibit still has access to the indoor red panda exhibit, viewable by guests on the second floor of the Himalayan Passage. 

See Rock City. 

Panoramic views, lush gardens, gargantuan rock formations, and magical villages – there’s a reason why Rock City is one of Chattanooga’s most revered attractions. Located atop Lookout Mountain, Rock City charms guests with its natural beauty and outdoor appeal. Stroll along the Enchanted Trail. Stand 1,700 feet above sea level and view seven states from the iconic Lover’s Leap observation point. Walk the 180-foot Swing-A-Long Bridge, and tour the Fairyland Caverns. Need to stop and refresh? Check out Rock City’s Café 7, which offers a menu of Southern favorites, craft brews, menus for kids and pets, and that legendary, one-of-a-kind view! Check the website for operating hours and timed ticket reservations.

Photo by Penelope S. Gault


Take a ride through time. 

All aboard, historians and train enthusiasts! At the Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum (TVRM), visitors can view on-site artifacts and relics of railroad history before boarding one of TVRM’s many full-size trains departing from Grand Junction Station. The Missionary Ridge Local, for example, takes visitors along one of Chattanooga’s original railway lines. A visit to TVRM promises a historical experience leaving visitors with a deeper appreciation for how the railroad industry has contributed to the modern world.

Go tow to tow. 

Chattanooga has been credited as the birthplace of the tow truck. Fittingly, it is within the Scenic City that history enthusiasts will find the International Towing Museum. Featured exhibits include the world’s fastest tow truck, a military tow truck, a replica of the original tow truck, and more. The museum also houses the Towing Hall of Fame, which commemorates more than 300 outstanding members of the towing industry worldwide, as well as the Wall of the Fallen – honoring men and women who have lost their lives in the line of service.

Waterfall illustration


Chase waterfalls.

Pet-friendly trails perfect for hiking, biking, and picnicking can be found at Lula Lake Land Trust, just minutes from downtown Chattanooga. This beautiful outdoor destination is home to two tumbling waterfalls, including the 120-foot Lula Falls. Lula Lake is typically open to the public on the first and last weekends of each month: Saturday and Sunday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. with additional opportunities for guided hikes on non-public days. Reservations are required. Open dates, hiking routes, and more can be found online.

Play above the clouds.

With endless views of the surrounding mountains, McLemore features a championship golf course with a finishing hole ranked among the top 10 best in the world. After working up an appetite on the fairway, guests can delight in elevated comfort food offerings from The Creag. This summer, music lovers won’t want to miss the 2022 McLemore Singer Songwriter Series showcasing numerous Grammy-award winning artists over the span of six performances from May through October. Individual tickets are $55 and can be purchased online.

illustration of a key in a lock on a puzzle piece


Break free.

Do you enjoy the challenge of solving puzzles and clues under the pressure of a countdown timer? If your answer is “yes,” you’ll want to check out any of Chattanooga’s numerous escape rooms, each promising a unique, immersive, and challenging breakout experience for you and your group of friends. Different escape rooms come in various themes, and some even offer virtual options. Chattanooga has several locations, including Escape Mission Chattanooga, Time to Escape, Escape Experience, and Breakout Games. / / /

Tyler Jacobson (b. 1982), Red Dragon, 2014, digital print on paper. Collection of the artist.


Wonder at art.

One of Chattanooga’s most iconic structures, the Hunter Museum of American Art houses American art from the Colonial period to present day. Paintings, sculptures, photography, and glass are just a few of the mediums on display, and the collection is spread throughout the Hunter’s three unique spaces: the early 20th-century Neoclassical mansion, the 1970s-era building, and a contemporary structure of steel and glass.


Contemplate silhouettes. 

This summer, in the mansion stairwell, the museum will be debuting a new exhibition by Birmingham-based artist Amy Pleasant. Overtaking the walls of the stairwell, the large-scale works – deceptively simple figurative silhouettes – will welcome visitors to the museum’s early American galleries and inspire new perspectives on the human form and the beauty of repetition.


Petar Meseldžija (b. 1965), Gandalf, 1999, oil on canvas. On loan from the Bantly Collection.

Petar Meseldžija (b. 1965), Gandalf, 1999, oil on canvas. On loan from the Bantly Collection.


Be enchanted.

Coming this summer is special exhibition Enchanted: A History of Fantasy Illustration, organized by the Norman Rockwell Museum. Opening the evening of May 19, this exhibition promises visitors a fantastical, magical journey through centuries of folklore, myths, and legends as depicted by American artists. The exhibition features over 100 works of art embracing stories of fairies, dragons, gods, heroes, villains, and mystical worlds. On August 14, the Hunter will host an enchanted Family Fun Day. Indoor and outdoor activities will include arts and crafts, scavenger hunts, food tastings, costume-making, and performances, all inspired by the new exhibit.  

Photos Courtesy of Chattanooga Red Wolves SC and Chattanooga FC


Get your kicks.

Calling all sports fans – it’s soccer season, and Chattanooga teams are dominating the pitch. The Chattanooga Red Wolves Soccer Club, an American professional soccer club, plays home matches at the city’s only soccer-specific professional stadium, CHI Memorial Stadium. The Chattanooga Football Club, an American professional soccer team, plays home matches at Finley Stadium. Tickets for both teams can be purchased online. /

Have a haunting experience.

Curious about Chattanooga’s paranormal activity? Satisfy your spooky side with Chattanooga Ghost Tours, voted one of the top 10 best ghost tours in the country by readers of USA Today. Guided by a knowledgeable storyteller, visitors will get to see some of downtown Chattanooga’s most haunted sites. For a more immersive paranormal experience, guests 18 and older can participate in a guided cemetery ghost hunt equipped with advanced ghost hunting technology. Can’t decide? Try the new tour/hunt combo.

Sample some ‘skey. 

Tennessee is known for great whiskey. For a serving of proof (111 proof, to be exact) you’ll want to visit Chattanooga Whiskey Experimental Distillery. Visitors can brush up on bourbon knowledge by participating in daily guided tours and tastings (don’t miss their signature Tennessee High Malt). In the retail shop, guests can pick up a bottle of their favorite house-distilled bourbon expression.

illustration of a crescent moon


Taste the moon. 

Did you know Chattanooga is the birthplace of the MoonPie? Invented in 1917 by Chattanooga Bakery, Inc., the classic chocolate-dipped treat is made up of a marshmallow filling sandwiched between two graham cracker cookies. To this day, MoonPies remain so popular that the bakery produces up to a million of them per day. Visitors can stock up on various flavors and shop for apparel and gifts at the MoonPie General Store located downtown.

Cannon Ball Rollercoaster at Lake Winnie


Seek a thrill.

Since opening in the summer of 1925, Lake Winnepesaukah has been a widely loved and cherished theme park by Chattanoogans and visitors alike. With more than 40 rides, including a Ferris wheel, roller coaster, boat chute, and tilt-a-whirl, plus discounts almost every day, it’s a great place to spend a summer day or night. Lake Winnepesaukah, recognized as one of America’s top 10 family amusement parks for all ages, is set to open this year on May 5. SOAKya Water Park is set to open this year on May 28 for a summer of splashtacular fun.

Photo by Grant Dotson Photography


Marvel at sculptures. 

A not-so-hidden gem of Chattanooga’s Southside, Sculpture Fields at Montague Park is the largest sculpture park in the Southeast. Spanning 33 acres, this outdoor attraction boasts over 40 large-scale sculptures from world-renowned artists, and it’s completely free to visit. Plus, it’s a fine art museum where you can bring your pup along to enjoy the experience! Make the most of your outing by downloading the Otocast app, where you can hear the artists speak about their work.

baseball illustration


Root, root, root for the home team.

You won’t strike out when you spend an afternoon or evening cheering on the Chattanooga Lookouts. Named for nearby Lookout Mountain, the Lookouts are the Double-A affiliate of the Cincinnati Reds. The team plays home games at AT&T Field, near the Chattanooga riverfront. There’s fun to be had for all ages from post-game fireworks on Fridays, Thirsty Thursday deals, prize giveaways, and so much more. Get your tickets online or by calling 423.267.4849.

Honor heroes.

The nation’s highest military honor for valor was first awarded for actions in and around Chattanooga. At the National Medal of Honor Heritage Center, visitors can see the medals and experience the powerful stories of Medal of Honor recipients from Tennessee. The 19,000-square-foot facility in downtown Chattanooga is filled with state-of-the-art, immersive exhibits for visitors to explore. The center also offers changing exhibits and special events throughout the year.

Harness the joy of climbing.

Rock climbing is both a full-body workout and one of Chattanooga’s favorite pastimes. At High Point Climbing and Fitness, climbers will find brightly colored rock walls that range in intensity, including beginner auto-belay walls, two bouldering areas, and a top roping room. For those looking to learn the sport, the gym offers beginner, intermediate, and advanced climbing classes, as well as individual coaching. High Point currently has three locations in the Chattanooga area – one right downtown, another in Riverside off Amnicola Highway, and a third bouldering-specific gym in Cleveland.


illustration of climbing carabiner and rope


Head outdoors.

If you want to know what real rock climbing is like, you couldn’t be in a better place. Chattanooga is surrounded by incredible rock climbing, and with High Point guides, you can be defying gravity on real Southern sandstone within a short drive of downtown. Whether you are climbing for the first time or looking to take your skills to the next level, High Point’s experienced climbing guides will help you enjoy an incredible day outside.


Go to camp. 

High Point offers morning and afternoon summer camp programs for kids ages 5-14. Knowledgeable instructors teach campers the basics of climbing including how to use equipment, climbing techniques, and the importance of trust and communication. Through age-appropriate group instruction, kids are able to hone their climbing skills and grow their self-confidence. Information on rates and registration can be found on the High Point Climbing and Fitness website.

Photos Courtesy of The Ice Cream Show


Scream for ice cream. 

This year-round destination is especially sweet come summertime, when a frozen treat just can’t be beat. At The Ice Cream Show, over 40 fresh ingredients – including berries, chocolates, nuts, gummies, marshmallows, and more – can be blended with either ice cream or frozen yogurt to create more than 17,000 flavor combinations. Dairy-free and sugar-free options, as well as gourmet coffee and fruit smoothies, are also available. This May, The Ice Cream Show is celebrating 13 years of business. Check Facebook for daily info.


Bring your pup.

Humans aren’t the only ice cream lovers around here. After taking Fido on a long walk up and down the Walnut Street Bridge, reward your furry friend with a refreshing animal-safe confection at The Ice Cream Show. The shop offers “Frosty Paws” ice cream for dogs and outdoor seating where you and your pup can cool down with some frozen treats.


illustration of a soft serve ice cream cone

Crunch on a customized cone.  

In addition to providing the freshest ingredients for your custom ice cream flavors, The Ice Cream Show makes fresh, homemade waffle cones in-house daily. The cones are tasty enough to enjoy plain, but if you have the option to add more flavor and pizazz to your edible ice cream holder, why wouldn’t you? Personalize your cone with a chocolate dip, and add a rim of sprinkles, crushed nuts, or candies. 

Get your selfie on. 

Make picturesque memories with a visit to the Chattanooga Selfie Museum located in the heart of the city. Guests can strike a pose at any of the museum’s 25+ selfie rooms and walls equipped with flattering lighting, fun props, and unique designs to help you take the most Instagram-worthy shots. The selfie museum is kid-friendly, making it an ideal spot for some family fun. 



illustration of a hand holding a smart phone to take a selfie

Host a picture-perfect event.

Looking for a space to host your next big event? The Chattanooga Selfie Museum makes for a unique party venue, and your guests will certainly delight in the numerous photo-ops. All parties of 10 or more will receive discounted admission rates. For a more exclusive experience, parties of 15 or more will have the entire venue to themselves for two hours. For large parties and events, hosts are encouraged to book the space via phone call at least three days prior to the event, and they will be required to pay a cleaning fee of $75. 


girl taking a photo in front of the feather wall at the Chattanooga Selfie Museum


Become a member.

Photographers, models, and influencers in the area may benefit from purchasing a membership. Membership packages are available in three levels and include access to all selfie rooms and props, up to 20 visitor passes (depending on the membership package), and exclusive use of the museum on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Wednesdays.

Take a class. 

It’s always a good time to learn something new, especially in the company of fellow locals who share your lifelong-learner spirit. The Chattery offers numerous in-person and online classes for adults, covering a range of topics from arts and crafts to mixology, life planning, and more. You can view the lineup of upcoming classes and workshops and register online at The Chattery website.

Catch a show. 

This summer, take in a show at the Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Auditorium or the Walker Theatre, conveniently located in the same building in Downtown Chattanooga. Both of these beautiful, historic venues have been recently updated to create an outstanding patron experience, featuring some of the very best artists and shows – including Broadway at the Memorial. Managed and operated by the Tivoli Theatre Foundation, these venues provide an opportunity to enjoy world-class entertainment right here in Chattanooga, and will be especially busy this summer while the Tivoli Theatre begins a full renovation!

Soar to new heights.

Taste the thrill of flight with a tandem hang gliding ride at Lookout Mountain Flight Park (LMFP). With support from an instructor, you can fly at either 1,500 or 3,000 feet, or receive advanced training in order to hang glide on your own. With safety as their No. 1 priority, LMFP is one of the oldest hang gliding flight schools with some of the best instructors in the country. On-site facilities include overnight accommodations, a volleyball court, clubhouse, and a pool, and they also offer a paragliding training program and tandem flight options.

illustration of hand holding wine glass

Wine down.

Make a toast to the Scenic City as you sip wine from one of many excellent local wineries. Ocoee Winery in Cleveland offers wine varietals ranging from sweet to dry to non-alcoholic. They also have a gift shop and tasting room. Georgia Winery, just across the state line in Georgia, is “one of Chattanooga Valley’s oldest and most celebrated wineries.” Tours are offered every Saturday, and tastings are complimentary. For wine-tasting and dining overlooking the Tennessee River, check out Look Out Winery. They offer outdoor seating year-round on their heated covered balcony and patio where you can sip on vino and enjoy a wood-fired pizza. / /

spicy hot chocolate from the Hot Chocolatier


Cozy up with some hot chocolate. 

When a craving strikes, chocolate lovers will want to make a beeline for The Hot Chocolatier located downtown on Market Street. This artisan chocolate shop offers specialty hot and cold drinks, homemade truffles, and bonbons, among other decadent chocolatey desserts made from the finest ingredients (sourced locally, when possible). After satisfying your sipping chocolate and truffle fix in the café, you can stock up on gift items for friends such as a box of assorted bonbons or a container of hot chocolate mix.

Walk the Walnut.

Chattanooga is home to one of the longest pedestrian bridges in the world – the Walnut Street Bridge, connecting downtown Chattanooga to Northshore. At just under half a mile, the bridge is perfect for a quick jog or leisurely stroll, all while enjoying unmatched panoramic views of the Scenic City and the Tennessee River.

Photo Courtesy of Experience Chattanooga


Hit the trails.  

A guided hiking tour with Experience Chattanooga promises visitors an abundance of natural beauty – stunning waterfalls and scenic overlooks dot the forest trails. Most hiking packages are family-friendly and include professional photography to commemorate your experience, optional transportation to and from the hiking site, expert tips from your guides, and snacks and water. They even throw in some restaurant discounts, so you can satisfy the hunger you work up while walking the trails. Choose from either easy- or moderate-level hikes.

Be nostalgic. 

Experience the nostalgia of playing pinball and classic arcade games in downtown Chattanooga at the Classic Arcade Pinball Museum. Admission is $20 for adults and $16 for children 10 and under. Admission allows you to have unlimited free play on the museum’s 50+ machines all day, meaning you can leave and return to the museum as you please. Tickets can be reserved online.

Don’t miss the Choo Choo.

Much more than a hotel, the Chattanooga Choo Choo is a full-fledged entertainment destination. The former Terminal Station features a range of dining options, an acclaimed guitar museum, a venue for live music, a comedy club, a distillery, retail outlets, and more. Traditional hotel suites and the beautiful Glenn Miller Gardens keep the Choo Choo’s timeless charm intact. Plus, guests of the Choo Choo are only steps away from Station Street – a hot spot for Chattanooga nightlife.

Do something historic. 

Named after the “Empress of the Blues” – 1920s blues singer and Chattanooga native Bessie Smith – the Bessie Smith Cultural Center honors the contributions of African Americans to the development of Chattanooga and celebrates African American history and culture as a whole. Plan a visit to the museum where you can learn about and celebrate African American history while enjoying the exquisite architecture of the center, including the Vilma Fields Atrium and the Bessie Smith Performance Hall.

illustration of whisk and pan

Advance your cooking skills. 

For an inviting and educational cooking experience, check out any of the classes offered at The Sweet & Savory Classroom. Every class is expertly designed for maximum participation – you work hard, learn, and reward yourself with amazing food created by your own hands. On the schedule, you’ll find adult classes, kid classes, date night classes, and specially curated team building classes, all of which can be booked online.

Dine and delight.  

Chattanooga’s bustling West Village is filled with lively eateries, shops, and luxury hotels. Stop by Old Gilman Grill, Easy Bistro, or 423 Taco for a meal, snack, or drink. Browse the area shops and boutiques. Make a day out of it by getting your hair done at the nearby salon, or further extend your visit with an overnight stay at The Westin, Hotel Indigo, Hotel Bo, or Marriott. Savor craft cocktails at the hotel bars or order room service while you luxuriate in fine linens.

friends with coffee and shopping bags from warehouse row

Photo Courtesy of Warehouse Row


Go on a shopping spree. 

When you find yourself in need of a little retail therapy, Warehouse Row is the perfect place for a shopping spree. Known for being one of the area’s premier shopping destinations, the converted warehouse is home to national and local retailers, offering everything from clothing and jewelry to cosmetics, stationery, and luxury home goods. Round out the day by grabbing coffee, cocktails, or a full meal at one of several on-site restaurants.

illustration of stack of books

Turn a new page.

For the book lovers among you, Chattanooga has a good selection of bookstores to choose from. McKay’s is a retail metropolis of used books, movies, music, and more. Not only can you get a great deal on a used book there, but you can also sell or trade your old stuff. Winder Binder – Books Art and Music has both new and used items, including folk art and vinyl. The Book & Cover, the area’s newest independent bookstore, offers an inviting, unique environment. Visitors will be pleased by the diverse and engaging inventory of page turners. / /

Ride the Incline. 

At a 72.2% grade, the historic Incline Railway was established in the 1800s to carry residents up Lookout Mountain. Today, it’s used to give visitors a thrill as they brave one of the steepest grades in the world among passenger railways. Once up top, attractions like Civil War site Point Park await, and down below, the St. Elmo neighborhood features antique stores, restaurants, and a specialty ice cream shop. Tickets are available for purchase online.

Illustration of beer stein

Sip some brews. 

When summer’s heat gets the best of you, cool off with an ice cold beer at any of Chattanooga’s wonderful breweries. Whether you’re a lager lover or a sour savant, you’re bound to find something to satisfy your thirst here in the Scenic City. You can even make a tour of it. Deserving a spot on your list are Chattanooga Brewing Co., Five Wits, Heaven & Ale, Hutton & Smith, Naked River, OddStory, and WanderLinger. / / / / / /

Be dramatic. 

Founded in 1923, the Chattanooga Theatre Centre is one of the oldest and largest community theaters in the Southeast. Their 11 annual productions are watched by more than 30,000 attendees each year. They have a 40,000-square-foot facility which houses rehearsal rooms, a dance studio, costume and set construction shops, and two theaters. They have several shows coming up this season, including Joe Turner’s Come & Gone, taking place June 10-26, and Giant Steps: An Urbean Musical, taking place July 22-August 7.

You Also Might Like

[related_post post_id=""]
CityScope Celebrating 30 Years Logo

Get access to the next issue before it hits the stands!