We are excited for your visit! Attractions, shops, hotels and restaurants are open with only a few exceptions.
We ask that you take a moment to read guidance from the CDC and Tennessee Pledge on how to make your trip safer for your loved ones, our hospitality workers and everyone around you. Most importantly, please stay home if any member of your party is sick.
3 Important Tips for a Safer Trip...
Required: Wear a mask in public places. Wearing a mask when you are in close proximity to other parties is shown to reduce the spread of the virus by about one third. Masks are required in Hamilton County – where Chattanooga is located. View the complete mandate, details and exceptions here. Wearing a mask will not only help you and your loved ones stay safer, it also helps protect our 30,000 hospitality workers that interact with hundreds of people every day. Need a mask? Get a cute, comfortable, cotton mask from our online store and show your love for Chattanooga. Other options include a free mask from the Hamilton County Health Department or one for purchase from Four Bridges Outfitters, Blue Skies, Belle Rive Boutique or Off the Rack.
Physically distance from other parties whenever possible. We don’t like to say socially distance, because a trip to Chattanooga is a very social outing. But physical distancing by being 6+ feet apart from other parties helps reduce the spread of the virus significantly. Restaurants and attractions have put in place distancing measures to help make your visit safer.
Wash your hands frequently. 20 seconds with soap and water does the trick.
Your safety and our hospitality community’s safety is our top priority. Thank you for reviewing and respecting others.
When you are here, you are one of us! Please contact us with any question at our Chattanooga Virtual Visitors Center.
Here are two suggested itineraries aimed to meet you where you are with your comfort level for travel and maximize the enjoyment of your Chattanooga experience:
Clean & Safe 3-Day Family Itinerary
This itinerary is intended for families that are looking for activities that are more outdoors, involve take-out from restaurants and are lower-risk activities.
Day One Afternoon:
Show your kids two of America’s pastimes while also learning the history of Chattanooga by taking a stroll and stopping to read the signs on the Walnut Street Walking Bridge – one of the world’s longest pedestrian bridges. Across the river is the NorthShore historic district, you'll find several boutiques, art galleries, and various restaurants that offer to-go menus.
Have a picnic with your to-go food in Coolidge Park and let the kids run around on the expansive green lawn.
Day One Evening:
Options abound for dinner, but some kid-friendly spots with outdoor seating include Taco Mamacita, which offers exceptionally fresh tacos, enchiladas, and margaritas on the Northshore or Tony’s Pasta Shop & Trattoria in the Bluff View Art District. At most of our restaurants you’ll find servers wearing masks and gloves.
Day Two Morning:
Wind your way through the incredible wonders and worlds at the Tennessee Aquarium. Masks are required from 9-11 a.m. and encouraged the rest of the day; however, masks will be required at all hours under the mandate in Hamilton County taking effect July 10. You’ll also find regular cleanings, especially of high-touch areas and limited capacity to provide spacing. Book your tickets in advance and be the first through in the morning for a full day of exploring afterward.
You just can’t beat the fresh air in Chattanooga, and the options are endless. Friday through Sunday, the Chattanooga Ducks offers open-air, kid-centric tours that wind through downtown streets before plunging into the Tennessee River for a cruise around Maclellan Island. The Southern Belle boasts panoramic views of the riverfront and Lookout Mountain aboard a vintage steamboat. Take a leisurely cruise and learn about the Tennessee River's history, legends and places. Afterward, let the kids explore Ross’ Landing and the Tennessee Riverpark. For lunch, try dining on Blue Plate’s patio or get it to go and enjoy the large green space in front of the restaurant.
Day Two Afternoon:
For history and military buffs, check out the Medal of Honor Heritage Center or journey to the Chattanooga Zoo for a trip through an African forest, South American jungle, and Himalayan Passage. Admire the new giraffes, or find the monkeys, jaguars, snow leopards, red pandas, and a variety of different animals from around the world. You can even feed an African pygmy goat. Touring the zoo takes about an hour to hour and a half, and there are so many outdoor exhibits and areas, so you are sure to have enough space.
Next, head to the Creative Discovery Museum, one of the top children's museums in the country! Discover Kenya’s Kids, a new temporary exhibit showing what life is like for children in Kenya and enjoy the museum’s other areas like culinary corner, buzz alley and bee garden, performing arts gallery, excavation station and more. Buy a timed ticket online. When you arrive, staff will meet you outside to conduct a brief health screening and temperature check (bring masks!). Read about all of the museum’s new cleaning and health protocols to increase safety for your family.
Day Two Evening:
For dinner, Lupi’s Pizza is kid-friendly but also appealing to adult palates thanks to local ingredients and a substantial beer selection. Get the pizzas to go and head to the green at Miller Plaza for a city-center dine-out.
If you have older ones in tow, try bouldering, sport climbing, or traditional climbing at one of Chattanooga's local climbing spots on a Guided Outdoor Climbing Tour.
Options abound if you plan to spend three or more days in Chattanooga. Once you’ve hit the highlights of downtown, Chattanooga’s many area attractions are worth the drive. For a complete outline of regional highlights head to Discover Tennessee Trails and Byways. The Tanasi Trail or Pie in the Sky routes outline virtually every attraction in the Tennessee Valley.
If you have any train buffs in the family, the Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum is a must-see. Located just outside of downtown Chattanooga, this moving museum offers several ways to ride the rails. Smaller children will enjoy the Missionary Ridge Local, a 55-minute ride to the East Chattanooga station where passengers disembark to watch a 17th century turntable in action. Once turned around riders re-board to return to the main station, passing back through the famous Missionary Ridge tunnel, completed in 1858. The entire trip takes less than an hour. Remember to bring your masks!
Another great all-day excursion is Lookout Mountain, which features one of the world’s steepest passenger trains, the nation’s largest and deepest waterfall open to the public, and a chance to see seven states from one spot. If you want to devote the day to it, a triple play pass is the way to go which grants access to the Incline Railway (with new air conditioned and fully wheelchair accessible cars), Ruby Falls (the tallest and deepest waterfall open to the public in the U.S.), and Rock City. After a day of exploring, swing by St. Elmo's Naughty Cat Cafe and then grab a bite to eat on the spacious patio at 1885 Grill followed by a scoop or two of unique, small-batch ice cream at Clumpies Ice Cream Co.
Vacationing Safely Couples Itinerary
This itinerary is intended for parties traveling without kids, who are looking for ways to experience Chattanooga with a lower risk.
Day One Morning:
Grab your honey and head to the heart of Chattanooga for some adventure. If you’re up for a new experience, hit one of Chattanooga’s top attractions, High Point Climbing and Fitness on Broad Street in downtown Chattanooga. High Point is one of the nation's largest climbing facilities. They can accommodate the experienced or novice climber with their wide variety of walls and rooms. Just be sure to bring along a mask as there are indoor and outdoor portions.
Want to slow things down a bit? The Southern Belle boasts panoramic views of the riverfront and Lookout Mountain aboard a vintage steamboat. Take a romantic cruise and learn about the Tennessee River's history, legends and places. If water and climbing aren't your thing, head to the top of Lookout Mountain for a peaceful stroll in the open air of the gardens at Rock City. You'll find over 400 native plants and species as well as the infamous Lover's Leap overlook. Staff at Rock City will be wearing masks, and timed entry cuts down on crowded spaces. Be sure to book online in advance.
While on Lookout Mountain, discover adventure safely at Ruby Falls. The natural landmark is home to the tallest and deepest waterfall open to the public in the U.S. You must also book online in advance, and face coverings are required. You will enjoy reduced capacity, offering safer spacing and an unforgettable experience.
Day One Afternoon:
The Tennessee Aquarium is Chattanooga’s must-see attraction boasting penguins, sea otters, giant sturgeon and a butterfly garden. Tickets are good all day and include both buildings, which take a minimum of two hours to explore. If you go in the morning, masks are required from 9-11 a.m.
After your aquatic adventure, stroll through Chattanooga’s impressive Riverwalk area near Ross’ Landing then across the Walnut Street Walking Bridge to the historic Northshore district. There are several shops and galleries worth exploring such as In-Town Art Gallery and Blue Skies. Be sure to grab a beer and a pretzel at Brewhaus followed by a scoop of handcrafted ice cream from Clumpies Ice Cream Co. Wear a mask when you enter shops on the Northshore. You’ll find that many businesses around town encourage them.
Day One Evening:
Dedicate your evening to a self-guided downtown food tour. Enjoy appetizers on the popular patio of Big River, local food and beer. For dinner, walk to Hennen’s for one of the best steaks in town (with outdoor dining) or head up the hill to the Back Inn Café to enjoy a continental menu under the wisteria draped back porch. Finish the evening with coffee and dessert at Rembrandt’s Coffee House, a quaint, French stucco cottage with a lovely, lush patio, featuring artisan chocolates and other sweet treats from the in-house pastry chef.
Day Two Morning:
Head to the Bluff View Art District and stroll through nationally acclaimed River Gallery Sculpture Garden, which is all outdoors and recognized by the Smithsonian in its Archive of American Gardens. Maintained by Master Gardeners, perfectly manicured shrubs frame the 20-plus sculptures and breathtaking views of the Tennessee River.
Should you feel inspired to add some art to your personal collection, mosey over to the River Gallery, the Bluff View’s first business to open in the early ‘90s. The small stucco cottage is spilling over with paintings, sculptures, jewelry and pottery from regionally and nationally celebrated artists.
Day Two Afternoon:
Continue the urbane tone of the day with a trip to Warehouse Row, one of the city’s finest shopping destinations. Housed in two warehouses dating back to the Civil War, the exposed brick interior is both hip and high end, offering independently owned upscale boutiques. Make him swoon with Egyptian cotton sheets at the Yves Delorme Outlet or woo her with gems from Amanda Pinson Jewelry, which features world renowned jewelry lines. If clothing is a way to her heart, stop by Embellish, lululemon, or Anthropologie. Note that some of these shops might require masks, and we always encourage use of them.
Top off the experience with lunch at Public House, an upscale Southern bistro that takes fried chicken to new heights and has a great patio overlooking bustling Market Street. For another take on traditional Southern specialties, try Tupelo Honey Cafe, which offers transformed southern dishes like Appalachian Egg Rolls or Zippy-De-Do-Dah Sweet and Spicy Pork (with expansive outdoor seating).
Day Two Evening:
Top off your busy day with dinner at Alleia, the third restaurant concept by James Beard nominee, Chef Daniel Lindley. The décor is straight out of Manhattan, the menu is inspired by Tuscany, but the ingredients are all Chattanooga (whenever possible). Their outdoor patio is a hidden gem.
Day Three Morning:
Stop by Sleepyhead Coffee for a delicious cup of java and an insta-worthy photo among dozens of succulents. Wander by foot over to MLK Boulevard and admire the greenspaces and art along the way like Miller Park, sculptures on the Bessie Smith Cultural Center lawn and the massive city-block sized MLK Mural, titled “We Will Not Be Satisfied Until” by Meg Saligman. Retrace your steps to Miller Park, then head inward toward the City Center and visit Cooper’s Alley to wind your way through the Passageways 2.0 art installation City Thread.
Day Three Afternoon:
For lunch, get a pizza to go from Community Pie and dine in Miller Plaza or Miller Park or try multiple culinary options on a Chatt Taste Food Tour. After lunch, take MLK Boulevard toward the river and access the Blue Goose Hollow Trailhead of the Tennessee Riverwalk. Once there, get a 360-degree look at the massive colorful sculptures called “Resurgence: A Statement of Celebration” by Albert Paley.
Then, check out your own bicycle from the Bike Chattanooga station at the trailhead and roll along mile after mile of the Tennessee Riverwalk. You can either head down river on the newest section for three miles leading into the St. Elmo Neighborhood. Or roll up river, passing by Ross’s Landing and continuing all the way to Chickamauga Dam if you’re feeling adventurous.
If you’d rather go on a hike than bike, try the easily accessible Stringers Ridge in North Chattanooga. The 92-acre park is located two miles from downtown Chattanooga and home to a charming trail system. It’s open to everyone from adrenaline junkies with single-speed mountain bikes to hikers and joggers.
Day Three Evening:
Explore the open air, shops, restaurants, public art and special spaces in the West Village from a pedestrian-friendly cobblestone street to an umbrella alleyway. Anchored by the Westin Chattanooga, the West Village is the revitalized area between W. MLK Blvd. and Seventh, Chestnut and Pine Streets. The European-style district features four original restaurants, including Citron et Sel and Old Gilman Grill as well as Alimentari Cucina e Bar and Paloma within the Westin. A variety of other eateries and shops include Anastasia’s Old World Delicatessen, Peet’s Coffee, Pinkberry, Antibes, Fox & Fern and more.
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