It is impossible to separate Chattanooga’s art from its culture, for time has irreversibly entwined the two. Some consider art to be a form of communication. By that definition, Chattanooga speaks volumes, and the conversation celebrates the vision and vitality of a city awash with creativity. Much of the city’s art attractions pay homage to its diverse cultural heritage, and its cultural history is often based on the artistic endeavors of its citizens. The two complement each other and provide a rich and diverse environment. Museums honor heroes, musicians, artists, trains, and tow trucks; artists color unexpected corners, and sculptors create silhouettes against the landscape; and musicians of every stripe fill the air with the music of yesterday and today. Come join the conversation.

1. Creative Discovery Museum

You don’t have to be a kid to be amazed, inspired, and entertained at this incredible museum. Enjoy a bird’s eye view of the city in the Treehouse Adventure Exhibit, and learn new skills in the STEM Zone! Featuring Make It, Build and Test, Robotics and Energy galleries, and pretend, play, or make a splash. You’ll soon see why the Creative Discovery Museum is in the top ten of Children’s Museums in the nation.

2. Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum

Trains have captured the imagination of kids and adults for almost 200 years. The Tennesee Valley Railroad Museum's collection of railroad equipment helps preserve and celebrate that history. From the ongoing restoration of the esteemed Office Car 98 to the meticulous maintenance of their beloved steam engines, the museum will conduct you on the railroad experience of a lifetime. A variety of rides are available, so hop on a vintage train to ride the historic Chattanooga railroad. 

3. Sculpture Fields at Montague Park

On land donated to Chattanooga in 1911, sculptor John Henry led an effort to restore 33 acres for a sculpture park. Deemed Sculpture Fields at Montague Park, the restored land reopened as the largest sculpture park in the Southeast, featuring masterpieces from around the world. Today, over 40 breathtaking sculptures enhance the cultural life of the community and stand in tribute to the legacy of Chattanooga’s forward-thinking pioneers.

4. Tennessee Riverpark

If you’re looking for an urban adventure, Chattanooga does not disappoint. Walk, run, bike, or launch your kayak on the lighted 15+ mile paved path along the Tennessee River. There are lots of access points, ample restrooms, and plenty of parking. Stop and explore one of the adjacent attractions. Bring a picnic or stop in at one of the many restaurants and coffee houses. Take a leisurely detour onto the pedestrian Walnut Street Bridge which leads to the funky Northshore neighborhood, or the Tennessee Riverpark, the region’s premier greenway. No matter how you do it or how far you take it, Tennessee Riverpark offers a walk (or a run, pedal, or paddle) to remember.

5. Bessie Smith Cultural Center

The Chattanooga African American Museum and Bessie Smith Cultural Center preserves and celebrates African American History and Culture. It serves as an educational institution, as well as a special event venue for banquets, meetings, and community events. The facility was established to pay homage image to the late Bessie Smith, dubbed "Empress of the Blues."

6. International Towing and Recovery Museum

Here in the birthplace of the towing industry, the International Towing and Recovery Museum's Hall of Fame includes distinguished towing professionals, and the Wall of Fallen, honors the largely unsung heroes who have lost their lives in the line of service.

7. Coolidge National Medal of Honor Heritage Center

Visit the new National Medal of Honor Heritage Center. Here in Chattanooga, where our nation’s highest military honor was first presented, you can pay tribute to these heroes, and explore the stories of those who since the Civil War have embodied patriotism, citizenship, courage, integrity, sacrifice, and commitment.

8. Bluff View Art District

The incredibly beautiful and unique family-owned and operated historic neighborhood is a virtual Garden of Eden for those who enjoy architecture and art, courtyards and public sculpture, delicious dining, and simply relaxing and rejuvenating. Set atop stone cliffs overlooking the Tennessee River, downtown Chattanooga, and the Walnut Street Bridge, the gorgeous gardens and winding streets are a feast for all your senses.

9. Public Art

It’s on the street corners and wrapped around the buildings, painted on the electrical boxes; it celebrates, stands in tribute, hangs, perches, sits, and sometimes even rotates. It’s unexpected and awe-inspiring, and it's all for the benefit of the public. Chattanooga's public art is everywhere you are. Enjoy! 

"I went to school here, but it wasn't until I came back fpr a visit that O saw the coty differently. Chattanooga's originality and imagination drew me. It captivated me."

-Artist, Alex Paul Loza

10. Hunter Museum of American Art

With three buildings representing 100 years of architecture, the Hunter Museum holds an iconic spot against the Chattanooga skyline and is an essential space where all are welcomed to connect to creativity. Continuing to reimagine and reinterpret American art, the Hunter Museum presents and preserves American art through diverse and interactive exhibitions such as 2024’s City as Canvas Graffiti Art, Art Deco Glass, and Networked Nature Exhibits.

11. Tivoli Theatre

Offering everything from silent movies to Broadway national tours “The Jewel of the South” has entertained Chattanooga since 1921. Designed in the Beaux Arts style popular for movie palaces of the period, the Tivoli Theatre is in itself a work of art. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, renovations began in May 2022 and the Tivoli will soon be one of Chattanooga’s premier entertainment venues.

12. Tennessee Aquarium

In two separate buildings, the Tennessee Aquarium will connect you with nature and fascinating underwater residents from the mountains to the sea. Celebrate the rich diversity of the Southeast. Come face-to-face with the fascinating native animals that live in our backyards and the amazing creatures that thrive in some of the most remote locations on Earth. On your visit to the River Journey exhibit, you’ll get a fish-eye view of ridges and rivers, meet river giants, and marvel at the turtles of the world. In the Ocean Journey exhibit, watch sharks drift by overhead, butterflies frolic in tropical forests, and penguins dive and rocket from their cold-water home. Come and spend the day for an experience that educates and entertains.

13. The Passage

A memorial walkway memorializing the 1838 forced relocation of more than 1,000 Cherokee from their east-coast homeland, The Passage is a deeply moving pedestrian link between downtown Chattanooga and the Tennessee River at Ross’s Landing. Featuring a weeping wall and seven large ceramic discs, this public art project celebrating Cherokee history and culture is the largest in the nation, and an important reminder of a sad moment in history.

14. Warehouse Row

The shops, restaurants, and businesses of Warehouse Row, situated in what was once the Old Stone Fort, represent both the history and the current, rich commercial culture of a vibrant city. Inspired by the grand architecture of the past, this mixed-use development is a destination in itself. At Warehouse Row, the aesthetics of a time gone by come together with modern-day style to meet the retail needs, restaurants, and services of Chattanoogans all in one place. Check the online directory for a listing of goods and services. 

15. Ed Johnson Memorial

The Ed Johnson Memorial (created by artist Jerome Meadows) serves as a profound space for remembrance and reflection in Chattanooga, honoring the tragic yet pivotal story of Ed Johnson, his wrongful death, and the landmark Supreme Court case that ensued. It celebrates the courageous efforts of his attorneys, Noah Parden and Styles Hutchins, and the African-American community’s support, marking a significant moment in the fight for civil rights and justice in America.

16. Chattanooga Choo Choo

The historic Terminal Station was once our Grand Central Station where rail passengers were welcomed to Chattanooga and all its splendor. Now, after being saved by local businessmen, the Chattanooga Choo Choo is a unique vacation complex; still echoing that 1941 song by Glenn Miller that made Chattanooga internationally famous.