SWEET SUMMERTIME. CAN’T-MISS EXPERIENCES.
Our attractions are ready to welcome you back for a fun-filled summer. While you’re here, we hope you’ll also experience our culture, heritage and arts – or as we like to call it CHA. Summer isn’t complete without live music and festivals, and we’re just as excited as you for the return of events! Check out some of the top summer experiences and browse our events for even more.
This summer, take your family on a world-spanning adventure without leaving the Chattanooga Riverfront. The Tennessee Aquarium’s yearlong Global Passport Program highlights amazing animals from all seven continents with a summertime emphasis on species from Asia (May), Africa (June), Australia (July) and Europe (August)! With your own print-at-home passport, learn more about amazing animals and tackle fun games and activities that add to the can’t-miss experience of coming nose-to-snout (or beak or shell) with a living collection comprised of 12,000 animals across 600 species. Drop by the gift shop to receive a free sticker to add to your passport. Complement your aquarium summertime adventure by taking in an exciting 3D film like the Great Bear Rainforest 3D, premiering Memorial Day weekend and offering unprecedented views of the rarest bear species on Earth. Check the aquarium’s website for hours and to purchase timed-entry tickets in advance.
See the newly remodeled Warner Park Ranch and meet the Chattanooga Zoo’s Highland Cow mix Red Rock., who loves his new area that provides a better view for guests. The zoo is also awaiting the arrival of a Blue Duiker baby from parents, Poppy and Branch. A duiker is a tiny species of antelope. Before and after your visit, tune into Zoo Chatts, the Zoo's new social media show! Following our host, Keeper Zack, Zoo Chatts brings you along throughout the Zoo every Wednesday at 3 p.m. See our animals behind the scenes, and learn about things such as unique pollinators, enrichments, and more! The Chattanooga Zoo’s events return this summer, including Ice Cream Safari.
CREATIVE DISCOVERY MUSEUM
Explore the outdoors on the Creative Discovery Museum’s second floor with new exhibit, The Great Indoors! Investigate different types of animals and insects in a vernal pond. Build a "campfire." Test your fort-building skills. Make your way through the pool noodle forest. Go rock climbing and more! The Great Indoors is designed for children 18 months to 12 years old and provides gross motor experiences and nature education. It inspires outdoor play through inside environments and gives families ample opportunities to explore and play together. CDM will continue to Play It Safe and require approved masks for all visitors, staff and volunteers ages 5 and up regardless of vaccination status. CDM is open daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. beginning Monday, May 24. Timed tickets are required and can be purchased at cdmfun.org/tickets.
Summer Music Weekends at Rock City feature live music, great food and Birds of Prey shows! High atop Lookout Mountain, delight your ears with soft breezes and live country, folk and bluegrass music with returning artists: Matt Downer, Amber Carrington, Tarryn Aimee Smith and Highbeams! Sip fresh-squeezed lemonade in a rocking chair, cool off with a milkshake and see the Rock City Raptors soar above in Critter Classroom. Inside Rock City, Café 7 serves up delectable southern favorites alongside craft beers from each of the seven states you can see while you dine. Leashed pets welcome. This event was selected as a recent Top 20 Event by Southeast Tourism Society! Birds of Prey Show rockstars include: screech owl, barred owl, barn owl, American kestrel, peregrine falcon, red-tailed hawk, Harris' hawk, black vulture and a bald eagle. Summer Music Weekends are Fridays-Sundays, from May 28-September 6, from 8:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. and daily, the week of July 4th.
Venture deep underground to cool off and discover natural wonders hidden within Lookout Mountain at Ruby Falls, the tallest and deepest underground waterfall open to the public in the U.S. Getting to the thundering waterfall, 1,120 feet beneath the summit of Lookout Mountain, is a big part of the fun! After taking a glassfront elevator 260 feet below ground, you’ll get to hear tales of its accidental discovery and explore peculiar-looking ancient geological formations.
CHARLES H. COOLIDGE NATIONAL MEDAL OF HONOR HERITAGE CENTER
Visit the Charles H. Coolidge National Medal of Honor Heritage Center and see a one-of-a kind exhibit on display this summer through Sept. 1, 2021. Experiencing Europe – Tourism and the American Soldier During WWII is an exhibit that explores a little-known aspect of the experience of American military personnel in World War II Europe. In addition to the long marches and hard-fought battles necessary to liberate multiple nations from the scourge of Nazi domination, these same Americans, while on the march or during their limited recreational time, became de facto tourists on a continent that many had never seen before. The soldiers witnessed breathtaking natural beauty; encountered sites of historic and religious significance; visited museums; and experienced a variety of new and different cultures all within the context of the devastation of war. The exhibit tells the story of these men and women through a combination of historic images, artifacts, memorabilia, souvenirs, postcards, letters and personal recollections.
HUNTER MUSEUM OF AMERICAN ART
Beat the heat inside and explore the South’s most complete collection of American art at the Hunter Museum of American Art. The new exhibit for summer is Power, Passion & Pose: Photographs by Ken Browar and Deborah Ory. A collaboration between dancers, photographers and choreographers, these brilliantly executed images examine the intersection of fashion and dance. The works showcase internationally renowned ballet dancers, often in vintage or modern couture fashions. The exhibition will feature nearly 50 works by the photographers alongside stunning costumes borrowed from various fashion houses.
PUBLIC ART WALKS
Stroll through the Sculpture Fields at Montague Park featuring large-scale pieces by world-renowned artists; explore the Bluff View Art District’s outdoor Sculpture Garden, bakery, restaurants and B&B; walk around the city block containing the massive M.L. King Mural and view the sculptures next door on the lawn of the Bessie Smith Cultural Center; or enjoy a personalized Chattanooga art walking tour with our new Experience Visual Arts interactive map that includes public art, art galleries, art murals and more.
Shop for local hand-made products, art and food at the Chattanooga Market (Sundays at First Horizon Pavilion) or at the River Market (Saturdays at Tennessee Aquarium Plaza). Visit ChattanoogaMarket.com for schedules, details and other special events and festivals at First Horizon Pavilion.
NIGHTFALL CONCERT SERIES
The free Nightfall Concert Series, produced by Chattanooga Presents, return every Friday night from June 4-September 10. Concerts are held - rain or shine – outdoors in Miller Plaza and Miller Park in downtown Chattanooga.
Returning to the Riverfront District for 2021, the free concert series Riverfront Nights will feature various acts on Saturday evenings from June 5 through August 28.
LIVE MUSIC IS BACK SUMMER SERIES
The Fourth of July weekend kicks off the Live Music is Back Summer Series, which features months of concerts across Chattanooga. Through a partnership between Chattanooga Tourism Co. and the Tennessee Department of Tourist Development, musicians, performing arts organizations and event production companies will animate city streets and stages all summer long. The series runs through September.
America’s favorite pastime returns this summer with the Chattanooga Lookouts at AT&T Field. Catch a Friday home game for a fireworks show at the end. Bounce between Chattanooga Red Wolves Soccer Club and Chattanooga Football Club for as many matches as you like all summer long. For more action, visit ChattanoogaSports.com.
Browse more summer events at VisitChattanooga.com/Events.