Things to Do in Downtown Chattanooga
To say that Downtown Chattanooga is eclectic and diverse would just be scratching the surface. Actually, it wouldn’t even do that. The options are limitless. The people are limitless.
Explore little pockets of neighborhoods by Chattanooga's Bike share program, free electric shuttle, or simply by walking, you’re sure to stumble upon a Pinball Arcade, MoonPie General Store, more coffee shops than you can count, and High Point Climbing's outdoor climbing wall that can be seen from several blocks away.
Speaking of visual icons in Downtown Chattanooga, you can’t miss the neon blue peaks of the Tennessee Aquarium that demand to be seen from every direction. Tennessee Aquarium is Chattanooga’s most visited attraction and is rated the #1 aquarium in the country for visitor satisfaction. Sharks, otters, butterflies, and penguins are the most popular of the 10,000+ animals in two separate buildings on the Chattanooga waterfront. You can even catch a view of the Tennessee River from several spots inside of the Aquarium.
Walnut Street Bridge
The Tennessee River hugs downtown Chattanooga and beckons you to come to the Riverfront and to one of the longest pedestrian bridges in the world, Chattanooga's Walnut Street Bridge. The teal-colored bridge connects Downtown Chattanooga to Northshore and when we say it's one of the longest in the world, we mean it. You might want to rent a bike or a mini Segway from Adventure Sports Innovation in Coolidge Park because there is a lot to see in Downtown Chattanooga (just ask a local).
Home to over 500 animals and 200 animal species, the Chattanooga Zoo is where to find adventure. And animals. Lots of animals. Get face-to-face with a Jaguar (behind the glass of course...we’re not animals), ride a camel, or hang out with the newest friends of the Chattanooga Zoo - giraffes. They’ve expanded. See what we did there? With shaded trails and indoor exhibits, it doesn’t matter when you choose to embark on your safari – even the deserts of the zoo will be cool. So, don’t sweat it.
If you want to get wild, the Chattanooga Zoo offers behind-the-scenes tours where you can interact with some of the most fascinating animals in the world. From Red Pandas to the Komodo Dragon. You can even learn from the zookeepers and educators about the animals and the conservation efforts made daily by the Chattanooga Zoo. And you can rest easy knowing that 10% of your admission ticket goes directly to the Zoo’s conservation partners. You can also upgrade your ticket to get a guided tour around the Chattanooga Zoo like the VIP you know you are. The tour offers animal feedings, meet and greets, and chats with the zookeeper. I mean who wouldn’t want to get up close and personal with the second largest tortoise species in the world? It sounds turtle-y amazing.
Chattanooga Choo Choo
Opened in 1909, the Chattanooga Choo Choo welcomed thousands of travelers during the golden age of railroads. From your first steps through the grand entry of the Chattanooga Choo, you’re met with timeless charm, unmatched by anything else in the city. You can almost hear the trains whistling as you look up at the illustrious details in the arched ceilings of the Chattanooga Choo Choo lobby transporting you back to the days of train cars and top hats. (No judgment if you’re currently wearing a top hat.) Look past the lobby and through the doors into the Glenn Miller Gardens and you’ll find original train cars that you can sleep in. You heard that right. You can stay in the train cars (or a normal hotel room if a room on wheels isn’t your style). The point is, there’s something for everybody!
If the mere historical beauty of the Chattanooga Choo Choo doesn’t keep you mesmerized for hours (it will), then you can catch a show at the Comedy Catch. Or maybe grab a bite to eat or a drink at one of the many spots that share the walls of the Choo Choo. Burgers? The Terminal BrewHouse. Cocktails? Gate 11 Distillery. Fresh oysters? STIR. Coffee? Frothy Monkey. What about a fun night out with friends getting locked in a train car where you can’t escape? Well, the objective is to escape, but Escape Experience doesn’t make it easy on you. Afterward, take a stroll down adjoining Station Street, the place to be for live entertainment in Chattanooga. And it’s only the second open container street in Tennessee. You’re welcome.