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What's New in Chattanooga, Tennessee: 2020-2021

The Chattanooga area is continuously growing and boasts many new experiences and places to stay, eat, drink, and explore. There’s never been a better time to visit the city New York Times names one of the “52 Places to Visit in the World” and TripAdvisor says is one of the “7 Rising U.S. Cities That Should be on your 2019 Travel Bucket List.”

ATTRACTIONS

The Tennessee Aquarium recently launched its Global Passport program - a yearlong celebration of animals from seven continents. Print off your passport, trek through the River Journey and Ocean Journey buildings and get a stamp at the gift shop. 

The Charles H. Coolidge National Medal of Honor Heritage Center offers immersive exhibits that tell the story of the birthplace of the nation's highest military honor. (Opened February 2020) 

Medal of Honor_Kids

Tennessee Riverwalk - last connecting mile to be complete, creating a 25-mile loop around Chattanooga in 2021; Trust for the Public Land is working on the last mile to complete the 12 miles of the South Chickamauga Creek Greenway, which will connect to the Tennessee Riverwalk (13 miles). 

Patten Parkway is a pedestrian-focused space/square in heart of downtown Chattanooga featuring public art and bistro seating for patrons of area businesses. 

Topgolfis a premier entertainment and event venue in East Ridge offering fun point-scoring golf games for all skills levels, upscale bar food and drinks, and music. (Opened August 2020) 

Dave & Buster's is a 30,000 square feet entertainment center at Hamilton Place, featuring a restaurant, sports bar and hundreds of arcade games. (Opened March 2020)  

Local indie record label Yellow Racket Records plans to open a 2,000 square foot record store that will carry new and used vinyl records from independent and major labels as well as music merchandise. (Opened August 2020)  

Chattanooga Red Wolves, the community's new soccer team, broke ground on a $125 million stadium and mixed-use development in East Ridge that include a hotel, apartments, shopping, and more. The complex is the first, and only professional, soccer-specific stadium in the region. (Stadium Opened August 2020) 

Naughty Cat Cafe is Chattanooga's first and only cat cafe from co-owners Whitney and Heath, who are fueled by a desire to help cats find their forever home and educate people on the importance of spay and neuter. St. Elmo Neighborhood 

NoogaSplash at Chester Frost is an inflatable, on-the-water obstacle course with places to run, jump. slide, bounce and splash for all ages. (Opened Summer 2020)  

Boxcar General Store is an old timey train themed general store featuring a wide selection of nostalgic candy, classic toys and southern goods. NorthShore District 

Moonlight Roller provides skate rentals at various locations and events around Chattanooga in addition to its skate shop storefront downtown on Cherry Street. Owner Adrienne Cooper was named to the Forbes 30 Under 30 List in 2021. 

Keeody Art Gallery, a newly formed collaboration of giftings, is the brainchild of international artists and creative couple, Keelah Jackson-Harris and Jody Harris (lending to the moniker "Keeody"). Keeody Art openly offers art, love and soul to the public in the form of inspired and original mixed-media compositions. MLK District 

In addition to concerts, comedy and Broadway performances, the historic Tivoli Theatre restarted a tradition that started 100 years ago when it first opened as a movie picture palace in 1921. The Bobby Stone Film Series, presented by the West Village, continues to bring the very best in cinema magic to visitors and the community with regular screenings of beloved classics and new releases. Downtown District 

Songbirds Guitar Museum | Southside District (renovating and reopening in Fall 2021) 

Bessie Smith Cultural Center reopened in June 2021 with new exhibits, interactive kiosks and a children’s education corner, allowing the center to better tell the story of African Americans in Chattanooga throughout history. MLK District  

Celebrate the adventures of yesteryear as you wine and dine aboard the TN Wine Train, a two hour-dining excursion passing through urban Chattanooga, as well as business, art and historic districts.

TEMPORARY EXHIBITS

Hunter Museum of American Art:  

  • Lalla Essaydi | Sept. 24, 2021 - Jan. 9, 2022
  • Baggs McKelvey: Indigo  |  Through Aug. 30, 2021
  • The F Word: We Mean Female  |  Through Jan. 10, 2021 
  • Power, Passion & Pose: Photographs by Ken Browar and Deborah Ory  |  Through Sept. 6, 2021 

power passion and pose

FESTIVALS & EVENTS

The BlueCross Bowl (Dec. 2-4, 2021), known as the Tennessee high school football championship, will be held in Chattanooga for the first time since 1978. Chattanooga won the bid to host the games in 2021 and 2022. 

blue cross bowl

Chattanooga will host the Tennessee Girls’ State Soccer Championships in 2021 and 2022, with the championship matches being played at the new CHI Memorial Stadium, which opened in 2020. 

Chattanooga MotorCar Festival (Oct. 15-17, 2021), the 3-day festival drives into downtown Chattanooga for a legendary motorcar experience in its second year. The family-friendly weekend will showcase a time trial, juried exhibit of vintage and historic cars and a thrilling rally ride through the countryside of the Tennessee Valley. Downtown District 

Mecum Auctions (Oct. 15-16, 2021) is bringing a collector car auction to Chattanooga for the first time in 2021, which will take place during the MotorCar Festival. Downtown District 

F3: Future of Freight Festival (Nov. 8-10, 2021) unites smart cities and logistics innovation in an immersive experience celebrating the freight industry. The in-person festival by FreightWaves, which provides benchmarking analytics, monitoring and forecasting of the logistics industry, will take place at more than 30 venues across Chattanooga. 

TRANSPORTATION/TOURS

Free Electric Shuttle – CARTA expanded service on May 9, 2021, to include a route to St. Elmo and the Lookout Mountain Incline Railway. 

River Gorge Excursions specializes in pontoon boat rentals and pontoon boat Tours to connect guests with the beautiful scenery that is the Tennessee River Gorge.  

The Chattanooga Airporthas added several new flights: American Airlines added a direct flight to Philadelphia and a 3rd round-trip flight to Dallas/Fort Worth, while Delta added a daily direct flight to NYC/LaGuardia. In 2020, the airport added a nonstop route to Houston.  

Nooga Shuttlesoffers trips to/from airports in Nashville, Knoxville, Atlanta, Birmingham, and Huntsville as well as transportation to meetings, restaurants, events, and more while in Chattanooga. 

Chatt Tasteshowcases the transformation of dining and local businesses in downtown Chattanooga through guided food tours including the West Village Signature Tour, Taco Tuesday Tour and Art & Southern Culture Tour. Transportation and a Chattanooga Ambassador are included in each tour, which visits 3-4 restaurants.  

ACCOLADES & UPDATES

Chattanooga Zoo_Giraffe

  • The Conde Nast Traveler Readers’ Choice Awards recognized Chattanooga as one of the 10 Friendliest Cities in the U.S. (2020) and named the city to the Hot List of Where to Travel Next (2021). 
  • Southeastern Climbers Coalition and Access Fund purchased and protected a major new climbing area - Woodcock Cove, preserving 64 acres of undeveloped land and approximately 60 existing routes, with room for 100-150 more, at all levels. The remote property includes a mile of sandstone cliffline, from 30-90 feet tall, forest land, streams, important wildlife habitat, and outstanding scenic views. Also preserved is a rare 75-foot freestanding sandstone tower, with routes on all sides. 
  • The Hunter Museum of American Art received a 2020 Southeastern Museums Conference Silver Award for Exhibitions for the fall 2019 exhibition Noel W. Anderson: Blak Origin Moment and two silver awards for technology. 
  • Established in 1895, theLookout Mountain Incline Railway, America's Most Amazing Mile, is making upgrades with new fully accessible, air-conditioned rail cars. (June 2020)  
  • The Chattanooga Zooexpanded with a giraffe exhibit. (Spring 2020)  
  • Volkswagenis making Chattanooga its North American base for the new electric car. The car will be a version of the ID. CROZZ SUV concept, and Volkswagen will offer a multi-purpose one too. Chattanooga production begins in 2022. 
  • Chattanooga-based Double Cola has released a new beer called Brewski, which is a half-beer, half-SKI soda blend. 
  • McKee Foods (maker of Little Debbie Snacks) is expanding its operations, investing $500 million and creating an expected 480 jobs over the next several years. (First phase - Summer 2020) 
  • Renfro Corp. is investing $17.5 million to expand its sock plant and create 168 jobs over five years. The company is a licensee for brands like Fruit of the Loom, Dr. Scholl's, Ralph Lauren/Lauren Polo, Copper Sole, Wrangler, Sperry, Russell, Jerzees, Spalding, Bike and Carhartt, and it owns fashion brands K. Bell and Hot Sox.  

FOOD AND DRINK 

Restaurants 

Breweries & Distilleries 

Bars 

sleepyhead coffee

Coffee Shops 

ACCOMMODATIONS & MEETING VENUES 

hotel indigo

Opening in 2024 

New Construction in 2021 

Renovations in 2021 

Recently Opened  

Updated: July 2021