Chattanooga, TN

Free Things to Do in Chattanooga, TN

Traveling with Alice

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Chattanooga is a beautiful, family-friendly city with so many incredible things to do and see. So spend a long, leisurely afternoon checking out many of the free attractions Chattanooga, Tennessee has to offer.

Bluff View Art District

The Bluff View Art District is 1.5 city blocks dedicated to the visual, culinary, and landscape arts. As you stroll past coffee shops, art galleries, gardens, and historic neighborhood homes, you'll also enjoy the scenery from the nearby Tennessee River and Downtown Chattanooga.

While you're there, check out the two-acre outdoor River Gallery Sculpture Garden that boasts a large collection of pieces made by internationally-known sculptors. The Garden is open daily and admission is free of charge.

Chattanooga Choo Choo

The Chattanooga Choo Choo is a beautiful, historic building that was once a bustling terminal railroad station for the Southern Railway and is now a convention center, hotel, and resort.

It's free to explore the grounds of the hotel and the gardens, which have fantastic views of restored train cars, flowers, fountains, and train tracks. You can even play with the giant checkers, chess, and Jenga sets they have on the property.

Photo by Christian Bowen on Unsplash

Chattanooga Riverwalk

With so many great attractions along the way, the 16-mile Chattanooga Riverwalk provides you with hours of entertainment.

Whether you prefer walking, running, biking, or rollerblading, you'll be able to discover many gems in downtown Chattanooga including the Tennessee River, the industrial path, the art district, and the historic Battery Place neighborhood.

The Chattanooga Riverwalk includes a combination of paved paths, boardwalks, and bridges that are accessible to everyone. And there are water fountains and public restrooms conveniently located along the trail. Just follow the bronze fish that mark your way and see everything there is to discover here.

Coolidge Park

Nestled next to the Tennessee River, Coolidge Park is a beautiful 7-acre lot that provides the perfect atmosphere to read a book, play a game, have a picnic, or take a long stroll.

Kids love to watch the Southern Belle Riverboat paddle by, see the 100-year-old fully-restored carousel turning, play in the interactive water fountain, and walk through the gorgeous trees in the Peace Grove.

Next, take a walk across the Walnut Street Bridge, one of the world's largest pedestrian bridges.

Photo by Chad Madden on Unsplash

Julia Falls Overlook

Hiking to the Julia Falls Overlook is an amazing experience for anyone who enjoys a slightly more challenging hike.

At just 1-mile, the hike is short, but it provides panoramic views of the Tennessee River, Williams Island, Middle Creek Gorge, the Bluff of Edwards Point, and Julia Falls. The views alone make this trip well worth the effort.

Plus, descending 200 vertical feet down the steep stairs known as "the mousetrap" is a fun adventure in itself and one you'll never forget.

Lookout Mountain

Lookout Mountain is a must-see when you're hanging out near downtown Chattanooga. Hike one of several trails to the top and experience stunning views of the Tennessee River Valley, Signal Mountain, and Prentice Cooper State Forest.

On a clear day from the summit, you can even see seven different states in the distance, including Tennessee, Kentucky, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, and Alabama.

Lookout Mountain also has historical significance because it was the site of both the Last Battle of the Cherokees during the Nickajack Expedition and the Battle of Lookout Mountain during the Civil War.

Renaissance Park

Renaissance Park is a man-made, 23-acre wetland park that was built on a formerly polluted manufacturing site. With revitalization in mind, the park was designed to keep the Tennessee River clean, promote the return of native plants and animals, and provide a natural setting for people to enjoy.

The park incorporates paved trails, bridges, river views, and sculptures along with the natural wildlife to create an enjoyable, family-friendly experience.

And don't forget to bring some cardboard with you or grab some left behind to slide down the famous steep hill known as "Cardboard Hill."

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