When you visit Chattanooga, you immediately think of some of the most popular tourist attractions or things to do, but I’m sharing with you a few more that might not come to mind but will be just as fun. Nine things to do when visiting Chattanooga, as shared by a local, that will have you wondering why you didn’t know about these sooner.
Pro Tip: Check out each website for more information, including hours, prices, and special events.
Touring the Coker Museum at Honest Charley
If you are a car or motorcycle enthusiast or lover, this is a place not to miss. You will find the Coker Museum warehouse full of automobile treasures fun to look at and dream of owning one. This is the personal collection of Corky Coker, who grew up collecting cars and anything automotive.
You will find over 100 vintage cars, motorcycles, buses, and even airplanes. A couple has been preserved with the dust still on them as they were found in old barns. You might even recognize a few signs seen on American Pickers.
Yearly cruise-ins and car shows are held to share the love of vintage cars.
Pro Tip: If you are looking for local arts and crafts, unique gifts, locally made foods or produce, Chattanooga Market is open for shopping. On Saturdays, March – September, find them on the riverfront near the Tennessee Aquarium and Sundays (April – December) at First Horizon Pavilion. Times can vary at locations.
Taking a Ghost Tour
Take a walking ghost tour with Ghost City Tours around Chattanooga and learn about its haunted past. There are family-friendly tours and those designed for ages 16 and older; group tours are also available.
Whether a believer in the paranormal or not, you will be entertained and maybe a bit spooked before the tour is over. These are popular all year round, but especially during October.
Stay in Room 311 at The Read House
As The Read House Hotel is celebrating its 150th Anniversary this year, one room you can’t reserve until October is Room 311. Legend has it a murder was committed in this room in 1927, but you won’t find any details in police records. Intrigued? You can schedule a tour of this room by request even if you aren’t a hotel guest.
Are you brave enough to stay in this room? Each Saturday night in October can be reserved, along with Halloween night. When these limited openings become available, Act fast. However, priced at $666 to $999, many book quickly and travel far for this experience.
The Read House is a landmark downtown for hosting weddings and events, but also to grab dinner for a special evening out. It’s one of the most beautiful places you can find during the Christmas holidays around Chattanooga.
See the Sculpture Fields at Montague
This 33-acre public park, located on the Southside, which is free to visit, is an outdoor art museum with over 40 large-scale sculptures. This outdoor oasis offers beauty while enjoying a picnic or flying a kite. You may even catch an artist holding a free demonstration or offering a class. What about doing yoga? Yes, you will probably catch a glimpse of that as well.
You will find over 1.5 miles of trails; it’s a very calming atmosphere for exercise by walking, running, or biking. You can bring your dog, but just be a mindful pet owner.
Want more outdoor fun in Chattanooga? From April through September, enjoy the boys of summer. Take in a Lookouts baseball game. You can see fireworks each Friday night; on Saturday nights, you might win a used car. This is a great family-friendly time with a chance to catch a foul ball, run the bases, or see future major league players.
Visit the International Towing Museum
Have you ever thought of how or why a tow truck was invented? You will discover these answers at the International Towing Museum, a unique place at the base of Lookout Mountain with tow trucks of all shapes and sizes. There is also a memorial to those drivers who have lost their lives while working in this dangerous occupation. There’s even a Hall of Fame ceremony each year.
Can’t visit in person? No problem. Find out information on their website about a virtual tour.
Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum
You can’t really think of Chattanooga and not think of trains.
You can’t think of Chattanooga and not think of trains. Check out the schedule for the various rides and activities you will find during your visit to the Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum. You can take train rides that last from 65 minutes to 5 hours. You can even have a “dinner in the diner” car.
Some of the more popular events include Thomas The Train and Fall Foliage Excursions. Make sure to buy your tickets early, as these will sell out. When visiting a new exhibit open seven days a week, you can find a Lionel Train layout and gift shop. Learn a little history about TVRM in their First 60 Years Exhibit.
Check Out Songbirds
It’s a museum, it’s a music venue, and it’s full of history. While taking a tour of Songbirds, you not only see vintage guitars from Les Paul but learn about just a little of the music history of the Scenic City. Did you know The Impressions were from here? And a couple of the original members still call Chattanooga home.
A few things you will discover:
- Learn a little about how the electric guitar was invented
- Local music history to include The Big Nine and Bessie Smith
- Vintage memorabilia and guitars from B.B. King to The Beach Boys to Roy Orbison
Whether you are a guitar lover or just a music enthusiast, this is a place you don’t want to miss. And make sure you check out the full concert schedule.
Play at the Chattanooga Pinball Museum
Not only is this a museum of vintage pinball machines, but it’s also a place to enjoy these machines along with newer models. You will feel a bit nostalgic pressing the flippers of your favorite and remembering the sounds before all the high-tech video games came along.
Kids of all ages will enjoy some time here. Private events can also be booked.
Wander North Shore’s Coolidge Park
Coolidge Park is just across the river from the downtown area. You can find paid parking in many places, but if you are already parked downtown, just walk across the Walnut Street Bridge. Not only will you enjoy this pedestrian walking bridge, but you get a great view of the river and North Shore area as you go across and downtown as you head back.
You will find great places to have coffee or lunch along Frazier Avenue. But my favorite is to get it to go and enjoy Coolidge Park. While there, ride the Carousel with hand-carved horses, cool off in the fountain, or just sit and enjoy the view.
Want to learn to dance? Check out the dance steps on the sidewalks. You may not become a professional dancer, but you will have a little fun.
Who’s ready for a visit? Chattanooga is a great location for a day trip or long weekend. Located just a few hours from major cities such as Atlanta, Nashville, Knoxville, and Birmingham, it’s become the go-to place for many families.
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