When you’re looking for a little out-of-the-box adventure to transform your ordinary days, these fun things to do in Chattanooga have got you covered. The ideas on this list are perfect for getting out and making awesome memories with family and friends any time of year.
Below, you’ll find great choices for any time fun, seasonal activities, holiday activities, restaurants, things to do with kids, free fun, and much more! With so many options, finding and planning your next outing will be easy as pie.
In addition to attractions around town, you’ll also discover some of the closest travel destinations to Chattanooga, which will help take the guesswork out of planning your next family vacation or day trip.
So dive on in to find your next adventure, and start making memories you’ll never forget!
Fun Things to Do in Chattanooga Today
Chattanooga is bursting at the seams with exciting activities for all ages. Below you’ll find great ideas for things you can do all year long. Keep Reading to do discover tons of seasonal favorites too!
1. Indoor Adventure
When the weather is hot, cold, or rainy, that doesn’t mean the party is over. Chattanooga is bursting at the seams with amazing indoor attractions just waiting to be explored. Some of Chattanooga’s favorite indoor adventures include rock climbing, escape games, and children’s theatre.
2. Outdoor Adventure
Surrounded by gorgeous mountains and the tranquil Tennessee River, Chattanooga’s outdoor recreational options are boundless! You can enjoy kayaking, fishing, wildlife viewing, botanical gardens, and more.
Some of the most popular Chattanooga museums include the Hunter Museum of American Art, The Creative Discovery Children’s Museum, and the Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum.
4. Hiking Trails
There are numerous options for hiking within 30 minutes of downtown, including the always popular Lookout Mountain, Moccasin Bend National Archeological District, and Stringers Ridge Park
Being a city nestled into the scenic Appalachian Mountains, it’s no wonder Chattanooga is near tons of great waterfalls. Chattanooga’s closest waterfalls include Glen Falls, Falling Water Falls, and nearby Lula Falls in Georiga.
6. Parks and Playgrounds
Chattanooga’s Riverwalk is an expansive system of greenway trails that runs along the scenic Tennessee River. It connects several of Chattanooga’s best parks and playgrounds and offers opportunities for hiking, kayaking, viewing public art, admiring monuments, and more!
Of all the lakes near Chattanooga, Nickjack Lake is one of the most popular. In addition to traditional activities like fishing, swimming, and kayaking, it also has its own cave system called Nickjack Cave.
The cave is partially floooded in the summer and guided wildlife tours are offered via kayak, including sunset bat tours.
Enjoy camping, hiking, ranger-led educational programs, and a state-of-the-art swimming pool at Harrison Bay state park, just one of many amazing campgrounds near Chattanooga.
9. Arts and Crafts Classes in Chattanooga
Whether you are looking for a girl’s paint night, kids’ craft classes, sculpting, or paint-your-own pottery, there are tons of great options for art classes in Chattanooga. Some local favorites include Scenic City Clay Arts, Art Creations, and Pinspiration Chattanooga.
10. Cooking Classes in Chattanooga
The Sweet and Savory Classroom is one of several Chattanooga cooking schools that offers couples cooking classes, kids’ cooking classes, parent-and-me classes, ethnic food classes, and much more!
11. Date Nights
From moonlit horse and carriage rides to candlelit river dinner cruises, there are tons of wonderful date night locations in Chattanooga.
12. Petting Zoos
One of the most unique petting zoos in Chattanooga is the Little Country Farm and Mobile Petting Zoo. This fun farm offers “cuddle-grams” where they will bring the animals to your house for a special meet and greet.
They also offer special holiday themed “cuddle-grams” and seasonal family photoshoots with live farm animals. Adorable!
Downtown Chattnogoaa has a vast network of urban wilderness locations. The most unique being Maclellan Island, which is located in the heart of downtown and is only accessible by boat or kayak. Hiking in this protected area provides great opportunities for viewing wildlife, especially local birds.
Fun Inexpensive Things to do in Chattanooga TN
Not every adventure has to cost an arm and a leg. In fact, Chattanooga offers many options for free fun around town. Even better, almost all of the attractions are family-friendly.
14. Free Fun
From outdoor public sculpture gardens and cardboard sledding to hiking, biking, and gorgeous flower fields, Chattanooga has tons of free attractions to help you plan family-fun outings on a budget.
Winter Activities in Chattanooga
Just because there isn’t a ton of snow, that doesn’t mean you can’t have fun during a Chattanooga winter. From snow tubing and skiing to parties and holiday festivals, there is still a lot of surprising activities to enjoy!
15. Snow Tubing
Snowtubing is the perfect winter day trip from Chattanooga. There are several great options to choose from with many of the locations offering great extras like snow play areas, historic small-town shopping districts, and scrumptious eateries. What could be more fun?
16. Cut-Your-Own Christmas Tree Farms
Start a new tradition this year by visiting one of Chattanooga’s most enchanting Christmas tree farms. In addition to choose-and-cut trees, you can also have the option of purchasing fresh-cut garland and wreaths, yummy hot chocolate, baked goods, and more!
17. Christmas Lights Driving Tours
For completly free frun, check out these gorgeous Christmas light displays throughout the the area.
18. Christmas Events
When you are finished looking at lights, you can head on over to one of Chattanooga’s exciting Christmas events to make some ornaments, decorate cookies, enjoy festive live music, admire the holiday decor, shop for gifts, and so much more!
19. New Year’s Eve Parties
Ring in the new year right at one of these fun New Year’s Eve events in Chattanooga.
Spring & Summer Activities in Chattanooga
Spring and summer are busy seasons in south. During these warm weather months, Chattanooga will be bursting with festivals, outdoor concerts, markets, and so much more!
20. Ocean Beach Vacations
Discover all of the best ocean beaches near Chattanooga, including great locations on the gulf and the Atlantic Ocean. You’ll also find great ideas for wherre to eat and stay.
21. Splash Pads
Visiting one of the many splash pads in Chattanooga is a great way for kids to cool off in the sweltering southern heat. The best part is that most are totally free to visit and offer other fun attractions like playgrounds, picnic areas, and more!
22. Public Pools
Another great place to splash down is at one of Chattanoog’s awesome public pools.
23. Swimming Holes
Of course, nothing is quite as refreshing as a dip in scenic natural waters. Thankfully, there are tons of great swimming Holes and swim beaches near Chattanooga. One of the most popular is Blue Hole in Soddy Daisy.
You will need to hike a short distance to this popular swimming hole, but once there you’ll find cool deep waters and greats spots for jumping in. There is no lifegaurd in this location, so you do need to be extra careful when swimming, especially with children.
24. Apple Picking
Picking your own apples from a local orchard is a wonderful adventure for the seasons of summer and fall. In Chattanooga, apple season can run all the way through the first week in November, depending on the weather.
25. Berry Picking
Berry and fruit picking is another fun experience in Chattanooga. Some of the most popular farms are ones that grow blueberries and strawberries. Yum!
26. Free Summer Concerts
Enjoy the rockin’ sounds of a free outdoor concert in the beauty of the setting southern sun. These concerts are family-friendly and often have food trucks and kids’ activities for added fun.
27. Botanical Gardens
For a fun twist on botanical gardens, the Tennessee River Garden focuses exclusively on wildflowers and natural wildlife. They boast a wildflower nature trail, butterfly garden, duck pond, and more!
28. Water parks
Just over the line into Georgia, SOAKya is the largest water park near Chattanooga. This attraction boasts water slides, a lazy river, fun kids’ zone, and more!
SOAKya has a sister amusement park called Lake Winnepesaukah. You can get combo tickets for a discounted price to visit both attractions.
29. Easter Egg Hunts
From traditional hidden eggs to glow-in-the-dark events, these Easter egg hunts in Chattanooga are sure to have your kids squealing with joy!
30. July 4th Events
These can’t-miss July 4th events in Chattanooga are filled with live music, kids’ activities, food trucks, arts and craft vendors, fireworks, and more!
31. Back to School Events (Get Free Supplies!)
If you are struggling and need help providing your kids with school supplies and clothes, these awesome back-to-school events and charities are here to help. They are also great places to donate if you are able.
Fall Things to do in Chattanooga TN
In fall, the mountains of Chattanooga become a gorgeous tapestry of rich yellows, oranges, and reds. The crisp morning air begs you to go exploring while festive fall adventures await around every turn.
32. Fall Festivals
These amazing Falls Festivals in Chattanooga are filled with family-friendly fun including kids’ activities, arts and crafts vendors, delicious food, and of course pumpkins!
33. Pumpkin Farms and Corn Mazes
Visiting a Chattanooga pumpkin farm or corn maze is always the most exciting part of the season. These family-friendly attractions offer hayrides, a wide selection of kids activities, and much more!
34. Fall Foliage Tours
Finish up your fall fun with an exciting trip to view the stunning seasonal colors around the Tennessee River on a Southern Belle Riverboat cruise. Or, enjoy an old-fashioned fall foliage train ride with the Tennessee Valley Railroad.
35. Halloween Events
October just wouldn’t be the same without these fun-filled Halloween events in Chattanooga. The festivals offer safe trick-or-treating, kids’ activities, costume contests, and more!
36. Haunted Houses
For people that love a good scare, there is a variety of frightening haunted houses and ghost tours to choose from. Some even offer overnight lock-in experiences with real ghost hunting equipment.
37. Restaurants Open on Thanksgiving
Thanksgiving may be the most celebrated holiday in the entire United States, but that doesn’t mean you always feel like cooking. When you want to just enjoy your day without all the dishes, these fantastic Chattanooga restaurants open on Thanksgiving will be your saving grace.
38. Prepared Thanksgiving Dinner For Home
Another way to cut down on cook time and save on dishes is by getting one of these pre-cooked Thanksgiving dinners from some of the area’s most delicious restaurants and grocery stores.
Fun Things to do in Chattanooga for Kids
When you are planning outings with kids, there are tons of extra considerations. Is the activity safe, is it age-appropriate, will it hold their attention? Take the guesswork out of planning your adventure by visiting the family-friendly attractions below.
39. Things to Do with Kids
Chattanooga is bursting at the seams with wonderful things to do with kids, including the Creative Discovery Children’s Museum. This children’s wonderland boasts science and cultural exhibits, a dinosaur and fossil exhibit, arts and crafts, interactive music and percussion stations, a water play area, a large indoor playground, and so much more.
It also hosts tons of special holiday and theme events throughout the year where parents and kids can make awesome memories crafting and playing together.
40. Scrumptious Ice Cream Parlors
Graba a tasty treat on a hot summer day from one of these scrumptious spots for ice cream in Chattanooa.