Travel Spotlight on Chattanooga and Its 20 Best Attractions

Hopper's travel guide to Chattanooga features its top 20 attractions, hotels and restaurants, and has travel tips and photos from local bloggers.

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Joe Richard Francis
Hopper Author

Hailed as the "River City," "Chattown," "Gig City" and the "Scenic City," it’s clear to see that the character of Chattanooga is one that’s kept people guessing. Since the ‘60s the touristic rise of this small city has been unstoppable, and from a dark relic of America’s Civil War, Chattanooga has become one of the best loved and most visited cities in the South, famed for its pristine downtown, cultivated promenades, rugged Appalachian backcountry and formidable offering of cultural hotspots. Today visitors enjoy sites like the iconic Walnut Street Bridge, the longest of its kind in the world, while others come in search of the adrenaline-pumping and adventure-oriented pursuits that abound just outside of town. Whatever your reason for staying here, Chattanooga’s ease of access and strong air links with the rest of the country make it a perfect stopover choice on the way through Dixie.

Tennessee Aquarium: "The Best Aquarium in America" for three years running

One thing’s for sure, the awards and accolades this one’s enjoyed are well-deserved. Complete with more than 10,000 thought-provoking, exotic and truly stunning marine creatures, and home to a fully-fledged 3D IMAX cinema, it’s not hard to see why the aquarium is Chattanooga’s premier attraction and an absolute can’t-miss for any tourist.

Masterpieces on a cliff edge at the Hunter Museum of American Art

Take a moment to gawk at the magnificent exterior of the Hunter Museum before delving into its sprawling collections. From the get-go this will be a journey through time, where old artifacts of America’s bygone colonialism rub shoulders with the truly contemporary and cutting edge. Even if you aren’t an art lover, the astounding architecture of the building alone makes this one worth the trip.

Discover Chattanooga's iconic heart, the Walnut Street Bridge

Heavily restored in the late 1980s after being recognized as one of the iconic mega-structures of the American south, the Walnut Street Bridge is now one of the defining sites of downtown Chattanooga. Famed as the longest pedestrian bridge crossing in the world, its appearance retains an authentic railroad charm and a majestic southern industrialism that shouldn’t be missed.

Terminal Brewhouse is Chattanooga's beer-making laboratory

Open every day until midnight, this hearty brewpub is a local favorite. Patrons are treated to expertly crafted beers and ales, which range from thick stouts to light lagers. The art of brewing is a nearly academic endeavor to the establishment’s chefs, who often make small scientific tweaks on a seasonal basis to create unique bespoke ales every month of the year.

All aboard the Chattanooga Choo Choo!

Once the grand and bustling rail transport hub of downtown Chattanooga, the converted Terminal Station Choo Choo Hotel oozes with luxurious amenities. Guests come to enjoy indoor and outdoor pools, well-cultivated gardens and a myriad of high-class eateries, from the Cafe Espresso coffee room to the locally loved music venue at the Station House.

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