Chattanooga's Top 14 Summer Adventures
There’s so much to love about Chattanooga, so we’ve picked out the Top 14 Summer Adventures to make planning a summer vacation to Chattanooga easy.
1) ENCOUNTER PENGUINS, CAMELS, AND GNOMES:
Experience cuteness with baby penguins at Penguin Rock (born in June) and thousands of animals at the Tennessee Aquarium & IMAX 3D Theater; dig up dinosaur bones at the Creative Discovery Museum; take a ride on a camel at the Chattanooga Zoo; venture high atop Lookout Mountain, just six miles from downtown, and search for the famous gnomes along the garden trails at Rock City.
2) CRUISE THE TENNESSEE RIVER:
Get out on the Tennessee River and relax on an eco-cruise aboard the Tennessee Aquarium’s River Gorge Explorer, on a lunch, dinner or sightseeing cruise on the Southern Belle Riverboat, or aboard an authentic WWII amphibious landing craft with the Chattanooga Ducks. Or charter your own craft with Chattanooga Cycleboats or Blue Heaven River Tours.
3) COOL YOUR JETS:
Cool yourself off by delving 260 feet below the ground to a nice 60 degrees while you discover the 145-foot Ruby Falls, splash in the cascading water at The Passage, jump into the interactive water fountains in Coolidge Park or just go all the way in at SoakYa! Waterpark, located at Lake Winnepesaukah amusement park.
4) CATCH A GAME:
Grab a hotdog and Coke and relax while watching the Chattanooga Lookouts (Now-Sept) baseball team at AT&T Field or enjoy a beer while cheering on the Chattanooga Football Club (May-July) at a soccer match. If you want to see some serious elite athletes, check out the inaugural IRONMAN 70.3 Chattanooga triathlon.
5) CLIMB YOUR WAY TO THE TOP:
Reach new heights as you climb across 30,000 square feet of walls and boulders at High Point Climbing & Fitness, climb the Walnut Wall in Coolidge Park or numerous other places on the mountainous terrain or kayak or stand-up paddleboard on the Tennessee River along the revitalized riverfront. Being surrounded by mountains, rivers and lakes, the city has abundant outdoor opportunities such as hiking, fishing, golfing, mountain biking and more.
6) EAT MOONPIE CHEESECAKE:
Moon Pies are made in Chattanooga and as if eating them the standard way isn’t enough, Blue Plate created a MoonPie Cheesecake to die for. Downtown restaurants have attracted food reviewers and celebs including Alton Brown, Rachel Ray’s $40 a Day and Ming Tsai’s Simply Ming. Local favorites include Back Inn Café, St. John’s, Alleia, Easy Bistro, Public House, Big River Grille, Taco Mamacitas, Clyde’s, Sugar’s Ribs and The Terminal, most of which have plenty of patio seating.
7) ENJOY SUMMER MUSIC NIGHTS:
Enjoy the warm summer nights while being entertained at numerous music festivals including the Nightfall Music Series (Fridays, May -Sept. ); 9-day Riverbend Festival 100+ artists; Riverfront Nights music series (Saturdays, July-Aug.); Southern Brewer’s Festival or year-round concerts at Rhythm & Brews and Track 29.
8) TRAVEL THROUGH TIME:
Step into a vintage rolling time machine aboard a train at the Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum, Tennessee’s only regularly scheduled, full-sized train ride; learn about how the first tow truck was made in Chattanooga and the towing industry at the unique International Towing & Recovery Museum; hop on board a trolley and view the sleeper train cars at the famous Chattanooga Choo Choo; or visit the nation’s oldest and largest military park, Chickamauga-Chattanooga National Military Park.
9) RIDE A BIKE WHILE DRINKING BEER:
If you don’t get to do this on a regular basis (who does?), it’s time to jump on a Pints & Pedals or Brew Choo tour bike and enjoy cold beer while exploring a few of Chattanooga’s hot spots. If you prefer whiskey, take a tour of the newly opened Chattanooga Whiskey distillery. And wine lovers can enjoy a wine tasting at the downtown urban DeBarge Winery.
10) EARN BRAGGING RIGHTS:
Your friends will be jealous when you tell them you about the incredible adventures you had in Chattanooga such as hang gliding 2,000 feet in the air, whitewater rafting through Class IV rapids on the Ocoee River, meandering through treetops at the Zipstream Aerial Adventure course, taking a hot-air balloon ride with the Chattanooga Balloon Company or riding the Incline Railway up (and down!) the side of Lookout Mountain aboard the world’s steepest passenger railway at a 72.7 percent grade.
11) SPEND TIME SHOPPING:
Shop for Chattanooga-only hand-made products, art and food while listening to great music at the Chattanooga Market (Sundays, Now-Nov), the largest of its kind in the region, or at their River Market (Saturdays, Now-Oct) or Wednesday Market (Wednesdays, May -July); explore the NorthShore District that contains an eclectic mix of shops and restaurants; visit Warehouse Row, a collection of retail featuring distinctive artisanal goods, design boutiques, and restaurants; and you don’t want to miss a day at the Hamilton Place shopping complex featuring more than 200 shops and eateries.
12) TAKE THE SCENIC ROUTE:
Relax and explore the compact and vibrant downtown by foot or on the free electric shuttle that connects the Riverfront, Southside and North Shore Districts. If you want to get some easy exercise while enjoying the view, hop on a bike from the 24/7 bike share system that includes 300 bikes at 30 stations scattered throughout downtown.
13) GO ON A CULTURAL PURSUIT:
Get a unique, hands-on experience as you make your own glass creation at Ignis Glass Studio; head to the Hunter Museum of American Art and view the special Masters of the Golden Age exhibit (July 1-Oct. 2, 2016) to explore the artistic and teaching career of the iconic illustrator Harvey Dunn; check out then eccentric Angela Safely Houston’s collection of antique glass and ceramics at Houston Museum of Decorative Arts; or stroll through the Bluff View Art District’s River Gallery or outdoor Sculpture Garden.
14) CELEBRATE WITH FIREWORKS:
There’s never a bad time to celebrate with fireworks and Independence Day in Chattanooga provides several great displays including Pops on the River at Coolidge Park and Lake Winnepesaukah’s show over the lake. If you can’t wait until July, the Chattanooga Lookouts shoot off fireworks every Friday postgame.
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