What's New in Chattanooga, TN: 2016-2017
Chattanooga is continuously evolving and growing, so you’ll always find new events, music venues, attractions, hotels, and restaurants popping up all over the city. Noted as one of the most revitalized cities in America, Chattanooga is the only city in the world to receive the Best Town Ever designation – not once, but twice. Whether you’ve been here before or you’re planning your first trip, it’s never been a more exciting time to visit Chattanooga.
Chattanooga lands National Geographic’ exhibition: “Monster Fish: In Search of the Last River Giants:” This 6,000 square-foot National Geographic exhibition will open in the River Place building adjacent to the Tennessee Aquarium’s ticketing center located on the Aquarium Plaza. Guests will have an opportunity to take a deeper dive into the hidden world of freshwater fish that grow to enormous proportions in the wild. Dr. Zeb Hogan, aquatic ecologist and National Geographic Fellow, has taken millions of viewers on his global expeditions during each episode of Monster Fish on Nat Geo WILD. This new travelling exhibit, based on the hit TV show, showcases stunning life-sized sculptures, hands-on interactive exhibits, and videos from the field. Free with Tennessee Aquarium admission. (Oct. 1, 2016-March 1, 2017)
Songbirds Timeless Guitars NOW OPEN with never-before-seen pieces: A collection of rare vintage guitars like no other on Earth, Songbirds Timeless Guitars is NOW OPEN on the campus of the world-famous Chattanooga Choo Choo. The collection is an unparalleled storehouse of nearly 300 timeless historic guitars. Exhibits will be refreshed periodically inviting guests back time and again to enjoy new chapters in guitar history. This dynamic space will set the standard for experiencing the living legacy of the instrument, and create an atmosphere for everyone—guitar lovers and music enthusiasts. OPEN FEB 2017
Chattanooga opens $16 million, 3-mile Tennessee Riverpark extension: Since opening, Chattanooga’s linear park has been recognized as one of the best in the nation. CNN Travel named the Riverpark among the “World’s 10 Best City Running Trails” and Thrillist.com named it one of “10 of America’s Coolest Urban Running Trails.” The new expansion picks up at Riverfront Parkway near the SpringHill Suites-Cameron Harbor and extends along the river to the base of Lookout Mountain, near the International Towing and Recovery Museum (Broad Street). Unlike the openness of the first 10 miles, which leads trekkers through wetlands and wooded stretches, the newest tract traverses a big chunk of the city’s industrial heritage. The expansion includes: Riverpark Amphitheater at Blue Goose Hollow (site of Bessie Smith’s first home and where she began singing for coins as a young girl), Chattanooga Bike Share station, landscaped trail and green spaces, new vistas of the Tennessee River, pavilion, restrooms, public art, and more. (Aug. 2016)
Station Street adjacent to the Chattanooga Choo Choo revamped: Chattanooga’s Entertainment District continues to grow with the opening of Station Street, formerly 14th Street. The low-traffic street, which connects Market and Main Streets, will be open to vehicles but can easily be closed off for pedestrians and special events. The renovations include patio access to The Comedy Catch, Back Stage Bar, STIR, The Terminal Brewhouse, and the Revelry Room. Additional plans for the street include more restaurants, street furniture, planters, and a stage for regular outdoor performances. (Aug. 2016)
Chattanooga Choo Choo undergoing $20 million renovation: The Choo Choo is undergoing more than $20 million in renovations. 2015: Added Revelry Room music venue, Hush bar, and STIR restaurant; The Comedy Catch moved from their Brainerd location; Building 1 and the lobby were renovated; and Building 2 was converted into apartments called Passenger Flats. 2016: Track 29 will move to a new location on site and the Frothy Monkey coffee bar will open in the lobby. 2017: Songbirds–A Collection of Timeless Guitars to open (Jan.).
Tennessee Aquarium to build new state-of-the-art conservation institute: The new institute will be a 14,000-square-foot riverfront facility on the Baylor School campus and will serve as the only freshwater science center in the Southeast. This biological field station will house propagation systems for reintroduction programs, fully-equipped labs for researchers, a spacious teaching lab, and meeting space. Consolidating scientific efforts within a state-of-the-art facility will enable the Tennessee Aquarium to focus on the research and restoration of freshwater animals and their habitats throughout our region in ways never before envisioned. (Fall 2016)
Battles for Chattanooga upgrades to new digital projection-mapped show: The former electric map has been upgraded with a new digital projection-mapped show. Guests are now able to visualize Chattanooga's Civil War history as the battles come to life in this digital panoramic display. The new show involves multimedia projection mapping with high color saturation, short-throw digital projectors, solid-state media players and 3-D modeling software. After you learn about the battles, be sure to take a walk over to Point Park – site of the famous Battle Above the Clouds. (May 2016)
Sculpture Fields at Montague Park features works by John Henry, Peter Lundberg & more: The new 33-acre park, located in the Southside District, features 27 world-renowned, large-scale sculptures, walking paths, green spaces, Commemorative Forest, and more. The project incorporates a historically industrial neighborhood into the city’s cultural mix. Phase II & III include: Visitors Center, classrooms, restrooms, amphitheater, children's play area, and approximately 50 more sculptures. (April 2016)
Tennessee Aquarium IMAX 3D Theater becomes first in Southeast to use new laser technology: The IMAX 3D movie-going experience has taken a quantum leap from the 70mm film format to a new, state-of-the-art laser projection technology. The $1.2 million upgrade includes a new laser-projection system, six-story screen and 12-channel audio system with speakers in the ceiling. Chattanooga is now home to the only IMAX with Laser system in the Southeast. The unique theater screen is 66 feet tall and 89 feet wide with an aspect ratio of 4 to 3. (Feb. 2016)
ADDITIONAL NEW ATTRACTIONS:
Chattanooga first city on the planet to host four IRONMAN events: Chattanooga will host the 2017 IRONMAN® 70.3® World Championships that will take place over two days: professional and age-group women will race on Saturday, Sept. 9, 2017, and the professional and age-group men will race on Sunday, Sept. 10, 2017. Hosting this event makes Chattanooga: 1 of 5 cities in North America to host both a full-distance IRONMAN and a 70.3 IRONMAN; 1 of 10 cities in the world to host both a full-distance IRONMAN and a 70.3 IRONMAN; and the ONLY city on the planet to host a full-distance IRONMAN, a 70.3 IRONMAN and the 70.3 IRONMAN World Championships (two events, two days). (Sept. 9-10, 2017)
Weekly Noontunes free music series at Miller Plaza/Wednesdays, May-July: Noontunes is a weekly, mid-day music performance in Miller Plaza that showcases local talent and offers a platform for artists to be seen and heard. The 13-week lineup spotlights the variety of local talent – from blues to bluegrass to rock. Each performance has a host who discusses with the artist their background and song selection, providing insight and knowledge rarely gleaned from a standard show. Free and open to the public. (Wednesdays, May-July 2017, Noon-1 p.m.)
Make Music Day Chattanooga showcases local musicians: Make Music Day Chattanooga celebrates music by showcasing the city’s local talent. On Make Music Day, or Fêta De La Musique, musicians of all ages and levels will be performing live on streets, sidewalks, rooftops, venues and parks throughout the city. Make Music Day was started in France in 1982 and has grown to include more than 700 cities in 120 countries. Each city celebrates in whatever way best represents their culture. All events are free and open to the public. (June 21, 2017)
Chattanooga creates new sporting event - the Chattanooga Marathon: Chattanooga now has its own community-wide sporting event, the Chattanooga Marathon. The inaugural event took place March 4-6, 2016. The Marathon weekend includes: Expo, Kids Fun Run, 5K, Team Relay, and a Half and Full Marathon. The never-competed-on courses feature scenic views throughout the Downtown, North Shore and St. Elmo areas. This event came together as a collaborative effort between government, civic and several other community organizations. March 3-5, 2017.
Ruby Falls first & only attraction to receive Green Globe Award: Ruby Falls received the prestigious Green Globe Sustainable Leadership Award presented by Green Globe, the premier worldwide certification & performance improvement program developed specifically for the travel & tourism industry’s economic, social & environmental sustainability. Ruby Falls is one of 14 locations in the world to receive this award and the only one in America. Ruby Falls is home to America’s deepest commercial cave and tallest underground waterfall open for public viewing featuring a 145-foot waterfall located 1,120 feet beneath the surface. (April 2016)
Chattanooga implements world’s first 10 Gig Internet service: Chattanooga is known as the “Gig City” for being the first in the United States (Sept. 2010) to build a community-wide fiber-optic network capable of delivering 1 gigabit Internet speeds to every home and business in a 600 square-mile area. Chattanooga’s municipal utility, EPB Fiber Optics, is now offering the world’s first 10 gigabit Internet to the same service area (Oct. 2015). This pioneering new solution is the world’s most advanced ultra-broadband technology and is available in 3, 5 and 10 Gig options. This technology offers a unique opportunity to dramatically increase productivity and workflow for people/companies that need to upload and download large projects such as 3D printing, film production, gaming, medical image diagnostics, and more. EPB also constructed the Smart Grid, a next-generation electric system that includes communication capabilities designed to reduce the impact of power outages, improve response time and allow customers greater control of their electric power usage.
Eat, Sip, Walk Chattanooga culinary tours start: The culinary tour takes you throughout the Southside District exploring the food, history and culture. Delectable food samples, enough for a meal, are served from some of Chattanooga’s best locally-owned restaurants and food shops. Stops include Tennessee Stillhouse (home of Chattanooga Whiskey), FEED Co. Table & Tavern, Flying Squirrel Bar, Terminal Brewhouse, and more. The locations may change according to availability. (Feb. 2016)
RECENTLY OPENED RESTAURANTS:
ACCOMMODATIONS & MEETING VENUES
The Westin will open in one of Chattanooga’s landmarks in the heart of downtown, the Gold Building, after a complete renovation. The new 10-story hotel will include 261 guest rooms (includes 40 large suites), skybar with a terrace, and 6,800 square feet of convention & meeting space, with an additional 2,000 square feet outside. The hotel is part of an $88 million project that will feature the high-end restaurant Shula’s Steak House, streetscaping, cobblestone streets for pedestrians, festival & event space, office space, new condominiums, and much more. Property by DeFoor Brothers Development. (July 2017)
The Edwin Hotel will be an upscale, five-story boutique hotel & restaurant downtown at the South end of Walnut Street Bridge. The hotel name celebrates Edwin Thacher who, in 1891, led the development of the iconic Walnut Street Bridge from downtown to today’s North Shore. The Edwin Hotel seeks to honor this enduring landmark by introducing guests to the stylish, Southern culture of Chattanooga. Hotel will include 90 rooms, approximately 1,400 square feet of meeting space (that can be divided into two rooms), upscale décor, local art, rooftop bar, restaurant, and a two-level parking garage. Property by Vision Hospitality Group. (Spring 2017)
The Dwell Hotel, a boutique B&B, will open in the former site of the StoneFort Inn. Upgrades to the 16-room property include structural improvements, luxury amenities and services, retro furnishings, expanded kitchen and menu, and a separate bar named Matilda Midnight. The suites will include locally roasted coffee service, stand-alone rain shower, soaking tub, premium bath amenities, 42” televisions with Apple TV, wifi and more. (May 2016)
RECENTLY OPENED HOTELS: