What’s New in Chattanooga
Chattanooga is always changing. If you haven't been here in years, there's tons to explore. But if you came just a couple year's ago, below is a list of some new things from the past two years. So whether you’ve been here before or it’s your first time, you’ll find some great new ways to have fun, topping off an already impressive array of things to do.
Eat, Sip, Walk Chattanooga culinary tours open: The culinary tour takes guests throughout the Southside District exploring the food, history and culture. Delectable food samples, enough for a meal, are served from Chattanooga’s best local restaurants and food shops. Stops include DeBarge Winery, Tennessee Stillhouse, FEED Co. Table & Tavern, Flying Squirrel Bar, Terminal Brewhouse, Conga, and more. Locations may vary based on availability. (Feb. 2016)
Chattanooga Whiskey opens Tennessee Stillhouse: Located across the street from the Chattanooga Choo Choo, the Tennessee Stillhouse micro-distillery and tasting room is steeped in the history and lore of Tennessee’s rich whiskey tradition. When Chattanooga’s whiskey game was at its peak in the pre-prohibition days, there were 20 distilleries from Market and Main Streets to the Riverfront. Chattanooga Whiskey helped re-write century old laws, and now, they are making the first legal whiskey distilled in Chattanooga in over 100 years. Daily tours include an opportunity to see their custom-made still, peak into the process on how whiskey is made from “grain to glass;” and a flight of samples at the end. (March 2015)
RECENTLY OPENED RESTAURANTS:
- Dec. 2015: Rodizio Grill: The Brazilian Steakhouse, Downtown, located inside of the new Holiday Inn & Suites (5th Street & Chestnut)
- Nov. 2015: STIR, Southside District at the Chattanooga Choo Choo (Market & 14th Streets)
- Oct. 2015: Five, North Shore District (Manufacturers Road)
- Oct. 2015: Embargo ‘62, North Shore District (Cherokee Boulevard)
- Sept. 2015: Puckett’s Grocery & Restaurant, Riverfront District (Market & Aquarium Way)
- Sept. 2015: The FEED Co. Table & Tavern, Southside District (Main Street)
- July 2015: Main Street Meats butcher shop & restaurant, Southside District (Main Street)
- March 2015: Southside Social, Southside District (Chestnut Street)
Chattanooga Choo Choo undergoing $20 million renovation: The Choo Choo is undergoing more than $20 million in renovations. Renovations/additions: Revelry Room, a 500-person music venue; Hush bar adjacent to the Revelry Room; restaurant STIR; and the Comedy Catch moved from their Brainerd location. Coming up: Frothy Monkey restaurant, Songbirds–A Collection of Timeless Guitars, and Track 29 music venue will be moving to the Centennial Theater; Renovations: Lobby, meeting space, sleeper train cars and guest rooms. (Renovations ongoing)
Songbirds Timeless Guitars to open with never-before-seen pieces: A collection of rare vintage guitars like no other on Earth, Songbirds Timeless Guitars will feature a collection unparalleled to any other – with nearly 300 timeless historic guitars. Exhibits will be refreshed, 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 loves and music enthusiasts. (Oct. 2016)
Tennessee Aquarium to build new state-of-the-art conservation institute: The 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 more. Consolidating scientific efforts 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)
High Point Climbing & Fitness adds two new locations: High Point Climbing and Fitness Downtown, one of the nation’s largest climbing facilities, purchased and renovated Urban Rocks in Chattanooga. This gym was rebranded as High Point Climbing and Fitness Riverside and is located 4 miles from downtown offering 10,000 square feet of climbing space including 3,000 square feet of bouldering, training area with campus and hang boards. (Aug. 2015)
Sculpture Fields at Montague Park features works by John Henry, Peter Lundberg, Linda Howard & more: The new 33-acre city park features 27 world-renowned, large-scale sculptures, walking paths, green spaces and more. Phase II and III include a visitors center, classrooms, restrooms, amphitheater, children's play area, and approximately 50 more sculptures. The park includes the “Commemorative Forest” in honor of the relationship between Chattanooga and Hamm, Germany. The Forest is modeled after the German tradition of the “wedding forest” where people plant trees in honor of their nuptials. (April 2016)
Chattanooga Cycleboats opens downtown: Chattanooga Cycleboats, a 14-passenger vessel, is the newest way to experience the beautiful Tennessee River. The Captains will tell you engaging facts of Chattanooga’s history and the Tennessee River’s ecology. Each cruise lasts one or two hours. Passengers are allowed to bring any food and beverages they would like. There are 10 pedaling stations and a 4-seat bench for those who want to relax. Private charters vary. Ticketing, loading, and unloading is at Ross’s Landing Pier. (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 to a new state-of-the-art laser projection technology. The $1.2 million dollar theater upgrade includes the IMAX with Laser projection system, new six-story screen and new 12-channel audio system with speakers in the ceiling for the first time. Technical aspect highlights inlcude the 4K laser projectors that deliver a perceived resolution greater than the best 4K TVs available. (Feb. 2016)
Chattanooga Zoo upgrades exhibits and adds new animals: The 14-acre Chattanooga Zoo received several new animals over the past few months. Additions include: Francois Langur, Badu; Bali Mynah, Pierre; 9 prairie dogs; Gaboon Viper, Pharaoh; Snow Leopard, Tankh; Serval; Prehensile-Tailed Porcupine; 7 Chimpanzees; and Hellbenders that were successfully hatched on site. The Capybra exhibit was expanded and now includes 1,100 square feet of playing space and a waterfall. (2015-2016)
Escape Experience Chattanooga opens in the Southside: Escape Experience Chattanooga is a thrilling, real-world adventure requiring one to break out of prison, solve mysteries, save mankind and escape before time runs out. Your objective is simple; you must work together, find clues, decode messages and solve problems to unlock the door to freedom. Current experiences: C-Block Prison Escape, Inheritance Mystery Escape, and the Vaccine Search for the Cure. (July 2015)
Tennessee Aquarium opens Alligator Bayou exhibit: The Alligator Bayou includes more than one dozen American Alligators who silently patrol the waters in front of a Cajun shack. A gator expert is available to answer questions about these ancient-looking creatures, and will share surprising gator facts. You'll also observe other wetland creatures at a new animal presentation station. Add the Backstage Pass to your Aquarium experience to travel up above the alligator pool, a new treetop observation deck that gives you a unique perspective of this wetland habitat. (March 2015)
Southside Social bowling alley & bar opens in the Southside District: Southside Social, attached to the Jump Park, is a two-story, 30,000-square-foot boutique bowling alley with 10 lanes of bowling; 3 bars; lounge with flat-screen televisions; indoor gaming area with pool tables, darts, skee ball, ping pong and more; outdoor courtyard with casual seating, fire pits, bocce ball court, horse shoes, and corn hole; and a custom-built, cigar-bar airstream, that offers personalized service. (March 2015)
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, 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, Apple TV, wifi and more. (May 2016)
RECENTLY OPENED HOTELS:
- Dec. 2015: Holiday Inn & Suites/Downtown, 5th & Chestnut
- Nov. 2015: LaQuinta Inn & Suites/East Ridge, Exit 1
- Oct. 2015: WoodSpring Suites/Bonny Oaks, Exit 7
- Jan. 2015: LaQuinta Inn/Lookout Mountain, Exit 175
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 Chattanooga Marathon weekend includes an 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.
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).
Weekly Noontunes free music series heads to Miller Plaza/Wednesdays, May-July, Noon-1 pm: 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 in our community – from blues to bluegrass to powerful 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. (May 2016)
Make Music Day Chattanooga debuts June 21, 2016: Make Music Day Chattanooga celebrates music by showcasing the city’s local talent. During the day, 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. Check website for full list of locations and performers. (June 2016)
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 community-wide 10 Gig Internet service: Chattanooga is known as the “Gig City” for being the first in the nation 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. (Sept. 2010) 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.
TechTown is the technology classroom of the future: TechTown is a truly imaginative space and a creative classroom of the future. Opportunities include access to unique technology and entrepreneurial learning center, 21st century workforce training via problem-based learning, and more. TechTown includes 23,000 square feet of space dedicated to robotics, circuitry, software development (coding), film and performing arts for young innovators between the ages of 7 to 17. The space is also available to host meetings, conventions and groups. (June 2015)
Be sure to check out our Top 14 Summer Adventures!