What's New in Chattanooga, Tennessee: 2018

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. Whether you’ve been here before, or you’re planning your first trip, it’s never been a more exciting time to visit Chattanooga!

Songbirds Vault

 

ATTRACTIONS

Songbirds opens with rare and vintage pieces:
Songbirds offers a unique rock & roll experience with an unparalleled permanent and rotating collection of more than 500 rare vintage instruments. Each display features instruments that made the music as well as the stories and artists that brought them to life.  The main exhibits are self-guided and the All Access Tours include a guided tour through the main exhibits and access to the Green Room and the Vault, where some of the most exclusive guitars in the world are displayed (require advance registration). The museum also offers regular live music, educational workshops, and can be booked for special events. (Opened March 10, 2017)
 
New Music Venue, The Signal, opens on Chattanooga’s Southside: The Signal is Chattanooga’s newest live music venue located on Chattanooga’s vibrant Southside. The 1,300-capacity industrial-chic warehouse is fit for live music, receptions, fundraisers, corporate events, video shoots, trade shows, and conferences. Operated by Marathon Music Works out of Nashville, TN, The Signal will play host to all genres of music with artists like Gramatik, Corey Smith, X Ambassadors, and more. Recent revitalization has filled The Southside with the art, culture, cuisine, and entertainment that have come to define the Chattanooga area. (Opened February 2018)
 
The Signal
 
Southeastern Adventure Tours brings fun to the Tennessee River: Southeastern Adventure Tours is an educational company devoted to giving everyone access to the adventures found in the great outdoors. Professional tours include a 3 hour raft float through the Grand Canyon of the Tennessee River. Summer day camps, nature walks and mineral hunts, as well as gold prospecting day hunts are also available. After a day of lively, educational, entertaining adventure, each safari will end with a question/answer period with all participants. Each adventure is filmed, offering guests the opportunity to purchase video of their individual safari. (Opened April 2017)
 
Songbirds adds Songbirds North and South Stages: Just one year after opening, Songbirds has expanded into the downstairs section of the Chattanooga Choo Choo complex, formerly the Revelry Room. The 14,000 square-foot addition will host a variety of different artists and performers that will provide a unique experience for live music enthusiasts on Chattanooga’s Southside. The recently renovated space features a new sound system and an atmosphere that ties into the collection of rare, vintage guitars and fretted instruments that can be found upstairs. Songbirds's North Stage, located upstairs, currently accommodates 200 seated visitors and the new South Stage downstairs has standing room for up to 500 guests. (Opened February 2018)
 
Station Street opens as Chattanooga’s newest entertainment destination:
Station Street, formerly a low-traffic alleyway along the side of the Chattanooga Choo Choo, is now pedestrian-friendly with an entertainment focus. The paved and landscaped street offers patio access to a broad range of entertainment options including Songbirds, The Comedy Catch, Terminal Brewhouse, STIR, Backstage Bar, Hush, Frothy Monkey, Regan’s Place, and more in the works. The street is now used as an outdoor festival space and recently became the 11th street nationwide to allow on-street consumption of alcohol (only from businesses adjacent to the street). The North end of the street connects to businesses along Market Street including Blue Orleans, Tennessee Stillhouse, and the Hot Chocolatier. The South end includes The Crash Pad, Flying Squirrel, Alleia, Main Street Meats, and additional businesses along Main Street.
 
Station Street
 
Lemur Forest Exhibit opens at the Tennessee Aquarium:
Red-ruffed and Ring-tailed Lemurs are playing in their lush rainforest setting under the Aquarium’s glass peaks on the top floor of the Ocean Journey building. Found only on the island of Madagascar, these captivating creatures are one of the most endangered groups of mammals on the planet. The exhibit provides an opportunity to better understand their story of survival and what’s being done to save them from extinction. Additional upgrades on this floor include renovations of the Stingray Bay touch tank and a dramatic new wall of tropical plants featuring Orchids and Nepenthes (pitcher plants), from the ceiling to the floor, and water gently cascading into a small, plant-filled pool. (Opened March 1, 2017)

Tennessee Aquarium opens new exhibit featuring holographic technology:
From virtual reality immersive learning, the region’s first IMAX with Laser projection system, to the only tweeting electric eel in the world, the Tennessee Aquarium continues to be a leader with technology. The new exhibit – Tiny, But Mighty Important – features never-seen-before holographic technology focusing on the role humans play in water quality and the importance of animals such as shiners, darters, and minnows. Guests can watch a short presentation appearing to float in mid-air that illustrates the devastating impact that silt and erosion can have on freshwater ecosystems. By telling the story of freshwater life in such a novel fashion, the exhibit will effectively show guests that even small species can be hugely important. (Opened Nov. 2017)
 
TN Aqua Holographic
 
Miller Park undergoing $8.5 million renovation:
Miller Park, located in downtown’s Innovation District, will undergo major  renovations that include elevating the park to street level, a larger open lawn, amphitheater with stage for entertainment, climbable rock outcropping, shaded area, more trees, garden walk, and an enclosed pavilion with restrooms, warming pantry for food, and a moveable glass partition. Additional $5 million improvements to the area around Miller Park include: connecting Miller Plaza, adding trees to the median on MLK Blvd., making the area more pedestrian friendly, redesigning traffic and pedestrian flow on Patten Parkway, and more. (Summer 2018)
 
Ruby Falls investing $20 million on expansion:
The multi-year, multi-phase expansion will enhance the visitor experience. Phase I and II highlights include: modernizing the historic attraction; adding an outdoor observation area where guests can relax and enjoy spectacular views; new entrance lobby; improved ticketing experience; expanded retail; renovated & expanded restrooms and office space; and additional parking. 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 of Lookout Mountain. (Opening Spring 2018)
 

FESTIVALS

Moon River Music Festival moves to Chattanooga in 2018: Founded in 2014 by musician Drew Holcomb, the annual Moon River Music Festival is an exciting, family-friendly, two-day event highlighting the music and culture of Tennessee. Originally taking place in Holcomb’s hometown of Memphis, Moon River has grown into an important and beloved institution in the Tennessee community. Now in its fourth year, Moon River will continue its celebrated tradition of bringing specially curated music lineups and community-focused experiences in its new location at Coolidge Park and will feature 20-22 national acts, two stages, local food vendors, and more. The 2018 lineup is: The Avett Brothers, The Head And The Heart, Drew Holcomb And The Neighbors, Judah & The Lion, Trampled By Turtles, Margo Price, Mavis Staples, I'm With Her, The Dirty Guv'nahs, Joseph, Mandolin Orange, Penny And Sparrow, Durand Jones & The Indications, The Secret Sisters, The War And Treaty, Darlingside, The Ballroom Thieves, Caamp, Liz Vice, Boy Named Banjo, Wilder, and Family And Friends. (September 8-9, 2018)
 
Levitt AMP Music Series returns to Chattanooga for Fall 2018: The Levitt AMP Chattanooga Music Series is a free, 10-week concert series with a diverse lineup of local, regional, and national artists. Held on the lawn of the Bessie Smith Cultural Center located in the Martin Luther King District, this series activates the area once considered a famed live music hub and center for African American community life while reestablishing it as a thriving cultural destination. Patrons will get to enjoy local food vendors, special themes, and special activities for children. Stay tuned for the 2018 lineup which is being scheduled by Jazzanooga. (Thursdays, 5:30-8:30 p.m., Aug. 23-Oct. 25, 2018)
 
Chattanooga kicks off April with new ArtBurst Celebration: ARTBURST is a month-long celebration of art, artists, and the blooming of color in spring. Each week features events designed to stimulate the senses and bring new energy into the city including outdoor art exhibitions, artful yoga, art walks and bike rides, unveiling of several new public artworks, and more. ARTBURST anchor events include: Chattanooga Film Festival (April 5-8); Spring in the Park + Sculpture Burn with John Henry and Andrew Nigh (April 7); Art in Bloom (April 7); Rooted in Color (April 12); Creating Resurgence with Albert Paley (April 12); Art on the Riverwalk with Isaac Duncan III (April 14); 18th Annual 4 Bridges Art Festival (April 21-22); and the Art120 Art Car Parade (April 28). (April 2018)
 
CHA_Four Bridges Art Festival
 

TRANSPORTATION

Chattanooga Airport adds additional direct flights to New York City, Dallas/Fort Worth, and Chicago: Delta Air Lines will start daily nonstop flights between Chattanooga and New York City’s LaGuardia airport on July 9, becoming the second carrier from Chattanooga to offer this service. Delta will make one round-trip flight daily, Monday-Saturday, on a 76-passenger aircraft, leaving early morning and returning late evening. United Airlines currently offers two roundtrip flights daily to the Newark Airport, with an early-morning departure and late afternoon return. The New York City area is the No. 1 market for Chattanooga fliers. In June 2018, American Airlines will add a third round-trip flight daily to the Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport and a second daily round-trip flight to Chicago. Allegiant Air also will be adding another weekly trip to Tampa, FL in June and July that will be seasonal only.
 
Gray Line of Tennessee starts The Chattanooga Hop On/Off trolley tour:
The Chattanooga Hop takes visitors on a 75 minute tour and stops at 12 iconic attractions and points of interest. Guests can hop aboard/off the classic red & green trolley at any of the 12 stops. Tours start and end at the Chattanooga Choo Choo and run daily from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Tickets can be purchased online, on board the trolley, or at the Chattanooga Choo Choo. The pass includes unlimited hop on/hop off privileges at all stops plus the second day FREE. (Launched March 2017)
 

Alimentari

 

CULINARY

Restaurants Opening Soon
  • Summer 2018/Scottie’s on the River will be a $2.3 million, 250-seat (with patio seating overlooking the Tennessee River), high-end steak, seafood, and oyster restaurant adjacent to the SpringHill Suites by Marriott/Downtown Cameron Harbor. (Riverfront District)
 
Newly Opened Restaurants/ Tours
  • March 2018/Solarium is the Dwell Hotel’s newly renovated restaurant located on the first level of the mid-century modern, luxury hotel. The 35-seat café, which is a sunny, botanical counterpart to the “starlit” lounge Matilda Midnight, offers a unique menu complete with salads, sandwiches, breakfast, cocktails, and small, shareable plates made with locally sourced ingredients. (Downtown, inside the Dwell Hotel)
  • Dec. 2017/Alimentari Cucina e Bar (Downtown)
  • Oct. 2017/Sidetrack (Hixson)
  • Oct. 2017/Rodizio Grill (Hamilton Place)
  • Oct. 2017/Hana Steak & Sushi (Hamilton Place)
  • Oct. 2017/Pinkberry (Downtown)
  • Sept. 2017/Alchemy (Downtown, inside the Westin hotel)
  • Sept. 2017/Dorato Lobby Bar (Downtown, inside the Westin hotel)
  • Sept. 2017/Edley’s BBQ (North Shore)
  • June 2017/TapTour Chattanooga (Downtown, Southside, and more)
  • May 2017/Jack Brown’s Beer & Burger Joint (Downtown District)
  • April 2017/The Tap House (St. Elmo)
  • March 2017/Frothy Monkey (Southside at the Chattanooga Choo Choo)
 
Westin Hotel Guest Room
 

ACCOMMODATIONS & MEETING VENUES

Accommodations Opening Soon
  • NEW/Fall 2018: Hampton Inn will be open off of I-75 at Exit 1/East Ridge near the new Bass Pro Shop. The hotel will include 88 guest rooms, outdoor pool, state-of-the-art fitness facility, business center, and more. The property will be a part of the 50-acre Jordan Crossing shopping center that is also expected to include retail and restaurants. Property by Chattanooga’s Vision Hospitality Group.
  • NEW/Summer 2018: Edwin Hotel will be an upscale, five-story boutique hotel downtown at the South end of Walnut Street Bridge. The hotel name celebrates Edwin Thacher who led the development of the iconic Walnut Street Bridge in 1891. The property will include 90 rooms, approximately 1,400 square feet of meeting space (that can be divided into two rooms), upscale décor, rooftop bar, local art, and a restaurant. Property by Chattanooga’s Vision Hospitality Group.
  • NEW/Summer 2018: Moxy Hotel, a boutique hotel with the social heart of a hostel, will open in the Southside District across from St. John’s Restaurant. The four-story property will include 102 rooms, free wifi, cushy beds, stylish design, vibrant communal spaces, modern services, in-room storage (big enough to fit a bicycle), and a bar. Moxy Hotels is Marriott International’s new millennial-focused brand that debuted in September 2014 with the opening of the Moxy Milan Italy. Property by Chattanooga’s 3H Group.
  • RENOVATION/Summer 2018: The historic Read House hotel, located downtown, is undergoing $20 million in major renovations. The renovations include upgrading the 242 guest rooms with new technology and bathroom furnishings, as well as transforming the lobby, ballroom, and restaurant to create a modern version of the hotel’s original grandeur. Portions of the hotel will be open and operational throughout the project. Property by Avocet Hospitality Group.
  • NEW/2020: The Tru by Hilton hotel will open next to the Doubletree on Chestnut Street. The new $17 million, seven-story property will include 114 rooms, four-zone lobby called the Hive, free breakfast bar, spacious bathrooms with walk-in showers, free wifi, 55” televisions , and more. The hotel is a mid-scale property providing a more simplified and spirited approach for business and leisure travelers. Property by Chattanooga’s Vision Hospitality Group.
 
Newly Opened Accommodations
  • NEW/Dec. 2017: The new $15 million, 106-room SpringHill Suites by Marriott opened at Exit 11/Ooltewah, TN (about 20 minutes from downtown and 5 minutes from Volkswagen). The five-story hotel includes the Creekside Bar + Grill, swimming pool, fitness center, meeting rooms, complimentary internet, and 1,900 square feet of meeting space with in-house catering. Property by D&S Builders of Sevierville, Tenn.
  • NEW/Oct. 2017: The 10-story Westin Chattanooga opened in the heart of downtown with scenic views of Lookout and Signal Mountains. Hotel includes 260 luxury guest rooms, 15,000 square feet of versatile indoor event space, Alchemy skybar, Dorato Lobby Bar, fitness studio, and an outdoor heated pool. The hotel is part of an $88 million project that features pedestrian-friendly cobblestone streets, festival & event space, Peet’s Coffee, Pinkberry, and Alimentari Cucina e Bar. Property by Chattanooga’s DeFoor Brothers Development.
  • NEW/March 2017: St. Francis Cottage Bed & Breakfast (Hamilton Place)
  • NEW/Jan. 2017: En Root House Hostel (renovated an existing space) (Near MLK District)
 
EPB Fiber Optics
 

TECHNOLOGY

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. 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.
 
Bessie Smith Lawn

 

DISTRICTS

The historic Martin Luther King District, formerly known as the Big 9, borders the city’s central business district and occupies five blocks between Houston and University streets. It’s also a part of the Innovation District. Since 1994, the community has been listed on the National Register as an area of great historical significance. Music has always played a strong role in the MLK area. It’s the birthplace of noted jazz figures Bessie Smith, Yusef Lateef, and Lovie Austin, and has been an area of African American history and commerce for more than 100 years. The neighborhood boasts: the new Levitt-Amp free music series that launched in Aug. 2017; restaurants including Bitter Alibi, Champy’s, Camp House, G’s Detroit Sausages;  ODDStory and Hutton & Smith breweries; music & entertainment venues; Bessie Smith Cultural Center; Jazzanooga; and public art including the 40,000 square foot MLK District Mural by world-renowned artist Meg Salignman. [Location: From 3rd to 10th Streets, between Georgia and Central Avenues.]
 
Chattanooga the first mid-sized city to establish an Innovation District:
Chattanooga was the first mid-sized city to establish an Innovation District and remains one of the few cities of its size to have this type of dedicated area. Located in the heart of downtown, the District bisects three existing districts and aims to be the driver of Chattanooga’s creative, entrepreneurial 21st century economy. This dense and walkable area contains the city’s main downtown public spaces, tech startups, entertainment hotspots, coffee shops, eateries, pubs, parks, EPB, Tomorrow Building (micro-living apartments) as well as access to the bike share program and free electric shuttle. There are multiple anchors including Electric Power Board of Chattanooga, University of Tennessee-Chattanooga, Lamp Post Group, and the Edney Innovation Center. The Edney is a 90,000 square foot, 10-story building that serves as a catalyst for the local entrepreneurial ecosystem by offering innovative co-working office and event space, accelerator programs, and tech and business incubators. The designation of the district builds upon numerous individuals and years of work including EPB’s construction of the country’s most automated smart grid system and powering the city with the world’s fastest internet at 10 Gig. More info here.