What's New in Chattanooga, Tennessee: 2017-2018

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!

2017 ANNIVERSARIES

Songbirds Guitar Museum

ATTRACTIONS

  • Songbirds Guitars Museum opens with rare and vintage pieces
    Songbirds Guitar Museum features an unparalleled collection of more than 400 rare vintage instruments. Exhibits are refreshed periodically inviting guests back to enjoy new chapters in guitar history. This dynamic space has set the standard for experiencing the living legacy of the instrument with an atmosphere for everyone – guitar lovers and music enthusiasts. The main exhibits are self-guided and include several hundred instruments, interactive videos, a performance stage, and gift shop. The upgraded All Access Tours include a guided tour through the main exhibits and special access to the Green Room and the Vault where the rarest guitars are displayed (these tours offered at certain times of the day and require advance registration). The Museum also offers regular live music and entertainment and can be booked for special events. (Opened March 10, 2017)

 

  • 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)

 

  • Miller Park undergoing $8.5 million renovation
    Miller Park, located 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. The additional $5 million improvements to the area surrounding Miller Park includes: 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. (July 2018)

 

  • Chattanooga Market opens General Store on Tennessee Aquarium plaza
    The well-known Chattanooga Market opened The General Store, a new location that provides local artists a place to showcase and sell their work on a daily basis. The building offers retail space for current market vendors selling “all things Chattanooga” including original art, pottery, artisan foods, Chattanooga-themed gifts, locally made snacks and drinks, and more. People will still need to purchase fresh produce at the Chattanooga Market on Sundays, 11 a.m.-4 p.m. General Store Hours: Monday-Saturday, 10 a.m.-6 p.m. and Sunday, Noon-5 p.m. (Opened June 2, 2017)  

Get_Chattanooga Hop

  • 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)

 

  • Sculpture Fields feature works by world-renowned sculpture artists John Henry, Peter Lundberg, & more
    The incredible 33-acre sculpture park, located in the Southside District, features 30 large-scale sculptures, walking paths, green spaces, a Commemorative Forest, and more. The land for the park was donated by the Montague family and incorporates a historically industrial neighborhood into the city’s cultural mix. Sculpture artist John Henry had the vision for this property and has been the leader for the creation and design of the park and working with artists for the pieces displayed throughout. Phase II & III include: Visitors Center, classrooms, restrooms, amphitheater, children's play area, and approximately 50 more sculptures. (Opened April 2016)

 

  • Wayne-O-Rama Funhouse created by Wayne White opens in Southside
    Wayne-O-Rama takes you through the Scenic City’s history via the work of Wayne White, Emmy-winning artist and Chattanooga native. The massive, interactive funhouse playfully and vividly recreates scenes and notable figures from Chattanooga’s history with interactive sculptures, larger-than-life puppets, and immersive sound design. Special events include giant puppet parades, music and dance performances, storytelling, animation workshops, and art showcases. Hours: Wednesday-Sunday, 11 a.m.-6 p.m. (closed major holidays). (Open Nov. 2016-Sept. 2017)

 

  • Chattanooga Choo Choo onging $20 million renovation
    The Choo Choo’s renovations and additions include: Songbirds Guitar Museum (March 2017), Frothy Monkey coffee bar (April 2017), Hush Lounge (2016), Revelry Room music venue (2015), STIR restaurant (2015), The Comedy Catch (2015), Back Stage Bar (2015), and upgrades to the lobby, Building 1, and conversion of Buildings 2 & 3 into apartments. Station Street was renovated to be pedestrian friendly, provide patio access to the restaurants and entertainment venues, and provide an outdoor space for special events. (2015-2017)

 

  • 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 & 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 largest underground waterfall open for public viewing, featuring a 145-foot waterfall located 1,120 feet beneath the surface of Lookout Mountain. (2017-2018)

 

Additional New Attractions:

IRONMAN 70.3

EVENTS

  • 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)

 

  • New 10-week Levitt AMP Chattanooga Music Series begins fall of 2017
    The Levitt AMP Chattanooga Music Series is a free, 10-week concert series with a diverse lineup of local, regional, and national artists. The series will be held on the lawn of the Bessie Smith Cultural Center located in the MLK District, shining a light on its renowned musical heritage while reestablishing it as a thriving cultural destination. Patrons will get to enjoy local food vendors, special themes, and special activities for children. (Thursdays, 5:30-8:30 p.m., Aug. 24-Oct. 26, 2017)

Matilda Midnight

CULINARY

Restaurants Opening Soon

  • Spring 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.

 

Newly Opened Restaurants/ Tours

Dwell Hotel

ACCOMMODATIONS & MEETING VENUES

Accommodations Opening Soon

  • NEW/Fall 2018: Hampton Inn
  • NEW/Fall 2018: The Hilton Tru
  • NEW/Summer 2018: SpringHill Suites by Marriott
  • NEW/Spring 2018: Moxy Hotel
  • NEW/Winter 2017: Edwin Hotel
  • RENOVATION/Winter 2017: Read House Hotel
  • NEW/Fall 2017: Westin

 

Newly Opened Accommodations

MLK/Big 9 District

DISTRICTS

  • The MLK/Big 9 District making waves as Chattanooga’s newest growing neighborhood
    The historic Martin Luther King District, formerly known as the Big 9, is Chattanooga’s most up-and-coming neighborhood. The MLK district borders the city’s central business district and occupies five blocks between Houston and University streets. 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. Animate MLK and Jazzanooga, both community initiatives, focus on promoting the arts and culture throughout the MLK District through special events including the new Levitt-Amp free music series that will launch in the fall of 2017. The neighborhood boasts restaurants (Champy’s, Bitter Alibi, & The Fix Lounge), breweries (ODDStory Brewing Company & Hutton & Smith Brewing), music & entertainment venues (JJ’s, CoinOp), a coffee shop (The Camp House), the Bessie Smith Cultural Center, and public art including the 40,000 square foot MLK District Mural by world-renowned artist Meg Salignman.

 

  • Chattanooga the first mid-sized city to establish an Innovation District
    The Innovation District of Chattanooga was created so the community could benefit from spaces specifically for workers and companies in the new knowledge economy. Located in the heart of downtown, the district is approximately a quarter mile radius from the intersection of MLK Blvd. and Georgia Avenue. This vibrant and walkable area contains Chattanooga’s main downtown public spaces and a host of coffee shops, eateries, pubs, parks, EPB, as well as access to the bike share program and free electric shuttle. Anchoring the district is the Edney Innovation Center, a 90,000 square foot, 10-story building that serves as a connecting point, support base, and catalyst for the local entrepreneurial ecosystem. The designation of the district builds upon numerous individuals and years of work including the MetroNet project in the late 1990s; re-tooling of the Enterprise Center; and EPB’s construction of the country’s most automated smart grid and powering the city with the world’s fastest internet at 10 Gig. More info here.

EPB Fiber Optics

TECHNOLOGY

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.