9 Fun and Inexpensive Ways to Explore Chattanooga
Chattanooga is a city flush with abundant natural beauty, amazing attractions, and an equally welcoming community. In addition to the iconic, must-see destinations, like Ruby Falls, there are plenty of free and inexpensive entertainment options to round out your trip. Whether you’re looking to enjoy free live music and art, take in a ballgame with the kids or spend as much time outdoors as possible, this list will help you plan a budget-friendly, fun-filled visit to Chattanooga!
Walnut Street Bridge
The Walnut Street Bridge connects Downtown Chattanooga to the North Shore. This pedestrian-only bridge provides a panoramic view of the Tennessee River. The downtown side of the bridge lies next to the Hunter Museum of American Art and the North Shore side is in between a myriad of fantastic shops and restaurants along a one-of-a-kind sidewalk featuring numbered footprints showing how to do famous dance moves. Consider renting a Bike Chattanooga bicycle for a brisk ride across the bridge!
Sculpture Fields at Montague Park
Montague Park is a sprawling thirty-three-acre plot of land that houses sculptures from artists all around the world. This free outdoor art museum includes well-kept walking paths, 35 sculptures, and great community events such as yoga classes in the park! You can even use the free guided Otocast tour to hear an explanation of the inspiration behind each sculpture from the sculptor themselves.
Located under the Walnut Street Bridge, Coolidge Park is a popular destination for sunny days in Chattanooga. Coolidge Park features an interactive play fountain, an antique carousel from 1894 (it’s only $1 to ride), and waterfront access that is perfect for a picnic in the park. Unfortunately, Coolidge is not dog-friendly, but humans of all ages will find fun and relaxation at Coolidge! The park also offers free grilling stations and picnic tables which makes it the perfect place to gather with friends and family, cook some delicious food, and run and play in the wide-open green space. Coolidge Park is also the venue for amazing annual events such as Moon River Festival!
Chattanooga’s free summer concert series runs Friday nights, May-August downtown at Miller Plaza. Local bands open the show at 7:00 pm followed by nationally touring headliners at 8:00 pm. Spread out on Miller Park’s grass with a quilt or bring your lawn chairs and enjoy a fun evening. Kids will get a kick out of the family-friendly activities and adults can check out the selection of ice-cold local brews available for purchase
Raccoon Mountain is a popular destination for scenic drives, hiking, camping, mountain biking, and boating. It took eight years for Tennessee Valley Authority to complete the reservoir, which is TVA’s largest hydroelectric facility. The area around the sixty-billion gallon lake is a state-designated wildlife observation area home to a large wintering population of bald eagles.
Baseball is America’s pasttime! The Chattanooga Lookouts are the Double-A affiliate of the Cincinnati Reds. Tickets to watch the Lookouts play range from $4-$10. Wacky weekly promotions and scheduled post-game fireworks make going to the ballpark even more fun for the whole family. After the game, the kids are invited to run the bases with the team.
The Chattanooga Market takes place at the First Tennessee Pavilion every Sunday April-December. From 11am-4pm the pavilion fills up with local farmers, vendors, food trucks, and even live music! Whether you’re looking to connect with makers of hand-made goods, eat a delicious lunch, or support Chattanooga’s local farmers, the Chattanooga Market is sure to please. Be sure to check the event schedule to keep track of their rotating events!
With over 150 acres of beautiful land, playgrounds, and public art, the Riverpark is one of Chattanooga’s most well-loved attractions. The main attraction of the park is the 13-mile greenway that stretches from Chattanooga’s Northside at the TVA dam to Chattanooga’s Southside at St. Elmo. The Riverwalk greenway is perfect for biking, running, jogging, and casual strolling. Along the way, you’ll find park amenities such as restrooms, bike repair stations, fishing piers, kayak and canoe launches, picnic tables, and breathtaking views. Check out their events calendar for scavenger hunts, movies in the park, and more!
Chattanooga has twice been named “Best Town Ever” by Outside Magazine. Just a 20-minute drive from downtown Chattanooga, the North Chickamauga Blue Hole is a local favorite swimming hole! The Blue Hole is a phenomenal way to cool off from a hot summer day in Chattanooga. From the parking lot, it's less than a 1-mile hike to get to the much-loved spot featuring boulders of varying sizes, perfect for jumping into the clear creek-fed water below. Check out Roots Rated’s North Chick Blue Hole page for directions and additional details!
For more information on Chattanooga’s dining, shopping, and lodging options, check out the Ruby Falls plan your visit page!
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