We’ve compiled the best of the best in Chattanooga - browse our top choices for the top things to see or do during your stay.

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  • 1. High Point Climbing & Fitness


    Opened in December 2013 to rave reviews from local enthusiasts, this facility is 28,000 square feet of wall-to-wall climbing excitement: lead, top-rope, and auto-belay walls, as well as a 15-meter speed-climbing wall, plus beginner areas, boulder pits, and adjustable walls. But if none of those terms means anything to you, High Point has professional climbers who are eager to share their passion and teach you their skills. Nonclimbers are welcome to cross-train in a variety of specialty areas: yoga, weight, and aerobic rooms are each outfitted with equipment to maximize your investment of time and effort. Just be aware: owners Lisa Rands and Wills Young might make you climb over a rock to leave the building.

    219 Broad St., Chattanooga, Tennessee, 37402, USA

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: $15, Mon. and Wed. 6 am–10 pm, Tues., Thurs., and Fri. 10–10, weekends 10–8, $16
  • 2. Hunter Museum of American Art in Bluff View Arts District


    Chattanooga is draped in a rich tapestry of arts and culture, perhaps most visible at this museum, housed in an architectural triptych comprising a 1905 Classical Revival mansion, a low-slung 1970s building, and a 2005 contemporary structure of steel and glass. From here, you can walk over a stunning lighted glass bridge to explore Bluff View Arts District, named for the 80-foot-high cliffs that plunge into the Tennessee River below. The area is popular for its collection of upscale galleries, boutiques, and creative restaurants with casual courtyards that are tucked among historic homes with luxurious landscaping. There's also the award-winning River Gallery Sculpture Garden, noted by the Smithsonian in its Archive of American Gardens.

    10 Bluff View Ave., Chattanooga, Tennessee, 37403, USA

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: $9.95, Mon., Tues., and Thurs.–Sat. 10–5, Wed. and Sun. noon–5, $15
  • 3. Rock City


    This massive rock formation, estimated to be 200 million years old, includes special points of interest like a 100-foot waterfall; a 1,000-ton balanced rock; a suspended bridge (great for pictures); an old-school fantasy creation—Fairyland Caverns, lighted with black lights—that still wows the kids; and the legendary summit, 1,700 feet above sea level, named Lover's Leap, from which you can see seven states. Your self-guided trail tour will wind through 14 acres of rock formation and gardens with more than 400 species of native plants, trees, and shrubs, many of which are tagged, to the delight of gardeners. There's a Starbucks on-site—an indication of the site's popularity. Special events scheduled throughout the year include a brilliant display of holiday lights, beginning in late November.

    Lookout Mountain, 1400 Patten Rd., Chattanooga, Tennessee, 30750, USA

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: $19.95, Usually open daily from 8:30; hours vary acording to season and special events; call or visit website for details, $39
  • 4. Ruby Falls


    More than 80 years ago, Leo Lambert and a small crew spent 17 hours inside this cavern before discovering what is now the world's tallest and deepest underground waterfall (145 feet) open to the public. Guided tours begin every few minutes. After your visit underground, head up the 70-foot-high Lookout Mountain tower for a spectacular panorama of the Tennessee River Valley, either with your own peepers or by using one of the coin-operated telescopes. Younger children can romp on the Fun Forest Playground or pan for gems. For an adult adrenaline rush, the ZIPstream experience is a suspended obstacle course, culminating in 700 feet of round-trip zip-lining with fabulous views of Chattanooga. The temperature inside the cave is 60°F, so bring a light sweater or jacket.

    1720 South Scenic Highway, Chattanooga, Tennessee, 37409, USA

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: $17.95, Falls daily 8–8; ZIPstream late May–mid-Aug.
  • 5. Tennessee Aquarium


    Chattanooga's renaissance started on the riverfront and is still anchored by the Tennessee Aquarium, voted top attraction in the city by locals and one of the best aquariums in the country by tourists. You'll want to budget several hours to absorb the thrills of 10,000 animals, including toothy sharks, playful penguins, and graceful butterflies, a six-story IMAX 3-D movie theater, and a riverboat cruise on the River Gorge Explorer. Want to get up close and personal with the animals? Upgrade your ticket with a VIP backstage pass to touch and feed the animals, just like a real zookeeper. Younger children who want to get friendly with a groundhog or one of the largest owls in the world will enjoy Ranger Rick's Backyard Safari—short sessions held outside, up to eight times a day, depending on the weather. Some hotels offer discount tickets to the Aquarium as part of special lodging packages.

    1 Broad St., Chattanooga, Tennessee, 37402, USA

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: $24.95, Daily 10–6, $29.95
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  • 6. River Gorge Explorer

    Amusement Park/Water Park

    Two of the most peaceful hours you'll spend outdoors in Chattanooga will be aboard this 70-passenger hydro-assisted catamaran that glides past the foot of Lookout Mountain and into the heart of the 26-mile Tennessee River Gorge, known affectionately as "Tennessee's Grand Canyon." Listen as a Tennessee Aquarium naturalist explains the geological and cultural history of the area, highlighting the delicate balance of human expansion into the environment shared with native flora and fauna. Angled seating inside the vessel allows you to relax in climate-controlled comfort as you view the remarkable scenery through the boat's expansive windows.

    201 Riverfront Pkwy., Chattanooga, Tennessee, 37402, USA

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: $29, Cruise schedule varies by season and weather. Call (weekdays 8:30–4:45) or visit website, $32

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