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Poised strategically on the Georgia/Tennessee border, this city is steadily becoming a very popular city to live in and visit. It’s very close to the mountains and has much to offer, including 25 free activities!
1. Lookout Mountain
This long mountain ridge spans three states and has many fun activities for touring or hiking. While the more touristy sites of Rock City and Ruby Falls are quite expensive, there are plenty of scenic overlooks and trails which are free.
Walnut Street Bridge is an old trestle bridge is the longest pedestrian bridge in the United States! It’s a great place to walk after a nice meal in one of the nearby restaurants and has great views over the Tennessee River.
Take a quick trip from the Walnut Street Bridge to this riverside park. You could climb the Walnut Wall, have a picnic in the park, take a walk along the river, or even take a ride on a century old carousel.
This small cemetery of 60 graves is the site of a mission to the Cherokee Indians that once was in Chattanooga.
5. The Chattanooga Choo Choo Holiday Inn
Originally a train station in 1906, the CCC is a really cool place to visit and see what an old-style train station looked like. There are lots of shops to look into in the hotel and some fine restaurants too.
With three locations, this is an excellent place to look for great produce. I always like to look at a city’s farmer’s market and see what people bring in.
One of many local battlegrounds in the area, Chickamauga is one of the best. It is free to tour and offers many wonderful trails to hike on or to tour the many monuments and markers on the battlefield.
Speaking of Chickamauga, if you’re in the mood to get out of the city and want to see one of the prettiest towns in Georgia, Chickamauga is just the place. It has lots of neat restaurants and shops just ripe for touring. They have also have some really good festivals throughout the year.
If you’re looking for a moment alone from the kids, here’s the perfect place for some relaxation with some of the finest wines. This is Chattanooga’s first and only urban winery and is located in downtown Chattanooga with many restaurants and art shops close by for visiting.
This lovely park is not far from Chattanooga and offers many opportunities for outdoor fun! There are trails for walking and biking and plenty of places for picnics. You will also be able to see lots of deer, turkeys, and other wild animals at the park.
The National Medal of Honor Museum is a great stop for the history buffs. This museum is free and has many exhibits on various recent wars that the US has fought.
Looking for a walk on your vacation? This park is a 10-mile stretch of parkland down the Tennessee river. Bring the strollers, bikes or scooters to spice up the trail.
This is a great thing to do if you’re in town on a Friday night. It’s free during the summer and always on Friday. They have great lineups of local musicians every summer, so check the website to see when the event runs.
There are lots of caves in the Chattanooga area and most of them are free. Contact the Chattanooga Grotto for more information.
While taking a fancy riverboat tour on the Tennessee River can be expensive, you can still take a look at the old-fashioned boat from the riverfront.
16. The Passage
This is a pedestrian link from the Tennessee River to Chattanooga which memorializes the history of the Trail of Tears. It is a permanent outdoor exhibit and is very educational for children.
17. Blue Hole
Looking to cool off, especially on those hot Tennessee days? The Blue Hole is a great place off the beaten path for a swim! You have to hike in but the Blue Hole is cool and deep and has some great high jumps!
18. Covenant College
Once a very popular hotel, the site was bought by Covenant College which moved there from California in the 1960s. It is a Christian liberal arts college and is located in one of the most scenic locations on Lookout Mountain. Carter Hall was once the hotel and has beautiful architecture and overlooks Chattanooga.
Also a part of Chickamauga Battlefield, this is the site of the “Battle Above the Clouds” where the Union forces scaled Lookout Mountain to take the heights. While adults are admitted with a fee of $3, children under 16 are free. The Visitor Center is free though.
This is a lovely place in downtown Chattanooga to visit and offers things for everyone! You can play bocce ball, a game brought over by Italian immigrants, in the district and afterwards walk in the sculpture park. Or you can look at the beautiful houses there and see people make crafts. Free parking is available.
Another great free place to take a dip during the summer is Chickamauga Resevoir! It’s a favorite family spot and there is plenty of space for picnics and even a playground for the kids!
This museum is near the Bluff View area and the permanent collection is free on the first Thursday of every month, from 4:00 pm to 7:30 pm.
Head to the farmer’s market for a nice stroll. Sure, it’s not free if you buy the whole place… but use your discretion and have a good time and maybe you’ll find some local entertainment.
Downtown Chattanooga is a great place to join a music festival! They have festivals of every kind of genre from folk, country, jazz, and more. It’s loads of fun for the whole family!
Every June, the Riverfront area hosts a nine-day concert called Riverbend where all kinds of bands play. But the grand finale of the festival is the biggest, best fireworks display ever! Watch from anywhere in the downtown area but be sure to get there early for a good spot!