Sharing is caring

This post (probably) contains affiliate links, including Amazon Associates links, and I may receive a small commission if you make a purchase after clicking through one. This is at no extra cost to you and allows the site to keep running! Thanks for understanding.

If you’re thinking of spending a weekend in Chattanooga, TN then I have the perfect guide for you! From the best place to stay to some of the most spectacular food you’ll ever eat, I’m going to show you all my favourite spots in the city.

Chattanooga is known as the Scenic City because of its location nestled in a valley surrounded by mountains. It has so many beautiful places for you to explore that you might even need more than just a weekend! So, let’s get started.

How to Spend a Weekend in Chattanooga TN

If you only have a weekend in Chattanooga then you need to make the most of it! There’s a lot to see and I’m going to guide you through the best bits. Here are my must dos and sees for 48hrs in the Scenic City.

Where to Stay in Chattanooga

Things to do East Tennessee spooky season October
The Silver Room in the Read House is one of the most haunted places in Chattanooga!

During my time in Chattanooga I stayed in the historic Read House. The hotel recently celebrated its 150 year anniversary and has had a significant refurbishment to boot. The Read House is in a very convenient location for exploring the city by foot, car or free local shuttle. There’s no onsite parking but there is a handy valet service that is reasonably priced.

The hotel is designed in a 1920s theme and has an air of Great Gatsby about it. There’s a bar, restaurant and a Starbucks on site and they offer room service, if you’re too tired to leave the hotel after a full day of exploring.

The Read House is famous for its haunted room 311. Legend has it that Annalisa Netherly haunts the room because she was beheaded there by a jealous lover. People have experienced flickering lights, shadowy figures, spooky noises and more. Luckily, I did not stay in room 311 and had no paranormal experiences during my stay.

Where to Eat in Chattanooga

When it comes to dining out in Chattanooga, there is no shortage of options. From quick and casual to complete dining experiences, here are my recommendations to make your weekend in Chattanooga an extra tasty one!

SleepyHead Coffee

weekend in chattanooga tennessee
Sleephead is the perfect coffee spot for your weekend in Chattanooga.

This adorable coffee shop is just a few minutes up the road from the Read House. Its decor is almost as delicious as its coffee. From the pastel pinks to the leafy plants and neon signs, SleepyHead is incredibly photogenic. I ordered an iced latte with honey lavender syrup and a lavender doughnut. They also served breakfast bagels if you wanted a savoury snack. This is the perfect casual coffee/light breakfast spot.

Cashew

weekend in chattanooga tennessee
Veggie/vegan Heaven at Cashew!

Cashew is in the North Shore area of Chattanooga, across the river, and it is a vegan restaurant. There is so much variety on this menu that even meat-eaters could get excited about it. I had the beet burger and my mother had the burrito bowl, they were both delicious. There are daily specials and there’s also a coffee bar and bakery if you just want to grab a snack. If there’s a veggie or vegan in your party, they will LOVE this place – I’m still dreaming about it.

Flying Squirrel

weekend in chattanooga tennessee
That dish in the middle that we had already demolished before I took a photo was UNBELIEVABLE.

THIS PLACE IS INCREDIBLE. End of review. No, seriously, the chef is spectacularly talented. He incorporates fresh, local and seasonal produce with great creativity and flair. Honestly, my taste buds have yet to recover from the dreamy dinner I experienced at Flying Squirrel. The spicy miso brussel sprouts, roasted cauliflower and truffle fries are my top choices. Make sure to book because this place is wildly popular.

Community Pie

Possibly one of my favourite pizzas that I’ve had in the USA!

If you’re in the mood for a giant, delicious, comforting pizza then Community Pie is the spot for you. You can dine in or opt for take away/delivery. I had the New York style Spicy Bianca, which was a topping combination I hadn’t seen before – olive oil, mozzarella, ricotta, garlic, Calabrian chiles and basil. I’ll probably be searching for it on every pizza menu I see from now on because it was VERY tasty. A great casual spot that won’t break the bank.

Clumpies

weekend in chattanooga tennessee
Clumpies is the perfect sweet treat in Chattanooga.

This is a Chattanooga institution, an absolute must-visit. Clumpies has been handcrafting ice cream in the Scenic City since 1999 which means they must be doing something right. I visited the North Shore shop and had myself a caramel pecan and coffee toffee cup. Clumpies is the perfect spot to visit for a sweet treat to keep you going on your weekend of adventures.

Chattanooga Whiskey

weekend in chattanooga tennessee
If you’re adults who enjoy whiskey, this is the place for you on your weekend in Chattanooga.

Believe it or not, it only became legal to distill whiskey in Chattanooga in 2013 and Chattanooga Whiskey was the main reason that happened. Before 2013 they had to distill their whiskey in Indiana, which sounds absolutely insane to an Irish girl like me.

Chattanooga Whiskey was the first legal distillery to officially distill whiskey in Chattanooga in over 100 years! You can take a tour (including tasting) or you can just do a quick tasting on site. The tour is very fun and informative, but it books up fast so make sure to book in advance.

Kenny’s Southside Sandwiches

weekend in chattanooga tennessee
My happyface eating my tofu breakfast burrito. The perfect breakfast place for your Chattanooga weekend.

This is a great breakfast or lunch spot. I popped in for an early breakfast before heading out to Rock City. They open from 8am even on Sunday so it’s the perfect spot to fuel up before exploring the city. The tofu breakfast burrito is DELICIOUS and the croque madame comes highly recommended by my mother.

Things to See and do in Chattanooga

Tennesse Aquarium – The Passage Waterfall Stairs

weekend in chattanooga tennessee
The aquarium is the perfect way to spend a day for all ages.

The Tennesse Aquarium is huge and could definitely take up half a day to explore fully. It is split into two buildings exploring water’s journey from mountain to sea. You’ll see penguins, otters, jellyfish, sharks, seahorses and more. Children and adults of all ages will love the aquarium, it’s beautiful and educational. It’s located right by the river on a lovely plaza that often has a small market on it which is lovely to check out post-aquarium.

You can book your ticket online here.

Rock City Gardens

weekend in chattanooga tennessee
Lovers Leap at Rock City Gardens on a misty day.

This place is magic, pure MAGIC. Technically it is not in Chattanooga, it’s just across the border into Georgia, but it’s only 15 minutes from Chattanooga by car so it’s easy to visit. Hands down Rock City is my #1 must-visit location while in Chattanooga. It is like stepping into another world, a fairy tale land even.

I squeezed through moss-covered caves, tip-toed across rope bridges and fell in love with lover’s leap. Rock City is supposed to have a phenomenal view across 5 states on a clear day. Unfortunately for me I didn’t visit on a clear day, but I still fell in love with the place so I think that speaks for itself.

Book tickets for Rock City Gardens on their website here.

Chattanooga Ghost Tour

Things to do East Tennessee spooky season October
The Chattanooga Ghost Tour.

If you’re like me and love all things spooky then this ghost tour is the one for you. An extremely talented local guide with take you on a journey through the streets and history of Chattanooga, pointing out all the most haunted and horrifying landmarks. It’s perfect for spooky season but also just fun all year round. My hotel recommendation, The Read House, is, of course, on the list of stops! Tickets start from $19.50 per person.

Book your ghost tour tickets online here.

Check out my article all about spooky Tennessee activities across East Tennessee.

Chattanooga Choo Choo/Station Street

weekend in chattanooga tennessee
The Chattanooga Choo Choo is an absolute must visit.

You can’t visit Chattanooga without thinking of the famous “Chattanooga Choo Choo” song. It would be a crime to spend a weekend in Chattanooga without going to see the physical train the song was about. The former train tracks have been converted into a beautiful recreation area full of places to wander, eat and drink.

The old train station is also open to look around, nowadays it’s part of the Chattanooga Choo Choo hotel where you can actually sleep in old train cars. This is definitely the spot to kick off your night in Chattanooga because there is a whole host of bars and restaurants on Station Street. You can even have a pint ON the Chattanooga Choo Choo in the American Draft bar.

Ruby Falls

weekend in chattanooga tennessee 9
Ruby Falls is of of Chattanooga’s most unique attractions.

This is such a unique spot to visit. Ruby Falls is an underground waterfall, in fact it’s the deepest underground waterfall viewable by the public in the USA. You take an elevator down 260ft then make your way through the cave, viewing stunning stalactites and stalagmites as you go, until finally the Ruby Falls are revealed.

There are also other activities on site such as zip-lining, a restaurant and a view point with great views across the city.

You can book your tour online HERE.

Explore North Shore (walk Walnut Street Bridge)

weekend in chattanooga tennessee
Walnut Bridge is an iconic landmark of Chattanooga.

The Walnut Street Bridge is one of the world’s longest pedestrian bridges. There are great view over the river as you walk across. The North Shore is full of independent boutiques and great places to eat. It also has a lovely park area right on the riverbank which is great for a picnic.

This is definitely the area to visit if you want to pick up a unique local souvenir. If you look down while you wander you’ll notice art installations showing you the dance steps for famous dances like the Hokey Pokey.

Chattanooga Market

weekend in chattanooga tennessee
There are plenty of great places for a quick casual lunch at the Chattanooga market.

Another spot to pick up some great local crafts/souvenirs is the Chattanooga Market. It’s held every Sunday from April to December in the First Horizon Pavilion and is a producer-only market. It’s pretty big and there’s a lovely lively community atmosphere. I picked up some handmade earring while I was there and had the most delicious smoked jackfruit mac and cheese. This is a great spot to spend an hour or two.

Hunter Museum

weekend in chattanooga tennessee
The Hunter Museum

The Hunter Museum of American Art is a must-visit for art buffs and culture heads. The building itself is spectacular and has beautiful views across the river. The exhibits on offer change.

During my visit they had a fantasy exhibition on called Enchanted and it featured fantasy art from multiple artists throughout time. It was incredible to see an original Boris Vallejo in real life. Definitely check out their website to see what exhibits and exhibitions they have on during your weekend in Chattanooga.

How to Get Around Chattanooga

Chattanooga is fairly compact city but to go from one end to the other and with all the exploring you’ll be doing, I recommend something more than your own two feet unless you’re just concentrating on one small area.

Of course, if you have a car you’ll be able to see as much of Chattanooga as possible. However, ride-share apps like Uber/Lyft are readily available and there seemed to be plenty of drivers available.

There is also a free electric shuttle available that runs from the aquarium down to the Chattanooga Choo Choo. The shuttle runs every 15 minutes, every day of the year apart from Christmas, New Years and Thanksgiving.

If you prefer to explore by bike you can pick up a Bike Chattanooga bike. There are over 400 bikes and 42 stations throughout the city so you’ll never be too far from a pick-up or drop off point. You can read more about how it works on the website here.

How to Get to Chattanooga

If you’re visiting Chattanooga from over seas then you’ll want to fly into Chattanooga airport. You will most likely need to transit via a larger USA airport like Atlanta or Charlotte. Though on the way home I flew from Knoxville via Philadelphia. Make sure you do a lot of searching for flights because it took me a while to find a good deal.

What I Thought of Chattanooga

I absolutely loved my time in Chattanooga and if you’re planning on spending a weekend in Chattanooga then I am VERY jealous. No matter what you like to do there is something for everyone in Chattanooga. It’s a great city that feels very safe and is full of friendly people.

If you need more USA travel inspiration make sure to check out my USA section!



Sharing is caring