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17 Cheap Fun Things to Do in Chattanooga, Tennessee

Updated: Dec 4, 2023

Chattanooga, Tennessee, often called the "Scenic City," is a perfect place to enjoy budget-friendly and exhilarating experiences that cater to all interests. From breathtaking natural wonders to captivating museums, this city offers something for everyone without breaking the bank. Here is a comprehensive list of must-visit places and activities, each offering unique experiences that go beyond just scenic beauty!

1. Walnut Street Bridge - FREE

Walnut Street Bridge in Chattanooga, Tennessee

Stroll across the historic Walnut Street Bridge, a pedestrian walkway spanning the Tennessee River. The beautiful sunset views and charming atmosphere make it a delightful spot for a romantic evening. Due to this, it is a popular spot for proposals and weddings! Fun Fact: This bridge was originally for vehicular traffic, but 88 years after it was constructed it became a pedestrian walkway only.

2. Coolidge Park - FREE

Coolidge Park in Chattanooga, Tennessee

Enjoy family-friendly activities at Coolidge Park, including a vintage carousel, interactive water fountains, and a grassy area perfect for picnicking and relaxation. The vintage carousel is a restored antique over 100 years old that has 52 hand-carved animals on it and it only costs $1 a ride! The interactive water fountains are almost like a splash pad - perfect for cooling off on a warm day and great for kids to play in. The grassy area also has a great view of the Tennessee River. Moreover, there is a baseball field, basketball court, and playground at this park as well!

3. Downtown Chattanooga - FREE to Explore

Wander through downtown Chattanooga to soak in the vibrant atmosphere, diverse shops, and numerous dining options. The area is alive with public art installations and is an ideal spot for people-watching. My favorite place to eat in Downtown Chattanooga is at Conga Latin Food, they offer Latin American food like pupusas, tostadas, arroz con pollo, and various platters from different regions, i.e., Salvadorean, South American, Caribbean, and Mexican. Everything offered is so good; however, the Pupusas and Mango Juice are the absolute best!

4. Stroll through Sculpture Fields - FREE

Sculpture Fields at Montague Park is a 33-acre open-air museum with over 50 sculptures from all over the world! Sculpture Fields also hosts events throughout the year including Pop Up exercise classes, festivals, dinners, and block parties.

5. Chattanooga Market - FREE Admission

Random farmer's market depicting Chattanooga Market but not actually an image from the market
If you are visiting on a Sunday between 10 am - 5 pm, head to the Chattanooga Market for fresh produce, handmade crafts, and a vibrant atmosphere. It is a great way to support local artisans and enjoy a unique shopping experience. There are typically food trucks selling everything from tacos to ice cream and live music during the event!

6. Chattanooga Choo Choo - FREE Admission

Experience a slice of history by exploring the Chattanooga Choo Choo, a former train station transformed into a hotel and entertainment complex - located in Downtown Chattanooga. Within the complex, you will find a museum, an arcade, a gift shop, a restaurant, and a bar. During the winter, they install a pop-up ice skating rink and other winter activities - lots of fun for all ages!

7. Bluff View Art District - FREE

Along the Tennessee River is Bluff View Art District, a historic neighborhood in Chattanooga immersed in art! There are many art galleries, public art installations, local shops, and local cafes - you could easily spend an entire day enjoying everything this district has to offer. Within this art district, you will also find the River Gallery Sculpture Garden which is a beautiful, quaint garden full of sculptures.

8. Visit Miller Park and Admire Public Art at Miller Plaza - FREE

Drone shot of a community park with an art installation in the center floating above to represent Miller Park/Plaza but not actually a picture from there
Miller Park often hosts events such as outdoor movie screenings and festivals. It was recently reopened after 14 months of renovations and stands as Chattanooga’s response to the modern public square. Across the street, Miller Plaza offers a place to discover various public art installations. One of the most renowned art pieces at Miller Plaza is Radiance, a large and interactive sculpture. It is composed of hundreds of LED lights. These two parks are linked by a pedestrian bridge, making it convenient to participate in festivities at both locations!

9. Nightfall Concert Series - FREE

3 ladies as the center point with their backs facing the camera as they enjoy a concert while sitting on a lawn with a lot of other people. Image is used to represent the Nightfall Concert Series, but not actually an image from there
If you are in Chattanooga on a Friday night in the summer, do not miss the Nightfall Concert Series in Miller Plaza. This year, 2023, the concert series is from May 26 - September 1. Experience live music from local and regional artists playing a variety of genres, including pop, rock, and country. These concerts are free and open to the public. They also tend to have food trucks on site during the Nightfall Concert Series, perfect for a lovely evening enjoying good music, good food, and a great time!

10. Hunter Museum of American Art - FREE Certain Days, for teens, and for children

American Art piece representing Hunter Museum of American Art but not actually an image from there
Art enthusiasts will relish visiting the Hunter Museum, featuring an impressive collection of American art spanning different eras. The museum also offers paint and sip nights, yoga, and live music on select dates. The Hunter Museum of American Art offers free admission to its permanent collection and $5 general admission to special exhibitions on the first Thursday of each month from 4 – 8 pm. Moreover, teens ages 12 - 17 are free when they book tickets online, and children are too. However, for children to enter for free, there must be one chaperone per five children. The General Adult ticket is $18 per person.

11. Chattanooga Zoo

Adult Ticket: $12.95 - $14.95
Child (age 3-12) Ticket: $9.95 - $11.95

Toddler feeding some fawns to represent Chattanooga Zoo but not actually an image from there
Spend a day at the Chattanooga Zoo, home to over 500 animals representing more than 200 different species from around the world. To make the most of your experience, tune in for a Keeper Chat and delve deeper into your understanding of the zoo's diverse inhabitants. Additionally, there's a nature-inspired playground for kids to enjoy, featuring a honeycomb jungle gym and insects to climb on.

12. Educational Programs at Creative Discovery Museum

Adult & Child Tickets: $16.95

Table full of arts and crafts to represent the Educational Programs at Creative Discovery Museum but not actually from there
Engage your children in interactive learning at the Creative Discovery Museum, where they can enjoy hands-on exhibits about art, science, and culture. In the art studio, children can paint, sculpt, or draw. They also have a music zone where kids can experiment with different musical instruments and sounds. There is so much to do at Creative Discovery Museum, your kids will have so much fun! A short walk from this museum is Renaissance Park - perfect for exploring art installations, visiting historical marked spots, walking, biking, or having a picnic!

13. Raccoon Mountain Caverns

Adult Ticket: $22.95
Child (age 4-12) Ticket: $14.95

Stalagmites inside of a cavern representing Raccoon Mountain Caverns but not actually from there
Go spelunking (cave exploring) at Raccoon Mountain Caverns and experience the intriguing underground world with guided tours. The cave formations and history are sure to fascinate both kids and adults. The Crystal Palace Tour is a 45-minute guided tour through the first 1/4 mile of the cave. During the tour, you will learn about how caves are made, the history of Raccoon Mountain Caverns, and about the different cave formations within the cavern. They also offer Wild Cave Exploration Tours for more advanced spelunkers at a higher price.

14. Ruby Falls

Adult Ticket: $25.95
Child (age 3-12) Ticket: $15.95

Delve 260 feet deep into Lookout Mountain to uncover the hidden beauty of Ruby Falls, a mesmerizing underground waterfall. The guided tour offers insights into the geological marvels that formed this captivating site. At 145 feet, Ruby Falls is the tallest underground waterfall open to the public!

15. Rock City Gardens

Adult Ticket: $26.95
Child (age 3-12) Ticket: $16.95

Fairyland Caverns at Rock City Gardens

Explore the wonders of Lookout Mountain with the famous "Rock City Gardens." Rock City is known for its stunning rock formations and beautiful gardens. On your visit, you will also be able to witness a 140-foot waterfall located on Lookout Mountain. One of the most popular attractions to Rock City Gardens is the unforgettable "See 7 States" view. From that viewpoint, you can grab a glimpse of Tennessee, Georgia, Alabama, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, and Kentucky.

16. Southern Belle Riverboat

Adult Ticket: $34.99
Child (age 3-12) Ticket: $24.99

Tennessee River with a picnic bench on the right to represent Southern Belle Riverboat

Embark on a scenic 1.5-hour cruise along the Tennessee River aboard the Southern Belle Riverboat. You will see Lookout Mountain, the Walnut Street Bridge, and the Tennessee Aquarium as you cruise the Tennessee River. During the day cruises, they have live narration about the history of Chattanooga and the Tennessee River, where you will learn about the Trail of Tears and the Civil War, amongst other things. During the night cruises, they have live entertainment, where you can enjoy music and dancing.

17. Tennessee Aquarium

Adult Ticket: $39.95
Child (age 5-17) Ticket: $29.95

Exterior building of Tennessee Aquarium

Immerse yourself in marine wonders at the Tennessee Aquarium, where you will discover aquatic creatures from both freshwater (River Journey) and saltwater environments (Ocean Journey). The Tennessee Aquarium is home to the largest freshwater aquarium in the world - you can see turtles, river otters, fish, snakes, and even a bald eagle. In the saltwater section, you will discover animals from the Atlantic and Pacific oceans like sea turtles, penguins, sharks, jellyfish, and stingrays.

But wait, there is more!

Chattanooga is full of activities that allow you to explore nature, check out historical sites, and immerse yourself in the culture of the city. A few more ideas include:

AT&T Field in Chattanooga, Tennessee

- A Scenic Drive around Signal Mountain
- Hiking the Trail of Tears
- Diving into history at Point Park Battlefield
- Catching a minor league baseball game at AT&T Field
- Exploring the Reflection Riding Arboretum & Nature Center
- Spending a day at Lake Winnie Amusement Park

Forest with a light stream in Tennessee

With its diverse array of attractions and activities, Chattanooga stands as a testament to the fact that memorable experiences need not come with a hefty price tag. Whether you are a nature lover, history enthusiast, art admirer, or simply seeking family-friendly fun, Chattanooga has something extraordinary to offer at every turn. So, pack your bags, grab your friends and family, and embark on a budget-friendly adventure that will leave you with cherished memories for years to come!

Bridges going over the Tennessee River in Chattanooga

Have you been to any of these places in Chattanooga, Tennessee before? If so, let us know in the comments below - we would love to hear about your favorite place to visit in Chattanooga! If you have not gone, are they on your bucket list of places to visit now? Let us know in the comments below, and share this article with the person or people you want to go with! Either way, SUBSCRIBE below to learn about other places you should add to your "To Visit" List! Ready? Okay, vamos. Time to have fun!

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* This article is not sponsored by any of the businesses or locations mentioned above or their affiliates. *
** Images above that contain "**" as the captions are not from the location itself. These are just illustrations to support the statement rather than an exact image from that location. **
*** Prices mentioned above are based on each location's respective website in mid-August 2023. Each business reserves the right to change its prices, packages, and details as necessary. ***

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2 comentários

21 de ago. de 2023

Great post and so many free places to visit!! Thanks for the info Dale Let's travel!

22 de ago. de 2023
Respondendo a

Our pleasure! Chattanooga is a beautiful place to visit 😍 and if it's free, it's even better!

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