One of the most enjoyable times that I have experienced living in the southeastern United States was when I visited Chattanooga. It offers families the best of both worlds. With easy access to nearby civil war sites and plenty of history to learn about, Chattanooga is a great place for kids with an interest in history. But there are also many fun activities for families on a budget!
Culture of Chattanooga
When you visit Chattanooga, you will find it has a rich history and culture, including the American Civil War. It is home to award-winning restaurants and breweries and an art scene so vibrant that Chattanooga was named one of the top three cities for arts in 2014!
History of Chattanooga, Tennessee
Chattanooga was named after the Native American word for rock “Chattanooga” by European settlers because of all the limestone in the area. It's also known as The Scenic City.
Chattanooga was founded in 1838 near the Tennessee River. There are two stories of how it got its name. One claims that hunters found a large rock along the river were using as shelter during hunting trips and decided to call it “Chattanooga”. The other story is based on Native American history, claiming that a large boulder was used as shelter by the Native American chief, Chickamauga.
Chattanooga is known for its railroads and manufacturing industries. It's home to the world-famous Coca-Cola plant! Many local businesses have been growing their companies in this area since before it became a city – making Chattanoogans proud of their roots.
Chattanooga's history is very rich, but the city has also moved forward to become a cultural hub for art and music with its first-ever Opera house! The Tennessee Aquarium is one of our favorite places in this area – and the more than 11 million people who visit each year agree. If you want an entertaining and enlightening walk, you can not beat the free walk from local guides. This walk exposed me to a better understanding of the Trail of Tears.
Fun Things to do while visiting Chattanooga
- Visit the Chickamauga National Military Park or the Lookout Mountain Battlefield to learn more about this important period in American History.
- Spend some time at Coolidge Park, which has a beautiful view of downtown Chattanooga and plenty of picnic tables for family gatherings
- Learn about local artists at Gallery Row on Market Street or experience one of Chattanooga's many museums like The Hunter Museum of Art
- Great family attractions for kids include The Creative Discovery Museum, Tennessee Aquarium, and Ruby Falls.
Dining Choices in Chattanooga
There are so many choices when it comes to dining out in Chattanooga! You can get anything from authentic Mexican food (Cheba Hut) to Southern-style cooking (The Blue Plate) to gourmet French cuisine (Bistro Pierre).
Whatever your preferences may be, there's something for everyone!
Places to Stay in Chattanooga
Places to stay in Chattanooga include hotels and cottages near the riverwalk, such as the Riverfront Hotel. The Chattanooga Choo-Choo is another choice, with its train cars to sleep in overnight. We stayed there a few years ago, and it is one of our favorite places in Chattanooga. For more information on the Chattanooga Choo-Choo, please take a look at this post.
As you prepare for your trip to the wonderful town of Chattanooga, here are things that will be useful for the trip and your exploration of the town and surrounding areas.
Your trip could be from an area that is not in the local area. This will likely involve an airplane flight. On one of these flights, it is very helpful to have a set of quality luggage.
Your exploration of Chattanooga may also include exploring the nearby mountainous areas as well as visiting in cooler times of the year. In either case, a warm hoodie will help to make your experience much more pleasant.
Prior to your arrival in Chattanooga, history buffs will want to read up on the Civil War history of the area. It will make your visit to Lookout Mountain much better, as you will have a context of the armaments that you will see.
Visiting Chattanooga is the perfect destination for your next family vacation. From beautiful history and culture to stunning scenery and top attractions, there's something for everyone in this Tennessee city. Here are just some of the highlights so you can start planning your trip!
Have any questions? Let us know! We'll be happy to help answer them about our favorite spot around these parts or provide insider tips on what not to miss while you're here. After all, if we don't tell people where it is they won't come 😉