USA Today recently called upon a group of travel writers and photojournalists to compile a list of their favorite Tennessee attractions. Of the twenty finalists, four Chattanooga hot spots made the list. Lookout Mountain, Ocoee River, the Tennessee Aquarium and the Tennessee Riverpark made the cut among other state attractions such as Graceland and the Country Music Hall of Fame.
The poll highlights the Chattanooga side of Lookout Mountain, boasting about a towering underground waterfall, better known as Ruby Falls, and the historic Incline Railway. For over seventy-five years, Ruby Falls has attracted visitors to explore deep beneath the surface of Lookout Mountain, offering lantern tours and various seasonal activities. Meanwhile, the Incline Railway, located in Chattanooga’s St. Elmo neighborhood, has carried thousands of passengers up the world’s steepest incline railway to the top of Lookout Mountain since its construction in 1895 and continues to draw tourists today. Near the Incline’s lower station, visitors can find some of Chattanooga’s most favored restaurants – 1885 Grill, The Tap House, Purple Daisy Picnic Cafe, Mojo Burrito and Clumpie’s Ice Cream.
One of Chattanooga’s many popular summer destinations, the Ocoee River, is known for its whitewater rafting and loved by many travel writers and outdoor enthusiasts. Since hosting the whitewater slalom events during the Centennial 1996 Summer Olympics (primarily held in Atlanta), the Ocoee River has become a hotspot for both rafters and canoers of all ages with rapids ranging from Class I to Class V.
A staple along downtown Chattanooga’s revitalized riverfront, the Tennessee Aquarium captivates visitors with breathtaking exhibits of animals from around the world. Between its two buildings, River Journey and Ocean Journey, one can find and learn about lemurs, otters, penguins, jellyfish, sharks and more. After a day at the Tennessee Aquarium, many Chattanooga locals recommend grabbing a bite to eat at The Blue Plate, Easy Bistro and Bar or Mellow Mushroom.
Winding through downtown Chattanooga, the Tennessee Riverpark is frequented by Chattanoogans and visitors of all ages. The ten mile riverside path leads walkers, runners and bikers to Coolidge Park, Renaissance Park, Ross’s Landing, the Walnut Street Bridge and more. Along the path, visitors find many area attractions like the Hunter Art Museum, Bluff View Art District, Boathouse Rotisserie and Raw Bar, the 3rd Deck Burger Bar at the Southern Belle, and The Ice Cream Show.
Let USA Today know which Chattanooga attraction is the best in Tennessee by voting here!