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Whether you are planning a day or evening date or looking for a weekend getaway to the city of Chattanooga, we’re here to share the best Chattanooga date ideas for this year.
Chattanooga is just a short drive from us and we love visiting this fun city. It has so much to offer for all ages, and a ton of unique date night ideas. So whether you are a local or you are just looking for the perfect place for a little getaway with your sweetie, check out these popular attractions and not-so-well-known ideas here from a local.
So, today we are going to share with you the best things to do with your date in Chattanooga so you can plan your evening or weekend getaway with ease.
Walk the Walnut Street Bridge
The Walnut Street Bridge is one of the most popular places to visit in Chattanooga. The bridge spans the Tennessee River and offers stunning views of the city. It is also a great place to walk, run, or bike. There are plenty of places to stop along the way to take in the sights and sounds of the city.
This bridge is the longest pedestrian bridge in the US and it connects downtown Chattanooga to the North Shore. It’s a wonderful place to visit and you’ll see both residents and visitors strolling the bridge. Family and pet-friendly!
Visit Coolidge Park
Coolidge Park is a great place to take a date. The park has a 100-year-old carousel, splash pad, and an outdoor amphitheater. There are also several restaurants and shops nearby, or you can bring your own food and picnic at the park.
The park is located on the North Shore near the Walnut Street Bridge and it’s easily accessible by foot or bike as well. It’s a great place to spend an afternoon or evening, and it’s also family-friendly.
See Ruby Falls
Ruby Falls is a popular tourist attraction in Chattanooga. The falls are located inside of Lookout Mountain and you take a short glass-front elevator ride down to see them.
The falls are lit up and very pretty to see. They also offer tours of the cave that the falls are located in. This is a great activity for couples and you get to see the tallest and deepest underground waterfall that is open to the public.
If you want to visit Ruby Falls, purchase your tickets a few days in advance because cave tours sell out quickly and an advance reservation is required. Learn more and buy tickets here.
I clearly remember coming here as a child and it was awe-inspiring. Check it out:
Visit the Tennessee Aquarium
The Tennessee Aquarium is one of the best in the country and it’s a great place to take a date. There are two buildings, one for freshwater animals and one for saltwater animals.
You’ll see all sorts of animals, from sharks and rays to turtles, penguins and otters. I really love the butterfly exhibit, too! The exhibits are very well done and you can easily spend several hours here.
They also have a 4D theater and an IMAX theater, so you can catch a movie after you explore the aquarium. The Tennessee Aquarium is located on the Chattanooga Riverfront and it’s easily walkable from many of the hotels in downtown Chattanooga.
Learn more about the Tennessee Aquarium here
Explore Downtown Chattanooga
Downtown Chattanooga is a great place to walk around and explore. There are plenty of shops and restaurants to check out, and you can get around via electric bike or scooter if you don’t want to walk.
The Tennessee Aquarium is the biggest tourist destination in the downtown area, but you can also climb an outdoor rock climbing wall, visit the Chattanooga Zoo or even see the old Chattanooga Choo Choo.
Tour the Bluff View Art District
The Bluff View Art District is a family owned and operated historic neighborhood located on the North Shore and it’s a great place to visit with a date. The district is home to several restaurants, an art gallery, coffee shop, historic Bed & Breakfast and lots of gardens an areas to relax.
You can easily spend an afternoon walking around the district, checking out the different shops and restaurants. Make sure to stop at Rembrandt’s Coffee House for some amazing coffee in a unique atmosphere and grab some fresh baked goods at Bluff View Bakery.
If you’re more in the mood for a meal, you can’t go wrong with anything on the menu at Tony’s Pasta Shop, where they feature old world style Italian dishes.
Visit Rock City
Rock City is a tourist attraction on Lookout Mountain that has been around since 1932. You may have seen the famous red barns with “See Rock City” painted on them, which began as an early marketing effort to drive visitors to the area.
The attraction is best known for the massive rock formations and gardens, but there are also several caves and other areas to explore.
One of my favorite things to do at Rock City is to walk across the Swing-A-Long Bridge, which is a suspension bridge that offers amazing views. To be honest it scared me as a kid, but I love it now.
And, of course, no visit to Rock City is complete without seeing the world-famous “See 7 States” panoramic view.
Learn more about Rock City here
Tour the Hunter Museum of American Art
The Hunter Museum of American Art is located on the bluffs overlooking the Tennessee River and it’s one of my favorite places in Chattanooga. The museum features three buildings spanning 100 years of architecture.
There are many different exhibits at the museum and they also have traveling exhibitions that visit, so there is always something new to see at the Hunter Museum of American Art.
Learn more about the Hunter Museum here
Experience the Chattanooga Choo Choo
The Chattanooga Choo Choo is a historic train the used to run through the city, but now has been converted to gardens and a hotel. My sons love going to the hotel with my parents and staying in a room that used to be a train car. It’s a unique experience for sure!
In the same area you’ll find Station Street, which has tons of entertainment including live music, great food and cocktails and lots of dancing.
In the winter, the area where the tracks used to be (now Glenn Miller Gardens) becomes a winter wonderland with the area’s only ice skating rink! That’s also a super romantic thing to do together, even if you can’t skate very well.
Learn more about the Chattanooga Choo Choo here
Take a Cruise on the Southern Belle Riverboat
The Southern Belle is a replica of a 19th century riverboat that offers cruises on the Tennessee River. The boat is a classic steamboat, making it a romantic destination.
There are several different types of cruises you can take, but as of the time of this writing it appears only the scenic and the sunset cruises are available at this time in 2022.
It offers amazing views of the city as you cruise along the river. They have offered dining cruises in the past, so hopefully they will open this up again.
Learn more about the Southern Belle here
Check out this video about the tour:
Visit the Chattanooga Zoo
The Chattanooga Zoo is a great place to visit with your date. The zoo has over 300 animals, including tigers, lions, giraffes, and elephants. They also have a petting zoo and a playground.
The zoo was begun in 1937 and has grown to 13 acres of wildlife rehabilitation, conservation and zoo features.
Learn more about the Chattanooga Zoo here
Get Some Laughs at the Comedy Catch
While you’re visiting the Chattanooga Choo Choo, check out the Comedy Catch that is on site. You can order food and drinks during the show and have a great time.
The Comedy Catch is a comedy club that features local and national acts. It’s a great place to go for a date night if you’re looking for something a little different.
Learn more and see who’s on stage here
Visit the Tennessee Riverpark
This 150 acre park has walking and biking trails, a dog park, playgrounds, and picnic areas. It’s a great place to spend an afternoon with your date.
There is also an amphitheater where you can see live music in the summer months.
The Tennessee Riverpark is a great place to take a walk, go for a run,
Tour Raccoon Mountain Caverns
These caverns are located about 20 minutes outside of Chattanooga (depending upon traffic) and they offer tours of the caves. The caves consist of over 5.5 miles of caverns, and you can tour a portion of it.
Take the Crystal Palace Walking Tour, a 45-55 minute guided tour through the first 1/4 mile of the cave that has been lit and has steps, pathways and handrails.
The Raccoon Mountain Caverns also have a gift shop and a cafe, so you can make a day of it, and there is also a campground, cabins and RV park so you could choose to stay for a night or the weekend.
Learn more about Raccoon Mountain Caverns and make reservations here
Shop at the Chattanooga Market
Downtown Chattanooga is also home to the Chattanooga Market, which is a great place to find local art, crafts, and food.
The market is open on Sundays from 11am-4pm from late April to December. It’s a great place to spend an afternoon with your date, especially if you’re looking for something unique to do.
Learn more about the Chattanooga Market here
Ride the Lookout Mountain Incline Railway
The Lookout Mountain Incline Railway is a historic funicular railway system that takes you up to the top of Lookout Mountain. The ride is about a mile long and is over 125 years old.
The tour begins from the bottom of the mountain at the St. Elmo station and is open daily except for Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day. The ride itself takes about 15 minutes and trains depart every 20 minutes.
At the top of the mountain you can enjoy the observation deck at the top of Lookout Mountain, food service and gift shops. The bottom of the mountain has some really cool shops, too.
Learn more about the Incline Railway here
Tennessee Valley Railroad
Take a ride on a historic Tennessee Valley Railroad train. They offer many different types of train rides including the Missionary Ridge Local, a short train ride, the Hiwassee Loop, a five hour ride, or even a dinner train ride.
The dinner train is my recommendation as you reserve a table for two and enjoy fine dining while taking your train excursion. It’s beautiful, especially in the fall, and totally romantic and unique.
Also, each train ticket includes admission to the Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum, which shows the rich history of trains in the area. If you don’t want a train ride, you can purchase inexpensive tickets just to the museum if you like.
Learn more about the Tennessee Valley Railroad here
Stay at the Edwin Hotel
This hotel in downtown Chattanooga is for art lovers and urban explorers. This is a super unique place in that it is park hotel and part museum.
It features modern guest rooms and is considered a luxury hotel, so it will be an experience you won’t soon forget. Plus, it’s a great base to explore from as it’s close to a lot of the action in downtown.
Learn more and book a stay here
Visit Lake Winnie Amusement Park
Lake Winnepesaukah Amusement Park is an old-fashioned amusement park that is perfect for a fun date. It’s located about 20 minutes from Chattanooga, but it’s worth the drive.
The park has been around since 1925 and features rides like the antique carousel, chair lift, old model-T cars, a wooden roller coaster, a ferris wheel plus many more rides. There is also SOAKya water park. It’s like a permanent county fair plus a whole lot more!
If you’re willing to drive up to Pigeon Forge to check out Dollywood, visit our guide here!
Take a Bike Ride on One of the City’s Many Biking Trails
Chattanooga is a very bike-friendly city and there are many great trails to explore. You could even pack a picnic lunch to enjoy during your ride.
This city has done an amazing job with revitalizing the downtown area and adding parks and greenways, so there are plenty of wonderful places to ride.
Visit the Chattanooga Nature Center
This is a great place to explore nature with your date on 300 acres. The Chattanooga Nature Center is located at the Reflection Riding Arboretum and Nature Center and has a three mile loop, red wolf exhibit and a chance to “hike with a hawk”.
You can also take part in one of their many educational programs or events. They offer a variety of programs for all ages, so it’s a great place to learn and explore together.
Learn more about the Nature Center here
Sip and Relax at the Look Out Winery
The Look Out Winery is located on top of Lookout Mountain and offers beautiful views of the three states and the Tennessee River. They offer a variety of wines and you can sample them before choosing your favorite.
They also have Neopolitan pizzas cooked in an 800 degree wood-fired oven. It’s a delicious meal to try while you sit on the terrace and take in the views while sipping their amazing wine.
Learn more about tastings and the winery here
Watch a Movie at the Wilderness Outdoor Movie Theater
This is a really fun date idea and something different than your typical movie theater experience. You can watch a movie on a giant screen while sitting in lawn chairs or on blankets.
They offer a variety of food and drinks, but don’t allow outside food or drink, so either eat before you go or be prepared to buy something there. It’s a great way to spend an evening under the stars.
Also be aware that they don’t accept debit or credit cards, so get some cash before you head that way!
Learn more and see what’s playing here
These are just a few of the great Chattanooga date ideas. These are some of the best places for everyone and every type of date. Whether you want to explore the outdoors, see the urban scene, or just have a fun night out, you can find it all in Chattanooga.
I’m definitely doing more of these with my hubs. The hardest part for us is finding someone to watch all our kiddos, but Chattanooga is only about an hour and a half away for us so we sneak there as often as we can.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this list of date ideas in Chattanooga. It’s been so fun putting together this list for you. I’m off to go plan our next date now.