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Living in Nashville, we regularly are able to head two hours down the road for Chattanooga Weekend Getaways, both with our four boys and for romantic weekend getaways.

downtown chattanooga at night with view of the aquarium

Chattanooga is a great spot for either a family vacation or a romantic weekend getaway. When it’s just the two of us, we try to stay somewhere within walking distance of all the fun downtown activities.

With the kids, we often stay a short drive from the Scenic City, sometimes even on Lookout Mountain.

Exploring Downtown Chattanooga

Walnut Street Bridge

walnut street bridge in chattanooga at sunset

As you visit downtown Chattanooga, make sure to take a walk on the Walnut Street Bridge. This pedestrian-only bridge connects the downtown area with the North Shore, offering fantastic views of the Tennessee River.

Take your time to appreciate the historic architecture of the bridge while enjoying the friendly atmosphere of the area. Walk across at sunset for an unforgettable experience.

Bluff View Art District

Just a short walk from the Walnut Street Bridge, you’ll find the Bluff View Art District. This charming area boasts a collection of galleries, restaurants, and coffee shops nestled on a bluff overlooking the river.

As you stroll through the picturesque streets, take the opportunity to explore the numerous art pieces and sculptures scattered throughout. Don’t forget to grab a delicious bite to eat or a refreshing drink at one of the local establishments.

Chattanooga Choo Choo Hotel

chattanooga choo choo hotel exterior

A visit to Chattanooga wouldn’t be complete without experiencing the historic Chattanooga Choo Choo Hotel, located in the heart of the downtown area. Once a bustling train station, it now serves as a unique hotel and entertainment complex.

Take a moment to marvel at the beautifully restored architecture and consider booking a stay in one of the hotel’s authentic train car rooms for a truly memorable weekend getaway.

Riverboat Tours

southern belle riverboat on river at night

A wonderful thing to do is to take a Chattanooga riverboat tour. You can do kid-friendly boats such as the Chattanooga Ducks, or take romantic dinner cruises on the Southern Belle riverboat – there are many different options here, and you get great views of the city while you ride.

Check out our guide to Chattanooga riverboats here.

the author's youngest son on Lookout Mountain
Our youngest son on top of Lookout Mountain at Point Park

Outdoor Attractions

Lookout Mountain Attractions

Rock City Gardens in Chattanooga, Tennessee, USA.
Bridge at Rock City

Lookout Mountain offers a variety of attractions for you to explore. Visit Rock City, where you can see beautiful views of seven states on a clear day and walk through unique rock formations.

Don’t miss out on Ruby Falls, an incredible underground waterfall that is sure to take your breath away.

Take a ride on the historic Incline Railway to reach the top of Lookout Mountain, where stunning panoramic views await you. While you’re there, be sure to hike Sunset Rock for a memorable outdoor adventure.

Here we are at Ruby Falls:

This was when we rode the Incline Railway:

incline railway in St. Elmo station

Chattanooga Riverwalk

Chattanooga Riverwalk

The Chattanooga Riverwalk is a scenic walking and biking path that stretches along the Tennessee River, providing you with picturesque views and access to many of the city’s top attractions. Here are some highlights to check out:

  • Walnut Street Bridge: Stroll across this historic pedestrian bridge and take in the city skyline.
  • Coolidge Park: Relax in this beautiful green space, or join a game of pick-up soccer.
  • Ross’s Landing: Discover the city’s history at this significant site, and admire the impressive murals around Chattanooga.

Horseback Riding

There are plenty of options for horseback riding near Chattanooga. From calm, easygoing trails to more adventurous outings, you can find a list of horseback riding options here.

the author's son exploring at the creative discovery museum
Our third son exploring how electricity works at the Creative Discovery Museum

Educational and Entertainment Venues

Tennessee Aquarium

The Tennessee Aquarium is a great place for both education and entertainment. It houses more than 10,000 animals and displays them in two separate buildings focused on ocean wildlife and river habitats.

Here, you will not only learn about marine life but also enjoy the stunning exhibits. After your visit, take a leisurely stroll in the nearby Coolidge Park or catch some live music in the area.

Creative Discovery Museum

the author's husband and youngest son at the creative discovery museum
Dad with the youngest at the Creative Discovery Museum

If you’re traveling with children, the Creative Discovery Museum is a must-visit destination. This interactive children’s museum offers hands-on exhibits that foster learning and creativity.

Your little ones will have a blast exploring the various sections, including the art studio, science center, and the rooftop garden. This fun and educational experience is suitable for kids of all ages.

Hunter Museum of American Art

exterior of the hunter museum

For the art and history buff in your group, the Hunter Museum of American Art will surely pique your interest. Located on a beautiful bluff overlooking the Tennessee River, the museum houses an impressive collection of American art spanning from the colonial era to the present day. Enjoy works by well-known artists and discover new favorites as you meander through galleries filled with paintings, sculptures, and other artworks.

woman making street tacos

Leisure and Relaxation

Chattanooga offers a variety of leisure and relaxation activities for your perfect weekend getaway. From luxurious accommodations and fine dining to charming boutique hotels and rooftop bars, this city has something for everyone to enjoy.

Chattanooga’s Best Hotels

Dwell Hotel is a boutique hotel that boasts a unique blend of modern design and vintage charm. The hotel offers luxurious amenities such as an outdoor pool, hot tub, and indoor swimming pool to ensure a comfortable and enjoyable stay for guests.

For nature lovers looking for the best romantic getaways, Bluff View Inn is a charming bed and breakfast set atop picturesque bluffs with stunning views of the Tennessee River. Offering a variety of cozy rooms and suites, guests can choose accommodations that suit their needs and preferences.

Fine Dining

During your stay in Chattanooga, indulge in some of the city’s finest dining experiences. Savor a delicious meal at a top-notch restaurant offering an array of delectable cuisines, including Southern classics and international fare.

  • Whitebird: Located inside The Edwin Hotel, Whitebird offers an elegant dining experience with contemporary Southern cuisine and a commitment to supporting local farmers and producers.
  • St. John’s Restaurant: Upscale and romantic, St. John’s features a menu that changes seasonally to showcase the best locally-sourced ingredients. The hand-picked wine list offers a perfect accompaniment to your meal.


After a day of exploring the city, unwind with a night out at some of Chattanooga’s most popular nightspots. Whether you prefer a cozy rooftop bar or a high-energy dance club, there’s something for everyone.

  • Whiskey Thief: Perched atop The Edwin Hotel, Whiskey Thief is Chattanooga’s first true rooftop bar. Enjoy panoramic views of the city with a handcrafted cocktail in hand, or sample from the extensive selection of whiskeys.

For large groups and special occasions, your best bet is Relax Chattanooga, a luxury retreat at Good Fortune Soap & Spa offering a spacious 1,660 sq. ft. apartment with a private rooftop. This unique space is perfect for those who want to unwind in style and enjoy the vibrant “Southside district” of Chattanooga.

The hubs and I at Fall Creek Falls – an easy drive from Chattanooga

Excursions and Day Trips

Small Towns and Cities Nearby

Take a break from the city and venture out on a weekend getaway to explore some small towns and cities nearby. You’ll find charming coffee shops, local boutiques, and cozy guest rooms waiting to welcome you. Some popular destinations not too far from Chattanooga include:

  • Nashville, Tennessee: Just a couple hours away, the city offers you plenty of music history, delicious food, and a vibrant downtown scene.
  • Franklin, Tennessee: A picturesque town with historic sites, unique shopping, and tasty eats – perfect for your Saturday night out.
  • Pigeon Forge, Tennessee: Home to Dollywood, it’s a lively spot for amusement rides, shows, and spectacular mountain views.

North Georgia Mountains

Pack your hiking boots for a day trip to the stunning North Georgia Mountains. With breathtaking views and numerous outdoor activities, it’s easy to fill your days with adventure.

  • Helen, Georgia: A beautiful Bavarian-style town offering tubing, waterfalls, and authentic German cuisine.
  • Blairsville, Georgia: For the perfect blend of nature and culture, hike the stunning trails during the day and enjoy live music performances on a pleasant evening.
  • Dahlonega, Georgia: For those who enjoy wine tasting, this charming town offers several vineyards, quaint boutiques, and a rich gold rush history.

Cherokee National Forest

Immerse yourself in the magnificent beauty of the Cherokee National Forest. Located within a two-hour drive from Chattanooga, you’ll find yourself among lush landscapes, rolling hills, and an abundance of outdoor activities.

  • High Point: With its numerous trails and captivating views, High Point is a must-visit spot for hikers and adventurers.
  • Waterfalls: The forest is a paradise for waterfall chasers; be sure to check out favorites like Rainbow Falls and Sill Branch Falls.
  • Camping: For those looking to spend the night, there are plenty of campsites throughout the forest where you can relax under the stars.

Fulfill your wanderlust with these exceptional excursions and day trips near Chattanooga. Whether you love exploring small towns and cities, adventuring through the mountains, or reveling in the wonders of nature, the perfect weekend trip awaits you.

Pizzeria glass window. Variety of italian pizzas in a shop display, street food. Kitchen workers arranging the pizzas.

Culinary Experience

Best Restaurants in Chattanooga

Embark on a culinary journey as you explore some of the best restaurants in Chattanooga. Start your day with a hearty breakfast at The Daily Ration located at 1220 Dartmouth Street.

This popular spot is an old gas station converted into a cozy eatery, loved by both locals and tourists. As the day progresses, treat yourself to some good food at Carter Street, a famous street known for its eclectic mix of restaurants.

In the United States, Chattanooga is famous for its diverse culinary culture. As you stroll down Broad Street, you will discover a range of eateries serving delectable dishes from various cuisines.

If you are looking for the best experience, consider joining a guided small-group food tour of Downtown Chattanooga. This intimate tour offers a chance to sample mouth-watering dishes from the city’s finest restaurants in the company of like-minded food enthusiasts.

Best ThingsBest WayBest Place
Tasting local foodJoin a food tourDowntown area
Trying new recipesVisit restaurantsBroad Street
Exploring marketsStroll through townCarter Street

Local Farmer’s Markets

During your stay in Chattanooga, make it a point to experience the unique and vibrant local food scene by visiting farmers markets and interacting with the producers. The state of Tennessee is home to numerous farmers markets providing an opportunity to sample fresh, locally-sourced produce. In the city of Chattanooga, you can wander through bustling markets and meet the friendly vendors eager to share their knowledge and passion for good food.

Some of the best weekend getaways involve immersing yourself in the local culture. So, as you explore the culinary landscape in Chattanooga, remember to taste, learn, and appreciate the flavors that make this city a foodie haven.

Sprinkle your trip with culinary adventures and eat your way through the charming city of Chattanooga. Bon appétit, my fellow foodies!

Sometimes you just need to be the two of you…

Detailed Itineraries for a 3-Day Romantic Getaway

Day 1

Morning: Start your 3-day romantic getaway in Chattanooga by grabbing breakfast at a local café. Then, head to High Point Climbing and Fitness on Broad Street for some adventurous bonding with your loved one. This top attraction will give you both a unique and exhilarating experience while exploring the heart of downtown Chattanooga.

Afternoon: After a thrilling morning, take a leisurely walk around the city, exploring local shops and boutiques. Grab lunch at a chic restaurant and perhaps take a scenic stroll along the Tennessee River. The pedestrian-only Walnut Street Bridge offers beautiful views and a perfect romantic photo opportunity.

Evening: A romantic dinner for two is a must during your first evening in Chattanooga. Enjoy a fine dining experience at a local restaurant with a stunning atmosphere. Afterward, take a leisurely nighttime walk around the city, soaking in the sights and sounds before retiring to your cozy accommodation.

Day 2

Morning: On the second day of your romantic getaway, start with a delicious breakfast at your accommodation or a nearby café. Then, head to the Tennessee Aquarium for an engaging and educational experience. Explore the fascinating marine life and immerse yourselves in the wonders of the underwater world.

Afternoon: After your morning at the aquarium, enjoy some downtime with your loved one. Relax in a nearby park or grab some snacks from a local market and have a romantic picnic. Use this time to reconnect and enjoy each other’s company in the beautiful surroundings of Chattanooga.

Evening: For your second evening, take your loved one to a live performance or show. Chattanooga offers a variety of entertainment options, from intimate theater productions to live music events. Afterward, indulge in a nightcap at a charming bar or lounge before heading back to your accommodation.

Day 3

Morning: On your final day, start your morning off with a hearty breakfast and prepare for a day of exploring nature. Head to Lookout Mountain for breathtaking views and an unforgettable experience.

Afternoon: After enjoying the beautiful sights at Lookout Mountain, spend your afternoon at Rock City Gardens. This unique attraction offers stunning rock formations, panoramic views, and picturesque gardens. It’s the perfect place to create lasting memories with your loved one.

Evening: To end your romantic getaway, treat yourselves to a luxurious spa experience followed by a delicious dinner at a nearby restaurant. Reflect on your amazing three days together in Chattanooga before returning to your accommodation for a restful night’s sleep.

the author's husband and sons at the observation deck of the Incline Railway
My hubs and boys at the observation deck after riding the Incline Railway

Detailed Itineraries for a 3-Day Family Weekend Getaway to Chattanooga

For these itineraries, we have broken them down by type of activity, so feel free to mix and match these to take in all of what Chattanooga has to offer!

Itinerary 1: History and Nature

Day 1

Morning: Kick off your Chattanooga adventure with a visit to the historic Chattanooga Choo Choo. This iconic train station offers a fascinating glimpse into the city’s past.

Afternoon: After lunch, embark on a thrilling journey up Lookout Mountain via the Incline Railway. Once at the top, explore the Lookout Mountain Battlefield and Point Park, managed by the National Park Service.

Evening: Conclude your day with a hearty meal at the Terminal Brewhouse, a restaurant located in a historic building that once served as a hotel for railroad passengers.

Day 2

Morning: Start your day with a leisurely stroll across the Walnut Street Bridge, one of the longest pedestrian bridges in the world.

Afternoon: Spend your afternoon exploring Chattanooga’s NorthShore. Take a ride on the restored carousel in Coolidge Park and visit The Passage at Ross’s Landing, an outdoor exhibit about the Cherokee tribes.

Evening: Wrap up your day with a visit to the Tennessee Aquarium, followed by dinner at a local pizza joint.

Day 3

Morning: Begin your final day in Chattanooga with a trip to the Jack Daniels Distillery. Learn about the history of this iconic brand and taste some of their finest whiskeys.

Afternoon: Head to Rock City Gardens in the afternoon. This magical spot offers a walking trail through caves, rock formations, and gardens.

Evening: End your day with a pizza and wine tasting at Lookout Winery, offering stunning views of the surrounding area.

Itinerary 2: Adventure and Exploration

Day 1

Morning: Start your day with a visit to the Tennessee Aquarium. Discover a variety of marine life and learn about their habitats.

Afternoon: After lunch, take a walk across the Walnut Street Bridge and explore Chattanooga’s NorthShore.

Evening: End your day with a dinner boat ride aboard the Southern Belle Riverboat. Enjoy live music, great views, and delicious food.

Day 2

Morning: Enjoy a leisurely breakfast at your hotel before heading out to Rock City Gardens. Explore the unique rock formations and gardens at this enchanting location.

Afternoon: Spend your afternoon at Ruby Falls. Take a guided tour of the cave and marvel at the spectacular underground waterfall.

Evening: Return to Chattanooga for dinner at Puckett’s Restaurant, followed by a haunted ghost tour or a self-guided city scavenger hunt.

Day 3

Morning: On your final day, head to Fall Creek Falls and South Cumberland State Park. Spend your morning hiking and viewing the beautiful waterfalls.

Afternoon: Continue exploring the natural beauty of the area in the afternoon.

Evening: After a day of adventure, unwind with a pizza and wine tasting at Lookout Winery.

Itinerary 3: Culture and Entertainment

Day 1

Morning: Begin your day with a visit to the Chattanooga Choo Choo. Explore this historic train station and learn about its significance in the city’s history.

Afternoon: After lunch, take a trip up Lookout Mountain on the Incline Railway. Visit the National Park Service run Lookout Mountain Battlefield and Point Park.

Evening: End your day with a haunted ghost tour or a self-guided city scavenger hunt.

Day 2

Morning: Start your day with a walk across the Walnut Street Bridge. Enjoy the views and take some memorable photos.

Afternoon: Spend your afternoon exploring Chattanooga’s NorthShore. Visit The Passage at Ross’s Landing, an outdoor exhibit about the Cherokee tribes.

Evening: Spend your evening at the Tennessee Aquarium, followed by dinner at a local pizza joint. (See the best pizza places here)

Day 3

Morning: On your final day, visit the Jack Daniels Distillery. Learn about the history of this iconic brand and taste some of their finest whiskeys.

Afternoon: Head to Rock City Gardens in the afternoon. Explore the unique rock formations and gardens.

Evening: End your day with a dinner boat ride aboard the Southern Belle Riverboat. Enjoy the live music, great views, and delicious food.

Take a look at some of these family weekend getaway ideas with this awesome video:

Final Thoughts on Chattanooga Weekend Getaways

I hope that this list has inspired you to make Chattanooga your next weekend getaway. We love checking out Chattanooga’s top attractions like the aquarium, the amazing art galleries, the views from Lookout Mountain and walking the banks of the Tennessee River. There are so many beautiful places to explore here!

So, I hope we see you the next time we are exploring all the fun things in the Scenic City!

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