Why You Should Go
A Fun City With Plenty To Do
Sometimes all it takes is a weekend away from home to reconnect, recharge, and reset. Chattanooga, TN is a fantastic place to do just that. This is a unique city where you can climb in one of the largest climbing gyms in the country, walk across one of the longest pedestrian bridges in the world, visit Civil War battlefields, admire a jellyfish exhibit at a fantastic aquarium, plus enjoy a pleasant downtown with great shops, theaters, and restaurants.
"Best Outdoor Town" Distinction
In addition to a fun downtown with a variety of good local restaurants and breweries, Chattanooga's many outdoor opportunities earned it Outside Magazine’s “Best Town” twice. So, as you can see, there’s plenty to entertain the whole family.
Ditch The Car And Walk Everywhere
If you want to park the car and leave it for the entirety of the weekend, you could do so easily. Chattanooga has a compact and walkable downtown with good sidewalks, bike lanes, and a really nice Riverwalk along the river. Make sure to visit the wonderful Tennessee Aquarium located downtown on the banks of the Tennessee River.
Many sites and activities such as the Creative Discovery Museum are within walking distance of the downtown hotels. If the kids are tired of walking, the entertainment continues with a ride on a free downtown electric trolley that will shuttle you from point to point.
Scenes From Chattanooga
Where You Should Stay
Staying downtown is the way to go. Unfortunately, there aren’t many Airbnb or VRBO listings for this area. We have always stayed in hotels directly downtown and walk to most activities (restaurants, museum, aquarium, the river, etc.) Tip: We find it is worth the extra money to be downtown and not have to find parking each day, which can be a hassle.”
Heads Up: We do participate in affiliate marketing with some of the companies that we personally use. They don’t pay us to write, we simply get a commission if you enter those sites through our “gate” as opposed to say a Google search. We never accept free gifts or comped stays. Full Disclosure Statement
Favorite Hotels Downtown
Here are some of our favorites. My first choice is the Holiday Inn, but it generally comes down to which hotel has the best rate. The following hotels are all excellent choices and have convenient locations along Chestnut Street.
Pro Tip: Check with your hotel to see if they offer a Lodging/Aquarium Package.
Holiday Inn and Downtown Suites- Located at 434 Chestnut Street. A relatively new hotel. It has an indoor pool and an adjacent outdoor rooftop patio with a fire pit. Kids eat free. Note that valet parking is required here for $15/day if you want to park in their garage or you can find your own elsewhere downtown. This hotel is usually the best price point around $140 per night.
Courtyard by Marriott Downtown- Also located on Chestnut Street (200 block), this is your typical Courtyard and is conveniently located within walking distance of everything downtown. Indoor pool.
Hilton Garden Inn- Downtown- Another good option with an excellent location and indoor pool. 311 Chestnut St.
Hampton Inn Downtown-It offers a free hot breakfast, but I would hate to miss out on the local Blue Plate restaurant and Maple Biscuit Co. Again, an excellent location walkable to all of downtown. It has an outdoor pool. 400 Chestnut St.
Where You Should Eat
At Maple Street Biscuit you get to pick the toppings for your biscuit which makes this a fun dining experience for everyone. The biscuits are huge so don’t worry about this not being enough to fill you up. They also have salads and entrees for lunch and dinner. Hint: Don’t miss the mac ‘n cheese!
If the weather is nice, grab a table outside at Blue Plate Cafe and watch the Tennessee River flow by. The food is terrific and they serve breakfast all day, along with a lunch and dinner menu.
Big River Grill and Brewery is located across from the Chattanooga Aquarium and is a great stop for locally crafted beer and good food. They have a childrens menu as well. Pro Tip: The kids dessert menu features an Oreo ice cream pie for $1.99 (inexpensive and delicious!)
Take a walk across the Tennessee River on the beautiful Walnut Street Bridge to reach the German restaurant Brew Haus on the north side of Chattanooga. Share a pork schnitzel and an order of Bavarian pretzels with mustard. They also have burgers and salads if you’re feeling less Deutsche.
Lupi’s Pizza, located downtown, has been awarded Chattanooga’s best pizza over numerous years. It’s a fun atmosphere and they have a very good beer selection. Another excellent pizza option is Mellow Mushroom Pizza located adjacent to the Aquarium.
Chattanooga is loaded with attractions that the whole family will enjoy. You’ll find plenty to do with a stellar aquarium, an indoor climbing wall for the adventurous family, IMAX movies and theaters, Rock City, the beautiful Tennessee River, Civil War battlefields, and so much more!
You won’t have any trouble filling your weekend getaway with good times. So load up the minivan, unplug those devices, and go have yourself a weekend of fun and family togetherness!
What Makes Our Travel Guides Simply Awesome?
If you want to visit Chattanooga but don’t have time to plan your weekend adventure, check out our Chattanooga Weekend Getaway Guide.
It highlights lodging and dining choices, the best activities Chattanooga has to offer, and includes all the little things that can be so helpful in making a trip a success—detailed maps so it’s easy to find your way around, rainy day ideas, and helpful tips we discovered along the way.
We have done these trips with our own families so we know what works and what doesn’t. We’ll tell you what’s skippable and what’s a must do in this fun city.
All Of Our Travel Guides Include:
Where To Stay
The lodging choices for each destination have been carefully selected for their ideal location, price point, safety, and proximity to the day’s activities. We tell you the best area to stay so you can minimize driving or walking distances and maximize your moments having fun. Knowing what part of town to stay in is a huge part of making a trip a success, and that’s hard to do when you are not familiar with a destination. We save you time and energy by doing all the research for you.
Where To Eat
Local dining establishments are highlighted. The kind where children are welcome but isn't necessarily a restaurant geared primarily towards kids. You won't find many restaurant chains in our itineraries, just good local food mirroring the destination's culture. This could mean a food truck, a pizza place, or a nice sit-down restaurant, but always delicious. If there are any local brews, specialty foods, wines, or coffee houses around, we'll mention those too.
Where To Play
The organization of each day has been thoughtfully planned in order to group activities together by proximity, ideal time of day to visit, and the best nearby dining choices. It’s all been laid out for you, along with directions, maps, travel tips, links to more info, and more. We cover the most worthwhile activities to do in a destination (based on our own family’s reviews) without forgetting that vacations are meant to be fun and relaxing, not a list to be checked off while hauling around whining children.
You’ll find plenty of outdoor activities for the family as well as cultural and historical sites unique to the destination. Many itineraries include easy hikes, bike rides, and float trips that have been selected for their kid-friendly length and ease of difficulty as well as their scenic beauty. (Always worth it!) We are all about getting families outdoors so we include as much fresh air as we can in our itineraries, whether it is a day-long trek in a national park or just the location of a fantastic playground perfect for a break from sight-seeing.
At the founding of Simply Awesome Trips, we agreed to travel as we always have with our families—on our own dime. No free nights, no comped visits, not even any swag. We continue to feel good about that decision. We do participate in affiliate marketing with some of the companies that we personally use (Booking.com, VRBO.com). They don’t pay us to write, we simply get a commission if you enter those sites through our “gate” as opposed to say a Google search. But we also recommend lodging, restaurants, and activities, where we don’t receive any commission, such as Airbnb or private rental companies. If it’s good; it’s good. We don’t change recommendations based on vendor.
More Blogs About Chattanooga
Other Weekend Getaway Ideas