I recently visited my grandmother who lives in Chattanooga, Tennessee. She’s a really big history buff, so one of the things she likes to do when visitors come from out of town is to take them to see the civil war battlefields and museums around town. Since a lot happened in the Chattanooga area during the civil war, there is quite a lot to see!
The first place we visited was the Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park. This park spans both sides of the Tennessee/Georgia border. You can tour the battlefields from the civil war and view monuments and memorials along the way. There is also a visitor center that tells the history of the battles fought in the area as well as a lot of civil war era memorabilia on display. You can learn more about the battles that were fought at Chickamauga here.
The second place she took us to see was the famous Lookout Mountain. Not only was Lookout Mountain an important strategic location during the civil war, but it’s also just a really beautiful and fabulous place to go. As you tour the area, you can learn about the war and what happened there, but you can also catch spectacular views of downtown Chattanooga and the river. It’s definitely worth a visit.
If you’re visiting Chattanooga and only have a short amount of time, I suggest checking out these historical locations and then heading to downtown Chattanooga for an afternoon. The Tennessee Aquarium is a top notch aquarium that rivals any aquariums I’ve visited here in California, so definitely check it out. If you have kids, this is an absolutely awesome place to take them for the day. Even if you don’t have kids, it’s worth a visit.
After the aquarium, take a stroll around downtown Chattanooga and check out the views of the river from the bridge and some of the cool street art that can be found around town.
Places I recommend to eat are the Riverside Catfish Restaurant, an unassuming little gem where you can get some absolutely delicious and authentic southern friend catfish with an awesome view of the river.
There’s also the Rib and Loin, which had some of the best barbecue I’ve ever had. This place was seriously good and recommended to me by my relatives, who are locals. As they say in the South, it was finger lickin’ GOOD!
If you’ve still got time, I suggest checking out the Red Clay State Park, where you can hike in some beautiful wilderness and learn about what happened to the Cherokee tribe during the enforcement of the Indian Removal Act of 1830.
Lastly, you should absolutely take the time to go whitewater rafting on the Ocoee river when you visit Chattanooga. It’s not too far away and it’s one of the most awesome, thrilling things I’ve ever done in my lifetime. I won’t write too much about it here, because I wrote an entire post on my experience on the Ocoee here. But for now, I’ll just say that this is an experience you absolutely should not miss.
I highly recommend a visit to Chattanooga. It’s a beautiful little gem in the South. It’s full of spectacular nature, awesome food, and tons of history. Not only will you have a great time, but you’ll learn something as well. Have you ever been to Chattanooga? If so, let me know if I missed anything awesome you think I should add to the list!