A local’s summer guide to all things Chattanooga.
Written by: Travis Knight, Sockwell Graphic Designer and Native Chattanoogan
Chattanooga is a great place to live year-round, but it really shines in the summer. As a native of Chattanooga, I love taking advantage of all the activities the Tennessee Valley has to offer. My list of favorite summer activities is pretty long, so I narrowed it down to my top 5 things to do around the city and made sure to include something for everyone.
While most blogs and websites will tell you to go to the Tennessee Aquarium, stop by the historic Chattanooga Choo Choo, and visit Ruby Falls, my favorite way to spend summer weekends is with the company of Chattanooga’s outdoor beauty.
Whether you’re visiting Chattanooga for a long weekend, you recently moved here, or you’ve lived here your entire life, make sure you add these tried and true summer activities to your Chattanooga to do list!
Image courtesy of SeeRockCity.com.
Explore Rock City
No Chattanooga summer is complete without a trip to the historic and quirky hot spot otherwise known as Rock City. One of the area’s oldest roadside attractions situated “up the mountain” (as the locals would say) on Lookout Mountain, Rock City presents visitors with can’t-miss aerial views. The name speaks for itself—Lookout Mountain will give you a glimpse of seven states, all at once. Who wouldn’t want to do that?!
Located just six miles from Downtown Chattanooga, Rock City is an easy day trip for the adventurous souls, both young and old. With its colossal, ancient rock formations and gardens with over 400 plant species, this Chattanooga excursion is something the whole family can join in on. Plus, with no shortage of dining options and shopping centers, you and your travel buddies can make pit stops along the way to satisfy food cravings or pick up commemorative gifts to remember this scenic experience.
Image courtesy of RootsRated.
Lula Lake Land Trust
Also located on Lookout Mountain, but a little further “up the mountain” is Lula Lake Land Trust. Lula Lake is a great place to explore the great outdoors, with easy and intermediate hikes that include amazing views of waterfalls and more from the top of Lookout Mountain. Since it’s only open two weekends every month (the first and last), reservations are recommended. And, if you time your visit just right, you can top it off with a trip just down the road to Lookout Mountain Pizza Company, a local pizzeria open three days a week.
Image courtesy of ChattanoogaFun.com.
While this outdoor market is good for a lot of things, I have one main motive for my visits—TOMATOES! The Chattanooga Market at the First Tennessee Pavilion runs from April to December, but July and August are my favorites months to visit the market because you’re guaranteed the best summer produce—including tomatoes, peaches, corn, peppers and squash. The list goes on! In addition to local produce, you can find products by local artisans, food trucks, live music, weekly themed events such as the Top Tomato Blood Mary Tasting and Lodge Cast Iron Cook-Off, and plenty of ice cold beer to keep you cool in the Tennessee heat.
The Chattanooga Market is the region’s largest producer-only marketplace that will give visitors and locals alike a taste of what Chattanooga is all about. With a variety of events lined up each month, this market gives Chattanoogans a reason to get out of the house and catch a breath of fresh air—and fresh food. There’s no better way to experience the city as a local than to support the local community. Named one of the Top Ten Best Public Markets in America by Frommer’s, this stop will give visitors a deeper look into the true essence of Chattanooga.
Image courtesy of ChattanoogaFC.com.
Chattanooga Football Club
Since 2009, Chattanooga Football Club (CFC) has taken the city by storm. Summer nights spent at Finley Stadium watching these games are some of the best nights in downtown Chattanooga. The Crazies keep the spirit up throughout the game and celebrations continue across the street at local breweries, like Chattanooga Brewing Company and Naked River Brewing.
Sports have become a growing component of the Chattanooga culture. The Chattanooga Football Club offers a chance for the community to come together and support the talents of local players while offering some great outdoor entertainment. Through young training programs, premier men’s and women’s teams and the help of charitable programs, dreams are made reality at this soccer field.
Image courtesy of MiLB.com.
Are you really making the most of your summer if you don’t attend a baseball game? Along the topic of sports, the Chattanooga Lookouts have been building a stronger community since 1885! To say they are a Chattanooga institution would be an understatement. Located downtown near the Tennessee Aquarium, the AT&T Field is a great place to meet up with friends and cheer on our local MiLB team. You can check out the summer schedule and book your tickets at MiLB.com/Chattanooga.
I may be biased, but Chattanooga is such a special place that begs to be explored in the summertime. Aside from these five activities, you can’t beat simply being outside and exploring the Tennessee Valley’s endless waterways and surrounding mountain ranges. We really do have something for everyone!
Are you visiting Chattanooga this summer? Tag us on Instagram while you’re here.