Things to Do in Chattanooga: By JUNKET
Did you know Chattanooga was a pivotal battleground in the Civil War? Or that it’s the birthplace of the beloved (and tasty!) Moon Pie?
Driving through the winding Smoky Mountain roads, you glimpse the breathtaking views of the Tennessee River and know that you've arrived somewhere truly special. Cradled in a bend of the river that snakes through downtown, Chattanooga is a city that promises to captivate your senses and leave you wanting more. With its stunning natural landscapes, rich history and culture, and endless opportunities for adventure, it's a destination that beckons you to stay a while and join the fun.
Scenic City Sights
From the rugged cliffs of Lookout Mountain to the lush greenery of the Tennessee River Gorge, there's always something new to explore and discover. Test your waistline at Fat Man’s Squeeze at Rock City, a magical foray through natural rock formations, caves, and scenic trails that ends with the breathtaking view of seven states. Explore the amazing rock formations and marvel at the tallest and deepest underground cave waterfall on a guided tour to Lookout Mountain’s Ruby Falls.
Preserving the Past
But it's not just the natural beauty that makes Chattanooga a must-visit destination. The city is steeped in rich history, from its indigenous roots to its pivotal role in the Civil War. Celebrate the golden age of train travel, honor the memory of displaced Native Americans, and learn the emotional price of war during a Chattanooga by Junket premium experience.
Specters of the Scenic City
As night falls, Chattanooga transforms into a magical wonderland, with its glittering skyline illuminating the starry night sky. The lights of the Tennessee Aquarium dance across the river's surface, while the majestic mountains of the Cumberland Plateau loom in the distance, casting a watchful eye over the city.
This is the ideal time to discover the remnants of the city’s morbid past on the celebrated Chattanooga Haunts: Riverwalk Ghost Tour. This fascinating tour introduces you to a chilling collection of the most haunted locations in the city where you will:
- Unearth the dark shadows of the Hunter Museum
- Encounter the restless spirits of the Read House Hotel
- Uncover the tragic apparitions of Underground Chattanooga
- Discover the tortured souls at the Trail of Tears Memorial
- And so much more…
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Where Cotton Meets Corn
The name Chattanooga comes from a Native American word for “rock coming to a point,” referring to the shape of the sharp summit of nearby Lookout Mountain. Before European settlement, the Chattanooga area was inhabited by various Native American tribes for over 8,000 years, including the Cherokee, Creek, and Chickasaw. The Cherokee Nation established a town later called Ross's Landing on the Tennessee River, which would become the city of Chattanooga, as well as the departure point for the Trail of Tears.
In 1816, the first permanent European settlement was established in Chattanooga by John Ross, an Indian agent of Cherokee descent who would unite the Cherokee tribes as chief. His warehouse became an important supply source for both settlers and native tribes, and a town soon took hold on the riverbanks, growing rapidly in the following decades and attracting settlers from all over the region.
Known as the site “where cotton meets corn,” Chattanooga served as the gateway to the Deep South after the railroad came to town.
Whether by river or rail, the city was the main artery of cargo traveling south. Chattanooga played a significant role in the transportation and trade of goods due to its location at the intersection of the Tennessee River and several major railroads.
Gateway to the South
During the Civil War, the city was a strategic target for both the Union and Confederate armies because of its importance in transporting troops and supplies. In 1863, the Battle of Chattanooga was fought in and around the city, resulting in a Union victory that helped secure control of the region. The emotional impact of this historic battle can be experienced at the Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park.
In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, Chattanooga's importance as a transportation hub continued to grow. The city became known as the "Gateway to the South" because of its location at the crossroads of several major railroads. The Tennessee River also played a significant role in the movement of goods through Chattanooga. Barges and steamboats transported goods such as coal, timber, and cotton downriver to other ports along the Mississippi River and the Gulf of Mexico.
Forging a Legacy
After the Civil War, Chattanooga underwent a period of rapid industrialization, becoming a major center for manufacturing and transportation. The city's strategic location as a transportation hub, combined with its abundant natural resources, made it an ideal site for factories and an attractive destination for entrepreneurs and investors.
“Chattanooga is a young and prosperous city, beautifully located, and with a great future before it.” – John Thomas Wilder, Civil War veteran and entrepreneur
In the late 19th century, Chattanooga became a center of the emerging iron and steel industry, thanks to its proximity to the coal fields of Appalachia. Investors referred to it as the “Chicago of the South.” The city also became a major producer of textiles due to the availability of cheap labor and the abundance of cotton in the surrounding region.
Revitalization and Progress
During World War II, Chattanooga played a critical role in the war effort. The city's manufacturing facilities produced a variety of goods for the military, including steel, munitions, and aircraft components.
In the decades following the war, Chattanooga faced many of the same challenges as other industrial cities in the United States, including deindustrialization and economic decline. However, in recent years, Chattanooga has experienced a resurgence, thanks in part to investments in technology and sustainable industries. Chattanooga is a city that seamlessly blends the old and the new, the natural and the urban, to create a truly unique and unforgettable experience.
The Charm of Chattanooga
Chattanooga is a city that loves to celebrate, with a constant buzz of activity and special events to enjoy all year long. The city is home to a thriving music scene, with live performances at venues like the Tivoli Theatre and the annual Riverbend Festival. Foodies will delight in the city's diverse culinary offerings ranging from classic Southern comfort food to international cuisine, featuring everything from homemade pop tarts at Milk and Honey to the award-winning oyster bar at the Boathouse.
Fans of the Moon Pie can shop the historic store of this iconic Southern treat, which is a chocolate-covered graham cracker and marshmallow sandwich that has been a favorite snack for more than 100 years.
“Chattanooga is a city of possibilities. It's a city where people come to do things - to make something of themselves and of their communities."
– Former U.S. President Bill Clinton
Admire the construction of the1890s-era Walnut Street Bridge, one of the longest pedestrian bridges in the world, as you stroll across to Chattanooga’s North Shore, a trendy neighborhood with a unique blend of urban amenities and outdoor recreation. Ride the antique carousel in Coolidge Park and satisfy your inner foodie at one of the many farm-to-table restaurants.
Rush or Relaxation: Find Both in Chattanooga
Chattanooga is a vibrant city with a thriving arts and culture scene, a bustling downtown, and a strong economy. The city has undergone a period of revitalization in recent years, with the redevelopment of its riverfront, the construction of the Tennessee Aquarium and other attractions, and the growth of its tourism industry.
Perhaps what Chattanooga is best known for is its adventurous spirit. The city is a playground for outdoor enthusiasts, with opportunities for hiking, biking, rock climbing, and even hang gliding. You can take a leisurely stroll along the Chattanooga Riverwalk or go whitewater rafting down the Ocoee River.
Get to Know Chattanooga
Experience the best of both worlds in Chattanooga - the charm of a small Southern town and the amenities of a big city. Endless options of activities, dining, and socializing are at your fingertips, along with attractions ranging from museums to outdoor excursions, and so much more. In addition to the Chattanooga Junket Experience, here are a few local hotspots you should check out:
- Rock City: Marvel at Lookout Mountain’s natural rock garden with hiking trails, waterfalls, and panoramic views of seven states.
- Chattanooga Choo Choo: Visit this historic train station that has been converted into a hotel, restaurants, and shops.
- Walnut Street Bridge: Take a leisurely stroll along this pedestrian-only bridge that offers a beautiful view of the Tennessee River and the city skyline.
- Tennessee Aquarium: Immerse yourself in this popular attraction that features both freshwater and saltwater exhibits, a butterfly garden, and an IMAX theater
- Incline Railway: Enjoy breathtaking views of the city and the surrounding mountains from the vantage point of this steep, uphill railway.
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