Chattanooga blossoms in the spring with seasonal festivals such as Rock City’s Southern Blooms Festival, Shamrock City, and EarthDayz.
Film connoisseurs will love the Chattanooga Film Festival, which includes access to short and feature films, creative workshops, and special events. Those looking for fun in the form of fitness will enjoy events such as Erlanger’s Chattanooga Marathon in March and the IRONMAN 70.3 in May, which attracts competitors from across the country.
Things start to heat up in Chattanooga during the summer months. The Armed Forces Day Parade, held in honor of veterans and fallen heroes, draws crowds year after year.
Locals can also take advantage of live music at Riverfront Nights at Ross’s Landing, Nightfall Concert Series at Miller Plaza, and the Summer Music Series at Rock City. Residents celebrate Independence Day in July with the Chattanooga Symphony & Opera Pops on the River.
As the Scenic City is painted with the vibrant colors of fall, a second IRONMAN is held in September. The family-friendly Moon River Music Festival, also held in September, brings concert lovers to Coolidge Park, while the 3 Sisters Bluegrass Festival, held each October, is another fan-favorite music event. Chattanoogans also look forward to the Oktoberfest celebrations hosted by Rock City and the Chattanooga Market each year.
The Tennessee Aquarium transforms into the Aqua-Scarium for Halloweed, and Ruby Falls’ Dread Hollow offers its share of freighting fun. In the cooler month of November, Head of the Hooch, one of the world’s largest rowing regattas, takes place on the Tennessee River.
During the holiday season, the Scenic City becomes a glittering wonderland with events like Tennessee Valley Railroad’s North Pole Limited, Ruby Falls’ Christmas Underground, Tennessee Aquarium’s Holiday Under the Peaks, Rock City’s Enchanted Garden of Lights, and the Chattanooga Zoo’s Holiday Lights. MAINx24, a 24-hour festival on Chattanooga’s Southside, features parades, live music, cook-offs, and more. As the holiday season comes to a close, Ruby Falls caps off the winter months with Romance at Ruby – a beloved Valentine’s Day event.
With festivals and events for every season, the fun is Chattanooga never ends.
301 N Holtzclaw Ave, Chattanooga, TN 37404
The Chattanooga Zoo at Warner Park (formerly the Warner Park Zoo) is a 13-acre (5.3 ha) zoological park located in Warner Park in Chattanooga, Tennessee. The zoo was established in 1937 by the City of Chattanooga with the construction of two 4 by 6 feet (1.2 by 1.8 m) cages for rhesus monkeys. (An earlier zoo was established in 1900, Oxley Zoo, by Colonel F. G. Oxley of Bridgeport, Alabama when he donated $500 to open the first public zoo in Chattanooga. Oxley Zoo closed due to financial constraints in 1911.) The zoo has been accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) since 1998. The zoo is currently undergoing a five-phase, $12 million Master Plan that is transforming it into an excellent zoological facility. In the last 10 years, the zoo has expanded from 1.5 acres (0.61 ha) to its current 13 acres (5.3 ha). The Master Plan includes new exhibits and expansion of the animal collection to specifically include African penguins, gibbons, and Komodo dragons.
First Tennessee Pavilion, 1826 Carter Street, Chattanooga TN
Always Something to See, Something to Eat, Something to Buy. Weekly market with fresh produce, arts and crafts, food trucks and live music. They usually have 75 or so vendors, 8-10 food trucks and plenty of fresh breads, sweets, and drinks. Try to bring your own shopping bags, get there early for a “stand up lunch” and enjoy looking at the hand crafted art and clothes. Fortunately, most of the vendors take credit cards and there is an ATM on site.
321 Browns Ferry Road, Chattanooga TN 37419
The nationally ranked haunt with over 20,000 square feet of pure terror. Taking fear to the next level, Dread Hollow presents extreme haunts and escape rooms throughout the year with New Year’s Nightmare, Valentine’s Twisted escape, Scream Break, and the award-winning October haunt. Named in the Top 5 2019 "Fan Voted Must-See Haunt" in TN by TheScareFactor.com & 2018 #1 fan favorite haunt in the nation on ScurryFace.com, the nightmare returns to Dread Hollow in 2020 with three all-new terrifying haunts and new escape rooms.
1400 Patten Road, Lookout Mountain, GA 30750
Since its beginnings, Rock City has continued to attract an increasing number of tourists from all over the world. Each year, more than half a million people visit the attraction to enjoy the many natural splendors that abound. Over the years, several features have been added to the original attraction, including the popular Fairyland Caverns and Mother Goose Village, the Cornerstone Station, as well as a myriad of shops and restaurants and even a wedding venue. In addition, the annual events such as Rock City’s Enchanted Garden of Lights during the holiday season bring in guests by the droves. And the gardens Frieda so lovingly planted have also grown through the years to include more than 400 different species of native wildflowers, shrubs, and trees. Through the years, Rock City Gardens has become a true American icon. Under the able leadership of Bill Chapin, a third-generation descendant of Garnet and Frieda, Rock City’s mission is to “Create Memories Worth Repeating.” With its nostalgic history, as well as its continual expansion for the future, Rock City Gardens has earned its reputation as a world-class destination and promises to be for generations to come.
1720 South Scenic Highway Chattanooga, TN 37409
A favorite destination for 90 years, Ruby Falls is home to the tallest and deepest underground waterfall open to the public in the United States. Discover hidden beauty deep inside Lookout Mountain on the Cave Walk to Ruby Falls led by a Ruby Falls guide. Descend 260 feet by elevator into the mountain and explore the cavern trail to the tallest and deepest cave waterfall open to the public in the United States. Learn the story behind the accidental discovery of the cavern, see stunning rock formations, and experience the thundering waterfall! Amazing views are abundant at Ruby Falls. Take in the beautiful scenery of the Tennessee Valley, Cumberland Plateau, and Tennessee River from high atop Lookout Mountain Tower and Blue Heron Overlook. Spectacular vistas are also found from the front porch of the historic Cavern Castle and on the Village Plaza where you can relax and enjoy the mountain breeze. Experience adrenaline-pumping fun at High Point ZIP Adventure, featuring soaring zip lines and a 40-foot climbing tower located in the treetops of Lookout Mountain surrounded by one-of-a-kind view
151 Riverfront Pkwy, Chattanooga, TN 37402
The Southern Belle Riverboat has daily sightseeing cruises, lunch cruises, and dinner cruises as well as private charters; cruise year-round and carries well over 100,000 passengers per year. The Company has expanded into 2 vessels, a grand banquet hall on the 2nd deck of our dockside vessel, and a full-service restaurant above that! The Southern Belle Riverboat is one of the top attractions in Chattanooga, has fantastic Chattanooga weddings, and is still the only way to have sightseeing cruises, lunch cruises, and dinner cruises while cruising down the TN River and enjoying picture-perfect views of Lookout Mountain and all the beautiful nature this great city has to offer!
1720 South Scenic Highway Chattanooga, TN 37409
The Tennessee Aquarium is a non-profit public aquarium located in Chattanooga, Tennessee, United States. It opened in 1992 on the banks of the Tennessee River in downtown Chattanooga, with a major expansion added in 2005. The aquarium, which has been accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) since 1993, is home to more than 12,000 animals representing almost 800 species. More than 20 million people have visited the facility, with the twenty-millionth visitor arriving in March 2013. It is consistently recognized as one of the country's top public aquariums.
4119 Cromwell Rd, Chattanooga, TN 37421
The Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum is a railroad museum and heritage railroad in Chattanooga, Tennessee. The Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum was founded as a chapter of the National Railway Historical Society in 1960 by Paul H. Merriman and Robert M. Soule, Jr., along with a group of local railway preservationists. They wanted to save steam locomotives and railway equipment for future historical display and use. Today the museum offers various tourist excursions, including Dinner on the Diner, from stations in Chattanooga and Etowah, Tennessee.
Downtown Chattanooga | Mid April (usually)
Chattanooga’s Premier Visual Art Event
Ranked #12 by the festival artists based on revenue and overall experience.
An essential part of Chattanooga’s creative capital, 4 Bridges Arts Festival (4BAF) will return to a live event April 16-18, 2021. The 4 Bridges Arts Festival has cultivated and inspired an appreciation for the visual arts by creating opportunities for exchange between working artists and the public. The highly-anticipated, 4BAF is a juried art show that attracts visual artists from across the country and was ranked in the top 20 fine art festivals in the country. The festival showcases the distinctive talents of 120 artists and offers $20,000+ in cash awards. The 2021 festival will feature the artists selected by the 2020 jury panel which was canceled due to COVID-19.
Downtown Chattanooga | Early May (usually)
The annual Armed Forces Day Parade, hosted by the Chattanooga Area Veterans Council, features participants from military service units, area veterans’ groups, high school bands, patriotic organizations, and many others. Each year, the parade features a different service branch, and 2021 marks the parade’s 72nd year, making it the longest continuous armed forces parade in the nation. The 2021 parade, held on May 7 at 10:30 a.m. and starting at the intersection of Market Street and MLK Boulevard, will feature the United States Navy.
Downtown Chattanooga | Late May (usually)
A Popular Race for Beginners and Veterans Alike. Chattanooga, TN lures athletes with its dramatic scenery, idyllic weather and low-key southern charm. This town, known for its abundance of exploration opportunities, is an outdoor lover’s paradise. Sunbelt Bakery IRONMAN 70.3 Chattanooga offers the perfect training opportunity for those getting ready for the September race, or a chance to race in one of the sport's most welcoming race sites for those seeking a half-distance race opportunity. The 2021 Sunbelt Bakery IRONMAN 70.3 Chattanooga presented by McKee A Family Bakery will offer 60 qualifying slots to the 2021 IRONMAN 70.3 World Championship in St. George, Utah.
McCoy Farm & Gardens, Walden, Tennessee | May 28, 11AM – 3PM
McCoy Farm is the venue for an upcoming Memorial Day celebration. Before her death in 2004, Martha Bachman McCoy began conveying her historic family farm to the town of Walden. The town and volunteers are now preparing for a Memorial Day opening picnic and future use as a park. Martha McCoy’s grandfather, Jonathan Waverly Bachman, served under Confederate Gens. Stonewall Jackson and Robert E. Lee. Food, Entertainment, Children’s Activities, and Picnic. Cash, Card, and lawn chair recommended.
Downtown Chattanooga | Late May (usually)
The Riverbend Festival, also called Riverbend, was a well-known annual music festival in Chattanooga, Tennessee, which was started in June 1982 as a five-night festival. Over the years, the festival grew into the nine nights of its current run and presently ranks in the top 10 percent of all American festivals. Additionally, Riverbend has won several national awards from the International Festivals and Events Association, including 8 in 2007. The attendance for Riverbend has grown over the years and there are now regularly over 650,000 people that come over the course of the festival from all over Tennessee, the Southeast, the United States, and other countries. Individual nights can see some 80,000 people in attendance. The festival was named for the bend in the Tennessee River on which Chattanooga was established. Unfortunately, the event has shuttered it’s operations due to COVID in 2020. The current owners have cash reserves and hope for its eventual return. Stay tuned.
Tennessee Aquarium Plaza, 1 Broad Street, Chattanooga TN 37402 | FRI & SAT 10-5PM
Primarily an arts & crafts festival, the River Market features local artisans, live music and frequently a food truck to enjoy the beautiful downtown district.
Downtown Chattanooga | May-Aug
Voted as Chattanooga’s“favorite downtown event.” The free nightfall concert series, produced by Chattanooga presents, is typically held each Friday night from the beginning of May through the end of August – rain or shine – in the outdoor setting of Miller Plaza and Miller Park, downtown Chattanooga.
Downtown Chattanooga | Jul & Aug
Friends of the Festival presents Chattanooga Unite: Healing and Uniting on the River, a series of six free concerts designed to be the Scenic City’s first celebration of the resurgence of summer, our community, and our local economy after the height of the pandemic. Over a six week span, Chattanooga Unite will present live music from local and regional musicians, a Heroes Recognition Program, local arts, food trucks, nonprofit and charity group participation, children’s programs, and much more.
Chattanooga Unite: Healing and Uniting on the River is a celebration nestled along the Tennessee River at Tennessee Riverpark at 4301 Anmicola Highway, Chattanooga, TN 37402. The free summer music series kicks off July 11 and will continue through August 22. All shows and events are child and pet friendly and will kick off at 4pm. Music starts at 7 and headliners kick into high gear at 9pm. Meet us at the river for the city’s first salute to Summer 2020!
Coolidge Park, Chattanooga | Jul 3rd
Pops on the River is an annual Independence Day celebration, featuring a free concert by the Chattanooga Symphony & Opera Orchestra on July 3 at Coolidge Park. The performance, showcasing a spectrum of patriotic and traditional tunes as well as music from some of America's most influential composers, is followed by a fireworks finale over the Tennessee River. Blankets, lawn chairs, and picnic basket meals are welcome, although food and drink concessions are also available at the park.
Coolidge Park | Early September
Presented by Drew Holcomb and the Neighbors, this family-friendly music festival features two days and two stages of folksy pop and Americana bands.
Chester Frost Park | Mid September
Each year, the Hamilton County Fair welcomes the fall season with its commitment to hometown traditions and community heritage. Visitors can enjoy various arts and crafts, vendors, joyful music, fair-food favorites, family-oriented entertainment, and, of course, blue ribbon awards for agricultural and home-centered competition events.
Downtown Chattanooga | Late September
Ride the River. At IRONMAN Chattanooga, we don’t just play in an outdoor paradise. We race to experience something truly incredible – so we can play after. We freestyle 2.4 miles down the river, so later we can ride the rapids. We bike across miles of backcountry roads, so later those same roads can take us to new adventures. And we finish the day running through vibrant downtown streets so later we can celebrate with friends and toast to our achievements. IRONMAN Chattanooga is more than 144.6 miles. It’s a place where race and play band together to create an outdoor paradise. See you on the river.
Downtown Chattanooga | November 12-14
The Erlanger Chattanooga Marathon is a not-for-profit locally owned and operated race weekend that consists of a marathon, half marathon, team relay, 5k and kid’s fun run. The race was established in 2016 when our founding partners came together with the mindset of creating a professional event that would have a positive impact and benefit the local community.
Downtown Chattanooga | Early October
The Chattanooga Market, City of Chattanooga and Hamilton County in partnership with Chattanooga State’s International Community Outreach Office will co-host Chattanooga’s 19th annual Culture Fest, the area’s premiere showcase of international communities and largest annual celebration of local cultures. Featured activities and entertainment will include live performances from local cultural groups, a Parade of Nations, multicultural displays from 18 countries, dance contest and an exhibition of culturally-themed art. Additional opportunities to learn about other cultures will be presented at display booths coordinated by ChattState’s Cultural Ambassadors and International Achievers.
Ross’s Landing, Downtown Chattanooga | Early October
A free two-day event featuring bluegrass music performed by local, regional, and national bluegrass artists on a stage overlooking the Tennessee River.
Downtown Chattanooga | Mid October
Chattanooga Oktoberfest is an annual festival held at The Chattanooga Market, the region’s largest producer-only public market. In addition to live music, German foods, and a large selection of local & craft beers, you can also discover and shop for local produce, fine arts, & handmade crafts. As Chattanooga’s oldest and largest Oktoberfest celebration, our festival draws crowds locally and regionally each year. Many come to enjoy the sights, smells, and sounds of the German traditions, bringing their families for a day of entertainment, shopping, and live musical performances. The annual festival includes an array of Oktoberfest traditions: brats and other German inspired foods, four bier gartens featuring over 99 local and seasonal craft brews, and the infamous Wurstbrats Oompah Band!
Downtown Chattanooga | 1st Sat & Sun in November
The Head of the Chattahoochee is a rowing regatta held in Chattanooga, TN every year on the first Saturday and Sunday of November. The Head of the Hooch is one of the world’s largest rowing regattas, with 2,000+ boats racing over two days. More than 9,000 seats are rowed. 1,200 boats compete on Saturday alone, more in one day than any other regatta. Participants come from over 200 different organizations and in 2012 the regatta welcomed crews from 27 different states. The Head of the Hooch has seen a growth in entries from other countries. The regatta has hosted teams from Canada, Germany, Sweden and Australia. The Head of the Hooch has been recognized by national magazines as the regatta to attend: the weather is nice, the city is great and the racing has the largest number of entries per event of any major regatta. The regatta is organized and hosted by the Atlanta Rowing Club, Roswell, GA and Lookout Rowing Club, Chattanooga, TN.
Glenn Miller Outdoor Gardens | November – January
Ice Skating on the Landing in the Gardens at the Chattanooga Choo Choo. OPEN EVERY DAY (WEATHER PERMITTING) THROUGH JANUARY 25!
Southside, Chattanooga | Early December
Sponsored by EPB!! Always the first Saturday in December 10:30-11:30 am. See mainx24.com or email firstname.lastname@example.org for more info. A 24-hour-ling festival along the Main Street corridor featuring local businesses and more than 100 events, including parties, concerts, street vendors, food trucks, restaurant specials, art exhibits and holiday sales.
Chattanooga Convention Center | Saturdays and Sundays in December
TheHoliday Market features more than 200 vendors selling handmade original works perfect for the gift-giving season. Shoppers enjoy the festive-environment with holiday music, tasty samplings, and artisan finds.