7 Incredible Things to do in Chattanooga with Kids

Chattanooga, nestled in the heart of Tennessee’s rolling hill, is the perfect destination for a family getaway.

This vibrant city offers so many possibilities for adventures and kid friendly activities.

In this guide, discover 7 incredible things to do in Chattanooga with kids that will turn your vacation into an unforgettable family friendly adventure.

1. Rock City

The number one attraction that I would urge you to visit on your trip to Chattanooga is Rock City. 

Rock City is a place I have always wanted to visit, but I had no idea what to expect.

Let me just say it EXCEEDED my expectations.

Rock City is located atop Lookout Mountain and has so many stunning views.

Adults and kids alike will love spending time here. 

There is always something new and amazing to see around every corner.

I would recommend purchasing your tickets online ahead of time.

Also, it is important to know that parking at Rock City is absolutely free!

Plan on spending most of a morning or afternoon at Rock City.

You can enjoy a snack or lunch at Cafe 7 which is at Lover’s Leap. There is also another restaurant inside Rock City near the entrance.

Fun Fact

You can eat your snack or lunch while enjoying awesome views of 7 states!

Additionally, while visiting Rock City don’t miss out on the amazing Fairyland Caverns and Mother Goose Village. 

MORE ROCK CITY DETAILS: Ultimate Guide to Rock City

Rock City will take you about 2-3 hours to visit. 

Must Know Information

You do not want to bring a stroller to Rock City. There are too many steps and narrow pathways that are not stroller friendly. Consider using a baby carrier instead.

2. Ruby Falls

Ruby Falls is another one of Chattanooga’s noteworthy attractions.

If you are not familiar with Ruby Falls, you might be surprised to find out that it is a gorgeous waterfall that is in a cave. 

In order to see this waterfall, you will need to pre-purchase tickets online for a cave tour.

These cave tours last about 90 minutes or so. 

I have been on a few different cave tours, and honestly, I was not overly impressed with the Ruby Falls cave tour. 

Expert Recommendation

I have been on many cave tours, and Ruby Falls was not one of my favorites. This was because there was a lot of waiting during the tour. They had so many tour groups with many people going at once so we spent a lot of time waiting for other groups to move forward or sometimes even squeeze past us.

On the other hand, if you haven’t been on a cave tour before, this may be the perfect opportunity to finally go on one! 

Or, if you simply need to do it because you have seen it advertised and know it is a famous thing to do in Chattanooga, that is great too! (I am right there with you!)

Plus, Ruby Falls in itself is very stunning.

The Ruby Falls visit and cave tour will likely take about 2 hours in total. 

There is a gift shop, restaurant, and observation tower also at Ruby Falls. 

3. Incline Railway

Another unique attraction to visit in Chattanooga with kids is the Incline Railway

The Incline Railway starts at the lower station which is in St. Elmo. 

You will have to pay $2 at the pay station to park in the parking lot next to the Incline Railway. 

Top Tip

I would purchase your tickets for the Incline Railway ahead of time online. This will ensure that you get a spot on the Incline Railway and help you plan your day. You will get a timed entry ticket. You can board up to 30 minutes past your scheduled boarding time

The ride takes approximately 10 minutes in each direction.

Once you ride up Lookout Mountain, you can stay up there as long as you like unless you are visiting towards closing time, then make sure NOT to miss the last ride down. 

At the top, there is a gift shop, small snack shop, and observation deck. 

Expert Recommendation

I highly recommend when you reach the top of the Incline Railway to walk a few blocks to Point Park Battlefield. You do have to pay to enter Point Park, but the views are amazing and park has so much great history.

The Incline Railway will take you about an hour or less. If you couple Point Park with the Incline Railway, it could take you about 1.5-2 hours total. 

Must Know Information

You cannot walk to Rock City or Ruby Falls from the Incline Railway.

After getting off the Incline Railway, there are many fantastic walkable restaurants in the St. Elmo area. 

I would stay parked in the parking lot next to the Incline Railway and then head to a nearby restaurant for lunch or dinner.

There is also Clumpies Ice Cream Co. connected right to where you board the railway.

This ice cream is fantastic and a Chattanooga specialty. I highly recommended trying some!

4. Point Park

Point Park Battlefield is a gorgeous park that is designated as a National Military park. 

I strongly recommend visiting here. The kids will love it too!

You can enjoy a beautiful walk on the paved path beneath the trees and learn about many of the military battles that took place here.

There are many cannons throughout the park that reveal some of the different battle positions.

Additionally, you can see the New York Peace Monument. 

Also, make sure to check out the Ochs Memorial Observatory. It has AMAZING views.

The scenic views that you will see from this park are some of the absolute best on Lookout Mountain. 

Point Park Battlefield was a highlight of our trip, and I definitely recommend a visit here on your trip to Chattanooga. 

Must Know Information

There is a $10 entrance fee to Point Park for everyone 16 and older. Children under age 16 are free.

You could take the Incline Railway up to Lookout Mountain and walk a few blocks to Point Park, or you can drive to Point Park on your own. 

Point Park on its own will probably take you about 45 minutes to an hour to visit.

5. Coolidge Park and Walnut Street Bridge

Another fantastic thing to do with kids in Chattanooga is to check out Coolidge Park and the Walnut Street Bridge.

Coolidge Park is a gorgeous park along the Tennessee River.

This park is a great place for a picnic, walk, or playing some sports in the field. 

There is also a fun interactive splash pad as well as an indoor carousel to ride. 

While at Coolidge Park, make sure to at least walk on or even all the way across the Walnut Street Bridge which is the longest pedestrian bridge in the world. 

This bridge connects downtown Chattanooga to the North Shore which is the area where Coolidge Park is located. 

The Walnut Street Bridge is about .45 miles across, and the views are awesome!

There are also so many great restaurants and cute shops in this area. 

You could enjoy some time at Coolidge Park, walk the Walnut Street Bridge, browse in some shops for a souvenir, and then have lunch or dinner nearby.

Plan on spending 1-2 hours in this area. 

6. Tennessee Aquarium

The Tennessee Aquarium is another great attraction to visit on your trip to Chattanooga. 

It is also located in Chattanooga’s downtown. 

The aquarium has two main areas. These are the River Journey building and the Ocean Journey building. 

Must Know Information

You will need to purchase your aquarium tickets ahead of time. Tickets are valid for the one hour entry window that you select when purchasing them. You will need to enter the aquarium within that hour.

Visitors will need at least 2 hours to visit the aquarium so make sure to factor that into the entry time you select. 

If you are looking for a place for dinner after visiting the aquarium, there are many options right near it. 

A couple of walkable options include Puckett’s Restaurant, Burger Republic (this is right across the street from the aquarium parking lot), and Mellow Mushroom.  

7. Creative Discovery Museum 

Another entertaining thing to do in Chattanooga with kids is the Creative Discovery Museum.

The Creative Discovery Museum is a mix of a children’s and science museum located in downtown Chattanooga.

Our kids LOVE children’s museums so of course we had to check it out!

This children’s museum has something for kids of all ages. 

My younger two boys ages 3 and 1 loved the Little Farmhouse exhibit. It is really cute, and the perfect place for young kids to use their imagination and play.

The older boys loved the STEM zone. My oldest’s favorite part was the robotics section.

Personally, I loved the bee exhibit. It was really well done and a great way to see and learn about bees.

Additionally, all of my kids enjoyed playing outside in the Treehouse Adventure.

The kids also loved playing in the Tennessee Riverplay exhibit. They had so much fun pretending to pilot a riverboat plus climbing in the rest of the structure as well!

This museum will take you about 2 hours to explore. 

The Creative Discovery Museum is only a few blocks from the Tennessee Aquarium. We actually parked in the parking lot next to the aquarium and then walked to this museum.  

Similar to the aquarium, there are a variety of restaurants in the area you could walk to after visiting this museum. 

These 7 things to do with kids in Chattanooga are just some of the many family friendly attractions and adventures in this area.

Many people may not think of Chattanooga as a major vacation destination, but it is so underrated.

Chattanooga has so much beauty, history, adventure, and incredible attractions for families.

Download my travel itinerary planner to help you plan your trip to Chattanooga and other great Tennessee destinations including Gatlinburg, Nashville, and more.

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STAY AT OPRYLAND RESORT: Best Hotel in Nashville for Families

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May you LOVE your adventure. KW

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