coolidgeparkchattanoogaChattanooga is a city that we have always wanted to visit. It just never fit in to our travel itinerary or route. When we were invited up there, we jumped at the chance. I am so glad that we did because Downtown Chattanooga truly is a family’s playground.

We called The Chattanoogan Hotel home for our long weekend in Chattanooga. The Chattanoogan Hotel is located at the far end of the Downtown area so it makes for a great place to call home. It is away from the loud downtown atmosphere but is still only a fifteen minute walk or a short electric trolley ride away from all of the excitement. The Chattanoogan is a beautiful hotel with a restaurant that serves local ingredients, a pub with pool tables and games, an indoor pool, a fitness center and more. The rooms are colorfully decorated and we had plenty of space for our family of four.

When we were ready to explore the downtown area, we walked. And walked. My husband and I enjoyed the walk but the next day the kids asked if we could ride the electric trolley. We had no problem saying yes because there was a stop near our hotel, it took us right to where we wanted to be and it was free. Yes, free.

Things to Do in Downtown Chattanooga

There is so much to do downtown that we will have to plan another trip to explore some more. We visited the Tennessee Aquarium, which came highly recommended. It is set up in two buildings, the River Journey and the Ocean Journey. One of my favorite parts of our experience was hearing people exclaim that they had never seen this or that. There was a lot of that going on. After the Tennessee Aquarium, we walked over to the Creative Discovery Museum where my kids could have played for days. It took us several hours to get through the museum and explore everything there was to see. If we lived nearby, I would definitely invest in an annual pass. We took a walk over the Walnut Street Pedestrian Bridge, where we passed tourists and locals alike enjoying an ice cream cone on an evening stroll. At the end of the Walnut Street Bridge, we watched kids play in the splash fountains at Coolidge Park. Unfortunately, the 100 year old carousel was closed for the evening (much to my daughter’s dismay).

Delicious Food

While wandering downtown, we sampled some Southern fare. We had delicious barbeque at Sticky Fingers and cupcakes from Chattanooga Cupcakes. We also stopped in at the Moon Pie General Store where my children reminded me that they are not fans of moon pies. We had an amazing Champagne Brunch at the Broad Street Grille, located in The Chattanoogan, as well as a dinner one evening.

Three days in Chattanooga wasn’t nearly enough time. We will need to return soon so we can dine at the Chattanooga Choo Choo, see a Chattanooga Lookouts game, visit the Chattanooga Zoo and more.

*Disclosure: Thank you to The Chattanoogan for hosting us and providing us with some attraction tickets. All opinions are mine alone with no outside influence (except for my family’s!). 

Jennifer Close writes about her adventures on her family travel blog, Two Kids and a Map, and writes about exploring Pensacola at Pensacola with Kids.