However, today the city pushes forward. You can find a Civil War museum down the road from the Tennessee Aquarium, or you can indulge in a contemporary art museum. Picturesque nature scenes surround the town as you look at the Appalachian trail or the Tennessee River. These nods to the past with modern innovation and natural beauty make the “Scenic City” an incredible place to vacation.
The Best Time to Visit Chattanooga, Tennessee
According to U.S. News and World Report Travel, the best time to visit Chattanooga is in the fall between September and November. The hotter months of the summer are peak tourism season, and the crowds thin as the weather begins to cool. However, we think more of a reason to visit during the fall months, other than the lack of people to bump into, is being able to see the area change into the season's colorful reds and oranges as the leaves fall. The natural attractions and trails are easier to handle without the sun, and the fall trees paint a beautiful backdrop to any hike.
If you're set on visiting Chattanooga a little earlier, the second best time to come is in the spring. Once the area begins to thaw out from winter, the temperatures start to even out.
If you think you can handle the hotter temperatures, the upside to visiting in the summer is all the musical festivals that happen in the area. For example, the nine-day-long Riverbed Festival held on the riverfront each year draws big artists and bigger crowds, but the weather is often hot and humid. In short, the popularity of visiting in the summer means higher booking prices and less availability. You're better off visiting in the fall or springtime.
Be careful, though, if you do choose to visit in the fall. Too close to the end of the season will put you in the freezing temperature zone. Most people tend to avoid coming here around that time due to unpredictable rain and snow. But if you do decide to drop by around the winter holidays, there are opportunities you don't get any other time of year, like the Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum's North Pole Limited train ride.
Below is a chart of the current pricing seasonality of hotels and motels in Chattanooga, TN:
Chattanooga, TN: Prices by Star Rating Class
Below are 3 charts illustrating avg. nightly cost trends by star rating class in Chattanooga, TN. Browse these illustrations to determine the cheapest time to stay in Chattanooga for upcoming travels.
Luxury Hotels in Chattanooga, Tennessee
4 Star Average Prices: $116.84
If you're looking for more of a luxury stay, there are plenty of upscale options to choose from without having to leave the area. The Chattanoogan, for example, is a remarkable urban resort in the heart of the downtown area. With full service restaurants, a spa, and advanced meeting areas, this is perfect for both the leisure and business traveler.
It's nearby to the Jack Nicklaus-designed golf course at Bear Trace at Harrison Bay State Park. You can also enjoy white-water rafting, delicious southern BBQ joints, and it's only two hours from Atlanta if you're looking for a unique day excursion. The hotel is also near the Tennessee Aquarium that features exhibits like the Appalachian Cove Forest and River Giants, a look at what lives in the Tennessee River.
For a touch of the area's history, book your stay at The Read House Historic Inn & Suites. Although it was originally opened in 1872, it reopened in 1926. The Read House hotel is ornately designed to bring together the old and new for its guests. For example, it features the original silver and Waterford crystal chandeliers as well as silver leaf moldings in the ballroom. Right outside is the Chattanooga free Electric Shuttle route. The icing on the cake? The hotel is on the National Register of Historic Places and has been the hotel of choice for celebrities such as Winston Churchill, Gary Cooper, Oprah Winfrey, and the infamous Al Capone.
Hotel Options for Visiting on a Budget in Chattanooga, Tennessee
3 Star Average Prices: $107.72
If you're traveling to Chattanooga on a budget, there are plenty of options that keep the fun rolling without breaking the bank. Best Western Plus Arbour Inn & Suites has done an incredible job of creating a modern cabin-like feel throughout the property. A stone fireplace in the lobby puts you in the Tennessee spirit, while rustic accents in the rooms feel warm and inviting. The hotel is close to attractions like the Dragon Dreams Museum, a quirky museum and store dedicated to the magical creature it's named after. The best time to book here is in November, when both single-person and group prices are down.
If you're looking to be in the center of it all, the Downtown Red Roof PLUS+ & Suites Chattanooga - Downtown may be a highway hotel, but its Tennessee cabin-styled property makes you feel at home. It comes with a free continental breakfast, a later check-out time for convenience, and an indoor pool.
2 Star Average Prices: $76.58
Where are the real discounts in Chattanooga
Chattanooga has a variety of discounts available to seniors, AAA members, and military staff. The Fairfield Inn & Suites by Marriott Chattanooga East gives AARP and seniors over the age of 62 discounted rates on a few rooms. This beautiful Art Deco-inspired hotel comes with complimentary breakfast and is conveniently located a few miles away from the Chattanooga Metropolitan Airport. If your stay is going to be a little longer but you still want to take advantage of the senior discounts, check out the Mainstay Suites Chattanooga. It offers senior discounts for AARP members on some of their suites.
The Microtel Inn by Wyndham Chattanooga/Near Hamilton Place offers discounted rates for long stay guests, military and government staff, AAA members, and AARP members. These come with a free continental breakfast, free parking, and a short three-mile ride to the airport. The service staff is friendly and committed to making you feel comfortable throughout your stay. The best time to book here is in February, but the most consistently lower rates occur from July through September.
Make Your Dollar Go Further in Chattanooga, Tennessee
Named after the famous song, the Chattanooga Choo Choo Hotel gives each guest the authentic Chattanooga charm. This historic hotel sits in the center of downtown, putting it near to some of the area's best attractions. What's unique about this hotel is that guests have the option of sleeping in one of three distinctive parts of the hotel.
The first option is staying the night in a renovated Pullman train car. It takes you back to what life was like when people traveled on trains for long periods of time. More rooms can be found in the MacArthur Building that was named after the Southern Railway's last steam-powered freight train that arrived in 1953. The rooms were recently renovated, and the center of the building features an indoor heated pool. Lastly, the Empress Building with spacious rooms pays tribute to the “Empress of Blues,” Bessie Smith. The best time to book these rooms is in November.
Grab a Bite in Chattanooga, Tennessee
Where you decide to eat is just as important as where you stay. For authentic Chattanoogan comfort food, step into Uncle Larry's Restaurant. A step away from the regular chains, Uncle Larry's is a one-of-a-kind find with delicious food. The speciality that keeps everyone coming back for more is Larry's fried catfish, which according to the sign is so good it will smack you. They also serve homemade desserts and mac and cheese, along with other Southern classics.
For something sweeter, look no further than Clumpies Ice Cream Co. With both classic and interesting flavors, Clumpies has been handcrafting ice cream since 1999 and was opened by the son of a third-generation candy maker — so they know what they're doing. With three locations in the area, and a mobile Clumpies Cart, your next delicious snack is never too far. Don't be afraid to try new flavors like the Firecracker. Its tutti frutti ice cream is scooped with fresh Pop-Rocks to make way for maximum crackling.
For a colorful night out, be sure to stop by Champy's. Their world-famous fried chicken and eclectic decor are sure to put a smile on everyone's face. The family recipe is over four decades old, and each order is made fresh. While that usually means a bit of a wait, it's always worth it. Owners Seth and Crissy make sure that the locations are always comfortable and each guest feels like a part of the family.
Lastly, we recommend washing it all down at The Terminal Brewhouse. The locally owned and operated restaurant works to source local ingredients so you know it's always fresh. The building, known as the Stong Building, was rumored to have been a speakeasy in times of prohibition. Here, you can enjoy freshly brewed craft beer and classic favorites with bold twists, like Yosemite Salmon Cakes and Buffaloaf.
In a city so rich with history, nature, and culture, it's not hard to see why so many people visit every year. Chattanooga, Tennessee, is an amazing city, and with so many hotel options to choose from, you can't go wrong. From train cars to budget-friendly destinations, there is something for everyone's dream Chattanooga vacation.
What did travelers think of the city of Chattanooga?
Below are reviews of the city of Chattanooga, TN from an actual visitor's perspective.
Score 5.0 / 5
The city is beautiful. Lots of changes since my last visit over five years ago.
"Would Definitely Recommend "
Score 5.0 / 5
Our stay went very well! The aquarium was our favorite part of this vacation.
Score 4.0 / 5
I LOVE CHATTANOOGA
"Always Enjoy Coming Back"
Score 4.0 / 5
We were born and raised there and were visiting family. Recently had High SchoolReunion there.
"Great Small City"
Score 5.0 / 5
Chattanooga is a great small city with lots of activities and great dining. Beautiful for a fall getaway if you want to check out the leaves changing.
"A Place Everyone Should Check Out"
Score 4.0 / 5
Chattanooga is a place everyone should check out. Great activities, wonderful eating places, and clean!
"Many things to offer"
Score 4.0 / 5
Chattanooga has many things to offer. Did not have time to tour the aquarium. Will be glad to see the Chattanooga restored in 2015 along with the surrounding area.
"So much to do in Chattanooga."
Score 4.0 / 5
The Vaudeville Murder Mystery Dinner Theater, white water rafting on the Ocoee River, and the Ruby Falls Aerial Adventure Ropes Course were our top 3 favorite activities....so much fun!
"So much to see and do!"
Score 5.0 / 5
Lots of places to visit: Ruby Falls, TN Aquarium, Challenger STEM Center, Southern Belle Riverboat Cruise, Chattanooga Lookouts Baseball, the Zoo. We can't wait to come back in 2015 to experience these places and more with our next group of 8th graders.
"Lots to do!"
Score 5.0 / 5
Loved the tour at Honest Charley's. Ruby Falls was very impressive. The Tennessee Aquarium was top notch. The IMAX Theatre was time well spent. The city has underwent considerable urban renewal, and it is very clean and pleasant. The views from Lookout Mountain are spectacular.
The average traveler rating of the city of Chattanooga, TN shown above is 4.5 out of 5 based on 10 reviews