When I moved to Chattanooga almost a year ago (wow how time flies), I had no idea how much this wonderful little city has to offer. I spend many weekends downtown exploring new places, trying new things, checking out new restaurants and bars, attending special events and more. There’s so much going on, especially this time of year. Spend a few days here (or even just 36 hours) and you’ll see the excitement for yourself.
But doesn’t all that get expensive at some point? Well yeah, it can get a little pricey. A lot of people my age operate on tight budgets (myself included); sometimes finding fun things to see and do that won’t break the bank is a challenge.
But not completely! Chattanooga has some awesome budget-friendly offerings to keep you, your friends and families entertained.
Here are 11 awesome things to do in Chattanooga for under $20 each!
Bike down the Riverwalk // Did you know that Chattanooga has a Bike Share program? And did you know it’s only $8/person for 24 hours of bike access? Grab a bike at any of the bike stations around town and take a ride along the eight miles of the scenic riverwalk, from downtown to Moccasin Bend.
Tennessee Stillhouse tour // Swing by the Tennessee Stillhouse on Market Street for a visit and see how Chattanooga Whiskey is produced, up close and personal. It’s just $12 per person for a tour, plus you get a tasting flight at the end. I always take out-of-town visitors here because it’s fun, easy, and the whiskey is quite good.
Nightfall concert series // Every Friday from May until September, the Nightfall concert series brings life to the Miller Plaza/Park area, right in downtown Chattanooga. There’s a new musical act each week, along with food trucks and drinks from local establishments. Everyone and their brothers come out for some outdoor Friday night fun for the whole family. Oh, and it’s all FREE (except for drink tickets).
Chattanooga Lookouts game // Need some baseball in your life? Get a dose of America’s game with the Chattanooga Lookouts! The Lookouts are a minor league team, associated with the Minnesota Twins, and they play from April through September at AT&T Field. Tickets are a whopping $3 – $9 and there’s not a bad seat in the house.
Chattanooga FC match // CFC matches are some of the highlights of my summers in Chattanooga. Admittedly, I don’t know a ton about the actual game of soccer, but the games are true displays of a faithful fan base and community. Tickets are usually $10 or less at Finley Stadium. Seating is open, so pick a spot with a view and watch great soccer for a couple hours. Listen to the Chattahooligans’ creative taunts and cheers for some extra entertainment.
Hunter Art Museum // If art and museums are more your style, add the Hunter Museum of American Art to your Chattanooga to-do list. The museum features American art from the Colonial period to present day, and art ranges from painting, sculpture, mixed media, contemporary and beyond. Adults can visit for $15 per person, and children and youth 17 and younger are free. Plus, the Hunter sits atop the bluff on the edge of the Tennessee River. The view from the back deck could be art itself.
Rock City // This is a Chattanooga essential! Meander through the paths walled with some pretty big rocks and make your way to the “See Seven States” lookout at the top. This is an especially great outing for families with kids, who can explore the Fairy Gardens and exhibits along the way. Rock City hosts all kinds of special events throughout the year, including Southern Blooms Festival, Rocktoberfest in the fall and the Enchanted Garden of Lights for Christmastime. General adult admission is $19.95 and children 3-12 are $11.95.
Farmer’s Market // A highlight of my Sundays, that’s for sure. From late April through Thanksgiving, First Tennessee Pavilion is hopping with vendors of all varieties (farmers, craftsmen, food trucks, bakers, artists and more) and people shopping for their weekly produce, gifts for friends or even a treat for themselves. It’s free to swing in and spend an hour (or two or three) sampling food and treats and checking out Nooga-made products.
Wine Tasting at DeBarge Urban Winery // Did you know Chattanooga had a winery? DeBarge Urban Winery is located in the Southside neighborhood, and it’s a great spot to spend an afternoon. Sample four wines for just $5, and if that’s not enough, go for another round!
Hiking // There are many great hiking trails within half an hour of downtown, and even more if you’re willing to drive a bit farther. I’m a huge fan of Foster Falls and Blue Hole, which I checked out last summer. Snooper’s Rock, Edward’s Point and Cloudland Canyon are on my to-hike list for this summer. Check out this list of hiking trails in Chattanooga to plan your next hike.
Chattanooga Zoo // Want to spend a day outside looking at over 50 animals from around the world? The Chattanooga Zoo is your spot. From reptiles to mammals, the zoo has it all, including some pretty big cats and adorable red pandas. It’s just $9.95 for adult admission and kids are just $6.95.
And y’all get TWO bonus items! These are a bit more expensive than $20, hence why they’re bonus items, but they’re worth checking out!
Tennessee Aquarium // This was one of the first places I visited when I moved to Chattanooga. I love aquariums and having one right downtown is the best. Daily admission is $29.95 per adult. Pro tip: annual membership is $100 per year, and it pays for itself within three or four visits. So worth it.
Chattanooga Ducks tour // You know the amphibious trucks/boats that start on land and then go into the water? Chattanooga has those, too. Take a ride downtown and then hop in the Tennessee River to view the city from all angles. Adult tickets are $22 and tours are always at least an hour, so you definitely get a great experience for your money!
There is no shortage of things to do in Chattanooga, even if you’re visiting on a budget. Shoutout to Christina at The Social Butterfly Gal, whose 5 Things to Do in New Orleans for Under $20 post inspired this post!
What are some of your favorite things to do in your city?