About Hamilton County

During a visit to Southeast Tennessee and Hamilton County, Chattanooga makes a logical base. Chattanooga's history underscores its strategic position as the 'Gateway to the Deep South.' Originally the site of a Cherokee trading post, the city's location on the Tennessee River, as it passed through the precipitous gorge, made it a formidable natural obstacle and thus a focal point for opposing armies in the Civil War. The 17 regional sites of Chickamauga-Chattanooga National Military Park are a legacy of that era, and rate as a 'must see' for serious history buffs.

Today, the capital of Hamilton County is a bustling and progressive mid-sized city with a renovated downtown and riverfront. The internationally-acclaimed
Tennessee Aquarium offers the largest display of freshwater life in the world and serves as the anchor for the riverfront. Across the street is the Tennessee Aquarium's IMAX Theater, with a screen 6-stories high and state-of-the-art six channel IMAX digital sound.  Next door, get detailed information about the region from the Chattanooga Visitors Center. This area is a hotbed of local activity and has many great restaurants, shops and activities. Take a stroll along the Tennessee Riverwalk to the Bluff View Art District. While on the waterfront, book a dinner cruise on the Southern Belle Riverboat.

Lookout Mountain is home to several world-famous attractions like
Rock City (in Georgia), Ruby Falls, the Incline Railway and Point Park. Next to Point Park, you'll find the Battles for Chattanooga Electric Map & Museum which depicts the battles in the Campaign for Chattanooga. Around the base of the mountain is the Chattanooga Nature Center and Reflection Riding Arboretum & Botanical Garden with interpretive exhibits and drive-thru preserve. Lookout Mountain Flight Park gives visitors the chance hang glide over the top of the mountain, soaring over the incredible scenery of the Chattanooga Valley. Lookout Mountain is also a great place to rock climb, rappel, explore caves.

There's a broad range of outdoor activities available, from boating and fishing on  Chickamauga Lake, to camping and relaxing in the numerous facilities in the area. Nearby Raccoon Mountain Caverns & Campground offers a variety of things to do from go-cart rides to panning for gemstones to taking a tour of the Crystal Caverns.

Take a wild ride down the roaring whitewater rapids of the Ocoee River. Or if the thundering roar of the rapids isn't your style, try a more relaxing and leisurely ride down a stream in a canoe.

We have some of the top golf courses in the nation as well as a number of fishing holes, marinas, and lake resorts.

Downtown Chattanooga offers the world's longest pedestrian bridge, the Walnut Street Bridge a linear park that connects Downtown Chattanooga with 12-acre Coolidge Park.  

The Chickamauga Battlefield is also a wonderful escape for outdoor lovers with hiking trails, horse trails, and bike lanes throughout the park. Signal Point and Prentice Cooper State Park atop Signal Mountain offer hiking trails, overlooks, and waterfalls.

Check out the chimpanzees and more at the Chattanooga Zoo. In order to accommodate these new residents, the zoo expanded by building the Gombe Forest. In another recent phase, they also built the African Aviary which features some exotic creatures.

There are plenty of activities to do inside too, such as visit the Creative Discovery Museum, Chattanooga Regional History Museum, the Chattanooga African-American Museum & Bessie Smith Hall, the Hunter Museum of American Art and the Houston Museum of Decorative Art. For some of our train history, visit the Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum and the Chattanooga Choo Choo's Model Railroad Museum.  Don't forget the world's only tow truck museum, the International Towing & Recovery Museum.

Year round, Chattanooga hosts a unique variety of events including the Riverbend Music Festival and Miller Plaza's Nightfall Concerts. For country fairs, Chattanooga offers, Ketner's Mill, and the Hamilton County Fair. Fall foliage excursions, both by water and by rail, are offered by the Tennessee Valley Railroad and the Southern Belle Riverboat. Ride the rails on an Autumn Leaf Excursion or set sail on a Fall Leaf Color Cruise. 

And Chattanooga lights up for the holiday season with the Enchanted Garden of Lights, the Nightlight Float Parade in Downtown Chattanooga.

Hamilton County Chamber of Commerce

Chattanooga Area Visitors Bureau      

Choose Chattanooga        



Follow this trail to some of the most compelling places in Tennessee's history.
This trail will highlight sites and stories relating to Native American history of this region.
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More than 60 miles of navigable water for canoes, kayaks and paddle boats.

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Explore the rails, trails and roads of Southeast Tennessee.