Chattanooga is the first stop on any Atlanta to Tennessee itinerary and an easy day trip or weekend getaway. Lori Brown from Expedition Mom takes on Chattanooga in a multi-generational tour when she brings along her parents and her son. Take a look at some of the sights they’ll explore and send suggestions for additional ideas through Twitter or Facebook using the #makesummerlast hashtag. 

Multi-generational Trip to Chattanooga

Check out our favorite Chattanooga experiences:

  • Hotel accommodations at Chattanooga Choo Choo

Get Tickets to:

Dining suggestions:

  • Dine at Blue Plate

Highlight: Point Park – Great Civil War Park  

Highlight: The Riverfront- take a walk along the river.


Here’s a 3 day itinerary from Lori:

Day 1-

10am- Noon: Travel-within 2 hours of Atlanta
Lunch– Champy’s Famous Fried Chicken 
Explore the grounds of Chattanooga Choo-Choo (ride the trolley, see the museum, etc.) or take the FREE electric shuttle downtown and explore the River Walk area of Chattanooga
 Check-in time- Enjoy a dip in their numerous indoor/outdoor pools, or have a nap time for the little ones before the late evening fun.
Plan on using the shuttle around 5:15 to head downtown to the aquarium area.  Pick up tickets for the River Gorge Explorer from Will Call before 6pm.  Grab a quick bite to eat at  Cheeburger Cheeburger.  Board River Gorge Explorer by 6:45pm.  The 7pm cruise lasts approximately 2 hrs. Unloading, walking to the shuttle, etc will put you back to your hotel around 10pm.
Day 2-
Breakfast– Light bite and coffee at Chattanooga Coffee Company (on the way to Rock City)
Morning- Arrive at Rock City- no later than 10am to be able to fit all three attractions into one day.  Can arrive as early as 8:30am. Have a light snack at the Cliff Terrace area at Rock City- about half-way through Rock City.
Lunch– BIG lunch at Cafe on the Corner- located on the way from Rock City to Ruby Falls.
Afternoon– Ruby Falls- perfect for the heat of the afternoon
Late Afternoon– Incline Railway- board from the top and do roundtrip.  Finish off at Point Park as the cool of the evening hits. Depending on the time of the year, it closes between 5-6, so if your time is getting to close then do Point Park first and save Incline Railway for last.  Weekend year round and summer all week have later hours when the last roundtrip car leave at 8:50 pm.
Should you take the Incline Rail down at a time that allows for dinner. St. Elmo at the bottom has a restaurant. Because it was such a long day of activities, we were exhausted.  We opted for calling Lupi’s Pizza before leaving Lookout Mountain, and placing an order with their downtown location.  Easy pickup and right back to the Chattanooga Choo-Choo, where we ate in our room.  The door opened to the waterfall pool area, that our room looked over, made it very enjoyable.  
Day 3-
Morning– We packed up and loaded the car, ready to check out.
Breakfast– We went to the the Gardens Restaurant for their breakfast buffet.  We ate a BIG breakfast to tide us over to accommodate a late lunch.  Four tickets for the buffet were included in our package booked at the Chattanooga Choo Choo.
Morning/Afternoon– You can take the free shuttle downtown, but we opted to drive downtown and park right at the aquarium. $9 all-day parking.  Do both buildings of the aquarium- start with the River Journey and then onto the Ocean journey.  
Late lunch– Eat a diner style late lunch at Blue Plate.  Conveniently located at the corner between the aquarium and the IMAX
Late Afternoon activities
4pm IMAX and popcorn
Before leaving out to head back to Atlanta, let the kids play in the water features around the aquarium.
Between 6-7pm, change the wet clothes for PJs.  Load up and drive back to Atlanta to arrive just in time for bed.