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Located on the banks of the Tennessee River near the foothills of Lookout Mountain, Chattanooga has become a tourist hub both for the role it once played in the Civil War as well as its many unique natural wonders. Did you know that Chattanooga's official nickname is the “Scenic City”.
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When visiting the Chattanooga, take note that the city, like much of Tennessee, consists of a four-season humid subtropical weather. The perfect time to explore Chattanooga is from September to November, during the fall. For the most part, winter days are usually mild, while summers (peak season) are hot and humid.
Driving tips in Chattanooga
Driving a rental car is the best way to get around Tennessee and this wonderful city. If you are driving in the U.S. for the first time and you want to rent a car in Chattanooga, you will need to get an International Driving Permit (or IDP), which has the same information on your official driver's license. Read our Tips for Visitors Driving in the USA for additional information. Nearby cities and towns in Chattanooga include Cleveland, Athens, East Ridge, Red Bank, Middle Valley, East Brainerd and Tullahoma. The driving time from Chattanooga, TN to Cleveland, TN via via I-75 N is approximately 35 minutes, or less if you drive non-stop in a rental car. From Chattanooga to Tullahoma, the travel time is about one hour and 20 minutes (78.1 miles) via I-24 W.
Here are five great things to do while in Chattanooga.
1. See Rock City. With its breathtaking view of seven states from the legendary Lover's Leap, beautiful gardens and waterfall, Rock City is an experience your whole family will enjoy.
2. Spend an afternoon exploring the Tennessee Aquarium. Two buildings are needed to house all of the wildlife on display at this aquarium. Along with freshwater and saltwater fish, the aquarium also features a butterfly sanctuary.
3. Visit Ruby Falls. Located deep inside Lookout Mountain, Ruby Falls as well as the many interesting rock formations you will see on your walk to the falls make for an interesting and memorable cave tour.
4. Ride the Incline Railway. Once the only way for people travel up and down Lookout Mountain, this railway is now generally only used as a tourist attraction. Touted as the steepest passenger railway in the world, a one way ride on the incline will take you about 45 minutes.
5. Spend the night in one of the original cars of the Chattanooga Choo Choo. The domed terminal building of the Chattanooga Choo Choo has been transformed into a restaurant and hotel while the original railroad cars have been renovated and serve as hotel rooms also.