Immortalized in the Glenn Miller hit of 1941, the Chattanooga Choo-Choo, Chattanooga sits on the scenic Tennessee River at the foot of the Appalachian Mountains.
Home to the world's first franchised Coca-Cola bottling plant, the MoonPie in 1917, Chattanooga is also home to blues singer Bessie Smith, Usher the R & B singer and actors Samuel L Jackson and Leslie Jordan. On the border with Georgia, the scenic riverfront location of Ross's Landing was not only the site of the original trading post of Chattanooga, but it was originally an outlying settlement of the Cherokee. The Cherokee people were later vanquished from this area following the trail that is now known as "The Trail of Tears".
You can take a stroll over the historic Walnut Bridge built over 120 years ago that spans half a mile of the Tennessee River or take what is an inclinator style railway that creeps up Lookout Mountain to reach Ruby Falls and Rock City for majestic panoramic views and stunning sandstone formations. It is at the top of the Lookout that you will find the site of a Civil War battle. If you want to chase down some more information about it, then head to the Battles for Chattanooga Museum in town. Taking a leisurely stroll along the 13 miles of the paved riverfront pedestrian path is worth the effort as it is dotted with parks, cafes and restaurants to stop off at and take a breath. If walking sounds too strenuous then grab a bicycle and ride the length of it. You can actually see the original railroad station from 1909 and jump on board the largest steam railroad, The Tennessee Valley Railroad and traipse over the original railroad station if you are into trains. For the adventurous campers, you can even sleep in a restored sleeper car.
If you want to look at some marine creatures go to the Tennessee Aquarium to gawk at sharks, stingrays and brightly colored reef fish. In the River Journey building, you can see a steamy Delta swamp and the Appalachian Cove Forest or take the River Gorge Explorer, a catamaran trip to the incredible Tennessee River Gorge. There are numerous museums scattered around town, such as the Hunter Museum of American Art or the 5 Battles for Chattanooga Electric Map & Museum to mull over. The Bessie Smith Cultural Center highlights the African people's journey into slavery in America. When that is too much, put your head in a cave at the Raccoon Mountain Caverns.
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