Chattanooga has a number of great attractions as we’ve written about before, but one could say that this trip to Chattanooga was one in which we visited the classic sites associated with the city. As usual, Chattanooga did not disappoint, and it remains one of our favorite places in the South.
We began our visit at Rock City, perhaps one of the best known sites in the United States due to the bit of Americana that features the attraction-barns all over the country (as well as billboards) that are painted with the phrase, “See Rock City.” Rock City sits atop Lookout Mountain, a long ridge that extends from the Tennessee-Georgia border into Alabama. The site takes its name from a description it was given-a “city of rocks.” Visitors are able to take in the natural wonders of this city of rocks, strolling down narrow “streets” surrounded by rocks on every side. A path takes visitors among the rocks and then on top of them, eventually reaching a beautiful waterfall on the side of Lookout Mountain and a promontory from which it is claimed that one can see seven states. While it is uncertain if you can actually see seven states, the view from the top is quite spectacular. The path leads visitors back to the visitor center, again passing through narrow channels in the rocks. Along the way, visitors can also see scenes of European fairy tales and American nursery rhymes, built to lure more people to the site. While the price is a bit steep, Rock City is enjoyable for both adults and children, offering great views and fun activities.
After our time at Rock City, we went to Look Out Winery, which is a few miles west of Chattanooga along the Tennessee River. The winery is built on the side of a mountain overlooking the river, giving guests a spectacular view. The winery offers a tasting room downstairs and has many different wines, both red and white, from which you can choose. We had a large tasting (we split it between the two of us), and had a nice time sipping the different wines. Afterward, we went upstairs to the winery’s restaurant. We sat outside on the patio so that we could enjoy the view and feasted on delicious wood-fired pizza.
The next day we went to Lookout Mountain’s other famous attraction, Ruby Falls. Ruby Falls cave is part of a large, cavernous system in Lookout Mountain, but Ruby Falls was not actually accessible because it had no natural entrance. The discovery of the falls was made when a man named Leo Lambert was trying to open the adjacent Lookout Mountain Cave for tourists. Lambert instead made Ruby Falls the center of his attraction, blasting out the cave to allow visitors access to the falls. Today, visitors can take a guided tour of the cave, seeing a variety of interesting cave features along the way. The tour culminates with a view of Ruby Falls. The falls is quite beautiful and unique. The tour is nice, but a bit long. The falls is worth seeing, however.
We ended our visit to Chattanooga by eating at Sugar’s Ribs BBQ Restaurant, which has received many awards for the best barbecue in Chattanooga. The restaurant is located along the side of a hill overlooking Chattanooga, so it offers some nice views of the area. The restaurant offers standard barbecue food-pulled pork, brisket, chicken, and ribs-and related sides, such as beans, coleslaw, fries, and cornbread, among other things. We enjoyed our meal there and found the food to be quite good.
Our trip to Chattanooga was fun, and we got to see some interesting sites, eat some good food, and have a nice time with family. Overall, we had a lovely time, and as always, we encourage you to visit Chattanooga.
Tip: We bought a combined ticket to both Rock City and Ruby Falls, which was a bit cheaper. We also bought our ticket ahead of time online, which saved us time and ensured we had our tickets.