7 Places in Chattanooga to Unleash Your Competitive Side
Ready for a little friendly competition? Gaming in Chattanooga takes place on the water, in the air, in the woods, and at local businesses and embraces entertainment that ranges from the innovative to the nostalgic. Check out the following sites in the Scenic City for a little adrenaline and a lot of fun.
At this interactive museum that doubles as an arcade, you can play 40 vintage pinball machines while learning about the history of the game. Hercules, made in 1989 by Atari, is so large that it uses a pool cue ball as its pinball. Dominos Spectacular Pizza Adventure is one of only 316 made, making it perhaps the rarest machine on site. Humpty Dumpty, built in 1947 and on display for restoration, for example, was the first pinball game to use electro-mechanical flippers. As you race to rack up points against your family and friends, you’ll also have access to classic arcade games like Galaga, Frogger, Street Fighter, Centipede, Joust, and Pacman Plus. A single admission price gives guests access to all of the games, all day. You can step out for a bite to eat then return with your wristband to play more before it’s time to declare a Chattanooga gaming arcade champion and call it a night.
A premier rock climbing gym in downtown Chattanooga, High Point’s first impression tends to be the chance to strap on a harness and scramble up the face of the building outside. Transparent, made of fiberglass, and backlit by LEDs at night, the wall is a hallmark of Chattanooga tourism, giving climbers a birds eye view of the Tennessee Aquarium and local restaurants that make Broad Street a natural starting point for exploring the city. Indoors, you’ll find 45-foot tall climbing walls with options for top rope, lead, and auto belay systems, a 15-meter speed climbing wall, and two bouldering areas. The Kid Zone will make even the youngest of competitors feel like Spiderman as they challenge each other to scale climbing features designed like a city skyline, a giant web, and a stack of dinosaur bones. High Point also offers its staff as outdoor climbing guides to coach you through bouldering and rock climbing outings in the greater Chattanooga area. Guides are certified American Mountain Guides Association (AMGA) single pitch instructors and regularly guide trips to Castle Rock, Stone Fort (also known as Little Rock City), Sunset Rock, and Foster Falls.
Disc golf got its start in California in the 1970s when Ed Headrick, Vice President of Wham-O toy company, built the first course at Oak Grove Park using metal poles sticking out of the ground. The following year, Headrick invented the disc pole hole basket, outfitted with chains. A staple in outdoor gaming in Chattanooga since 2005, The Sinks has a wooded terrain with very little elevation changes that makes it the perfect place for challenging, technical play. Tee pads are set for both amateur (short distance) and professional (long distance). If there’s standing water on the course, watch out for your disc to land in a sinkhole, hence the name. The 18-hole course is free to play, and par on each hole is 3.
Take your adventurous spirit to the water and see who can stay balanced the longest–or paddle the fastest–on stand up paddleboards on the Tennessee River. L2 Outside rents BOTE paddleboards to visitors and locals ready to take on a self-guided tour of Maclellan Island, the Hunter Museum bluffs, and the Walnut Street Bridge while watching for wildlife like river otters and blue herons. Your rental includes a life vest with a whistle, and you’ll want to dress to get wet because even if you don’t fall off, you’re bound to catch a splash from a paddle. Staff will help carry the equipment to the river, and paddle boards go in the water just under the Market Street Bridge.
A 10-lane boutique bowling alley with lounge seating, flat-screen televisions, a full restaurant menu, and games galore, Chattanooga’s Southside Social caters to both families and adults seeking out an active nightlife scene. When you’re done tallying strikes and spares, check out the other games built around the three bars on site. Patrons can play billiards, skee-ball, darts, shuffleboard, bocce ball, cornhole, and horseshoes or visit the cigar bar inside the Airstream trailer out back. Open until 11:00 p.m. Tuesday and Wednesday and until 1:00 a.m. Thursday through Sunday, the menu includes Pepper Jack Mac and Cheese Bites, burgers, draft beers, and Margherita and Brisket Philly Pizzas. Due to crowds, bowling lanes must be reserved 48 hours in advance.
Some Chattanooga competitive moments aren’t made for racing or racking up points so much as they were made for feats of beauty, bravery, and strength. Inversions, Chattanooga’s Circus Arts & Performance Center, offers Introductory Aerial Workshops the first and third Sunday of each month from 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. You’ll spend time learning basic skills in both silks and trapeze. Owner and Director Jen Keehn says what she loves about aerial arts is its combination of physical challenges and problem solving. When preparing for your class, wardrobe matters. Make sure you select a shirt that covers your armpits, elbows, and stomach and that isn’t too loose, considering you’ll spend time upside down.
For those who like to take competitive gaming in Chattanooga to a level of intensity only found on the paintball field, Insane Paintball offers three different options for safe, friendly, fast-paced play. You can choose whether you want to sling paint on a turf field filled with corrugated pipes; in a simulated urban environment; or in the woods around mounds, buildings, and cars. Open Play is on Saturdays and Sundays, and if you’re bringing your own paintball guns, know that only mechanical or 5.5 BPS maximum electronic paintball guns are allowed, and barrel covers are required for safety off the field. Guns, tanks, masks, and other equipment is available for rental on site.