Best Ways to Beat the Heat Around Chattanooga
Summer has arrived in Chattanooga, and with it, temperatures that will make you sweat. However, you shouldn’t let a little warm weather ruin your summer fun! There are plenty of ways to beat the heat in the Scenic City – both indoors and out. Here are a few to add to your summer bucket list.
1. Go for a swim.
If you’re pool-less this summer, don’t sweat it! There are tons of places to go swimming in and around Chattanooga, from public pools to swimming holes and everything in between. Near Soddy-Daisy, Big Soddy Creek Gulf and North Chick Blue Hole are popular spots to go for a dip, while on Signal Mountain, Rainbow Lake boasts swimmable waters that can accommodate the whole family (Fido included). Hixson’s Chester Frost Park – located on Chickamauga Lake and Dallas Bay – always draws a crowd when temperatures soar, and a little further out, Nickajack Lake provides an ideal setting for both romps and relaxation. Those who prefer a luxurious swim will love The Westin’s rooftop pool, complete with cabanas and a stunning view of downtown Chattanooga.
2. Cool off with an ice cream cone.
Is there anything more refreshing than a cold treat on a hot summer’s day? If you’re hoping to satisfy your sweet tooth, Clumpie’s Ice Cream Co. is a local favorite with three locations around town. Classic flavors like Butter Pecan, Cookie Dough, and Sweet Cream are always on tap, while featured summer flavors like Cherry Crumble, Key Lime Pie, Lemon-Berry Cake, and Sweet Corn Blueberry incorporate the best this sweet season has to offer. Also serving up sweet treats is The Ice Cream Show, located right next to the pedestrian-friendly Walnut Street Bridge. Known for its custom-blended ice cream, The Ice Cream Show has over 40 fresh ingredients waiting to be blended into your choice of ice cream or yogurt – more than 17,000 possibilities await!
3. Get soaked.
Lake Winnepesaukah has been a summertime destination since 1925, but it wasn’t until 2013 that the amusement park opened its SOAKya Water Park. This five-acre water park has body slides, racing slides, fountains, and a children’s play area for the little ones. Cruise along in a raft on the Crazy River – which features rolling waves, geysers of water, and other surprises – or get soaked at Water Works, where a giant bucket spills out over guests every few minutes. If you need a break from the sun, cabanas stocked with sunscreen and water are available to rent for the day, and if you just can’t get enough of SOAKya, purchase a season pass to keep the fun going all summer long.
4. Visit a museum.
Chattanooga has no shortage of indoor attractions, including some of the best museums in the Southeast. At the Hunter Museum of American Art, you can explore American art from the colonial period until present day, and this summer, special exhibition Enchanted: A History of Fantasy Illustration offers a collection of nearly 100 works inspired by the imaginative potential of fantasy. The top-rated Creative Discovery Museum is a haven for curious kids and adults alike; here, you’ll find immersive and hands-on exhibits like the Corner Clinic, Excavation Station, and Visual Arts Gallery. Just a few blocks away, the National Medal of Honor Heritage Center shares the inspiring stories of some of our country’s heroes. With permanent exhibits spanning the Civil War to the War on Terror, the center offers guests an immersive experience that includes videos, character kiosks, and the Wall of Valor – a hallway that features all 32 Medal of Honor recipients from Tennessee.
5. Splash around.
When the sweltering Southern heat feels unbearable, splash pads are a quick fix, and Chattanooga has several! Perhaps the most well-known is Coolidge Park’s fountain-style splash pad, which features stone animals that your kids will be crawling all over in no time. Across the river, the Tennessee Aquarium Plaza tempts passersby with wading streams and pools that practically beg to be played in. The Warner Park “Spray and Play” is another popular option with water features that spray, squirt, splash, rain, and sprinkle; the splash pad is also conveniently located next to an outdoor pool for anyone who feels like taking the plunge. Brand-new this summer, the City of East Ridge’s splash pad is open seven days a week from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. from June through September.
6. Catch a movie.
Going to the movies is one of those universal experiences that makes a great date night, family activity, or outing with friends. Not only is the movie theater a cool locale, but it also comes with a side of buttery popcorn and your favorite candy. Chattanooga is home to several AMC theaters, including AMC Chattanooga 18, AMC CLASSIC Chattanooga 12, and AMC CLASSIC Northgate 14, as well as Regal Cinemas Hamilton Place 8, all of which show the latest releases. For a vintage movie experience, check out the Tivoli Theatre’s Bobby Stone Film Series. All summer long, you can watch classic and critically acclaimed films such as The Princess Bride, Moonlight, Creed, and Black Panther in the historic Tivoli venue.
7. Channel your inner child.
For a fun activity that doesn’t require a swimsuit, plan a trip to one of the Scenic City’s entertainment destinations. Bowling alleys like Spare Time and Splitz Alley give guests the quintessential bowling experience, while Southside Social offers a boutique experience with bars, games, and 10 state-of-the-art lanes. Participating in an escape room is sure to exercise your mind, while axe throwing is a great way to exercise your shoulders and core. Near Hamilton Place, DEFY Chattanooga provides all kinds of indoor fun, from trampolines and a ninja course to zip lines and extreme dodgeball.
8. Head underground.
A guaranteed way to beat the heat is going where the sun doesn’t shine: underground! On Lookout Mountain, you can journey deep underground to see Ruby Falls – the tallest and deepest underground waterfall open to the public in the United States. Keeping a cool 60 degrees year-round, Ruby Falls offers several different cave adventures depending on your style and speed. Just a few miles away, Raccoon Mountain Caverns features more than 5.5 miles of underground passageways that you can explore via a Crystal Palace Walking Tour or Wild Cave Expedition Tour. The caverns, one of the most geologically active in the South, have 100% natural formations such as stalactites, stalagmites, soda straws, and much more.