Fall is one of the best times to enjoy the beautiful Tennessee Valley—temperatures have cooled, summer’s humidity is gone, and the air is crystal clear. Chattanooga was named “best outdoor city” by Blue Ridge Outdoors magazine and “best place to live” by Outside Magazine.
It’s no wonder with the wealth of water sports, rock climbing, hiking, hang gliding, biking, fishing and hunting that can be done in the area. This is the prime season to take in all that natural wonder, as well as enjoy perfect conditions for Chattanooga’s many autumn cultural events. Here are some of our top picks for fall events in the Scenic City:
The River Rocks Outdoor Festival has become huge for Chattanooga, lasting from October 2nd to the 13th and featuring a variety of athletics from rock climbing, trail running, kayaking, rowing, cycling, off-road biking and all sorts of paddling for both expert and novice competitors. There is plenty of room for casual participants young and old, as well, and the full calendar has something for everyone. We especially love the 3 Sisters Bluegrass Festival on the Riverfront , this year featuring some great artists including Dismembered Tennesseans, The Greenbriars, Balsam Range, andSam Bush!
Culture Fest has become a huge favorite in Chattanooga over the years, featuring food, dance, and live music from countries around the world. Both local organizations, such as the Zanzibar Belly Dance Studio and La Paz Di Dios and professional artists perform and present. There are also activities for all ages such as origami, yoga, dance instruction, henna hand painting, face painting, chopstick lessons, tea tasting, passport game, calligraphy, bocce and international board games, in addition to the usual Chattanooga Market vendors and farmers!
Thanks to Volkswagon Chattanooga has quite the growing German community, making the 12th annual Oktoberfest more authentic than ever. This two day event has Bavarian cuisine, live music, and you’ll see the Chattanooga Market turn into the largest biergarten in town with four dozen local and season craft brews! In addition to the regular market vendors, there are also many fun side events, such as the Ram Run 5K race and 1 Mile Fun Run/Walk to benefit the Our Lady of Perpetual Help Catholic School and the Scenic City Volks Folks car show. Through it all, the beloved Wurstbrats Oompah band will be entertaining the crowd.
Take a hike through one of the nearby state parks, such as Cloudland Canyon or Prentice Cooper. The West Rim Loop and Waterfall Trails are very popular in Cloudland Canyon and Snooper’s Rock in Prentice Cooper has spectacular views of the River Gorge. Especially when the leaves start to change these are some of the best hikes in the area. Another local favorite is Sunset Rock atop Lookout Mountain. There are several trails and rock climbing faces that start near that point, and, true to the name, it is especially lovely at sunset.