Getting Around Chattanooga
The best way to get around Chattanooga is via public transportation or by bike. Chattanooga's public transportation system offers a free electric shuttle service that drops visitors off at various points of interest in the city, including the Chattanooga Choo Choo and the Tennessee Aquarium. The city also offers the Chattanooga Bicycle Transit System, which has more than 40 stations spread throughout the downtown area and some in the North Shore district. If traveling by wheels isn't necessarily your cup of tea, then you won't miss much from simply walking. Chattanooga's downtown riverwalk snakes 13 miles along the Tennessee River and boasts numerous shops and restaurants, as well as popular attractions including the Bluff View Art District, the Passage and the Walnut Street Bridge, which is one of the longest pedestrian bridges in the world. If you're looking to explore some of the famous natural attractions that Chattanooga has to offer, such as the Chickamauga & Chattanooga National Military Park, you'll need a car.
To get from the Chattanooga Metropolitan Airport (CHA) to your hotel, you can take a taxi, use a ride sharing service or take a shuttle bus, since getting around downtown Chattanooga doesn't require a car. Taxi rates are approximately $30 one-way from the airport to downtown Chattanooga. Additionally, ride-hailing services and cabs are available to take visitors throughout Chattanooga, but be forewarned: rates do add up.
CARTA, or the Chattanooga Area Regional Transportation Authority, has 19 bus routes that stretch from North Chattanooga to the Tennessee-Georgia border and east to Ooltewah, Tennessee. Regular bus fare costs $1.50 for adults and children 5 and younger can ride for free. Visitors can also purchase a 24-hour unlimited ride pass for $6, which includes $2 for the rechargeable card and $4 for the ride pass.
To get around downtown, use the free Electric Shuttle. It has two routes: Downtown and North Shore. The Downtown service runs from Shuttle Park North (by the aquarium) through the downtown area to Shuttle Park South on Market Street, next to the Chattanooga Choo Choo. The downtown shuttle runs about every five minutes daily from 6:30 a.m. to 11 p.m. on weekdays, with abbreviated hours on the weekends. The North Shore route takes riders across the river to the North Shore district and runs every 15 minutes weekdays from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., and on Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
The Chattanooga Bicycle Transit system allows residents and visitors to rent bikes 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Visitors can purchase a 24-hour pass for $8 or a three-day pass for $15. Both passes give riders unlimited 60-minute station-to-station trips. If your bike ride lasts longer than 60 minutes, you will need to pay an extra fee.
Cars aren't necessary to get around downtown Chattanooga, but having your own set of wheels could be useful if you want to visit the city's natural attractions. There are numerous car rental agencies stationed at the Chattanooga airport, and Enterprise and National have offices in downtown Chattanooga. Chattanooga owns and operates several parking garages in the downtown area and multiple lots throughout the city. Most city street parking is charged by meter. Just remember: parking fees will add up quickly.
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