comScore
Chattanooga Choo Choo picture in Chattanooga
Gillet's Crossing / Flickr

Key Info

Details

  • Parks and Gardens, Recreation, Sightseeing Type
  • 1 to 2 hours Time to Spend
4.8
Overall
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Scorecard

  • Value
    5.0
  • Facilities
    4.5
  • Atmosphere
    4.0

Read about how we rank Things to Do.

To the naked eye, the Chattanooga Choo Choo may look like just another hotel, but what lies within the building's old brick walls is a history so rich it helped put Chattanooga on the map. Ironically, the building that housed the Chattanooga train station was originally a hotel before it was acquired by the Southern Railway in 1905. Four years later, it opened as a train station and eventually became a hub, transporting more than 50 passenger trains a day. From the time it opened to its closure in 1970, all trains traveling south passed through Chattanooga, with Presidents Woodrow Wilson, Theodore Roosevelt and Franklin Roosevelt among the many passengers who frequented this historic station. Although well-known in the railroad industry, the Chattanooga Choo Choo didn't became a household name until the Glenn Miller Orchestra created a song of the same name, which was featured in the 1941 movie "Sun Valley Serenade."

By 1973, the train station was turned back into a hotel thanks to the efforts of four local businessmen who were fans of the song and wanted to spare the building from demolition. Today, it is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is among the Historic Hotels of America. Some of the original station tracks still run through the property, and sleeper cars have been restored and converted into hotel accommodations. Visitors not staying at the hotel can marvel at the first Chattanooga Choo Choo Train, which dates back to 1880 and is the only one of its kind in the city. The property also boasts shops, gardens and a trolley, which travelers can ride to hear an audio narrative of the building's history.

Recent visitors were fascinated by the history of the hotel, with many particularly enjoying the beautiful lobby and the condition of the gardens.

The attraction is located in downtown Chattanooga, and the free electric shuttle stops right outside of the hotel. It's free to explore the hotel even if you're not a guest, but a ride on the trolley costs $3 per person. For more information, visit the Chattanooga Choo Choo's website

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Hotels Nearby

  • Thing to Do
  • Hotel
The Chattanoogan

The Chattanoogan ...

  • 0.3 Miles Away
  • 3.5-star Hotel Class
La Quinta Inn Chattanooga

La Quinta Inn Chattanooga ...

  • 0.5 Miles Away
  • 2.5-star Hotel Class
Chattanooga Choo Choo

Chattanooga Choo Choo ...

  • None Miles Away
  • 3.0-star Hotel Class
See all hotels in Chattanooga »

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#1 Chickamauga & Chattanooga National Military Park Along with natural attractions and a notable role in history of the rail industry, Chattanooga is very well-known for being a Civil War battleground. The Chickamauga & Chattanooga National Military ... Read more » David Brossard / Flickr

#2 Tennessee Aquarium The Tennessee Aquarium is one of the world's largest freshwater aquariums, and easily Chattanooga's biggest attraction, contributing more than $100 million to the city's economy annually. And ... Read more » Charles B. Rich / Getty Images

#3 Bluff View Art District Those who find themselves beat after traversing the city's many natural attractions should consider taking a stroll through the charming Bluff View Art District. Situated atop a bluff overlooking ... Read more » Courtesy of the Chattanooga Convention & Visitors Bureau

#4 Chattanooga Choo Choo To the naked eye, the Chattanooga Choo Choo may look like just another hotel, but what lies within the building's old brick walls is a history so rich it ... Read more » Gillet's Crossing / Flickr

#5 Rock City Gardens This popular 4,100-foot path located on the Georgia side of Lookout Mountain offers attractions to appease many different types of travelers. Outdoor enthusiasts will enjoy weaving through the tall ... Read more » Antipunk / Getty Images

#6 Ruby Falls Located along the Tennessee River Gorge just south of downtown Chattanooga, Ruby Falls is one of Lookout Mountain's most popular attractions — and it was discovered completely by accident. In ... Read more » Buburuzaproductions / Getty Images

#7 Lookout Mountain Incline Railway The most practical way to get to Lookout Mountain may be by car, but the most memorable experience is definitely the Incline Railway. Billed as "America's Most Amazing Mile ... Read more » Courtesy of Lookout Mountain Incline Railway

Chickamauga National Battlefield picture in Chattanooga
Aquarium Life picture in Chattanooga
Bluff View Art District picture in Chattanooga
Chattanooga Choo Choo picture in Chattanooga
Rock City Lovers Leap picture in Chattanooga
Ruby Falls picture in Chattanooga
Incline Railway picture in Chattanooga
Chickamauga National Battlefield picture in Chattanooga
Aquarium Life picture in Chattanooga
Bluff View Art District picture in Chattanooga
Chattanooga Choo Choo picture in Chattanooga
Rock City Lovers Leap picture in Chattanooga
Ruby Falls picture in Chattanooga
Incline Railway picture in Chattanooga

David Brossard / Flickr

Charles B. Rich / Getty Images

Courtesy of the Chattanooga Convention & Visitors Bureau

Gillet's Crossing / Flickr

Antipunk / Getty Images

Buburuzaproductions / Getty Images

Courtesy of Lookout Mountain Incline Railway

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