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Courtesy of Chattanooga Tourism Co.

Key Info

1400 Market St.

Price & Hours

Free
Varies by business

Details

Free, Parks and Gardens, Recreation, Sightseeing Type
1 to 2 hours Time to Spend

scorecard

  • 5.0Value
  • 4.5Facilities
  • 4.0Atmosphere

After hearing this building's name and seeing its architecture, you may be wondering whether you're visiting a train station or a hotel. Well, it's both. This building was originally a hotel before the Southern Railway acquired it in 1905. Four years later, it opened as Terminal Station and eventually became a major 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. 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 antique train and ornate hotel lobby. You can also peruse the surrounding entertainment complex, which boasts shops and gardens.

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 you'll need some cash if you plan to do some shopping or dining at the complex. For more information, visit the Chattanooga Choo Choo's website

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More Best Things To Do 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  known for being a Civil War battleground. The Chickamauga & Chattanooga National Military Park is the oldest and largest of America's Civil War parks, encompassing several different sections of land both north and south of the Tennessee-Georgia border. During the Civil War, Chattanooga was considered to be an attractive area for its railroads and location, earning the title of the "Gateway of the Deep South." In 1863, battles broke out in various areas in Chickamauga and Chattanooga, with both the Union and Confederate troops experiencing victories and losses.

The park is headquartered at Chickamauga, Georgia, which is about 9 miles south of downtown Chattanooga. Visitors looking to stay in Tennessee are still within reach of many important war sites, including Orchard's Knob, the Chattanooga National Cemetery, Signal Point, Lookout Mountain and various areas along the Missionary Ridge. Those with a tight itinerary (and who already have plans to visit Ruby Falls, Rock City or ride the Incline Railway), should visit Lookout Mountain's Point Park, the site of the "Battle Above the Clouds," and the Battles for Chattanooga Museum.

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