After arriving in Chattanooga, our guide took us to a walking tour of the city. She said that this is the best way to experience the vibrant scenery and the warmth and hospitality of the people. Walking from one area to another in Chattanooga is one of the best ways to check out historical sites, landmarks and its rich architectural and Civil War background.
We first headed off to the riverside path known as the Tennessee River Walk. This path runs parallel to the Tennessee River from the Chickamauga Dam to the city’s downtown district. Walking here is more than just taking in the picturesque view. You will also be able to admire different attractions such as the popular stainless steel silhouette markers like the bird watcher, bicyclists, bluegrass musician, a man sitting in a wheelchair, a strolling man, a jogging dad and daughter and a family. It was a nice walk despite the distance.
Ross’ Landing was our next walking destination and this was a sight to behold. This was the last site of the Cherokee’s 61-year occupation of Chattanooga and is highlighted by the Trail of Tears. We admired water cascading down the steps above Ross’ Landing Riverfront Park, the highlight of this landmark. This was listed as one of the National Register of Historic Places in 1974.
A pedestrian path connects the Riverfront Park to the Tennessee Aquarium. This is a public aquarium home to more than 12,000 animals representing almost 800 marine species. There are more than 20 million people who have visited this aquarium and have a number of facilities to offer. One of the most enjoyable was the River Journey installation. This is a 130,000 square foot structure which is as tall as a 12-story building. It contains about 400,000 gallons of water and it showcases river animals as well as smaller aquatic exhibits with animals from every corner of the world.
The Historic Read House Hotel was our next stop. It was opened in 1926 and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. This hotel has undergone a number of renovations with the most recent in August 2017 after it was purchased by the Avocet Hospitality Group of Charleston; SC. Aside from its popular guests like Al Capone, Winston Churchill and Oprah Winfrey, this hotel was also popular for its haunted Room 311. It is believed that the ghost of Annalisa Netherly resides in the room. She was murdered in the very room, was found soaking in the tub with her head almost separated from her body.
The last destination for our walking tour was Tivoli Theater, also known as “Jewel of the South.” This is a historic theater that opened in 1921. Most of the original parts of the building’s structure remains till this day like its cream-colored tiles and beige terra-cotta brocks plus its red, black and white-colored marquee with chaser lights. We were amazed because the original theater pipe organ was still intact and the rest of the theater was unaltered.
This was marked by the National Register as one of the most significant building from 1875 to 1899 because of its amazing architectural features.
Our walking tour took us till the afternoon to complete. We were tired but felt very fulfilled. Don’t forget to wear comfortable footwear, bring an umbrella and drinking water if you want to indulge in a walking tour of Chattanooga.