When my parents visited last weekend, we asked them what they wanted to do. The thing my mom wanted to do the most was ride on the Southern Belle riverboat.
There are a couple of different rides that you can take on the Southern Belle, which sails from downtown Chattanooga on the Tennessee River. The regular hour and a half sightseeing cruise is the most popular one and runs most frequently during the summer.
If you are looking for something a little more special, there are lunch and dinner cruises, sunset ones, fall foliage cruises and a cruise through the Chickamauga Dam locks. We picked the regular sightseeing one, mostly because that is what we were limited to, pandemic and all.
The sightseeing cruise comes with unlimited popcorn (not really unlimited, but you get a big bag that is plenty to go around) and souvenir plastic cups for unlimited soda. Honestly, we thought the popcorn was stale, and we didn’t get any soda, but we weren’t in it for the food. We did bring the cups home though!
The neat thing about the Southern Belle is that in order to dock, you have to first enter a larger dry docked riverboat. That’s where the gift shop is, where you buy tickets and there’s even the 3rd Deck Burger Bar.
The boat ride first takes you south about half way through Moccasin Bend, alongside Lookout Mountain. It was neat to be able to see the top of the New York Monument in Point Park, a place that Derek and I visited last fall. Then the boat turns back north and goes under all of the four main bridges near downtown. The trip is an hour and a half total.
The trip features narration, where you learn facts about the river, what you see on the shore and some of Chattanooga’s history. We were treated to music from the Southern Belle’s calliope, or steam organ.
We enjoyed our time on the cruise. This is something I would like doing again in the future.
Coolidge Park was the place to be on Saturday evening. It was a warm night, but cooling down. We got ice cream at Clumpies and then walked the Walnut Street Pedestrian Bridge. We made it back to Coolidge Park in time for the sun to set.
I expect that a lot of people were there to witness the “spectacular sunsets” that were predicted due to the Saharan dust. There were quite a few people with some impressive cameras and tripod equipment. We had some rain earlier in the afternoon which I think may have helped clear the skies. The sunset that night was, in fact, a dud. It was still a beautiful night though and I snapped a few shots myself.
The Walnut Street Bridge is a pedestrian bridge that spans the Tennessee River in Chattanooga.
It starts on one side at Coolidge Park, and ends on the other side near the Bluff View District and Aquarium.
Walking the bridge was one of the local activities I had wanted to do the most, but we waited a while until it got cooler out.
The bridge was completed in 1891 and it is one of the world’s longest pedestrian bridges. It initially was open to vehicle traffic, but then was discontinued in use in the 1970s. It was restored and reopened in 1993.
There is some dark history surrounding the bridge too. In the 1890s, two black men were lynched on the bridge.
When we were on the bridge on a Friday morning, there were lots of people out and about. There were families, couples, tourists and exercisers.
The bridge seems large when it’s looming overhead, but once you’re actually up there walking across, it doesn’t seem so long. Going one way took about maybe 15 minutes, and we stopped to take a bunch of photos.