Friday Five: Top Five Things to Do in Chattanooga for Labor Day Weekend

Austin Anthony

The end of summer is upon us. The lazy vacation mindset has shifted to make room for back to school, renewed focus in the workplace (if coffee is involved) and the return of pumpkin spice lattes.  

Officially, the calendar says the last day of summer is Sept. 22. But, we all know Labor Day is the real finish line (not that you could tell from the blistering heat wave).

This three day weekend is not the time for house cleaning or taking your sweaters out of storage. Enjoy one last action-packed summer holiday filled with BBQ, music, art and other unique events that make Chattanooga literally perfect.

With a long weekend upon us, you don’t want to spend it actually doing useful things, do you?

Of course not.

So skip the sweeping and dusting and check out our top five ways to close out the summer season in Chattanooga.

Creative Discovery Museum

Whether you're looking to channel your adventurist spirit by digging for dinosaur bones, rock out with your family in the recording studio or showcase your family's acting prowess in the Back Alley Theatre, the Creative Discovery Museum has it all. With a plethora of exhibits and exciting, hands-on activities, the museum inspires a love for learning through play. For a limited time, visitors can join the adventures of Daniel Tiger and all his PBS friends in “Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood: A Grr-ific Exhibit.”  Visitors can traverse the paths and listen to the sounds of Daniel's world as they encounter the meanings of empathy, gratitude, sharing and diversity in an environment of interactive play. For more information, check out their website or Facebook page.

The Art's Meow

Looking to pounce on purrfect art deals for a great cause?  If cute depictions of cats wearing sweaters and playing chess is your cup of tea (milk?), you're in luck. The Art's Meow is the biggest fundraiser of the year for The Alice Fund, a local nonprofit supported solely through donations and fundraisers that helps cat owners provide and pay for medical care for their pets. For a pawsitively good time, don't miss this meow-nificent art sale. Ok. No more cat puns. For more information, check out their website or Facebook page.

When: Opening reception 5 to 8 p.m. today through Sunday, Sept. 2

Where: Exum Gallery inside St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, 305 W. Seventh St.

Beast Feast

Is there a better way to close the summer than with summertime BBQ, cold beer and live music? We can't think of anything either. It’s all happening at the Chattanooga Market where several renowned local pitmasters will be competing for the 9th Annual Beast Feast BBQ Contest. Whether you like it dry rubbed or slathered in slopping sauce; spicy or mild; chicken, pork or beef; this is the place to unleash your inner BBQ beast. For more information, read more here or check out the Chattanooga Market Facebook page.

When: 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 2

Where: Chattanooga Convention Center

Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum

Who can possibly fail to appreciate the incredible workmanship that built the Chattanooga Choo Choo behemoths? I may not be a train fanatic, but there is something about historic steam trains whose nostalgic romance transports you to a bygone era.

You can picture it in your head. Hear its sounds in your memories.

The great hum of the steam engine piercing the stillness of a serene landscape, wheels screeching under the load of the grand locomotive. 

Time to disembark the nostalgia train. You won't find a shortage of things to see and discover at the Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum.

For more information, check out their website or Facebook page.

Nightfall Music Series

Rhythm and music are a lifestyle in the Dynamo of Dixie, where live jazz, bluegrass bands, rock and indie beats stream out of both the most fabled and divey watering holes in the city. If you're into the Gig City music scene, you can't miss the final night of the Nightfall Music Series. 

Opening acts begin at 7 p.m. tonight with a nationally touring headliner taking the stage at 8 p.m. Bring your family, lawn chairs, dogs and friends to enjoy great food, beer and, of course, live music in the outdoor atmosphere of Miller Plaza.  

For more information, check out their website or Facebook page.

Other Topics

As someone who moved around frequently in recent years, I've always chased a sense of community. This led me to relocate to Chattanooga in August of 2021. I wanted to integrate my life into the Scenic City, and the Chamber…

The effects of the global pandemic have placed a tight hold on an already strained workforce. In 2021, approximately 47.4 million workers left their positions in search of better opportunities. The same year closed with 4.6 million more job openings…

Nearly 15,000 people are released from Tennessee penitentiaries each year. Project Return is dedicated to helping the formerly incarcerated successfully transition back into communities and work. Founded in Nashville in 1979, Project Return expanded to Chattanooga in 2021. The nonprofit program provides the resources and services,…

Sign up for weekly updates.