#GovCon23 is heading east.

Our annual conference, which is typically hosted in Middle Tennessee, will take place in Chattanooga on September 18 and 19.

While some of you may call Chattanooga home or have visited a time or two, others may be visiting for the first time. If that’s the case, sit back, and relax as we highlight eight spots to visit when you head to the Scenic City next month.


The Tennessee Aquarium


Photo: Tennessee Aquarium


Located downtown on the Chattanooga Riverfront, the Tennessee Aquarium should be No. 1 on your list of must-see places. There is no better way to experience the region’s biodiversity than through the aquarium’s exhibits, which feature animals from some of Southeast Tennessee’s most remote areas.


Coolidge Park


Photo: Times Free Press


For the early risers that want to get outside, Coolidge Park is the place to visit. Home to an antique carousel dating back to 1894, this park is a popular destination for tourists and locals combined. Plan ahead and work this Chattanooga hotspot into your upcoming visit.


Buddy’s Bar-B-Q


Photo: Buddy’s bar-b-q


Originally founded in Knoxville, Tennessee, Buddy’s bar-b-q has become a Tennessee staple offering a sample of all things southern. Since its founding in 1972, Buddy’s has expanded to include two locations in Hamilton County. Whether you’re in the mood for a hushpuppy or good ole fashioned barbeque, you won’t regret taking the short trip to East Ridge or Hixson to see what Buddy’s has to offer.


Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum


Photo: Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum


Chattanooga has been a hub for logistics since the city landed its first rail line in 1850. Since then, this community has continued to grow, paving its way as a leader in distribution. The Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum (TVRM) is the place to visit to see Chattanooga’s history in rail. TVRM specializes in preserving railroad equipment and machines to educate visitors on the importance of the logistics industry. The museum will be open both days of the conference, so plan to stop by.


Champy’s World Famous Fried Chicken


Photo: Champy’s Chicken


First opened in Chattanooga in 2009 by Seth and Crissy Champion, Champy’s is a household name to those in Hamilton County. The Champions wanted to showcase a more-than-forty-year-old family recipe and serve fried-to-order chicken, hand-rolled Mississippi tamales and other delicious homemade treats across their eight locations in Tennessee and Alabama.


MoonPie General Store


Photo: MoonPie


Located on Broad Street, less than a 15-minute walk from the Chattanooga Convention Center, the MoonPie General Store is where you’ll want to go for a conference pick-me-up. Founded in the early 1900s, MoonPies have been a part of Tennessee households and grocery and convenience stores for more than a decade. Produced by the Chattanooga Bakery, these snacks are a combination of marshmallow, graham and chocolate and absolutely delicious.


McKee Foods Bakery Store


Photo: Little Debbie


Known as America’s largest family bakery, McKee Foods has called Hamilton County home for more than 80 years. As part of the company’s operations, McKee has a bakery store in Ooltewah where you will be sure to find a Little Debbie® or two. The McKee Foods Bakery Store is about 30 minutes from the Chattanooga Convention Center.


Chattanooga Zoo


Photo: Visit Chattanooga


Lions, and Tigers and Bears, Oh My! Dating back to 1937, the Chattanooga Zoo has a rich history in Hamilton County. Located in Warner Park, just a ten-minute drive from the Chattanooga Convention Center, the Chattanooga Zoo has something to offer for all ages. Completed in late 2022, the Red Panda exhibit is the zoo’s newest attraction and represents its first major renovation to the Himalayan Passage since it was opened in 2004. The zoo is open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and would be a great addition to your stay.

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