Rock City is a classic American tourist attraction. It uses beautiful natural surroundings, and then mixes in some weird, kitsch-y stuff to create a very strange yet magical world.
Located in the American South, Rock City is on top of Lookout Mountain, straddling the line between Tennessee and Georgia. Most people visit while staying in Chattanooga, but it is technically in Georgia.
I have a hard time explaining what exactly this place is, because it’s a lot of things jumbled into one very interesting attraction. Basically, Rock City is a labyrinth of paths through themed areas, built into the side of a mountain. It’s a garden, it’s a scenic exploration of the natural elements, and it’s a fun wonderland type of experience.
It’s obviously very popular with children and families, but I find it’s just as much fun as an adult. You might show up for the quirky features, but it really does put nature front and center, which I can truly appreciate.
When you enter Rock City, everyone generally starts out on the same path. You walk through the Enchanted Garden, which features little gnomes hiding out in their homes among the rocks. Then comes the “Fat Man Squeeze,” which is a thin walkway through the boulders. After that, you’re given more freedom to wander the pathways as you choose, going whichever way you want.
As you near Lover’s Leap, you get an up-close look at the mountain that Rock City is built into, and you get an incredible view over the valley. You can actually see 7 states from the main viewpoint: Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Virginia, Tennessee, Alabama, and Kentucky.
The strangest part of Rock City is Fairyland Caverns. Inside of a dark cave, miniature glow-in-the-dark scenes from classic fairytales and folklore are set up. It’s such a cool, trippy place to explore.
One of the things Rock City is famous for is its advertising. During the Great Depression, the founder offered to paint peoples’ barns in exchange for adding his own advertising onto the roof: “See Rock City”. This method worked quite well, and now these barns are the symbol of Rock City.
I’d recommend spending about 2 hours at Rock City. You can certainly spend more time there, but I think 2 hours is enough to see everything.
Location: 1400 Patten Road, Lookout Mountain, GA 30750
Hours: Opens at 8:30 am, closing times fluctuates based on the season
Price: $19.95 for adult admission
Parking: Free parking
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