26 votes

The Passage

100 Riverfront Pkwy, Chattanooga, Tennessee 37402 USA

Free to Visit
Closed Now
Opens Mon 6a
  • Independent
  • Credit Cards
    not Accepted
  • Not Wheelchair
  • Public
  • Outdoor
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“walk down a weeping staircase”

The Passage in Chattanooga is more than just a fun fountain you can play in-- it's also a touching memorial to the Trail of Tears. But why Chattanooga? Before this Southern Tennessee town was founded, the area was inhabited by the Cherokee tribe-- until they were forced out by the US government in 1838. Roughly 4,000 Cherokee alone died on the brutal journey to Oklahoma. The "weeping" staircase is a fitting tribute to the Cherokee who lost their lives during the cruel march they were forced to take as they were removed from their native lands-- also known as the Trail of Tears. Along the sides of the stairs are circles with scenes that tell the story of the seven clans of the Cherokee Nation in the Southeast, and there are also depictions of people playing stickball along another wall facing the river. Stickball is a rough-and-tumble game similar to lacrosse that Native Americans like the Cherokee played, often to settle disputes between tribes. It's one of those places that young and old can enjoy-- children can cool off in the water, and those who are older can learn about and pay respect to the Cherokee culture and history. -Roadtrippers The Passage is a pedestrian link between downtown Chattanooga and the Tennessee River and marks the beginning of the Trail of Tears. The Trail of Tears refers to the journey which forced the removal of the Cherokee tribes from Ross' s Landing in Chattanooga to Oklahoma. Some 4000 Cherokees died before reaching Oklahoma. The Passage is a permanent outdoor exhibit, with symbolism of the seven clans of the Cherokee Nation. There is a 'weeping wall' representing the tears shed as the Cherokee were driven from their homes and removed on the Trail of Tears. Seven, six-foot ceramic disks tell the story of the Cherokee Nation from hundreds of years of Native American habitation in the southeast. Seven, 14-foot tall stainless steel sculptures of stickball players will grace the wall facing the river, educating visitors about the game and its importance to Cherokee culture.

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Reviewed by

  • 1 Review
  • 3 Helpful
August 14, 2013

I love this area of downtown. It's one of the better designed idea's they had, took a few years to build and turned out to look quite fantastic. It's worth seeing while you visit the Aquarium. Just a note but it's all closed off after about 9pm at night each night to avoid vandalism and other inner city issues.

3 people found this review helpful

Reviewed by

  • 7 Reviews
  • 10 Helpful
August 07, 2014
Rated 5.0

What an amazing place. It is great to walk up & down the stairs & see the beautiful river.

2 people found this review helpful

Reviewed by

  • 1 Review
  • 1 Helpful
June 12, 2016
Rated 5.0

Great three day vacation spot.

1 person found this review helpful

Reviewed by

  • 8 Reviews
  • 0 Helpful
August 15, 2018

This is mapped incorrectly, so it’s very deceiving to try to find. Actually close to the aquarium, and not the Belle ship. Find the aquarium, and you might actually find this. It isn’t the stairway that is not running with water!

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Reviewed by

  • 1 Review
  • 0 Helpful
June 23, 2017
Rated 1.0

Nice idea but no water running when I just went...with four kids that were excited to see water. We were there around noon on a Friday with sunny, 80 degree during the summer. Sooo...not sure why it wasn't running. Plus it is not the easiest to find. Sooo...I recommend you skip it.

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Reviewed by

  • 9 Reviews
  • 1 Helpful
October 27, 2016
Rated 3.0

Not that special. Hard to find, and not fantastic.

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Reviewed by

  • 1 Review
  • 0 Helpful
June 12, 2016
Rated 5.0

I have been here twice. I love love walking these steps. It feels so good. The Indian history is amazing as well.

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The Passage

100 Riverfront Pkwy
Chattanooga, Tennessee
37402 USA


Closed Now
  • Sun - Sat: 6:00 am - 9:00 pm

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  • Parking
  • Pets Allowed
  • Restrooms
  • Wifi
  • Wheelchair Accessible
  • Credit Cards Accepted
  • Outdoor Seating
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