- Visited April 2019
Keen to explore more of Tennessee after my positive experience of Nashville, I ended up in Chattanooga on a whim. Only a couple of hours drive from Nashville (plus a one hour time difference) and $13 dollars for a single journey on Mega Bus, Chattanooga is definitely worth visiting for those travellers who enjoy outdoor activities and the Arts. Chattanooga is known as The Scenic City as it is located at the base of Lookout Mountain; spectacular views and great opportunities for climbing and hiking can be found in the surrounding area. It is also nicknamed Gig City as the city boasts citywide 10 -gigabit-speed internet, and has become a prime location for Start Ups and entrepreneurs. Back in the day, the city had the first factory bottling Coca Cola and was notorious for its industrial pollution. That is no longer the case today. Residents are proud of the city’s transformation and it has been voted one of the best places to live in the US. It’s not hard to see why. It’s family friendly, green spaces abound, has some fab eateries and drinking spots, and it has a thriving arts and culture scene. As much as I loved my time in Nashville, for me, its smaller Tennessee cousin Chattanooga, was more my kind of place and I would happily live there.
The city is quite compact and walkable but helpfully, a free electric shuttle runs every 5 minutes from the Chattanooga Choo Choo (in Southside where I was based) up to the North Shore, to a station near to the popular Aquarium, which makes it easy to get from one end of the city to the other. You can also rent bikes from bike stations dotted throughout the city.
- Explore Lookout Mountain. Trek through Rock City, visit Ruby Falls (an underground waterfall) or ride the Incline Railway (the world’s steepest, operating since 1895). Another attraction is Point Park, a 10-acre National Park.
- Visit the Chattanooga Choo Choo, a hotel in the old Terminal Station. Get an instagrammable pic with the illuminated Chattanooga sign. Train enthusiasts can book to stay in one of the old train carriages.
- Art lovers should check out the Hunter Museum of American Art and their sculpture park. Loved this place!
- Nearby, you can also explore the Bluff View Arts District, where you will find the River Gallery and sculpture park, and the Houston Museum of Decorative Arts.
- Explore the Sculpture Fields at Montague Park. Download the app OtoCast before you go to listen to each of the artists explaining their sculptures.
- Check out the public art in Southside or go on a street art hunt around the city – there are some amazing large scale murals to be found, such as ‘Traveling Musician’ by The Artist Seven on Passenger Street.
- Hang out with pooches and have a beer at Barks and Beers.
- Visit the Songbirds Guitar Museum – one of the world’s largest private collections of guitars.
- Visit the African American Museum and Bessie Smith Cultural Center.
- Go to the Aquarium.
- Have a look around the vendors at Merchants on Main.
- Eat a Moon Pie and read about the history of this iconic local treat at the Moon Pie General Store.
- Next to the Chattanooga Choo Choo there are a couple of different bars and eateries, such as the Terminal Brewhouse. The Frothy Monkey is the perfect place to grab a coffee and people watch.
- Main Street Meats – a meat-eaters heaven! Whatever you choose to eat, wash it down with a Homegrown – a mix of Chattanooga whiskey reserve, Mexican coke and peanuts!
- Flying Squirrel – cool place, offering reduced price drinks and tasty eats during happy hour. Guests staying at The Crash Pad get 20% discount on food.
- The Pickle Barrel – great place to grab a snack and craft beer on the rooftop terrace. They even offer a fried Moon Pie dessert on the menu.
- London Calling – classy speakeasy with great cocktails
- Champy’s – iconic fried chicken venue. Delicious!
- Taconooga – cheap and tasty tacos.
- St John’s Restaurant – a good choice for a treat meal
- Zarzour’s Cafe – this 100-year old food venue offers Southern-style home-cooked classics.
- Chattanooga Whiskey – one for whiskey connoisseurs
- Clumpies Ice Cream Co – popular ice cream parlour with an array of flavours.
Selection of pictures from my stay: