Chattanooga, Tennessee is a beautiful, unique city and a great location to stop on a southern American road trip. Atlanta, Georgia is 120 miles to the southwest and Nashville, Tennessee is 135 miles northwest. The city has coined the name ‘Scenic City’, with a downtown surrounded by mountains and the Tennessee River running right through it, it has become well-known, indeed famous, for its outdoor activities.
You can choose from hiking on Signal or Lookout Mountain, paddle boarding or kayaking down Suck Creek, to renting bikes to ride on the Riverwalk or trails on Stringers Ridge. And if white water rafting is your thing, the Ocoee River is just an hour drive away.
Chattanooga is separated into a handful of neighborhoods, my favorites being Northshore and Riverfront. These areas are the jewels of the city and really show off its liveliness.
Northshore features funky boutiques, new restaurants and great spots for relaxing and meandering. Coolidge Park, located along the riverbank, boasts a green lawn, walkways, fountains, a carousel and views of the water and downtown across the river. There’s a pedestrian bridge that connects Northshore with Riverfront, where tourists and locals walk, run and bike surrounded by city, water and mountain scenes.
Riverfront is the location for several of the best events that come to town, like the Riverbend Festival every year in June, and a Southern Brewers Festival with loads of craft beer in August. It’s also a perfect area for a walk at sunset with an ice cream cone. You can drop by the Tennessee Aquarium to see penguins, otters and, of course, plenty of fish. If you’re traveling with children, stop by the Creative Discovery Museum. It is my favorite museum that I went to as a kid.
Chattanoogans take great pride in their city, setting their focus on locality. The area is packed with restaurants and shops owned by locals. Numerous restaurants choose to cook with ingredients from farmers in the area, and the Chattanooga Market is crammed every week with consumers buying local.
All over town, you’ll find unique restaurants. One of my favorites is Champy’s. If you’re wanting a southern American meal in a quirky venue, this is the perfect place for you. They serve the best fried chicken I’ve ever had and that’s coming from a born and raised Tennessean with loads of practice at critiquing southern food!
Chattanooga has a lot to offer. Good food, fun festivals, pretty views and loads of activities to enjoy the outside, what’s not to love?