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15 Reasons to Visit Chattanooga

Updated: Aug 19, 2023

1. Chattanooga is a small city that offers natural beauty, arts, attractions and diverse culinary experiences. Located in the Tennessee River Valley, between the Cumberland Mountains and the Appalachian Mountains, the river, bridges and mountains create a beautiful setting for exploring. Check out the hotel options on

2. Chattanoogas is home to Rock City (pictured above). The iconic attraction that is advertised on barns, billboards and birdhouses through the South. The fun doesn't stop at Rock City, Ruby Falls, Tennessee Aquarium, Lookout Mountain, Raccoon Mountain Caverns, and the Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum offer history, fun and adventure as well. All of these attractions provide hours of entertainment for the entire family.

3. The Bluffs Art District (pictured above) offers a fun, funky experience for lovers of all types of art. From the Hunter Museum of American Art, to the River Gallery of local Artists, to the Houston Museum of Decorative Arts, to the River Gallery Sculpture Garden you can immerse yourself in all types of visual arts. Rembrandt’s Coffee Shop, Tony's Pasta Shop and Trattoria and the upscale Back Inn Cafe allow you to indulge in the culinary arts. For a complete immersion The Bluff View Inn offers an overnight stay in one of three Historic Mansion on the Bluff.

4. Chattanooga experiences all four seasons. Spring comes slowly and sweetly. Summers are temperamental and long. Fall is vibrant with colors that revile New England. Winters are mildish. While heavy snowfall is a rarity, it does create a beautiful landscape.

5. I am blown away by the culinary offerings in Chattanooga! It is so much more than Southern cooking and barbecue. Although, Edley's on the North shore does have some really good barbecue! Oysters are one of my favorite dishes. You can find them in numerous places. Easy Bistro, where the chef has roots in New Orleans, is my very favorite place to get them in Chattanooga. St. John's and Hennan's along with Easy Bistro are my favorite places for a splurge meal. The best burger is at Main Street Meats. People may disagree, so try Tremont Tavern, Urban Stack and Slicks and do your own taste test. For more information the food scene in Chattanooga go to my post Oysters, in Chattanooga To experience some authentic Southern Cuisine in Chattanooga, try this Small Group Food Tour.

6. The Riverwalk is a beautiful walking/biking trail that connects with the South Chickamauga Creek Greenway to form a 13 mile space along the Tennessee River, ending at the Chickamauga Dam, pictured above. Bikes are available to rent throughout Chattanooga and at several points along the trail. There are many places to stop and picnic or enjoy a meal. My favorite is the Boathouse Restaurant with its sweeping views of the river. It is about halfway between the Dam and the Bluff's Art District. For more information on the Riverwalk, click here.

7. The Walnut Street Walking Bridge built in 1891 is one of the world's longest Pedestrian Bridges. The bridge connects the Bluff's Art District and Downtown with the funky shops and restaurants of the North Shore.

7. Coffee Shops abound in Chattanooga. Some have amazing views like this view of the Hunter Art Museum and Tennessee River from the Stone Cup on Frazier St. Some have beautiful courtyards like Rembrandt's Coffee in the Bluff's Art District. Some have a wide selection of breakfast bites like Mean Mug on Main Street (and now on the North Shore). All are a delicious way to start your day.

8. The Tennessee River is lightly traveled with commercial boat traffic, making a perfect summer playground. Kayaks, paddle boards and water bikes can be rented at Coolidge Park on the Northshore and at the Tennessee River Park near the Chickamauga Dam. Exploring the city from the river is an enjoyable way to experience its natural beauty.

9. With its short mildish winters and temperate summers, outdoor dining thrives in Chattanooga. Pictured above is State of Confusion, a newish patio dining restaurant on the Southside. Along with The Flying Squirrel , Stir, and Feed Table and Tavern, you can get an icy cocktail and a tasty bite while soaking up the gorgeous weather and even play a game of corn hole.

10. Hiking and Mountain Biking is excellent near Chattanooga. There are trails for all levels. The ruins of this chimney is found along the Rainbow Lake trail on Signal Mountain about 15 minutes from Downtown. For more information about hiking in Chattanooga, see my blog post Chattanooga Hiking

11. Chattanooga is home to a dozen or so craft beer breweries, two liquor distilleries and a diverse cocktail scene. From the swanky rooftop Paloma Bar de Tapas to the rathskeller at the Bitter Alibi, there is a place to sip for every taste. Some of favorites are mid century modern Matilda Midnight, the Whiskey Thief with its views of the walking bridge and the Honest Pint, a true Irish Pub with the best french fries cooked in duck fat.

12. Golf among the rolling hills of Chattanooga, is a pleasure for any enthusiast. Many of the Tennessee State Parks have Jack Nicklaus designed courses all called the Bear Trace. The Bear Trace at Harrison Bay is a lovely course set along the Tennessee River. Moccasin Bend and Eagle Bluff are two other nice public courses.

13. Fireworks over the Tennessee River is a sight to behold. Besides the traditional Fourth of July display, there are fireworks after Friday night home games of the minor league baseball team, the Lookouts, as well as on weekend evenings during Riverbend Fest, a music festival held along the river.

14. Music can be found throughout Chattanooga. One of the great venues to enjoy your favorite bands live is the Tivoli. A beautifully restored mid-century movie theater with amazing acoustics. Everyone from Eric Church to the Chattanooga Symphony plays there.

15. This is the view the Confederate Forces had from the top of Lookout Mountain. Chattanooga was a pivotal location during the Civil War. History lovers will want to visit Point Park atop Lookout Mountain and the Chickamauga Battlefield for all the details on why this area was so important during the Civil War.


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