Situated along the Tennessee River in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains, Chattanooga bridges the gap between Tennessee and Georgia, blending the Southern charm, beauty and culinary heritage of both states.
What to see
Chattanooga boasts breathtaking vistas and natural wonders that have drawn visitors and new residents for centuries. Ride the old-fashioned trolley up the Incline Railway to the summit of Lookout Mountain south of the city. There you’ll experience the best overlooks of the city, including Roper’s Rock, and many hiking trails of varying difficulties. You can also take a guided tour through a cave to see Ruby Falls, a 145-foot underground waterfall and learn about the location’s historical significance at the Battles for Chattanooga Museum, Craven’s House civil war battle site and on placards at the Camp Ross Historical Site. Drive to the south side of Lookout Mountain across the Georgia border to see the geological formations and gardens at Rock City.
You don’t have to drive up a mountain to enjoy Chattanooga, though. To explore natural beauty and concepts, visit the Chattanooga Zoo, Tennessee Aquarium and interactive Creative Discovery Museum educational center. Learn about the history of the region and different industries at the various museums throughout town, such as the International Towing and Recovery Museum, Songbirds guitar museum and live performance venue, Coker Tire Museum and the Medal of Honor Heritage Center.
Where to eat
Chattanooga is overflowing with quality bistros founded by creative chefs who’ve put New World spins on Old World cuisine. One such eatery that captures the culinary spirit of the city is the Easy Bistro and Bar on Broad St. Housed in the building that was once the very first Coca-Cola bottling plant, this refined, French-inspired bistro features a raw bar and extensive cocktail menu to supplement its brunch and dinner menus. These menus offer reinvented steak, duck, shrimp and grits and other dishes that change on a daily basis.
Considering Chattanooga is such a picturesque city, it makes an attractive backdrop for dining, which is why many of the most popular restaurants in Chattanooga offer outdoor seating. Public House has one of the most popular and spacious patios in the area according to Chattanooga Visitors Bureau. You’ll enjoy some of the best seafood catches from along the coast and throughout the South on a romantic date night.
The first brewpub in the city, Terminal Brewhouse delivers tasty food alongside its award-winning beers and spirits. The Terminal Brewhouse serves a variety of American and Italian dishes that you can enjoy on the second-floor patio overlooking the Chattanooga Choo Choo.
Speaking of Italian, Alleia on E. Main St. serves authentic, rustic Italian dishes in its traditional trattoria-inspired venue that’s shadowed by the gorgeous Lookout Mountain. Diners in the outdoor, jasmine vine-covered porch can bite into hand-made pasta as they take in the fresh Chattanooga air.
Where to Stay
It takes multiple days to see all that Chattanooga offers, so make sure you book overnight accommodations for your weekend visit. If you’d prefer to stay somewhere more locally significant than the standard chain hotels, check out the Chattanooga Choo Choo. Having undergone renovation in the 1970s, this century-old former train station now houses a collection of Pullman Train Cars transformed into unique guest accommodations.
Other popular places to stay in Chattanooga include the Read House hotel downtown, the RiverView Inn on the hill leading up Overlook Mountain and the massive, upscale Chattanoogan hotel.
Although Chattanooga isn’t the most popular destination in Tennessee to visit, its scenic landscape, historical legacy and innovative dining offerings make it a marvelous place for a springtime escape.