Photography by Casey Yoshida of Southside Creative.
WHY VISIT THE NATURALLY STUNNING CITY IN THE VOLUNTEER STATE? The Scout Guide Chattanooga editor Amy Walters can name a few reasons. The “Scenic City” has three things that make visiting this hopping destination a win—the food, riverfront, and adventures. “Chattanooga has some of the best eateries, cafes, bars, and fine dining—spanning everything from vegan-friendly options to state-of-the-art culinary experiences,” Amy shares. “Even visitors from New York City say Chattanooga rivals the food offerings in Manhattan.”
Downtown Chattanooga is built along the banks of the Tennessee River, and its cityscapes do not disappoint. Even locals have a hard time not taking pictures when walking the Walnut Street Bridge at sunset. Nestled in the foothills of the Smoky Mountains, not only are you treated to amazing views (thus the nickname), but there’s also easy access to rock climbing, hiking, hang-gliding, paddle boarding, river rafting, and biking. But if a metropolitan environment is more your speed, Amy notes you’re less than two hours from Atlanta and Nashville. Ready to plan your visit? Here Amy shares her favorite local finds and activities for taking in her city.
*Please note that due to COVID-19 some of these businesses might be closed or have specific guidelines in place. We recommend calling ahead and/or visiting their websites for the latest information on their status, offerings, etc.
WHEN TO GO // Visiting during the warmer seasons is your best bet so you don’t miss out on all the amazing outdoor activities the area has to offer. Added bonus: you can explore by walking or biking around town.
The Read House (827 Broad Street). A historic landmark with a luxurious renovation. You’re guaranteed a “Gatsby-style” stay.
The Westin (801 Pine Street). Located in Chattanooga’s West Village, the iconic “Gold Building,” now The Westin, is the shining star of downtown. It offers a rooftop bar and beautiful pool with cabanas for a memorable stay.
WHAT TO DO // Gallery 1401 (1278 Market Street). This lovely gallery features a wide selection of local and international artists.
The Hunter Museum of American Art (10 Bluff View). Located in the Bluff View Arts District, the architecture and views of this museum make it worthwhile. Plus, there’s an outdoor sculpture garden.
Tennessee Riverwalk. This 13-mile paved pathway flanks the gorgeous Tennessee River and a stroll on it ensures passing many of the city’s attractions. Bike rental stations dot the pathway too if you’re not in the mood to walk.
Pedego Electric Bikes. If you want to explore the buzz in each exciting neighborhood of Chatt, start on the Northshore at Pedego and rent an electric bike to make more headway on your tour of the city.
L2 Outside (131 River Street). In case you want to paddleboard on the river and take in the city on the water, this company allows you to rent a board for the day.
High Point Climbing and Fitness (219 Broad Street). If you’re looking for a more adventurous activity, this outdoor rock climbing outfit is worth checking out.
Lookout Mountain. Located just outside of downtown Chattanooga, this unique place is full of outdoor activities such as hiking/biking trails, hang gliding, and historic Point Park overlook. Consider taking the Incline Railway up the mountain for the most scenic views of Chattanooga.
Rock City (1400 Patten Road, Lookout Mountain, Georgia). Barely over the Georgia state line, this is an incredible spot on Lookout Mountain. Here you’ll find a waterfall and a bird’s-eye view of seven different states.
Ruby Falls (1720 S. Scenic Highway). This spot features a gigantic underground waterfall and the chance to zip-line around Lookout Mountain.
Chattanooga Choo Choo (1400 Market Street). This historic landmark of reimagined train tracks is filled with dining, drinks, and outdoor spots to explore.
WHERE TO SHOP // Warehouse Row (1110 Market Street). You’ll find local and national shops in this old warehouse that’s been revitalized. Amy recommends wandering for an hour or two and grabbing a bite to eat at one of the many delicious restaurants along the way. Don’t miss Revival Home (1110 Market Street Suite 109) offering a beautiful collection of carefully sourced home goods and Embellish (1110 Market Street Suite 105) for high-end women’s fashion with brands like Loeffler Randall and Ulla Johnson, and Shadowbox Paperie (1110 Market Street Suite 108A) for gifts, greeting cards, and custom stationery.
Riverview Neighborhood. Find cozy home essentials and accessories at Danshire Market & Design (1307 Hanover Street), discover a unique relic at The Clay Pot (1311 Hanover St), a floral and garden store, and browse high-end, interesting, and beautiful apparel and accessories at The Blue Collection (1100 Hixson Pike). Grab a fresh, organic juice or smoothie bowl at Southern Squeeze (1301 Dorchester Rd) while you’re in the neighborhood or sit down for the best burger in town at Tremont Tavern (1203 Hixson Pike).
Chattanooga Shoe Company (313 Manufacturers Road). Amy reports she’s never found a shoe store as good as this one. Comfort is the focus of every shoe they carry, however style is most definitely not compromised. They stock a huge selection, all the best brands, and high-quality shoes at a variety of price points.
Sophie’s Shoppe (401 N. Market Street). For the best smelling candles and scents, to locally made art and jewelry, to unique souvenirs, Sophie’s Shoppe is a must for your shopping indulgence.
Antibes (813 Chestnut Street). An eclectic, European-inspired mix of women’s and men’s fashion, gift items, and accessories.
K Boutique (200 Manufacturers Road Suite 103). For a wide array of women’s casual and dressy apparel, plus a unique assortment of shoes, accessories, and clean beauty products, visit Katherine at K Boutique for the ultimate head-to-toe styling experience.
Powell Market (1220 King Street). Pop into this shop in the Moxy Hotel for unique, beautiful, coastal inspired finds, focusing on small batch, organic ingredients for ultimate self care.
Fischer Evans Jewelers (801 Market Street). This is your local go-to for everything sparkly—from fashion finds under $200, to one-of-a-kind gems and stones to be passed down in your family for generations to come.
Yacoubian Tailors (629 Broad Street). The best in men’s casual and business apparel and custom tailoring in Chattanooga. Offers women’s styles as well and an assortment of shoes and accessories.
Smart Furniture (1700 Broad Street). Specializes in modern, functional furniture—visit Smart Furniture and browse their expansive showroom of pieces to have delivered to your door.
WHERE TO EAT // Chatt Taste Food Tours (book online). If you’re a foodie, Chatt Taste is a must. For the best taste of our city’s cuisine, book a Chatt Taste Food Tour and request the owner Briana Garza as your tour guide. Briana delivers an unparalleled city experience to show tourists (and locals) an incredible bite-sized tour of Chattanooga!
Taqueria Jalisco ANIA (1639 Rossville Boulevard). Authentic Mexican cuisine with the best margarita and Paloma in town.
Niedlov’s Breadworks (215 E. Main Street). At lunchtime, this place offers sandwiches on homemade sourdough bread, as well as scrumptious salads.
Whitebird (102 Walnut Street). For a culinary experience inspired by locally grown produce and high quality ingredients, Chef Khaled AlBanna delivers rich history and hospitality through each and every modern American dish that is served. Pro tip: Request a “Chef’s Choice” style dining experience for a variety of the chef’s favorite dishes and tell them TSG sent you!
Daily Ration (1220 Dartmouth Street). Ideal for a casual, patio brunch with friends. Amy recommends their strong mimosas if you’re planning to relax for a while.
Kenny’s (1251 Market Street). A traditional sit-down restaurant that is sure to please for breakfast or lunch.
Alleia (25 E. Main Street). An Italian restaurant that offers handmade pasta and superb craft cocktails.
St. John’s Restaurant (1278 Market Street). Run by James Beard Award-nominated local chef Rebecca Baron, this upscale restaurant is the one of the most special places for dinner in the city (reservations recommended).
Clumpies Ice Cream (1401 Market Street, with other locations). If you’re in the mood for something sweet, the flavors of this ice cream company are handcrafted with local ingredients.
The Southside Stroll. Walk along Main Street for the ultimate progressive culinary experience: Start at Main Street Meats (217 East Main Street) for a handcrafted cocktail and charcuterie board, next visit FEED (201 West Main Street) for their out-of-this-world Brussels sprouts, then hit up Flying Squirrel (55 Johnson Street) for their delicious, seasonal entrees, and State of Confusion (301 East Main Street) or Clydes (122 West Main Street) for an after-dinner drink, games, and often live music.
WHERE TO DRINK // Coffee Stops: To sit and stay a while amidst a dreamy plant-filled oasis and enjoy vegan-friendly pastries, visit Sleepyhead Coffee (735 Broad Street) or Mean Mug (2 Locations) in Northshore or on Main Street. Peet’s (819 Chestnut Street) in the West Village or Mad Priest (1900 Broad Street) in the Southside are quick coffee stops with delicious brews.
Healthy Sips: Southern Squeeze (1301 Dorchester Road Suite 101). If you’re looking for a juice or a wellness latte to re-energize, this organic juice bar offers many yummy options. Local Juice (2 Locations) also has fabulous fresh squeezed juices, smoothies, and bowls.
Chattanooga Whiskey (2 Locations) The Experimental Distillery (1439 Market Street), open to the public for tours and tastings, pushes the boundaries of whiskey-making, crafting one-of-a-kind whiskeys that can’t be found anywhere else. The Riverfront Distillery serves as the production home of their signature Tennessee High Malt bourbon.
Whiskey Thief (102 Walnut Street). Enjoy craft cocktails and whiskey flights with a view at the best rooftop bar (atop The Edwin) in Chattanooga. These are some of the the most smashing vistas of the Riverfront.
STIR (1400 Market Street, within Chattanooga Choo Choo). A must for hand-crafted cocktails with a variety of ice and interesting mixology.
Breweries: Naked River Brewery (1791 Reggie White Boulevard). Nestled in Chattanooga’s Southside District, Naked River offers a wide variety of beer, most popularly known for their iconic Moon Pie Stout. Other popular breweries include OddStory, Hutton and Smith, and Heaven and Ale.
Local Pro-Tip // The best way to experience scenic Chattanooga is by bike or by water—bike across the bridges or sail/paddle beneath them to truly see the best vantage points our city has to offer.