This post is sponsored by Booking.com, however all opinions are 100% mine. Affiliate links included in this post.
I have lived in Chattanooga for nearly a decade now and this city still surprises me sometimes.
I grew up driving from the country over the mountain to come to Chattanooga for things like school clothes or to see a movie. We took field trips to the Tennessee Aquarium. Other than that though, I never really ventured out into the city for much else. Even when I came to college over here, I basically went straight to my classes and straight back home. I was terrified of driving downtown. Two lane roads versus lots of one way streets and multiple lanes can break a country girl out in a cold sweat. I’m happy to say, I can easily maneuver throughout the whole downtown Chattanooga area now though and even know shortcuts that Grunt doesn’t know and he’s been here longer than I have. Parallel parking though, well I’m still working on that one.
In the time I’ve been here, many parts of downtown Chattanooga have changed – for the better. The Southside has underwent a huge revitalization and it is nothing short of amazing. When Grunt and I go downtown, there’s a good chance, we’ll end up somewhere in the Southside for dinner, drinks or other fun. A few weeks ago, Grunt and I had the opportunity to visit the Chattanooga Choo Choo – yes, the very same one from the song – and we were pleasantly surprised at what we found.
I decided the best way to share all our favorite things about the Chattanooga Choo Choo and what we love to do downtown in general would be to create an itinerary of sorts for ya – just in case you ever want to come for a visit.
One Night In Chattanooga
Where to Stay
The Chattanooga Choo Choo
The Choo Choo is a perfect hotel choice because it’s so close to everything. Now, as I mentioned before, Grunt and I were pleasantly surprised by all the changes made and still being made at the Choo Choo. It had been a long time since I had last been to the Choo Choo to just walk around and check it all out- like senior prom long time ago. It wasn’t bad or anything back then, but it also wasn’t anywhere that I just had to get back to soon.
Things have changed.
The Choo Choo has been revitalizing their entire property. They have brought in unique new restaurants, have retail shops in train cars, a live music venue, a guitar museum, a bar in a train car and so much more. I was so impressed with everything I saw going on down there. It’s actually on my list now for the Circus and I to visit one day when she’s out of school.
In fact, the Chattanooga Choo Choo made Booking.com’s Book the U.S. list – a list of 51 of the most unique properties in the United States and the District of Columbia. The Choo Choo is in good company – also on the list is Southfork (yes, the Southfork – totally on my bucket list!), a castle in Kentucky (who knew Kentucky had castles?) and a jail in New Orleans (another city that holds a special place in my heart.)
Why would the Chattanooga Choo Choo be so unique though? Besides the fact that it was made nationally popular by Glenn Miller’s song?
Well, for one, you can opt to stay in a train car during your visit.
The Choo Choo has multiple different train cars that can be your hotel room. If a regular hotel room is more your jam, then they also have the MacArthur Building on site with newly renovated rooms.
Also, can I please get some railing like that for my staircase? Hubba, hubba.
Right now, Booking.com is holding a Chief Booking Officer Contest – if you enter, you could be the lucky one to win $50,000 to travel to as many of the unique properties on the Book the U.S. list as you can in 50 days! You can enter the contest here and also see the full list of the most unique properties as well.
If you win and need a travel buddy, I’m sure I could work some free time into my schedule – especially if you’re going to hit up Southfork. 😉
You can also click here to get $30 off a Booking.com reservation if you need to book a getaway now!
Where to Eat
One of the great things about staying at the Choo Choo hotel is that there are so many great restaurants within walking distance. A few of our favorites…
Stir is actually located on the Chattanooga Choo Choo property and oh man, is it good. We have frequented it quite a few times. The night we stayed at the Choo Choo we had drinks and an appetizer at Stir before going on to dinner at a new restaurant we hadn’t tried before. They are known for their cocktails and by far, their 1948 Margarita is my favorite. Grunt and I are also big fans of their truffle fries.
We were so excited to finally be able to try this Italian restaurant. So many of our friends had been raving about it, but we just hadn’t been able to go. Oh my gosh, ya’ll. The food was amazing. We did a full five course Italian meal, splitting each course and it was the way to go, everything was delicious. This was just down the street and around the corner from the Choo Choo.
Another one that is in walking distance, Clyde’s is more laid-back casual food. It’s still delicious. We’ve gone here many times with groups of friends.
Just across the street from Clyde’s is Feed. It’s a great place for groups or just couples – once more, the food is awesome.
There are a slew more of restaurants within walking distance of the Choo Choo – these are just a few of our personal favorites.
What to Do
Songbirds is a guitar museum that is jaw-dropping.
There are guitars, upon guitars, upon guitars. It’s an amazing collection and just about every one has a special history. Songbirds is located right on the Choo Choo property. You can also catch a show at Songbirds as well – they have songwriters who perform regularly at the guitar museum and other musical events at their venue below the museum – a Fleetwood Mac cover band was there when we visited the Choo Choo. We’ve also seen The Breakfast Club, an 80’s tribute band there before.
If comedy is more your thing, you can catch a comedy show at the Comedy Catch, also located on the Choo Choo property.
Regan’s Place & Westbound Bar
Two of my favorite bars in Chattanooga are located right beside the Choo Choo – Regan’s Place and Westbound Bar. Regan’s is a retro dance bar and Westbound is a country music bar. They both fulfill my diverse musical tastes and they are side-by-side each other.
Both bars are located on Station Street, right beside the Choo Choo. The best thing about this area is that it’s an open container street – one of only a few in the state of Tennessee – you can take your drink from Stir and walk right over to Westbound or wherever else on the street.
The entire Choo Choo property is filled with lots of great little things…
You can visit one train car where you can try out various kinds of craft beer.
Of course, you’ll want to actually take a picture with the Chattanooga Choo Choo.
Terminal Station, where you will check-in to the hotel is absolutely beautiful. I adore the old track signs hanging above the doors.
And that ceiling – another hubba hubba moment.
Of course, they also have plenty of old train cars to explore.
The Next Day…
If you have more time to spend in Chattanooga, then there are lots of other attractions in our city. I actually wrote about some of the best places to visit in Chattanooga right here.
Before you go, don’t forget to enter Booking.com’s Chief Booking Officer Contest right here for your chance to win $50,000 to travel to some of the most unique properties on their Book the U.S. list!
All my readers also get $30 off their next Booking.com reservation by using this link!
Kari Wagner Hoban says
I’ve been to the Chattanooga Choo Choo when we visited my parents and it is so much fun to nose around (we didn’t stay there, just walked the grounds).
Downtown is so much fun to walk and with the weather being so nice most of the year, it was always our go-to.
Let me just tell you, Cheeburger Cheeburger was our favorite (we are not fancy people), is it still there??
Also, jealous that you have Chicken Salad Chick. So jealous that when we plan vacations in the South we make sure there is one within an hours drive. I am not lying.
It is really great to walk around! Even if there isn’t anything going on, it is just a nice downtown. I’m partial of course, though. 🙂
Oh man, Cheeburger Cheeburger – it was so good! It actually isn’t there anymore though. 🙁
Wow! What an amazing looking city and experience. I would love to go there one day!
It really is a great city and awesome hotel, Krista!
Great post. I would have never known that this even existed. Thanks Jenna!
Right?! It is a really cool place!
I want to goooooooo! That is such a neat concept! This has you written all over it, Jenna. I second that railing. Hubba hubba.
hahaha!! Right?! I need that railing in my life so badly!
This looks like a ton ‘o fun!!
It was, Pam!
Abby at Just a Girl and Her Blog says
What a cool spot! Now I want to take a trip down there– my boys would love the train stuff! Thanks so much for sharing, Jenna!
They would so love it, Abby!! Come on down!
Susan the Farm Quilter says
All right, Jenna, I’m holding you to it…I’m going to go register to win and if I do you have to go with me!!! Now I want to stay in a train car turned hotel room!! Awesome!!! BTW, I’ll always be the designated driver and only have 1 glass of wine at the most so you can cut loose and have fun!
Oh girl, we are going to make fabulous travel buddies!!! haha! Good luck!!
I love your town, anytime I have been there I have had so much fun, and this looks like so much fun it is just the sort of weekend trip I would love.
Clear your calendar cuz I can’t think of anyone else that would be as much fun to travel with when I win, stop laughing it could happen.
Yes the bluegrass state does have a castle and it has a jail you can spend the night in good stuff.
It was fun – you would love it, Patty! Fingers crossed you win – I’ll keep my calendar open! haha!
Stephanie s. says
OMG I remember I have picture with a girlfriend at the Choo Choo. Now need to find it in my albums.
haha!! How fun!
I’ve been to Chattanooga many times (including the aquarium) but never went to the choo choo! This is so cool!
Oh girl, you gotta go!!
I love my hometown and miss being able to visit. It’s so beautiful with the river, mountains and downtown is awesome. Love Coolidge Park, the zoo, The Hunter, aquarium, and the Lookout attractions. So sorry to hear Cheeburger Cheeburger closed. That sucks. Loved their Mushroom Swiss.
It is such a great city, Aly! So many things to do around here!
I NEED to stay in that train car!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
You do! It was really cool!
Leanne Jacobs says
I haven’t been to Chattanooga in years. If I ever make it back there again I’m going to for sure check out these great places.
You should, Leanne! It’s a fun little city!
Mother of 3 says
My husband was almost sent to Chattanooga this week and I was trying to invite myself along. After reading this I am going to make sure to hitch a ride with him next time. This looks like a lot of fun. Pinned.
You definitely should! It’s a great city!
Fun! Pinned! Thanks for sharing at the To Grandma’s House We Go DIY, Crafts, Recipes and More Link Party. Hope to see you again this week!
Jann Olson says
What a great post! Pinning in case I ever get to Chattanooga. Thanks for sharing with SYC.
Heather Luckhurst says
The train car room is so gorgeous! What a fun trip to take!
It was beautiful! We had a great time!