As I said in Freak Show Friday last week, we got hurricaned out of our beach vacation plans for the second year in a row. We ended up having a fantastic little staycation, albeit a bit of a redneck one. 😉
Last year when this happened, my in-laws were with us and we did just about every “Chattanooga” thing you could do around town. We did some Chattanooga things this year as well, so I thought since I do live in what has been proclaimed as one of the best towns ever, I figured I would show y’all around town – virtually.
Places to Go and Things to Do
If you’ve ever traveled south of the Mason Dixon line, you may have seen a barn or two that sports a roof painted with “See Rock City” on top of it. Rock City has been around for quite some time. It’s really something to see. It’s full of winding trails through rocks atop Lookout Mountain. And by rocks, I mean big rocks.
There are also a few gnomes who can be spotted and you can wonder through Fairyland there as well.
I would say this one is a must when visiting Chattanooga. Read more about Rock City here.
Ruby Falls is on the side of Lookout Mountain and is actually an underground waterfall. You go down into a cave, walk for a bit and then come to the falls. The tour is guided and stops are made throughout the cave to talk about it’s history. Read more about Ruby Falls here.
The Tennessee Aquarium
In Chattanooga, we are lucky enough to have one of the best aquariums in the country. Or at least, I think we do. 🙂
We have both a saltwater and freshwater aquarium. We even have penguins. The Circus loves going to the aquarium. Personally, I’m a fan of the river otters. Read more about the aquarium here.
The Creative Discovery Museum
The Creative Discovery Museum is specifically for kids. It’s another favorite of the Circus’. It’s a hands-on type of museum where kids can play while also learning about how things work. There’s a water works station, an art area, you can dig for dinosaur bones and there’s always a rotating special exhibit as well as many other things. Read more about the Creative Discovery Museum here.
Coolidge Park is a great park right along the Chattanooga riverfront on the North Shore side.
It’s great to just go to and walk along the river, but it also has a carousel to ride and if it’s hot, you can let the kids run through the sprinklers.
Where To Eat
We made it a point during our staycation to try out a new restaurant every night that we hadn’t eaten at before. These are those and a few Chattanooga favorites of mine.
We did TacoNooga one night for dinner. It’s located on the North Shore, near Coolidge Park that I mentioned above, and more casual. I had the TacoNooga and the Camaron – both were fantastic.
Feed Table & Tavern
Feed is located downtown on the hip Southside and features a farm fresh menu that is super yummy. I had the Sloppy Joe and it was delicious.
The Purple Daisy Cafe
The Purple Daisy Cafe is at the foot of Lookout Mountain and is a great lunch spot. They will even put your items in a picnic basket to go. Their BBQ is world famous, but I really love their Chicken Salad Sandwich.
The Southern Star is another great lunch spot and is located downtown. True to it’s name, they offer the traditional southern “meat and three” plate with different choices daily.
I think if you visit Chattanooga, it might be a sin if you didn’t go to Aretha Frankenstein’s for breakfast one morning. They are in North Chattanooga and known for their breakfast.
Where to Stay
Since I live here, I’ve never actually stayed in a hotel here. Based on where all the attractions are though, I would say that staying downtown would be your best bet. These are a few hotels I’m familiar with that are unique to Chattanooga.
The Dwell Hotel
Ok, I really want to stay in The Dwell Hotel just because of the interior design. Honestly, I’d be happy if they’d just let me go in and wander in awe from room to room. (I’d promise to keep my drool off the carpet.) You think I’m kidding, don’t you? Just go take a look at their room gallery.
The Read House
If you’re a fan of a good ghost story, then you’ll want to stay at The Read House. The Read House is a historic hotel downtown that has it’s very own ghost as well.
You could also opt to stay right where the trains used to come into town – at the Chattanooga Choo Choo hotel. You can even stay in an old train car if you want!
And of course, I don’t think I could write this post without telling you about the most important places in Chattanooga…
Where to Drink
The Big Chill Bar & Grill
While I am still bitter about the Big Chill having to move from downtown to the North Shore, it’s still one of my favorite bars. It’s not the same, but the music is still good and the drinks are still strong. Also, their food is great. Try the Chicken Salad Melter with fried okra. Trust me.
Remember the new club my friends and I somehow managed to get into on opening night, Regan’s Place is that club. It’s a dance club, but not booty dance club. Oh no. Think 70’s, 80’s, and 90’s hits. It’s so much fun.
Clyde’s is very casual and laid back. You can even play ping pong there.
Have any of you ever visited Chattanooga before or plan to?
Looking for more things to do in great Southern cities?