Chattanooga is a beautiful city about two hours away from Nashville. Southern hospitality is a real thing here. Expect to feel like family wherever you go. With only about a day to explore, we crammed in a ton of activities, landmarks and restaurants. In our opinion, three days is a good amount of time to explore Chattanooga, Tennessee…but, to be fair, my 6’4 husband walks fast and my 5’1 self has gotten good at jog/walking. Here’s the Local Goes Global Top 7: Eat & See!
#1: Julie Darling Donuts
This cute donut shop is in North Shore near Coolidge Park. We got the Key Lime Pie and Banana Cream Pie donut with a hot chocolate. We sat on some retro couches inside toward the back. The staff is so pleasant and willing to answer any questions you may have. We highly recommend this place for breakfast… but then again, donuts are good at any time of day. (Closed on Sundays.)
#2: Chattanooga Zoo
We’re not big on zoos typically but, with such great reviews, we knew we’d have to see for ourselves. Although the Chattanooga Zoo was experiencing some construction when we visited, we hardly noticed it. After indulging in some Dippin Dots ice cream, we followed paved trails that led us from the Corcovado Jungle to the Himalayan Passage. This place is great for all ages!
#3: Downtown Chattanooga
One of my favorite things to do when in a new city is go exploring and shopping in their downtown area. Our favorites include the MoonPie General Store, the Southern Riverboat, the Choo Choo Hotel, and the Tennessee Riverpark and Riverwalk. Make sure to check Downtown Chattanooga’s schedule. We happened to be visiting during the Iron Man World Championship, which filled the city and its hotels with 4,500 athletes from 91 countries.
*With only about a day, we could only see the Aquarium, Trail of Tears, Walnut Street Bridge (it was raining), and the Creative Discovery Museum (great for children) in passing. Have you been to these places? Let us know in the comments.
#4: Sticky Fingers Ribhouse
Now, some of you might wonder how a popular rib house like this one made the list, but the thing is, we don’t have this delicious piece of Southern heaven where we are from. I’ll be brief. Get the pulled pork sandwich, and, if you have one, show them your student ID for a discount.
#5: Rock City
For all my anxious travelers, this place is perfect. Let’s say you want to feel adventurous and hike a mountain, but you’d appreciate handrails near cliffs, nature sounds coming out of hidden speakers inside bushes, and a chili dog waiting for you at the top of the mountain. Yep, Rock City it is!
This American icon is full of history that dates back to the 1800s. The trails are stunning, each telling their own story. The day we went it was extremely windy and rainy, which meant there was hardly anyone there. It was great having the park to ourselves; I’d imagine that on a regular day, this place gets packed, making it difficult to see everything. Check with your hotel for any discounts they may have, and wear comfortable shoes.
After all that hiking, you’ll be ready for dinner at The Brewhaus, Chattanooga’s only German-American gastropub. The bar is located in North Shore and is easy to miss. Don’t be alarmed by its creepy exterior; you will be perfectly safe. Also, the inside of the restaurant is super small, so don’t panic when you walk in, and everyone turns to look at you. I guess that’s normal, too.
We ordered the schnitzel and spaetzle. Honestly, it was amazing! Check YELP for any check-in offers; we did and got a free Bavarian pretzel.
#7: Sing it Or Wing It
Close out your Chattanooga stay with a little karaoke. Their cleverly written menu is enough to entertain you. If you’re feeling hungry, start with Put A Ring On It (homemade onion ring platter) and finish off with the Tempting Timberlake (fried chocolate cake). The community is diverse; some people sing like they’re waiting for a record label and others are there for fun. Regardless of your reason, grab a menu, sit back, and enjoy the show.
What’s your favorite thing to eat and see while in Chattanooga, Tennessee? Leave a comment!