Over the years I've had friends move all across the country and aside from missing them dearly, the one upside is that each time I have to say goodbye I get to add another new city to my bucket list. My friend Ellie recently moved to Cleveland, Tennessee which is just outside Chattanooga and I recently boarded a plane for a girl's weekend reunion. Although my visit happened to be during the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, a time I'm sure no traveler will ever forget, we still had a few days to get out and enjoy the city. Read on to discover my list of Chattanooga highlights, perfect for a one or two day visit.
Hiking - Middle Creek Falls
Chattanooga is nestled along the Tennessee River in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains which makes for great hiking and lots of waterfalls which I was definitely not expecting. During my visit we conquered Middle Creek Falls which is a 1.5 out and back trail with gorgeous views of the falls at the end. Parking is available along the side of the road near the trail head. Rated as a moderate hike, this does require a bit of rock climbing and the trail isn't clearly marked at some points but overall not too strenuous.
Other hikes recommended by my local gal are:
Chattanooga Choo Choo
The Chattanooga Choo Choo is located in the heart of downtown and serves as both a historic landmark and an experience in itself. The 1909 Terminal Station has been renovated into a hotel but you don't have to be a guest to enjoy the Choo Choo. Onsite you'll also find Frothy Monkey serving handcrafted coffee and breakfast, lunch and dinner. American Draft is a pour-your-own beer hall housed inside a historic train car with an outdoor patio featuring lawn games. Don't forget to also snap a picture with the iconic lighted Chattanooga sign and the train engine.
Walnut Street Pedestrian Bridge
One of my favorite parts about this city was how walkable it was - including the 2,376 foot Walnut Street Pedestrian Bridge which connects downtown with North Chattanooga. Walking the bridge offers scenic views of the river and the cityscape. The bridge is also dog friendly so be sure to bring your furry friend with you!
This recently opened food hall features several eateries and a brewery all in the same location. The coolest part is you can sit wherever you like and order whatever your taste buds may be feeling that day including Chow Main – Asian-wok-style (so good!), The Grand Trunk Railroad – Indian Street food, and Slow Rise – Roman-style pizza. Grab a beer from Five Wits Brewing Co. or a coffee/cocktail from the Green Room and head to the outdoor patio to play a game of corn hole (or bags). You also won't want to miss the #whatliftsyou wings photo op on the side of the building!
I can't visit a new city without trying a few local brews! Odd Story Brewing might have the most gorgeous taproom I've seen with community style seating, leather couches and shelves lined with plants. If you're a fan of sours they have so many unique options on tap here. Grab a flight of 4 or 6 tastings to try a variety - Peach Cobbler was the winner of my flight. We also couldn't pass up a stop at Brewhaus for a beer and to try their GIANT German style pretzel with a variety of dipping sauces - highly recommend the cherry mustard!
If you love tacos as much as I do you HAVE to add this place to your bucket list! The most unique taco options and the Mexican street corn is to die for. I went with the shrimp po'boy BLT and the hot honey chicken tacos - both of which were mouthwatering. Paired with a strawberry margarita you can't go wrong.
Clumpies Ice Cream
This is the place to go for handcrafted ice cream in Chattanooga with locations downtown and in Northshore. In addition to their classic flavors which are always on the menu, they are always working to come up with new and exciting rotating favorites throughout the year so you can come back again and again and try something new. I had a scoop of their cranberry cheesecake during my visit - yum!
Still looking for more places to explore? Be sure to check out these other Chattanooga highlights:
I love creating detailed travel guides to ensure you get the most out of your time. On this blog I'll be sharing some of my past trips in hopes that it helps you plan your next adventure. Pack your suitcase you never know where I'll be heading next!
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