The best food artisans, farms, and local markets
Chattanooga Whiskey Co.
Last spring, after successfully fighting to overturn state and local laws that banned production in Chattanooga, this distillery across from the Chattanooga Choo Choo started making the first legal whiskey in state in more than a century. Visit the tasting room any day of the week for a swig of 1816 Reserve, a spicy rye with notes of vanilla and white oak.
On Sundays from April through December, the First Tennessee Pavilion across from Finley Stadium comes alive with 200 vendors, 20 food trucks, and a pair of bands who provides tunes. While the festival-like atmosphere (beer and wine is for sale) is a reason enough to visit, the strawberries and peaches that ripen in spring and early summer are added edible incentives.
Main Street Meats
This old-fashioned downtown butcher shop, complete with rustic chicken-wire light fixtures, is home to charcuterie and one of the best burgers in the city. The secret: sourcing meat from generations-old family farms in Tennessee and Georgia, then salting, smoking, and curing everything in-house, from beef bacon and chicken sausage to the andouille and Spanish chorizo.
The Local Juicery + Kitchen
This East Main Street café offers a nutrient-rich feast for the clean-eating set. Order a 16-ounce cold-pressed concoction (try the jalapeño-tinged Spice 2 Life for something out of the ordinary), a grab-and-go collard wrap with hummus and quinoa, or the most nutritionally innocent of summertime treats: an organic popsicle.
While the grapes are sourced from all over the US, all the blending and bottling for this four-year-old winery takes place at its Southside tasting room, a rehabbed masonic lodge. Order a four-vintage flight, and get a taste of the Chardonooga, a crisp blend of Chardonel and Cayuga White grapes whose quirky bottle bears the image of the old-time Chattanooga Choo Choo train.
When simply “seeing” a destination just won’t do.
Feature Adventure: See a Watery Rainbow
Park at the trailhead off Ohio Avenue in Signal Mountain, follow the trail as it ascends toward Signal Point, and take the path down to this 80-foot high, hidden waterfall. It’s only about six miles out and back, but the ultra-steep final descent is especially hazardous, so come in shape and use the ropes already slung securely around the trees to guide you. And if you reach the bottom with just the right light on a sunny afternoon, you’ll see a rainbow in the rising mists and learn firsthand how the waterfall got its name.
Bike Signal Mountain’s W Road | Suck Creek Cycle
Where Chains set you free
Blaze through three back-to-back hairpin turns on the eastern side of Walden’s Ridge, a memorable ride whether you’re on two wheels or four. For all bike rentals and local knowledge, Suck Creek Cycle has everything you need and more.
Bouldering in Stone Fort | The Southeastern Climbers Coalition
ascend your limits
Just north of Chattanooga rests The Stone Fort, also known as the "Little Rock City" to the climbing community. This location is perfect for climbers of all skill, with difficulties that range from beginner to advanced. All visitors must stop at Montlake Golf Club to pay a small fee and fill out a liability waiver.
Hang-gliding at Lookout Mountain | Lookout Mountain Hang Gliding
Learn to fly
Like a Local
Quirky, under-the-radar highlights only a local could recommend.
Inside a hangar-like industrial space built from reclaimed bits of a century-old barn (which won a national design competition from the American Institute of Architects last year), this trendy Southside bar offers a huge selection of craft beers and cocktail infusions, along with offbeat comfort food. Come for the Sunday brunch, and order a Sriracha Bloody Mary and a breakfast burrito.
The antidote to those muggy Tennessee days lies 20 minutes outside of Chattanooga along North Chickamauga Creek. Here, a series of paradisiacal swimming holes features water so crystal clear that you can see straight down, 14 feet to the bottom. Find the trailhead off Montlake Road in Soddy-Daisy, and you’ll be wet within 15 minutes.
Amanda Pinson Jewelry
It feels like a Parisian atelier was dropped in the middle of the city’s industrial Warehouse Row. Inside this jewelry boutique, you’re greeted with a simple white palette, a grand chandelier, and a large photo of Greta Garbo. And, of course, there’s jewelry – from big names like Pomellato, Cartier, and H. Stern. Come for an engagement ring or just a blingy vacation souvenir.
Flying Saucer House
If you’ve got a soft spot for 1950s sci-fi flicks, it’s worth the quick trip up Signal Mountain to see this quirky attraction. Built from steel and concrete for a quarter-million dollars, this three-bedroom, 2,000-square-foot home was made to look like a flying saucer that’s landed in the woods, complete with a retractable staircase.
How to spend 36 hours in Chattanooga, with The Chattanoogan as your base camp.
6 p.m. | Explore the Southside Art District
Thanks to a years-long transformation, the area between 12th and 20th streets has bloomed with galleries and artist spaces, becoming an epicenter for the city’s creative class. Start with East Main Street’s Area 61, a gallery that showcases more than 30 local artists and craftspeople, ranging from painters and sculptors to woodworkers and furniture makers.
8 p.m. | Bowling at Southside Social
With 10 lanes and three bars – and an atmosphere that goes from family friendly to 21+ at 9 p.m. – this two-story hangout across from Finley Stadium has everything from Skee-Ball and pool to horseshoes by the outdoor fire pit. Order a Kingpin (tequila, lime, jalapeño-infused agave nectar, and pomegranate juice), and spark up a stogie in the Clinton Lounge, the alley’s cigar bar.
9:30 a.m. | Sweat at the Tennessee Riverpark
Start off the day with a morning run or ride on this paved trail that stretches seven miles along the Tennessee River from downtown Chattanooga to the Chickamauga Dam. You’ll have a colorful way to track your distance: Stainless-steel silhouettes that depict bicyclists, joggers, and bird watchers double as public art, as well as mile markers.
12:30 p.m. | Take a River Gorge Explorer Tour
Departing from the Chattanooga River Boat Pier, these two-hour sightseeing cruise travel through the protected lands and waters of the Tennessee River Gorge aboard a 65-foot high-tech catamaran. With the expert eyes of a naturalist guiding you, you’ll encounter an unparalleled ecology that includes 184 species of birds, 63 species of mammals, and 193 species of butterflies.
3 p.m. | Shop the NorthShore
Walk across the river via the Walnut Street Bridge for an afternoon of browsing through the NorthShore neighborhood, home to dozens of shops within walking distance. Check out boutiques like Studio 6, art spaces like In-Town Gallery, books and vinyl at Mayfield’s All Killer No Filler Records – and don’t leave without a scoop of homemade gelato from Milk & Honey.
7 p.m. | Watch a Chattanooga Lookouts Game
From spring to autumn, AT&T Field is the summer stomping grounds for the city’s 131-year-old hometown baseball team, a double-A affiliate of the Minnesota Twins. Check the schedule to see if one of the season’s 11 Saturday-night home games are taking place during your stay. First pitch is at 7:15 p.m.
10 a.m. | Visit the Tennessee Aquarium
Housed down on the Tennessee River front, some 12,000 creatures – from river otters to stingrays to penguins to sand tiger sharks – make their homes in this standout aquarium. Sign up for a 45-minute behind-the-scenes tour, and you’ll get the chance to feed a few of them, too.
1 p.m. | Hike Rock City Gardens
Six miles from Chattanooga just over the Georgia line, this attraction at the top of Lookout Mountain showcases the splendor of the American Southeast. Hike the nature trail that winds through the park to glimpse some 400 species of wildflowers and native plants, caves, and natural rock formations like the 90-foot waterfall known as Lover’s Leap.
- Like a LocalQuirky, below-the-radar highlights only a local could recommendRead More
- The WeekenderHow to spend 36 hours here, with the resort as your basecamp.Read More
A Benchmark Resort & Hotel
The Chattanoogan, 1201 Broad Street, Chattanooga, TN 37402 P: (423) 756-340 Toll Free Reservations: (800) 619-0018