The Perfect Summer Getaway to Chattanooga, Tennessee

Advisor - Cara Schuster
Curated By

Cara Schuster

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  • USA

  • Tennessee

  • Arts & Culture

  • City Travel

  • Domestic Travel

  • Food & Wine

  • Hidden Gems

  • Outdoors

  • Summer

Bridge over blue water in Chattanooga, Tennessee leading to land with green grass and trees on a sunny day
Curator’s statement

As travel is gearing back up again in 2022, many vacationers are looking to stay local and travel nationally. The United States is filled with many hidden gem cities. One, in particular, is Chattanooga, Tennessee. The midwestern city was the starting point of the Trail of Tears, holding significant values in Cherokee and American history. Today, it is a mix of an industrial and woodland destination with plenty of outdoor activities and things to do.

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Insider knowledge

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Where to stay in Chattanooga, Tennessee

The Dwell Hotel

Quirky, Mid-Century-modern hotel for the contemporary traveler looking to veer off the typical.

The Edwin Hotel, Autograph Collection

Waterfront accommodations with elegant rooms and a full-service spa.

Chattanooga Choo Choo

Located across from restored train tracks in downtown Chattanooga, this oasis hotel is perfect for a staycation.

Things to do in Chattanooga, Tennessee

View from the top of a mountain in Chattanooga, Tennessee overlooking a river and hills dotted with green trees

When in Chattanooga, Tennessee there are quite a few fun and outdoorsy things to do. Start with the Chattanooga Riverwalk, a lovely way to stretch your legs and see the city on foot as the river wraps around the entire town.In addition, there are free outdoor music concerts on the Riverfront on the weekends. The Hunter Museum of American Art is also located by the river and is worth a quick stop to see both classical and contemporary art and architecture. 

For those looking to be active and get out, there are a few must-not-miss things to do in town—

Ruby Falls

Ruby Falls is an absolute must of an adventure when in Tennessee (and/or in Georgia.) Take a guided tour of this cave wonderland that also puts on an entire light show. This cave is famous because it contains fossils galore and is excellent for kids and adults alike. 

Big Soddy Creek Gulf

Go for a hike and a dip at the Big Soddy Creek Gulf. Consisting of 285 acres of pristine wilderness, the Gulf offers hiking trails, mountain and gorge views, natural habitats, waterfalls, flora, wildlife and rock formations along Big Soddy Creek.

Bluff View Arts District

The Bluff View Art District is a family-owned and operated historic neighborhood filled with restaurants, a coffee house, an art gallery, a historic Bed & Breakfast and plenty of gardens, plazas and courtyards where you can relax and rejuvenate. This is Chattanooga's first art district and stretches over 1.5 city blocks, set high atop stone cliffs that plunge into the river below. You will have breathtaking views of the Tennessee River, downtown Chattanooga and the Walnut Street Bridge from this bluff front location.

Coolidge Park

Coolidge Park, located on the North Shore, overlooks the beautiful Tennessee River. Here you can play in an interactive water fountain, stroll across one of the world’s largest pedestrian bridges-the Walnut Street Bridge, test your skills at rock climbing, picnic with your family in plenty of open green spaces, admire a military memorial and even ride a tiger on the 100-year old restored antique carousel. It is Chattanooga’s answer to New York City’s Central Park.

Eat & drink in Chattanooga, Tennessee

Stack of pancakes dripping with maple syrup on plate with blueberries and strawberries

Syrup and Eggs: Breakfast and brunch destination serving a variety of eggs and pancakes with inventive flavors.  

Night Pearl Bar: Fun local tiki bar transporting one directly to the tropics. (Try the hibiscus daiquiri!)

The Flying Squirrel: This eclectic restaurant serves cozy Southern cuisine but is best known for its weekend brunch.  

Moon Pie General Store: Home of the original Moon Pie biscuits, this is the place where childhood dreams come true! (Don’t forget to take some home!) 

Alleia: Swanky Italian restaurant serving traditional Italian dishes. Perfect for date night!

Niedlov’s Breadworks: Industrial-style bakery and cafe with housemade bread, sandwiches and coffee for an afternoon break out on the patio. 

Community Pie: This local-favorite pub vows to serve authentic Neapolitan and New York-style pizza. 

Sugars Ribs: Sit outside at this meat-central destination with inventive BBQ flavors and delicious indulgences. 

Cashew: Cozy, plant-based restaurant that works with local farmers to serve organic vegan dishes to eat there and/or take to go.  

Wildflower Tea Shop & Apothecary: This spot serves house-made tea infusions inside a charming cafe and gift shop. 

Mean Mug Southside: Hipster coffee shop to the likes of Brooklyn serving craft caffeinated drinks. 

Mad Priest Coffee Roasters: Fun coffee shop with a mission, perfect to grab a cuppa to go.