After living there for three short but pleasant years, I found out that Chattanooga, or Chatti, as I affectionately call him, is a fantastic place to live and visit.
Where to begin? For history buffs, the area has countless sights commemorating events that have changed the course of American history, from the Trail of Tears to the battles of the civil war in Chattanooga and its environs. For families with young children in tow, there is an impressive Tennessee Aquarium, the Creative Discovery Museum, Coolidge Park with its beautiful fountain and an old carousel, as well as Ruby Falls, an underground waterfall that can be reached through an excursion through narrow caves and walkways. For outdoor enthusiasts, there is a place often called "Boulder, Colorado East"; rock climbing, fly fishing, cycling, hang gliding, hiking, rafting and much more await adventure lovers.
What I offer here is a three-day itinerary in Chattanooga. This guide, which has passed many checks by our family and friends, includes our favorite places we try to visit during our trips back. Three days quickly fill up in Chattanooga, so you should be aware that for each subsequent location there are at least five other alternative attractions or activities. In addition, this route assumes that you woke up in Chattanooga on the first day. I recommend you wake up at the Bluff View Inn, which is located in the popular urban district of Bluff View Arts District.
Bluff View Inn is located on the banks of the Tennessee River, flowing lower through downtown Chattanooga. A few minutes walk from the hotel (and this is not an exaggeration) is the Hunter Museum of American Art, the Houston Museum of Decorative Arts, the Sculpture Garden, and a bocce playground. an art gallery, three restaurants, a thirteen-mile exercise trail running along the river upstream to Lake Chicamauga, and Walnut Street Bridge, one of the longest pedestrian bridges in the world.
Another option, relatively new to Chattanooga, is the Delta Queen steamer, which has become a floating boutique hotel. Hotel guests and tourists can take the queen from Coolidge Park and immerse themselves in the copper maritime history of it all.
The first day: Signal Mountain and the North Coast
The Rembrandt Cafe in the Bluff View Arts District is a great starting point in Chattanooga, so think about this hot breakfast spot on your first full day in the Picturesque City. Locals love and often visit this place as well as tourists. The showcases are full of breakfast and dessert pastries, sweets, pies and pastries, and the menu includes paninis, soups and salads. For breakfast you cannot do better than an almond croissant. Go outside and enjoy their magnificent patio.
Then head to Signal Mountain, a ten-minute drive from downtown Chattanooga. Our visitors especially liked the "W" road, which moves sharply up the rocky side of the mountain – a vertical road if I have ever been on it. Once you get to the top, consider driving north along East Road Road to see beautiful houses on the left, and breathtaking views of the valley below on the right. Then turn south onto Highway 127 and head for the Signal Point's “old tower” area. The streets here are lined with bizarre stone cottages and magnificent estates, and you can still see traces of the tram that ran through the area. The territory here was developed at the turn of the 20th century as a salvation from disease, namely from cholera and yellow fever, in the valley below.
When you have enough car and a historic tour of the house, stop at Signal Point Park. From this place you can look down at the lush and green gorge of the Tennessee River and forget that civilization is nearby. The park’s designation explains that Signal Point was part of an alarm system that Native Americans first used and then Union forces during the Civil War. Depending on your energy level, at this moment you can go camping from the park. In this park, the Cumberland Trail begins, which is part of the Great East Trail, and it is an amazing walk through the mountain forests.
There are several lunch options on Signal Mountain, but I am returning down the mountain for lunch in the North Shore area. Two of our favorite places were River Street Delicacy for amazing buns, Stromboli and Brooklyn accents; or Mercantino for an atmosphere that cannot be defeated. And as soon as you parked near the rally on the North Bank (it will be Fraser Avenue), you can leave the car for several hours.
After lunch, head to the boutiques so you don't miss Blue Skies, Nelly Plum and Sophie. You cannot enter any of these three stores and leave empty-handed, so just give up. Indulge yourself or a friend with a vintage style, unique accessories for home and personal items, handmade jewelry, glass and ceramics. These three shops, as well as many other businesses along Fraser, including the local bookstore, open-air merchant, and art galleries, are a paradise for donors.
If you need a break from shopping, grab a Clumpies ice cream treat and take a walk to Coolidge Park overlooking the river. You will be surrounded by people of all ages when they play in the fountain, throw frisbee and soccer balls and relax in the beautiful urban green zone. While there, you can see if there are any plays to catch during your stay – The Chattanooga Theater Center is right on the edge of the park.
For dinner, the Boathouse Rotisserie and Raw Bar is just a five-minute drive from the city center. They serve Louisiana oysters and other wonderful seafood (grilled tilapia), and, oddly enough, their Mexican dishes, especially quesadillas, are just as popular. If you have a place for a snack, a Mexican shrimp cocktail will be unforgettable. Boathouse is located directly on the Tennessee River, and they have many open areas with water views.
Second day: Natural open spaces
A trip to Chattanooga without any adventure outdoors is a missed opportunity. It’s the same as going to New York without seeing the performance – you missed a key element of local culture. Get a hearty breakfast at the Bluegrass Grill Restaurant on Main Street. This family-run restaurant gathers people at 6:30 AM for scrambled eggs and tasty hash options. Carbohydrate load; You will need them today.
For peace and quiet, a guided fly fishing excursion is a great excursion, just like sailing on the Haywassi River in an inflatable kayak or raft. We also liked to walk along the extensive paths of the battlefield of Chickamauga, part of the country's very first national military park. A seven-mile car tour of the battlefield, but on foot or by bicycle is the best way to experience the beauty and historical significance of this land. And the terrain here is relatively flat, which is a huge plus for those of us who have difficulty with elevation.
For adventure lovers, there is the aforementioned Cumberland Trail on Signal Mountain or many other fascinating hiking trails on Lookout Mountain. We never had the opportunity to go, but Cloudland Canyon State Park, located right abroad in Georgia, must be stunningly beautiful in an area called the "Country of God." The trails there stretch from two to almost seven miles, and there is a 600-step staircase for travelers traveling to the bottom of the park’s gorge.
Outdoor enthusiasts will be happy to know that Chattanooga is considered the regional climbing capital and attracts mountain bikers from around the world. Prentice Cooper State Forest is one of many options for both of these activities. Please do not try to climb rocks without a guide. On the water, the Ocoee River offers popular rafting. Yes, I thought I was going to die in the upper eye. Twice. But it's funny if you are fond of such things (the jury is still for me). Some of the more attractive threshold names for Ocoee Class IV + are Broken Nose, Diamond Splitter, and Hell Hole. Finally, those who are not interested in land or water sports can try gliding from Lookout Mountain. I could not bring myself to buckle up on a famous kite, but two friends from France did it and they said it was a chouette.
After a day in the fresh air, you can take a shower and a hearty dinner. Since your body doesn't want to go too far from its bed at the Bluff View Inn, take a stroll around the corner to Tony for an Italian dinner. The atmosphere makes you linger long after eating, especially if you are lucky to get a table on the terrace on the second floor. Green salad with fried tomato tarragon dressing and all pasta dishes are delicious.
Day three Lookout Mountain, Southside and Downtown
Between the hotel and Lookout Mountain lies Nedlov’s Bread Factory, which has amazing cinnamon rolls, muffins, cakes – if you think about it, Nedlov’s everything is good. Artisan owners "love to knead and knead to love," and you can taste the baked passion. Try it in the morning for breakfast.
There are several roads that lead to the top of Lookout Mountain; each of them is picturesque, so choose one for the trip up and the other for the trip down. Once you get there, discover magnificent views and mansions, especially those along West Brow Road. (This exploration of Lookout Mountain sounds very much like the first day's route of Signal Mountain; but if Signal Mountain's residential area is charming and accessible, Lookout Mountain is a dream calf. Each mountain is worth a visit as it offers different clues in Chattanooga culture.)
Lookout Point Park – it should not be confused with Signal Point Park – this is a necessary accessible part of the Lookout Mountain battlefield. A small museum right across the street will tell you about the “Battle above the clouds,” which sounds like “The Lord of the Rings,” which took place on a mountain during the Civil War. Another treasure on Lookout Mountain is the Arboretum and the Reflection Riding Botanical Garden, which offers car and pedestrian routes through bucolic fields, wildflowers, forests, ponds and streams.
After the morning peak of Mount Moho Burrito at the foot of Lookout Mountain in the beautiful historic district of St. Louis Elmo – brings you back to the ground with tortillas wrapped around super fresh ingredients. Southern Star, located in the Southside area, also supports authentic Southern home cooking. Don’t miss the dessert – banana pudding makes you speechless.
While you are in the Southside area, there are four shops worth visiting. Revival is located at Warehouse Row, and although I could not afford much at this store, it was fun to just be in the presence of his greatness. As with any luxury store, you can find desk accessories from Juliska and tin from Match. But what puts this store in a separate league is a collection of household items from eighteenth-century Italian chairs to modern Belgian coffee tables. In Revival, you will find home design elements that you never knew you wanted. The Shadow Box Paperie on Main Street will force you to put a pen on paper and refuse all forms of electronic communication. They also have other home accessories, everything is wonderfully presented. For serious antique lovers, Southside Antiques offers luxurious corner cabinets, dining tables, antique books, and lockers. Finally, the South Side Galleries, like the Baton Rouge Foyer, are a collection of sellers under one roof selling gifts, accessories, art and antiques at different prices.
At the end of the day, return to the hotel to park your car and take advantage of the stunning hiking activities in downtown Chattanooga. Visit the sculpture garden and spend time across the river on one of the Walnut Street Bridge benches. The bridge was converted for walking in 1993, and, like the Pont des Arts in Paris, people cannot get enough time for the bridge. Suspended over the Tennessee River, they play sports, create works of art, get together for the holidays, go to work by bicycle, and yes, they snuggle up here as if they were in Paris.
Allow enough time before sunset to experience Passage and Ross Landing Plaza, the Cherokee nation and the Trail of Tears Memorial located next to the Tennessee Aquarium. The Cherokee inhabited this area, which became first the Ross Landing, then Chattanooga, until they were forced to go west along the Trail of Tears. Thousands of people died during a terrible journey. At this memorial, you will find moving quotes from Cherokee and American leaders during the aboriginal removal.
You might get a punch during dinner last night in Chattanooga. St. Johns Restaurant is as flawless a restaurant as I have ever experienced. Chef Daniel Lindley was nominated for the James Beard Prize this year and last, and you'll see why after just one meal in St. John's Jones. The best ingredients come from his kitchen, many of which are organic and local, and the menu often changes to reflect vegetation. The current menu includes handmade tortellini, Kobe beef steak and chocolate muffin. The service is dreamy, a flat iron building is a beauty, and everyone leaves happy.
And everyone leaves Chattanooga happy, although I also kicked, shouted and cried that day when my husband and I said goodbye to our house in the north of Chattanooga on the top of the hill. My husband says that I am projecting, but I swear that even our dog misses Chattanooga. Our family and old friends brought us home to Louisiana, and of course we are glad that we returned home among them, but we will return to Chattanooga as often as we can until the end of our days. This is such a place.