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Best Of Chattanooga, Tennessee— 2023 Edition

Chattanooga, Tennessee has been listed in the top 45 cities to visit in the world by the New York Times. Nicknamed the Scenic City, Chattanooga is nestled between the Appalachian mountains and the Tennessee River. Chattanooga has activities for everyone, no matter their age.




Chattanooga has a diverse list of restaurants that can fit everyone's taste. From premium steakhouses to local ice cream shops, Chattanooga has much to offer tourists. 


1. Whitebird


Whitebird is a fine dining experience in downtown Chattanooga. This restaurant offers a stylish dining experience while maintaining Tennessee’s taste. Whitebird offers breakfast, brunch, and dinner, each taking a modern spin on Appalachian cuisine with fresh ingredients from the Tennessee River Valley. Whitebird offers delicious appetizers such as smoked duck breast with lavash or creamed spinach with fried oysters. And high-end entrees such as smoked venison rack or filet. Whitebird offers decadent dishes such as Chattanooga Whiskey sticky toffee pudding or white chocolate orange raspberry crème brulée for dessert. Whitebird is located in the lobby of the Edwin Hotel, next to the Walnut Street Pedestrian Bridge. This is an ideal location to explore the city and see the Tennessee River.


2. The Ice Cream Show


If none of the desserts are what you want from Whitebird, head across the street to The Ice Cream Show for some of the most delicious ice cream in town. This is the place to be when you need an unforgettable ice cream experience. The Ice Cream Show also offers yogurt, sugar-free, and dairy-free options. Celebrating its 14th year in Chattanooga, it has always been a local favorite for obvious reasons. The ice cream can be made with over 40 fresh ingredients to add to your choice of chocolate or vanilla ice cream. With this system, there are over 17,000 flavor combinations possible. With their special machines, your ice cream will be whipped up right before your eyes.


3. 1885


If you prefer to stay outside downtown, head to St. Elmo for a meal at 1885. St. Elmo is located only 10 minutes from the city but offers a small-town experience that is difficult to find in downtown Chattanooga. There is a second 1885 location in Ooltewah, Tennessee, around 25 minutes from downtown. 1885 offers authentic coastal cuisine, prepared with attention to fresh, local ingredients, impeccable presentation, and friendly service. Some menu highlights include appetizers such as smoked salmon dip and pimento cheese with fried okra. Entrees include unique burgers and authentic fish and steak dishes. 


Outdoor Activities


Chattanooga homes some of the state's most beautiful scenic hiking trails and activities that are fun for the entire family. 


1. Chattanooga Riverwalk


Over 16.1 miles long, the Chattanooga Riverwalk spans the banks of the Tennessee River. The walk will take you through nature, popular areas in downtown Chattanooga, and many popular dining options. Many parking lots along the way make your chosen route very customizable. With many parking lots along the way, making the route you pick very customizable. 


2. North Chickamauga Blue Hole


Blue Hole is 20 minutes from downtown Chattanooga in Soddy Daisy, Tennessee. This swimming hole is the most popular and well-known in the area. The creek offers many boulders and deep swimming holes for all ages. In addition, it offers gorgeous water and scenery, making this spot famous. 


3. Coolidge Park


Coolidge Park is a fun spot for all ages, located across the Walnut Street Pedestrian Bridge on the North Shore of Chattanooga. The park offers plenty of green spaces, an antique carousel, an interactive water fountain, and even rock climbing. Plus amazing views of the Tennessee River and downtown Chattanooga. Coolidge Park hosts multiple events and music festivals. 


Events and Festivals


Chattanooga is home to countless events and annual festivals, each unique. Many of these events are free and fun for all ages.


1. Chattanooga Market


The Chattanooga Market is located at the First Horizon Pavillion on the outskirts of downtown Chattanooga. Beginning in April and ending in November, the market is held every Sunday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., and entry is free. The market offers fresh produce and countless vendors. Selling Chattanooga merchandise, handmade jewelry, rare plants, and homemade hot sauce. The market also provides multiple food trucks and live music, making the Chattanooga Market a weekly routine for many locals. 


2. Riverbend Festival


The Riverbend Festival has been a staple in Chattanooga, Tennessee, since 1982. This music festival is held on the banks of the Tennessee River in downtown Chattanooga at Ross’ Landing. This will be the festival's 40th anniversary. This year the Riverbend Festival will be held from June 2-4 with musical guests such as COIN, Marren Morris, Nathaniel Ratliff & The Night Sweats, and many others. The festival offers amazing vendors, over 20 musical guests, and even fireworks over the river.


3. Chattanooga Oktoberfest


Oktoberfest is an annual festival held at the First Horizon Pavillion in Chattanooga, Tennessee. This event is free and will be held this year on October 14th and 15th. The festival features different German cultures, foods, and beers. The festival will offer a Biergarten, a local market, music, arts and crafts. 




Chattanooga houses some of Tennessee's finest and most unique museums. You can find something for the whole family regardless of interest or age.


1. Hunter Museum of American Art


This museum showcases 100 years of architecture and holds the Southeast's finest American art collection. The art spans from the American Revolution to modern American pieces. The Hunter Museum overlooks the Tennessee River in the Chattanooga Art District. 


2. Creative Discovery Museum


The Creative Discovery Museum is located in downtown Chattanooga and is an award-winning children's museum. Opened in 1995, the museum holds countless fun and educational activities for children of all ages. However, many exhibits are geared toward younger children. Some exhibits include the STEM Zone, Treehouse Adventure, and Tennessee River Play.


3. Classic Arcade Pinball Museum


This museum is like no other in the Chattanooga area. Located on Broad Street, it is the perfect place to hang out and have fun at an affordable price. The Classic Arcade Pinball Museum houses over 50 pinball machines from the 80s and 90s that can be played. One ticket will get you a pass to play as many games as you wish and access to snacks, drinks, and beer. Once your ticket is purchased, you will be given a wristband to come and visit as you please throughout the day.















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