I’m really excited to interview Nick True of Mapped Out Money about Chattanooga, Tennessee. Nick’s tips for the best things to do in Chattanooga, Tennessee are great they offer a little something for everyone. The way Nick describes Chattanooga, no wonder that its nickname is “The Scenic City.”
Chattanooga, Tennessee is located in the eastern part of Tennessee along the border with Georgia. It sits in a valley between two large mountains and the Tennessee River runs through it. Lonely Planet named Chattanooga one of the top 10 destinations you need to see in 2018. They specifically mentioned the natural attractions, including some of the best rock climbing in the country.
Nick calls Chattanooga “eclectic” because the city has so many diverse attractions that appeal to wide variety of people. The outdoors, the local college, the art scene, the budding tech hub, and the craft breweries & distilleries. Locals call the city “Nooga” for short.
There are a few main areas of town – Downtown, North Shore, Southside, and St Elmo.
We share a lot of resources and local suggestions in today’s podcast, but you should also check out Chattanooga Fun, the local convention and visitor’s bureau. They are a wealth of information and can help you plan an itinerary based on your time, budget, and interests.
Best Things to Do in Chattanooga
- Chattanooga Market (reviews) – happens on weekends during the summer. Go for a walk and browse the crafts made by local artisans.
- Cravens House (reviews) – a home on a small outcrop of level land about half-way up Lookout Mountain. It was built by Robert Cravens in 1838. During in the Civil War in the battle of Chattanooga, both the Union and Confederate armies used Cravens’ relatively opulent home as an observation post and headquarters. Now it’s part of the Chickamauga-Chattanooga National Military Park and a museum for travelers to explore.
- Creative Discovery Museum (reviews) – Nick has been coming here since he was a young boy. It is an interactive museum that is a ton of fun for kids of all ages.
- Finley Stadium (reviews) – attend a soccer match. The locals love the root for their home team.
- Hunter Museum of American Art (reviews) – is perched on an 80-foot bluff on the edge of the Tennessee River. It offers stunning views of the river and the surrounding mountains. The museum focuses on American art from the Colonial period to the present day.
- Raccoon Mountain (reviews) – a lot of neat caverns inside the mountain that you can explore. The Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) built a hydro-electric plant inside the mountain. A really beautiful lake sits atop the mountain that you can drive around.
- Regan’s Place (reviews) – a retro dance bar that is fun to go with friends or a date.
- Rock City (reviews) – a tourist attraction located high atop Lookout Mountain. Explore quiet woodland paths, discover ancient rock formations, and immerse yourself in the magnificent views. Be sure to check out the Fairyland Caverns and Mother Goose Village.
- Ruby Falls (reviews) – a waterfall that is inside a mountain. One of the most fun times to visit is during Halloween when they turn it into a haunted experience.
- Sunset Rock (reviews) – Nick recommends parking at Craven House, then hiking up to Sunset Rock for amazing views.
- Tennessee Aquarium (reviews) – this aquarium is spread across two buildings. It traces the path of water from the mountains to the sea. You’ll see native animals and amazing creatures from some of the most remote locations on Earth. There’s also an IMAX 3D theater that shows animal-related movies.
- Tivoli Theatre (reviews) – a great local theatre that hosts concerts, performances, plays, and many other forms of entertainment.
- Walnut Street Bridge (reviews) – a pedestrian bridge that is perfect for watching the action on the river and views of the city.
Best Places to Eat in Chattanooga
- Aretha Frankensteins (reviews) – one of the weirdest, funkiest, coolest places you’ll ever at breakfast at. If you don’t show up by 7am, you’ll be waiting a long time. They’re famous for their abnormally large biscuits and thick pancakes.
- Brewhaus (reviews) – a German pub that serves great beer and authentic German food. A perfect place to spend a Sunday afternoon overlooking Coolidge Park.
- Champy’s (reviews) – Nick says that this chicken is “the real deal!” His wife loves it because they put dill pickles on their fried chicken salads. Make sure you get the Champy’s sauce to go with your food.
- Chattanooga Whiskey Experimental Distillery (reviews) – take a tour and sample the local whiskey. You’ll be glad you did.
- Clumpies Ice Cream Co. (reviews) – Nick absolutely loves this handmade ice cream. Grab a scoop, then head out for a walk overlooking the river.
- Crust Pizza (reviews) – another excellent pizza place in town that serves thin and crispy pizzas.
- Frothy Monkey (reviews) – a coffee shop that serves delicious coffee. The original location is in Nashville.
- Lupi’s Pizza Pies (reviews) – a local favorite. The best place to get pizza in town.
- Niedlov’s Breadworks (reviews) – a local bakery and coffee shop. They supply the bread for many of the local restaurants and coffee shops.
- Off the Grill II (reviews) – Chef Q has some of the best BBQ you’ll ever have. The smoked chicken salad will blow your mind.
- Pickle Barrel (reviews) – funky corner building turned pub with a great rooftop seating area.
- Rembrandt’s Coffee House (reviews) – a European cafe near the river. Delicious coffee and croissants.
- Taco Mamacita (reviews) – known for their street tacos.
- Terminal BrewHouse (reviews) – offers great American fare in a really cool building. Right next door to Chattanooga Choo Choo Hotel.
- The Honest Pint (reviews) – an Irish pub that is in an old door factory. Reclaimed doors line the entire ceiling. Nick loves dark beer, so you’ll often find him here. Order a Bonnie Scott, which is a fried sausage wrapped inside a fried egg. Delicious.
- Tony’s Pasta Shop & Trattoria (reviews) – an Italian restaurant with authentic Italian dishes that are to die for.
- Tremont Tavern (reviews) – definitely has the happiest of happy hours. A local favorite that you’d drive right by if you didn’t know it was there. Voted #1 cheeseburger in Chattanooga for years. Nick’s wife says they have the best fried pickles anywhere.
Best places to stay in Chattanooga
When you come to this little slice of outdoor heaven, here are the best places to stay in Chattanooga.
- Best Western Royal Inn (reviews) – This Best Western Rewards category 3 hotel is 16,000 points per night.
- Bluff View Inn (reviews) – Overlooks the Tennessee River that runs through the heart of Chattanooga and offers great views.
- Country Inn & Suites by Radisson, Chattanooga-Lookout Mountain (reviews) – This Radisson Rewards category 3 hotel is 28,000 points per night.
- Chattanooga Choo Choo (reviews) – A former train station converted into a hotel. They offer the unique option of staying in a train car.
- Days Inn by Wyndham Chattanooga Lookout Mountain West (reviews) – All Wyndham Rewards hotels are 15,000 points per night.
- DoubleTree by Hilton Chattanooga Downtown (reviews) – This Hilton Honors category 5 hotel is 30,000 to 40,000 points per night.
- Mayor’s Mansion Inn Bed and Breakfast (reviews) – For parents with young children, please note that they require children to be 8 years or older.
- Residence Inn by Marriott Chattanooga Downtown (reviews) – This Marriott Rewards category 4 hotel is 20,000 to 30,000 points per night. I like that it is close to the river and family-friendly activities.
- Staybridge Suites Chattanooga Downtown – Convention Center (reviews) – This IHG Rewards category 4 hotel is 25,000 points per night.
- The Dwell Hotel (reviews) – If you’re looking for something a little more upscale, this Design Hotels member of Marriott Rewards is a category 5 hotel that is 30,000 to 40,000 points per night.
- The Read House (reviews) – Formerly the Crutchfield House built in 1847. It burned down and rebuilt as the Read House in 1872. Added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1976, it has recently undergone a $28 million renovation and reopened in Fall 2018.
Places we talked about on the podcast
Here is a map of all of the places we talked about on the podcast episode with Nick True about Chattanooga, Tennessee. You can zoom into the map and click on each dot to explore the city.
- Red dots = best places to eat in Chattanooga, Tennessee.
- Green dots = best things to do in Chattanooga, Tennessee.
- Yellow dots = best places to stay in Chattanooga, Tennessee.
Who is Nick True?
Nick True is a former mechanical engineer that left his job and now travels with his wife and two dogs in an Airstream. His website Mapped Out Money focuses on teaching young adults how to manage money and get ahead with your finances so that you are never, ever stuck.
Here are a couple of articles that he’s written:
- 3 Reasons You Should Stop Budgeting by the Month
- Financial Freedom is a Choice Not a Gift
- Being Entitled Makes You Poor
As you can tell, his writing is all about making the right choices in life to move one step closer to your goals. Here’s one of his recent videos.
Big thanks to today’s affiliate partner – ZipCar
I avoid renting cars as much as possible when I travel, but sometimes you just need a car for a few hours. That’s where ZipCar comes in. You can rent their cars by the hour, or by the day… and both gas and insurance are included in one flat rate.
Use our link to join at WeTravelThere.com/zipcar to start out with $25 worth of credits in your bank.
Stay tuned for our next episode
Listen to the next episode when Adam Sterling of The Sterling Traveler invites us to watch the living art of the Pageant of the Masters in Laguna Beach, California. We hope you’ll join us when We Travel There.
What’s your favorite part of Chattanooga? Let us know in the comment section below or continue the discussion in our Facebook group!
To learn more about Southern cities near Chattanooga, listen to these podcast episodes:
- Kate Shares the History of Hot Chicken in Nashville, Tennessee
- Broadway Honky Tonks, Local History & State Parks in Nashville, Tennessee
- Space Camp, Campus 805 & Craft Brew Trail in Huntsville, Alabama
- Hidden Parks, Tiny Doors & The First Peachtree in Atlanta, Georgia
- Dynamite Hill, Kelly Ingram Park & Bethel Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama