A few months ago, my husband and I took a weekend trip to Chattanooga, TN. Prior to this trip, neither of us had been aside from school field trips and day trips with our family to see all of the typical touristy things – you know, the Tennessee Aquarium, Rock City, Lookout Mountain and the Chickamauga Military Park. All great things, but not necessarily the things we’re into as a young married couple 🤣
After extensive research, I was pleased to discover that Chattanooga has SO MUCH MORE to offer and is highly underrated. We still talk about our trip to this day and it’s by far one of my favorite memories from this year – so much so that we’re planning our second weekend trip, so it felt like the right time to share this travel guide.
As I do with most trips, I made a detailed itinerary for us to follow to be sure that we maximized our time and experienced the absolute most. Even with that planning, there’s no way we could hit it all in a short 48 hours, so now I have a saved list for when we go back.
Like all travel guides, below you’ll find my vetted stays, plays, sips, snacks and sights!
When searching for places to stay on vacation, I prefer boutique hotels or super trendy AirBnb’s because they provide a unique experience and typically always have a fun photo op – this is always my top priority, okay?! 🤩
Chattanooga is filled with some of the best boutique hotels that I’ve found and they all bring a different vibe. My top picks include:
- Moxy Chattanooga Downtown – this is where we stayed and it did not disappoint! The hotel is fixed in the perfect location within walking distance to so many attractions, has an upbeat vibe, creative rooms, a lively bar serving as its “lobby” and my favorite part, complimentary cocktails at check-in.
- The Dwell Hotel – this one is still on my bucket list! The Dwell brings a mid-century, luxurious yet retro vibe and features the coolest tiki bar on-site. This place screams “photo op,” so you can bet we’ll be visiting here sometime soon.
- The Read House – this elegant 1872 hotel gives all The Great Gatsby feels and features an upscale steakhouse on-site so you can dine in style
- Kinley Chattanooga – another perfectly located boutique hotel situated right across from the Chattanooga Choo Choo, offering beautiful modern style rooms
- The Comedy Catch – located on the grounds of the Chattanooga Choo Choo, The Comedy Catch offers a fun, indoor, inexpensive activity. Pro Tip: grab a drink at The Backstage Bar prior to the show!
- Southside Social – a family friendly boutique bowling alley in a fun atmosphere with food, drinks and other gaming areas, such as pool tables, ping pong, shuffleboard and giant jenga. They also have a great outside area with fire pits and cornhole.
- Craft Axe Throwing – a classic axe throwing experience complete with an on-site bar for endless fun with friends
- See a Show – Chattanooga has multiple concert and event venues that are always bustling with live music and performance plays. On our trip, we caught a concert at the Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Auditorium, which was a blast! The Tivoli Theatre is another popular choice.
- Whiskey Thief – known for being the only rooftop bar in Chattanooga, Whiskey Thief sits atop The Edwin Hotel and offers gorgeous skyline views while serving up delicious cocktails
- Unknown Caller – accessed via a phone booth, Unknown Caller is the only speakeasy style bar you’ll find during your visit
- No Hard Feelings – a friendly neighborhood bar that’s open late so you can keep your party going after midnight if you so please
- American Draft – a pour-your-own beer hall located on the grounds of the Chattanooga Choo Choo Hotel offering a unique experience as you sip on your favorite draft beers
- Hi-Fi Clydes – a casual, retro style bar restaurant serving delicious bites alongside fun games and live music
- STIR – an absolute must for the oysters alone. Located inside the Chattanooga Choo Choo among other great options!
- Whitebird – located in the Edwin Hotel along with Whiskey Thief, Whitebird provides a stylish dining space serving locally sourced brunch and dinner
- Kenny’s – just steps away from The Moxy, Kenny’s offers your traditional brunch and breakfast options
- Frothy Monkey – with multiple locations across Tennessee, Frothy Monkey is a all day cafe with delicious coffee and dining options. The Chattanooga location is inside the Chattanooga Choo Choo.
- Taco Mamacita – a fun twist on your traditional Mexican restaurant with unique tacos and yummy margaritas!
- Niedlov’s Bakery & Cafe – a sweet cafe where you can find your favorite breads, sandwiches, pastries and coffee
- Clumpies – a Chattanooga classic where you can grab a sweet treat to top off your lunch or dinner
- Walnut Street Pedestrian Bridge – the famous bridge in Chattanooga that connects downtown to the north shore is perfect for a stroll where you can snap a pic with a view
- Umbrella Alley – located across the street from Peet’s Coffee, behind The Read House, sits this trendy alley with hanging umbrellas making the perfect photo op
- “Chattanooga” Sign at the Choo Choo – commemorate your trip with a picture at the vastly visited “Chattanooga” lit up sign at the Choo Choo
Overall, we absolutely loved Chattanooga and all it had to offer. We hope you take the time to try it out and that this guide serves as a great source as you plan your trip!