The Best Happy Hour Spots in Chattanooga

By now you’ve probably noticed that I’m obsessed with the food scene in Chattanooga. There are so many amazing places in town to find good eats and a good time.

One of the best parts of the food scene is all of the awesome Happy Hour spots in town. It’s nice to drop in for a drink after a long day at work, or to kick off a fun night on the weekend. Or just to go try something new. You know the phrase, “Why limit happy to just one hour?” These places take that to heart.

best happy hours in chattanooga

Here are eight awesome Happy Hour spots in downtown Chattanooga!

These are listed in no particular order. Of course there are more awesome drink spots in town–this list features mostly downtown places–but I am a repeat offender at most, if not all of these.

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College Graduation, 2 Years Past

It’s college graduation season. Almost every day, I see new senior portraits and grad cap designs and job or grad school announcements shared across my Facebook and Instagram feeds. It makes me a little nostalgic; I was doing all that just two years ago.

It doesn’t sound like that long ago when I write it. But when I mentioned in a recent conversation that I graduated from college two years ago, I felt ancient. But I’m really not!

When I graduated college, I knew where I was going afterward. I’d been accepted to grad school and I had a summer internship set up. Many of my friends were going straight into the working world, or were still trying to land that first job. The way my friends talked about their job searches, I was glad I had another year before I had to worry about that. I had no idea what was coming. The following year, after I finished grad school, I was lucky that I only had about a month between graduation and accepting my first job offer in Tennessee.

college graduation

Now, two years after college graduation and a year after finishing grad school, I’ve learned a lot about truly living on my own and life after school.

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I Survived My Quarter-Life Crisis

Everyone knows about mid-life crises–when you hit mid-life and suddenly yearn for the adventures of your youth. Some people buy sports cars or go on big vacations or try to get back into the party scene.

But what about quarter-life crises?

A couple years ago when I was on my two-week trip around Eastern Europe, a girl in my travel group, who was 19 at the time, told us that she had been at university but had a quarter-life crisis, panicked, dropped out and was now traveling until she figured out the rest. I found it hard to believe her. How does someone at 19 panic that badly? That’s technically not even “quarter-life.” Sure, at 19, I wasn’t close to having my life figured out, but I thought having that kind of reaction was over the top. We’re too young for quarter-life crises.

I didn’t believe that quarter-life crises existed…until I had one of my own.

quarter life crisis

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Life Lately, Spring Edition

So Kate, how’s your life lately?

Is it just me, or do everyone else’s schedules just get jam-packed once spring hits? Maybe it’s the weather, or the new season, but everyone is out and about and all the fun events start popping up. Remember how I said my social calendar was going to fill up real fast? Oh, it totally did.

I’d rather keep myself busy than have too much free time. Fortunately everything that’s kept me busy has been fun and given me lots of adventures to share about here! And it means lots of visitors from out of town, and I’ll never say no to showing my friends and family around my city.

chattanooga downtown

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24 Hours in Atlanta: The Georgia Aquarium

I love taking weekend trips, both to new places and to places I know very well. One of my favorite places to visit is Atlanta, Georgia. I grew up in the Atlanta area–northwest of the city, the be exact–and still have several close friends in Atlanta; since I live so close now, there’s no reason for me not to visit! There’s always something going on for me to check out.

Of course I love exploring new spots in Atlanta, but one of my favorite areas downtown is Centennial Olympic Park. It’s so easy to spend one day downtown and do a lot just in this area: the World of Coca-Cola, the CNN Center, the Children’s Museum of Atlanta, to name a few. And if the weather is nice, it’s a great spot for a picnic and a stroll, or maybe a ride on the SkyView Ferris Wheel.

atlanta skyline

The Georgia Aquarium–America’s largest aquarium!–is one such highlight of downtown Atlanta and Centennial Olympic Park. My family was lucky to visit the aquarium shortly after it opened in November of 2005; it’s been one of my favorite tourist destinations ever since. Each time I’ve visited since, there’s always something new and amazing. It’s home to some of the biggest habitats in the country–which they need to house their whale sharks and beluga whales!

Wander through the four areas–Cold Water Quest, Tropical Diver, Ocean Voyager, and River Scout–and see hundreds of animals in their habitats. I never tire of seeing the African penguins and river otters. They’re just so cute!

The Georgia Aquarium celebrated its 10th anniversary earlier this year. With an anniversary comes a new set of awesome events, shows and developments, just in time for spring and summer getaways!

Here are some of the awesome new shows and features at the Georgia Aquarium!

I can’t wait to check them out myself.

Sea Lion Experience // Sea lions aren’t just at Sea World anymore! These flippered friends arrived earlier in March and debuted several weeks ago. Check out the California sea lions on the SunTrust Pier 225 and learn more about how they survive in the wild. Sea lions are so cool and full of antics of their own.

sea lion experience

Photo courtesy of Georgia Aquarium

4D Funbelievable Theater // This new 4D experience combines 3D with high-definition projection and special effects for an immersive adventure. It’ll make you feel like you’re right there with the animals. It’s great for the whole family!

New AT&T Dolphin Celebration // Want to watch these majestic creatures show off their athleticism and grace? The Dolphin Celebration is an amazing showcase of dolphins’ beauty and intelligence, and their rapport with their trainers. There’s plenty of audience participation, and you might even get splashed a little.

Photo courtesy of Georgia Aquarium

Photo courtesy of Georgia Aquarium

And of course, make time to visit all the sections and see all of the amazing animals at the aquarium. All of the new shows and features, plus the four sections, definitely make for a great afternoon at the aquarium. You might even run into a few aquarium friends in the main concourse. Personally I could spend all day just in Ocean Voyager and Cold Water Quest.

Have I convinced you to visit the Georgia Aquarium yet? Or to go back as soon as possible? Stop in for an aquatic adventure—it’s located at 225 Baker Street, Atlanta, Ga., 30313. If you have time afterward, stroll over to the World of Coca-Cola or Children’s Museum for the rest of the afternoon. There’s no shortage of activities!

I’m already planning my next weekend adventure. Who wants to join me?! I’ll try not to take too many selfies with the animals. But I’m not making any promises…

penguin selfie

April 16th, Nine Years Later

I originally published this post last year on the eighth anniversary of the tragedy. I wanted to write a new tribute this year, but the words just weren’t coming. And I think this post from last year says everything that needs to be said.

On April 16, 2007, a gunman killed 32 students and professors at Virginia Tech before taking his own life. 17 other students and professors were wounded. April 16th is the largest, deadliest school massacre by a single gunman in American history. 

virginia tech we remember

Today marks nine years since April 16, 2007. On that day, I was a mere freshman in high school and my knowledge of Virginia Tech didn’t extend much farther than their football and basketball teams. I came home from school and saw my mom sitting on our couch, with our cat Buttons curled up next to her. Her face was somber and her eyes were fixed on the television. I joined her and we sat in silence as we watched the news reports.

Every year on April 16th, I think about that day, about how I thought, How could someone do something so awful, so devastating? I think about the uneasiness in my stomach as I watched footage of students running from Norris Hall. I think about the families who lost their loved ones that day: sons, daughters, husbands, wives, brothers, sisters, cousins, friends. I think of those who sacrificed their lives to save those of others. I think about the survivors, and the brave young men and women who protected their classmates and still make their voices heard today.

Every year on April 16th, I think of the first time my family visited Virginia Tech, in the fall of my sophomore year of high school. We were there for a UNC football game, since Chapel Hill was too far to drive from Pennsylvania just for a weekend. When we couldn’t find our way to Lane–although now looking back, it seems silly that we couldn’t–several Hokies kindly offered their help, even though we weren’t wearing maroon and orange, and guided us to their football stadium. They made the visiting team and fans feel just as welcome as their own.

Every year on April 16th, I think of my first tour as an accepted student, and walking by the memorial on the Drillfield, and seeing those Hokie Stone headstones. That was inspired by an impromptu memorial by some students who, in the days following the tragedy, picked out 32 pieces of Hokie Stone from campus construction and laid them in a semicircle at the top of the Drillfield. Later, a stone bench honoring the survivors was added.

Every year on April 16th, I think of Nikki Giovanni’s immortal words, “We will prevail, we will prevail, we will prevail, we are Virginia Tech.” I think of how many cars I’ve seen with those words on a ribbon-shaped magnet, and how to us, it’s not just a magnet.

virginia tech

Every year on April 16th, I think of the candlelight vigil my freshman year, and how I didn’t know what it would be like, and I didn’t know how many students who were there in 2007 were still there then. I didn’t know how many people would cry. I didn’t know if I would cry. And when I think of those things, I hear 32 rounds of “Let’s go…Hokies!” and a chorus of “Fields of Gold,” and I see the candlelight slowly spreading among thousands of students, families, and Blacksburg locals as we honor those 32 fallen Hokies.

Every year on April 16th, I think of the 3.2 Run in Remembrance and watching 32 white balloons float effortlessly into the sky, followed by hundreds of maroon and orange balloons.

Every year on April 16th, I think of December 8, 2011, when Officer Deriek W. Crouse died in the line of duty when a routine traffic stop on campus went wrong. I think of having lunch in the student center with my friend Ben when campus went on lockdown, and how we were herded into Colonial Hall with hundreds of other terrified students when the SWAT teams and National Guard thought the shooter was closing in on Squires, and how, through all the chaos, I heard someone mutter, “Not again…” I think of sitting in a lecture hall and gripping Ben’s hand and praying and praying and praying. I think of how we organized a candlelight vigil the following night, and how we raised more than $100,000 in mere days for the Crouse family.

Today on April 16th, I think about going back to Blacksburg in September 2014 for a football game and walking by the memorial on the Drillfield before meeting a friend to tailgate. I think of how it took me graduating and being an alumna to bring me to tears at that memorial and seeing those headstones with flowers and notes held down by rocks and pebbles.

Today on April 16th, I remember those 32 Hokies up in Heaven, who I’m sure smile and tell every angel about Blacksburg and the Drillfield and the pylons and Lane Stadium and the Corps of Cadets and the duck pond and have no problems answering, “So, what exactly is a Hokie?” a thousand times. They probably answer it much better than I can.

vt 3.2 run for 32

Photo via Virginia Tech

Today on April 16th, I think of how I’ve never felt anything but safe and at home at Virginia Tech, in Blacksburg, Virginia. I think of how everyone I ever met there was warm, welcoming, friendly, and always ended our conversations with “Go Hokies!” I think of how “Hokie Nation” isn’t just a thing we say or a slogan we put on t-shirts or a hashtag we use on Twitter. We are a worldwide community, a family, a forever friendship of thousands who actually think maroon and orange look good together.

Today on April 16th, I think of a conversation I had with my mom once, and how she said, “We were always so impressed by how friendly everyone at Tech is, and their willingness to help anyone and everyone. I bet those 32 were the same way.” I’m sure they were. They were Hokies, after all.

Today, on April 16th, 2016, on every April 16th and every day forevermore, I think of how proud I am to be a Hokie and how there’s no other place I’d rather call my alma mater. I think of Brotherhood, Service, Loyalty, Honor, Leadership, Sacrifice, Duty and Ut Prosim.

We will prevail, we will prevail, we will prevail. We are Virginia Tech.