For this post, I’m taking a nod from the New York Times’ “36 Hours” travel series. I like their account of 36 hours in Chattanooga, but there’s so much more to this city than what that article shared.
Even though I’ve only lived in Chattanooga for three and a half months, I’ve completely fallen in love with this city. I’m still a “new Noogan” by many people’s standards, but there’s no timeline or rule that says, “you have to live here for x amount of time before you’re allowed to say you love it here.” That’d be pretty lame, anyway.
So let’s call this a companion post, an addendum to the Times’ write-up. Another 36 hours in Chattanooga. My 36 hours in Chattanooga.
My 36 hours begin on a Saturday, with breakfast at any of the popular breakfast spots downtown. There’s plenty of choices, from Tupelo Honey Cafe to Maple Street Biscuit Company, or any of the smaller, quaint coffee shops like Camp House or Brash. Whatever your breakfast style is, Chattanooga has something to match it, or more likely exceed it.
After breakfast, I’ll make a trip to the Tennessee Aquarium. Sure, I’m a bit of an aquarium geek, but this place is so fun. At River Journey, there’s everything from brook trout to freshwater stingrays (yes, they exist) and over-sized catfish and freaky-looking reptiles. Some species are brought in from all over the world, while others can be found right out the back door in the Tennessee River. Then jump right over to Ocean Journey to watch the penguins play, and see some pretty big sharks.
Then I’ll grab lunch somewhere around the Riverfront–that is, if I’m not still full from breakfast.
No trip to Chattanooga is complete without a visit to the Moon Pie General Store. Its shelves are stocked with delicious sandwich cookies fresh from the manufacturer across the river. In addition to sweet, marshmallowy treats, you’ll find all sorts of gifts and knick-knacks, from old-school action figures, coffee mugs with silly sayings, tin lunch boxes, patterned socks, Moon Pie t-shirts, airplane bottles of barbecue sauces, and not to mention the classic “redneck six pack,” complete with Moon Pies and RC Cola.
I’ll take a chocolate Moon Pie, please.
After that, I’ll walk off lunch and Moon Pies by strolling across the pedestrian bridge and exploring the North Shore area. Or maybe I’ll take a walk down to Tennessee Stillhouse for a whiskey tour and tasting. Fun fact: the stillhouse is the only place you can get liquor on Sundays.
Whichever I choose, I know I’ll end up on the North Shore eventually, because there’s a German microbrewery that I’m craving for dinner. I know what you’re thinking: a German microbrewery in Chattanooga, Tennessee? I promise, Brewhaus is worth a visit. That schnitzel and spaetzle is as good as it comes outside of Germany.
As if I’d have any room left in my stomach, I’ll cap off the day with a scoop of ice cream from Clumpies. It’s right down the street from Brewhaus, so it’s convenient. Grab a scoop or two of your favorite flavors (mine are cookie dough and French silk) and take a stroll along the North Shore. Perhaps there’s a little bluegrass trio playing outside one of the stores for some after-dinner entertainment.
On my second morning, I’ll partake in Sunday brunch, which is super popular among the locals. Brunch options are limitless: I’m a huge fan of Food Works and their banana bread French toast. I hear their chicken and waffles entrée is the best in the city, but I can’t speak from experience, yet. The $1 mimosas (with any brunch entrée) are pretty nice, too. I’ll try the chicken next time.
If the weather is nice, I’ll spend the rest of my morning being outdoorsy–either paddle-boarding along the Tennessee River, or driving a little outside the city to hike. From Foster Falls in Soddy Daisy to Blue Hole near Chickamauga to Snooper’s Rock and all sorts of other spots, if you’re looking for some adventure, it’s here, waiting for you.
My 36 hours will finish up at the downtown farmer’s market. Vendors from Tennessee, Georgia and Alabama converge at the First Tennessee Pavilion, right across from Finley Stadium, with boxes upon boxes of homegrown produce, fresh-cut flowers, homemade soaps, organic granola bars, baked goods, t-shirts, kitchen towels, hair bows and beyond. I guarantee you’ll find something you love.
What would 36 hours in your favorite city or hometown look like?