Spring is in full swing, and before we know it, summer will be right around the corner. It’s about time to start planning summer travel—long weekends, day trips, and weeklong ventures. If you’re looking for a fun and easy long weekend trip—or even a quick overnight stop on a longer journey—you’ll love a visit to Chattanooga, Tennessee.
I moved to Chattanooga in July of 2015 for my job, and I’ve loved every minute of it. For a mid-sized Southern city, we always have something fun going on, for almost every interest, at any given time of the year. We have everything a big city has, without the traffic, congestion, and higher cost of living!
Summer is my favorite season in Chattanooga. It’s warm (some might say hot), sunny, lush, and beautiful, and there is something fun happening all the time. From outdoor live music to soccer tailgates and brunch on the patio, I live my best life in the summer. And I hope that, after reading this post, you’ll want to come experience it for yourself!
Here are seven wonderful reasons to visit Chattanooga this summer.
Whatever you and your family’s tastes and interests are, there’s something for everyone here.
The outdoors. Hiking, rock climbing, kayaking, paddle boarding… you can do all those things (and more) when you visit Chattanooga. There’s a big rock climbing gym right downtown (and one on Riverfront Parkway), complete with an exterior climbing wall for the braver ones. There are gorgeous hiking trails (and some good bouldering spots) as close as 10 minutes from downtown. If water sports are your thing, you can rent kayaks, paddle boards, and canoes and paddle up and down the Tennessee River.
The food (and drinks). I love many things about my city, but we have no shortage of amazing food (and drinks) in Chattanooga. When my friends or family visit, the first place I take them is somewhere for a good meal and a few beverages. Oh, and brunch is my game. I never miss brunch when friends or family are in town (or hardly any other time, to be honest).
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Live music. Between the Riverbend music festival, Nightfall, Riverfront Nights, and oodles of other open mics and local shows, you could probably experience live music in Chattanooga any night of the week. Nightfall is a free concert series on Friday nights May-August that features a lot of local musicians. The lineup this year is especially awesome!
Sports. We may not have major league sports, but our minor-league and lower-division sports get a lot of love. The Lookouts are our AA Minor League Baseball team (affiliated with the Cincinnati Reds) that’s been around since 1885. The Chattanooga Football Club was founded in 2009, and is the best summer Saturday night you can get in the Scenic City.
Local art. Chattanooga is home to the Hunter Museum of American Art, but there’s way more art here outside of it. Several local breweries (we have some great craft beer, by the way) spotlight the work of local artists, and their art can be found at other fun places around town, like The Palace Theater. Keep an eye out for sculptures, murals, and public art, too.
The farmer’s market. We have several markets throughout the week (when it’s market season), but the Chattanooga Market at First Tennessee Pavilion is my absolute favorite. It’s open on Sundays from late April through November, and it brings a whole hosts of farmers, makers, producers, and all kinds of local food and drink businesses. I do a lot of my grocery shopping at the market when it’s in season; I’m especially excited for berries, peaches, and apples.
Local businesses. I’ve lived a lot of places in my 27 years of life, but no city I’ve lived in has embraced local businesses quite like Chattanooga. Locally-owned restaurants, bars, coffee shops, breweries, and bakeries are all over town (and beyond). Any number of specialty shops are locally owned and operated. One of the reasons I started a podcast was to highlight these local businesses and the people behind them and give them a platform to tell their stories. It’s been one of my favorite endeavors.
If you’re not convinced yet, I have 36 more reasons to visit Chattanooga here. My podcast also features some of the most interesting people and businesses in Chattanooga, and I’m sure you’ll find another reason or three to visit Chattanooga from it.
Do you have any summer travel plans yet? Where are you traveling this summer?