So you’re traveling for spring break, but don’t want to go too far. Or maybe you’re road-tripping and looking for fun cities to visit along the way. Or maybe long distances don’t bother you and you’re looking to explore a city you’ve never visited before. Have you considered Chattanooga, Tennessee? It’s one of the fastest-growing cities below the Mason-Dixon Line, and it’s absolutely worth a visit. Consider this your official guide to spring break in Chattanooga, Tenn.
Updated June 2019. I love a good latte or mocha in a cute coffee shop. Bonus points if the latte has an extra shot of espresso, and more bonus points if said coffee shop is locally owned. I like a good Starbucks drink as much as the next basic white girl (except for PSLs, those are overrated), but when given the option, I’ll pick a local spot over a chain almost every time.
I’ve recently gotten really into the music scene in town. My toes are still tapping from the Big Band Fever show a couple weeks ago. Going to shows like that make me think of the 12 years I played violin and all the different genres of music I played with different ensembles. I love a chance to embrace nostalgia, and last weekend, I did just that at the Chattanooga Symphony & Opera.
Last Sunday, I attended the CSO’s annual “Side By Side” concert with the CSO Youth Orchestra (CSOYO) and Youth Philharmonic Orchestra, at the beautiful Tivoli Theater downtown. It didn’t take long for my memories of playing in orchestra and youth symphonies to rush back, especially since they played some familiar pieces that I’d played before, too. Even as I watched the players tuning, I thought back to those same moments before my last symphony concert my sophomore year of college.
The CSO Youth Orchestra began in 1949 as a place for young musicians to play in a full orchestra. It has grown dramatically since then, and now includes multiple youth ensembles, including the Philharmonic and Symphony. I really love how the youth orchestras are connected to the main CSO and that they have the opportunity to perform together. So cool!
To start the concert, the Youth Philharmonic and Symphony orchestras each performed their own pieces: Robert Sheldon’s “Resurgences,” and “Espana” by Chabrier, respectively. Both pieces were full of energy and got everyone in the mood for the rest of the concert. Even the conductors–Sandy Morris and Gary Wilkes–were feeling it.
Each year, the CSOYO holds a solo concerto competition, in which Symphony students can audition to play a concerto accompanied by members of the CSO. This year’s concerto competition winners performed stunning concertos on flute and tuba: Mercadante’s “Flute Concerto No. 2 in e minor” and Edward Gregson’s “Tuba Concerto.” I had never heard a tuba concerto in my entire life and I was blown away by the student’s performance. Think of the lung power it takes to get through a tuba concerto! The flute concerto was absolutely breathtaking, quite literally; I got a little out of breath just watching and listening.
The last solo performance of the afternoon had me feeling very emotional and nostalgic. Soloist and associate concertmaster Josh Holritz performed Beethoven’s “Romance No. 2 in F,” which was one of my absolute favorite solos I played back in the day. It was the closest I ever got to a perfect solo, and every time I hear it, I think of playing it and wish that maybe one day I can play it again. Before he played, CSO conductor Kayoko Dan said that Josh had played the “Romance” as his concerto competition piece when he was in the CSOYO himself. Full circle, right? I had never heard or seen the “Romance” played live before, and I absolutely got a little misty-eyed.
But the show didn’t end there. The real side-by-side fun was saved for the end, when the CSOYO Symphony and CSO sat on stage and performed the two final pieces together. Their joint performance of Rossini’s famed “William Tell Overture” brought almost everyone in the audience to their feet and it wasn’t even the final song. Even though “William Tell” was one of the more challenging pieces I played as a violin student, I loved hearing and seeing it performed by other musicians, especially with double the sound. It was nice listening to it instead of having to play it!
The Side By Side concluded with an awesome performance of Liszt’s “Les Preludes.” By the final note, every single person in the audience was on his or her feet for a standing ovation. And the CSO and CSOYO deserved it.
It made me want to go home and get my violin out again.
Remember several weeks ago when I shared my Chattanooga Bucket List? Well, I couldn’t fit every little thing on one list, so I made another.
From the time I moved here last July, it didn’t take me long to figure out that Chattanooga has an incredible food scene. And it’s not just a nice bunch of burger joints and “nicer” restaurants. We’ve got a burger lounge and a New Orleans style bistro and some delicious delis. Not to mention some pretty sweet spots to satisfy your sweet tooth. I happen to like those places a lot.
A city’s food scene says a lot about its culture. The variety of cuisines we have in Chattanooga continues to amaze me. I never would’ve thought I’d find an authentic German restaurant just across the river from downtown. For the record, that’s one of my favorite places to eat. We’ve also got authentic Mexican and Thai, and a Brazilian steakhouse. For Chattanooga to be a “smaller” city, we sure have the food offerings the likes of Atlanta or Nashville.Are you a #foodie? Check out the #CHA Bucket List, Food Edition! Click To Tweet
So here it is: the Chattanooga Bucket List, Foodie Edition.
Of course there are more than 40 wonderful food spots in town. The way I see it, it just gives me more excuses to go out, explore and eat good food.
Is Chattanooga’s food scene turning me into a foodie? Good chance. I don’t hate it. I haven’t been to all 40 places on this list, and I’m sure there are many more that I haven’t found yet. Ideally I would love to try one new restaurant every week or so. I can’t wait to work my way through the list and beyond and to continue discovering all of the great food Chattanooga has to offer. I still have so much more to find.The #CHA Bucket List FOOD Edition is here! Click To Tweet
Join the fun – print out a copy of the list (it’s a .pdf) and check off all the spots you visit. Feel free to share your foodie favorites with me, too. Leave me a comment below, tweet at me or tag me on Instagram!
Stay tuned for one more edition of the Chattanooga Bucket List!
Have you visited any of the popular food spots in your city? What’s your favorite?
Valentine’s Day isn’t just for celebrating romance. It’s also a great chance to celebrate friendships and gal pals in your life, or just to treat yourself. Galentine’s Day is just as fun, I think.
This year for Galentine’s Day, a group of ladies from my work spent the afternoon sampling wine from the DeBarge Urban Winery on the Southside of Chattanooga. I’ll be completely honest, I didn’t even know it was there until the plans were made. But I love visiting wineries, and I was beginning to think there weren’t that many around here. Fortunately that’s not the case. Living in North Carolina had me spoiled, where I had five wineries within 10 miles.
Wine-making started as a hobby for owner Ray DeBarge. In fact, he made his first bottle of wine as a teenager. It eventually grew into a passion that has since evolved into a business that makes many Chattanoogans and visitors happy. The Southside winery has been in operation for four years. They took their time perfecting their wines and starting to distribute; now they’re up and running and ready to make their mark in Chattanooga.
I’ve officially been a resident of Chattanooga for three weeks. It’s been a crazy, wild three weeks, and my apartment still isn’t completely put together, but it’s starting to feel like home. It’ll get there soon enough!
As I mentioned several posts ago, Chattanooga wasn’t totally unfamiliar to me. My family used to visit here when we lived in Atlanta, so I had some ideas of what life in Chattanooga would be like. But it’d been a long time since I’d spent more than a night in town, so I’ve been relearning everything.
Even though it isn’t a huge city, like Washington, DC or NYC, Chattanooga has a ton to offer. Exploring the city and its surrounding areas has definitely been a treat. Since I don’t live too far from downtown, going out to walk around and explore is convenient and was a great way to spend my free days before I started my job on the 13th.
In my earlier post about finding a new apartment in a new city, I mentioned I’d be moving to a new city myself very soon. When I started my job search, I knew that I wanted to move somewhere new, if possible. I had my top cities picked and focused my job search there.
My heart lies in the southeast. Since the day my family left Georgia and moved to Pennsylvania in 2006, I knew that I would go back, for college, grad school and beyond. I made it to Virginia for college and back to North Carolina for grad school. And now, I’m adventuring a little farther south for my first job out of grad school.
I’m so happy, excited and blessed for my next adventure to be… Chattanooga, TN!
My family visited Chattanooga often when we lived in Atlanta. It’s only an hour and a half away, so it was an easy weekend trip. We’d drive up to see shows we couldn’t see in Atlanta, visit the Tennessee Aquarium, hike Lookout Mountain, see Rock City and more. Trips to Chattanooga were some of our favorites, as we did something new almost each time.
Chattanooga is quite possibly the perfect city for me (sorry Atlanta, I still love you). It’s big enough to feel like a city, but it’s not overwhelming. If I ever want a day in a bigger city, I’ve got Atlanta and Nashville close by (which is great, because my boyfriend and I have already planned a visit to ATL in October for a concert!). Downtown has so much to offer, from awesome restaurants, a gourmet cupcake kitchen, all sorts of shopping, a blooming entrepreneurial spirit, and of course the Tennessee Aquarium and the Tennessee River.
Outside of the city, the suburban areas have shopping, entertainment, easy travel and anything else I could ever need or want. I don’t have to go far for a nice grocery store, a mall, movie theater, gyms, essential shopping and more. It reminds me a little bit of where we lived in Atlanta.
The best part? When my mom and I were there last week, we didn’t meet a single person who wasn’t super nice and friendly. Even the sales lady at Dillard’s who helped us introduced herself and offered help like we were family. The hospitality made the experience so nice and easy.
Moving is stressful, and doing it within a few weeks can be overwhelming. But I know I’m moving to an awesome city with so much to offer. I think I’ll be really happy in Chattanooga. I know I’ll be really happy in Chattanooga.
Have you ever moved to a brand new city for a job? What was it like for you?