The Food and Beverage Scene
in Chattanooga Tennessee

I will never forget calling my mom several years ago to let her know that I was moving to Chattanooga Tennessee. Unable to hide her surprise and concern, she asked, “Chattanooga? Where is that?” As a child, we had traveled quite a bit back and forth

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across country, so when I mentioned “See Rock City” rooftops and “See Ruby Falls” billboards, I struck a familiar chord. That was 1995.

Most of downtown at that time was deserted and dilapidated. It seemed that all of the old buildings and architectural designs of yesteryear had served their purpose. In a couple of select areas,

like the North Shore and St. Elmo, small, artistic businesses where trying to make a go of cafes, coffee houses, and galleries. Fortunately, most of those are still here today.

We are still a traditional southern town, but today we are the 4th largest city in Tennessee and have received national recognition for the renaissance of our downtown and redevelopment of the riverfront. Our best known attraction, the Tennessee Aquarium, has doubled in size, and is now surrounded by an entire neighborhood of attractions, condominiums, and wonderful restaurants. This community is connected by 5 miles of beautifully constructed riverwalk that winds through many of the historic communities, art districts, and parks.

The city of Chattanooga supports a downtown system of electric shuttle busses for visitors who prefer to “park-and-ride”. At one end of the system, you will find the famous Chattanooga Choo Choo Hotel. This grand old train station depot is a terrific place to room, dine, shop, and tour. At the other end of the shuttle system, the Tennessee Aquarium rises high into the skyline above the Tennessee River. The electric busses will stop at just about every corner, making it easy to jump off and grab a bite to eat, do some shopping, or take pictures of the many amazing sidewalk sculptures. The Tivoli Theatre, Children’s Discovery Museum, and Read House Hotel are just a few of the “must-sees” along the way.

Just a short stroll from downtown and perched on an 80-foot bluff over the river, a distinctive area known as Bluff View Art District is home to several popular restaurants, shops and B&Bs. The Hunter Museum of Art, which displays one of the largest collections of American art, has recently undergone a redesign and transformation of its own, making it an impossible opportunity to pass by.

Lookout Mountain, home of the famous Rock City and Ruby Falls, is just minutes from downtown, and seems to still loom protectively over our valley just as it did during the Civil War and the “Battle Above the Clouds”. Today, you can ride the Incline Railway from St. Elmo to the top of the mountain and experience the history, beautiful homes, and attractions that are nestled among the unforgettable rock formations and landscapes. During the holidays, the mountain comes alive in a festival of lights and celebration.

No matter where you are in Chattanooga Tennessee today, you will find wonderful places to dine. While the downtown and North Shore areas are booming with new and exciting restaurants, other areas like St. Elmo, Hamilton Place, and Northgate are also offering great places to gather. What was once a city where finding a place to go was a challenge, is now a city where the challenge is in deciding where to go.

I bet my mom would love it here in Chattanooga Tennessee.


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