I recently went on a girls’ trip to Chattanooga, TN for my birthday, and I had such a great time exploring the city. Halfway between Nashville and Atlanta, it makes the perfect weekend getaway from either city.
Rock City might be the most iconic roadside attraction in The United States. Opening to the public in the 1930’s, it falls in that sweet spot between cars being invented and the interstates being built, before every rest stop looked the same, when people still wandered down country roads to get to their destination. To advertise, they would offer to repaint old barns for farmers, and would paint their iconic, “See Rock City” in white on black across the roof of a newly bright red barn.
Rock City itself is the perfect mixture of nature and kitsch. A nature trail winds it’s way through carved stone, past a waterfall and to a hill where on a clear day you can view seven states. Then the trail winds through a cavern filled with vintage German-style garden gnomes and dioramas of popular fairytales and nursery rhymes. Being there feels a bit like time traveling. I recommend going when they open, as it can get a bit crowded.
It’s surprising to find such a fantastic art museum in a small city like Chattanooga. The Hunter is a true gem. They have a great permanent collection and their rotating shows consistently push the bar. The architecture alone is worth the visit. It’s in a great location and there’s a lot to see within walking distance too.
The IMAX theater is part of the aquarium, and shows mainly nature documentaries. It’s pretty incredible watching something shot for the IMAX on their giant screen. It’s much more thrilling than the blown up superhero footage playing on the IMAX in your multiplex.
Ruby Falls, Woodhouse Spa, Wildflower Tea, Powell Market, Antiquing
Cashew is open for lunch most of the week and dinner Friday. It’s my favorite restaurant in Chattanooga and I always try to stop there any time I’m driving through. They serve up really satisfying vegan comfort food. This time I got the Philly Cheesesteak made with BeHive seitan, and it was fantastic. They’ve recently renovated and it has a really pleasant, light and airy vibe.
Sluggo’s Vegan Cafe has an eclectic menu. It’s a great option for weekend brunch.
Matilda Midnight is the bar at The Dwell Hotel. It’s very stylish and quirky, with a cool vibe. They have great cocktails and several vegan options on their snack menu.
The Dwell Hotel
The Dwell Hotel is a luxury hotel with vintage inspired decor. The perfect mix of comfort and quirky originality. Each room has a different retro theme.
The Read House, The Westin, Moxy