Do Chattanooga Like the Locals Do

Last week I shared some of my favorite things to do when I visit one of my favorite towns and home of the next Puckett's location - Chattanooga, TN (link here). My brother and cousin happen to both live in Chattanooga. I thought it would be cool to share what their favorite things to do are as locals. Being outdoors definitely tops all of our lists, so it's no wonder that Chattanooga was recently voted Best Town Ever by readers of Outdoor Magazine.

Graci the Outdoor Mama's Chattanooga List


From left: hiking at Greenway Farms; mamas on the pedestrian bridge; at Heritage Park

1. Hiking. The majority of the trails are kid-carrying friendly. I wear Samuel, who is 9 1/2 months old, either in a wrap baby carrier, or if it's a longer hike my Osprey Poco.

2. Coolidge Park/Fountains/Walking Bridge. I combined the three together because we never do just one when we're there. I love that the walking bridge is now dog friendly, a change in my 5 year absence. This is a great place to take kiddos because there are benches everywhere for you to stop and take a break to either give your little ones a snack, let them eat lunch, or nurse them. Plus, on hot sunny days the kids can cool off in the fountains, ride the beautiful antique carousal (carved by local Chattanoogans when it was made), or stop and grab some of the best ice cream at Clumpies! One of my favorite things about Chattanooga is that I have never once felt uncomfortable nursing in public.

3. Riverfront/Tennessee Aquarium.  The aquarium sits right on Chattanooga's riverfront. In the summer, there is a mock river that the kids can run and splash in, and next to the saltwater house is more water play that cascades down steps to a small pool at the bottom. Visiting the inside of the aquarium in the summer can get a little crowded sometimes, but it is an excellent escape from the heat. My favorite time to visit though is in the winter, it's a great way to beat the winter blues.

4. Heritage Park. This little gem isn't on the tourist radar, and that's one reason I love it. This park is in the East Brainerd/Hamilton Place area of Chattanooga. It has tons of large shady trees; lots of open areas where you'll find people picnicking, playing frisbee, laying around in hammocks, riding bikes, and walking their dogs; there is a 1/3 mile walking path around the park; a playground for the kids; a member's only dog park; and a creek that the kids love to play in.

5. Greenway Farms. This is truly my favorite spot in Chattanooga. It has a bit of everything you'd want to do outside. It sits on Chickamauga Creek and has put-ins for kayaking, canoeing, and paddle boarding. The Chickamuaga Creek connects to the Tennessee River just below the dam on the same side as the lock so you're not coming out into a current. There is a huge dog park on site, and a 3 mile loop trail that connects the farm to the dam. Along the trail is an old quarry that you can let your dogs play in and Outdoor Chattanooga has their kayak roll practice there in the summer months. There are also walking paths in the fields at the farm, as well as birding areas, and a large community garden. In college, I would go here daily to take my dog for long runs and let her play in the park. I also led a hiking group along the backside of the quarry for a class project. I've seen everything from birds, deer, rabbits, turtles, and snakes. No matter the time of year, Greenway Farms is gorgeous.

Cliff the College Kid's Chattanooga List


cliff-claire-chattanoogame and my brother Cliff in the Scenic City


Willy, post dog park

1. Hang out in Coolidge and Renaissance Park. This is a great place to just hang out and enjoy Chattanooga. I like to kick a ball around, walk my dog, or just lounge around.

2. Drive up Signal Mountain. I love the winding roads, and you get the best view of the mountains and the city.

3. Eat good food & drink good beer. There are great local options for both food and drink here. My personal favorites are Taconooga for great tacos and house-made corn tortillas, Brewhaus for German brews, and Bluegrass Grill for breakfast.

4. Take advantage of Gig City. Chattanooga is known internationally to have one of the fastest, most reliable, and most affordable fiber optic networks in the world. See here and here. I use it to binge watch Games of Thrones.

5. Take Willy to one of the many dog parks. Chattanooga is a very dog-friendly city, and Willy goes almost everywhere with me.