Explore Chattanooga, Tennessee like a local

Explore Chattanooga, Tennessee like a local

Explore Chattanooga, Tennessee like a local

Hello there, River City of Chattown, I’ve been longing to visit you as your leaves begin turning colors and the wind sings its song about Autumn’s arrival through the mountainside. October is my favorite month for mountain travel because the foliage becomes various shades of red, yellow, orange, and plum. Chattanooga, TN is a magical city with wonderful hikes just outside the concrete and cobblestone of downtown.

“Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry and narrow-mindedness and many of our people need it sorely on those accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one’s lifetime.” – Mark Twain, Innocents Abroad (1869)

Michael and I brought the dogs, Maui and Dexter, with us on our first time visit to Chattanooga, TN. Our first family getaway since Dexter was brought home. Boy was this getaway needed! Between school, work, 2nd jobs, and housework, there is not much time to exist as a family carefree from responsibilities. I am a hard worker and so is Michael, but we are both learning the toll that work/life imbalance takes on you mentally, physically, and emotionally. Thankfully, the mountains called just in time and we answered. We found a great place to stay that also allowed pets.  I created a walking map to help you explore Downtown Chattanooga!

Community Pie: first time visit to Chattanooga, TN

  1. Community Pie- The drive up was uneventful and the boys eagerly watched the road in wondering where we were wandering to this time. We arrived late in the evening, about 7 pm, and decided to try out the Community Pie restaurant. This place has everything: gelato, pizza (New York style and Italian style), full bar with local beers on tap, and a coffee bar that serves a grab-and-go breakfast. Although the wait is long, it’s obvious this is a local favorite hot spot.

We ordered a Pizza Margherita with Italian sausage. The dough, cheese, and tomatoes are imported from Naples, Italy and pie is cooked in a brick oven. I did not expect Tennessee to take me back to Bella Italia, but it surely did! For dessert, we delighted in a gelato trio: milk & honey, chocolate, and dulce de leche.

Breweries of Chattanooga, TN

2. Chattanooga Brewing Company-There are several breweries in Chatt town, so we started our beer tasting at the namesake, Chattanooga Brewing Company (CBC). There were no porters or stouts on tap but we tried a black IPA and a chestnut brown ale. There were also tons of games from our childhood such as: Life, Checkers, and Trouble, we enjoyed our night!

3. 1885 Grill-A shared, 1885 Grill, burger and two long naps later, we freshened up and headed to our second brewery of the trip.

4. Terminal Brewhouse-The Terminal Brewhouse. I had my favorite beer, the oatmeal stout, and my husband followed suit because he is smart! While wandering the streets of Downtown, we found great artwork and funky doors-my favorite things to photograph!

5. Big River Grille & Brewing-A beer and pasta dinner SCREAMED our names as hungrily scurried back to the Jeep from a day of hiking. Hiking wears you out! Iron Horse Stouts at the Big River Grille and Brewing was just what the foodie ordered. We had fast service-sometimes it pays to eat early. We settled in early because my freelance nutrition duties called and slept deep and heavy into dawn.

Warehouse Row

6. Tupelo Hony Cafe-The next morning we were determined to try a brunch spot recommended to us by our host. The line was to speak to the hostess was all the way to the bathrooms! We opted for the another option. We chose Tupelo Honey Cafe and were not disappointed. I still dream about there bacon and goat cheese grits! Michael had sweet potato pancakes with peach honey, pecans, fried chicken and bacon…Delicious! This cafe is located in the Warehouse Row, an edgy and artsy locale.

Hiking in Chattanooga, TN

After filling our bellies and sneaky people food to the pups, we headed to Lookout Mountain. Once arriving to the “attractions” of Lookout mountain and Rock City, we realized how touristy this area was and that EVERYTHING cost money. It’s a shame when you have to pay to enjoy nature. We re-routed and found a smaller place to hike for FREE.

(As a kid, I visited Rock city and Ruby Falls so this trip was about our first time visit to Chattanooga, TN ).

7. Signal Mountain-breathtaking views and FREE hikes. We grabbed the boys and headed onward to hike Edward Point. Breathtaking was right! Speechless I was, although hard to imagine, this 3.5 hours hike was WORTH IT ALL!

8. Cloudland Canyon-We drove to Cloudland Canyon state park to hike one last hour before the dreaded drive home. This hike was beautiful! There were two waterfalls which were sparse from the drought but the foliage was glamorous. What wasn’t glamorous, was the amount of grated stairs we had to climb. GRATED STAIRS! Our poor pups’ paws were sore afterwards. This was not an ingenious design. The boys cooled their feet, and entire bodies, in the creek bed before we hiked back. If you are looking for more hikes near the Midwest check out Zen Life and Travel.

Historic Chattanooga, TN

9. Rembrandt’s Coffee-On our mornings here, I was determined to capture photos of the city while I had daylight. We ate breakfast at Rembrandt’s Coffee House and began exploring the Bluff Arts District. We watched morning joggers bounce up and down on their strides across the Walnut Street pedestrian bridge. This is the longest pedestrian bridge in the USA.

10. The Passage-Being the minor history buffs we are, we ventured to the Passage, a monument honoring the fallen Cherokee and also marking the starting point for the Trail of Tears. I am Cherokee on many sides of my blood; this was a solemn moment for me as I could almost feel my ancestors there, aching for the lost. Chattanooga is founded in history and these books helped open my eyes to the traditions of this great city!

11. Choo Choo Hotel-We then ventured to the Choo Choo hotel. If this is your first time visit to Chattanooga, TN, you NEED to see this area! It’s an old train station converted into a hotel. The train carts are actually used as hotel rooms!


12. Maple Street Biscuit Company-On our last morning, Michael ran out to Maple Street Biscuit Company and brought home breakfast for us.

I packed and and reorganized our host’s apartment. Thankful for another great AIRBNB stay that allowed us to explore Chattanooga, Tennessee like a local!

Thank you, Community Pie and Tenley, for our gift card! We LOVED your setup and will be back once we are in Chatt Town again!

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Be well and Travel Often!


first time visit to Chattanooga, TN

Where are you traveling to next? ⇓  (How about a mountain trip?)

**This is a sponsored post, all opinions are my own**

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About Author

Maegan and Michael are Adventurous Southerners who share their world journey and approach to living the travel lifestyle. You can expect humor and lighthearted banter blended with REAL travel stories and tips. Maegan is a registered dietitian, while Michael has an excerise science background, but both are outdoor lovers, and revel in the beauty of cultures unlike their own. Now, Maegan and Michael are working towards expat life through remote work. Join the adventure. Do you love to travel? Does your full time job or career prevent you from living the life you dream of? This is the duo to follow. Feel free to contact us if you have questions.


  1. […] and also for mom and dad to check out the local breweries by nightfall. Our trips have taken us to Chattanooga and Asheville, most recently, and both cities being pleasantly dog friendly. During the past 2 out […]

  2. […] per serving, making it the perfect grab-and-go snack. These bars accompanied us during our hikes in Chattanooga and provided nourishment to Michael on long school […]

  3. Eniko says:

    Hmm Chatt Town looks like my kinda place. Great food, lovely hikes. I have a thing for waterfalls and creeks, so will put it on my long list of places to visit.

    1. maegan89 says:

      thank you! we were pleasantly surprised!

  4. Haley says:

    loved the detail in your post. seems like a lot to do in the area !

    1. maegan89 says:

      so much to take in! I try to highlight what we loved most though!

  5. Lyssie says:

    What a beautiful city! Love the fall colors. The brewery sounds fabulous! I’m always looking for good local food and drinks. Also, love the idea of the Choo Choo Hotel. I’ve seen one a few hours from me and always wanted to check it out. Sounds so cool!

    1. maegan89 says:

      there were so many breweries there! The hotel was a novel idea for sure!

  6. Cali says:

    I love this! I had only visited Nashville in Tennessee (which I am obsessed with), but everything you wrote about Chattanooga tugs at my heart strings. Pizza, breweries, brunch, mountains! I wouldn’t need anything else!
    Cali recently posted…What Happens at the Holi Festival in India?My Profile

    1. maegan89 says:

      I love Nashville too but chattanooga really felt like home

  7. Emily says:

    I feel the same as you.. I HATE paying to see nature! It just seems like you are being conned out of your money! But in saying that, everywhere you visited looked absolutely stunning!

    1. maegan89 says:

      Thank you! It was frustrating trying to find trail heads as they weren’t clearly marked. Once we did it was amazing!

  8. Sounds like a great place to visit. That view from the rock is beautiful!

    1. maegan89 says:

      Thank you! It was quite a hike but so worth it!

  9. Allison says:

    I love a bit of quirky and the Choo Choo hotel sounds right up my alley. You had some amazing good alright! I’ve never had grits but am willing to give them a go!

    1. maegan89 says:

      I am a southern gal so grits are my jam! I recommend trying them first with butter and salt. Then add gouda cheese for some fancy action!

  10. Leslie says:

    I love anywhere I can take my fur baby. Glad both of yours did good. I’ve never been but the foodie in me says that I should..

    1. maegan89 says:

      The boys LOVED every moment! I loved seeing them so happy on the trails. Yes, the food was phenomenal!

  11. I would love to visit Tennessee, the charm just jumps out right from your photos! Sounds like the perfect road trip destination 🙂
    Find Your World Girl recently posted…I Wasn’t Prepared for Cuba, But You Should BeMy Profile

    1. maegan89 says:

      Thank you! This was such a charming town!

  12. Fall if it is not too cold is also my favorite time to hike. Summertime might be too hot and you don’t get as much accomplished if you are fighting the heat.

    1. maegan89 says:

      Absolutely! I love a brisk chill in he air when I hike!

  13. […] Explore Chattanooga, Tennessee like a local […]

  14. […] per serving, making it the perfect grab-and-go snack. These bars accompanied us during our hikes in Chattanooga and provided nourishment to Michael on long school […]

  15. […] and also for mom and dad to check out the local breweries by nightfall. Our trips have taken us to Chattanooga and Asheville, most recently, and both cities were pleasantly dog friendly. During the past 2 out […]

  16. […] was taken after a 2.5 hour hike up Signal Mountain in Chattanooga, Tennessee. Read more about Chattanooga on her […]

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