If you’re looking for a break from reality, stress from work, unlimited Zoom calls, and watching practically every show or movie on Netflix - Chattanooga, TN is a perfect escape that is easily quarantine friendly. Chattanooga, is tucked into the Appalachian Mountains and located in southeastern Tennessee setting foot at the border of Tennessee and Georgia. It’s filled with history sites and museums marking Civil War battles, Lookout Mountain, Ruby Falls, rock formations/gardens, and bustling restaurants and bars.
For my 23rd birthday this year I would have been out of the country delving into a new culture, but Miss Rona messed that up completely. Instead, my dearest friends flew down to party with me and we absolutely loved it. The trip was a mixture of turn up, relaxation, a lot of hangovers, and delicious food.
Let’s delve into my fun birthday weekend with a 3-day travel guide to Chattanooga! Grab ideas from this travel guide if you’re interested in visiting this quaint outdoor friendly city. I mixed things to do, restaurants, and activities that could also be quarantine friendly or that complied with COVID-19 safety precautions.
- For all my lovely Memphis readers - Chattanooga is only 5 hours away. Visit the Tennessee Safari Park on the drive to Chattanooga for an extra quarantine friendly activity. Feed zebras, ostriches, and giraffes and have the chance to visit their walk-through zoo all or $16 ea. cash only - feed for the animals is 4 buckets for $10. Otherwise the Chattanooga airport is small and barely anyone is there to risk the spread of the virus.
- Yay you’ve arrived! Along your drive you would have seen gorgeous scenery including Lookout/Signal mountain, possible sun sets, and windy roads leading to the city. Wind down and unpack at your hotel or Airbnb.
- If you’re looking to start the fun early - play card or phone games, or Minute 2 Win it! My personal favorites are Uno, Dos, Drink Roulette, and What Do You Meme.
- Brunch: Enjoy the outdoors with brunch on the patio at Stir. Normally they have an open unlimited brunch bar with small appetizers and desserts that you can snack on while waiting on your meal, but due to COVID, the servers bring out all food. They are known for their oysters, fancy artisanal ice and having the biggest bar with over 370 selections to choose from!
- Ruby Falls: Descend 260 feet and walk one mile through live rock formations to see the 145 foot cascading waterfalls in Lookout Mountain! Explore the underground cavern with light shows, lantern tours, zip lining, and see why it’s been a must see attraction in Tennessee. Ruby Falls requires reservation slots for $25 ea. and face masks.
- Rock City: the 100 foot waterfall will certainly amaze you with a bird’s eye view of Lookout Mountain and other attractions including the opportunity to see seven states.
- Hiking: Chattanooga is filled with hiking gems - I mean it’s smack center of the Appalachian mountains right? Our server at Stir happened to have completed hiking school (like who has heard of that?!) and suggested some of the best hiking locations: Suck Creek Trail, Signal Mountain, Signal Point, and Falling water trail. The falling water trail is an easy 10 minute hike to this gorgeous open view of the mountain! There are only 3-4 parking spots so get there early, or wait until someone returns so you potentially don’t get towed or block someone else’s car in.
- Don’t forget nap time! The Tennessee heat and humidity can be brutal, so don’t forget to rest up after a full day of outdoor hiking, swimming, and exploration.
- Chattanooga Cigar Lounge: A Black Owned premier cigar lounge that features hand-rolled cigars, cocktails, and R&B music. Reserve a booth starting at $75, smoke hookah for $25, or choose from their world selection of cigars starting at $10 each. Oh, and order their smoked wings that fall off the bone!
- Brunch and Paint: If you’re lucky enough to snag an Airbnb or Hotel near the mountains you have a beautiful and relaxing view for painting. Grab your favorite wine or mimosa and paint away on a sunny Sunday afternoon!
- Dinner: Have dinner at the 1885 Grill, a restaurant featuring casual southern coastal cuisine, great customer service, and a lovely outdoor eating space. The smoked salmon was to die for with a side of greens and cornbread.
- Dessert: Clumpie’s Ice Cream Co has 3 different locations with handcrafted ice cream. Some of their summer flavors for 2020 are honeycomb, strawberry cobbler, cherry lime sorbet, coffee cake, and lemon ricotta cheesecake! Is your mouth watering yet?
- Pints and Pedals: It’s Chattanooga’s party on wheels! For $30, you can bump your own music, drink, and stop at various bars all on a big party bike. It’s super unique with sassy and funny tour guides (don’t forget to tip them!). Drink your way through downtown, scream, sing, and dance while making memories with friends and even strangers.
- To extend the weekend continue exploring Chattanooga’s North and South side. Both areas are filled with delicious restaurants, and walks along the river.
SOUTHSIDE: A bustling bar and food scene where you will have a fun filled time.
NORTHSHORE: Located North of downtown Chattanooga, it has several restaurants, and shopping areas with a variety of unique boutiques. Walk along the bridge from Coolidge Park to explore!
- Looking for a daring adventure? Hang glide for $150/hr over Lookout Mountain
- Support a Black Owned Business by doing a segway tour of downtown for $60/hr
- Public House
- Urban Stack
- Main Street Meats
- Champy’s Famous Fried Chicken
- Taco Mamacita
- Mean Mug
- Southside Pizza
I'd definitely recommend Tennessee on your hot list for 2020. You're the only ten I see...so I hope you visit Chattanooga, because you'll have a great time eating good food, enjoying great weather and mountainous scenery, and fun activities.