Plan a romantic weekend getaway to Chattanooga and explore the city’s diverse culinary scene. Chattanooga’s restaurants serve an array of cuisines from around the world, including Southern comfort food, American, French, Italian, Mediterranean, Thai and Greek cuisine. Whether you are in the mood for a succulent burger, an amazing pizza, tacos, seafood or sliders, the city has it all. Dine at an intimate eatery downtown or have lunch with a view of the water. Here are the best places to eat in Chattanooga.
1. Boathouse Rotisserie & Raw Bar
2. The Flying Squirrel Bar
3. Bridgeman’s Chophouse
4. Public House
5. Easy Bistro and Bar
6. Chattanooga Restaurants: Alleia
7. Lakeshore Grille
8. Acropolis Grill
9. Chattanooga Brewing Company
10. Chattanooga Restaurants: St. John's
11. Rain Thai Bistro
12. Urban Stack
13. J. Alexander's
14. Best Restaurants in Chattanooga: 1885 Grill
15. Tony’s Pasta Shop & Trattoria
16. Tremont Tavern
17. Whiskey Thief
18. Community Pie
19. City Cafe
What are the 20 Best Chattanooga Restaurants?
The 20 Best Chattanooga Restaurants according to local experts are:
- Boathouse Rotisserie & Raw Bar
- The Flying Squirrel Bar
- Bridgeman’s Chophouse
- Public House
- Easy Bistro and Bar
- Chattanooga Restaurants: Alleia
- Lakeshore Grille
- Acropolis Grill
- Chattanooga Brewing Company
- Chattanooga Restaurants: St. John's
- Rain Thai Bistro
- Urban Stack
- J. Alexander's
- Best Restaurants in Chattanooga: 1885 Grill
- Tony’s Pasta Shop & Trattoria
- Tremont Tavern
- Whiskey Thief
- Community Pie
- City Cafe
Attraction Spotlight: Hunter Museum of American Art
The Hunter Museum of American Art is located on the Tennessee River in Chattanooga, Tennessee on a bluff 80 feet over the water with panoramic views of the mountains and featuring high quality fine American art inside from the Colonial period to modern times.
The Hunter Museum of Art is comprised of three distinct buildings with 100 years of history—the mansion, the 1970’s building, and the 21st century waterfront. Each of these buildings on the Bluff displays some of the finest collections of art works in the history of America from Colonial times to present day.
The Mansion first belonged to the Ross Faxon family in 1904 who had the Edwardian style home designed for his single family to live in for nine years. The home passed through many different hands before being sold to Anne Taylor Thomas in 1920. A nephew, George Thomas Hunter would become one of the most respected philanthropists in Chattanooga and upon his death the mansion was donated to the Chattanooga Art Association in 1951 so that they could establish a proper art museum for their collection.
The Chattanooga Art Association named the home George Thomas Hunter Gallery of Art and opened it as Chattanooga’s first art museum on July 12th, 1952. A new building was added in 1975 by architects Derthick, Henley & Wilkerson made from concrete and a dramatic central atrium space. The mansion was renovated the same year and in 1975 the new building and mansion reopened in September under the name Hunter Museum of Art. The ceremony was marked with a gift of 40 American paintings from the Benwood Foundation worth over $1 million dollars.
The 21st Century Waterfront was established in 2002 as part of Chattanooga’s $120 million 21st Century Waterfront Plan. By 2005, The Hunter Museum completed a $22 million expansion and renovation including a waterfront building totally 28,000 feet of new exhibit space, and creation of the outdoor sculpture plaza. The Hunter Museum Gift Shop offers an assortment of gifts and memorabilia for kids and adults and the Hunter has also partnered with 1000 Museums to offer prints of some of the works in the collection.
The Collection at The Hunter Museum of American Art includes Paintings, Works on Paper, Photographs, Sculpture, Mixed Media, New Media, and Decorative Arts from hundreds of American artists from 1700 to present day. The permanent collection of the Hunter Museum holds over 2,000 works that are viewable online at the Hunter Museum website while only 250-300 works are typically on view at one time at the museum.
The Hunter Museum of American Art has special exhibitions that are on display for certain periods of time. Many exhibitions are partnerships with other renowned institutions and all showcase talented past or current American artists from the Colonial period to present day.
Details about current exhibitions is always available on the Hunter website including dates, admission information, and content. Past exhibitions have included Thrill After Thrill: Thirty Year of Wayne White, Animating the Still Life, Masters of The Golden Age: Harvey Dunn and His Students, Once & Again: Still Lifes By Beth Lipman, Monet and American Impressionism, Imagining American Girlhood, and many more.
There is nearly always something going on at The Hunter Museum. The gallery is a cultural hub for the city of Chattanooga and The Hunter Museum offers lectures, workshops, summer camps, yoga, and art classes throughout the month. Details and registration information can be found by visiting the website.
The Hunter Museum is also available to be rented for personal or professional private events. The venue can accommodate groups of nearly any size with several terrace options, the auditorium and the Grand Foyer Lobby or any of the galleries available.
Educators in the Chattanooga area are encouraged to use the Hunter Museum of American Art as an extension of their classroom for grades K-12 for a deeper understanding of American History and intercultural communications. The collection in the museum can link to many topics in English Language Arts, Social Studies, Mathematics, and Science. The staff at the Hunter Museum is happy to help educators with a curriculum to unite the classroom and the museum collection. The Hunter also has special gallery space for students who are inspired by a trip to The Hunter Museum to display their work.
The Hunter Museum also offers special educational nights for teens to connect to the arts in their communities and other teens. Teen Night, Creative Discovery Museum MAPS, TheaterQuest, and partnerships through STEM programs at the local Chattanooga school district make arts education possible through many avenues.
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10 Bluff View Chattanooga, Tennessee, 37403, Phone: 423-267-0968
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Attraction Spotlight: Moccasin Bend National Archeological District
Moccasin Bend National Archeological District is one the newest national park areas in the United States. The National Park Service is working with the Friends of Moccasin Bend to create exceptional visitor experiences at the park. The Friends of Moccasin Bend organization is committed to interpreting, protecting, and preserving the Moccasin Bend National Archeological District, which contains evidence of human history going back 12,000 years. In 2003, the National Park Service began to manage the area of Moccasin Bend. It then became a part of Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Park, and is not only the first, but is the only National Archeological District in the National Park System.
The Moccasin Bend area is a national park in progress. The Friends of Moccasin Bend has helped the National Park Service make a good start. There are currently two hiking trails within Moccasin Bend National Park, along with ranger-led programs throughout the year for children, families, outdoor enthusiasts, teachers and students, and history buffs. Among the plans for the national park are more hiking trails, outdoor amenities, and bike paths. There are also plans for an interpretive, interactive visitors center, a youth preservation training program, and a bicycle and pedestrian ferry that connects Moccasin Bend with downtown Chattanooga among many other plans.
Moccasin Bend is located within a meander in the Tennessee River, where the river meets the Cumberland Plateau. The Bend is named as it is for looking like a shoe when seen from Lookout Mountain. The American story is told by Moccasin Bend, much of which existed before history was written down. The Bend demonstrates 12,000 years of historical and archeological evidence of human community. There are layers of artifacts from prehistory, such as the Archaic, Paleo-Indian, Mississippian and Woodland Periods. Evidence also exists of European-American contact, American settlement, Civil War, Cherokee life and removal, and the growth of Chattanooga.
The Blue Blazes trail is a two-mile loop that features views of the Tennessee River and Lookout Mountain, which can be reached by turning left onto Moccasin Bend Road from Hamm Road. Turning right onto Moccasin Bend Road leads to the parking area for Brown's Ferry Federal Road. This road is 1.2 miles from the trailhead to the Brown's Ferry site on the Tennessee River and back. The Federal Road travels along the historic route of the Cherokee Forced Removal of 1838. It also follows the "Cracker Line" that sent lifesaving supplies in 1863 to Union soldiers under siege in Civil War Chattanooga. Signs are posted along the trail to help hikers understand both of these events.
The area of Moccasin Bend was established as a national park due to its national significance. It was concluded in a 1998 assessment that “the quality, diversity and broad accessibility of these resources cannot be matched in any other American metropolitan area." This conclusion was reached by a collaboration of several groups: culturally affiliated Native American tribes, the State of Tennessee, the National Park Service, and the Chattanooga-Hamilton County Regional Planning Agency.
10 Hamm Road, Chattanooga, Tennessee, Phone: 423-648-5623
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Attraction Spotlight: Chattanooga Zoo
The Chattanooga Zoo in Tennessee welcomes over 200,000 visitors annually with attendance growing yearly and new exhibits and expansions planned. The history of the Chattanooga Zoo date back to 1900 but a permanent facility was not established until 1937 when a cage was constructed in Warner Park for two Rhesus Monkeys to be displayed for the public.
By the next decade, the animal collection had increased to include lions, alligators and bobcats as well as a few other species making the zoo one of the most visited attractions in Chattanooga.
In the 1960’s plans were established to create “zooville”, a petting zoo that would offer goats, sheep and other farm animals that visitors could interact with; however, conditions at the zoo began to deteriorate and the country began to see zoos nationwide shift their habitats to a focus on natural environments and conservation efforts.
Public outrage at the conditions of the zoo in the 1980’s forced changes to be made and Friends of the Zoo was formed to help with improvements. Staff is added to the zoo and changes are made to work toward Association of Zoo and Aquariums accreditation. Renovations are initiated and educational programming is put in place. Throughout the 1990’s new animal exhibits are open and AZA accreditation is achieved in 1998. From 2000-2005 massive expansion takes the Chattanooga Zoo from 5 to 12 acres and a $1.9 million renovation and update plan is initiated adding the Gombe Forest, Himalayan Passage, Cougar Express and Warner Park Ranch. From 2006-2010 another expansion increased the zoo by 35% with growth continuing into 2015 when Chattanooga zoo celebrated a record attendance year with 200,352 visitors. This record number was surpassed in 2016 after another renovation and exhibit expansions with more expansions planned for 2017 and beyond.
Chattanooga Zoo is divided into 6 exhibits, Camel Encounters, and the Zoo Entrance.
· Corcovado Jungle- Jaguar, Coati, Capybara
· Gombe Forest- Chimpanzee, Tortoise
· Himalayan Passage- Langur, Red Panda, Snow Leopard
· Warner Park Ranch- Petting Zoo, Alpaca, Dromedary Camel
· Walkin’ The Tracks- White-tail Deer, Coyote, Prairie Dog, Cougar, Bobcat
· Desert and Forest- Reptiles, Aviary, Birthday Party Room
At the Zoo Entrance the Gift Shop, Train Station and Wild Burger restaurant are found.
Tours and Encounters
For an extra special experience at the zoo, visitors can upgrade their admission to include behind the scenes tours or animal encounters.
Tours- Tours are 30-minute guided experiences behind the scenes that include animal meet and greets. Reservations must be made in advance. Visitors can choose from Carnivore Felines, Reptiles, or Primates.
Encounters- An animal encounter is a 30-minute program with exotic animals that allows visitors to hand feed animals, go into their enclosures and get up close and personal with Red Pandas, Meerkats, Fennec Fox, Spider Monkeys, Sloths, Kinkajou, or baby animals.
There are daily scheduled activities that are always included for free with zoo admission and others that will be ticketed.
Animal Shows- Different animals are presented seasonally by keepers for a 30-minute educational show that allows visitors to get up close with animals. These shows are offered on Saturdays and Sundays in the Education Center free of charge.
Keeper Chats- Keepers are available at different animal exhibits throughout the zoo to answer questions and tell interesting facts about the animals at Chattanooga Zoo. Chats are scheduled with keepers available for 15 minutes.
Family Events- There are many different themed family events throughout the year with face painting, balloon artists, animal birthday parties, special animal shows, and many other treats for kids of all ages to enjoy. Details on specific events can be found on the zoo website. These events are free of charge.
Zoo Tales- this story time program is held every Tuesday morning and focuses on animal stories. Story time is followed up with an animal encounter or activity.
Camel Rides- Tickets for camel rides can be purchased at the zoo entrance and are dependent on camel health and weather conditions.
Carousel- The Carousel is a favorite for the young and old and features vintage horses and chariots.
Zoo Choo Train- Grab your tickets and see the zoo in a whole new way. This ride runs daily unless weather is severe.
The Chattanooga Zoo has several opportunities for children to have additional learning. For visitors that cannot come to the zoo, check out the website for details on outreach services to see how animals can be brought outside of the zoo to groups and schools.
Field Trips- There are self-guided and education programs available for field trips that are sampled by grade level. Animals encounter are available for school and homeschool groups as well.
Kits and Cubs- Chattanooga Zoo offers an early childhood program for ages 2-5. Specific dates and series are detailed online.
Camps- Day camps are offered during school breaks for grades k-6.
Zoo Club- An interactive club with monthly meetings for teenagers age 12-17. Scholarships are available.
301 North Holtzclaw Avenue, Chattanooga, Tennessee, 37404, Phone: 423-697-1322