Roadtrip: Chattanooga

Our travel destination on our trip was Chattanooga Tennessee. We were staying in the downtown area, which we found very walkable. It was a bit unusual, though – the downtown area was pretty much hotels, restaurants, government buildings, art galleries, and tourist attractions like the Tennessee Aquarium and the Hunter Museum of American Art. There was no real shopping area unless you went across the river to North Chattanooga, and it’s a pretty small shopping district.

A free electric streetcar runs through the main part of the city and across the bridge to the shopping area, and we made use of that several times. All of the food we had in the city was outstanding. The restaurants make good use of fresh local food, emphasizing farm-to-table as much as possible.

I could have spent all my time eating the fantastic food, but there were many other things to do. Like visit the Chattanooga Choo-Choo:

Chattanooga ChooChoo

We walked over the Walnut Street Pedestrian Bridge, one of the world’s longest pedestrian bridges:

Walnut Street Bridge

And giggled at one of the donation plaques on the bridge:

Ned Ryerson plaque on Walnut Street Bridge

“Ned? Ned Ryerson?

We took the Incline Railway (one of the world’s steepest passenger railways) to the top of Lookout Mountain:

Incline Railway, Lookout Mountain

From Point Park at the top of Lookout Mountain, you can see Chattanooga and imagine what it was like during the Civil War battles.

Point Park, Lookout Mountain

Or you can visit Rock City, and see incredible vistas. (For an idea of scale, those are approximately waist-high railings at the top of that rock cliff.)

Lover's Leap, Rock City

Rock City was beautiful, but also weird and kitschy. At the end of the self-guided trail system is a man-made cave system called the Fairy Caverns, filled with gnomes and fairytale scenes, all lit up with black light. It’s truly bizarre. The entrance to the cavern is lined with coral (because, of course, coral grows in caves), with little scenes of gnomes here and there.

Fairy Cave at Rock City
One of them nearly gave me a heart attack. I noticed something moving in it out of the corner of my eye. That little bird on the gnome’s hand? It was real, and was hopping around. It flew off just after I took the photo.

Fairy Cave at Rock City

All in all, Chattanooga was a wonderful place to visit, and I wouldn’t hesitate to go back again some day.

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6 Responses to Roadtrip: Chattanooga

  1. Bonny says:

    Your destinations include several places I’ve never visited, so I’ve been enjoying your travelogues. All of those sights look pretty spectacular, but I might skip the gnomes. It does look like someone spent quite a bit of time inserting coral into that cave; I wonder why?!

  2. Stacey says:

    Thanks for sharing all of the cool places. The Mini Cooper people did the dragon a few years ago and I was invited to go with a friend. I wish I would have gone.

  3. zeneedle says:

    The gnome caves would be strange and over the top kitsch. I’m envious of all the delicious food you had while in Chattanooga. You saw a lot of history on this trip, too. Car travel offers much opportunity to see the beautiful and the bazaar.

  4. Kym says:

    I’ve driven THROUGH Chattanooga, but never done anything (or even eaten anything!) there. It’s a beautiful area! (That incline railway would really freak me out!!!!!!)

  5. Anonymous says:

    I don’t do well with heights so I know I would have had a problem with the incline railway!
    Looks like an interesting place…except for the manmade cave with the gnomes…that’s a little weird. o.0

  6. Marilyn says:

    The anonymous comment was me…hit post without checking things out I guess!

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