Chattanooga things to do

This is not your usual tourist list of places to go in Chattanooga. These are my personal favorite places to go when I visit my hometown. If you like interesting places that are locally owned and full of interest, these are for you.

Hours are subject to change, and businesses may close. Call beforehand to be sure.

Bluff view arts district (This is downtown, near the river)
…has many fine places, but here are two I always check out.

Rembrandt’s coffee house
Cozy European café serving coffee drinks alongside fresh-baked breads, pastries and desserts. Outside and inside dining.
Address: 204 High St, Chattanooga, TN 37403
Phone:(423) 265-5033
Monday – Thurs 7am – 10pm, Friday 7am – 11:30pm, Sat. 8am-11:30pm, Sun 8am-10pm

Go to the left of it and see the little grotto with the water feature and steps.

The River Gallery
A great little art gallery that looks like a museum. Lots of beautiful things there. A little pricy for me, but I still like to look. Plus, unlike a museum, there is no admission fee.
400 E 2nd St, Chattanooga, TN 37403
(423) 265-5033
Monday through Saturday 10-5, Sunday 1-5

Not far from here is an outside sculpture garden and a glass bridge.

–Downtown Chattanooga–

The shuttle system
Downtown Chattanooga is easy to get around and pretty good at having available parking spaces, unlike many other large cities. But – why even deal with that when you can use the free shuttle system?
Shuttle buses run about every 5 minutes
Monday through Friday – 6:30 a.m. until 11:00 p.m.
Saturdays – 9:30 a.m. until 11:00 p.m.
Sundays – 9:30 a.m. until 8:30 p.m.
You can park and ride CARTA’s Free Electric Shuttles in parking garages on Frazier Avenue on the Northshore and at the Chattanooga Choo Choo on the Southside. Parking fees apply.

The Pickle Barrel
1012 Market St, Chattanooga, TN 37402
(423) 266-1103
Eclectic pub/restaurant with lots of character and charm. Has a deck seating area. “The Immigrant” sandwich is superb (Polish sausage on sourdough with sauerkraut), as well as the fried pickle spears.

Not far from here is Miller Plaza and park – a good place to wander around and splash in the artificial pond. (Or at least it was 20 years ago).

Lupi’s pizza pies
406 Broad St, Chattanooga, TN 37402
(423) 266-5874
Monday, closed. Tues – Thurs 11-11, Friday-Saturday 11-11, Sunday 11:30-9
Fabulous hand-made pizzas and calzones, with an amazing list of toppings. Great beer selection too.

All Books
Address: 410 Broad St, Chattanooga, TN 37402
Phone: (423) 266-0501
Call beforehand. She is open when she feels like it. Do not make eye contact until the very last minute. She will ask you if you are Christian and “Yes” is the only correct answer. Lie if necessary. Do not ask where books are – she won’t tell you, and might very well mock you for asking. The place is a rat’s nest. In spite of all of this, I still love going in here because of the amazing books I can find here.

The Walnut Street bridge
This bridge is open to pedestrians only. Great views of the river and the city. You can easily walk to the North Shore of Chattanooga, where there are a lot of great shops and restaurants.

–North Chattanooga–
Lots of independent shops and restaurants all located near each other, most near Frazier Avenue. There is a carousel and park as well.

–In Brainerd– (East of downtown, near Hamilton Place Mall)

Ankar’s hoagies
5966 Brainerd Rd, Chattanooga, TN 37421
(423) 899-3074
Mon – Thurs 10-9, Fri – Sat 10-10, Sunday 10-9

Best hoagies and onion rings in the world. Do not confuse this with a restaurant with a similar name that is downtown.

McKay used books

7734 Lee Hwy, Chattanooga, TN 37421
(423) 892-0067

Mon – Thurs 9-9, Friday – Sat 9-10, Sun 11-7 (hours increase in the summer)

Used books, DVDs, CDs, comic books and more. Warehouse sized. Plan on spending a lot of time here. There are locations in Nashville and Knoxville as well.


Rembrandt’s secret

This is my favorite place in the whole world. It is a little garden area behind Rembrandt’s coffee shop in Chattanooga, TN. It reminds me of pictures I’ve seen of Roman and Arabic gardens that are in the center of the house – open to the sky, and protected from view from outsiders. It is a little bit of nature that is cultivated and secret.

Let us enter.


Going down the narrow path.


We’ve entered, and here I’ve stepped to the far right to show you the fountain and the courtyard.

wide fountain

Stepping slightly to the left to take a picture of the tree for you.


Stepping slightly to the right and looking up to take a picture of the terrace that it attached to the art gallery (worth a trip inside, it is called the River Gallery)

left up

Looking to the left of where I’m standing, a small rock garden. Very nice in this wintertime.

rock garden

A closer view of the fountain.

The windchime alcove, going slightly left.

This is looking straight up behind where I’m standing.


Slightly to the left of that. The fountain is immediately on your left at this point.


Going further left, the stairs leading out. The fountain is in front of you here.


The fountain


The tilework on the fountain.

close fountain

The Frogs.

Chattanooga, February 2013

My husband and I went to Chattanooga (my hometown) to celebrate his birthday this year.

A view from the Art District, downtown Chattanooga.



A glorious sunset. Near the Hunter Art Gallery.




The glass bridge.

The horse made of driftwood.

Now on Missionary Ridge, crossing the South Crest bridge. This was part of my regular walking path when I lived here. chatt22

Seen on the way. They were digging up the sidewalk and putting in underground pipe.

A manhole on the way.


A survey marker.

The steps to a Civil War memorial park.

While there.

I’m a little freaked out by the apparent young age of the soldier.

A neat marker.

The neighbors of the park have a deck that is cantilevered.

And they have built a playhouse for their child. I’m a little envious of it.

A view from the park a little further on. There was a house here, and it started to slide down the side of the ridge. The city took down the house and put in a little park instead. It was my destination point, and a nice place to rest. I wanted to show it to my husband.

More moss!

Back at Bragg’s Reservation. I played here a lot as a child. I’m not happy about this new building.

There was a school here. It became a museum, and then it was abandoned. The building burned down one day. They removed all the debris over time. I played here – around and over all of this, in all the incarnations, for much of my life. This was essentially my back yard. I had heard that there was a clause in the deed to the land that said the land could only be used for educational purposes, so to see housing here is disturbing. At least the building is in keeping with the aesthetic of the place.

You really can’t ever go home again. It just isn’t the same.