Weekend Plan: Chattanooga

Two days in the city should be enough to convince you to make the move

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River- and mountain-loving Chattanooga, Tennessee, took home the top prize—again—in our annual contest. Here's how to what it's all about in one jam-packed weekend. 

Day One 

7:30 a.m. Start with a Nightrider Nitro (nitrogenated cold brew) at Velo, a coffee roaster with vintage bikes on the wall. 

9 a.m. Raccoon Mountain is the crown jewel of the local trail system, with 30 miles of singletrack just eight miles from downtown. Be sure to hit High Voltage, a 3.5-mile cliffside enduro course with crazy-tight switchbacks. 

12:30 p.m. Head to Taqueria Jalisco, a brick-and-mortar restaurant built around a food truck. Show up early for the mole: it’s made fresh on Saturdays and gone before the lunch rush ends. 

2 p.m. Paddleboarding the Tennessee River is a citywide obsession. Rent a SUP at L2 and launch in the heart of downtown to spend a couple of hours exploring the sandstone bluffs beneath the super-mod Hunter Museum

Skewers at Two Ten Jack.
Skewers at Two Ten Jack. (Courtesy of Two Ten Jack)

7 p.m. Two Ten Jack is an upscale ramen joint in the basement of renovated Warehouse Row. Get the house cold sake and ramen with chicken, greens, and soft-boiled egg. 

9 p.m. Finish the night at the Flying Squirrel, a climber-owned bar next door to your digs for the night—the Crash Pad, a boutique hostel that caters to adventure travelers. (It actually rents bouldering crash pads.) Snag a private room and finish the night with a slackline session in the backyard (from $79).

(Crash Pad Chattanooga)

Day Two 

8 a.m. Fuel up with eggs scrambled with home fries and bacon at the down-home Bluegrass Grill

10 a.m. Knock out a three-mile run on Bluff Trail, hugging the edge of Lookout Mountain. You’ll need to watch your footing on the rocky singletrack, but don’t forget to look up occasionally to take in the views of the valley 1,000 feet below. 

12 p.m. Lunch is at the Farmer’s Daughter, a spot in a renovated gas station across the river on the north side of town that’s healthy without the preachy asceticism. Get the Power Salad—a big bowl of quinoa, lentils, roasted veggies, cranberries, sunflower seeds, and Parmesan. 

Tennessee River Gorge.
Tennessee River Gorge. (Wikimedia Commons)

3 p.m. Spend the afternoon working your way up the cracks of Tennessee Wall, a storied crag that defines the rim of the Tennessee River Gorge 20 minutes from downtown. The cooler months are prime time here, but with several hundred routes to choose from, you’ll always find some real estate to call your own. 

8:30 p.m. The Urban Stack has the best burger in town. You’re in the South, so you’re obligated to add a fried green tomato. And Benton’s bacon. Pair with glasses of Cumberland Cask whiskey until another slackline session sounds like a good idea.