When thinking of the U.S. South, what comes to mind? Tech startups, micro-breweries, or rock climbing perhaps? Doubtful, but there’s one Southern town that’s full of those adventures and experiences… and more.

Chattanooga, Tennessee, is the most recent winner of Outside Magazine’s “Best Place to Live” Award.

Why? Because it’s not only an incredible place to live, but a compelling and rewarding destination to visit:

It All Started with the “Gig”
According to locals, Chattanooga really began its journey from an average city, to an extraordinary city, in 2010 when it got the Gig. The Gig is a one-gigabit-per-second fiber-optic Internet service that’s owned by the taxpayers and available to everyone, and every business, for an affordable price. We’re talking 50 times quicker than most. The Gig meant that Chattanooga was ready to take business development to a new level, and over the past five years, millions have been pumped into new businesses. It’s a start-up city alright. What does this mean for you? Plenty to do, enjoy, savor, and see, plus super-fast Wi-Fi everywhere you go.

Hang GlidingExcellent City to Outdoor Ratio
If necessary, Chattanooga could give lessons to other cities on the importance of city – nature balance. Seriously though, a trip to Chattanooga means you can explore, shop, and dine your way around town, and then later that day go hiking, biking, or rafting. Or, you can start your day strong with a mountain bike trail, merely miles outside of the downtown, and then wind down at your chic hotel, at a local bar, or at an evening show. There’s no limit to the amount of nature and city life you can combine on a daily basis!

Adventures Are Limitless
Chattanooga is literally an outdoor adventure paradise. Some of the typical activities locals and visitors alike experience and enjoy are:

  • Hang gliding
  • Mountain Biking
  • Hiking
  • Rock Climbing
  • River Rafting
  • Kayaking
  • Stand Up Paddling
  • Trail Running
  • Swimming
  • Bouldering

Seriously what’s not on that list? Sure, many of those activities can be done elsewhere in the country and/or world, but guess what? Chattanooga is dubbed The Scenic City, because it’s so awe-inspiringly gorgeous.

Mountain BikingWhat we mean is, you can have an outdoor adventure in one of the most beautiful places in the country, alongside locals and visitors who flock to this area specifically for the adventure. The rapids range between I-V, which means easy to super difficult but fun, and Lookout Mountain Hang Gliding trains the most hang gliders in the country.

There’s World Class Aquarium
As if Chattanooga couldn’t get any cooler, it also boasts a world-class aquarium. By world-class we mean, the Tennessee Aquarium is the 4th best in the country and the 8th best in the world, according to these guys.

The aquarium features penguins. Enough said.

Beer, Coffee, and More Beer
The immense quantity, paired with the quality, of the outdoor adventuring isn’t new – people have been climbing, trekking, rafting and more for decades. What’s exciting is that the city itself is finally catching up with the outdoors.

Now after days spent on the rocks, rivers, and trails, there are plenty of coffeehouses, restaurants, and breweries offering libations of refuel and refresh.

Ever tasted nitrogenated coffee? Well now you can at Velo, a coffee roaster featuring vintage bikes on the wall. Chattanooga Brewing Company, Moccasin Bend Brewing Company, and Terminal Brewhouse are a few local favorites to get your hop fix.

RiverboatThis mid-sized American city is the full-package – it has something for absolutely everyone.

“We like to call it a hidden-gem, not because the city is at all hidden, but because unless folks already know about it, no one really expects a southern city to be this progressive and adventurous,” explains Richard Pauley, Director of Sales & Marketing at the Chattanoogan Hotel. “It’s the actual city that’s been really growing lately, making Chattanooga even more accessible and well-rounded. Each year brings more visitors that the last, and each year brings an increasing amount of return visitors. As our guests leave, they frequently remark on how excited they are for the next trip.”

Whether you’re planning a Spring escape, Summer vacation, or a just-because adventure, check out all that Chattanooga has to offer. There’s a strong chance you won’t continue looking elsewhere. For the most luxurious and centrally located accommodations, you’ll enjoy everything the Chattanoogan Hotel has to offer. In between adventure jaunts, you’ll be relieved to relax within the comforting walls of The Chattanoogan, and don’t hesitate to ask the team there what their favorite activities are! Time to discover why Chattanooga won the Best Place award first-hand!

Written on: March 8, 2016

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