All too often, travelers overlook nearby cities in favor of faraway destinations for summer vacationing. Living in Atlanta, it was time to change that attitude. Luckily, the bustling city of Chattanooga was calling my name. Less than two hours from Atlanta, Chattanooga offers the big city vibe intertwined with the humbling feels of natural wonders. Loaded with a rich cultural history, Chattanooga has become a magnet for creatives and foodies alike. Garnering attention from musicians and Eco-tourists, there seems to be no stopping Chattanooga in taking the lead for one of the most dope places to visit this year. Check in at the Chattanooga Choo Choo Hotel for a unique stay in one of their retrofitted sleeper train cars, and then catch a locally-sourced meal at STIR right next door.

Into jazz music? Then check out the Big nine Walking Tour presented by Jazzanooga, where you’ll learn about the MLK neighborhood and its influence on the prominent music scene. How about a trip to the Tennessee Aquarium nestled on the banks of the Tennessee River? They boast a stunning array of plant and animal life on display year-round for its patrons. Side note, you must visit the Butterfly Exhibit, it’s totally dope. We here at stupidDOPE really dig a neat whiskey, and it was crispy cool to learn that adjacent from the Choo Choo is the city’s first legal whiskey distillery in over 100 years. So get your tasting glass ready, and head on over to the Tennessee Stillhouse to enjoy a tour of how they make their boss booze from “grain to glass”.

Still thirsty? Grab your buds and hop on a 15-person bike-pedal bar crawl tour presented by Chattanooga Pints and Pedals, where you will visit the vibrant nightlife spots that stay forever busy.

Perhaps you’re way into the outdoor lifestyle? Chattanooga just won’t quit astonishing it’s visitors. Take on some of the most thrilling Class III & IV whitewater rafting in the states as you float down the intensely cool rapids of the Ocoee River. Or get lifted over the mountains and valleys surrounding the Chattanooga area with the largest hang gliding school in America. The folks at Lookout Mountain Flight Park will get your adrenaline coursing when you strap into a hang glider with a seasoned professional to zip along air currents high in the sky. They will even teach you to fly when you have reached 2000 feet!

After that, it’s imperative that you check out the amazing Rock City Gardens, one of the South’s most picturesque natural attractions. Known worldwide for its astounding geological and botanical features, you can bring your friends and family to behold truly eye-opening massive ancient rock formations and a panoramic view of 7 states. Catch some grub there while listening to Matt Downer at the Summer Music Weekends to cap off a great tour of Rock City.

All in all, Chattanooga is the perfect spot to rediscover your love for the arts, food and natural wonders. So after you check our most dope day visiting the city, book your trip! You won’t regret it.

Much love to the local musicians, Rock FloydKinder and Swayyvo Morton for their supremely dope track.

Written by: Richard Williams
Published on: July 14, 2016

Read online & watch the Chattanooga video here or view as PDF.