The South now offers far more than charm. These revitalized locales are ready to show off their new twists on Southern hospitality.

CHATTANOOGA, TENNESSEE

Hop a nonstop flight from LaGuardia Airport to discover a Civil War town now offering action for every taste. Hang glide and hike at Lookout Mountain, where an underground waterfall called Ruby Falls plunges 145 feet. Paddle the Tennessee River. Climb mountains — or a new Spider-Man -ready wall downtown.

A new $20 million upgrade has turned the Chattanooga Choo Choo, a hotel that began as a train station in 1909, into an entertainment hub anchored by Songbirds, the new guitar museum. New music venues include Songbirds South Stage and The Signal.

On the riverfront, visit ocean and river animals from around the globe at the stunning Tennessee Aquarium. After strolling the half-mile Walnut Street Bridge pedestrian bridge to the cozy-quirky NorthShore community and back, tour Bluff View Art District’s sculpture garden, the fabulous Houston Museum of Decorative Arts and the Hunter Museum of American Art, a modernist wing hitched to an Edwardian-style mansion.

Local-seasonal culinary best bets include Easy Bistro and Old Gilman Grill. For fresh sips, hit starlit cocktail haven in The Dwell Hotel, the urban lounge at OddStory Brewing Co., or Flying Squirrel Bar's gastropub built from 115-year-old barn scrap. Among new lodgings, The Westin Chattanooga’s gleaming tower boasts mountain views, a chic pool deck and rooftop bar, while The Edwin Hotel rises by the river.

FIVE REVITALIZED LOCALES:

  • Richmond, Virginia
  • Greenville, South Carolina
  • Chattanooga, Tennessee
  • Adairsville, Georgia
  • Hot Springs, Arkansas

 

Published online on October 8, 2018: Written by Robin Soslow