Cooking Up the Perfect Mancation

The recipe for the perfect mancation is a simple concoction of live music, outdoor activity and beer. Wait…make that lots of beer. Fortunately, Chattanooga has all of these ingredients and more. Here’s what you need to whip up a great guys-only getaway.

2-3 nights accommodations
1 day of outdoor adventure
1 day of beer-swilling fun
1 night of live music


First, you’ll need a place to stay.

The Crash Pad is a perfect blend between couch surfing at your buddy’s apartment and splurging on a boutique hotel. You can either spring for a private room at this “uncommon hostel” for $70 per night, or opt for one of their “super bunks,” which will only cost you 27 big ones. Custom-built wraparound wooden enclosures and velvet privacy curtains ensure you can get some z’s, while each bunk boasts outlets, reading lights, free WiFi and ample locked storage underneath. As if that wasn’t enough, The Crash Pad offers free breakfast and coffee, complimentary parking and a central location that’s walking distance to food and nightlife.

Then you’ll want to stir in a day of brewpub tours.

Thanks to a vibrant local beer culture, several have sprung up around town including Terminal Brewhouse and Big River Grille. (See link for a brief rundown of each.) Should you plan a late summer trip, the Southern Brewer’s Festival is an annual event that attracts 30 microbreweries from across the Southeast and over 10,000 beer enthusiasts.

To access this revelry you can either walk, cab it or bike it using Chattanooga’s newest bicycle transit system. Rent the bikes for $6 per day at any kiosk then return them to any Bike Chattanooga station around town.

Next, add in an adventure in the great outdoors.

Options abound including hiking Cloudland Canyon State Park, riding the Signal Mountain-Suck Creek loop, rafting the Ocoee or leaping off Lookout Mountain with America’s no. 1 hang gliding schoolOutdoor Chattanooga offers a thorough rundown of everything the area has to offer, plus Crash Pad owners have their own opinions on the best escapes.

Finally, season your trip with live music to taste. Options range from the local music scene at bars like The Honest Pint (every other Wednesday) to all-out festivals such as Riverbend – Chattanooga’s music Mecca. A nine-day music festival, Riverbend takes place on…wait for it…Chattanooga’s riverfront.

Drawing roughly 650,000 people every year, the festival offers more than 100 bands on six stages, with everything from jam bands to urban to bluegrass. Other free music festivals (yes, free!) include Nightfall and Riverfront Nights. Nightfall takes place every Friday from May to September at Miller Plaza. Usually attracting a couple thousand spectators, the 24-year tradition attracts everyone from the downtown professional to the Harley enthusiast, and offers bands spanning from funk to rock to country. Riverfront Nights is a late summer concert series, offering free music on Saturday nights. Billed as “edu-tainment,” it also highlights local vendors who practice sustainable development and promote healthy lifestyles. Finally, there’s Track 29 – Chattanooga’s newest concert venue – which attracts such A-list acts as The Avett Brothers and Jack White.

Once you’ve assembled, gobble it up with reckless abandon. Because life’s too short for low calorie vacations.

Big River Grille and Brewing Works
222 Broad Street, 423-267-2739

It all started here folks. While Big River Grille is now all grown up and part of a national restaurant chain 200 locations strong, it began as Chattanooga’s first brewpub in the early ‘90s. Today tourists and locals alike pay homage to its legacy by sampling some of their award-winning beers, which have earned a combined 23 medals from the Great American Beer Festival and the World Beer Cup. 

Terminal Brewhouse
6 East 14th Street, 423-752-8090

Housed in the historic Stong Building, Terminal Brewhouse is a multi-leveled restaurant that’s helped take local beer to new heights. All of their signature brews, including Magnum P.A., Terminally Ale and Southsidenstein Stout, are made in basement level tanks which are visible from the railings of each story. Their outdoor green roof, which features real grass and picnic tables, lends a bier garten flair.