Spend a Day in Chattanooga
It is impossible to explore a whole city in one day, it is barely possible to do so in a lifetime. But sometimes it is hard to find more time to travel so you just make do with what time you have. I traveled down to Chattanooga a few weeks ago, and have only now had a chance to write about my experience. Much like when I visited Saint Louis HERE, I realized that we did so much, I had to make it two posts. So be sure to check out my visit to Rock City HERE for more fun things to check out in Chattanooga. This is a city filled with art and culture, so I decided to go to the center of it all, The Bluff Arts District. Here we enjoyed the galleries, sculpture garden, and incredible food. Then we made our way over the pedestrian bridge and down to the Northshore to check out some shops.
Both a coffee shop and bakery, it was obvious that we would need to stop in. Following the rest of the neighborhood, Rembrandt’s has a classic European flair to accompany their tasty treats. Trust their espresso because Rembrandt’s knows coffee. As you walk in there is a station where you can buy a pound of coffee beans. Before you buy, you can smell them to better gauge the flavors. My personal favorite was the sweet coconut blend.
The shop is filled with wooden tables and wire heart chairs, inviting you to sit for a while and relax. But on warm days you can sit outside and enjoy the sunshine. As part of the arts district, they also feature art from local artists on the walls so you feel as if you are in a gallery. Of course, the best part of the shop is the food, but for once I can’t decide if the desserts were better or the meals. The fruit tart and chocolate boats were to die for, rich and creamy. But the sandwiches are divine thanks to the homemade bread. Normally I am not a fan of tomato soup, but their tomato artichoke soup blew my mind. After a spoonful of my friend’s, I had to go up to order myself a whole bowl. It is deliciously creamy and the vegetables are perfect to scoop out and scatter on your sandwich. Even if you’re not up for a whole meal, you must stop in when you visit Chattanooga.
Tony’s Pasta Shop & Trattoria:
After ten minutes walking around the Bluff View Arts District, you begin to crave Italian food. The whole area is filled with European inspired architecture and the small alleyways and gardens around each building make you feel like you’ve been transported. Tony’s is the perfect cure to the unreasonable desire to buy a plane ticket and plan a trip abroad (even if it only rids you of that desire for a few hours). They boast hand-cut pasta and original recipes from Sicily, passed down by the owner’s grandmother. As if that isn’t enough, the pasta is made using herbs and tomatoes grown in their own garden. When we were exploring, we found a small garden behind the building and although we never asked, I’m willing to guess that those budding plants will soon be harvested for their next batch. While the pasta was the star of the show, I’d nominate the bread for best-supporting actress. Maybe I was just hungry, but this was the best Italian food I’ve had since exploring Little Italy in NYC.
There is art all around this neighborhood. There is a large sculpture between Tony’s Pasta and the Sculpture Garden that we had to take some pictures of.
River Gallery Sculpture Garden:
The Sculpture Garden is just behind the Pasta Shop, so it was the perfect final stop for this part of town. Here you’ll find a two-acre space to walk and relax. The Garden has gotten media attention, being chosen for a listing in the International Sculpture Center’s Sculpture Parks and Gardens Directory and the Smithsonian Institution’s Archives of American Gardens. There are dozens of sculptures throughout the gardens, mixed in with the greenery. As if the garden weren’t beautiful enough on its own, it also overlooks the Tennessee River.
Across the street from the River Gallery Sculpture Garden were other gorgeous buildings.
Our next stop was the pedestrian bridge connecting Walnut Street to Frazier Ave. While we were exploring the area, there was a community concert at the park beneath the bridge. Although it ended just as we crossed the Tennessee River, we got to listen to the music as we walked across the bridge.
Northshore/ Frazier Ave:
Stopping on this side of town almost made me feel like I was still in Nashville. They have a NoBaked Cookie Dough, Milk & Honey, and Taco Mamacita. Since I have already explored all these shops in Nashville, I decided to skip them in favor of something new.
I love finding weird and wacky clothing. Every time I go to Goodwill it seems that I leave with the obscure item that everyone else makes fun of. My favorite find is a feminist chicken sweater that probably belonged to an old blind woman. If you are looking for a one-of-a-kind piece that is also stylish, Collective Clothing is your perfect shop. They spend over 60 hours each week traveling to find the best vintage clothing and accessories for the store so you don’t have to dig for a statement piece. I naively sauntered in the first time I went to Chattanooga over six months ago, unassuming and optimistic. I did not expect that I would continuously think about this store. One of my biggest regrets of 2018 was not spending more time in the shop while I had the chance. They have some of the coolest clothes and unlike other secondhand stores, it is reasonably priced, double win!
All Things Groovy:
Continuing my vintage trend, we decided to stop in All Things Groovy. Aptly named, the store evokes a 1960s-70s nostalgia. Filled with tie-dye, long dresses, psychedelic posters, and peace signs, it is hippie heaven. They have incense and crystals for holistic healing and dresses and vintage t-shirts for some style therapy.
Clumpies Ice Cream:
Our last stop on Frazier Avenue was for some highly-recommended sweets. In Nashville, you recommend Jeni’s to tourists looking for something tasty. In Chattanooga, you recommend Clumpies. We probably had five people tell us that it was a must-see and I completely understand why. They are on a mission to make the best ice cream possible by handcrafting every flavor in small batches. They offer no-frills treats like their sweet cream and chocolate, as well as more intense flavors like their firecracker and specials. The firecracker is insane, made with Tutti Frutti ice cream and pop rocks! Be sure to stop in next time you’re in the area.
I left with more things to do than I came with and I hope to visit again. Let me know if you have been to Chattanooga and what your favorite places to visit are HERE. FOR MORE TIPS AND PLACES TO VISIT, BE SURE TO FOLLOW ME ON ALL MY SOCIALS! I AM ON INSTAGRAM, FACEBOOK AND PINTEREST SO BE SURE TO CHECK THOSE OUT. ANOTHER GREAT WAY TO KEEP IN TOUCH IS BY SIGNING UP FOR MY MAILING LIST HERE TO HAVE MORE CONTENT LIKE THIS DELIVERED STRAIGHT TO YOU!