There is a lot to love about Chattanooga’s Southside, named a “Neighborhood to Watch” by Forbes magazine in early 2021. The area is teeming with small businesses, parks, art galleries, and some of the city’s favorite culinary establishments, and on any given weekend, you can find a concert, market, popup, or special event drawing crowds. Want to explore the neighborhood for yourself? Here, we’re sharing our perfect 24 hours in Southside Chattanooga.
Welcome to the Southside! Your first stop is mom-and-pop darling Bluegrass Grill. This homey restaurant dishes out made-from-scratch breakfast five days a week. The vegan-friendly menu features everything from omelets, hashes, and eggs benedict to pancakes and French toast – whatever you do, don’t skip the homemade biscuits! Hot tip: Go early to avoid a line, especially on Saturdays.
A few blocks away sits Warehouse Row, a former Civil War site turned destination shopping center. Housing high-end retailers, including both local and national brands, this is the perfect place to spend a few hours. Browse for apparel, cosmetics, home furnishings, eyewear, and more while enjoying the building’s lush aesthetic permeated with history.
Worked up an appetite yet? In the heart of the Southside neighborhood, you’ll find the historic Chattanooga Choo Choo, a one-stop shop for dining, entertainment, and retail. For lunch, look no further than STIR – located right inside the Choo Choo complex. With a diverse selection of apps, salads, sandwiches, and bowl meals, there’s sure to be something to please everyone in your party.
Next, spend some time exploring the Choo Choo itself. Designed in the Beaux-Arts style, Terminal Station (now called the Chattanooga Choo Choo) was built in 1909 and added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1974. Its central dome and former passenger lobby have been beautifully preserved, while outdoor highlights include the Glenn Miller Gardens, trains on display, and a lighted Chattanooga sign that makes for a fun photo op.
Touring the Songbirds Guitar & Pop Culture Museum will take up the rest of your afternoon. Just steps away from the Choo Choo, this educational museum has it all: celebrity guitar exhibits, cultural exhibits, hands-on activities, a Chattanooga music history zone, and a custom-built stage for hosting concerts and events. Learn the science behind the guitar, and explore the musical career of The Impressions, who originally called the Scenic City home. This museum is one of the city’s hidden gems and should not be missed!
For some unconventional dinner plans, make your way to Chestnut Street’s Southside Social. This family-friendly boutique bowling alley not only offers a good time, but good food to go along with it. In addition to 10 state-of-the-art bowling lanes, Southside Social is home to a plethora of games ranging from cornhole and giant Jenga to billiards and foosball. In between rounds, munch on apps, tacos, sandwiches, pizza, chicken tenders, and more – and be sure to check online for weekly drink specials!
If you have a chocoholic in your party, you’ll want to grab dessert at The Hot Chocolatier before calling it a night. Known for delicious hot chocolate, the shop also serves up handmade artisan chocolate – think truffles, bon bons, and other delightful confections. It’s the sweet bookend your fun-filled day deserves.