Weekend Getaway in Chattanooga

rock city gardens in Chattanooga, tennessee

Planning Our Chattanooga Getaway

Last weekend we went to Chattanooga, Tennessee to get a glimpse of the fall foliage for a romantic weekend getaway and we had the best time! Chattanooga is perfect for a fall getaway- it’s less than two hours from Atlanta and small enough that you can see most of the city’s highlights in a weekend. And of course, the mountains are beautiful in the fall and there are a lot of hikes in the area.

romantic fall weekend getaway Chattanooga, tennessee

We were originally supposed to be in Maryland this weekend with family, but due to covid our trip was canceled. I was devastated when I found out I wasn’t going to get to see my family, and Ryan thoughtfully took advantage of us both taking time off work and planned the whole weekend. He did a lot of research on Chattanooga and picked everything- from the hotel to every restaurant and bar we visited! I included a few spots in this post that we stumbled upon serendipitously, but he deserves all the credit here. 🙂 

It’s 2020 so I want to mention covid as a factor with traveling- I was a little worried, but we had minimal crowds. Everyone was wearing masks, and it was pretty quiet downtown, especially during the day. I think Chattanooga is a great pick to visit for a fall weekend getaway, as it wasn’t nearly as crowded as Asheville, where I went a few weeks ago with friends.

read house in Chattanooga, tennessee

Lodging

We stayed at the Read House, which is a gorgeous, historical hotel right downtown. It’s very fancy- they have a lot of weddings in their ballrooms and it has a lot of great amenities. It has a bar, indoor pool, and even a famous ghost in room 311 that I wouldn’t let Ryan tell me anything about until we left, haha (I get spooked easily)! If no one is staying in the room, they even give tours at night which tells the history of the hotel- only Ryan went I was too worried I wouldn’t be able to sleep after haha.

We really enjoyed staying at The Read House as you can walk to a few places, like the Umbrella Alley just behind it, although we did end up driving to most things due to a few sprinkles of rain. I was most excited about the amenities of the hotel- we used the indoor pool Friday night and enjoyed the bar and billiards room Saturday night!

umbrella alley Chattanooga, tennessee

Chattanooga Weekend Getaway Itinerary 

Friday Night

We left Friday afternoon and arrived around dinner time, and went to Chattanooga Brewing for dinner. It’s a fun brewery that has a great outdoor biergarten and beer selection (warning for non-beer drinkers like myself that they only have seltzer occasionally). The food was also really good- the fries with the beer cheese was our favorite. One downside was that it is right next to the high school football stadium, and we had to listen to the homecoming game and it was loud- so maybe go somewhere else if there is a game happening, haha!

Chattanooga brewing in Chattanooga, tennessee

Saturday

We started our Saturday by taking a quick stroll down the famous walking bridge, Walnut Street Bridge, and then looped back to get brunch at Whitebird Chattanooga. The food there was great, and our waitress was the sweetest- she heard we were visiting and gave us a list of fun bars in Chattanooga that I’ve listed at the end of this post!

walnut street bridge Chattanooga, tennessee

We decided to explore downtown next and started at Warehouse Row. Warehouse Row is basically an indoor mall, and to be honest it wasn’t a big highlight for me. If you’re in the mood to shop I would recommend it, but we weren’t as we got lucky with great weather- if it was raining I think this would be a good way to spend an hour!

warehouse row Chattanooga, tennessee

We went to the heart of the Southside Historic District next, which has the Chattanooga Choo Choo, a famous hotel in the old train station (you can stay in a train car there!). This neighborhood is filled with fun bars and shops. We had fun walking around the trains (I love trains haha) at the Choo Choo, and then kept exploring the area and its shops.

We spent the bulk of our day at Rock City Gardens, which was the highlight of the trip for me. I loved exploring the caves and walking through the paths to the calming music- I had never done anything like it! I wasn’t expecting such a complete, themed experience- I thought it was going to be more like a hike (I wasn’t kidding when I said Ry did the planning haha), but instead it felt like a botanical garden, but with rocks in a little fairy land. It was so cute, and the views were spectacular.

rock city gardens in georiga near Chattanooga, tennessee

Fall was a great time to go to Rock City- the changing leaves were beautiful, it was decorated for fall, and the bar overlooking the view also had a spiked apple cider that was very yummy. Ryan and I had a great time exploring and it was a great way to see the views without doing any real hiking, haha.

rock city gardens in georiga near Chattanooga, tennessee

We went for dinner at Alleia, which is a great Italian restaurant right by the Choo Choo and Stir. We were a little early (read: I was hungry because we were so busy exploring we never ate anything after brunch) but they didn’t have our table ready yet, so we went around the corner to Stir, which is a cute trendy bar in the Choo Choo.

It worked out perfectly- we got before dinner drinks and their truffle fries as a snack (so good!), and then walked to dinner. Alleia was incredible for dinner- everything we tried was fantastic. I really enjoyed the atmosphere of the restaurant and it was a fun, fancier dinner for our trip.

After dinner, it started pouring, so I was actually super happy we had gone “out” before dinner, because we didn’t feel comfortable going inside a crowded bar. Instead, we went back to the Read House to their bar, which was pretty empty, and played pool in their speakeasy- themed billiards room.

Chattanooga, tennessee

Sunday

On Sunday, we went to North Shore Chattanooga, which is the neighborhood across the river and on the other side of Walnut Street Bridge. We started with brunch at Beast + Barrel, which is right on the park by the river. The food was pretty good, although I thought the service could’ve been better and my eggs were overcooked (Ryan’s meal was fine though). I would try somewhere else next time, but we could’ve just had a bad experience as the reviews for the restaurant are great online.

Chattanooga, tennessee

I enjoyed North Shore a lot- we walked around the park by the river and we popped in a few shops- I really liked Locals Only Gift and Goods, and Blue Skies! I even got a few Christmas gifts for my family there- they were great spots for fun gifts.

We went to the Chattanooga Market on our way out of town, which is open on Sunday afternoons. It was fun to see the local market- it was huge, and had filled with vendors with local crafts, foods, flowers, and produce. It was a great spot to stop on our way out and get a few snacks and fun gifts.

market in Chattanooga, tennessee

Other Chattanooga Weekend Recommendations

Our weekend was filled with a lot of fun activities, but we did miss/skip a few items due to covid. Here a few other spots that our lovely waitress recommended, and other places I want to visit when we return for another getaway! 

  • Chattanooga Whiskey Distillery
  • Drinks at Whiskey Thief at the Edwin Hotel for the great view of the river
  • Brunch at Clydes
  • State of Confusion
  • Drinks and games at South Side Social
  • Taqueria Jalisco for tacos
  • Karaoke at Sing It or Wing It
  • Drinks at Big Chill Drill
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