Insider's Guide to Downtown Chattanooga

The Crash Pad proudly calls Chattanooga home
The Crash Pad proudly calls Chattanooga home Bryce Edwards
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Downtown Chattanooga has an amazing wealth of activity options. Say you want to paddleboard, bike around, and drink a couple of brewery beers all in one day. No problem! Here's your Insider's Guide:

First, get your paddleboard at L2 Boards and walk about two blocks to the Tennessee River to enjoy a great downtown paddle. You can paddle upstream alongside the limestone bluffs that are home to swallows, English ivy and the Hunter Art Museum. If you stay close to the Maclellan Island nature preserve, you can look for blue herons, hawks, eagles, fish, turtles and perhaps beaver or muskrats. Floating for an hour is a true Chattanooga adventure, taking in all the city sights from a totally new and interesting perspective.

Jake Wheeler

Next, spend a mere $6 to rent a Bike Share single speed for 24 hours. There’s only one catch: while the bike is yours for a whole day, you must return it to a Bike Share pod every hour or else fines will accumulate. Check out the map to have an idea of where you can expect to find one of the 33 stations. Most are concentrated downtown and on the north end of the Southside. There are three on the Northshore and a few along the Riverwalk. Once you’ve got your bike, ride up the Riverwalk (an 8-mile concrete path with an extra mile and a half out-and-back option if you cross over to the Northshore) and replace your bike at one of a few stations if it looks like you’re cutting it close.

Dave Hutton

It’s a flat out and back, so enjoy the ride. Along the way, stop and watch crew teams, recreational paddlers, barge traffic on the river, admire the Chattanooga Country Club, or stop at one of the parks along the way for some water or vending machine snacks. Just make sure you check your bike in before you hit an hour, but remember you can also turn it in, grab a snack and a beer at a brewery close to one of the stations and then get another bike.

And as far as breweries are concerned, Chattanooga is not in short supply. Here are a couple of nearby breweries that offer a fine selection of beers and food, as well as outside seating so you can take in the sights while you dine:

1.  Chattanooga Brewing Company has the oldest name in the city when it comes to breweries. Open in 1890, the brewery fell victim to Prohibition and closed in 1915. Classics never die though, and the Chattanooga Brewing Company came back in 2010. Located on the southside behind Finley Stadium, just around the corner from a bike share, you’ll love their Hill City IPA, Two Taverns Pale Ale, Chestnut Brown, and more. They also offer some simple but interesting dining options, including a huge plate of nachos covered in beer cheese, juicy burgers, and regular & sweet potato waffle fries. They are open Wednesdays and Thursdays 4-10, and Friday to Sunday 11-10.

Randy Whorton

2. Another option is the Terminal , just 6 blocks from CBC and about 1 mile from L2 Boards. Formerly a hotel housing new arrivals from the Chattanooga Choo Choo, the building also had a reputation as a speakeasy, an illegal casino, and possibly even a house of ill repute. In the 1940s, it was one of the first black-owned businesses in the city. The Terminal came to life after 2006 and they’ve been creating fine beer selections (ales, a Witbeir, stout, maibock or a seasonal option) and menu choices that are delicious and beyond your ken in many cases. They are open everyday from 11 am-midnight.

Travel safe, enjoy the sights, and have fun!

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