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Quick Getaway to Chattanooga

Ruby Falls billboard

Billboard somewhere between Alabama and Tennessee

Sometimes you just gotta get away.  Know what I mean?

Fortunate for me, I had a rewards night with Marriott that would soon be expiring and my family I decided it would be nice to redeem it in Chattanooga, Tennessee.  Though we had less than 48 hours, we had a really nice time exploring the fourth largest city in the Volunteer State.  (This nickname was “earned during the War of 1812 because of the prominent role played by volunteer soldiers from Tennessee, especially during the Battle of New Orleans.”)

GPS unit

Chattanooga is about a 2 hours drive, give or take a few minutes, from Huntsville (AL), Atlanta (GA), and Nashville (TN).  To make our trip a little easier, we employed the use of our trusty Garmin.

bikes to rent

We began our trip by checking into our hotel, the Springhill Suites.  Situated along the river, it is only about half a mile from all of the excitement of downtown.  It’s a newer hotel with nice amenities.  One thing I was unaware of was how popular bicycling is in Chattanooga.  At our hotel there was a rack with bicycles that people can rent for the day.  There are spots around Chattanooga where you can dock the bike, go eat or enjoy some attractions, and then get back on and bike some more.  (The Chattanooga Fun  website has more information about bike sharing.)

bikes at a bike stand
wildflowers

Flowers outside of Springhill Suites.

chupa chups

A sweet little treat for guests at the hotel.

After getting settled, we drove and parked nearby the Tennessee Aquarium.   (Be prepared to pay for your parking spot.)  We decided that we would just walk to a restaurant near the aquarium and elected to try Thai Smile.

Thai Smile

Wow!  It was voted the BEST by local residents and we could see why.  We had a fantastic waitress and would recommend this restaurant to friends and family.

Thia dishes
metal sculpture

Artwork?  It’s pretty cool whatever it is.

buildings in downtown Chattanooga

Fall in Chattanooga.

apartments in Chattanooga

I love the way this building looks.  It exudes coziness even on drizzly days.

street in Chattanooga

This was a beautiful time to explore the city.

man playing guitar

Street entertainment.

the Tennessee Aquarium

After enjoying our lunch, we made it to the Tennessee Aquarium.  We started with the Ocean Journey exhibits, followed by the River Journey and the IMAX feature Great White Shark in 3D.

We walked to a nearby chain restaurant and had dinner, then enjoyed Chattanooga at twilight.

Chattanooga at night
Courtyard by Marriott in Chattanooga
horse and carriage

Carriage rides were available near the aquarium.

Cold Stone Ice Cream in a freezer

The hotel had small containers of Cold Stone Creamery for sale.   Of course, we had to try it out.

The following day we packed up knowing that we would have to return home.  However, we had plans to visit two other top attractions in Chattanooga – Ruby Falls and Rock City.  This was the first time that any of us had the opportunity to visit these sites.  Both are located on top of Lookout Mountain, though Rock City is technically in Georgia.

Ruby Falls is a 145 foot waterfall located deep inside the mountain.  To get there, visitors ride an elevator down 260 feet and walk about 1/2 mile into the heart of the mountain.  (You can see more photos here.)

Ruby Falls in Chattanooga

Our last stop was Rock City.  Visiting brought back memories of when I was growing up.  I can recall seeing roofs of barns painted with the words “See Rock City” every time we traveled north of Birmingham.  I had no clue what to expect.

Arriving at Rock City, we walked past the Fudge Kitchen, where aromas of delicious chocolate wafted through the air and beckoned us to come try a piece.  We found the beginning of the path and began our journey.  There were some small parts where we came close to needing to turn sideways in order to go further.  After walking for a little while, we came to the best part – the views.  Seven states are visible from atop Lookout Mountain.  It’s beautiful.

Rock City in Chattanooga

It was so nice to get away from our everyday worries.  I only wish that we had more time.  I think I need to start planning a Spring mini-vacation to Chattanooga so that I can make it to some of the attractions that we just did not have time to see.

If you want more information about visiting Chattanooga, check out the Chattanooga Convention and Visitors Bureau.  There you can get ideas and start planning your own trip.  You can also print coupons and check out vacation packages.  I’d like to thank the CVB for providing me with passes to see some of the city’s incredible attractions.

If you have been to Chattanooga, what was your favorite thing to do, see, or eat?

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