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1. American Draft

Tap into American beer culture at this pour-your-own bar located inside a revamped train car at the Chattanooga Choo Choo Terminal Station. Sip your way from west coast to east by sampling the 29 cross-country brews, making an extra-long stop in Chattanooga with the four dedicated local taps, like the grapefruity Rope Gun Rye ale by Hutton & Smith. For a non-alcoholic buzz, go for a bottle of Tennessee-brewed kombucha by Muse + Mettā.

2. Songbirds

One of the world’s largest and rarest vintage guitar collections is at this hybrid museum-concert venue, including an assortment of Gretsch Sparkle Jets and a rosewood guitar that was handmade for Jimi Hendrix. If you’re still rocking after taking in over 1,700 music makers, stick around for a show at one of the two on-site venues, where gigs range from local up-and-comers to country acts like Ward Davis.

The Dwell Hotel

Photo: Design Hotels

3. The Dwell Hotel

Once the site of the historic Fort James, a stone stronghold used during the Civil War, the Dwell Hotel is home to 16 guest rooms brimming with colourful artwork and mid-century-modern furniture. Owner, designer and vintage collector Seija Ojanpera used a different wallpaper as the jumping-off point for each room’s design, like the Bee, which has an insect-flecked wall, and the Tiki, with a lush green accent print. After getting settled, which may include a soak in your deep tub with C.O. Bigelow bath products, head downstairs for a cocktail at Matilda Midnight and try the Midas – Chattanooga Whiskey with orange marmalade and ginger beer.

4. Bluff View Art District

Perched on the bluffs at the edge of the Tennessee River, this historic neighbourhood is where art lovers will find the Hunter Museum of American Art – with works by Andy Warhol, Edward Hopper and Clementine Hunter – and the River Gallery. Wander the latter’s sculpture garden, passing more than 14 installations, then finish your self-guided tour at local favourite Rembrandt’s Coffee House for a latte and buttery biscuit.

5. Tanasi Trail System

A 75-minute drive east of Chattanooga will put you on the south side of the Cherokee National Forest, with access to more than 30 kilometres of trails. Take the Rhododendron Trail from the Ocoee Adventure Center to watch paddlers navigate the same rapids as the Olympians who competed in the whitewater events at the 1996 Atlanta Games. Or, try the creek-crossing trek to Rainbow Falls, with three waterfalls on the 5.6-kilometre route.


3 ways to plug into the Innovation District

Take advantage of Gig City’s speedy Internet at the Edney Innovation Center. The 10-storey building contains start-up and co-working spaces, plus a rooftop deck that overlooks this bustling area, home to Bellhops and VaynerMedia offices.


Pop into co-living space the Tomorrow Building for a soapmaking or financial-planning workshop put on by the Chattery, a local non-profit that coordinates community-driven classes all over downtown.


At the Camp House, grab a table next to heads-up entrepreneurs or heads-down freelancers for a yogurt- and granola-topped waffle.