Best Places to Live

Chattanooga, TN

Population: 174,483
LIV
SCORE
583
iStockPhoto/Kruck20

Gig City’s got it going on. More than 185,000 residents call Chattanooga home, making it the fourth largest city in Tennessee. Home to the iconic Chattanooga Choo-Choo and University of Tennessee-Chattanooga, the city ranks high in infrastructure and housing, thanks in part to its easy access to other cities (in under two hours you can be in Atlanta, Nashville or Knoxville!) and affordability. The city is also quickly becoming a destination for tech companies and entrepreneurs — truly, the sense of opportunity and growth in Chattanooga right now is palpable.

Surrounded by mountains and countless stunning views, the city lives up to its “Scenic City” moniker. With easy access to hiking trails, waterfalls, world-class rock climbing spots and winter sports, outdoor recreation abounds. Residents can enjoy a wide variety of activities that are fun for the entire family, including the Tennessee Aquarium and Chattanooga Zoo.

Local Obsession: Whether it’s enjoying music along the banks of the Tennessee River at Riverbend, strolling along the Riverwalk or setting sail, Chattanoogans love to be on or near the water.   

Climate Described in 6 Words or Less: Check the weather app every morning.

Top Industries: Major industries in Chattanooga include automotive production, manufacturing, transportation and logistics, but tech startups are definitely carving out a spot of their own.

Local Dream Job: Curator at the Hunter Museum of American Art

Quintessential Meal: Pancakes from Aretha Frankensteins. The local institution is inside of a funky house with eclectic decor, vintage movie posters and memorabilia covering the walls.

Favorite Weekend Activity: Sunday brunch at the Flying Squirrel. Enjoy live music, locally sourced food and killer cocktails.

After-Work Meetup Spot: Tremont Tavern’s Beer and Burger Night can’t be missed, and drink and food specials are rotated monthly.

Best Brewery/Local Beer: WanderLinger Brewing Company’s master brewers are avid hikers and their Appalachian Alt is inspired by camping trips in the nearby mountains.

Beloved Bookstore: Star Line Books is a 1,300 square-foot independent bookstore near the famed Chattanooga Choo Choo.

Free Way to Have Fun: Take a walk on the Walnut Street Bridge, one of the longest pedestrian bridges in the world. Spanning more than 2,376 feet, the bridge is home to a variety of cool events, like the annual Wine Over Water Festival, and has gorgeous views of the Tennessee River.

Truly Hidden Gem: River Street Deli. If you’re not looking for it, you might miss it as it’s basically the speakeasy of sandwich shops. Be sure to try the Grilled “ChattaGooey.”

- Cara Sanders

Read More:

Why Chattanooga, TN is One of the Best Places to Live

Everything You Need to Know About the Best Places to Live in Tennessee

Why Entrepreneurs and Tech Startups Are Flocking to Chattanooga, TN

“I love living in Chattanooga for the energy of the city. It is filled with creativity, passionate locals and exciting events everywhere you turn. Watching Chattanooga grow over the years has inspired my own life and business to grow.”

- Riley Sitton of Yes, Please!

Chattanooga, TN Ranking Data

Civic
46
Demographics
57
Economy
64
Education
53
Health
47
Housing
66
Infrastructure
70