I've traveled to more places than I can count, and there are few places that truly leave me mind blown.
Chattanooga is one of them.
Chattanooga is the hidden gem of the south. Any person of any age on any budget can find something awesome to do.
It's full of beautiful outdoor adventures, great entertainment downtown, and delicious places to eat across town.
*All photos @jakesvisuals unless otherwise noted.
I began my trip by immediately heading downtown in the early evening on Friday. It was extremely busy, and many people were listening to music on the waterfront, getting ice cream near the bridge, or walking across the bridge to see one of the most beautiful sunsets I had ever seen.
Even though it is not the biggest city (approx. 167,000 people live there), there is still a large amount of fun and liveliness to be found downtown. I decided to eat at Puckett's, an incredible restaurant right by the river. I ordered the burger, which was delicious! Puckett's is famous for its succulent meat-and-three options. Order the pulled pork, green beans, skillet mac & cheese and potato salad.
(Credit: John Bamber)
I woke up Saturday and headed to the Tennessee Aquarium in the morning. Throughout the entire place, people seemed to be having a blast, and not just children, but people of all ages! There was a butterfly room, a rainforest room with birds, crocodiles and the like, an area to pet sting rays, and a section full of jellyfish.
There was much more to do there than I realized and I actually left wishing I had more time there.
After I left, I went to take a ride on the Southern Belle. On a lovely Saturday afternoon, it was a great opportunity to just relax and do some sight seeing. The staff was extremely friendly and let anyone up to the captain's area and would even let you take the wheel. At the end of it all, I bought a coke and popcorn, propped my feet up, and enjoyed the breeze while coasting down the Tennessee River.
To wrap up Saturday, I finished off the day by going to Point Park to see the sunset, which has a beautiful view of downtown, the river, and lots of forest. It's definitely a must-see place.
Sunday started off in the best way imaginable, as I went to Aretha Frankensteins for breakfast. Oh my goodness, it was amazing; everything I had was incredible. The pancakes, French toast, breakfast burrito- it was all unbelievable! It was hands down the best meal I had in Chattanooga, with Urban Stack, a modern burger place, coming a close second.
After starting off the day right, I headed to Lula Lake, a place that flies a bit under the radar, but it was absolutely gorgeous. From hikes to waterfalls to swimming holes, Lula Lake makes a perfect place to spend an afternoon. Keep in mind, it is only open on Saturdays and Sundays.
Overall, Chattanooga had tons to do. I ended up even going back the next weekend because there was more I wanted to experience.
I had an absolute blast checking outside the city, too; saw some beautiful places, ate some incredible food, and met some amazing people.
I can definitely say I can't wait to go back.