If it’s been a while since you’ve visited Chattanooga—or if you’ve never been—now is definitely the time to visit this scenic city along the Tennessee River in the far southeast corner of the Volunteer State. Our top five reasons for a return visit to Chattanooga, which are listed below, can be the foundation of a long weekend, whether you’re looking for a couple’s escape, a meet-up with the girls or a short family getaway. Here’s what to look for on a weekend trip to Chattanooga.

Outdoor Adventures
Chattanooga Outdoor AdventureOutside magazine just named Chattanooga the 2015 Best Town Ever. It’s the second time the city has won this distinction; the other was in 2011, the first year of the competition. Readers (and, admittedly, fans of the nominated towns) voted on 63 towns across the country that offer great access to trails and public lands and also offer thriving restaurants and neighborhoods.

And it’s no wonder that Chattanooga has twice won the award; the city and surrounding area offer some of the top-rated whitewater rafting in the South on the Ocoee River. SUPping (aka stand-up paddleboarding) is now a huge draw in downtown Chattanooga, with specialty outfitters, including L2, sending SUPers and kayakers out onto the flat waters of the Tennessee River, as well as more remote areas.

There are miles and miles of hiking and biking trails throughout the city, our favorite being the stretch along the river through downtown, across the Walnut Street pedestrian bridge to the North Shore neighborhood, where one can stop for coffee or a libation at one of the quirky bars just over the bridge. The city’s Outdoor Chattanooga website is the ultimate resource for outdoor adventures, trails, rock climbing experiences and more. If you want to bike but don’t want to haul your bicycles from home, the new Bike Chattanooga program offers 33 rental bike stations throughout the city where you can swipe a card and instantly rent a bike.

Warehouse Row
Warehouse Row ChattanoogaChattanooga may not be the first Southern city one thinks of when it comes to shopping, but the revitalization of the Warehouse Row area is bringing a renaissance of sorts to the shopping scene. The historic buildings that make up Warehouse Row reflect Chattanooga’s industrial past at the turn of the 1900s, and occupy the land previously used as a fort during the Civil War.

This mixed-use development combines boutique retailers and restaurants with creative spaces for businesses, and the result is sublime. Revival, a home design firm and store, moved from a much smaller building in the city’s Southside neighborhood into a flowing, open space that’s simply divine. The space mixes antique and modern furnishings and goods to create an aesthetic that has to be experienced to understand. (In other words, it’s so fab you just have to see it for yourself!)

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Published by Style Blueprint on July 6, 2015: Written by Sally Walker