Student hangouts are easy to come by in Chattanooga – like on almost every corner. From places that have been open for decades, to new trendy spots full of succulents and dreamy patios, check out this list of the best hangout spots featuring recommendations from local college students.
UPD (University Pizza and Deli)
Looking for a spot that you can bike, one-wheel or even walk to? Check out UPD, recommended by alumna Paige Evatt. Open since 1997, students rave about the eclectic (and affordable) menu that echoes a touch of Mediterranean flare and, well…pizza. They know their audience. This student favorite is located on Vine Street near the edge of campus.
Head down Frazier avenue to find a quaint little spot known for their authentic Mexican food. Seriously – it doesn’t get more authentic than a grilled cactus taco or the glorious signature Taconooga gut bomb. Madeline Dean, a local college student, 10/10 recommends the Tacos Al Pastor. Pro tip – pair your favorite taco with a refreshing Aguas Fresca, made with real fruit. Don’t forget to ask about the flavor of the day. One more thing…the chorizo queso and chips is essential.
The Yellow Deli
Straight up, The Yellow Deli is a strange place with a weird history, but if late-night study sessions are your forte, The Yellow Deli might be your best bet. They’re open 24/5 so if you need to pull an all-nighter (and let’s be honest – you will), the forest-like atmosphere and piled-high sammies might keep you awake. The “soup of the day” is always warm and according to college student Bryanne Moore, their strawberry smoothies are delish.
The Daily Ration
Look, you can’t call yourself “Southern” until you’ve had chicken and waffles. Current UTC student Sam Mauldin recommends The Daily Ration's take on the southern favorite. But this isn’t Grandma Betty’s meat + three…The Daily Ration is a classy, casual joint in a former gas station. Grab a spot on the patio (where the gas tanks used to be) to study during those cooler months when the leaves are falling.
Mad Priest Coffee Roasters
Mad Priest Coffee Roasters. Doesn’t the name alone make you want to check it out? Is he an angry mad priest or a bit out of his mind? According to local student Allie Karnes, you can’t beat their iced latte. Simple, but spot-on. Every. Single. Time. And if you’re more of a chai or matcha kind of person, we get it. They have that too! Order online for pickup here.
Rembrandt’s Coffee House
Dreaming of a place that can make you forget about studying for that midterm? Stop dreaming. No, seriously, you have to study. Rembrandt’s is known for good coffee and sweets, but is loved for the ambience. Rembrandt’s European-styled patio is surrounded by vines and the smell of hand-made pastries. A tiny bird might even flutter and land on your shoulder. This place is a magical Disney-esque oasis in the middle of the Bluff View Art District. Sip on an iced white mocha or hazelnut bliss, per Erica Shoemaker a UTC alum, and hang out, breathe and, seriously, you’ve GOT to study.
Cadence Coffee Co.
The word “cadence” means measured, rhythmic and purposeful. And that’s what you’ll find at Cadence Coffee Co. in the heart of City Center. From the moment you step inside, the atmosphere invites you to relax. It doesn’t hurt that they have the best cold brew this side of the Mississippi. You may love their coffee so much you’ll want to take it home with you. Good! Snag one of their locally-roasted whole bean options and introduce your roommates to the finer things in life.
You down for a game of frisbee? Students enjoy Coolidge Park year-round because it’s basically an open field to do whatever you want with. It’s the best place in Chattanooga to play ultimate frisbee and have spike ball tournaments (just Google it). That quilt your aunt made you out of Uncle Bill’s Harley-Davidson shirts is the perfect barrier between yourself and the ground. Lay out on the vast lawn and watch the sun fall behind the mountain peaks. And don’t let anyone tell you you’re “too old” to enjoy a ride on the antique carousel.
Art can be found everywhere in Chattanooga – on the side of buildings, traffic signal boxes throughout the city, on the sidewalks and gardens dedicated to sculptures and beautifully designed shrubs. Bluff View Art District is exactly as it sounds...artsy with a touch of class and sophistication. A hidden gem, the Sculpture Garden overlooks the Tennessee River and has benches where you can sit and admire the art. On the Southside, you’ll find Sculpture Fields at Montague Park – the Southeast’s largest sculpture park that offers world-class designs and international installations. Ahem…perfect first date spots.
After a long week of classes, you’re probably itching to get outside and explore Chattanooga. Luckily, there are plenty of places to help you get on the river with paddleboards and kayaks. Mattie Witt recommends River Canyon Adventures for a relaxing trip through the river gorge, or for an urban kayak or SUP (stand up paddleboard) adventure, rent from L2 Outside.