If you're a true foodie, it's not so much what you see and do in a city, it's what you taste. With that in mind, we created a travel itinerary based around breakfast, lunch, and dinner (with some activities to do while waiting for your next meal). Dive in to some of the city's best bites.
Breakfast: Niedlov's Breadworks
Niedlov’s Breadworks is a local artisan bakery on Chattanooga's Southside. Since 2002, Niedlov’s has been providing specialty breads made with organic whole grains and natural leavening to the Scenic City. If you're eating at other local restaurants, you'll likely find Niedlov's bread somewhere on the menu. While bread is their specialty, Niedlov's is also a great spot for ham and cheese croissants, avocado toast, or sweet potato pancakes. Grab a cup of locally roasted Velo coffee on your way out and get ready for a day of fun.
Activity: Ignis Glass Studio
After the day’s most important meal, peruse the art galleries and shops of Main Street, such as H*ART Gallery, Gallery 1401, Merchants on Main, and more. Once you’re appropriately inspired, head downtown to Ignis Glass Studio to create some artwork of your own. For around $40 you can actually blow your own heirloom glass ornament or paperweight. After that, you’ll want to catch lunch at the city’s most forward-thinking pizza joint.
Lunch: Lupi’s Pizza Pies
Dorris Shober opened Lupi’s Pizza in 1996 as Chattanooga’s first New York-style pizzeria. With no business or restaurant experience she created each recipe from scratch, using her home as a test kitchen and her kids as a focus group. The experiment worked and today there are five locations that are chock-full of hungry customers. But what makes Lupi’s a true foodie spot is their passion for local ingredients, from the ground beef and tomatoes (when available) to the honey and whole wheat in the dough--Lupis has their very own farm, Flying Turtle Farm, to source as many of the ingredients in their delicious calzones pizzas, and salads as possible. You have to try a slice as well as the house-made fresh mozzarella.
Activity: Tennessee Aquarium + Hunter Museum of American Art
You can’t visit Chattanooga without seeing the Tennessee Aquarium, and lucky for you it’s just a short walk from Lupi’s. After you’ve experienced macaroni penguins, giant sturgeon, and leaping lemurs, consider a trip to Chattanooga’s premiere art museum, the Hunter Museum of American Art, followed by an art walk. After all, you need to burn some calories for your next meal, which will bring you back to Chattanooga’s Southside.
If you eat dinner at only one place, consider Alleia. You'll find rustic Italian cuisine with an emphasis on local ingredients. After training at some of New York’s top restaurants (including Gramercy Tavern), Nathan Lindley moved back to his hometown in early 2000 for what he thought was a short stint. Lucky for us, he stayed, turning Alleia into a top dining destination for the region.
Dessert: Clumpies Ice Cream Co.
If you managed to save room for dessert, pop over to Clumpies Ice Cream Co. on the Southside. This locally-owned scoop shop is serving up the best handcrafted, small-batch ice cream around. Enjoy classic flavors like Coconut Almond Chunk, Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough, and Cookies N' Cream. If you time your visit just right, you'll find a variety of seasonal flavors that rotate throughout the year. The seasonal menu is always changing, but favorites like Lemon Ice Box, Peppermint Patty, and Campfire have been seen on the menu year after year. With four locations in the Chattanooga area, you're never too far from a sweet treat.
Activity: Chattanooga Choo Choo + Explore the Southside
Finish the evening with a stroll down through the Chattanooga Choo Choo gardens or see what's happening on Station Street. Chattanooga's Southside neighborhood is always bustling with evening activities.
Activity: Paddle the Tennessee River
Burn some calories by starting the day paddleboarding on the Tennessee River. (Grab a light breakfast or skip it for brunch later on.) L2 Outside on the Northshore rents stand-up paddleboards as well as kayaks. You can take a lesson for $60 or take to the water alone for $25 for one hour.
Brunch: Bela Lisboa
Now that you’ve worked up an ample appetite it’s time to chow down at one of the city’s most popular brunch spots. Bela Lisboa serves its Portuguese- and Mediterranean-inspired brunch menu on Saturdays and Sundays and reservations are definitely recommended. Everything on the menu is amazing, but we can say from experience, you'll be thinking about that Shakshuka for days. Don't skip out on the $1 mimosas or go all in and grab a bottle of Wyclif on ice served with two fruit juices of your choice.
Activity: Explore Northshore
While you’re in the Northshore neighborhood, check out the surrounding shops. Upscale clothing, home, and shoe shops are a short walk away at Two Northshore and several art galleries and boutiques line Frazier Avenue. If shopping isn’t your thing, check out one of Chattanooga’s unique city tours or explore the town with the Chattanooga Ducks.
Dinner: St. John's
Your day has been full of activity and it is absolutely time for you to wine down (see what we did there?). Get all gussied up, because you are headed to an upscale Chattanooga favorite. At St. John's Restaurant, reservations are a must. The menu changes regularly because the food is made with only the freshest local ingredients, but anything you order here is guaranteed to be amazing.
Breakfast/Brunch: Daily Ration
Breakfast (or brunch) is the most important meal of the day, and a visit to Daily Ration will definitely get your day started on the right foot. Get here early because this is a popular spot, and for good reason. Although there is some seating inside, the outdoor patio is where it's at. Started in 2016 by local Restaurateur Jason Bowers (he also owns the much-loved Bitter Alibi and Clever Alehouse), this brunch favorite knows how to combine flavors that have our mouths watering just thinking about it. We recommend the southern benedict--the toasted local sourdough layered with white cheddar pimento cheese, candied bacon, fresh greens tossed in a bacon vinaigrette and topped with two sunnyside eggs is everything you want it to be, and more. Or, go a little crazy and order the fried chicken and waffles, finished off with whipped cinnamon honey butter and bourbon maple syrup--I mean come on. The only thing you're missing is one of their artful lattes.
Activity: Northshore Parks and a Stroll Across Walnut Street Bridge
Walk off your food coma by walking along the Riverfront. Nearby Renaissance Park features outdoor art, historic markers, and a somewhat out-of-place green hill that people slide down on cardboard in warmer months. Coolidge Park offers a 100-year-old carousel, a water splash park, and beautiful views of the Tennessee River. Walk across the Walnut Street Bridge for one of Chattanooga’s best views.
Activity and Lunch: The Chattanooga Market (open April-November)
On Sundays from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., the Chattanooga Market pulls double-duty as both entertainment and lunch. When you witness its bazaar-like atmosphere you’ll understand why Frommer’s rated the market as one of the top 10 in the country. In front, local farmers set up shop to offer the very freshest from their fields. Go a little further and you’ll find glass blowers, photographers, woodworkers, furniture makers, jewelry artists, soap makers, artisan food producers, and more selling their wares. Every single vendor must be from within a 100-mile radius and sell only handmade goods (so no cheesy, mass-produced stuff). Chattanooga food trucks pull up to serve some of the city’s best street food, which you can enjoy at the metal tables in front of the live band (if you can find a seat). It can get crowded, but it's worth every second
Dinner: Easy Bistro
Owners Erik and Amanda Niel styled Easy Bistro's southern-inspired menu as a shareable dining experience. Forget ordering a plate for just yourself. Everything on this menu is meant to be shared, which is not a problem because you are going to want to try everything on the table. Easy Bistro also boasts a Raw Bar where their love for oysters is clearly evident. The selection of fresh, farm-raised varieties changes daily. Whatever you order, it's sure to pair well with their crafted cocktails and thoughtful wine menu.
Thinking Outside the Restaurant
If you have time, round out your food-centric trip with an out-of-the-box experience.
Create Your Own Meal with Bounty from a Local Farmer’s Markets
If you rent a house you can prepare your own dinner with local produce by visiting one of Chattanooga’s many farmer’s markets happening throughout the week and weekend.
Plan A Trip to a Local Farm
Many local farms supply the produce for the meals mentioned above, so why not take the farm-to-table experience to the next level and visit one of these farms for yourself?
You won't have to travel far to visit Crabtree Farms. Since 1998, this sustainable urban farm has grown to offer programs like community garden beds, wholesale produce, and a variety of events. Visit the farm on a U-Pick day and take home the freshest in-season fruit and veggies. Join a workshop where you can learn more about canning, and growing, participate in yoga on the farm, and more.
Foodie Itinerary Map
Find all the places mentioned above in this map we made just for you.