Are We There Yet? Chattanooga Two Ways - Girls Shopping Trip and Holiday Fun for the Family
By Linda Holloway and Ashley Sellers
My daughter and I are die-hard shoppers! In a weekend of visiting Chattanooga, Tennessee, we found unique shops with a bounty of Christmas gifts, including one-of-a-kind art pieces. With gifts in tow, it was time to plan a return trip with the family.
Chattanooga is a leading destination for the holidays. Where else can you see Santa diving underwater and an electric eel that flashes Christmas lights? Be sure to catch a train to the “North Pole” and plan adventures on Lookout Mountain. Chattanooga is where family memories are made.
Shopping in Chattanooga - By Ashley Sellers
Online shopping is like reading a digital book— it is convenient, but it cannot replace the sensation of the actual experience. If you and your gal pals are looking to bond over fashion, food, and fun, then I recommend a quick getaway to Chattanooga. Mom and I decided to check out the shopping scene as soon as we were greeted by the gigantic “Warehouse Row” sign downtown.
Our first stop was Yves Delorme, one of the oldest European brands of international luxury home linens in the industry. If you are looking for luxury and support, you should try their sleeping 3 chamber pillows with feathers and new goose down. Their duvets also offer top grade white European goose down encased in the finest batiste. If fragrance is what you crave, try their linen water, linen wash, and triple-milled soap.
We also perused other stores inside the building such as Madewell, Anthropologie, and The Cosmetic Market. The Cosmetic Market has four locations in Tennessee, and a plethora of products for your skin and hair. Bestselling brands include Olaplex, Therapy Systems, Trish McEvoy, Bumble and Bumble, and Omorovicza.
For specialty shops, continue your shopping experience in Northshore. Top shops include Locals only Gifts & Goods, Blue Skies, RiverCity Apparel, and I Go Tokyo. If you are looking for exciting toys for the kids, try Learning Express Toys and Boxcar General Store. Boxcar General Store features vintage toys and other nostalgic goods.
Chattanooga Cuisine: Nothing seems to work up an appetite like a marathon shopping trip, so stop inside Warehouse Row’s Tupelo Honey for classic southern food with a culinary twist. To fry chicken to perfection, they start by brining it for eighteen hours. Mom chose the bone-in fried chicken, which is a customer favorite; the Sriracha honey chicken and waffles is high up on the list as well. I opted for the 1/2 Asheville Hot Chicken and Ranch Melt with house garlic-ranch dressing, homemade pickles, and melted white cheddar cheese served between two pieces of griddled Texas toast; this was a lunch combo served with two sides, so I chose mac and cheese with a side salad.
For dinner, we dined at Tony’s Pasta Shop & Trattoria in the Bluff View Art District. If you have a wait, the host will give you a buzzer that will alert you when your table is ready; it will work if you stay in the Art District allowing you to view the gardens and sculptures to pass the time—which feels more like relaxation than waiting. After you are seated, your server will bring fresh baked bread from Bluff View’s Bakery and a dipping plate with olive oil and pecorino cheese. Their pastas and sauces are house made using vegetables and herbs grown in Bluff View Gardens. Mom and I decided on the Chicken Tetrazzini—rigatoni pasta, chicken, Alfredo sauce, topped with melted mozzarella cheese. This plentiful portion, along with a salad, was enough for us to share.
Mountains of Art: The Bluff View Art District is alive and vibrant. Stroll through a self-guided walking tour to take in some of the most unique places like the river Gallery to view eclectic pieces of art, Chocolate Kitchen to get a glimpse into chocolate making, and River Gallery Sculpture Garden to gaze at works of art along the river. These are just three of the fourteen spots on the trail.
For art appreciation on a more monumental scale, you must check out the Hunter Museum of American Art—I needed at least one more day to explore this incredible bastion of art and culture. Among the deluge of influential works of art, the Hunter Museum just acquired a portrait of George Washington painted by Rembrandt Peale. The Hunter boasts some of the most significant pieces of American art—some that I had seen in books and never imagined having the opportunity to see in person.
Hotels: Read House Hotel, Edwin Hotel, and Bluff View Inn
For more shopping information, www.VisitChattanooga.com/shopping
Family Holiday Fun in Chattanooga, Tennessee - By Linda Holloway
Your Christmas shopping is complete, the house is sparkling clean and decorations are Instagram worthy. Yes, all is well in the perfect fictitious city of Parenthood, Alabama. Well, maybe not quite, but the cliché, “Kids are only young once,” is a reality. You can even explore after Christmas where attractions are still decked out for the holidays. You know, those dreaded days when the wrapping paper has barely left the toys, and the kids announce they are bored.
Tennessee Aquarium’s Holidays Under the Peaks and Polar Express 3D at the IMAX: Head inside under the Tennessee Aquarium’s lighted candy cane peaks for some holiday fun. Your adventure through a fun-filled underwater wonderland begins with holiday music and decor in the River Journey lobby. Look for seasonal surprises and the popular light-bedecked tree twinkling in sync with the jolly jolts of the famous electric eel, Miguel Wattson. He even sends out his own tweets @EelectricMiguel. The kids will love SCUBA Clause in the River Journey building at 2:00 pm on select Saturdays in December. The Polar Express 3D returns to the Tennessee Aquarium IMAX 3D Theater. (Nov. 26-Dec. 24, Dec. 26-31; closed Dec. 25, Christmas Day).
Rock City’s Garden of Lights: Joy awaits at the award-winning enchanted wonderland. Located a quick drive from downtown Chattanooga, this Christmas event showcases over a million sparkling lights. Decorate a gingerbread cookie, taste some sweet treats and shop for holiday gifts. Take a stroll down the lighted Grand Corridor in Yule Town, and experience the twinkle of icy lights in the arctic Kingdom. The Magic Forest comes alive to reveal exciting enchantments where the 40-foot tree and a 40-foot-long archway tunnel pass enchanted light displays. Reserve an entry time in advance online. www.seerockcity.com/lights for dates and times.
Discover the wonder of nature on an unforgettable adventure this holiday season at Ruby Falls! Nov. 25 – Dec. 24, 2022
Experience the famous thundering waterfall deep within Lookout Mountain and enjoy classic holiday decorations on the picturesque Village Plaza with magical views of the Cumberland Plateau and twinkling nighttime city lights. Stop by to visit Santa and have a professional photo taken on Saturdays and Sundays, Nov. 26 through Dec. 18. Stay for a casual meal and holiday treats by the café’s cozy stone fireplace in historic Ruby Falls Castle, built in 1929. Write your Christmas wish on an ornament and add it to the Forest of Wishes where thousands of heartfelt holiday aspirations create a colorful display of hope, dreams, and good cheer. Discover one-of-a-kind gifts and delightful Christmas keepsakes at the Village Gift Shop. The glass -front elevator descends 260-feet into the amazing cave where your kids will feel like they are on an Indian Jones adventure. Cave adventures require advance purchase of timed-entry tickets at www.rubyfalls.com.
Holiday Christmas Lights Train: The North Pole Limited train rides have been a family tradition since 1999. During the magical holiday season, trains take riders on an imaginary journey to the North Pole. Along the way, you will be treated to refreshments and storytelling while you write your own personal letter to Santa. The North Pole Limited train gently rolls down the rails, past lighted displays outside. When you arrive at the North Pole, Santa will come aboard for a special visit with all the passengers. Try the Holiday Train and Christmas Santa’s Holiday ride as well. Reserve early! https://www.tvrail.com/train-rides/holiday-christmas-light-train/ Other popular events are Reindeer on the Riverfront and Lighted Boat Parade.
Restaurants: Slick’s Burgers offers fresh burgers with a side of hand cut fries. The extensive kids’ menu, and friendly environment create a fun vibe for everyone. Lupi’s Pizza Pies is where you will find delicious pizzas (as well as calzones, lasagna, and salads) are made fresh. The Daily Ration offers high-end coffee, and a multifaceted menu ranging from your classic breakfast to Asian-inspired dishes.
Hotels: The Hampton Inn & Suites/Downtown is located right across from the Creative Discovery Museum and in walking distance from the Tennessee Aquarium. It offers families convenient parking, free hot breakfast, indoor/outdoor pool, and more. The Westin Chattanooga, located in the heart of downtown, has large windows for scenic views of Lookout Mountain.
For additional Chattanooga holiday information www.visitChattanooga.com/winter