Nestled in the foothills of the Appalachians, Chattanooga is nicknamed “Scenic City” for its natural beauty, and is a fantastic place to live in Tennessee for young professionals, families, and retirees alike. Learn about the pros and cons of living in Chattanooga below!

Pros of Living in Chattanooga

A post shared by @instagram

With affordable housing, an eclectic art scene, and a variety of family-friendly things to do, Chattown is a great place to settle down. Here are the pros of moving to Chattanooga!

Pro: Affordable Tennessee Living

Though Chattanooga is the fourth largest city in Tennessee, you’ll be happy to learn it’s quite affordable compared to bigger cities like Nashville. The general cost of living in Chattanooga may be 3% more expensive than the state average, but it is also 8% lower than the national average, and boasts lower-than-average prices for healthcare and utilities. Similarly, the median home price in Chattown is slightly higher than the state average, but still lower than the national average. All this makes Chattanooga one of the most affordable Tennessee cities. The city also offers a wealth of other financial benefits, including high income per capita and a low unemployment rate. Plus, there are no income taxes in Tennessee, so you keep more money in your pocket!

Pro: Haven for Jobs & Tech Start-Ups

Chattanooga has earned the nickname “Gig City” for the fact that, via the Electric Power Board, it was the first city to offer gigabit internet speeds to all its residents. This helped attract a good number of tech companies and start-ups such as FreightWaves, WorkHound, Krepling, and more. The supportive tech environment is bolstered by entities like The Company Lab (CO.LAB), which offers resources and networking for start-ups, the workspace and support systems provided by INCubator, and the City of Chattanooga itself, which provides monetary incentives to entrepreneurs. Chattown is more than just a hub for tech start-ups, however. There are many major employers across a variety of industries, including manufacturing jobs at the Chattanooga Coca-Cola Production Center, government positions at the Tennessee Valley Authority, educational opportunities through Hamilton County School District, and health care careers at Erlanger and CHI Memorial Hospital Chattanooga.

Pro: Opportunities for Outdoor Adventure

With the breathtaking backdrop of the Appalachian Mountains and Tennessee River, residents and visitors alike appreciate the wealth of things to do outdoors in Chattanooga. The Chattanooga Riverwalk follows the Tennessee River and winds through parks and neighborhoods, providing 16 miles worth of scenic views of mountains, historical sites, and more. Rent a paddleboard, kayak, or other watercraft from L2 Outside and spend a day on the river. Go for an early-morning hike (and bring your dog!) to watch the sun rise over the Tennessee River Gorge from the scenic overlook at Snooper’s Rock. Go camping, take advantage of the many miles of multi-use trails, and explore one of the best cave tours in Tennessee at Raccoon Mountain. Paddle into the lock of the Chickamauga Dam as the gates close behind you and learn about the dam’s history on the guided Chickamauaga Dam Lock Kayak Tour with Chattanooga Guided Adventures. Or stroll through shaded forest, admire flowery meadows, and attend recurring events like Wild Wonders: A Close Encounter with Native Animals at Reflection Riding Arboretum & Nature Center.

Pro: Lots of Family Fun in Chattanooga

There’s a wide variety of family-friendly things to do in Chattanooga! Spend a fun day out with your family riding the 100-year-old carousel, playing in the water fountain, and having a picnic on the lawn at Coolidge Park, one of many gorgeous parks in Chattanooga. View thousands of animals through exhibits like the Butterfly Garden, Penguins’ Rock, and Appalachian Cove Forest at the Tennessee Aquarium. Take a short, 20-minute trip to Lookout Mountain to see unbelievable views of the city, explore Rock City Gardens, and take a train ride on the Incline Railway through the mountains. Bring the kids to climb through the TreeHouse Adventure, create new inventions in the STEM Zone, or learn about music and dance in the ArtSpace at the Creative Discovery Museum. Enjoy a relaxing evening overlooking the city and landscape from the deck of the Southern Belle, which provides Chattanooga riverboat cruises. Or go on an all-ages, award-winning ghost tour to learn more about the spirits that may haunt the city with a Murder & Mayhem Haunted History Tour through Chattanooga Ghost Tours.

Pros: Rich Chattown History

As a significant location in the Civil War, there are plenty of Chattanooga historical sites to satisfy any history buff’s tastes. Learn about Chattanooga’s railroad history with a train ride through the Tennessee Valley Railroad, or stop by a historical Chattanooga landmark, The Choo Choo, for a glimpse into an iconic 1900s railway hub. Wander over 9,000 acres as you view battlefields, hike trails, and discover the city’s Civil War history in the visitor center at Chickamauga & Chattanooga National Military Park. Explore prehistoric sites and view artifacts from cultures indigenous to the area for thousands of years at Moccasin Bend National Archeological District. Honor the United States’ recipients of the Medal of Honor and learn their stories through exhibits, artifacts, and more at the Coolidge National Medal of Honor Heritage Center. Take in pristine city views while strolling along the Walnut Street Bridge, an iconic landmark built in 1891 and one of the world’s longest pedestrian bridges. Or take a tour to soak in the Jazz-Era architecture that was once host to famous guests like Ulysses S. Grant, Gene Autry, Oprah Winfrey, and Elvis Presley at the Read House Hotel—and maybe you’ll even catch a glimpse of the resident ghost in room 311!

Pros: Thriving Arts Scene

Scenic City offers more than just natural beauty, with the art scene providing a wide range of events, art galleries, and museums in Chattanooga that show off the city’s creative spirit. Browse the gallery to see a variety of paintings, or have a good time with friends and meet the artists during the First Friday Open House held at Area 61. View rotating exhibits like Vivid: A Fresh Take, Art Deco Glass from the David Huchthausen Collection, City as Canvas: Graffiti Art from the Martin Wong Collection, and more at the Hunter Museum of American Art. Watch creative demonstrations like the Relief Engraving Demo with Jessica White, attend lively events like Bocce & Brews, and view the sculpture collection at the River Gallery in the Bluff View Art District. Take a glimpse into the past as you appreciate antiques, glassworks, pottery, and other decorative art pieces dating back to the 1900s found in the rich Victorian architecture of the Houston Museum of Decorative Arts. Wander over 33 acres of green space featuring unique and creative sculptures, or attend events like the Sculptures in the Sky kite festival at the place “where art and nature converge,” Sculpture Fields at Montague Park. Turn up to support local bands playing live music and bring home fresh produce and artisan crafts at the Chattanooga Market. Or catch live performances from acts like the Black Jacket Symphony, watch comedians like Leanne Morgan, or sit back for Broadway shows like Hamilton at the Tivoli Theatre Foundation‘s Soldiers & Sailors Memorial Auditorium.

Pros: Diverse Array of Chattanooga Festivals

Chattown is home to many vibrant local festivals dedicated to celebrating the city’s music scene, great food, fun activities, and the ability to have a good time. Turn out in May for live music in Chattanooga while you sample delicious flavors from local food trucks, play in the KidZone, attend a magic show, and more during The Walnut Street Bridge Festival. Sip on cocktails and enjoy live DJs and food vendors as attendees attempt to decide on the best margarita in town during the Chattanooga Margarita Festival. Get your groove on to a variety of music genres including jazz, indie, bluegrass, and more during the weekly summer music series held at Miller Plaza, Chattanooga Nightfall. Let your love of bacon and whiskey collide as you try bacon-themed dishes from local Chattanooga restaurants, sip drink samples, and listen to live music during the Bacon & Barrel Food & Whiskey Festival. Attend screenings of new independent and international films like 13th Night, A.A., The UFO’s of Soesterberg, and more at the Chattanooga Film Festival. Or gather with your fellow book lovers to appreciate Southern literature, get your favorite books signed, and listen to panel discussions at the SoLit SouthWord Literary Festival.

Pro: Coffee Shops Galore in Chatt

If you always need a morning pick-me-up, you’ll be glad to know there’s an abundance of coffee shops in Chattanooga! Start your day with a Sweet Foam Cold Brew, London Fog, or Superfood Latte from Sleepyhead Coffee. Head to the Bluff View Art District to pair the Challah French Toast with a signature coffee drink like The Night Watch or Self Portrait at Rembrandt’s Coffee House. Wash down a Blueberry Scone with a House Roasted Drip Coffee, Mahogany Latte, or Horchata Steamer at Mean Mug Coffeehouse. Sip on a Cafe Au Lait, Cortado, or Shot in the Dark from Mad Priest Coffee Roasters. Try plant-based coffees like The Green Bean Latte, The Plant Candy Collective, or the Cha Cha Chai Latte at The Green Bean Coffee Co. Or pick up delicious specialty lattes like the Chattahooligan, Gig City Mocha, or the Honey(Bee) from the drive-thru-only (Be)Caffeinated.

Pros: Delicious Restaurants in Chattanooga

Regardless of your tastes, you’ll find great food for every craving in Chattanooga’s best restaurants! Enjoy delicious, made-from-scratch brunch items like the Chicken & Waffles, Lobster Crab Cake Breakfast, or Baja Omelette served at STIR Chattanooga. Savor Huevos Rancheros, Tostadas Clasicas, or a Burrito Bowl at Taqueria Jalisco. Try a fancy take on seafood with dishes like the Grilled Tofu, Pickett’s Ranch Trout, or Gulf Red Snapper at the upscale St. John’s Restaurant. Head over to Warehouse Row to dig into classic Southern fare with a twist, like the Red Wine Braised Prime Pot Roast, BBQ Spiced Pork Belly, and Shrimp & Grits served at Public House. Stop in to try seasonal menu items like the Bacon Wrapped Quail Breast, Baked Creste Rigate Pasta, and the wood-fired Pork Diablo Pizze at a Chattown Italian restaurant, Alleia. Or grab a slice of wood-fired pizza like the Roasted Mushroom, Spicy Bianca, or Sweet Fig from Community Pie.

Pro: Lively Chattanooga Nightlife Scene

When the sun sets, the Chattanooga nightlife warms up! With an array of bars, breweries, nightclubs, and live music venues, there’s always something to do after dark in Scenic City. Sip on flagship brews like the Stout of Tune while playing trivia, laughing along to open mic comedy acts, and more at WanderLinger Brewing Co., one of the best breweries in Chattanooga. Put on your boots for live music and line dancing, or try your hand at riding the mechanical bull at the Chattanooga country bar, Whiskey Cowgirl. Grab a beer and dance along to pulsing DJ sets or attend themed events like Emo Nite at Exile Off Main Street. Boogie the night away in a retro-glam atmosphere or show up for Sunday karaoke nights at a Chattown gay bar, Alan Gold’s Discotheque. Play some pinball, catch up with a friend on the patio, and enjoy the Culture Vulture Boilermaker or cocktails like Shady’s Rum Punch at Shady’s Corner. Or try unique cocktails like the Motorcycle Sidecar, Whiskey Rebellion, or the Pickleback while taking in stunning views of the city at Pickle Barrel, one of the best rooftop bars in Chattanooga.

Cons of Living in Chattanooga

A post shared by @instagram

While living in Chattanooga offers many perks, there are also a few downsides to be aware of. Consider these cons when moving to Chattanooga.

Con: High Humidity

If you’re moving from a cooler climate, the high humidity produced by Chattanooga’s climate can be a bit of a shock. Humidity peaks at 68.8% in July, with an average high temperature of nearly 90 degrees. On top of this, the city experiences an average of 51 inches of rain per year, which is 13 inches more than the national average. Keep in mind, however, that the high moisture in the air contributes to Chattanooga’s beautiful landscape and provides the city’s numerous parks with plenty of water to keep the area lush and green. Plus, there are plenty of fun activities to help you beat the heat, such as exploring the underground waterfall Ruby Falls, or swimming or playing on the spray ground at Warner Park Pool!

Con: Risk of Flooding

Being located along the Tennessee River provides a wonderful natural feature for residents to enjoy, but given the area’s high precipitation, certain low-lying areas are at severe risk of flooding. In fact, Chatt is the city that’s most at-risk for flooding in the entire Tennessee Valley. However, the city takes flood mitigation seriously. Flood resources, including flood zone info and insurance guides, are available on the Hamilton County website to help residents formulate a plan in the event of a flood. In addition, the city itself and the Tennessee Valley Authority have invested in flood control efforts like the Chickamauga Dam, reservoirs, and other drainage systems to reduce damage caused by rising water levels.

Con: Chattanooga Public Transit is Limited

Known for being highly car-dependent, Chattown’s public transportation options are somewhat limited. While the Chattanooga Area Regional Transportation Authority (CARTA) provides bus and shuttle services to the city, most routes are concentrated in the Downtown area. However, the city has recently won a grant to increase services to other areas, including the southern and eastern parts of the city. In addition, the Downtown area is particularly walkable and bike-friendly, and the city offers extensive bike lanes and multi-use paths, as well as a bike-share program. Plus, the Chattanooga Airport is greatly convenient for those who regularly commute or plan to frequently vacation outside the city!

Con: Reduced Educational Opportunities

Chattanooga may have room to grow in terms of its public education system. Compared to both state and national averages, test scores for Chattanooga public schools are low. However, there are initiatives like Chattanooga 2.0 that partner with local organizations to provide pathways and resources to overcome educational barriers. Additionally, Chattanooga is home to a few highly-ranked public and private schools. Both Chattanooga High School Center for Creative Arts and STEM School Chattanooga are ranked among the top ten best public high schools in Tennessee, while the all-boys McCallie School and the co-ed Baylor School rank among the top ten best private high schools in Tennessee. On top of that, Chatt has some great options for those looking to pursue higher education! Work toward a degree in accounting, psychology, electrical engineering, and more at the largest college in the city, the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. Pursue an associate degree in programs like special education, respiratory care, or computer information technology at Chattanooga State Community College. Or start your career in health sciences, esthetics, or dental assisting at Chattanooga College.


Moving to Chattanooga? Life Storage has self storage facilities in Tennessee that can help make your move easier. Rent Chattanooga self storage today!

About the Author

Life Storage

Rent storage near you at the right price. We'll show you what size storage unit you need, rent you a moving truck and more. We make self storage simple!

Pin It on Pinterest