Happy Valentine’s Day! You’re here because you woke up and realized you didn’t make dinner reservations for a fancy schmancy dinner on this Day of Love. Or you’re here because that’s not really your thing anyways. So here are 5 alternative ideas for a fun Chattanooga, Tennessee date day!
1. Adventurers: Hike TN Trails
By now you’ve realized you live in a city built for the outdoors. Mountains, rivers, waterfalls - Chattanooga has got it all! Plan a fun and easy hike day to see new views, bring along a hammock, and kick off your shoes while you listen to the sounds of nature surrounding you. Find trails on your own or discover new ones together. I love using the AllTrails app for this. It has detailed maps, user reviews, photos, and difficulty ratings. Really wanna wow your partner? Bring a speaker, a book of poetry, and pack a picnic!
Check out some of our favorite trails below!
This is Glen Falls Trail on Lookout Mountain. Fun and super easy, the rock formations remind me of Rivendell in Lord of the Rings!
Chickamauga Creek Gorge is a local’s favorite during the summer for swimming in the natural springs. But during the winter, the views and rushing water are unbeatable! You can even shimmy your way out onto massive boulders for that picnic lunch!
Cloudland Canyon is about a 30 minute drive from downtown Chattanooga in Georgia, and it’s so worth it! Up top are epic views of the surrounding valley as well as views of the multiple waterfalls scattered throughout the park. Cloudland Canyon even offers backcountry treks as well as biking and camping. Make a weekend out of it to explore as much of the state park as possible!
Cloudland Canyon is super diverse. From those sweeping views up top to the waterfall pool at the bottom, you’re going to want to come back here again and again!
While it’s a well-known and high-trafficked trail, it’s for good reason. Sunset Rock has views you’ll never get tired of. Each time I’m there, it’s different. Whether it’s rain storming across the valley, or a blue cold day - the colors that fall over the Tennessee valley are consistently breathtaking. While you’re there, you’ll see repellers on the cliff - stay for sunset, it’s called Sunset Rock for a reason!
You can hike the trail from Craven House or park at the top and walk down. Keep in mind that parking is very limited and sometimes risk waiting for quite a while!
The Tennessee River snakes through the city on one side, and wide expansive mountain views to the other at Sunset Rock.
Opposite of Sunset Rock is Snooper’s Rock. Best at sunrise whether the sun is shining or not. We were there one morning where the sun stayed hidden, but instead fog filled the valley, making us feel like we were in the clouds. Bring along a thermos of coffee, and watch as the fog burns away and the Tennessee River reveals itself below.
2. Urban Assault: Explore downtown Chattanooga, TN like a Tourist
So what if you’re a native born and raised. When was the last time you wandered around the city like it was the first time? Every time I do this, I’m reminded just how beautiful Chattanooga truly is.
Get lost exploring the alleys and sculpture work in the Bluff View Art District. There are beautiful gardens, and fountains hidden behind buildings, and fantastic coffee and an even better patio at Rembrandt’s Coffee House. After that, stroll over to the glass bridge outside of the Hunter Art Museum, and make your way down to Chattanooga’s iconic walking bridge - the Walnut Street Bridge. Take your time and listen to the street performers while taking in the sunset - there’s a reason this is the city’s number one proposal spot!
Looking for the perfect Instagram post? Go on an urban scavenger hunt to track down all the incredible wall murals we have! Did you know the polka dot wall has its own Insta account - it knows when you’re taking pictures of yourself.
Don’t miss out on the famous Donut Wall on south Broad Street! And then head into Koch’s Bakery to grab some donuts you know you need now.
3. Couch Dwellers: Plan an In-Home Date, Perfect for Introverts
Sure, we could blame it on the weather, but why don’t we just own up to it, instead. Spending an hour getting ready to squeeze into tight clothes and go eat expensive tiny portions just isn’t for everybody. Make it a Pajama Party, but be intentional with it. Order the pizza, pop the corn, soften the ice cream out on the counter. Go ahead and choose what to watch on Netflix - oh my god, that’s so hot. Not spending 30 minutes trying to figure out what to watch, and just watching- WOW. Be extra cute, and build a fort in the living room complete with twinkle lights and board games.
Put the phones away and just enjoy each other’s company! Remember playing that game where you’d push against each other’s feet like arm wrestling… but for your toes.
Yep, go ahead and chase each other around the house. You’re bound to end up with a stubbed toe, but then your love-ah can take extra sweet care of you.
Share a cup of coffee and actually listen to each other!
4. Book a Tiny Room: In a Tiny House!
Sure, sure hotel rooms are cool. What’s cooler? A whole house! A whole TINY house! This movement has stormed the nation, and it’s such a fun experience! Stay for the night and prepare for snuggles and cuddles as you’re forced to cozy up in this small space!
Check out Live a Little Chatt! Not only are the houses cute and tiny, the views are grand and beautiful!
Thrill-Seekers: Try Something New Together
Chattanooga has no shortage of experiences to try out! We’ve got stand-up paddle boarding, kayaking, rock-climbing, not to mention open-mic nights, cooking classes, axe-throwing, bike rentals, even these things we call the Ducks, and, of course, plenty of paint and sip classes. Talk about something you’d both be interested in trying and just go for it! Groupon is actually a great place to discover new experiences!
Longboarding in Chattanooga’s historic St. Elmo neighborhood! Not only is it good exercise, you also look like a total badass!
Fearless? Try Hang gliding! The Lookout Mountain Flight Park is the perfect place to get that adrenaline rush! If that’s a little too much, pack a picnic and hang out at the overlook and just enjoy watching the gliders!
Take in the beautiful scenery… of both local art and American artwork. From the Hunter Museum of American Art to HART Gallery on Main Street and In-Town Gallery on Frazier Avenue, you can make a whole day exploring fine art while you browse local boutiques and stop for local craft beer along the way!
Another fun date idea?
A love story photo session! Hire a photographer to third-wheel your date and snag photos of the two of you being all sweet and lovey-dovey. Trust me, they’ll love it!
But no matter what you do, remember to express to those you love, just how much you love them. I mean, yeah, Valentine’s Day may be a silly consumer holiday, but ignore all that crap, and use it as an excuse to spoil the ones you love. You don’t need chocolate and roses (but I mean come on, who doesn’t love chocolate). Chattanooga offers so much that you barely have to do anything!
Alright you Lovebirds, go get your Date on.