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What To Do in Nooga in January

January is a month of recovery for many families. After a month or so of indulgent eating, many people are thinking of health and fitness. The rounds of holiday gatherings and parties from Thanksgiving until New Year’s leaves many people craving some quiet time. And of course, some of us need a month or two to recover financially!

With all of that in mind, here are a few activities that your family may find appealing during the month of January in Chattanooga:

Georgia Winery January Sale

http://georgiawines.com/blog/events/

Bundle up for outdoor fun in Nooga in January!

Bundle up for outdoor fun in Nooga in January!

Local wine? Yes, please! Stock up at the Georgia Winery January Sale.

Racoon Mountain Cavern Expedition

http://wildcave.com/expeditions.html

For many families in the area, cold temperatures limit time spent outdoors, but you can get in some nature time comfortably exploring the natural caverns at Racoon Mountain.

Shen-Yun

http://www.shenyunperformingarts.org/Chattanooga

Take in a performance art extravaganza. That should brighten even the dreariest January Day!

HullaBOWLoo

http://www.chattanoogabridge.com/events/107427

The Chattanooga Area Food Bank Annual fundraiser at Track 29 will feature a miniature “city” for attendees to explore and enjoy. There will be street performers, food, music — all benefitting a great cause!

Game Night

Host a game night – either family game night, or a friendly poker night, or some combination. Sometimes, the best entertainment is the kind enjoyed with friends and family.

These are only a few ideas, of course. There are also plenty of parks, climbing walls, trails for hiking, movie theaters, and more for families in Chattanooga to enjoy. We’d love to hear what your family likes to do. Share your favorite January activities in the comments!

Racing Into Spring in Nooga

Spring time is almost here! And with comes…lots of opportunities to participate in 5k races. Well, and flowers, and blue skies, and spring break, and all sorts of other good stuff. But today we are going to talk about races.

If you are intimidated by the idea of entering a 5k (which is 3.1 miles), don’t be. Many people walk, some do a combination of walking and running, and then there are the real competitors. For the majority ofrunning shoes participants a 5k is a chance to socialize, meet people, and often, to support a good cause.

Here are a few races that are coming up:

The Run with Trish 5K for Team Hoyt will be held on March 2, at the Tennessee River Park. This run is to raise funds to help TeamHoyt compete in the Boston Marathon. They will be competing to support The Hoyt Foundation, which works to help integrate handicapped people into everyday activities so they can lead full and productive lives more easily.

Have some fun and do some good running in the Wash Me Pink Color Run, benefitting the Susan Komen Foundation. “Color runs” are a new kind of event that involve runners being doused with colored corn starch during the race. In this race, runners start out in white shirts, and end up in pink ones!

Raise money for the Greater Chattanooga Colon Cancer Foundation by participating in the Rump Run at Enterprise South Nature Center on March 16. There will be a time 5K, and a 1 mile
fun run/walk.

Also on March 16, but in Ringgold, there is the 14th Annual GraduRUN to raise money for Communities in Schools in Catoosa County. This one has a special category for walkers for those who prefer to take things a little slower.

One of the most anticipated races of this spring is the new Color Me Rad 5K, a fundraiser for the Make-A-Wish Foundation. In fact, this one is so anticipated that it is currently sold out, even though the event isn’t until March 30! Check it out, and get on the waiting list.

Another, similar race, Color Me Chattanooga, will be held on April 6, and raises money for the Signal Centers. This is the inaugural Color Me Chattanooga race, and is described as a “colorful and festive non-competitive run/walk.”

These are just a few of the fun running events that will be going on in and around Chattanooga this spring. You can check the RunningUSA site to find more!

12 Activities Before Christmas in Nooga

Who needs turtle doves or maids a milking? Here are 12 fun things to do in Chattanooga between now and Christmas. Get out, enjoy the city, and have a very happy holiday season!

1.  December 15-16

Hear the Chattanooga Symphony & Opera: Home for the Holidays at the Tivoli Theater.

2.  Until December 23

See Annie at the Chattanooga Theatre Center.Christmas Lights in Nooga

3.  December 15-16, and 21-22

The Chattanooga Market – Holiday Market at the Convention Center

4.  Throughout December

See the exhibition “Holidays at the Hunter” at Hunter Art Museum

5.  December 20

Hear Sandi Patty and Jason Crabb sing at The Tivoli Theater

6.  December 13

Bundle up and watch shooting stars. The Geminid Meteor Shower will be visible and beautiful!

7. Throughout December

Stroll through the beautiful Enchanted Garden of Lights at Rock City.

8. Throughout December

Go to the Aquarium for Holidays Under the Peaks

9.  Throughout December

See The Polar Express in 3D at the IMAX Theater.

10.  December 20-21

Enjoy Free Days at the Creative Discovery Museum.

11. December 14-15 and 21-22

See the Chattanooga Zoo transformed into a winter wonderland with their Holiday Lights display.

12. December 14-15 and 21-22 (and 29-30)

Visit Ruby Falls for a Ruby Red Christmas.

7 Best Places to Take Guests Visiting Nooga

Whether your in-laws are visiting, or friends from college, if you have guests coming to visit, you want to show them a good time. What you do will depend on lots of factors, like your guests’ activity levels, interests, whether children will be involved, and even the season of the year. Here are our top 7 picks, where there is something for everybody:

1. Enjoy a “tourist” day – There are a few big landmarks that everyone who visits Chattanooga should check out. Some of them, like Rock City, have been advertised on barns for so long that anyone who has driven on the interstate is curious. Others, like the Incline Railroad, are unusual and fun. Make sure to hit these major sites:

2.Tour downtown – From the Northshore to the Southside, downtown Chattanooga has a lot to see! If the thought of walking from one end of town to the other is a bit daunting, use the electric shuttles. Highlights to be sure

Walnut Street Bridge and Hunter Museum

Just one of the many beautiful sights to see in Nooga!

and see:

  • The Northshore for some cool little shops, and don’t forget to check out the dance steps embedded in the sidewalk.
  • The Renaissance Arts District, to take in the sculpture garden, and to smell the wonderful aroma of roasting coffee at Rembrandt’s.
  • The Southside, for all of the funky art galleries and the awesome public sculpture on display.
  • The central section of downtown, where you can stroll around on the Aquarium Plaza, walk across the Walnut Street Bridge, and take a rest in Miller Plaza.

3. Spend a day at the park – or visit several parks. Chattanooga has a bunch of excellent parks and greenspaces where you can play, picnic, and generally enjoy life. Read this post to learn where our favorite parks are, and why they are our favorites.

4. Get out in the wilderness – Whether you like to kayak, mountain climb, trail ride, hike, hang glide, swim, or stroll at a leisurely pace, there are plenty of outdoor activities in Chattanooga. From the Ocoee to the Tennessee River, there are opportunities to have fun on the water, and from Shell Mound Park to the Cherokee National Forest, this area has abundant camping spots.

5. Take in a show –  As with the parks and outdoor activities, when it comes to entertainment, there’s something for everyone in Chattanooga. Hamilton Place, Northgate, and downtown, and East Ridge all have good movie theaters, showing the latest and greatest films. If you are in the mood for something a little bigger, the IMAX theater downtown is the place to go. For live entertainment, check out:

6. Enjoy a sporting event – Baseball, soccer, football, and basketball teams play in Chattanooga, so there is almost always some game to go to. Finley Stadium, on the Southside, AT&T Field downtown, and Mckinzie Arena at UTC are all modern, comfortable venues where you can enjoy some popcorn and hot dog while you cheer for your team.

7. Do some shopping – In every neighborhood and section of Chattanooga, there are unique, interesting shops. Gifts, clothing, doggie accessories, antiques, and so much more can be found in St. Elmo, in Hixson, on Cherry Street, in Brainerd, at the malls. From art galleries to department stores, Chattanooga is a shopper’s delight.

Bonus: Be sure to go out to eat! Alleia, Public House, St. Johns, the Southern Star, the Fork and Pie, 212 Market, and Niko’s are just a few of the fantastic eateries downtown. There are several local food trucks where you can get great grub on the go. Chattanooga isn’t exactly a food mecca (yet) but we are well on our way!

Top 8 Nooga Parks for Small Children

One of the most wonderful things about Chattanooga is that it has lots of public green space. There are all kinds of parks and public areas for people to get out, enjoy the spectacular scenery (it is the Scenic City!), and be part of a thriving community.

While all of the parks are nice, there are six that stand out as especially fun for small children. If your family is visiting the city, or you live here and haven’t been to these parks, check them out! You, and any little ones you take, are sure to have some fun!

1. Coolidge Park

This one has to top the list because there is so much for kids to love. During the summer, kids – and adults – can splash and play in the fountain. All year, the gorgeous, fully restored, 100-year-old carousel runs for at least a

Coolidge Park

A view of Coolidge from under the bridge

few hours each day. The open, beautiful lawn is ideal for a picnic, the sidewalks are great for strollers, and there are even interactive sculptures scattered along the walkways.

Learn more about the hours of operation for the fountain and the carousel, as well as the rules and regulations at the Chattanooga Parks and Recreation web site.

2. The Warner Park Zoo

All small children like to look at animals, right? There are plenty to see at the Warner Park Zoo. This small zoo has been in existence for 75 years, and is a perfect place to visit on a sunny afternoon. It is not overwhelming in the way bigger zoos can be, but there are some really cute animals to see.

3. The Chattanooga Chew-Chew Dog Park

If you have the pleasure(?) of caring for both a small child and a canine friend, you will enjoy one of Chattanooga’s off-leash dog parks. There are three: The Chew-Chew Park, which is adjacent to the Tennessee Pavilion, and two newer installations, one at Heritage Park and one at Greenway Farms.

Find out more about the city’s policies before heading out with your furry friend!

4. The Tennessee Aquarium Plaza

With wading pools, interesting bridges, sculptures, and walkways, this plaza is an excellent spot for little ones to explore! It is located downtown, and is part of the aquarium complex, but you don’t need a ticket to enjoy it. It’s a great spot to take a break if you are downtown shopping or eating or attending an event, as well as a good picnicking area.

5. The Permanent Outdoor Art Collection

You may be thinking, “My toddler doesn’t care about art!” but most of the sculptures in this collection can be climbed on, touched and otherwise enjoyed by small children. The vast majority of the installations are downtown,

Happy Swinging Baby

Swinging makes us HAPPY!

so if you feel like taking a walking tour of the city, grab a map and check out some of this kid-friendly artwork!

6. The Tennessee Riverwalk

No list of parks in Chattanooga would be complete without including this gorgeous, sprawling, 10 mile walking track. Adults and kids alike enjoy the views of the river, the surrounding mountains, the geese, the green spaces, not to mention the picnic tables, built in BBQ grills, and fishing piers. Whether you are looking for a spot to spend an hour, an afternoon, or a day, the Riverwalk has something to offer.

7. Vandergriff Park in Hixson

Baby swings, a walking trail around the perimeter, and a pavilion make Vandergriff Park a great place to spend some time with toddlers and babies. It’s also a fantastic place for a birthday party!

Babies in Swings

Swinging is fun for everyone!

8. The Pumpkin Patch

The Pumpkin Patch was built by community volunteers, and is maintained by volunteers. It is arguably one of the best parks in the area for very small children. There are baby swings, a sandbox, bells to ring, a baby slide, and it’s all nice and shady. Bigger kids can have fun, too – especially on the big slide. There is a pavilion that can be reserved for parties, and a short walking trail around the park.