North Chattanooga is a hip, historical area of town situated just north of the Tennessee River. It's known for trendy boutiques, local dining and ample outdoor spaces for recreation or relaxation.
"It is an eclectic, funky, walkable neighborhood that is both close enough to everything to be convenient and also just far away enough from downtown to be a retreat," says Elizabeth Hammitt, a North Chattanooga homeowner.
Strolling over the river from downtown across the Walnut Street pedestrian bridge brings you to the quaint section commonly called the North Shore. This area along the water houses local stores, salons, art galleries, coffee shops, yoga studios, and restaurants serving everything from casual fine dining to pub grub.
Those seeking fresh air can explore Renaissance Park's urban wetlands or splash in the Coolidge Park fountain after taking a ride on the carousel. Bikers and hikers alike enjoy Stringers Ridge, a 92-acre wilderness park containing miles of multi-use recreational trails.
Modern condos overlook the water, but farther north you'll find quiet, established neighborhoods, like Hill City and Dallas Heights, properly named for their steep, twisting streets. Toward the east is Riverview, where golf enthusiasts may patron the Chattanooga Golf and Country Club, a private club on the river.
Hammitt first moved to Chattanooga 10 years ago, and after renting and owning a house in different areas of the city, she landed in North Chattanooga.
She lives in the Lower Northshore neighborhood with her husband, daughter, two dogs and one cat, and recently co-founded the Lower Northshore Residential Neighborhood Association.
"What we learned was that we want an efficient house that really just meets our everyday needs, and not one inch bigger," she says of her family's decision to drop anchor in North Chattanooga. "We wanted to be closer to work, school and activities, cutting our commute and making more time for life."
Some of her favorite pastimes include running through the public parks, walking along the pedestrian bridge and eating brunch on the patio of The Daily Ration. She's also excited about the new neighborhood association.
"We're really working to get input from our neighbors and build on the success of North Chattanooga so we can make sure that our neighborhood is as strong as it can be and works for everybody," Hammitt says.
BY THE NUMBERS
WHO WE ARE
Median age: 35.21
WHERE WE LIVE
Median home price: $340,210
Median rental price: $1,263
» The North Shore is seeing an array of new, planned or recently completed projects, though there are concerns among some North Chattanooga residents that the area is being over-built. More than 300 apartments are under construction or planned off Cherokee Boulevard, and more than $10 million in new commercial space has recently opened or is planned for the area.
Normal Park Museum (preK-8)
Proficiency (TVAAS): 5/5 overall, 5/5 in literacy, 5/5 in numeracy
» Normal Park Museum is a lauded public magnet school established in 2002. Housed in two historic buildings, this high-demand school incorporates artwork and innovative teaching styles into its curriculum. Featured nationwide for its model, success and parent engagement, Normal Park has repeatedly claimed top spots in rankings by Magnet Schools of America.
Rivermont Elementary (preK-5)
Proficiency (TVAAS):1/5 overall, 3/5 in literacy, 1/5 in numeracy
» Thanks to a recent outpouring of community support, Rivermont has built new STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and math) labs, updated classrooms, and is in the process of replacing its dated playground for students of all abilities.
Red Bank Elementary (preK-5)
Proficiency (TVAAS): 1/5 overall, 4/5 in literacy, 1/5 in numeracy
» In addition to traditional classroom learning, Red Bank Elementary offers a popular forest kindergarten program, where learning is associated with building homes out of sticks in the woods, collecting and identifying plants, and mud-painting rocks lining the creek bed. Started in 2016, it's the first of its kind in Hamilton County. Demand has been great — twice as many families as anticipated were interested in the class, leading to a lottery draw for the available 20 slots that first year.
Red Bank Middle
Proficiency (TVAAS): 1/5 overall, 5/5 in literacy, 1/5 in numeracy
Red Bank High
Proficiency (TVAAS): 4/5 overall, 4/5 in literacy, 2/5 in numeracy
ACT scores: 19 composite, 17.8 in English, 18.6 in math, 20 in reading, 19.2 in science
» Serving as a potential pilot for the rest of the county, Red Bank High houses the area's first "Community School," which offers after-school support for both students and local residents. Students may get extra help with school work while parents or other community members study to receive a state-issued high school equivalency credential, for example. The school connects with partners like the Helen Ross McNabb behavioral health center to provide an on-site counselor, and with the Latin-centered La Paz nonprofit to offer immigration information nights.
Chattanooga High Center for Creative Arts (6-12)
Proficiency (TVAAS): 5/5 overall, 5/5 in literacy, 5/5 in numeracy
ACT scores: 24.4 composite, 25.8 in English, 22.3 in math, 25.7 in reading, 23.5 in science
» This dedicated, fine-arts magnet school features classes in acting, dancing, music and visual art in addition to a liberal arts curriculum. It has won numerous awards and exemplary designations from organizations including the Tennessee Department of Education, U.S. News & World Report, the Arts Schools Network and Magnet Schools of America.
Source: 2017 State Report Card
*The Tennessee Value-Added Assessment System scale runs from 1-5, with 1 denoting the least effective schools/districts and least amount of progress toward the Standard for Academic Growth.
A CULTURAL EXPERIENCE
Chattanooga Theatre Centre: Founded in 1923 as the Little Theatre of Chattanooga, the Chattanooga Theatre Centre hosts 15 locally run productions per year and attracts more than 50,000 viewers. One of the oldest community theaters in the country, its mission is to not only bring engaging theater experiences to the community, but to give them opportunities to participate in productions. Upcoming shows include "A Room with a View," "Martha Reeves & the Vandellas," "The Amish Project" and "Boeing, Boeing!" 400 River St. Call 423-267-8534 or visit theatrecentre.com.
In-Town Gallery: One of the country's oldest artist co-ops, it features a wide-ranging assortment of work from more than 30 artists — everything from jewelry and fiber arts to woodwork and photography. Free to visit every day, the studio offers the chance for unique mementos as well as to simply connect with the arts community. The artists can often be found there and are usually willing to discuss and demonstrate their work. A different artist-member is highlighted monthly, with an opening reception the first Friday of the month from 5-8 p.m. 26 Frazier Ave. #A. Call 423-267-9214.
WHAT WE DO FOR FUN
Coolidge Park: A popular destination along the riverfront for concerts, festivals and special events, the park features a restored, 100-year-old carousel, splash fountains, a rock climbing wall, river access and lots of green space. Open daily, the carousel costs $1 for adults and is free for riders under age 2 with a paid adult. The rock climbing wall is open on select dates. Call Outdoor Chattanooga at 423-643-6888 to learn more. 150 River St.
Stringer's Ridge Park: A forested haven for hikers, bikers and wildlife within the city limits, the 92-acre park features easy to moderately technical multi-use trails, a Civil War cannon placement and spectacular views. 1312 Spears Ave. or 707 W. Bell Ave.
Renaissance Park: A revitalized urban wetland park that highlights Chattanooga's history and transformation from a polluted, industrial city to one that celebrates its natural ecosystems. 100 Manufacturers Road.
Riverview Park: Tucked into a 1.5-acre setting and built in 1939, this park has been revitalized and improved to include a new outdoor amphitheater, playground, two tennis courts, picnic tables, barbecue grills and grassy areas. 1857 Riverview Road.
North Chattanooga Center: Operated by the city, it offers a computer room, full-size gym, community meeting space, game room and a ballfield. 406 May St. Call 423-757-5447.
Frances B. Wyatt Center: Features an arts center, community meeting space, gym, playground, tennis court and softball field. 406 Colville St. Call 423-757-5443.
WHERE WE LIKE TO EAT
Frazier Avenue is rife with restaurants frequented by residents and visitors alike. Those looking for more of a neighborhood feel can head to one of these hangouts, which are especially popular with locals.
Tremont Tavern: Recently expanded to accommodate the large crowds this place draws, Tremont is known especially for its burgers, which have not only won over locals, as evidenced by its "Best of the Best" Chattanooga Times Free Press reader-nominated and voted ranking, but also by its appearance in Garden and Gun's "Best Burgers of the South" roundup. 1203 Hixson Pike. Call 423-266-1996.
Heaven & Ale Brewing Co.: Head here for an elevated take on beer and a snack. Focused on "hop-centric" ales, the taps feature a rotating selection of craft beers alongside small plates like cheese and charcuterie boards and trout tartine. 300 Cherokee Blvd., Ste. 101. Call 423-521-4222.
Aretha Frankensteins: On a nice day, you'll find the porch and patio full of diners and drinkers (and sometimes even on a not-nice day, as there are just a handful of tables and a small bar inside). Famous for its buttermilk pancakes, the breakfast food is what draws most diners, no matter the time of day, but there's also a selection of sandwiches, burritos and quesadillas. 518 Tremont St. Call 423-265-7685.