After Rock City, we stopped in Chattanooga. The visit was all too brief because the temps were in the high 80s, there wasn’t a lick of shade on the streets, and our boys don’t take to the heat.
The commerce afforded by the Tennessee River and the arrival of the railroad made Chattanooga a boom town in the 1850s. Back then, Chattanooga was known as the city “where cotton meets corn” because of its location between the mountain communities of Southern Appalachia to the north and the cotton-growing states to the south. By the 1930s, Chattanooga was called the “Dynamo of Dixie,” later inspiring the 1941 Glenn Miller big-band swing song “Chattanooga Choo Choo“.
What We Did
We stopped by the visitors center, adjacent to the Tennessee Aquarium, and secured a city map. We crossed the river on the Market Street Bridge to the dog friendly Renaissance Park. Note: There are two bridges for pedestrians to cross the river; only the Market Street Bridge is pet friendly.**
This area of Chattanooga is called North Shore, and is undergoing gentrification. Its dog friendly park is in a state of rebirth and, when finished, should be beautiful. For now, it is a work in progress with little to do or see and few places to rest.
** UPDATE: As of August 7, 2010, the Walnut Street Pedestrian Bridge that crosses the Tennessee River is open to people with pets!
On our way back, we stopped at The Bone Appetit Bakery, on Frazier Avenue. This small boutique offers gourmet dog treats and pet toys and accessories. We picked up some cookies and the Parks and Recreation Department’s Guideline for Pets in Downtown Chattanooga. The brochure clearly outlines the local ordinances as well as pet owners’ common sense duties and responsibilities. The brochure also includes a map of the dog friendly parks and paths where pets are welcome as well as where pets are not permitted. Interestingly, the Tennessee Riverwalk – any river walk is generally a place you want to walk, especially with your dog – is not pet friendly.
Effective July 1, 2009, Tennessee removed its ban on non-service dogs at restaurants with outdoor dining areas. We stopped for lunch on Market Street at Cheeburger Cheeburger, a chain known for its all natural angus beef burgers. I saw more toppings than I imagined possible, including peanut butter! Per our server, there are over 400,000 possible milkshake combinations. And yes, it is pet friendly. Buster donned the official cheeburger hat to audition for a mascot position – no word yet on his screen test.
Where We Stayed
We stayed at the Holiday Trav-L-Park on Mack Smith Road in Chattanooga. While there was nothing particularly picturesque about the campground, it was close to the city, well laid out, clean, and had all the amenities (i.e., cable TV hookup!). There was also plenty of green space to exercise Ty and Buster. We wouldn’t hesitate to stay there again. If you’re looking for pet friendly hotels in Chattanooga, you’ll also find several good options.
The next time we’re in town we want to see more of Chattanooga and get a better feel for its pet friendly offerings, including Riverfront Parkway, Miller Park and the Chattanooga Chew-Chew Off-leash Dog Park. We’ll be back!
Chattanooga is taking an interesting approach to becoming a pet friendly city. Only certain areas have been designated as being pet friendly. DOGood Chattanooga is a volunteer dog owners group working with the city to help open more recreational areas to dogs … but the progress is dependent upon pet owners acting responsibly – by obeying the leash and clean-up laws. For people reading this post who would like to do something similar in their city, you can check them out on Facebook.
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