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Old 01-06-2013, 02:05 PM
Status: "In a Mayberry Town in the Mitten..." (set 13 days ago)
Location: Pure Michigan!
4,061 posts, read 6,978,433 times
Reputation: 6123


We will be passing through TN on our way back from a trip to FL and need a place to stay for one night to break up the trip. TN is roughly the halfway point, and we will be taking I-75. If we want to walk around and explore and find shopping, attractions, etc., which would be a better choice, downtown Knoxville, or downtown Chattanooga? I have heard good things about Chattanooga's downtown, but we have never really been in downtown Knoxville either. We would prefer one of these as opposed to just stopping at some exit along I-75 and getting a room, since interstate exits all seem like "Anywhere, U.S.A." and we would like to soak up some local culture and also choose a three star or better hotel which are not normally available along the highway. We will be there the last day of February, so if Chattanooga is ever so slightly warmer or less snowy, that would help too.

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Old 01-06-2013, 02:21 PM
182 posts, read 601,017 times
Reputation: 145
Try the Chattanooga Choo Choo Hotel in downtown. Very nice place to stay. If you really want to blow it out stay in one of the train cars.
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Old 01-06-2013, 02:53 PM
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I vote for Chattanooga. Knoxville is more of a college town. Hotwire gave me the Choo Choo hotel once, but I was not impressed. The lobby is old train station, which is pretty, but the room buildings are dumpy 1970s concrete blocks. It's also several blocks from the very nice riverfront area. I've also stayed at the Doubletree which is closer to the river and newly renovated. Recommend very highly!!! And even if you don't have time to do anything in Chattanooga, drive up Lookout Mtn. Just outside town and the view from up there is fantastic.
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Old 01-06-2013, 03:01 PM
Status: "In a Mayberry Town in the Mitten..." (set 13 days ago)
Location: Pure Michigan!
4,061 posts, read 6,978,433 times
Reputation: 6123
Thanks so much for your replies. It sounds like Chattanooga might be the better choice.

We have been to Lookout Mountain a couple of times and you're right, it is a spectacular view!
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Old 01-06-2013, 03:53 PM
6,385 posts, read 10,370,573 times
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Both downtowns are pretty cool, but as of right now, I think there's more opportunities for a tourist in downtown Chattanooga.

Knoxville has done a lot to improve their downtown, and it was decently lively when I left UT (particularly around Market Square and Gay St). But it's a smallish downtown for a city of its size...and while rather clean, there's not much in terms of "destinations." If I'm spending a day in the Knoxville area, I would probably spend most of it driving around the Smokies (but not through Gatlinburg), and return downtown in the early evening and spending just a few hours there.

I think Chattanooga has more to do in terms of parking and walking around downtown (if you have kids along for the trip, the aquarium is a must -- even without kids, it's pretty cool). There are also a number of things to do 15-30 minutes from downtown in terms of hiking/scenery, whereas most of Knoxville's beautiful setting is about an hour-hour and a half away.
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Old 01-06-2013, 04:14 PM
Location: Crosstown *****
1,050 posts, read 1,609,067 times
Reputation: 546
It's like FredEx (yes it is on purpose), absolutely, positively Chattanooga.
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Old 01-06-2013, 05:32 PM
4,989 posts, read 4,489,080 times
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The Bluff View Art District is a really pretty little section of Downtown Chatt with an inn, nice restaurants, etc. If you are not coming with children and want a little nicer experience, this would be a good place to check out. I've eaten at the Back Inn before and it was really good.
Bluff View Art District
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Old 01-07-2013, 08:27 PM
5,419 posts, read 8,210,342 times
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I think if you are spending the day, or with kids, then Chattanooga.

If you are spending the night, then Knoxville. Knoxville has Market Square (tons of restaurants/bars, the old city entertainment district, 2 historic theaters, a brewery on Gay st, nearby the Mast general store stays open late.

Check the offerings at the Tennessee theater or Bijou theater before you make your decision.
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Old 01-08-2013, 06:16 AM
Status: "In a Mayberry Town in the Mitten..." (set 13 days ago)
Location: Pure Michigan!
4,061 posts, read 6,978,433 times
Reputation: 6123
We opted for Chattanooga and got a great deal on a room at the Sheraton Read House Hotel through Priceline's "Name Your Own Price" feature, 60% off of the rack rate.

I probably should have mentioned that we don't drink or go to bars, and we are middle-aged, so we aren't looking for a party scene, just somewhere nice to walk around, see the sights, and get some dinner. I liked the idea of Chattanooga because we have never been there, and we have been through Knoxville a couple of times. Also, I am a big history buff and Chattanooga has so much Civil War history that we may have time to stop at the Chickamauga Battlefield Park.

Thanks to all of you for your input. We love Tennessee and are excited about having a bit of time to explore another corner of your great state.
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Old 01-09-2013, 12:54 AM
Location: Somewhere below Mason/Dixon
5,843 posts, read 6,924,497 times
Reputation: 10141
Both towns are nice downtown wise, but I prefer Chattanooga. Make sure you visit the Aquarium, a top notch attraction. Chcikamauga/Chattanooga battlefield is well worth your time, lots to see there. I am a history buff too, and have visited many many battlefields from the war between the states, and I think Chickamauga is one of the top notch war sites to visit. They also have a really great gun collection at the museum at Chickamuaga, not just civil war either as they have guns from many time periods. You wont be disapointed with Chattanooga, it is a fun area to spend some time.
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