Chattanooga has been named “Best” of a lot of things, including Best Place to Raise a Family, Best Place to Work Remote, and a slew of other ranking titles. It is no surprise that we are seeing such a huge boom in newcomers from all over the country. Families are drawn here for the outdoor recreation, the family-friendly entertainment, and the unique way Nooga supports small businesses and startups. I moved here in 2019 and quickly made friends and honestly, Chattanooga has been the most welcoming out of all of the places I’ve lived.
But like any new city, it can be hard to meet new people, and even harder to meet your people, so I thought I would save you some time by putting together the 10 places I go to meet people. This is specifically for newcomers but also works for my fellow business owners.
- Facebook Groups. Chattanooga has a ton of groups. Usually, divided up by neighborhood or area, making it easier to meet people closer to home. Honestly, I had met a few people in groups who helped me transition to Chatt, and then we later met in person. Our own Chattanooga Moms Group is a great place to start (shameless plug) or check out our local Woman’s Supper Club group.
- Common House. Our own little millennial social club. This is a great place for business owners or professionals who network heavily. It is a very popular place for business meetings and after-work cocktails. They even have childcare coming soon! I am often there for pleasure too. They have great social events every week.
- Dog walking on the Walnut Street Bridge. Fellow dog owners love to walk the bridge in the early summer mornings or evenings. Most have been incredibly friendly and can tell you more about the local canine scene. Of course, it is great without furry friends too.
- Local Gyms. Don’t start up a conversation with someone who has their buds in, but striking up a chat with someone at your local gym could lead to a friendship and maybe even a workout partner.
- High Point. I put the rock climbing gym on its own line. It’s a whole different way of working out and a whole different group of people, all of whom have been very helpful when my husband takes up climbing once a year. They also have a kids’ section if you want to meet fellow parents.
- Coffee Shops! Chattanooga has a ton of coffee shops that are designed for hanging out. And with so many transplants living in the city, most people are very receptive to a little conversation, especially if you are a remote worker taking advantage of our Gig City Internet; you can get some work done and run into a few fellow work-from-home people all in one outing.
- Volunteering. The city has tons of opportunities to lend a hand. Especially if you came for the outdoor adventures, volunteering to maintain your favorite trail or kayak launching spot would be a great place to run into someone with similar interests. We’ve volunteered with local foster and advocacy groups and I’ve met a ton of people through that.
- Frequent local small businesses. Maybe your love of flowers will lead to a lifelong friendship. Seriously, becoming a regular at your favorite spots is a great way to spark a conversation. Us business owners love to hear about how you found yourself in our space or using our services, so just get the conversation rolling and we’ll chat your ear off.
- Join a meetup event. We have a few really niche meetups that happen regularly. Check out the offerings and jump into something that interests you. I’ve been to a Deaf Chattanooga meeting and I have some local hiking meetups saved right now.
- The tourist attractions during the week. So these spots can be tricky, because you may really hit it off with Susan from Oregon, which is great, but doesn’t really help you when you want someone to meet for Thursday night drinks. So stick to it during the week if you’re trying to meet people. The crowds are down and you’re more likely to run into locals.
Of course, there are a million places and ways to meet people in any city. Chattanooga really is very friendly and welcoming probably because so many people have moved here from out of town and state. We all just want to make connections, grow our network, and make this home.