Like most cities, Chattanooga is divided up into neighborhoods. We spent a little time exploring the North Shore neighborhood on Monday.
Monday, Labor Day, was a beautiful day with a high around 90 and lots of sunshine all day long. We are getting oriented to what is around us, so we started at Hamilton Place which is the big shopping area. Here you can find everything you want in the retail market: Penney’s, Sears, Dillards, Belk, Barnes and Noble – all the chains were represented. There were also lots of restaurants around the mall. Hamilton Place was very busy. I think, after a hot weekend, that people were enjoying the air conditioning inside and getting a few last minute things for school. We stayed there as long as we could stand it and then headed to the North Shore.
Our destination wasn’t the North Shore – we wanted to check out the 15-mile Riverwalk that goes along the Tennessee River – but it turns out most of the parking for the Riverwalk is on the North Shore.
North Shore is an interesting mix of old and new, retail and homes with plenty of non-chain restaurants plugged in here and there. Cherokee Drive is the main street for North Shore and there was lots of public parking right off Cherokee. All the parking is pay parking, but the cost was about $1 per hour, so not too bad. We found a place to park the big truck and then started walking around.
There are two big, beautiful parks right along the river. Coolidge Park was named after Charles Henry Coolidge, a US Army soldier in WWII who received the Medal of Honor and was from Chattanooga. Coolidge Park has wonderful open lawns, big flat spaces that are hard to find in Chattanooga, a restored carousel, a splash park water fountain, and a peace park. It also has Blue Boy – we don’t know why. The Chattanooga Community Theatre is next to Coolidge Park and offers a full program of musicals and plays.
Renaissance Park is next to Coolidge Park and has an earthen slide. The Parks had lots of people in them enjoying the open spaces and having family picnics. There were young people playing football and frisbee, children splashing in the fountain, pleasure boats on the Tennessee River, and people paddleboarding and kayaking along the shores.
We walked across the Walnut Street Bridge which is a pedestrian bridge to downtown Chattanooga. Chattanooga encourages lingering with wide sidewalks, rental bikes at stands every few blocks, and a free electric shuttle. Downtown has the Art Museum and the Aquarium right across the river from North Shore. Both buildings are made of glass and very distinctive. We could also see the riverboat dock.
Back on the North Shore we stopped in a Clumpies Ice Cream – we can’t resist a new ice cream place. Tom and I shared a scoop of French Silk ice cream: smooth and delicious creamy chocolate with slivers of dark chocolate mixed through.
We didn’t stay very long at North Shore but we enjoyed the time we were there. It is certainly a family destination for the local people who were out enjoying it on a beautiful Labor Day. I am sure we will return to enjoy the parks and get more ice cream!