Moving to Chattanooga, Tennessee, means you’re going to a city that means “rock coming to a point,” referring to a special landmark Lookout Mountain. Chattanooga is set along the Tennessee River in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains and is known for its trolley-like Incline Railway, which not only scales the mountain but also reaches Ruby Falls waterfall and Rock City. You’ll be home to sweeping views, sandstone formations, and gardens that won’t even make you feel like you’re in Tennessee. You’ll also be a part of history, as the city has Point Park, also atop Lookout Mountain, which marks the site of a Civil War battle now honored at the Battles for Chattanooga Museum.
If you’re looking to move to Chattanooga, also known as the “Scenic City,” get ready for a life filled with adventure and breathtaking scenery. Whether you’re moving because you want to start somewhere fresh, or have visited Chattanooga on a trip and decided you wanted to stay there permanently, this Tennessee city will welcome you with open arms.
Where is Chattanooga?
Chattanooga is in the county seat of Hamilton County, sitting in southeastern Tennessee. It’s right along the Tennesee River, bordering Georgia, as well as on the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains Chattanooga is in the TN-GA Metropolitan Statistical Area, which is an area consisting of six counties as defined by the United States Office of Management and Budget. Three counties are in southeast Tennessee (Hamilton, Marion, and Sequatchie) and three are in northwest Georgia (Catoosa, Dade, and Walker) – anchored by the city of Chattanooga. It is about 134 miles from Chattanooga to Nashville and about 118 miles from Chattanooga to Atlanta, Georgia.
- County: Hamilton County
- Area: 143.2 square miles
- Zip code: 37341-37450
- Area code: 423
- Elevation: 676’
- Time zone: Eastern Daylight Time
- Closest airport: Chattanooga Airport (CHA), 5 miles from downtown Chattanooga
Chattanooga Population & Demographics
The total population of Chattanooga is 182,113, according to the 2020 U.S. Census Bureau. This showed a growth in the city’s population, as it’s up 8% from 2010. That equates to about 1 new resident every 6.5 hours. This makes Chattanooga Tennessee’s fourth-largest city and one of the two principal cities of East Tennessee, along with Knoxville.
Chattanooga is currently growing at a rate of about 0.74% annually and its population has increased by roughly 1.48% since the census in 2010.
Chattanooga’s population is up 8% from 2010. In other words, that equates to about 1 new resident every 6.5 hours. Roughly, there are about 1,272.2 people per square mile.
While there’s a pretty long list of famous people from Chattanooga, including a list of athletes, singers, politicians, authors, and more, there are a few notable celebrities. First, country singer and songwriter, Kane Brown was raised in northwestern Georgia and the Chattanooga areas. Actor Samuel L, Jackson was raised in Chattanooga, and Leslie Jordan was both born and raised there.
Although the list of famous people goes on, Chattanooga is made up of just more than them! When talking about the demographics, we cover all the bases to see what Chattanooga looks like:
- 53% female, 47% male
- Median age: 36.7 years old
- Racial and ethnic composition: White: 60.7%, Black or African American: 31%, Asian: 2.9%, Hispanic or Latino, 6.9%
- Median household income: $47,165
- State’s Median income: $54,833
- Educational attainment: High school graduate or higher: 88.3%
- Education attainment: Bachelor’s degree or higher: 31.4%
- Foreign-born population: 3.97%
When it comes to traveling throughout Chattanooga, you want to make sure you’re navigating most efficiently. Thankfully there are a lot of different ways to travel through the city.
Chattanooga uses Interstate Highways I-24 and I-75. Chattanooga is also served by the following US highways: 2, 8, 11, 17, 27, 41, 58, 127, 317, 319, 320, 321, Amnicola Highway, Birmingham Highway, Cummings Highway, Old US Highway 27, Old Lee Highway, and Lee Highway. You can also take two parkways/expressways: Riverfront Parkway and Scenic Highway.
Chattanooga has both public transportation and bikes. Chattanooga’s public transportation system, Chattanooga Area Regional Transporation Authority, or CARTA, is a fairly inexpensive fare. You can get a one-way pass, 24-hour unlimited ride pass, 7-day unlimited ride pass, 31-day pass card, and even a student discount.
For the most part, Chattanooga is also a walkable city and is both pedestrian and bike-friendly.
Finally, if you’re flying in to or out of Chattanooga, the city has the Chattanooga Airport (CHA). It’s a smaller airport, but is only 5 miles from downtown Chattanooga.
Cost of Living in Chattanooga
Chatanooga’s cost of living can be calculated through something called the cost of living index. The cost of living index lets you compare how much it costs in one area compared to another. Although there are various types of cost of living indexes that use different variables and metrics, most set a base cost of living, often represented by 100. If it is higher, people can afford more based on the cost of living in relation to income. Chattanooga is 92.2 on the living index, meaning it is an affordable place to live.
According to the Economic Policy Institute, a family of four would need to earn $74,769 per year to afford to live in Chattanooga.
More so, according to the MIT Living Wage Calculator, which shows the hourly rate that an individual in a household must earn to support his or herself and their family, there are different wages you need to make depending on your living situation. One person with no kids only needs to make $14.65 an hour, while 2 adults (with one working) with 2 children needs to make $32.23. If both adults are working, they need to make $19.65 an hour with 2 children.
Typical Chattanooga Living Expenses
According to Numbeo:
- Inexpensive restaurant: $15.00
- Takeout coffee/Cappuccino: $5.10
- Bottle of Coke/Pepsi: $1.84
- 1L (1.4 Gallon) of Milk: $3.50
- Loaf of Bread: $2.50
- 12 Eggs: $3.00
- 1lb chicken: $6.00
- 1lb beef: $6.67
- 1lb apples: $2.29
- 1lb potatoes: $1.36
- Cereal: $3.73
- Average Chattanooga utilities per month: $317.00
Let’s break down the taxes in Chattanooga.
The current total local sales tax rate in Tennesee 9.250%. The December 2020 total local sales tax rate was also 9.250%. Chattanooga specifically does not have a rate.
Sales Tax Breakdown:
When comparing it to the rest of the sales taxes in the United States, Tennessee is on the higher side. It is tied for the second-highest statewide tax rate, at 7% along with Indiana, Mississippi, and Rhode Island. Tennessee’s sale taxes are ranked 2nd highest out of 50 states.
TN State Income Tax
Tennesee is a little different when it comes to state income tax. In fact, Tennessee does not have an individual income tax. Tennessee has a 6.50 percent corporate income tax rate and levies a gross receipts tax. Tennessee also has an average combined state and local sales tax rate of 9.55 percent.
When it comes to property taxes, the assessment ratio for the different classes of property is established by state law. The assessed value is calculated by multiplying the appraised value by the assessment ratio.
According to Chattanooga’s government website, the current tax rate is 2.25 per $100 of assessed valuation. Residential and commercial properties are assessed at 25% and 40% of appraised value respectively.
According to Hamilton County’s 2021 county and municipal tax rates, Chattanooga’s rate is $2.25 per $100 and Hamilton County’s is $2.23743, totaling $4.4873.
If you’re looking to buy a home or rent in Chattanooga, it’s important to note the average home prices and rental prices. The average home price as of 2022 is around $310,000. The average rent is around $1,328.00.
Chattanooga Real Estate | Average Rent & Home Prices
As stated above, it’s important to know how much the cost of living is as far as purchasing a home or renting a place.
Chattanooga is a sellers market, which means prices tend to be higher and homes sell faster. The Chattanooga median home price is $310,000, which is a 10.8% increase from last year, and about 1.2% over the listing price. On average, you would pay $180 per square foot, which is a 17.6% increase from last year. This is less than the national median average, which is $428,700- a 30% increase from 2020.
According to RentCafe, the average rent in Chattanooga is $1,328 for the average apartment size of 928 square feet. The average rent in America is basically the same, at $1,326 a month.
If you’re looking for an affordable spot to call home, according to Redfin, the most affordable neighborhoods in Chattanooga are 21st Century, where the average rent goes for $959 per month, Hilltop at $959 per month, and Ridgeside, where you pay an average $959 per month. The most popular neighborhood in Chattanooga is Martin Luther King, where the average rent is about $1,445.
Chattanooga Neighborhoods | Where to Live in Chattanooga
Now you’ll want to figure out which neighborhoods are going to suit your needs best. We’ve listed three of the best neighborhoods in Chattanooga.
Lookout Mountain– Desirable Family-Friendly Neighborhood with an Upscale Vibe in Chattanooga
- Median household income: Over $114,000
- Median home price: $894,904
- Median age: 44.5 years old
You can raise your family in this beautiful Lookout Mountain neighborhood that’s set against breathtaking mountain views. Plus, this area is only minutes from Downtown Chattanooga, granting you easy access to restaurants and more. If you live in the neighborhood, you will be able to enroll your kids in great public schools, which are highly ranked in the state. You’ll also be right in the middle of all things nature and sports, which is great to raise your children as well.
Signal Mountain– A Thriving Community for Young Professionals Surrounded by Nature and Art in Chattanooga
- Median household income: $109,611
- Median home price: $345,900
- Median people living in the home: 2.64
- Population estimate: 8,839 people
- Median Age: 43.3 years old
The desirable Chattanooga neighborhood of Signal Mountain is also in the surrounding area but brings a more lively setting, which may be more suitable for young adults looking to kick start their professional lives.
Signal Mountain is a lively Chattanooga suburb that also has gorgeous views, as it sits atop Walden Ridge. It’s a close-knit community, so you truly feel like you’re at home here. Furthermore, those who live here will also see so much music and art surrounding the neighborhood, as there’s The Mountain Arts Community Center, The Signal Mountain Playhouse, and The Mountain Opry. You’re also close to great shopping at boutiques and delicious restaurants.
Hilltop– One of The Most Affordable Yet Exciting Neighborhoods in Chattanooga
- Median household income: $45,527
- Median home price: $167,500
- Median age: 37.5 years old
Although not always a family residential neighborhood, Hilltop is a great place for those looking to start fresh on their own. The rent is affordable, making it a desirable community. Hilltop is in a historic area of Chattanooga located on the south side of Brainerd Rd., between Germantown Rd. and Belvoir Ave.
Aside from affordability, Hilltop is convenient for everything. It’s a short drive to downtown, the Lake, and even a Costco and Sam’s Club.
Chattanooga Weather & Climate
The weather and climate in Chattanooga are pretty even all year round.
According to the Köppen classification, Chattanooga’s climate is classified as “Cfa”, or Humid Subtropical Climate. Chattanooga is characterized by relatively high temperatures and evenly distributed precipitation throughout the year. In the summertime, the area deals with lots of moist, maritime airflow from the western side of the subtropical anticyclonic cells over low-latitude ocean waters. Summers are usually somewhat wetter than winters in Chattanooga, with much of the rainfall coming from convectional thunderstorm activity. This also includes tropical cyclones that enhance warm-season rainfall in some regions. The coldest month is usually quite mild. Frost is common, and winter precipitation is derived primarily from frontal cyclones along the polar front.
In Chattanooga, there’s an average of 3.9 inches of snow, which is not a lot.
The average annual temperature in Chattanooga is 60.9°F. The warmest month, on average, is July with an average temperature of 80.0°F while the coolest month is January, with an average temperature of 40.5°F.
As far as any severe weather patterns go, the good news is that the risk of tornado damage in Chattanooga is lower than the Tennessee average.
If you’re looking for soulful food, Chattanooga has got you covered. After all, it is in a southern state known for its great food. Chattanooga’s dining scene is very broad and covers a whole range of different foods:
- Embargo 62: A great spot for some of Chattanooga’s most uncommon cuisine where you’ll enjoy luscious Cuban and Latin American classics such as empanadas, fried plantains, and classic Cuban sandwiches. There is also music and salsa dancing on certain nights to spice things up. Embargo 62, 301 Cherokee Blvd, Chattanooga, TN, 37405 – (423) 551-4786
- Alleia: A great spot for date night, and great to do as a couple, Alleia is a cozy dining setting serving great Italian cuisine. Alleia uses local, seasonal ingredients and serves seven types of housemade pasta as well as brick-oven pizzas and an array of signature cocktails. Alleia, 23 E Main Street,Chattanooga, TN 37408 – (423) 305-6990
- Totto Sushi and Grill: Located on the Northshore, this is the go-to sushi restaurant of Chatanooga. Totto Sushi and Grill offers fresh specialty sushi rolls and a wide range of Asian dishes like udon noodles, katsu, and sashimi. Be sure to ask about daily specials like half-priced sushi on Tuesdays and half priced-saki on the weekends. Totto Sushi and Grill, 330 Frazier Ave Suite 124,Chattanooga, TN, 37405 – (423) 508-8898
Things to Do in Chattanooga
If you’re moving to Chattanooga, it’s important you know about all the things to do. From outdoor events to shopping, to free things to do for kids and adults alike, Chattanooga has it all.
Top Chattanooga Attractions
- Chattanooga Riverboat Co. Southern Belle: What better way to see Chattanooga than exploring it on the water? This water excursion can hold 450 passengers on this vessel which was built originally in 1985. The Southern Belle Cruises daily and offers various activities such as sightseeing, lunch with live Narration, and pilot house tours as well as sunset and dinner cruises nightly with music and dancing.
- Ruby Falls: Ruby Falls is a natural landmark that is home to the tallest and deepest underground waterfall in the United States that’s open to the public. When you’re done checking it out, enjoy sweeping views of the Cumberland Plateau and soaring zip lines. You can also descend 26-stories by elevator into the cavern hidden deep within Lookout Mountain, then explore on foot with guided tours along the scenic path to the breathtaking waterfall.
- Tennessee Aquarium: A great activity to do with kids, the Tennesse Aquarium is one of the top-rated aquariums in America. Everything from freshwater exhibits in the River Journey building to the Ocean Journey building, you can see an array of animals.
- Lake Winnepesaukah Amusement Park and Soakya Water Park: Another great all-day activity to do with kids, this amusement park and water park combination are just outside Chattanooga, making for a great day trip! Although seasonal, you can still enjoy visiting in the fall for some spooky Halloween events!
- Umbrella Alley: For those asking where is Umbrella Alley in Chattanooga, TN, you can find it in the West Village! The Alley is two blocks of shops and restaurants in downtown Chattanooga. This alley is lined with suspended, colorful umbrellas, perfect for photo-ops. It’s also a great free thing to do.
- Lookout Mountain Incline Railway: For another adventurous and thrilling activity in Chattanooga, test your bravery on ‘America’s Most Amazing Mile.’ Ride a trolley-style railcar as it climbs historic Lookout Mountain, Chattanooga’s surrounding mountains, and valleys.
- Chattanooga Zoo: If you love animals, this is a great adventure for you and the family. Also known as “the Best Little Zoo in America”, Chattanooga zoo houses over 500 animal exhibits and represents over 200 different species, many of which are endangered.
Chattanooga Entertainment & Arts
- The Mountain Arts Community Center: Also known as MAAC, the Mountain Arts Community Center is located in the town’s oldest building. It’s the spot for Signal Mountain and the Chattanooga area to come together for the arts and enrichment. The MAAC is th spot for live music, theater, fine arts lessons, and community gatherings.
- The Signal Mountain Playhouse: If you really want to feel close to the community, stop and see a show at the Signal Mountain Playhouse. The playhouse is a not-for-profit volunteer orhanization that provides activity for the community youth in the summer.
- Tivoli Theater: The Tivoli Theatre is a historic theater that opened on March 19, 1921, and is still operating to this day. Also known as the “Jewel of the South”, you can catch a show and watch live music and shows.
- The Signal: If you’re looking to catch a concert, The Signal is the venue to be at. Rock out and have a great night, enjoying the music and maybe a drink in hand (only for the adults, of course).
- Hunter Museum of American Art: The Hunter Museum was built on a ninety-foot limestone bluff overlooking the Tennessee River and comprised of a 1905 classical revival mansion. It has the finest collection of American art in the Southeast, including the history of American art from the colonial period to the present day, and covers a wide variety of media including painting, sculpture, contemporary studio glass, and crafts.
- Creative Discovery Museum: One of the nation’s top children’s museums. The Creative Discovery Museum is a great hands-on experience. Children can create clay sculptures, zoom a message through a pneumatic tube, dig for dinosaur bone, and create an ensemble cast of characters.
- Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum: A family fun experience, this museum is meant for train lovers or those looking for some family time with the kids. Ride ‘Railroadings Golden Age’ aboard the Tennessee Valley Railroad’s restored vintage trains.
- Chattanooga Selfie Museum: Meant for either the younger generation or those who just love to take selfies. The goal is for you to be the art. The museum has over 25 curated rooms where you can have fun and take selfies in.
Chattanooga Parks & Outdoors
- Rock City Gardens: Rock City Gardens is a AAA-approved attraction with free parking. Your journey high atop Lookout Mountain has you enjoying the quiet woodland paths and gardens. On your trail, you’ll discover ancient rock formations as well as 400 species of plants, flowers, and shrubs. You can also make a wish upon the 140-foot high falls or stand upon world-famous Lover’s Leap, and walk through rock boulders and caverns that bring you to Fairyland Caverns and Mother Goose Village.
- Lookout Mountain Attractions: If you’re not set on scaling the mountain in a cart, then maybe one of these attractions will be more suitable. There are so many outdoors options to choose from, and whatever you end up doing will still give you some spectacular views.
- Ross’s Landing- Chattanooga Pier: Perfect for anything outdoors, Ross’s Landing is a newly renovated park across from the Tennesse Aquarium featuring a river pier, marina, and natural amphitheater, and the Chattanooga Green. The Chattanooga Green can be used for small festivals, concerts, and for park users to enjoy a stunning view of the river, which is a great Chattanooga, TN free activity.
- Renaissance Park: Renaissance Park is a 23-acre urban wetlands park located on the north shore of the Tennessee River. This is also something couples can do together in Chattanooga, TN, as it is a romantic place.
Shopping in Chattanooga
- Hamilton Place: What once was the largest shopping mall in the state of Tennesee from 1987 to 1998, Hamilton Place is an enclosed, two-story shopping mall in Chattanooga. Shop and eat at this mall which is great during the winter time as well.
- Warehouse Row: Try shopping at what might the the coolest mall makeover. Warehouse Row was once a former Civil War site. Now, it houses a collection of high-end retail stores, restaurants, and offices.
- Chattanooga Market: Chattanooga Market was named one of the “Top Ten Public Markets in America” by Frommers. The market consists of hundreds of vendors every Sunday from April to November. It’s an outdoor, yet covered market that is a must-visit.
Map of Chattanooga Things to Do
While Chattanooga isn’t home to any professional sports, Chattanooga hosts many sports and athletic events. For example, Chattanooga is home to the minor-league baseball team, Chattanooga Lookouts which is hosted at AT&T Field. The Chattanooga Lookouts are a minor league baseball team and Double-A affiliate of the Minnesota Twins.
You can also see the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga Mocs play at Finley Stadium.
If you’re not checking out a game at the major stadium, Chattanooga also has an array of other sporting facilities. The UTC Sports Complex, for example, is a 17-acre property that has 4 turf fields for flag football, lacrosse, soccer and Ultimate Frisbee, as well as a grass field for Rugby and band practice. They also have these 3 volleyball sand courts and a 1/4 mile track.
Chattanooga Crime Rate
As of 2019, Chattanooga residents have a 1 in 15 chance of being a victim of a crime, with a crime rate of 6,628 total crimes per 100,000. You have a 1 in 93 chance of being a victim of a violent crime, and 1 in 47 chance of being a victim in a property crime.
When compared to the national crime rate, Chattanooga ranks higher. In 2019, the national ratio of you being a victim of a crime was 2,477 per 100,000 people. You have a 1 in 273 chance of being a victim of a violent crime, and 1 in 18 chance of being a victim in a property crime. The homicide/murder rate per 100,000 people is 18.
Here’s a Chattanooga crime comparison with other major cities, similar in size:
- Fort Lauderdale, FL: 1 in 18 chance of being a victim of a crime, a 1 in 173 chance of being a victim of a violent crime, and 1 in 20 chance of being a victim in a property crime. Chattanooga’s total crime rate is 18.1818% higher.
- Clarksville, TN: 1 in 30 chance of being a victim of a crime, a 1 in 68 chance of being a victim of a violent crim e, and 1 in 36 chance of being a victim in a property crime. Chattanooga’s total crime rate is 66.66% higher.
- Brownsville, Texas: 1 in 35 chance of being a victim of a crime, a 1 in 68 chance of being a victim of a violent crime, and 1 in 41 chance of being a victim in a property crime. There is a total crime rate difference of 80% higher.
- Tempee, Arizona: 1 in 24 chance of being a victim of a crime, a 1 in 221 chance of being a victim of a violent crime, and 1 in 26 chance of being a victim in a property crime. Chattanooga’s total crime rate is 26.1538% higher.
Although crime may seem higher than some other cities, you have a police department ready to tackle anything. Chattanooga Police Department has 2.3 officers on duty for every 1,000 residents.
Economy & Jobs in Chattanooga
When it comes to the economy in Chattanooga, the city has an unemployment rate of 5.6%, which is under the U.S average of 6.0%. Chattanooga’s job market has increased by 2.8% over the last year. Future job growth over the next ten years is predicted to be 44.5%, which is higher than the U.S. average of 33.5%. However, the Tennessee per-capita GDP was $59,969 in 2021. which is $9,252 lower than the US per-capita GDP. Tennessee’s per-capita GDP was $59,969 in 2021.
Chattanooga has a diverse economy, with major industry sectors including automotive, advanced manufacturing, food and beverage production, and back office. Since 2008, the region has attracted more than $6 billion in foreign direct investment.
According to Payscale, the average salary in Chattanooga is $17.28 per hour. Trends in wages increased by 0.8 percent in Q2 2022, and the cost of living in Chattanooga is 8% higher than the national average. The most popular occupations in Chattanooga, TN are Certified Nurse Assistant (CNA), Registered Nurse (RN), and Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) which pay between $11.12 and $29.94 an hour per year.
What major companies are in Chattanooga, TN?
For major hospitals there is Chi Memorial Hospital, and according to U.S. News, it is regionally ranked as #4 in Tennessee and #1 in Chattanooga. Chi Memorial Hospital is rated high performing in 11 adult procedures and conditions and is a general medical and surgical facility. U.S. News also says that Erlanger Medical Center is ranked #2 in Chattanooga and #10 in Tennessee.
You or your child will get a great education at Chattanooga. Chattanooga schools are run through the Hamilton County Schools District. The Hamilton County School District is made up of 79 schools consisting of Pre-K through grade twelve with nearly 2,800 full-time teachers responsible for educating over 44,500 students.
Specifically, there are a few noteworthy Chattanooga schools. Chattanooga High Center for Creative Arts ranked #18 in the top middle school rankings in the state The Chattanooga School for the Arts and Sciences also ranked among the state’s best middle schools at #30.
Chattanooga also has a STEM school (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics). Furthermore, Chattanooga consists of a few colleges: The University of Tennesee at Chattanooga, Chattanooga State Community College, Millet-Motte College, and more.
If you ever need to get some studying or homework done, check in to the Chattanooga Public Library, full of resources and some peace and quiet.
Chattanooga Utilities & DMV Change of Address
Chattanooga has various utility providers, multiple for each utility:
Cable And Internet:
How to Change Your Address with The DMV/Get a Driver’s License in Chattanooga
If you want to change your address to match one of your new Chattanooga homes, you can visit the e-Services portal and complete the required information fields on the Tennessee Department of Safety & Homeland Security website. Select “Change Your Address” from the list of available services and follow the prompts.
If you’re a new Tennesee state resident, must obtain a Tennessee driver’s license no later than thirty days after establishing residency. New residents will need to go to any of the department’s full-service driver service centers that are located throughout the state. They also must fill out the proper documents and meet testing requirements.
If you’re thinking about (or are) moving to Chattanooga, TN, now you know all there is to know, before even stepping foot in your new home! With that being said, when the time comes to move in, make sure you get a moving company you can trust. All Out Moving & Storage is there for your moving and storage needs. If you need Chattanooga movers, then they’ve got you covered.