Chattanooga praised, slammed by Outside magazine

photo The cover of the October 2011 issue of Outside Magazine teases the "Where to Live Now" story, which profiles the winner of the 2011 contest, Chattanooga. The winner was determined through a social media contest and rulings from judges.

An online competition that saw 21,975 voters choose Chattanooga as the "best town ever" prompted Outside magazine to feature the city on the front of its October issue.

Author Chuck Thompson commended the city for its natural beauty and the many opportunities for climbing, swimming, biking, caving and whitewater rafting within a few miles of downtown.

But while Oregon native Thompson found plenty to like about the Scenic City's trails and streams, he took Chattanooga to task for its industrial roots, conservative values and its lack of a dating scene.

"It's not easy twisting your head around the idea of Outside's Best Town being in a place with a history of monstrous industrial abuse . . . ubiquitous evangelical dogma, and a reputation for red-state conservatism," Thompson wrote.

However, he softened his stance when noting that despite appearances, Chattanooga "doesn't always follow the script."

"Besides, the best cities are sometimes the ones that haven't quite arrived," Thompson wrote.

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