There's always something fun to do close. I know of about as many bridge clubs as I do supper clubs.
Convenient to the city core as well as plentiful green spaces, North Chattanooga has something for everyone. With housing options ranging from waterfront condos to charming Craftsman-style bungalows to energy efficient new builds, the area north of the Tennessee River is an ideal spot to start a family, downsize or rent as a student.
Fuel your days with all the trendy restaurants and coffee shops within walking distance, or develop an aversion to online shopping with the wide range of locally owned boutiques and shops. If you can't find your niche at the many specialty fitness studios that abound here, the neighborhood's hilly streets never fail to provide a challenging workout. Just ask participants in the Ironman triathlon, whose route passes through North Chattanooga.
If you want an escape, explore Stringers Ridge and the hiking and mountain bike trails that run through it over your lunch break or after work before the sun sets. Or, bar-hop during happy hour and walk home.
"There's always something fun to do close, something for all different ages," says North Chattanooga resident Jennifer Crutchfield. "I know of about as many bridge clubs as I do supper clubs."
The area has seen tremendous change since Crutchfield moved to North Chattanooga in 1995, before the addition of Coolidge Park on the riverfront, the revitalization of the Frazier Avenue business corridor, and the coining of the "North Shore" nickname. She chose North Chattanooga to be close to friends and the support network they provided her, but she was also attracted to assets that continue to draw new residents. Along with friendly, welcoming neighbors, she found the area's walkability and proximity to the Tennessee River appealing.
"My kids can walk to Chattanooga's No. 1 destination, the Walnut Street Bridge," Crutchfield says.
Once in danger of being torn down, the bridge now serves as a symbol of pride for the city and is one of the world's longest pedestrian bridges. Similarly, what was once an empty parking lot on the river is now Coolidge Park, which hosts an annual music festival, Moon River, that quickly sells out to fans from across the country. The park's 100-year-old carousel is also a draw, as is the neighboring Chattanooga Theatre Centre. Renaissance Park, once an industrial site, now beckons cardboard sledders to barrel down its grassy hill.
The opening of nationally recognized Normal Park Museum Magnet School in 2002 has perhaps been the biggest contributor to the area's dramatic transformation, providing a top-notch public education to students up through the eighth grade — and causing property values within its zone to skyrocket.
"Normal Park has changed the equation for education for pre-K through eighth grade," Crutchfield says.
The people are also a major attribute for the area, coming together to hold unique events, such as the neighborhood block party held every year on Graham Street for Halloween.
The North Shore truly embodies its merchants' association's slogan, "Where Hip Meets Historical."
"You see the connection between today and yesterday all over North Chattanooga," says Crutchfield, pointing out that the stones stacked in front of her house came from the same quarry as the stones covering the pedestals of the Walnut Street Bridge.
Crutchfield's favorite North Chatt spots: Sushi Nabe, Kung Foo Tea, Beast and Barrel
(MORE) LOCAL FLAVOR
Frazier Avenue is rife with restaurants frequented by residents and visitors alike — including several "Best of the Best" as voted on by Chattanooga Times Free Press readers each year.
1203 Hixson Pike; 423-266-1996
205 Manufacturers Road; 423-752-7487
330 Frazier Ave., Suite 124; 423-508-8898
Best Ice Cream
26 Frazier Ave.; 423-267-5425
*2018 winners. North Chattanooga also houses many of the year's finalists. For complete listing, visit winners.bestofchatt.com/places/type:16.
BY THE NUMBERS
WHO WE ARE
Median household income: $51,210
Median age: 36.8
Source: 2017 American Community Survey
WHERE WE LIVE
Median home price: $374,900
Median rental price: $1,500
» A historic area, many of the homes here are smaller, with two bedrooms and one or two bathrooms. Still, a recent search on Zillow showed prices primarily ranging from $230,000 to just under $600,000, with a chunk coming in around $1 million and above.
Normal Park Museum Magnet (preK-8)
Proficiency (TVAAS): 5/5 overall, 5/5 in language arts, 5/5 in math, 3/5 in science
» Housed in two historic buildings, this high-demand magnet school incorporates artwork and innovative teaching styles into its curriculum. Featured nationwide for its model, success and parent engagement, Normal Park has repeatedly claimed top spots in rankings by Magnet Schools of America. A five-year "Raise the Gym" project culminated in 2018 with the opening of a new 3,700-square-foot gym for students in pre-K through third grade and as a practice facility for all students.
Rivermont Elementary (preK-5)
Proficiency (TVAAS): 4/5 overall, 3/5 in language arts, 5/5 in math, 3/5 in science
» Thanks to a recent outpouring of community support, Rivermont has built new STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and math) labs, updated classrooms and replaced its dated playground for students of all abilities.
Red Bank Elementary (preK-5)
Proficiency (TVAAS): 4 /5 overall, 5/5 in language arts, 3/5 in math, 4/5 in science
» In addition to traditional classroom learning, Red Bank Elementary offers a popular forest kindergarten program, where learning is associated with building homes out of sticks in the woods, collecting and identifying plants, and mud-painting rocks lining the creek bed. Started in 2016, it's the first of its kind in Hamilton County. Demand has been great — twice as many families as anticipated were interested in the class, leading to a lottery draw for the available 20 slots that first year.
Red Bank Middle
Proficiency (TVAAS): 1/5 overall, 1/5 in language arts, 1/5 in math, 1/5 in science
» Red Bank Middle — as well as North Chatt-zoned Rivermont Elementary — now offers open enrollment to those outside the school zone.
Red Bank High
Proficiency (TVAAS): 5/5 overall, 5/5 in language arts, 3/5 in math, 5/5 in science
Average ACT score: 18.4 composite
» Serving as a pilot for the rest of the county, Red Bank High houses the area's first "Community School," which offers after-school support for both students and local residents. Students may get extra help with school work while parents or other community members study to receive a state-issued high school equivalency credential, for example. The school connects with partners like the Helen Ross McNabb behavioral health center to provide an on-site counselor, and with the Latin-centered La Paz nonprofit to offer immigration information nights.
Chattanooga High Center for Creative Arts (6-12)
Proficiency (TVAAS): 4/5 overall, 5/5 in language arts, 3/5 in math, 3/5 in science
Average ACT score: 24.9 composite
» This dedicated fine-arts magnet school features classes in acting, dancing, music and visual art in addition to a liberal arts curriculum. It has won numerous awards and exemplary designations from organizations including the Tennessee Department of Education, U.S. News & World Report, the Arts Schools Network and Magnet Schools of America. In 2018, CCA was named a Reward School, the top distinction a school can earn in Tennessee, for improving overall student academic achievement and student growth, placing it in the top 20 percent of schools in the state.
Source: 2018 State Report Card, HCDE, schools' websites
*The Tennessee Value-Added Assessment System scale runs from 1-5, with 1 denoting the least effective schools/districts and least amount of progress toward the Standard for Academic Growth.
Several private schools also call the North Chattanooga area home.
» The Bright School is a private day school established in 1913 for students in preschool through fifth grade.
» Girls Preparatory School is a private day school for girls in grades six through 12 that was founded in 1906.
» Baylor School is a private, co-ed boarding and day school for students in grades six through 12. Established in 1893, its campus sits on 693 acres on the Tennessee River.
WHAT WE DO FOR FUN
A popular destination along the riverfront for concerts, festivals and special events, the park features a restored, 100-year-old carousel, splash fountains, a rock climbing wall, river access and lots of green space. Open daily, the carousel costs $1 for adults and is free for riders under age 2 with a paid adult. The rock climbing wall is open on select dates. Call Outdoor Chattanooga at 423-643-6888 to learn more. 150 River St.
Stringer's Ridge Park
A forested haven for hikers, bikers and wildlife within the city limits, the 92-acre park features easy to moderately technical multi-use trails, a Civil War cannon placement and spectacular views. 1312 Spears Ave. or 707 W. Bell Ave.
This revitalized urban wetland park highlights Chattanooga's history and transformation from a polluted, industrial city to one that celebrates its natural ecosystems. Its large, grassy hill is popular with kids of all ages, serving as a launch spot for sledding down on large pieces of cardboard. During the Civil War, a military encampment called Camp Contraband on the north shore of the Tennessee River in what is now Renaissance Park became home to many liberated slaves, who were not permitted to live on the south side of the river. 100 Manufacturers Road.
Tucked into a 1.5-acre setting and built in 1939, this park has been revitalized and improved to include a new outdoor amphitheater, playground, two tennis courts, picnic tables, barbecue grills and grassy areas. 1857 Riverview Road.
North Chattanooga Center
Operated by the city, this youth and family development center offers a computer room, full-size gym, community meeting space, game room and a ballfield. 406 May St. Call 423-757-5447.
Frances B. Wyatt Center
This youth and family development center features an arts center, community meeting space, gym, playground, tennis court and softball field. 406 Colville St. Call 423-757-5443.
A CULTURAL EXPERIENCE
Chattanooga Theatre Centre: Founded in 1923 as the Little Theatre of Chattanooga, the Chattanooga Theatre Centre hosts 15 locally run productions per year and attracts more than 50,000 viewers. One of the oldest community theaters in the country, its mission is to not only bring engaging theater experiences to the community, but to give residents opportunities to participate in productions. There is even a special Youth Theatre. Upcoming shows include "The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe," "Lion King Jr." "Avenue Q" and "Little Shop of Horrors." 400 River St. Call 423-267-8534 or visit theatrecentre.com.
In-Town Gallery: One of the country's oldest artist co-ops, it features a wide-ranging assortment of work from more than 30 artists — everything from jewelry and fiber arts to woodwork and photography. Free to visit every day, the studio offers the chance to find unique mementos as well as to simply connect with the arts community. The artists can often be found there and are usually willing to discuss and demonstrate their work. A different artist-member is highlighted monthly, with an opening reception the first Friday of the month from 5-8 p.m. 26 Frazier Ave. #A. Call 423-267-9214.
North Chattanooga falls within city limits and is therefore governed by the city of Chattanooga.
The Chattanooga City Council meets every Tuesday at 6 p.m. in the Council Building behind city hall, located at 1000 Lindsay St. The meeting is live-streamed, as are the preceding agenda session and department reports, which start at 3 p.m. View meetings at ustream.tv/channel/chattanooga-council-meeting. View agenda sessions at ustream.tv/channel/city-council-committee-meeting.
Recycling: The city offers free curbside recycling and provides containers for the single-stream service. Save for glass, most household items are accepted. Call 311 to see if your address lies within the pickup area.