Chattanooga Times Free Press

Chattanooga rated in top 50 best cities by magazine


Money magazine has rated Chattanooga as one of the 50 best cities in America. In its annual ratings of the best

American cities to live, the magazine identified Chattanooga as one of three cities in Tennessee on its list of towns “where a thriving economy meets affordability, diversity and an exceptional quality of life.” Editors of the magazine said they sought to identify “places that are the blueprint for the future.”

In Tennessee, Knoxville and Clarksville were also on the list, and Atlanta and Thomasville were the only cities listed in Georgia.

Money magazine said it based its ratings on livability, equity and sustainability of more than 900 communities across the United States and picked the top 50 based, in part, on the health of the local job and housing market and the quality of public schools. But the magazine editors said they also sought to highlight cities that had suburbs with a soul, hidden gems, new boomtowns and culture hubs. The magazine said it also considered responses to a newsletter poll of readers about what are the best cities.

Mallika Mitra of Money magazine said Chattanooga “is high

on outdoor adventure and allaround charm.”

“In the foothills of the Appalachian mountains, surrounded by lakes, forests and the Tennessee River, Chattanooga has rightfully earned its Scenic City nickname,” she wrote in the current issue of Money magazine released this week. “Locals spend their weekends kayaking, whitewater rafting and climbing the sandstone face of the legendary Tennessee Wall. The

Bike Chattanooga system provides a fun and affordable way to get around (a 24-hour pass costs just $10) and its stunning, 16.1-mile riverwalk has access points downtown and on multiple trailheads, so you can cycle through cityscape and forest in the same outing.”

Money magazine also praised Chattanooga for being “home to some of the best art in the U.S. — on view at the Hunter Museum

of American Art (free on Thursday evenings) and the 100-plus permanent art installations scattered throughout town. In June, the Chattanooga Film Festival, a “scrappy-ass, punk rock, rag-tag island of misfit films and film fans,” will screen dozens of independent features and shorts for the 11th year running. The city’s lively music scene thrives in the dark, rowdy corners of venues like JJ’s Bohemia and Barrelhouse Ballroom.”

Chattanooga Mayor Tim Kelly said Money magazine “recognized what we already know — Chattanooga is special, home to beautiful nature, a growing economy and incredible culture.”

“We have great momentum right now,” Kelly said in a statement Thursday. “This praise from Money comes on the heels of Chattanooga rising 26 spots in the Milken Institute’s ‘Best Performing Cities’ ranking and Chattanooga being ranked first in Tennessee by move-Buddha for our ratio of inbound to outbound movers. It’s validating to see these national outlets recognize the hard work we’ve done to move our city forward, but we know we have a lot more work to do.”