Todd DeFeo

Chattanooga is the ‘Best Town’ for 2015, magazine says

Chattanooga Choo Choo The Chattanooga Choo Choo in Chattanooga, Tenn., as seen on Aug. 2, 2015. (Photo by Todd DeFeo)

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. — The Scenic City is Outside Magazine’s Best Town 2015, the magazine announced in its latest issue.

“Chattanooga has always been in a great location, at the intersection of hills, mountains, and rivers, but in the past five years the tech scene there has given the economy a shot in the arm,” Senior Editor Jonah Ogles told The Travel Trolley. “There are a lot of towns that we all dream of moving to, but there just aren’t the jobs to sustain a lot of families. Chattanooga isn’t like that. It’s incredibly livable, plus there’s a ton of stuff to do.”

Chattanooga, which won Best Towns 2011, topped Port Angeles, Wash., to take home the honor. The runner up fell about 5,000 votes short.

In addition to Chattanooga, the top 16 towns will be featured in the September issue. The Travel Trolley recently checked in with Ogles about what makes Chattanooga such a great town.

What did you hope to accomplish with the competition? And, was it a success?

Our goal is to show just how many great places there are across the country—the kinds of places where you can get up in the morning, be on a trail in just a few minutes, and come back and have a great meal in a fun neighborhood. Seeing just how many people respond in support of their town tells me me that we picked some good ones this year.

What makes Chattanooga such a great town?

Chattanooga has always been in a great location, at the intersection of hills, mountains, and rivers, but in the past five years the tech scene there has given the economy a shot in the arm. There are a lot of towns that we all dream of moving to, but there just aren’t the jobs to sustain a lot of families. Chattanooga isn’t like that. It’s incredibly livable, plus there’s a ton of stuff to do.

Generally speaking, what are some of the attributes that make a city great?

The one thing that astounds me each year is just how much money and energy our most successful towns pour into what I think of as “active infrastructure”: trail systems, bike lanes, turning industrialized riverfront into recreationalized riverfront, green spaces, all of that. Even in conservative cities like Provo, Utah (the runner-up in last year’s contest), the towns are willing to spend to keep the city active and healthy, which I think in turn creates communities that are proud of the place they live.

 

About Todd DeFeo
Todd DeFeo loves to travel anywhere, anytime, taking pictures and notes. An award-winning reporter, Todd revels in the experience and the fact that every place has a story to tell. He is owner of The DeFeo Groupe and also edits Express Telegraph and Railfanning.org.