Chattanooga : Tennessee


What It Is Like to Retire in Chattanooga

Chattanooga is a low-cost, interesting retirement city of about 183,000 people in southern Tennessee. This was the site of the famous critical civil war Battle of Chattanooga due to its strategic location on the Tennessee River.  Called the "Scenic City", it is home to the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. The city has had its ups and downs economically. Its industrial focus combined with its many ridges also resulted in some very dirty air up until the 1980's. The city's 21st Century Waterfront Plan is a $120 million redevelopment to transform the Chattanooga waterfront and downtown area. The Riverwalk is a 13 mile trail along the river.

Baby boomers in retirement are coming to Tennessee and Chattanooga because of its milder climate and much lower costs - a couple can retire here for a fraction of what it might cost in the northeast or along one of the coasts. Many people cite how friendly the locals are, while some others say people from the northeast feel unwelcome. Photos per license of istockphoto and Shutterstock.

Watch this short Youtube video prepared by Outside Magazine:

Here is the Topretirements Mini-Guide to Retirement in Tennessee


Where to Retire in Chattanooga and Home Prices

Four of Chattanooga's neighborhoods have been designated by the National Register of Historic Places: Fort Wood, Ferger Place, Glenwood and St. Elmo.  There are many pleasant suburbs including Lookout Mountain, and there are a number of active adult and 55+ communities in the area (see link at top left.)
The median selling price of a home in Chattanooga in the 4th quarter of 2021 was $269,900, according to the National Association of Realtors, up 15.5% from the previous year. Many active adult communities are being built in the area with a wide range of prices.


What Is Special about Chattanooga

  • Low cost of living and no state income tax
  • Hunter Museum of Art
  • Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum
  • Many historic buildings and neighborhoods
  • Solid and growing economic base
  • Chattanooga Aquarium (see picture at top of page)
  • Historic battlefields
  • Many outdoor recreational activities

What Is Not Special about Chattanooga

Chattanooga crime rate may be high in certain parts and public transportation may be a problem for those who do not drive.


Who Will Like Retirement in Chattanooga

Professionals with college or post-graduate degrees tend to retire to Chattanooga.


Local Economy Is Driven by

A number of big companies, 3 major medical centers, numerous other health care facilities, construction and several colleges and universities in and around Chattanooga.


Climate and Physical Environment

Located on the southern border of Tennessee in the eastern portion. It is on the Tennessee River in the Appalachian Mountains. A number of ridges make this a very hilly terrain. There are lakes and dams in the area. Chattanooga gets occasional snow in winter. January temps tend to be from 30-50, with the average July temperature about 80 degrees.

Restaurants & Cultural Scene

In addition to the annual Riverbend Festival, which attracts tens of thousands each June for its music, Chattanooga has the Tivoli Theatre which is home to the symphony and opera. The Chattanooga Theatre Centre has many programs as well. There is an active library and an annual writer's festival.  UT - Chattanooga with its 10,000 students also has many cultural programs.


The crime rate is about twice the national average.

Medical Facilities

Chattanooga is home to several hospitals including Erlanger, ParkRidge, and Memorial.


Chattanooga airport has several carriers with service to many other cities. Several interstates go through or near Chattanooga. There is a mass transit system (bus). Chattanooga is below average in walkability when compared to other communities.


Valuable Links

Chattanooga Chamber of Commerce
Retirement communities in Tennesee
Retire in Tennessee

What people are saying about Chattanooga

You didn't say where you are from and that can have an impact on moving to Tennessee. We're not yet retired but are close. Husband was forced to take a new job 2 years ago and we ended up here from New England. We've been a bit disappointed. The first thing people told us was "education is NOT a priority here!" That kind of set the tone. Its also very hot and very humid all summer. My husband likes to bicycle but has to put his bike in the car and drive to Georgia if he wants a good ride. Four cyclists have been killed already in 2009. That said, we would have loved to live in North Chattanooga but the tiny craftsmen style homes are outrageously priced. They may be more affordable now that the economy has faltered but we ended up in Hixson, closer to work. Downtown is alright but the college campus can be a bit rowdy. There are a LOT of artists here but we just haven't gotten into that circle. Several folks we know from northern states are getting ready to go back as soon as they can sell their houses. I know we will, first chance we get.
Posted by Flatearth6 on August 23, 2009
Friendly - but where to live
In looking around at the various message boards i see a number of people who are very pleased to have moved to Chattanooga. They like the friendly people and feel comfortable here (although there are always a few exceptions!). My question is, what are the best neighborhoods and developments. I would prefer a traditional neighborhood that is walkable or bikable downtown- does such a place exist? thanks
Posted by lindabird on April 08, 2009

Leave a Comment

To comment you must be a registered member of

Login Here


Create Your Free Membership Account

Suggest a community we want to know about your top retirement spots
Please note that all contributions to Topretirements may be edited, altered, or removed by other contributors. If you don't want your writing to be edited mercilessly, then don't submit it here. By submitting content and/or photographs here you agree to give the rights to use them in any manner without cost or attribution.You are also promising us that you wrote this yourself, or copied it from a public domain or similar free resource (see Project:Copyrights for details). DO NOT SUBMIT COPYRIGHTED WORK WITHOUT PERMISSION!

Copyright © 2006-2022 All Rights Reserved.