J. Kelly Hoey


How To Bleisure: Mixing Work And Leisure Travel In Chattanooga

Travel trend or simply the hot work reality for a growing generation of freelancers, entrepreneurs, (and yes, employees with side-hacks), frequent travelers are mixing R&R with how they are earning a living. It’s a trend that is increasing a lifestyle choice, not completely a business necessity (according to travel insights site Skift). So whether you are a remote worker or freelancer looking for a change of scenery or simply someone looking for collaborative space and great WiFi (plus opportunity to network like the locals) here are the how to and where insights on networking in Chattanooga.

Name: Allie O’Connell, Product Manager, Carbon Five (carbofive.com) Location: Chattanooga, Tennessee

A resident of Chattanooga for five years, Allie O’Connell describes it as a “very livable city”, easy to get outside for a hike, climb or paddle. It’s easy to connect into the startup and business scene (“people here are really supportive of people wanting to try something new”). Allie adds: “There are a ton of Meetups and events to get plugged in. If you’re into tech and startups, the innovation district has a good critical mass of connectors and events at the Edney Building. There is an events calendar at colab.co, check it out!

Allie’s recommendations:

· Best power breakfast: Bluegrass Grill

· For the business lunch: Public House

· The “only locals know this place” to start the day: Milk and Honey

· Mid-day meeting place: Rembrandt’s, Camp House Patio, Miller Plaza

· Work options for night-owls: Aretha Frankenstien’s (“Hack night every other Wednesday!”)

· End of work day retreat: High Point Climbing Gym or the roof deck at the Pickle Barrel

· Favorite neighborhood restaurant: Urban Stack

· Favorite coffee shop: Camp House

· Favorite bar: Easy Bistro or Clyde’s

For inspiration or creative distraction, Allie suggests:

Go check out the whitewater on the Ocoee River. Standup Paddle Boarding downtown on the Tennessee and check out the Bluff. Rock climb at Sunset Rock. Take a hike, walk the riverwalk and see the sculpture garden in the Bluff View Arts District.”

And the fit-in-like-a-local suggestions:

· Wardrobe and business essentials: Business casual

· Events for combining work and play: Innovation District Happy Hour, Hack Night, pitch events with Co.Lab

· Co-working space: Society of Work

· Free, secure wifi: Miller Plaza, Camp House Coffee, Mean Mugg

· Place to unplug and recharge: Sunset Rock on Lookout Mountain, Signal Point, and hiking on the Cumberland Trail

· Don’t Miss: “Walk over the Walnut St. Bridge, check out the North Shore and Coolidge Park, maybe a drive to See Rock City! Check out the restaurants and venues at the Chattanooga Choo Choo.”

Last local word: “There’s a free electric shuttle that runs all around downtown. You can pretty much get anywhere downtown without having to hop back in your car with the shuttle and easy walking.”


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