The East Main neighborhood on the Southside is one of the newest, and most interesting, up and coming neighborhoods. However, walk two blocks off of Main St., and you have found yourself in one of the sketchiest parts of town. There was recently a story on NPR about the prostitution and extreme homelessness in this area. By all means, check out the cool galleries, restaurants and shops on East Main. Just stay close to Main, be aware of your surroundings, and don't wander about very late at night.
Watch the time of day you come through and avoid AM and PM traffic jams. Also in the fall/winter, it can get treacherous on the roads, especially coming over the mountains form US 24 in the north. Once you are on the road, there is no way to seek an alternate route, or circumvent the delays. Only one route.
Chattanooga has over twice the crime rate as an average city in the U.S.
They average 2 murders a month, 2 rapes a week, 2 robberies a day.
Every work hour of every work day, 2 thefts occur. 40 cars are stolen every week.
There are 150 registered sex offenders in the Chattanooga area.
To see if their location impacts your vacation plans, see the website below.
It is not the kind of place that you just roam around at night. You must keep your car doors locked and use the latch-chain on your motel room door. A money belt is advisable so that your wallet contains a minimum of cash or credit cards.
During the day the streets are pretty safe especially around the Tennessee Aquarium area of the city. Using the free bus lines takes you through the safer parts of the city. Check with your hotel staff to see which parts of the city should be avoided.
It is easy to land in the WRONG part of town. Alton Park, some areas not far from the Choo Choo, Bailey Avenue and several others might hold danger for the unprepared tourist. Those areas are scary even during the daytime hours. Downtown can be spotty too for trouble. Avoid using ATM's at night. Also, there is a LOT of partying and that means WATCH FOR impaired or just plain stupid drivers.
Roads can have steep pitches and hairpin curves with lots of blind intersections.
Watch out for ice! The winters in Chattanooga aren't nearly as snowy as in other parts of the country, but watch out for the ice! One sudden turn of the wheel could send you spinning off the road. I had a very close call on an Interstate off-ramp in the winter of '96. All I can say is 'Be Careful!'
Watch the weather reports. We were there for a week, and we encountered three rain storms. The last one was a doozy, with wicked lightning strikes and very loud thunder. It made us stay at our motel and eat at Denny's (it was that bad!)