Tips on Moving to Chattanooga, TN; Relocation Guide

Hiking, Arts, Internet

If you’re into wandering around in the wilderness.

Want to live in a city with its own arts district.

Or if being in a place with internet so fast it’s been dubbed “Gig City”, excites you.

You’ll definitely want to consider moving to Chattanooga.

Moving to Chattanooga, TN

Photo Credit: Bryce Edwards

Whether it’s due to the city’s affordability, the plethora of resources for entrepreneurs, or people attnding the University of Tennessee, Chattanooga has been gaining a lot of attention and bringing in new residents.

Even though it’s a relatively small city, the many factors that draw people to Chattanooga can make it a bit daunting when planning a move to “Nooga”.

Fortunately, we’ve done most of the mental heavy lifting for you and put together this guide to make figuring out where to live, finding an apartment or house, and planning your move as simple as possible.

Learn everything you need to know about moving to ‘Nooga

Quick Chattanooga Snapshot

  • Chattanooga has a population of 117,571, making it the 139th highest populated city in the United States.
  • The average rent in Chattanooga as of early 2018 was $960 per month, which is on par with the national average.
  • Ranking as the 77th most expensive city in the US, the cost of living in Chattanooga isn’t extremely high.

And before you dig into the details of moving to Chattanooga, have a look at some of the city’s beautiful scenery in this video!

Neighborhoods of Chattanooga

As with most cities, things get a bit fuzzy when you start to break them down by neighborhood, due to the sheer volume of individual communities involved. Chatanooga is no different.

Because of this, we’ve found it’s best to split things up by region. The main areas of Chattanooga include: University, Downtown, North Shore, St. Elmo, and Southside.

Chattanooga Neighborhood Map

Within each of these regions, you’ll find individual neighborhoods, suburbs, and communities which each have their own distinct feel and price range. The cost of housing in a neighborhood should be your first concern when looking for a place to live.

Chattanooga Apartment Rental Map 2018

This map from Trulia shows the median rent price throughout the city of Chattanooga with the darker green areas being the cheapest and the light green areas the most expensive.

Below, you’ll find a rough breakdown of rent ranges throughout Chattanooga with a few specific neighborhoods listed as examples.

Chattanooga Rent Prices by Neighborhood

  • On the lower-end of the rent spectrum, you’ll find that places like Boulevard Trails, Meadowbrook Heights, and Forest Plaza which have rents ranging from $850 to $900 monthly.
  • North Shore, Brainerd Hills, and Red Bank all have mid-range rents whith monthly rent prices between $900 and $950.
  • The More expensive rental areas, with prices around $950 – $1,000, include places like Martin Luther King, Fort Wood, and Washington Hills.

After you figure out where you can afford, you’ll want to determine whether or not you actually like the area.

Where in Chattanooga are people like me living?

As you look for a neighborhood to move to, you’ll want to pay attention to the feel of each area and whether or not it fits your lifestyle.

Chattanooga Neighborhood Demographics

We’ve used a Chattanooga zip code on Esri’s Zip Tapestry to see what the leading demographic subsets are along with other information such as median ages.

Chattanooga Median Age

Now that you have a feel for the area, let’s see about navigating it from where you want to live.

Commuting Throughout Chattanooga

Chattanooga is similar to most cities in that traveling by car is the primary mode of commuting, with 80% of total Chattanooga commuters are driving to work alone.

The average commute time in Chattanooga falls between 15 and 19 minutes, which is well below both the Tennissee average and overall US average.

As for other forms of transportation in Chattanooga, you’ll see that only 1.9% use public transportation, 2.9% walk, and that 0.5% travel by bicycle.

These meager statistics are explained when you look at the alternative transportation infrastructure in Chattanooga.

Chattanooga is fairly car-dependant

Missoula scores fairly low in terms of walkability, bikeability, and bus transportation.

Chattanooga Walk Scores

While there are some pedestrian capabilities in Chattanooga, its walkscore of 29 pretty well communicates the limitations.

While the state of Tennessee offers a few services for pedestrian transit, the issue will be finding applicability for the programs within Chattanooga specifically.

Like with many cities of this size, Downtown Chattanooga is fairly walkable, but the further you get from the city’s urban centers, the less likely you are to easily get around on foot.

Walnut Street Bridge

The one major pedestrians jewel in the city is the Walnut Street Bridge, which is a pedestrian walkway spanning the entire stretch fo the Tennessee River going through Chattanooga.

All-in-all, cyclists don’t fare much better either.

Chattanooga’s bicycle infrastructure is pretty lacking

With a bikescore of 30, Chattanooga has pretty mediocre accessibility for cyclists, but they’re trying to fix that.

Chattanooga Bike Map

As you can see from this Chattanooga Bike Map, there are a good number of bike routes spread throughout the city, but they don’t exactly…connect.

To their credit, Chattanooga is putting effort into encouraging cyclists throughout the city, providing a bike commuting class as well as offering bikeshares, and through Bike Cha.

Overall, there are pros and cons to biking in Chattanooga and, once again, as long as your’e near Downtown you’ll be able to get around relatively easily.

Still, biking beats taking the bus.

Public Transportation is very lacking in Chattanooga

Chattanooga has a meager 26 public transit score, and it’s not hard to see why.

The primary provider of public transportation throughout the city is the Chattanooga Area Regional Transportation Authority or, CARTA, which offers free electric busses Downtown, select “smart busses” with free wireless internet, and park and ride services.

Unfortunately, as with most cities of this scale, the bus routes don’t provide a great area of coverage throughout the city.

But beyond simply getting around the city, you’ll also when tot know how best to stay safe.

Chattanooga Crime Rates

The crime rate in Chattanooga doesn’t seem great, but understand that the situation isn’t dire.

Chattanooga Crime Map

According to NeighborhoodScout, Chattanooga has a crime score of 2 (with 100 representing maximum safety). That’s…that’s real low…

The city has generally had a tough time with crime, but they’re making an effort at reducing the crime rate.

Still, high crime doesn’t necessarily mean danger and most “high crime” cities are perfectly functional and supportive of their residents.

Generally, you can take steps to keep yourself out of danger by knowing which areas are unsafe and when to avoid them, remain aware of your surroundings, and avoid actively putting yourself in bad situations.

So, now that you’ve learned about all the minutiae of picking an area to live in let’s get to actually put a roof over your head.

Chattanooga Apartment Hunting

Your first concern when looking for a place to live is always going to be determining what amenities you’re gonna need.

Chattanooga Average Temperature

Chattanooga, like most of Tennessee, has a fairly temperate climate, featuring mild winters and hot summers.

Because of that, you might not need heating, but air conditioning is a must and heat is recommended.

You might want to start thinking about the average cost of utilities in your area when considering these things as well.

Also, due to the city’s poor walkability, you’ll also really want to try getting a place with a washer/dryer in it.

Where to start your Chattanooga apartment search

It’s never easy finding a place that perfectly matches your want,s needs, and budget, so you’ll want to use every resource you can find in order to expand your search.

Below are a few of our favorite places to filter through apartment listings based on whatever criteria you may have.

Chattanooga Rental market

Chattanooga’s 2018 rental market is fairly stable, although there are some troubling signs on the horizon.

Generally the average rent in Chattanooga is holding steady, only experiencing a 1.3% increase in the past six months.

Chattanooga Rent Trends

And, as of the latest Chattanooga apartment vacancy data, Chattanooga has a vacancy rate of 10.10.26%, which is much better than the national average.

While things are generally solid int he Chattanooga rental market, it can’t be overlooked that there’s a solid gap between the rent prices and average wages are increasing.

Tennessee Rental Law

Even if the rental market is in decent shape, you’ll still want to pay attention to your rights as a renter in order to avoid being scammed by shifty landlords.

Here are a few Tennessee rental laws you’ll want to be at least vaguely aware of.

Chattanooga also has some very solid offerings for those looking to settle down a bit more than merely renting.

Navigating the Nooga Suburbs

If you’re more in the market for a long-term home or just prefer to live outside of the hustle and bustle of downtown, Chattanooga has you covered.

As of early 2018, the Median home value in Chattanooga is $141,700, which is projected to increase by 4.5% within the next year.

While there are a ton of Chattanooga suburbs that’ll fit all styles and specifications.

To get you started, we’ve picked out a couple to give you a general idea of what the ‘burbs in Nooga have to offer.

Signal Mountain Houses

Signal Mountain

The town of Signal Mountain is a great area for those looking to get away from the city and live near natural beauty.

With access to mountain trails, golf courses, and community theater, which adds to Signal Mountain’s small-town feel without risking becoming boring or mundaine.

Overall the area is ideal fro families and those who want a bit of seculsion while still living in the Chattanooga area.

Hixson Houses

Hixson

If you’re looking for a suburb that still has extremely easy access to the city, Hixson is going to serve your needs pretty well. Located a mere 15 minutes from ,em>Downtown, Hisxon has the perfect mix of city convenience and suburban seculsion.

Hixson is also located near plenty of shoppinc centers and outdoor activities, making it an idea location for young families as well as young professionals.

Now that you’re ready to move to Chattanooga…

Moving Cost Calculator

Calculate the cost to move to Missoula

Use our moving cost calculator to estimate your moving costs to Raleigh.

Also, if you are coming from out of state, be sure to have a look at our state-state moving guide for more info and tips.

Parking Permits for Moving Vehicles in Colorado Springs

Before you finalize anything related to your move, you should definitely ensure that you can park large vehicles near your new place.

You might want to check out the Parking in Chattanooga page to see if you need to do anything special.

And before you officially consider youself a Chattanooga resident…

There you go, the hard part’s over! But before you fully settle in, there are still a few fine details to take care of before you officially consider yourself a ‘Nooga resident.

  • Voter Registration: This is a vital step in becoming a fully-fledged member of your community, so just get it overwith and register to vote as soon as you can after moving.
  • Driver’s License: It’s always a good idea to get a driver’s license with an updated address as soon as you move too.
  • Out-of-State Vehicle Registration: When updateing your ID, you should also take care of getting new license plates if you’re bringing a vehcile with you from out of state.
  • Garbage Collection: It’s extremely important that you set up trash and recycleing collection so that you don’t wind up with a pile of refuse outside your home weeks after moving in.
  • Meet New People: Making new friends is hard, but there are plenty of resources for finding people who share your interests like Meetup and r/Chattanooga for keepign up with events around town.

Meetup Chattanooga

Things to Do in Chattanooga

When trying to get your bearings in a new city, the best way to learn about the area’s unique feel and variety of recreational activities is to listen to what the locals like to do.

Chattanooga Parks

If you’re the type who enjoys fresh air and green things, you’ll absolutely want to get to know the many parks located throughout Chattanooga along with all of the outdoor activities that accompany them.

Those looking for some of the finest dining in Chattanooga, there are plenty of great restaurants to choose from including Public House, Alleia, and Easy Bistro.

Hennen's

And if you’re looking to unwind after a hard day of work (or after a grueling move), Chattanooga has plenty of great bars for grabbing a quick drink or settling in for an evening of entertainment like Robar, The Flying Squirrel Bar, and Hennen’s.