If there's one thing the pandemic has taught us, it's that many of our jobs can be done from the comfort of our homes or anywhere else with a solid Wi-Fi connection. And while some offices are now reopening and welcoming back employees, other businesses have decided to make the WFH lifestyle a permanent change. This leaves a new legion of remote workers with a world of possibilities as to where they can set up shop. After all, when you work from home, that home can be anywhere – even a hotel or a resort by the beach.
In the debate of which cities are best for remote workers, the spotlight often lands on international destinations, but for those who prefer (or have) to stay stateside, there are plenty of domestic options as well. One overlooked city worth adding to your radar? Chattanooga, Tennessee.
Here are just a few reasons why this midsize city south of Nashville is the ultimate WFH destination.
Working remotely is made possible, in large part, thanks to today's wide availability of Wi-Fi. But not all networks are created equal, so it's worth looking into which cities have frustratingly slow connections – or in the case of Chattanooga, incredibly strong Wi-Fi. According to PCMag, Chattanooga was the first U.S. city to roll out a citywide gigabit network, meaning it has some of the fastest Wi-Fi in the country running on a 100% fiber-optic network. Zillow also backed this up when it tested the city's internet speeds and ranked Chattanooga as one of the best metros for remote workers.
Cozy Cafe Scene
If fast Wi-Fi is the number one requirement for any work-from-home destination, then a charming cafe scene comes second. And when you need a change of scenery, a caffeine boost, or both, Chattanooga has plenty of beautiful options on offer. Sleepyhead Coffee is a great place to start. This cafe welcomes remote workers with a comfy lounge area featuring large windows perfect for people-watching procrastination, as well as tons of plants that make the space feel homey. It's all complemented by fresh coffee and vegan pastries baked in house.
For a European-style cafe where you can sip on a latte in a vine-covered courtyard, head to Rembrandt's Coffee in the Bluff View Art District. But if you can only visit one coffee joint, make it Niedlov's Bakery & Cafe. Besides the coffee, this local favorite serves tons of delicious, freshly baked pastries (think blackberry lavender lemon scones and Nutella cruffins, a mix between a croissant and muffin). Niedlov's also has a full menu of breakfast and lunch offerings.
Lots of Green Space
Sometimes, a trip to a charming cafe isn't enough to hit the reset button on your day, and that's when Chattanooga's outdoorsy side comes in handy. This midsize city is easy to navigate, and a nice outdoor spot to relax in is never too far away. Get your steps in for the day with a stroll down Walnut Street Bridge. At 2,370 feet, it's one of the longest pedestrian walkway bridges in the world. Stop at a bench along the way to catch your breath and take in the scenery of both Chattanooga and the Tennessee River below, or continue on to Coolidge Park, which offers a trail that snakes along the river and plenty of green space for lounging, as well as a restored historic carousel. Another park that's perfect for an afternoon pick-me-up is Renaissance Park, with its 23 acres of wetlands, native grasses, and hiking and biking trails all highlighting the area's ecology and history. Meanwhile, art aficionados can head to the 33-acre Sculpture Fields at Montague Park to admire the 27 large-scale sculptures.
Urban Life Meets Mother Nature
When it's time to punch out for the day – or even better, the weekend – Chattanooga offers all the entertainment of city living, while its location in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains lends itself to plenty of outdoor adventures. Some highlights include Rock City, where a 4,100-foot walking trail leads visitors through ancient rock formations and eventually to a lookout point where seven states can be seen, as well as a 140-foot waterfall. Chattanooga is also known for its cave systems. Ruby Falls is a popular choice, as it leads to an impressive waterfall inside the cave, while Raccoon Mountain Caverns Crystal Palace walking tour offers a more rustic experience. Back in the city, Chattanooga is home to several museums, including some that detail the city's unique railroad history. Animal lovers, however, can't miss the Tennessee Aquarium, which features two buildings that take visitors on a journey through the rivers and oceans.
Weekend Trips to Other Popular Cities
Although Chattanooga has more than enough to keep your busy on your weekends off, another big benefit of stationing yourself here is the close proximity to several other popular cities. Nashville, Knoxville, and Atlanta are approximately a two-hour car ride away, while Asheville, North Carolina, can be reached in about four hours. All of this is to say that remote workers based in Chattanooga have an abundance of options for some fun weekend road trips.
Jessica Poitevien is a Travel + Leisure contributor currently based in South Florida, but she's always on the lookout for her next adventure. Besides traveling, she loves baking, talking to strangers, and taking long walks on the beach. Follow her adventures on Instagram.
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