Challenge Nation pioneered the urban-adventure race with a race season that includes visits to more than 35 cities across the country. Each scavenger hunt is personalized to the hosting city, exploring its many diverse neighborhoods with a series of clues that would test even the most skilled children's-book detective. The teams?composed of at least two people?vie for a $300 first-place prize. The Amazing Race?style competition rewards quick wits and wise planning over physical fitness, so the best way to prepare is by doing logic puzzles while eating Funyuns and lounging in a La-Z-Boy. The top 25 teams qualify, the top five receiving free entry, to compete in the national championship, which rewards winning teams with a $5,000 cash prize.
The multiple YMCA locations in metropolitan Chattanooga serve more than 37,000 members a year and fulfill the mission of uniting guests regardless of gender, age, faith, background, abilities, or income. Founded in London in 1844, the YMCA spread to its Chattanooga home in 1871 and continues to operate with help from local community volunteers as stalwart as I Love Lucy syndicators. Each location caters to the needs of children, teens, seniors, and families with afterschool programs and fitness-based activities. Cardio machines pump hearts, racquetball courts host fun competitions, and pools allow goggles to fulfill their original purpose: snapping the face with their elastic band to make a diver jump off the blocks faster. A sauna and steam room heat clients up after they cool down in the pools, and parents can drop their young children off at the nursery before participating in group fitness classes.
Deemed the "Best Night Out" in Chattanooga by US Travel and Attractions for two years in a row, Vaudeville Cafe is an entertainment chameleon. On some nights, the tables at the spacious dinner theater are packed with families savoring Italian feasts as they try to solve original murder mysteries. Weekend nights have a more adult slant as headlining standup comedians seen on HBO and Comedy Central garner guffaws while guests enjoy a full bar of cocktails, wine, and frozen specialty drinks. But regardless of the event, every evening brims with jolly vaudeville spirit, and every seat in the house offers stellar views of the stage and napping spotlight operator.
Since opening its doors in 1985, the recently renovated Comedy Catch has induced giggle fits with performances helmed by famed jesters such as Bobcat Goldthwait and Jerry Seinfeld. The main showroom comfortably seats up to 250 guests, with a crystal-clear audio setup preventing punch lines from getting lost in the laughter. Downstairs, the Giggles Grill serves a savory menu of steak, fried shrimp, and tall drinks to replenish calories lost chuckling or trying to huff, puff, and blow the venue’s brick walls down.
At Sky Zoo, which bills itself as a "zoo of entertainment," guests can hop around from activity to activity. In the pool room they shoot billiards and play foosball, in The Big Room guests belt out karaoke songs or shimmy during Battle of the Bands sets, and in the front lounge they can take in a game on TV or throw darts. Sky Zoos fuels all of these activities with a full menu of pub food, including pizza and wings, and frosty pours doled out at its multiple bars.
Musical creativity thrives within the walls of Kimbro's Pickin Parlor. The eclectic southern-style bistro and performance venue occupies a former neighborhood store and Victorian cottage, lending a timeless aesthetic that the staff is only happy to embrace.
Each room of the refurbished home offers its own unique ambiance, although each one honors musicianship in its own way. A bar made entirely out of vintage radio sets sits beside a fireplace and mantle. A dangling guitar rack supports a handful of guitars that are available for customers to take and play their favorite songs. In the main bar area, flyers from past shows paper the walls and form a vibrant mishmash of a collage. The main stage is the signature attraction though, hosting live performances Monday?Saturday by established as well as up-and-coming songwriters.
In between sets, Kimbro's Pickin Parlor encourages patrons to indulge themselves with a drink or a meal of down-home comfort food. The beer menu includes more than 30 options from foreign and domestic producers; however, the draft list consists entirely of creations by local craft breweries, such as Turtle Anarchy and Black Abbey. To accompany these thirst-quenchers, the chefs cook a variety of hearty dishes, including smoked, hand-pulled chicken served atop Johnny Cakes with country gravy and a signature meatloaf made with a mixture of beef and mild italian sausage.