Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Best Chattanooga Neighborhoods for Retirees and Seniors

One of the things that makes Chattanooga so great is that it has a lot of variety in the metropolitan area. The are neighborhoods that are party of the trend towards hip urban living favored by many millennials,  neighborhoods with short commutes to work and school for Gen Xers with families, and neighborhoods that have the quick and easy access to amenities and activities favored by baby boomers and retirees who want to enjoy their time out of the rat race. Today we're focusing on which neighborhoods are best for this third group of active retirees.


Chattanooga is a great city for active boomers to live a fun life they can afford.
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carrib- Creative Commons
Hixson, Red Bank, East Ridge, and East Brainerd all have the qualities that many retirees and seniors want. These neighborhoods are close to shopping, grocery stores, hospitals, and recreation and don't have a long commute. They also can be some of the most affordable areas in the Chattanooga metro area, which is great for those on fixed incomes or who just want more for their dollar. While there is  no shortage of different styles, due to the time period when these areas developed there are many single story homes, ranches, and split levels that are more accommodating for those who anticipate future mobility difficulties or already experience joint pain or fatigue. Many of these areas are also great family neighborhoods, which increases the possibility of being close to grandkids.
Erlanger Hospital in downtown Chattanooga
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newsweekshowcase.com - Creative Commons. 
Hixson, as we've written about before, is centrally located and drivable. Debbie Bell, a Hixson resident, explained, "It's ten minutes to the pharmacy, ten minutes to the grocery store, ten minutes to shopping. But I'm still in a well-established neighborhood." Mrs. Bell added that being able to commute from Hixson to other areas without having to get on one of the major interstates was a big bonus. Hixson is also home to Northgate Mall(the second largest mall in the area) and the shopping centers that have cropped up around it. It is served by Memorial Hospital's North branch. For those interest in fitness or physical therapy, Hixson has many options including the Sports Barn North and a branch of The Rush, as well as a YMCA. All of these gyms offer exercise classes, weight lifting, cardio equipment, swimming pools, and activities for all ages.
A pretty little house in East Ridge listed by Randy Durham's team

Red Bank is very similar in age and character to Hixson. It makes up the western end of the Chattanooga metropolitan area, in between downtown and Signal Mountain. It is somewhat less expensive a a whole than Hixson as it doesn't boast the same availability of waterfront property. It has many lovely views of nearby Signal and Raccoon mountains, however, and is only 10-15 minutes from both downtown and Hixson shopping. It has access to some of the nicer grocery stores in the Chattanooga area, including two Super Bi-Lo stores and a Wal-Mart. Red Bank is also home to many restaurants including Mojo Burrito (a local chain not unlike Chipotle), Crust Pizza, Old Saigon (a Vietnamese restaurant with a cult following), Fire House Subs, several Chinese and Mexican restaurants, and an institution called simply Southern Restaurant with classic homestyle comfort food. The traffic is slowed with cameras installed by the City of Red Bank, and it's easy to get around without having to get on the highway. The area is also served by a large branch of Erlanger Hospital at 
their North Campus.
Hamilton Place Mall decked out for the holidays
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- Creative Commons.
East Ridge is situated opposite from Red Bank on the southeast side of Chattanooga. It is a quiet part of town with many lovely post-war homes and ranches, situated between downtown, Missionary Ridge, and the Georgia border. Groceries, shopping, pharmacies, mechanics, salons, medical suppliers, and other businesses are all nearby along Ringgold Road. Antique shops and flea markets are popular, including Pot Luck Antiques, the East Town Antique Mall on Slater Road, and the aptly named East Ridge Flea Market. East Ridge is served by the East branch of Parkridge Hospital.

It is a short drive from Hamilton Place Mall and the vast shopping array of East Brainerd, yet removed from the traffic and continual development. It is also one of the more inexpensive areas in Chattanooga's already well-priced metropolitan area. East Ridge is directly across I-75 from a somewhat similar area, Brainerd, where there are a plethora of restaurants up and down Brainerd Road, including Out of the Blue Cafe (where a tasty yet inexpensive lunch is paired with kites), Sweet Basil ThaiBud's Sports BarHeavenly WingsApplebees, a Starbucks, Nagoya (serving inexpensive Japanese and sushi), the standard fast food chains, and more.

A typical East Brainerd home, listed by the Randy Durham team
East Brainerd is a large, still-growing area to the northeast of Chattanooga, about 15-20 minutes away from downtown and right off of I-75. Even in the past few decades it was still largely undeveloped farmland, but thanks to the continued success of Hamilton Place Mall and nearby shopping centers, the area's residential and commercial areas have boomed. There are homes at a variety of price points and in newer architectural styles. This is a great area to find modern design elements like great rooms, two story foyers and spa-like bathrooms. It also has one of the highest concentrations of doctor's offices, medical offices, and outpatient facilities, making routine visits extremely convenient. 

In addition to a nearby PublixEarthFare, and Boston Market there is an unending selection of restaurants. There familiar chains like The Melting PotRed LobsterCarrabasP.F. Chang's and Bone Fish Grill, with more franchises than nearby than anywhere else in Chattanooga. There are also, increasingly, second locations of popular downtown restaurants and smaller, regional chains like Big River GrilleMellow Mushroom, and Sticky Fingers. These restaurants have realized that with so much to do and day to day amenities so close at hand, there is rarely a need for East Brainerd residents venture back downtown for necessities or entertainment.