published Wednesday, April 25th, 2012

Chattanooga No. 4 for low-cost vacations

Jennifer Bigil holds up Chloe Wagener, 3, to look at a jellyfish at the Tennessee Aquarium on a recent weekend. The two were visiting with others from Hoover, Ala.
Jennifer Bigil holds up Chloe Wagener, 3, to look at a jellyfish at the Tennessee Aquarium on a recent weekend. The two were visiting with others from Hoover, Ala.
Photo by Jake Daniels.

AFFORDABLE VACATIONS

Top 10 cities:

1. Louisville, Ky.

2. Minneapolis

3. San Antonio

4. Chattanooga

5. Greenville, S.C.

6. Tulsa, Okla.

7. Boulder, Colo.

8. Athens, Ga.

9. Tempe, Ariz.

10. Rogers, Ark.

A wealth of outdoor activities coupled with family-friendly venues helped Chattanooga land a No. 4 ranking in a new list of affordable vacation cities.

"East Tennessee's riverfront city is home to a plethora of nationally ranked tourist attractions, restaurants, shopping and an art district that rivals that any metro city's," said Livability.com.

John Hood, a spokesman for the website, said its staff researched over 500 cities.

"It's not hard-core data," he said. "It's availability of things to do and discounts, free days at museums and attractions and free things."

Bob Doak, who heads the Chattanooga Area Convention and Visitors Bureau, said it's pleasing but not surprising that the city is on the list.

He said rankings such as Livability.com's will continue to drive additional tourists to the city.

"There's a lot of buzz about the community nationwide," Doak said.

Louisville, Ky., topped the website's rankings. It cited the city's "rich history, modern culture, free attractions and deep discounts."

Hood said there is a certain amount of subjectivity involved in the standings, adding there are a lot of midsize cities in the top 10.

"There's a lot of information on New York, Chicago and Los Angeles," he said. "We felt the need to be more in-depth for some of the other cities."

Chattanooga earlier made Livability.com's list of top 10 downtowns, coming in at No. 8. Indianapolis was No. 1.

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about Mike Pare...

Mike Pare, the deputy Business editor at the Chattanooga Times Free Press, has worked at the paper for 27 years. In addition to editing, Mike also writes Business stories and covers Volkswagen, economic development and manufacturing in Chattanooga and the surrounding area. In the past he also has covered higher education. Mike, a native of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., received a bachelor’s degree in communications from Florida Atlantic University. he worked at the Rome News-Tribune before ...

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