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Chattanoogan 101: our guide to becoming a Chattanooga resident

Becoming a new resident is easy with our Chattanoogan 101 guide to all things Chattanooga.

A Visit Chattanooga sign pictured in front of the Tennessee Aquarium

There’s nothing like the iconic aquarium peaks in Chattanooga’s skyline.

Photo by NOOGAtoday

Table of Contents

Picture this: You just moved to Chattanooga, TN and you need some help with the practicalities of life (we can’t just sit back and eat Moon Pies all day, unfortunately). That’s where we come in. Keep reading for Chattanoogan 101, our guide to all things Chattanooga.

Fingers holding an "I voted" sticker outside of a polling location.

Get everything from voter to vehicle registration squared away.

Photo by NOOGAtoday

The essentials

Voter Registration
Make sure you’re eligible and registered to vote, find your polling location, and preview upcoming elections and sample ballots here.

Driver’s licenses and vehicle registration
New residents in need of a Tennessee driver’s license will need to provide proof of legal status, a current license or other acceptable ID, proof of full social security number, and two documents confirming your residential address.

If you’re looking to get a REAL ID by the May 7, 2025 deadline, you can view the requirements here.

You can make an appointment at either of Hamilton County’s full service centers to obtain a State driver’s license. (Must obtain a license no later than 30 days after establishing residency).

To register your car (for the first time) in Tennessee, you’ll need to bring two proofs of local residency, a personal photo ID, original car title (if paid in full), or the original current out-of-state registration + the complete name and mailing address of the lienholder.

Initial registrations may be subject to a fee.

If you’re registering your vehicle in Tennessee for the first time, you must visit the county clerk’s office at the downtown courthouse, or the branch office off of Bonny Oaks Drive.

Registration for your vehicle is conducted on a walk-in basis.

Establishing yourself with a primary care provider is one of those things you’ll be glad you did when you need one. Reach out to the professionals at Erlanger Health System, CHI Memorial, Galen Medical, or Parkridge Health System, to name a few.

Pro tip: Websites like DocSpot filter physicians by location, patient reviews, insurance, language, and more.

A book-shaped fountain outside of a large building.

Get a free library card for access to tools, books, notary services, and more.

Photo by NOOGAtoday

Educational needs

School registration
Prepare your student for the school year by registering them with Hamilton County Public Schools. Here, you’ll find your school zone (currently, the school system has proposed rezoning plans for the 2023-24 school year).

Find new student registration forms and a how-to guide on registering via the “Students Brand New to HCS” page.

For information on Chattanooga’s private schools, check out Chattanooga Families’ list.

Library card registration
If you think libraries are only for renting the occasional book, think again. Register for a library card at your nearest Chattanooga Public Library branch to take advantage of:

  • Notary and passport services
  • Events
  • eBooks, music, and movies
  • Online databases
  • Meeting spaces
  • Tools
  • And lots more fun stuff

To get your card, you’ll need proof of identity and proof of address. Chattanoogans of any age can apply for a free card, but don’t fret if you technically live outside of city limits — you can still get a free card if you meet certain requirements.

A building with text reading "Gig City"

We aren’t called Gig City for nothin’ — EPB’s got internet service covered.

Photo by NOOGAtoday

Home necessities

Thanks for thinking green. For everything you need to know about recycling in Chattanooga, from where to place your bin to pickup times and accepted materials, check out the city’s recycling page. (You can also check out what some local organizations have done to further innovate the city’s recycling efforts.)

Moving is exciting, but no one wants to unpack by candlelight. Establish your services with EPB by creating an account or updating your address in your existing account. Pro tip: You can check to make sure EPB provides service in your area here.

Internet providers
No connectivity issues here. While we happen to think that EPB also provides the best internet around (it is the world’s fastest, after all), you also have other options:

  • AT&T | Get 500 Mbps for $65/month
  • XFinity | Get 400 Mbps for $55/month
  • Spectrum | Get up to 300 Mbps for $49.99/month
  • T-Mobile | Get 5G internet for $50/month
  • EPB | Get the Gig for $67.99/month

*Most of these internet providers offer other packages, as well.

A fire professional bending over with a rod with flames on each end across their back.

MAINx24: something you just have to experience to understand.

Photo by NOOGAtoday

The ultimate Chattanoogan initiation

Having a State driver’s license and a 423 area code may qualify you on paper, but you’re not officially a Chattanoogan until you’ve taken part in some local fun that is only found in the Scenic City.

Festivals and major events
From MAINx24 to Nightfall, there are some local events you just have to experience to really understand. Check these off your bucket list and you’re a true Chattanoogan (or don’t — we’ll claim ya either way).

The great outdoors
There’s a reason Chattanooga is called the Scenic City. Whether you’re into hiking, biking, camping, swimming, or climbing, Chattanooga’s outdoor scene is ready for you.

Bonus: Check out our winter outdoor bucket list.

Food and drink
Looking for a great spot to brunch? A delicious place for vegan eats? Somewhere you can grab a late-night bite? Happy hours?

Our website’s Eat + Drink section stays full of delicious local food content.

Is there something you’re still left wondering about to get you properly established in the Scenic City? Ask us your question and we’ll do our best to answer it for you, like a good neighbor.

Check out our other Guides
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To help make your entire process at the Chattanooga Airport as smooth as possible, we’ve created a guide that covers everything from gates and parking to details on the airport’s nine nonstop flights.
We’re highlighting the best kid-friendly activities that Chattanooga, TN has to offer — complete with art classes, animal encounters, and outdoor fun.
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As Chattanooga continues to grow, we’re keeping an eye on upcoming developments and recently opened businesses.
The economic landscape of Chattanooga, who’s hiring, and who’s most likely to expand investments into our community.
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Make the most of good weather by taking your meals al fresco on one of Chattanooga’s many beautiful patios.
Your home, your favorite coffee shop, your daily commute aren’t just written in the skyline — they may be written in the stars.
Whether you’re a weekend warrior or the next Tiger Woods, these 21 golf courses in Chattanooga are sure to make for a good round.
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