Surviving graduation weekend in Chattanooga

With a busy weekend full of events and graduation ceremonies, this guide will tell you where to go if you’re celebrating a student, or if you want to avoid the fuss.


Con(grad)ulations to all graduates this weekend.

Photo provided by @utchattanooga

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In a sea of tasseled caps, there are two types of people, the ones who are celebrating + the ones who are just trying to run errands. Here are the need-to-knows and some tips on where to celebrate or how to avoid the crowds.

Graduation services

UTC | Friday, May 5-Saturday, May 6 | McKenzie Arena | Friday, 11 a.m. (Graduate colleges) and 3 p.m. (Undergraduate) + Saturday, 9 a.m., 1 p.m., and 4 p.m.

Chattanooga State Community College | Friday, May 5 | Main campus gymnasium | Collegiate High ceremony at 10 a.m. + Spring 2023 ceremony at 2 p.m.

Covenant College | Saturday, May 6 | Convention Center | 3 p.m.

Bonus: Here’s a picture from when Editor Haley graduated from UTC in 2020.


A big Go Mocs for all of those graduating this weekend.

Want to know how to avoid the crowds? Look no further.

Places to wine + dine

Folks can expect crowds at local spots like Tony’s Pasta Shop & Trattoria, Champy’s, Two Ten Jack, etc. — check out these instead.

Flying Squirrel | 55 Johnson St. | Have a quiet + intimate meal at this cute spot that has plenty of open reservations.

1885 Grill | 3914 St. Elmo Ave. | Tucked away in St. Elmo, this southern coastal grill could be a great escape from downtown.

Food Works | 205 Manufacturers Rd. | Enjoy a meal at this spot in Northshore with plenty of free parking + open availability.

Note: Large wait times are to be expected everywhere around downtown — be prepared and call ahead. You can also check reservations for some spots here.

Fun events

If you’re not celebrating a grad this weekend, but still want to go out around town, there are plenty of options.

Shakespeare in the Park | Friday, May 5-Saturday, May 6 | 7:30-10 p.m. | Greenway Farm Park, 5051 Gann Store Rd., Hixson | $0-$120 | Bring a blanket or lawn chairs to watch a local production of Shakespeare’s “As You Like It” + enjoy local food trucks and vendors.

Chattanooga Bacon Festival | Saturday, May 6-Sunday, May 7 | Times vary | Camp Jordan, 323 Camp Jordan Pkwy., East Ridge | Free+ | Stay out of the downtown traffic with this fun festival offering 150+ vendors and food trucks + much more.

Red Bank Jubilee | Saturday, May 6 | 11 a.m.- 4 p.m. | 3817 Redding Rd. | Free+ | Listen to a local bluegrass group, enjoy food trucks, a beer garden, and more.

Note: The Chattanooga Market is hosting its Strawberry Festival on Sunday, May 7 — expect larger crowds due to relatives staying in town.

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