With its many festivals, restaurants, and indoor and outdoor activities, Chattanooga is truly a city for all seasons. There’s no question, though, that the Scenic City is at its liveliest during the spring and summer months, with seemingly endless things to see and do around town. Everywhere you look people are out and about—playing outside, enjoying food and drinks on patios, and basking in the southeastern sunshine. Here are some of our favorite ways to combine fresh air and urban exploring in the heart of downtown Chattanooga.

1. Run a Marathon

Erlanger Chattanooga presents Marathon Weekend during the first weekend of March, catering to enthusiasts with a passion for running. Join us for an exceptional event that celebrates the spirit of running.  It is a great way to explore our scenic wonders and unique downtown community. Run alongside the Tennesee River, dash through the heart of Downtown, and enjoy a course that blends the thrill of racing with the fun of Chattanooga's top attractions! Discover the perfect blend of fitness and fun in our vibrant city.

Chattanooga also hosts the Ironman 70.3 triathlon each May, which is an impressive sight to behold. The bridges and riverfront parks are perfect vantage points to applaud competitors as they swim 1.2 miles in the Tennessee River, bike 56.2 miles, and finish with a 13.1-mile run through downtown.

2. Visit a Local Market

Who can resist the charm of an outdoor market? Dive into the vibrant spring and summer scene on the Southside with not one, but two weekly markets! On Wednesdays, the Main Street Farmers Market pops up from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m., bringing local farmers with the freshest seasonal produce. Then, on Sundays, the First Tennessee Pavilion transforms into the lively Chattanooga Market for most of the day. It's a delightful blend of farmers market goodness and craft fair treasures, featuring everything from fresh flower arrangements and succulents to gourmet popcorn and small-batch hot sauce. With food trucks and live music in the mix, it's the ultimate recipe for a perfect Sunday afternoon.

3. Enjoy a Meal Al Fresco

With so many wonderful restaurants with outdoor seating in Chattanooga, there’s a place to suit every meal and craving. For breakfast, head to Maple Street Biscuit Co. for their inspirational biscuit sandwiches and their daily-made orange juices. For burgers, beer, and maybe even a game of corn hole, you can't go wrong with Universal Joint, a gas station-turned-restaurant with a huge sunny patio. The original garage doors are rolled up when the weather’s nice, making the whole place feel hip and bright.

Public House is a favorite for dinner in the city, with its fresh ingredients, southern classics, and a fantastic selection of beverages. This restaurant fuses fine dining with a casual eatery, and the modern patio is perfect for a warm evening. For a laid-back culinary delight, make your way to State of Confusion, renowned for its delectable wood-fired dishes and a diverse selection of ceviche. Don't forget to leave space for the indulgence of their Peruvian Lucuma Ice Cream. Still looking for more? Check out our list of 15 of the Best Restaurants in Chattanooga with Outdoor Seating.

4. Catch a Game

The Lookouts are Chattanooga’s beloved minor league baseball team, and they play their home games at AT&T Field downtown. With several games a week from April through August, it’s easy to fit a few innings into your trip to Chattanooga. Keep an eye out for special promotions like Thirsty Thursday, Fireworks Friday, and Food Drive Sunday.

For soccer fans, the Chattanooga Football Club plays just across town at Finley Stadium as part of the National Premier Soccer League. The men’s team was founded in 2009 as part of the National Premier Soccer League, and the women’s team came about in 2014. Enjoy all the excitement of a large stadium while cheering on local teams.

5. Spend an Afternoon in the Park

There are several great parks in downtown Chattanooga. The most visible of these is Coolidge Park on the Northshore, which is perfect for picnicking, sunbathing, and tossing around a Frisbee. Wander a few hundred yards downriver and you’ll find yourself in Renaissance Park, a slightly less-manicured area that’s ideal for dog walking and enjoying views of the river and the Tennessee Aquarium. Across town, seek out Sculpture Fields at Montague Park to discover one of Chattanooga’s best-kept secrets: With enormous pieces of outdoor art scattered across its 33 grassy acres, this is the largest sculpture field in the Southeast.

6. Take a Bike Ride

Chattanooga boasts an exceptional bikeshare program, a favorite among both visitors and daily commuters. For just $10, you can snag an all-day pass, granting you unlimited hour-long trips. With over 40 docking stations strategically placed across the city, it's undeniably one of the finest ways to immerse yourself in the vibrant scenes of downtown Chattanooga. For a more unconventional yet undeniably memorable biking experience, consider booking an evening with Pints & Pedals. Embark on a pedal-powered pub crawl, bringing your own canned beverages to savor between stops. Revel in a carefree ride aboard one of these downtown pedal bars for a unique and story-worthy adventure. Another fantastic way to elevate your biking experience is by DIYing your own bike and brew tour.

7. Explore the Riverwalk

The extensive Riverwalk is a point of pride among Chattanoogans—and for good reason. This paved riverfront marvel kicks off at the iconic Walnut Street Bridge, unwinding for an impressive nine miles all the way to the Chickamauga Dam. Not only is this route scenic and delightfully flat, but it also boasts an abundance of convenient bathrooms and rest areas. In recent years, an additional segment was introduced, tracing the river in the opposite direction. This stretch spans several miles, leading you to St. Elmo at the base of Lookout Mountain—a captivating journey offering both natural beauty and urban charm.

A fun and unconventional way to explore the full extent of the Riverwalk is to rent from Adventure Sports Innovation. With rental gear ranging from electric ATVs, e-unicycles, hoverboards, and several other water sports gear options, ASI Chattanooga provides an amazing way for you to experience the scenic city.

8. Get on the Water

The Tennessee River flows through the center of downtown Chattanooga. Experience it up close by renting a Stand-Up Paddleboard from L2 Outside on the Northshore, where you’ll be fully outfitted for a day on the water. Another option is to rent kayaks or SUPs from River Canyon Kayak & Paddle Adventure Rentals in the Tennessee River Gorge. Paddle alongside the abundant wildlife and enjoy views of the magnificent mountains from the river.

A tour on the Chattanooga Ducks is another option that’s fun and exciting for all ages. The Ducks are authentic, amphibious WWII vehicles that take guests on a narrated tour of downtown before splashing into the river for a boat ride around Maclellan Island. 

9. Enjoy a Free Show

Whether it's a free Saturday night concert at Ross's Landing through Riverfront Nights or you head to the city's center for Nightfall, which takes place each Friday night at Miller Plaza in the summertime, you're sure to have a great time. Looking for more? The River City Company regularly hosts Music and Movies in the Park, a family-friendly weekend event in Miller Park. Pack your folding chair and prepare for a fun, casual evening in the city.