Summertime in Chattanooga

Explore The Best Of Chattanooga

Summertime in Chattanooga

Summer is coming.  It’s kind of already here, but you have three glorious months of swimming holes, live music, ice cream, white water rafting, farmer’s markets, festivals…the list goes on.  If you’ve already made your reservations to stay with us this season, we’ll see you soon!  And, you can use this as a preliminary guide for your stay.  If you’re still making your plans, this will help. Think of this as a synopsis of what we love about summers in Chattanooga. On our travel blog and our facebook page we will continue to post specifics about things to do and area events.  Want to stay up to date?  Follow us on Facebook or instagram.

Getting Out On The Water

You can flat water kayak, white water raft, tube, or stand up paddleboard.  The resources are here.  

River Drifters in the River Gorge of the Tennessee River rents single and double kayaks as well as stand up paddleboards for an hour, two hours, or half days.  When you’re done, visit their restaurant for a burger and a beer.  Our fearless leader, Thor, has at least one of their burgers every week and he says they are THE BEST.

L2 Outside rents single kayaks, double kayaks, and stand up paddleboards on River Street in the heart of downtown Chattanooga.  There are no guides, so those without a lot of experience should plan to get on the river in the morning or late in the day.

Rock Creek Rentals and Outpost also rents paddleboards and kayaks at the Hubert Fry Center.

Looking for tubing or white water?  The Ocoee River, the site of the 1996 Olympics Whitewater Competition, is less than an hour from Chattanooga.  There are guiding services that offer whitewater rafting and tubing trips.  One of my favorite rivers is the Hiwassee River.  There are several outfitters in Reliance, Tennessee that offer rentals.  The Hiwassee is Class II and III, so it is a great choice for beginners and families and you do not need a guide.  

Swimming holes. We love them, and you will too.  For details on some of our favorites, visit our blog article dedicated to them.


There are so many amazing hiking opportunities in the area.  Cloudland Canyon State Park, Stringers’ Ridge, Pot Point Trail, Edwards Point, Reflection Riding.  The list goes on.  Certainly you can do these routes on your own, but why not take advantage of a guiding service. Get with the first, local-led hiking tour and our partners, Experience Chattanooga.  Hope and Ryan can show you the waterfalls, swimming holes, sunsets, and vistas you don’t want to miss.

Festivals and Live Music

Nightfall is every Friday from May 3 -August 30 at Miller Plaza in downtown Chattanooga: FREE live music.  A kid friendly and dog friendly outdoor event with food trucks and artist displays joining the music, Nightfall has been a favorite of Chattanooga locals for the past 32 years.  The opening band starts at 7:00 and it all wraps up at 9:30, so it is a great, early evening event. If you are looking for more, there is Nightfall After Hours at the Granfallon on Main Street.  Nighfall After Hours is for those 21 and over and is not dog friendly.

Riverbend Festival is May 29-June 1 We simply call it Riverbend.  It is four stages of live music with plenty of festivities on the Chattanooga Riverfront. This year’s headliners are Weezer, Lionel Ritchie, Keith Urban, and Macklemore. Four night passes are only $60-80 (plus fees)  and can be purchased online or at any Food City location.

Pops on the River The Chattanooga Symphony and Opera puts on a FREE outdoor, patriotic concert in Coolidge Park on July 3, 2019.  Fireworks and all.

Outdoor Dining

1885 Grill is located in St. Elmo and is one of our partners that offers discounts to our guests.  Team Chattanooga Vacation Rentals has enjoyed many a meals on their patio.  Live music included.

Boathouse Rotisserie and Raw Grill on the Tennessee River.  Delicious seafood and house smoked meats.  The menu and view are spectacular.

Old Gilman Grill in the West Village.  Their American take on French dining means crepes, steaks, inventive salads, charcuterie, and seafood.  Oh, and wine.  Of course wine.

State of Confusion serves up ceviche on Main Street in a super cool, artsy space.  Beautiful, and the patio is dog friendly!

The Flying Squirrel is another Main Street eatery.  We’ve told y’all about this spot before, but it bears repeating.  A delicious, inventive, ever changing menu, craft cocktails, and an extensive beer list makes for a great evening.  Plus these folks have live music on some nights, and “give back” nights supporting local organizations.  The Flying Squirrel is 21 and over except for during Sunday brunch.

Brewhaus.  German food and German beers (among others) all at the base of the walking bridge in North Chattanooga.  Enjoy your time while watching the river.

Rembrandt’s Coffee House in the Bluff View Art District.  Coffee, sandwiches, beautiful and delicious pastries.  This place has got it on point, and they have a patio!  Hit up the Hunter Museum of American Art then refuel at Rembrandt’s.

Sporting Events

The Chattanooga Lookouts are our minor league baseball team. The farm team for the Cincinnati Reds.  If you love economical tickets, stadiums where even the cheap seats are close to the action, and a kid friendly spot where they let them run the bases (heck they even let the adults run the bases), you should definitely catch a game.  The stadium is in the heart of downtown.

The Chattanooga Football Club. Soccer that is.  This community driven and community owned team plays at Finley Stadium.  Join in with their incredibly loyal fans, the Chattahooligans, for a match.

Downtown Chattanooga

Are you still with me?  Just want to chill in Chattanooga?  Hit up the downtown area, the Southside, the North Shore, St Elmo, and the Bluff View Art District.  Walk around, rent a bike at one of the many stations around town, find the murals and the sculptures, dance in the fountain at Coolidge Park or those at The Tennessee Aquarium, take a ride on the Carousel, look at sculptures at Sculpture Fields.  Pick up some charcuterie at the Bleu Fox Cheese Shop or an ice cream cone at our local ice creamery Clumpies. Stroll through the farmers, artisans, and chefs at the Chattanooga Market.  The point is that you don’t need a special event to visit Chattanooga this summer. You can find what you want every day.

Oh, and…looking for your perfect place to stay?  We got you covered.  Chattanooga Vacation Rentals