5 Outdoor Activities for Groups Meeting Downtown

These activities let attendees explore downtown while also getting their vitamin D

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Getting attendees outdoors for part of a meeting is something many planners strive to do. If you're meeting downtown, though, it can be a challenge to find an outdoor activity that doesn't require traveling to the city's outskirts. Here are five downtown, outdoor activities that allow groups to have a little fun in the sun -- without straying too from the meeting.

Wall Climbing (Chattanooga, TN)

In downtown Chattanooga, TN, your group can climb to new heights -- literally -- thanks to High Point Climbing and Fitness, a unique climbing gym that offers 30,000 square feet of climbing surface both inside and outside. Outside, its transparent climbing walls span 30 to 60 feet, beginning 20 feet above street level. With lead, top rope, and auto-belay walls, as well as two nearly 50-foot speed-climbing walls, there are climbing options for both novices and experts -- all outdoors in the middle of downtown Chattanooga, where you'll feel more like you're scaling a skyscraper than a mountainside.

Zip Lining (Las Vegas, NV)

Zip lining is something you typically do in lush forests and wide-open countryside. In Las Vegas, however, it's something you can do downtown, courtesy of SlotZilla (pictured), a 12-story zip line attraction that sends you soaring over Fremont Street from a building-sized slot machine. Visitors can choose between two different lines: the "Zipline," which starts 77 feet above the ground, and the "Zoomline," which begins 114 feet off the ground -- more than 10 stories up -- and sends flyers down "superhero-style" on their stomachs for a super-sized thrill with super-sized views of downtown Vegas below.

Running (Chicago, IL)

Many meeting planners have begun incorporating "fun runs" into their event programs in order to appeal to fitness-focused attendees. In Chicago, planners can partner with Chicago Running Tours & More to make fun runs even more fun. The company's sightseeing tours take groups all over Chicago to see the city's most famous sights, led by tour guides who combine storytelling with cardio fitness. Groups run between a 10- and 13-minute pace, and make multiple stops along the way to ensure that no one gets left behind. Groups can choose from a number of routes, such as the architecture-themed "Tower to Tower" and the "Run o Wrigley," which starts at the famous Wrigley Building downtown and meanders north to the Chicago Cubs' Wrigley Field.

Standup Paddle Boarding (Austin, TX)

Lady Bird Lake is one of Austin's most beloved treasures. Groups can experience it from the water with standup paddle board rentals from Rowing Dock, which has a downtown dock on the south shore of Lady Bird Lake, just west of Zilker Park. Along with standup paddle board rentals, canoe and kayak rentals are also available. Groups can paddle westward on Lady Bird Lake to explore the quiet West End, or they can paddle east to the Barton Creek inlet, which offers an iconic view of downtown Austin. Although rentals are first come, first served, the company accepts reservations for groups of 25 or more.

Scavenger Hunting (San Francisco, CA)

Scavenger hunts aren't just for kids. They're also for corporate groups, which can embark on teambuilding quests across San Francisco and numerous other cities -- including Atlanta, Boston, Los Angeles, Miami, and New York, just to name a few -- courtesy of Watson Adventures, which organizes corporate scavenger hunts in outdoor locations like Chinatown and North Beach, the Mission District, and the San Francisco Zoo. One hunt, for example -- called "The Wharf's Weird Wonders Scavenger Hunt" -- sends participants in search of "hidden history and overlooked oddities" at Fisherman's Wharf. Instead of physical objects, teams must look for answers to tricky and humorous questions about sights around the city. On some hunts, they're challenged to take team photos, buy local snacks to munch on, or solve a murder mystery. At the end of all of them, the winning team receives a medal and everyone walks away with new knowledge about their colleagues and the city.