30 Ways to Enjoy Summer in the City

Ah, summer! Time to shed those layers, open the windows and head outside. The season can invoke fantasies of pounding surf and golden sunsets, or tumbling creeks and soft nights garlanded with fireflies, but summer in the city can offer its own unique outdoor attractions. Here are 30 suggestions for getting out and about in urban environments — use them to spur your own imagination.

1. Explore opportunities to dine at different sidewalk cafes.

jason.joo/flickr

 

2. Contact a local animal shelter and offer to walk a dog.

Groovnick/flickr

 

3. Identify every small park in your neighborhood and have a picnic in each one.

twopolishedpennies/flickr

 

4. Join a softball league.

atomische/flickr

 

5. Locate every community garden in your neighborhood and check out what’s growing.

bstender/flickr

 

6. Pledge to rediscover your own city — by walking. Some cities are eminently walkable, others not so much, but every city has its own unique neighborhoods that are best explored on foot.

creatingkoan/flickr

 

7. Find a roof garden, deck, porch or fire escape where you can sunbathe (with sunscreen, of course).

JulianBleecker/flickr

 

8. Volunteer some time with a children’s outdoor summer program.

Science World British Columbia/flickr

 

9. Make a list of farmers’ markets in your city and patronize each one.

Justin Sewell/flickr

 

10. Learn about the independent ice cream vendors in your town and sample their wares. Or make your own.

Photo Phiend/flickr

 

11. Walk in the rain, as long as the rain isn’t part of an electrical storm — if it is, find a safe spot to watch the show.

Corey Templeton/flickr

 

12. Take a sunset cruise.

Ed Coyle/flickr

 

13. Look in your local paper for listings of outdoor concerts, plays, and movies — most cities have several such events every weekend.

Penn State/flickr

 

14. Many cities are becoming increasingly bicycle-friendly so investigate the bike paths and cycling routes in your town.

JPH/flickr

 

15. Enjoy a cocktail at a rooftop bar.

Charleston’s TheDigitel/flickr

 

16. Sports are always exciting activities, but in addition to major league games you might look into your city’s minor league teams — they can be fun and far less expensive.

willowbrookhotel/flickr

 

17. Buy a kiddie pool

Todd Morris/flickr

 

18. Plan a roving al fresco dinner party with neighbors — every household prepares a course and the guests walk from front porch to front porch.

Megan Hemphill/flickr

 

19. Do something in a boat: cities almost always have a water aspect (ocean, river or lake) so find the boating opportunity — sailing, kayaking, canoeing, speedboating, etc. — that most appeals to you and get out on the water.

Richard Johnstone/flickr

 

20. Check if your town has ropes courses and/or zipline facilities.

Michael Patrick/flickr

 

21. Does your city host a monthly art walk? If not, organize one with local shops and galleries.

YoVenice/flickr

 

22. Get up before dawn and find a scenic spot to watch the sun rise.

Steve Wilde/flickr

 

23. Fly a kite.

Let Ideas Compete/flickr

 

24. If your city has outdoor fountains designed for children’s play, find one and soak your inner child. Or run though a sprinkler.

Sandor Weisz/flickr

 

25. Plant a garden: on your deck, in your back yard, on a windowsill.

jnyemb/flickr

 

26. Take a walk with a pad and pen: write a poem about the summer ambiance in your city and create a drawing to go along with it.

le Liz/flickr

 

27. Participate in a walk, run or ride for charity.

Victoria Pickering/flickr

 

28. Find out if any museums in your city have outdoor cafes: satisfy your hunger for art and good food.

Isaac Wedin/flickr

 

29. Discover your local arboretums and cemeteries — the latter, especially, can be lovely, and peaceful, venues for contemplative strolls.

Duncan Harris/flickr

 

30. Circle August 11 and 12 on your calendar and make plans to watch the Perseid meteor shower. If you’re lucky, the skies will be clear and dark enough to showcase these celestial fireworks in all their grandeur.

adcuz/flickr

 

51 comments

Jim Ven
Jim Ven15 days ago

thanks for the article.

Paul M.
Paul M.2 years ago

Sit on the verandah, drinking a cold beer, and watching the solar panels soaking up the sun, the windmill turning slowly, the homemade wetland clean the water, and the air filtering through the trees, shrubs, grasses and water.

Sue Matheson
Sue Matheson3 years ago

thanks

Sandi C.
Sandi C.3 years ago

thanks

Magdalen B.
Magdalen B.3 years ago

With all the light pollution, people in cities may not be able to see the Perseids even if the skies are clear. I remember seeing the sky full of shooting stars in the West of Ireland in the early 1980s. It was glorious.

Anna Undebeck
Anna Undebeck3 years ago

Thanks so much for the tips :)

Darren Woolsey
Darren Woolsey3 years ago

Some amazing photographs in that lot!

Frans Badenhorst
Frans Badenhorst3 years ago

dang!, very nice post, I like the "take a shelter dog for a walk", "fly a kite..:)...", "al fresco dinner", "sunrise watch", "sunset cruise" and "rediscover your city" ones the most.....

paul m.
paul m.3 years ago

Nice.

Michael H.
Mike H.3 years ago

Thanks for the tips.