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.



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



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



4. Join a softball league.



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



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.



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



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.



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.



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.



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.



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.




Jim Ven
Jim Ven1 years ago

thanks for the article.

Paul M.
Paul M4 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 Matheson4 years ago


Sandi C.
Sandi C4 years ago


Magdalen B.
Magdalen B4 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 Undebeck4 years ago

Thanks so much for the tips :)

Darren Woolsey
Darren Woolsey4 years ago

Some amazing photographs in that lot!

Frans Badenhorst
Frans B4 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 m4 years ago


Michael H.
Mike H4 years ago

Thanks for the tips.