With the beginning of summer comes that overwhelming desire to get outside–shake off the routines of the other seasons and exchange them for a bit of adventure and a chance to explore new places.
And while you may already be seeing dollar signs flashing on the backs of your eyelids, most cities offer great summer activities for absolutely no charge. You just have to know where to look.
In order to have the most fun (and economical) adventures this summer, you have to think a little bit outside the box. Let the thoughts of theme parks and oceanfront houses rest for a moment and take a look at some of the places that may not be so obvious at first.
Free Concerts: Most cities play host to a number of free concerts, especially during the summer months. It might be your local symphony playing in the park or an old timers’ band jamming outside the courthouse of a small town square. Coffee shops are also great places to find live music, and you’ll get a taste of the local talent as well!
Farmer’s Markers: Look for a local farmer’s market in your area or even a downtown farmer’s market where you can either go alone or take your family to get a mouthful of delicious in-season foods and an eyeful of flowers. Even if you don’t decide to buy anything, it’s always fun to take in the sights and smells of summer in an open-air market.
Free Movies: Many cities offer free movie series in which they show movies on a giant screen in a park. It’s also worth researching some historic theaters in your area to see if they’re offering any community showings of films, either indoors our out. You can also check the library for free family movie nights. And if you don’t have any luck there, look up the nearest dollar theater, where you can get the movie-going experience for just a couple bucks.
Art Galleries and Museums: Most art galleries and museums offer free community days on occasion, many once a month. Do your research and figure out when you can hit the halls and gain a cultural experience at no cost to you. Also keep your eyes peeled for art crawls, where you can take in the work of several artists in a number of galleries.
Hiking Meetups: Find a local hiking meetup, where you can join others for great hikes in your area. You can generally do the same with biking or walking groups, and you’ll make new friends along the way.
Pools and Public Beaches: State parks often have free public beaches where you can take the family for a swim. Plus, some community pools open their gates to the community for certain hours on certain days, and it’s a great way to get out of the heat and into the water.
This list just begins to scratch the surface of things you can do this summer to take advantage of your local scene without forking out the cash at every stop. Be creative and do some research and you’ll be surprised at how much fun you can afford!