Summertime. When you’re a kid it is everything to you. No school. No real responsibilities. Your only thing to do is look for ways to have fun.
As an adult it means nothing except being sweaty outside but cold at work and spending more money on your electric bill. Yet every year when summer rolls around we think we need to be busy or it wasn’t a summer well spent. Outside of a vacation what do you have time to do to enjoy the summer?
Pretty sure no matter where you live, if you grew up there or have been there a long time you will insist that it’s boring. It’s the American way. To prove that any town can be fun if you try, here are 10 things you can do just about anywhere this summer.
1. Find a new park to explore.
Every city has parks! Have you been to yours? Even if you do take advantage of your tax dollars actually being put to good use there’s a big chance of a park existing that you didn’t know about. You should be able to look it up on your town’s parks and recreations site. Pick one to explore with your significant other, pet or friend.
I have found both really cool parks with all sorts of art and literally 10 square feet of grass as a “park” by doing this but no matter what you find, it’s pretty fun with good company! Pack a picnic or soccer ball and see the amenities your money is paying for. You just might discover your new favorite hideaway.
2. Set a weekly meet up at your favorite spot to cool down.
I love stuff like this because it not only gives you a chance to meet up with friends but also something to look forward to each week (or whatever your group decides.) It’s also a great chance to meet new people. Make it a BYOF- Bring Your Own Friend get together so everyone has someone new to meet.
Your meet up spot can be somewhere conventional like a bar or brunch spot. It could also be meeting for a walk at the park or picking out books at the library. The more unique, the more interest it will attract to be able to make it a regular thing in my experience. I did proudly keep up a basic girls wine night for about a year though.
3. Have a summer cocktail contest with your friends.
Sometimes you just want to get drunk over the summer. Instead of your normal White Claw by the pool, invite the gang over for a drink-off. Everyone brings over a fun summer cocktail for the group to try. For an added challenge, pick a key ingredient for everyone to use.
4. Use the water hose.
Time to go back to your roots. The “I used to drink out of a water hose!” people have nothing to complain about here.
A hose can lead to lots of fun. Hook it up for a waterslide, fill up water balloons, spray tag, spray down the dogs, or wash your car (some people think it’s fun- but that ain’t me.) I really feel like the hose is an underrated household item.
Don’t be excessive with your water use though! Not only for environmental reasons but that will get expensive.
5. Attend a nearby art festival.
Even small towns see these pull through, if not directly then nearby. Instead of walking by or clicking “interested” on Facebook, actually go! I’ve never once regretted actually going and still I skip out on so many. My goal is to do more of these now that I have a kid so I can do a better job of showing him community roots.
By attending these local fairs not only do you support local businesses but you’re also making it possible for them to come back and get more events added to the calendar. Remember the grass is greener where you water it.
6. Be a part of the concert revival.
I work for a radio station so of course I’m going to talk about this. The valley is blessed with a TON of local venues compared to other towns I’ve lived in. Back in concert prime, you could go to a show every night if you wanted to. I think by the end of 2021 we will see that restored. Our venue halls have a year of lost revenue to make up for so it’s time to storm the ticketing booths and let them know we are excited to come back.
We are also giving away tickets HERE! But promise me you’ll buy a drink or some food to support the local venue hall? 😉
See ALT artists coming to the valley by clicking HERE to view the concert calendar.
7. Host a wine and cheese party.
This one is a favorite of mine. I used to regularly have these and call it Wine Wednesday.
This is fun because everyone gets a lot to sample. Just have each attendee bring a wine they have never had and a cheese (to match? But hard to do with new wine!)
It’s all just for fun so no need to know much about wine. I like to play a game where each person pretends they know what they are talking about and try to deceive the flavors. Then we look it up and see if we were close.
8. Find some water.
This summer, find some water! I don’t mean from the faucet. I mean on this beautiful planet of ours. No matter where you are, you are within driving distance of a beach, lake, river, splash pad, or water park.
It doesn’t have to be a big trip. Even a trip to walk by the river and skip rocks can be fun with a friend or good playlist.
In the valley we have access to a decent amount of water considering we are the desert. Tempe Town Lake has lots of fun rentals for fun on the water, Lake Pleasant has similar amenities plus a great view, and you can drive to California if you really need a beach! All of that and we still have multiple water parks and splash pads.
Sometimes we forget about all the things that are actually available to us.
9. Try that “one” thing.
We all have that ONE thing we always say we are going to check out but then never get around to it.
Crazy idea. This summer… go do it! You wanted to try indoor sky diving, book it. You want to go to Sedona? It’s time. That shop you keep driving by? Go inside.
I have a couple things I swear I’m going to do and now it’s been two years and I’ve not done them. I want to go to Sedona and I want to do one of those adventure ropes courses! If I’m going to set a realistic goal, I’d like to make one of those happen. (Newborn makes these things hard!)
Let’s all take a little leap over whatever obstacle has kept us from whatever experience and just go for it.
TIP: Setting a date is the best way to set something in motion for me, so try picking a day on the calendar to do it.
10. Support your local businesses.
You should always support local business, so this isn’t a summer exclusive but in Arizona it’s a very important time to rally those sales. We lose a huge chunk of our tourism in the summer.
It’s too hot and the desert isn’t normally where people go for summer vacation. The local shops around Old Town and Roosevelt street are places that give the area culture and something unique to offer. Show up and support what makes your home special.
Whatever you decide to do with you summer I wish you a safe and wonderful few months. Enjoy rediscovering your own town again after a year of change. The one thing from the pandemic that I really hope stays is that love for the “little things” we found. Like our hometown. Don’t take it for granted!