Father’s Day isn’t the only reason to celebrate this month: June 21st is also the summer solstice, the official start of summer and longest day of the year! From coast to coast, cities in the US have forged their own unique traditions to kick off the summer season. From music festivals to free yoga classes, here are the best events celebrating the summer solstice in your city to keep the party going all day.
New York City
Falling also on the newly-appointed International Day of Yoga, New Yorkers can participate in the “Solstice In Times Square” mass yoga gathering. Several classes are offered over the course of the day, and all will be broadcast live for viewers all over the world. Because really, there’s no excuse not to work out when you’re gifted with extra time!
After that solid rejuvenation, head on over to the Socrates Sculpture Park in Queens, where the Summer Solstice Celebration kicks off at 5 pm. Art workshops, face painting, picnics, and a live concert from the Queens Symphony Orchestra are just some of the ways you can make your day last.
Kicking the fun off a day early (in recognition of Father’s Day), Slow Food Chicago and the Chicago Honey Co-Op are hosting a Summer Solstice Potluck. This community picnic will allow you to bring the whole family and spend the longest day of the year snacking in the sun. Just bring a dish to share, some chairs and a blanket, and your ticket entitles you to some good eating with friends.
If you’re looking to throw a mini road trip into the mix, take an hours drive to Yorkville for their annual summer solstice and craft beer 3-day music festival. Most of the indie musical performances are free, a $5 wristband lets you buy and sample craft beer, and a joint art festival will also be involved. Not enough? Sign up for the canoe flotilla on Saturday to spend the day having fun in the water. All profits raised benefit Music and Memory, so you can feel good about celebrating.
Want to mix a healthy dose of educational experiences in with your fun? Head to Harvard Museums of Science and Culture’s yearly Summer Solstice Celebration. In between watching circus performers, making historical crafts and sampling local food trucks, you can enjoy admission to four of Harvard’s museums. The best part? The whole event is totally free to the public.
The global celebration Fête de la Musique (World Music Day) will be filling the streets of Boston with live music for the third year in a row, with four locations to attend in the South End. The summer solstice festival encourages people to travel between each location, set up a picnic, and let the music be a fun accompaniment to how they spend their day. Because who hasn’t wanted a soundtrack to go along with their daily activities?
Georgetown Athleta is celebrating the first day of summer with a free morning “Yoga Solstice” class. The event will take place at the Georgetown Waterfront Park, ensuring you’ll get to enjoy beautiful views and the first full day of summer sun with your yoga. After working up a sweat, you can sample green smoothies, enter some raffles, and walk away with a complimentary yoga mat.
If you want to get away from city life for the day, check out Arcadia’s 2015 Summer Solstice Farm Dinner at Arcadia Farm. Chef Rob Rubba is preparing a four-course meal celebrating the best and freshest food in the region, which will also be an exclusive menu preview of his new restaurant in D.C. Eat like a king, get educated on sustainable food methods, and just enjoy your surroundings. From barbecued chuck roast to carrot cake ice cream sandwiches, the price tag might be a little high, but it’s definitely going to be an experience to remember.
Each time the seasons change (solstices and equinoxes), the Griffith Observatory offers informative lectures from experts twice a day. If you want to really learn about the planetary changes and the science behind this event, this is the place to go! The sunset will perfectly align with an engraved marker in the pavement, and as always you’ll get insanely good views of the city, so expect for this to be a packed event.
Like in Boston, Make Music LA will be hosting a bunch of free concerts across the city for World Music Day. From huge mariachi bands in the park, to a tween violinist in a cemetery, the DIY nature of the event means that you’ll always be surprised by what you’re seeing and hearing. All artists are welcome to sign up, and have complete control over their performance. It’s a great way to spend the day outside, and 100% free to the public.
Bust out the boat shoes and pack the life vests, because it’s time for Summer Sailstice! A global event celebrating the world of sailing, San Francisco’s chapter will take place on the 20th at the Encinal Yacht Club. Boat rides, competitive racing, live entertainment, and fun in the sun will all be open to the public.
If you’d rather spend your time on land, San Francisco has still got you covered for some weekend fun. Want a chance to see the main attractions of San Francisco, get a ton of exercise and go home with some free prizes? Head to Crissy Field for the 24 Hour, 12 Hour and 6 Hour Runs: the event promises live music, free food for runners, and stunning views of San Francisco land marks.
We hope you’re ready to get out and celebrate the start of the summer season! Is there a fun summer solstice event happening in your city you’d like to share? Let us know in the comments!