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Monday, June 20th marks the summer solstice: the longest day of the year. Wondering what to do with the extra hours of daylight? We rounded up some fun and interesting events last year, and cities all over the country are back with cool ways to celebrate the season.
Atlanta, Georgia: Westview Summer Solstice
Going nine years strong, Westview’s Summer Solstice Celebration is a fun block party with a lot of heart. There’s something for everyone: sample delicious homemade food from the grill-off competition (and even participate yourself), browse wares from local vendors and artists, or just kick back and get to know your neighbors. This year also marks the beginning of a pet costume competition, in case you were looking for a bonus dose of adorable in your day. Who could pass up spending the longest day of the year at a party with family and friends?
Boston, Massachusetts: Harvard’s Summer Solstice Celebration
The Harvard Museums of Science and Culture are back with the perfect summer event for the whole family. Their annual Summer Solstice Celebration seamlessly integrates history and entertainment, with traditional Aztec and Egyptian sun crafts, food trucks, circus performers and free admission to their museums in the evening. Snack on some Ben & Jerry’s ice cream in the sun, listen to live music, and enjoy the longest day of the year with no cost of admission.
Chicago, Illinois: Millennium Park Summer Music Series
Summer in Chicago means getting outside and enjoying the non-freezing temperatures, and the Millennium Park Summer Music Series is the perfect recreational spot to take full advantage of the warmer season. The June 20th performance features a huge multimedia performance from noted performer DJ Spooky, jazz artist Kelan Phil Cohran and his Summer Solstice Ensemble, all free to the public. Wind the day down listening to talented performers while enjoying views of the sunset— sounds like an ideal event to us!
Dallas, Texas: Summer Solstice 5K Run
Fitness enthusiasts near Dallas, this one’s for you. Check out this year’s Summer Solstice 5K Night Run and Celebration: run along the Trinity Avenue Trail and enjoy beautiful views of the skyline, where everyone will leave with a free t-shirt and photos of your race performance. But be sure not to get too tired, since the post-race party will have a DJ, live music and a fun light show to finish up the evening. Race into summer with your family and friends!
Washington DC: Summer Solstice at The Solar Foundation
Regular parties are fun, but what if you’re looking for an event that really lets you make a difference? Here’s your chance to use the sun to it’s full potential: support The Solar Foundation at their annual summer solstice event! Enjoy beautiful views of DC from their rooftop, delicious drinks and treats, and live music entertainment. It’s a great way to support a renewable energy source and your local community, which is a definite win-win.
Los Angeles, California: Santa Barbara Summer Solstice
One of the longest days of the year calls for a quick road trip to Santa Barbara to see their annual summer solstice parade! What began as a birthday party for a local mime in 1974 has grown into a huge celebration of the season: a parade featuring giant floats and extravagant costumes, live music performances, artists and local vendors all drawing crowds of over 100,000 city residents. The theme for the parade this year is legends from all over the world, so get ready to potentially learn something new while you have an amazing time.
New York City, New York: Midsummer Night Swing
The City That Never Sleeps has yet another reason to keep the days going as long as possible: Lincoln Center’s Midsummer Night Swing, an open-air dance party in the heart of the city. This two-week festival features professional dance instructors, drinks, a silent disco and a great variety of musical styles. Whether you’re a seasoned performer or just looking to have a good time, this is one event you don’t want to miss.
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: Clark Park’s Summer Solstice
Clark Park has hosted biannual festivals around the Summer Solstice and Fall Equinox for the last 40 years. Get to know the thriving arts community of West Philadelphia at this seasonal establishment. Running from 11am to sundown, attendees to this free event can enjoy live music, food and craft vendors, and activities for children all while soaking up the sun in this historic public park. See why this community institution has been going strong since 1970 by spending the day with your neighbors!
Portland, Oregon: Make Music Day
Portland is known for being a highly creative and expressive city, and this year’s Make Music Day event promises to share the best in local talent. Live entertainment in 13 parks across the city will give over 71 artists a chance to shine, and everything is open to the public. Every style and skill level of musician is encouraged to sign up, giving locals a chance to be fully immersed in a variety of performances. Creative expression deserves to be celebrated on one of the longest days of the year!
San Francisco, California: Summer Sailstice
This global celebration of the world of sailing is back and ready to cruise off into the solstice sunset. While there are several local chapters hosting Sailstice events, the Encinal Yacht Club has an impressive list of activities: a chance to see the America’s Cup in real life, cardboard (and real) boat racing, a rescue demonstration from the Coast Guard and water cannon show are just some of the nautical activities. Plus, you’re spending the day on the coast and in the sunshine, what’s better than that?
Seattle, Washington: Fremont Solstice
In a city of music and art lovers, it’s no surprise that Seattle is home to this festive (and completely free) celebration of those two things. The Fremont Solstice weekend is an essential part of summer for the community: a craft market, food vendors, lively parade, mainstage musical acts and street performers all round out this well-loved local event. This annual party has been going strong since the 1970’s, and is guaranteed to be an enjoyable way to kick off your summer.
We hope you’re ready to make the most of the longest day of the year out on the town or in your own backyard! Do you know of any fun summer solstice events happening in your neck of the woods? Share them in the comments!