You’re not flying to an exotic locale, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have fun this summer. In fact, a summer in your city might be just what your family — and bank account — needs this season!
First ask yourself: If I were a tourist visiting my city, what would I want to see? With that in mind, here are some ideas to get you started.
1. Hidden Secrets
Ask your friends, family or neighbors about what their favorite hidden gems are in your city. Where is that out-of-the-way museum, shop or flea market they always like to see? Or maybe there’s an unknown dance club that’s especially fun! Locals tend to know best; and even though you’re a local too, there are always new, lesser-known places to discover.
2. Catch a Matinee
Many movie theaters, playhouses and other performing arts organizations offer big discounts for matinee performances. Check schedules for matinees and find out if lower ticket prices are offered for those performances. You may even be able to find a local movie theater that shows foreign films.
Lots of popular restaurants offer various early-bird discounts as well. Call your favorite restaurants to inquire about early-bird deals and any other seasonal or family specials they offer.
3. Free and Easy Entertainment
Most cities have a weekly activity guide, website or daily newspaper that lists dozens of free activities occurring every weekend, especially during summer. Check for free concerts at local parks, libraries and museums.
Lots of neighborhoods also put on summer festivals with arts and crafts, live entertainment, and some of the best foods you're likely to find anywhere. If you have any cultural festivals based around food, you might find a new family favorite!
Many museums also offer free admission at some time every week. Check with the museums you'd like to visit to see if they offer free admission on certain days.
4. Major Fun, Minor Leagues
Even if you live in a city with a major-league team, chances are you've got a minor-league team nearby that delivers entertaining action at a fraction of the bigger team’s prices. Not only will you get a cheaper ticket, but you'll likely be closer to the action, too. And who knows, you might just see a future superstar on their way up!
5. Pack a Picnic
Pack a delicious picnic lunch and head out to a park you’ve never visited. Perhaps the park will have a beautiful view of the city skyline and a nice place for your family to get together for an outdoor meal and games.
6. Volunteer for Adventure
Your city's weekly activity guide probably lists the various volunteer activities taking place around town. Besides feeling good about giving back to your community, volunteering is a great way to make new friends and have a few adventures, too.
Or make a pack of new friends by volunteering at a local animal shelter. Some shelters have an exercise area where you can walk the dogs. Others may even let you take a dog to a local park for a longer walk.
7. Take the Fun to the Backyard
Air conditioning can feel nice when you’re lounging around, but summer is the season of long days and warm nights — so get out to enjoy it! Watch a movie on a laptop, projector and white sheet or cook dinner over a fire.
You can even take a blanket out and play games in the grass and have a picnic right in your own yard afterward.
Don't let summer end without getting out and taking advantage of all your city has to offer. And who knows — you may just find a new hobby, favorite restaurant or great spot to take your family and friends next time they come to visit!