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Summer Night Activities

What to Do on a Summer Night


Why not stay up late into the night on your summer vacation? Even if you typically turn in early, shake up your schedule and stretch out the fun times. A local newspaper or your hotel concierge are both good sources for finding out what's going on after dark.

If you spend your summer vacation in the countryside, find things to do at night that celebrate the natural world. If you take a holiday in or near a city, cultural activities can enliven the night. Either way, here are fun ways couples can enjoy a summer night away (and they'll work at home, too!).

Visit a County or State Fair

Getty Images.
Whether you enjoy going on rides, looking at livestock up close, try to win a prize on the midway, watching performers at the grandstand, sampling unusual foods, or indulging in fried comestibles-on-a-stick, going to a fair can be great fun on a summer night. For adults, the best time to show up is after dark, when families with young kids tend to clear out and the night air is cooler. Check out the State Fair Directory.

Attend a Festival

© Vincent J. Sardone.
Summer is festival season. Whether your passion is music, art, fine food and wine, culture, or a combination of those delights, you can build a vacation around going to a related festival.

In advance of your trip, go to the official tourism Web site of the destination you hope to visit and look under "What to Do" or "Events" to find out what's taking place when you plan to come. Many festivals have evening hours so that you can make a night of it.

Pictured: Toronto's Chinese Lantern Festival.


© Argentina Tourism.
Whether in the street or a nightclub, dancing together on a summer night is some of the most fun you can have with your clothes on.

Go Swimming

© Rosewood Hotels.
There's nothing as refreshing as a dip in a cool country lake in the summer time, especially when there's no one else around but you two. Of course, even if you're in the country or at a resort, you can have fun at night in the water. Before you leave on vacation, check to see if your hotel has a pool and pack your suits if it looks as if you'll have an opportunity to swim. Some hotels reserve hours for adult swimmers, and a few better resorts have a pool that is adults-only.

People-Watch at a Sidewalk Café

© Lyn & Arthur Dobrin.
There's nothing more interesting to observe than humans, especially when they think no one is looking. To get the most out of this summer night activity, plan to have dinner late. Then find a comfortable table at an outdoor café with an unobstructed view of a busy thoroughfare. Just for fun, imagine what the most interesting people you see do to entertain themselves on a summer night.

Stroll Along the Beach

Kick off your shoes, grab each other's hand, and walk along the sand on a warm summer night. Talk about what you'll do tomorrow, next week, or when you're old. Or don't say a word; just listen to the sound of the water lapping at the shore and remind yourself how lucky you are to have found one another.

Attend a Museum After Hours

Check to see if a nearby museum is open late one night a week; you may find in summer it's one of the most stimulating and least crowded places to be (and air-conditioned, too). Many facilities that open their doors to museum-goers during the day also screen curated films on summer nights.

Take in an Outdoor Concert

Every summer, performers ranging from ballerinas to rock bands hit the road on a touring schedule. Many venues, such as Tanglewood in the Berkshire Mountains of Massachusetts, feature wide lawns and outdoor areas where couples can bring a picnic dinner and enjoy the music under the stars of a summer night.

See a Movie

Film studios know that summer is prime movie time, and you'll have a good selection of motion pictures to choose from. Inside a theater on a torrid summer night you can beat the heat. If you're lucky enough to have a drive-in movie theater, you can relive the fun of an earlier era. Another summer night option: Many cities screen films in public places after dark and admission is free or minimal. Rooftop Films in New York City, for example, screens short films in different communities, always atop a building's roof.

Go Star-Gazing

Lovers have looked to the stars since time began, to make a wish and share a kiss. For the best star viewing, head for a place far from city lights on a cloudfree summer night. The fewer electric lights and signs around, the clearer your view of the cosmos will be.
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