100 Fun Things to Do This Summer — From Outdoor Concerts to Hiking Adventures

Take advantage of the sunshine, with these cultural experiences across the country, last-minute travel ideas, and ways to stay active all summer long.

Family standing on a dock at the lake, fishing
Photo: Inti St. Clair/Getty Images

It goes without saying that this summer looks completely different from last summer, and we could not be more excited, or more grateful. While summer 2020 was filled with Zoom calls, canceled vacation plans, and a frantic search for virtual activities to keep us occupied, summer 2021 is all about getting back out there. That means reclaiming a life of travel, restaurants, in-person sporting events, and even — dare we say it — concerts. As you use this summer to return to your own personal version of normal (which may include a packed social calendar, or may simply include more socially distant hikes with friends), we've gathered 100 things to do this season.

From booking tickets to "Immersive Van Gogh" to jetting off to Europe to reinventing your backyard, here are 100 ideas to inspire your summer.

Culture Experiences IRL — From Outdoor Theatre to Returning to Disneyland

See an outdoor American Ballet Theatre performance.

Book your tickets to the "Immersive Van Gogh" experience that's happening across the U.S. this summer.

Visit the new Avengers Campus at Disneyland and tap into your inner superhero.

Take a boat tour of your home city — whether it's a duck boat tour on the Charles River in Boston or a cruise to the Statue of Liberty from Lower Manhattan.

Visit the best and most ethical zoos in the U.S.

Attend the concert of the century with 60,000 people at Central Park on August 21 to celebrate the city's reopening.

Attend an outdoor movie in your area — from Cinespia in Los Angeles to Bryant Park movie nights in NYC.

Head to California to return to Disneyland — the park is open to out-of-state travelers as of June 15.

Bring your summer to new heights with a visit to this newly renovated observation deck in Chicago.

Go on a private shark dive at the Long Island Aquarium.

Take in a New York Philharmonic concert in Central Park.

Enjoy the amazing Disney Parks fireworks — they're coming back July 1, and we're beyond ready.

Check out New York City Theatre's website for the best stand-up comedy shows in the city this summer, and go catch one of your favorite comedians.

Go to an actual sporting event — in person. Weep tears of joy over your hot dog and beer.

Make a triumphant return to Disney World and rank every single one of the park's rides.

See Haim in concert this summer at the Santa Barbara Bowl in California.

Go roller skating on the JFK tarmac.

Find Relaxation and Restoration This Summer

Find your inner Zen with a yoga retreat or wellness vacation to bring a renewed sense of calm into your post-vaccine life.

Take up bullet journaling as a way to organize your thoughts and bring a sense of calm to your mornings.

Immerse yourself in travel with these books by Asian and Pacific Islander authors.

Let Alexander Skarsgard lull you to sleep with a bedtime story. Yes, that's a real thing you can do this summer. It's — wait for it — the dream.

Seek refuge from the world at an Italian day spa — on Governors Island.

Grab an amazing beach read from this list of highly anticipated books for summer 2021.

Give yourself weekly facials at home with these clean beauty recommendations from skin care experts.

If you're comfortable heading to a spa, try one of the new treatments your favorite hotel is now offering as a way to heal your mind and body.

Try Peloton's Ally Love's hacks for self-care at home and develop a routine that focuses on your happiness and relaxation.

Book a Last-minute Vacation to Make Up for the Lack of 2020 Travel

Take a road trip to a National Park you've never visited — and do at least one hike that pushes you out of your comfort zone.

Plug a few reopened European destinations into your preferred flight search engine, find the cheapest flight, book it, and GO.

Do it up right and book a weekend in the Hamptons, you deserve it.

If you live in New York City, play hooky for the day and go to Coney Island on a whim.

Rent an RV and visit one of these nine most spectacular RV campgrounds in the U.S.

Take a leaf out of President Biden's book and plan a weekend getaway by train.

If you're ready for a city break but not ready for the crowds, drive to one of the least crowded cities in the U.S.

Go stargazing in Hawaii with an actual NASA ambassador and take your space fandom to the next level.

Use travel as a form of education by visiting one of these destinations in the U.S., which will help you learn more about Black history in this country.

Visit the oldest city in the U.S. with your girlfriends or female family members.

Scope out the most popular vacation rental spots of the summer — then book one.

If you're heading back to an office this fall, take advantage of your last fully Work From Home season and work from a rented lake house for a week.

Want the glamorous luxury hotel experience without the price tag? Book a day pass to your dream hotel this summer instead.

Take a solo staycation in your own city, and you might just learn something about yourself.

Trade in your home office for a lounge chair on this private beach in Mykonos and make your aspirational Zoom backgrounds a reality.

Wine and Dine All Summer Long (At Home and Out in the World)

Go to a cookie speakeasy in Philadelphia. That's it, that's the whole pitch.

Learn how to pair wine with certain foods and orchestrate your own wine tastings with a sommelier at a Michelin-starred restaurant via Delicious Experiences.

Visit the restaurant where Anthony Bourdain began his culinary career.

Learn to make IKEA's Swedish meatballs — through illustrated instructions, of course.

Make limoncello at home in preparation for a future trip to Italy.

Take a live cooking class with Sur La Table — get your whole house involved.

Learn to make a perfect martini, a classic negroni, and even marinara sauce with the one and only Stanley Tucci.

Learn to make an original Piña Colada and enjoy an island vacation from the comfort of your own home.

Go find this hidden Michelin-starred restaurant in New York City (psst, we'll tell you where to find the key).

Start learning more about natural wine and orange wine — then invite your friends over for a dinner party so you can effortlessly describe your favorite skin contact vinos.

Celebrate Pride (in June and beyond) at home with these cocktails and recipe ideas.

Try Something New, and Learn Something About Yourself

Buy a Polaroid camera and learn to take the perfect Polaroid picture to make your summer memories last.

Take an introduction to woodworking class with The Weekend Woodworker.

Take a DNA test and trace your ancestral roots to learn more about yourself and your family — maybe it will inspire your future travels.

Join the Kimpton Hotels book club and dive into your next read with travelers from around the world.

Take virtual art classes with the MoMa.

Stay on top of current events by listening to The Daily every morning — and challenge yourself to take a walk as you listen.

Dye your hair a fun, unexpected summer color that you might not ordinarily try.

Adopt a puppy and change your life for the better.

Try self-tanner before your next beach vacation — and soak in the compliments.

Learn the art of packing light from Mario Lopez.

Summer Home Improvement That's Actually Fun

Spruce up your outdoor space (look for inspiration from your favorite hotel common areas).

Organize your travel-oriented brain by decorating with a world map that lets you mark off every destination you've been to.

Build yourself a small, at-home vegetable or herb garden, whether you have an entire backyard, or just a small city terrace.

Create the perfect home bar with iconic glassware and must-have spirits.

Upgrade your sound system and curate a retro corner of the house, with a new record player and a console to display your best vinyl.

Upgrade your kitchen with new cookware and use it as an excuse to go full Ina Garten this summer.

Make your home more like your favorite hotel — by incorporating luxe pieces from iconic five-star hotel brands

Become a plant parent and have a blast curating plants for every room of your apartment or house.

Bring the camping experience to your backyard with these eight portable fire pits you absolutely need.

Take a leaf out of Sweden's book and create your own al fresco bar.

Opt Outside and Get Active

Hike through towering redwoods on a newly opened California hiking trail.

Become a certified yoga teacher by taking a 200-hour teacher training course, either online or in person.

If you live in a major city, start taking daily nature walks with the help of a meditation app.

Get a glam Airbnb in California's Yucca Valley and experience some of the most impressive stargazing of your life.

Visit Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Parks as they resume bus tours this summer.

Train for the New York City marathon.

Visit at least one of Utah's two brand-new state parks.

Learn to actually enjoy camping by bringing an air mattress for your tent instead of your sleeping bag — trust us, it's a complete game-changer.

Stargaze at Zion National Park, which just got its official Dark Sky status.

Go find the best hike in your state — and try as many other trails as possible along the way.

Rent a Citi Bike (or rentable bike in your area) and explore your neighborhood by bike to see it through a different lens.

Take a yoga class on the highest observation deck in the Western Hemisphere.

Tap into nature on a more localized level and explore nearby state parks this summer.

Start literally chasing waterfalls by planning one waterfall hike a month for the rest of the summer.

Trek this little-known, 82-mile trail in Northern Ireland for an impromptu hiking adventure you'll never forget.

Not ready to go back to in-person workouts? Take online yoga classes at home with Y7 Online.

Visit New York City's newest pier, "Little Island" — it just opened in May.

Try electric biking for the first time — the ease-of-use will instantly make you a cycling fan.

Virtual Experiences for When You're in Need of a Cultured Activity Without Leaving the House

Livestream iconic operas from the MET with their ongoing Nightly Opera Streams series.

Watch the original cast performance of 'Hamilton' if you haven't already — it's still on Disney+.

Experience the best international Disney rides — that you wouldn't find in California or Florida — virtually.

Create a movie theatre at home, snacks and all, and screen a double feature for your household.

Binge watch these Scandinavian TV shows and get inspired to head to Denmark and Sweden.

Enjoy a number of experiences — cooking and dance classes, for example — with Bahamanian locals, and you'll feel instantly like you're on island time.

Post old travel photos of yourself on the beach (with adorable captions, the whole works) while actually sitting on your couch in sweatpants. We won't tell.

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