Whether you want to kick off the start of summer or party nonstop on the longest day of the year, summer solstice is celebrated all around the world in a variety of ways. Practice your sun salutations (as it’s also on the International Day of Yoga); dance along to the beat of a drum; or watch spirited firemen and police officers climb ladders! Summer is just around the corner, so start booking your vacation rentals now!
1. Solstice in Times Square, New York, New York
Celebrate the start of summer with sun salutations in the middle of Times Square! This day-long yoga event begins at 7 a.m. on the solstice and continues until just before sunset. This day has also been named International Day of Yoga by the United Nations General Assembly, so now you have two reasons to celebrate. Even if you can’t make it to the Big Apple, you can participate remotely via the event’s live webcast.
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2. Santa Barbara Summer Solstice Celebration, Santa Barbara, California
This Southern California event has been going strong since 1974. What was originally conceived by artist and mime Michael Gonzales has transformed into a unique celebration of creative expression. It attracts more than 100,000 visitors from around the world with its colorful floats, live music, and festive costumes. Each year’s Santa Barbara Summer Solstice Celebration has a theme, so make sure to check what it is before picking out your own costumes!
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3. The Cleveland Museum of Art Solstice, Cleveland, Ohio
The summer solstice has become one of the most anticipated events of the summer in Cleveland. It features two stages packed with amazing musical artists so you can enjoy dynamic and cutting-edge music from around the world while you explore the museum galleries late into the night. We can’t think of a better way to celebrate a hot summer night on the longest summer day!
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4. Virginia Summer Solstice Wine Festival, Amherst, Virginia
Celebrate the beginning of summer at the annual Virginia Summer Solstice Wine Festival on the grounds of Lazy Days Winery. This unique event features award winning regional wines, as well as locally grown foods and specialty products. There are fun activities throughout the day, including music on two stages, fire and belly dancers, theater performers, arts and crafts, and an Exotic petting zoo. Centrally located on Route 29 between Charlottesville and Lynchburg, you can stay in a vacation rental in Amherst, Charlottesville, or Lynchburg.
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5. Chaco Canyon, Albuquerque, New Mexico
This magical canyon is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and has light patterns that are formed from the ancient sacred architecture as the sun rises. Sunlight passes between three boulder slabs onto a spiral petroglyph to mark the sun’s position on summer solstice, winter solstice, and the equinoxes. Watch Acoma Sky Pueblo Dancers in front of Pueblo Bonito honor the Solstice with their dances synchronized to the sound of the drumbeats. Stay in a nearby vacation rental and visit the Canyon for the day, or book a summer solstice “glamping” trip.
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6. Solstice Festival & Hero Games, Anchorage, Alaska
On the longest day of the year, Anchorage, Alaska, gets 22 hours of functional daylight, and the city makes the most of all that sun. Downtown turns into one big celebration, taking over Fourth Avenue and Town Square. Artists, musicians and other performers fill the street, and the city’s firefighters, police and military units test their skills at the Hero Games. The time surrounding the summer solstice is Anchorage’s most popular season, so book your vacation rental early!
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7. Greensboro Summer Solstice Festival, Greensboro, North Carolina
The Greensboro Summer Solstice Festival began in 2005 as a small group of creatives wanting to celebrate and promote the diversity of our community, the beauty of nature, and the power of the feminine spirit. Today, the festival proudly hosts over 9000 attendees with a bustling marketplace in Lindley Park, musical and dance performances at the Greensboro Arboretum, and talented artists and tasty food on both sides of the bridge. Admission for adults is $5 and children under 12 get in for free!
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8. Summer Solstice Music Festival, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
This summer solstice festival is a huge free showcase of top local bands along with visual artists, arts and crafts, restaurants, family-friendly activities and more. Kick off the day with a series of sun salutations at North Point Water Tower Park. Then, explore the three stages of Milwaukee’s best local music before grabbing some of the best small plates and fair foods at the East Side Food Court. Don’t miss the BMX Bike Stunt Show from 12-2!
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9. Midsummer Festival, Lindsborg, Kansas
Midsummer’s Festival is a traditional Swedish festival celebrated worldwide that welcomes the arrival of the summer solstice. Enjoy the magic of summer in Lindborg by stepping into this quaint Swedish village, and embracing the community’s Swedish heritage. Try something new and play in the festival’s Kubb tournament. Kubb, pronounced koob, is a traditional Nordic lawn game that’s been played for over 1,000 years. Reportedly invented by the Vikings, Kubb is a combination of bowling, bocce and horseshoes.
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10. Fremont Solstice Celebration, Seattle, Washington
Celebrate the longest day of the year with giant puppets, stilt walkers, floats, dancers, cyclists and musicians as they parade down the streets of Fremont. When the parade is over, continue the fun at Gas Works Park. There’s a main stage with even more live music, interactive installations from McKay artists, and a beer garden that funds the parade. Toast the longest day with a cold beer while supporting the event along with a hearty meal from a wide selection of Food Trucks.
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11. Summer Solstice Fest, Blacksburg, Virginia
Celebrated rain or shine, this event is full of free family activities including the ever popular Alberti’s Fleas Circus, Water Wars, moon bounces, doggie costume contest and Circus Stella. Circus Stella is a traditional family circus which features performing rescued dogs and amazing human feats like trapeze, aerial silk, rope-walking, and acrobatics and is always a crowd favorite. Get in on the fun with active, participatory events like boxing, climbing, and even Irish dancing! New this year at the Summer Solstice Fest is a performance by New River Irish Dance, a group of traditional Irish dancers from Blacksburg’s own local Irish dance studio, New River Irish Dance.
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12. Summer Solstice Flute School and Festival, Park City, Utah
Located at the spectacular, historical Homestead Resort near Park City, The Summer Solstice Flute School gives you the rare opportunity to learn from internationally renowned Native American and world flute artists. The Solstice Flute School offers a comprehensive four days of classes and workshops including authentic Native Solstice Opening Ceremony, Digeridoo Healing Ceremony, Drum Circle and Dancing, and much more. Once you’ve brushed up on your flute skills, celebrate summer at the festival with vendors, more workshops, and of course, music all weekend!
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