It’s summertime, “and the livin’ is easy,” as the classic Gershwin song lyric goes — but does summer fun always have to be expensive? What if you want to find some cheap things to do this summer? Fortunately there are lots of great options to enjoy the outdoors and sunshine that won’t break your budget.

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Here is a collection of easy ideas for free or cheap things to do this summer:

Go to Parks

Get outdoors and enjoy your city parks! Whether you want to splash with your kids at a pool, rent bikes or a boat, have a picnic lunch or just relax in the shade with a good book, city parks are the center of many great summer activities.

Enjoy Free Live Music

Many cities offer a free summer concert series, whether it’s classical music from the symphony at the bandshell in the park, or live jazz at neighborhood venues or even patriotic concerts on the Fourth of July with fireworks.

Visit Street Festivals

Summertime is a great excuse to get out of the house and enjoy the street life in your city, whether that’s an arts festival or cultural festivals or food fairs.

Find Free or Low-Cost Classes

Many cities offer low-cost or free exercise classes, yoga classes or other classes during the summer that meet in public parks. Have you ever wanted to learn how to kayak or dance the salsa? Chances are, there are good opportunities near you to get involved and learn a new activity or sport this summer.

Take up Mini-Golfing

Mini-golf or “putt-putt” golf is often cheaper than the real thing, and it doesn’t take as long to play 18 holes! Mini-golf is a great summer activity for people of all ages and skill levels, and it’s often a cheap summer activity.

Explore Museums

Many museums offer free admission days or low-cost memberships, and summer can be a great chance to enjoy a museum visit on a hot or rainy day.

Join Summer Library Reading Programs

Many libraries offer special summer reading programs (for kids and adults) where you can get book recommendations, participate in contests to see who can read the most books, be part of book clubs or author visits, and have other great opportunities to expand your knowledge and make new friends.

Visit Public Beaches and Swimming Pools

It just wouldn’t be summer without a trip to the beach or lazy, sunny afternoons spent at the pool. Many cities have public beaches at nearby lakes or oceanfronts, and even if you’re in a landlocked city you can often save money by purchasing a season pass to the swimming pool or aquatic center.

Take in a Matinée Movie

No list of cheap things to do this summer would be complete without a mention of the movies. Catching a flick in a cool theater is a classic summertime activity. But you don’t have to put up with overpriced movie tickets — you can save big money on movie tickets if you go to a matinée showing earlier in the day, especially on weekdays.

Take a Walk or Hike

Some of the best summer entertainment is on your own two feet! Take a walking tour of historic neighborhoods, hike a forest trail or just go walk around a downtown farmers market and enjoy the great people-watching while tasting some new flavors of food.

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Summertime is full of endless possibilities for low-cost (or no-cost) fun. Get out there and explore all of the cheap things to do this summer that your home city has to offer!

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