Summer 2012 events for everyone

Melissa Simon

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School is coming to an end, and it’s almost time to put those books back on the shelf, if only for a few months — because summer is right around the corner.

Summer is the time of year when the days blend together, (hopefully) creating what seems like one never-ending day of fun. That means it’s time to start thinking about what you can do to fill those days.

For many, summer is a time of escape and relaxation. Living in Los Angeles provides access to a myriad of options—from going to the beach and concerts to visiting museums and amusement parks—there is something for everyone.

For the artists:

If you are person with a knack for arts and crafts, you might enjoy the Renegade Crafts Fair in Los Angeles. On July 28-29, hundreds of artists will be gathering to showcase and sell their art in a marketplace setting.

Once there, you can enjoy a day or two of shopping for one-of-kind art and free entertainment — including marching bands, public art performances, photo booths and of course great food. The event is held at Los Angeles State Historical Park from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. and admission is free.

If music piques your interest more than arts and crafts, the Summer Concert Series might be more up your alley. Beginning July 4 and running through Aug. 30, they will host free weekly concerts at the Grove and also at the Americana at Brand. These two venues will be open-air concerts providing live free music from established groups as well as up-and-comings in the music industry. Performances at the Grove will be held every Wednesday in July and performances at the Americana will be held Thursdays in July and August.

If you are looking for a great event with a combination of music, art and food, then Outside Lands Music and Arts Festival is the event for you. From August 10 to 12 you can enjoy music, food, wine and beer at the beautiful Golden Gate Park in San Francisco. Some of the performers include Metallica, Stevie Wonder, Skrillex, Norah Jones, Rebelution, Dirty Dozen Brass Band, and many more. The Festival runs from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, although it ends a little earlier on Sunday at 9:45 p.m. General admission for a 3-day ticket is $225 plus any additional cost for transportation and parking.

For the adventurous/outdoorsy:

When most people think of summer, they automatically think beach. Living in Los Angeles provides access to several beaches including Santa Monica, Venice, Malibu and Huntington, among others. If you choose to visit Venice, you can also do some people-watching, shopping or working out at the famous Muscle Beach. The Santa Monica Pier also offers shopping, exciting nightlife and an amusement park. For more intense water play, you can visit any lake to go fishing or do water sports like tubing, jet skiing, kayaking, parasailing and much more. The only cost to do any of these would be gas and equipment rental if necessary.

If water does not sound appealing to you, a roadtrip up the coast may be just right. There are several different kinds of trips to take, including wineries, beaches, scenic routes and iconic routes. Roadtrip America can help you plan a roadtrip or you can choose one already mapped out. A beautiful place to go this time of year is Cambria. Cambria offers scenic drives, beaches, hiking trails, shopping and much more.

For the classics:

If the only excitement you crave is lounging by a pool with a drink and a good book, then staying home may be the best option. To offer some variety to just your own backyard, there are museums, aquariums, zoos and amusement parks. The Long Beach Aquarium provides people of all ages a look into the depths of our oceans and the creatures that reside there. There are different exhibits throughout the summer months as well as guest speakers. General adult admission is $24.95, children (3-11) are $13.95 and seniors (62+) are $21.95.

Disneyland, of course, comes to mind whenever making summer plans. There are options to go for one day or several days, depending on how much time you can devote to the happiest place on earth. In addition to Disneyland, you can also visit California Adventure right across the way and end your night with the World of Color. Tickets start at $80 and go up from there.