The longest day of the year has been celebrated since time immemorial. June 22 marks the beginning of summer for the Northern Hemisphere and winter for the Southern Hemisphere. Maybe in accordance with our romanticization of bygone times, honoring the solstice with a gathering is making a major resurgence. Or maybe it’s just a glorious opportunity to get together and enjoy one another’s company. And one of the coolest things about summer solstice parties is that school is out, so kids get to attend – and brighten up – these gatherings. Here are 11 creative summer solstice party ideas that could even become the emergence of a new annual tradition.
1. Rent a Peerspace
Shoot for the stars and start your summer off right with a creative solstice party in a Peerspace venue. Summer solstice marks new beginnings, so why not host a party somewhere altogether novel? Peerspace is super simple to work with. Just search for a party venue in the city you want to host it in and scroll through the available spaces to find a unique site to bring your ideas to life. Maybe you could have your solstice party in this Seattle Colonial-style home (pictured above) and on its lovely grounds. Or, you can have a summery pop-up dinner at this Denver gallery. It will be so refreshing to be somewhere fresh and exciting to commemorate the start of a new season.
2. Stargazing party
Summer Solstice is the day of the year with the most sunlight, so nighttime stargazing will have to start later in the evening. No matter – you can plan a gorgeous summer evening soiree somewhere with low light pollution and make it a star- or astronomy-themed event as you wait for the sun to go down. Nighttime stargazing parties are a fabulous creative summer solstice party idea that you’ll want to repeat again and again.
Have friends, neighbors, and family over to celebrate the start of the new season with a traditional barbecue. Host the cookout in your backyard or at a nearby park or campground. Just being together eating outdoors is a great way to kick off the summer season. Think lemonade, burgers, and laughing kiddos. It’s even better if you have access to a swimming pool or splash pad!
4. Botanical gardens
Gather together with your loved ones and have a small party at a botanical garden. Many botanical gardens have private areas that you can rent to host a small, creative summer solstice party. Surrounding yourself with nature is always good, and a garden party is an enjoyable thing to do to mark the start of summer.
5. Ice cream social
Remember back in elementary school when neighborhood kids got together and had ice cream socials? No? Well, trust, they happened, and they’re making a resurgence. Restart the trend by hosting an ice cream social for your loved ones and their kids. It will make for a very silly, sweet summer solstice party. Bonus: adults can easily transfer the ice cream social into a grown-up frozen drink bar. Margarita slushies, anyone?
6. Plant trees
The summer solstice is traditionally about harvests, abundance, seasonality, and growth. A special and creative summer solstice party idea is to gather friends together and go out and give back to this planet of ours by planting a bunch of trees. Check the local nurseries and determine what trees are best planted on the longest day of the year in your neck of the woods.
One traditional way to celebrate the summer solstice is with a giant bonfire, typically on a beach. You can host your own at a campground or if there happens to be enough space in your own backyard. Play drums, howl at the moon, do all the primal things expected during such a powerful and symbolic calendrical event.
8. Summer dance party
Make a playlist of summer grooves, set up upbeat summery décor like flowers and twinkly lights, and throw a fun solstice dance party. Think Beach Boys, Motown hits, and upbeat R&B for danceability and mood, and serve cold bevvies that scream “summer!”
9. Fake beach party
Do you live on the coast? Perfect – host an elegant summer solstice party on the sand. But if you don’t have access to a beach, make your own in your backyard or at a park. Import a sandbox or fill your old one. Serve pretty blue summer drinks and light backyard fare. Decorate with sand pails and beach balls, and voila! Your impromptu seashore summer solstice beach party is ready. It’s as if you were transported to an island. Sort of.
10. Backyard movies
Rent one of those giant inflatable movie screens and a projector – if you don’t happen to have one on hand – and invite all your buddies to watch some family-friendly summer flicks. Of course, you’ll have to wait until it gets dark on the longest day of the year, but it’s worth it to see “Jaws” on the biggish screen.
11. Camp out party
Take your nearest and dearest camping to welcome the summer season. Bring all the camping treats that make you happiest, like hot dogs, cold beer, and S’mores, and tap into your animal nature under the stars. Don’t forget citronella candles – they smell like summer and repel mosquitos at the same time. Wake up in the crisp morning air and take a swim in the nearby river, and greet the start of a brand new season.
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