Basketball players shooting hoops on a court surrounded by palm trees

10 of the world’s most exciting events

Shoot for an extraordinary summer

From sunset slam dunks or partying in a ghost parade—swap the same-old for the standout with these unforgettable experiences. Whether you’ll be ooh-ing and ahh-ing at a fireworks festival, eating your way around the ultimate food market or taking your seat at Centre Court, the one thing you won’t be is bored.

Find bands and beach life

Los Angeles, CA

True, it’s kind of always summer in LA, but the actual months of May to September are when you’ll find concerts at the Hollywood Bowl, the iconic outdoor amphitheatre that has hosted everyone from The Beatles to Pavarotti. Don’t forget to BYOP (bring your own picnic), a tradition embraced by locals that blends casual dining and high culture. You also owe it to yourself to see the equally iconic (if less high-culture) volleyball scene at Manhattan Beach, punctuated by the Manhattan Beach Open from August 18–20—and shoot some sunset hoops at the legendary Venice Beach basketball courts.

Join an art party

San Francisco, CA

From the idyllic local favourite Alamo Square Park to the 1,000-year-old trees of Muir Woods, San Francisco is at its best in summer. And Outside Lands Music and Arts Festival (August 9–11) is a perfect way to celebrate it. Every base is covered. Music? Line-ups range from indie up-and-comers to rock gods. Art? Large-scale installations are sprinkled throughout the iconic Golden Gate Park. Then there’s the food and drink scene: The Taste of the Bay Area features gourmet offerings from local favourites, which you can wash down with regional gems in “Wine Land” or “Beer Land”.

Feast in the ultimate food market

Brooklyn and New York, NY

Brooklyn’s “Smorgasburg” is exactly what it sounds like: A smorgasbord of food—from ramen to vegan burgers to wild innovations like “spaghetti donuts”—in the nation’s largest weekly open-air food market, which unofficially announces the start of T-shirt weather in New York. It’s held on Fridays at the World Trade Center, Saturdays in Williamsburg (hence the “burg” in the name) and Sundays in Brooklyn’s Prospect Park. Head to the latter, where on top of cuisine from 100-plus local vendors, you’ll find spectacular views of the Manhattan skyline. Pair this with either Shakespeare in the Park (world-class theatre that’s somehow free) or the US Open—the Grounds Admission ticket gives access to nearly every court and is arguably the best deal in all of sport.

Fly high then hit the pool

Vegas, NV

To squeeze the most out of summer in Vegas, consider a hot-air balloon ride over the desert at sunrise, offering a serene and awe-inspiring start to the day. Or, more realistically, maybe this is the end to your night—especially if you’ve taken full advantage of Vegas Pool Season, where pools anchor the many day parties with DJs, swim-up bars and swim-up blackjack. When it gets dark? You’ll still find “night-swim” parties, and even “dive-in” movies at The Cosmopolitan, where you can lounge in the pool and watch a classic film on the marquee above the Vegas Strip.

Look to the skies

Montreal, Canada

Scientific fact: It’s hard to have a bad time at a fireworks show. And it’s impossible at Montreal’s L’International des Feux Loto-Québec—the international fireworks competition that runs every Thursday from June 29 through August 10. Each team has 30 minutes to tell a story with music and explosions of colour, competing for the gold, silver and bronze “Jupiters” (trophies). The real winner is the audience, which is why three million attend each year. During the day, picnic in Parc Jean-Drapeau then rent a bike to explore the Lachine Canal.

Party with Pride

Toronto, Canada

Spanning the entire month of June, Toronto Pride draws over one million people and is known for its vibrant costumes, creative floats, inspiring work by local artists and joyous celebration of inclusivity, love and life. The parade is one of the world’s largest, and was birthed in the early 1980s after Canadian police raided several bathhouses and arrested hundreds of gay men. These “Bathhouse Raids” (also called “Operation Soap”) sparked outrage, protests—and then a defiant and even jubilant celebration of LGBTQ+ culture, which continues to this day.

Catch a film with the culture crowd

Venice, Italy

Martin Scorsese. Darren Aronofsky. Orson Welles. They’re just some of the filmmakers who gained acclaim through the Mostra Internazionale d’Arte Cinematografica della Biennale di Venezia, aka the Venice Film Festival (August 28–September 7). The red carpets and celebrities fetch the headlines, but the festival has a massively underrated perk: It’s shockingly accessible. You don’t need to be a film mogul to attend; anyone can buy tickets online. Try and catch a film at the open-air theatre at the Palazzo del Cinema, which screens movies under the stars. And if you can’t score a ticket to your desired screening? You’re in Venice. You’ll be fine.

Chase blooms and beers

Hokkaido, Japan

Thanks to world-class skiing, winter in Hokkaido—the northernmost island of Japan—gets all the hype. But summer brings less crowds and is just as compelling, especially for floral enthusiasts. The late-season flower viewing (July to August) offers an endless buffet of poppies, marigolds, Japanese lilies, lavender fields and a golden sea of sunflowers. Consider taking a photography workshop (with a floral theme) to get the most out of the experience. For some livelier counter-programing, plan your trip to coincide with the Sapporo Summer Festival (late July to August), which showcases local cuisine, the Bon Odori (traditional Japanese dance) and a delightfully wide selection of Japanese beer.

Ace a tennis trip

London, UK

Is there anything more London than Wimbledon? Tennis’ flagship event, from July 1–14, oozes tradition (dating back to 1877), impeccable formalities (the players’ all-white dress code), royal trappings (queens and kings attend) and historical greatness (Roger Federer). But what you don’t see on TV is that it’s also insanely good fun. The fan zones let you play games and test your serve speed, the fruity Pi