Summer solstice 2016: 20 things to do on the first day of summer

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Get out the sunscreen and the shades — Monday is summer solstice, meaning it’s the longest day of the year for those of us in the Northern Hemisphere.

The summer solstice is the official first day of summer, which will last until the autumn equinox Sept. 22. It’s also the day when the period of daylight is the longest. The sun rose at 6:11 a.m. and will set at 9:23 p.m. That means we’ll get 15 hours and 12 minutes of daylight on Monday.

The summer solstice Monday will end with another astronomical phenomena: a full moon on the summer solstice. This hasn’t happened for 70 years.

Here are 20 things to do to celebrate the sunshine on Monday (and don’t forget the sunscreen!):

  1. Eat lunch outside. Find a picnic table near the office or ask to sit on the patio at a restaurant. South Bend’s Summer Restaurant Week kicks off Monday.
  2. Take your pup to the dog park. South Bend’s dog park recently opened and Mishawaka’s dog park is also very popular.
  3. Go for a bike ride. There are lots of great trails and paths around Michiana to check out, including the Pumpkinvine Trial between Goshen and Shipshewana.
  4. Go for a walk or run. Take a tour of your neighborhood or hike to a nearby library or restaurant.
  5. Get out the grill for dinner. Enjoy the sunshine and get a taste of summer by cooking meat and/or vegetables on your grill. Check out Flavor 574 for recipe ideas.
  6. Go swimming. Take a dip in one of the many lakes in the Michiana area or spend some time in a pool.
  7. Find an ice cream truck and treat yourself. It’s not summer without at least one firework pop from the ice cream truck.
  8. Wash your car. Don’t take it to the car wash — do it yourself in your driveway. You can find all the supplies you need at your local big box store.
  9. Watch the sunset. Get to a spot where you have a nice view of the western sky and watch the sun go down. Enjoy those spectacular colors!
  10. Enjoy outdoor live music. Check out the Red Table Plaza Lunchtime Concert Series in Studebaker Plaza (the corner of Jefferson and Michigan streets0 in downtown South Bend from 11:45 a.m. to 1:15 p.m.
  11. Go for a motorcycle ride. If you have your motorcycle endorsement, get out your ride and enjoy the sunshine around the area.
  12. Go fishing. The St. Joseph River and Elkhart River gives this area plenty of spots to get some fish. Make sure you have your fishing license, which you can now get online.
  13. Take your kids to the park. Let them get out all of their energy on the playground before heading home for a relaxing evening.
  14. Go to the beach. The shores of Lake Michigan are only a short drive away. Spend some time in the sand and take a dip in the water.
  15. Do yoga outside. You can do this at a local park or in the privacy of your own backyard. There are plenty of apps and YouTube videos for beginners.
  16. Plant a garden. Whether you want to plant vegetables, fruits or flowers, it’s still not too late to play in the dirt.
  17. Go kayaking. You can rent a canoe, kayak, paddleboat or a rowboat at Potato Creek State Park. If you’re willing to wait until the weekend, you can also rent a kayak at the East Race and travel along the St. Joseph River.
  18. Make some lemonade or tea and enjoy it outside. Is there anything more refreshing than a glass of fresh, cold lemonade or tea?
  19. Go on a photo scavenger hunt. Make a list of things to look for and then take a walk with your camera or smartphone. You can do this alone or turn it into a game with friends.
  20. Go to the zoo. The Potawatomi Zoo in South Bend is open until 5 p.m., or you can take a day trip to visit the zoos in Chicago, Fort Wayne or Indianapolis.

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