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Home / Articles / Guides / Summer Guide /  Cheap Thrills Page all
Summer Guide

Cheap Thrills Page all

You don't have to burn through your savings to have fun in and out of the sun

By City Weekly Staff
Posted // June 6,2012 -

Summertime, and the livin’ is easy—but all those big summer concerts and festivals don’t come for free. So what’s a wage slave or cheapskate to do? Don’t worry—we’ve got you covered six ways to Sunday. Our staff has come up with more than 50 ideas to enjoy yourself in Utah this summer, all free or under $10.

SALT LAKE CITY

Stargazing at Day-Riverside Library: Free
For a summer activity that’s both fun and educational, join the stargazing party at Rose Park’s Day-Riverside Library, hosted by University of Utah astronomers. Basic astronomy will be taught, with a focus on looking for solar flares, sunspots and prominences; participants can then browse the night sky at their leisure. Solar telescopes will be provided, so all you’ll need to bring with you is an exploratory eye. Day-Riverside Library, 1575 W. 1000 North, Salt Lake City, 801-594-8632, Aug. 8, 7:30 p.m., SLCPL.org

Days of ’47 Family Fun Day: Free
Nothing quite says “summer” in Utah like carnival games and rodeo, so round up the kids for Family Fun Day at the Utah State Fairpark, part of the Days of ’47 festivities. Other attractions include live music and dancing, pioneer demonstrations, a magic show, educational crafts and an art garden. If you’re the parent of aspiring cowboys or cowgirls, they’ll have the opportunity to meet some of the human and animal stars of the rodeo, and even learn how to rope a cow. Children between ages 5 and 12 are eligible to enter the Mini King & Queen Competition, the winners of which will get to ride in the Youth Parade on July 14. Utah State Fairpark, 155 N. 1000 West, Salt Lake City, 801-931-5526, July 7, 10 a.m.-5 p.m., DaysOf47.com

Pioneer Park Picture Show: Free
Everyone knows the best part of summer are the warm, balmy evenings, and what better way to enjoy them than spreading out a blanket under the stars and watching a movie? The annual Pioneer Park Picture Show is an outdoor series screening films from past Sundance Film Festivals and other international film festivals, shown each Friday night. This August’s lineup hasn’t been announced yet, but last year’s diverse lineup included the indie romance (500) Days of Summer and acclaimed documentary Man on Wire. Pioneer Park, 300 S. 300 West, Salt Lake City, 801-333-1106, Friday evenings in August, 9 p.m., SLCGov.com/slcevents

Music at Main: Free
For an evening of music against a backdrop of stars and the modern architecture of the Salt Lake City Main Library, gather your music-loving friends and head to Music at Main at the library amphitheater. This summer’s lineup of local talent is more than eclectic, featuring Palace of Buddies, Dark Seas, Bright Whistles, the Chinese-instrument-tinged sounds of Matteo, Theta Naught, hip-hop rhyme master Burnell Washburn, electro-rockers The Suicycles, Tolchock Trio and more. Salt Lake City Main Library, 210 E. 400 South, Salt Lake City, 801-524-8200, Tuesday evenings in July and August, 7 p.m., SLCPL.org

Live Music and Tennessee Tangos at Sugarhouse Barbeque Company: $4.50
There isn’t a better combination of food and entertainment than authentic, slow-smoked, Memphis-style barbecue and live music, which can both be found at Sugarhouse Barbecue Company. And on Thursday nights, the tasty local musical talent is made even tastier by the half-price Tennessee tangos appetizers. Only $4.50 at half price, Tennessee tangos are delectable little morsels of dry-rubbed, smoked rib ends cut into bite-size pieces and served with a tangy honey-citrus dipping sauce. Past featured bands have included the Red Desert Ramblers and The Step Twins. 2207 S. 700 East, Salt Lake City, 801-463-4800, Thursday evenings, 6:30 p.m., SugarHouseBBQ.com

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Sugar House Arts Festival: Free
The charming neighborhood of Sugar House is home to an annual July 4 arts festival and fireworks display that’s become a summer tradition. Every year, traffic is blocked off in front of the Sprague Library, and the sidewalks are lined with local food carts and arts and crafts vendors. Local bands provide entertainment throughout the day, and if your kids aren’t in the mood for music, there’s a children’s area with games and crafts. But the main attraction is the many talented artists who set up shop to hawk their handcrafted wares. After a day in the sun, enjoy watching the fireworks in Sugar House Park. 2100 South and Highland Drive, Salt Lake City, July 4, 10 a.m.-7 p.m., ShopSugarHouse.org

See the Virgin in the Tree: Free
Back in 1997, city workers removed a tree limb from an old American elm at Taufer Park and revealed what appeared to be an image of the Virgin Mary herself embedded in a knothole. Unfortunately, the image has been vandalized during the past 15 years, but visitors can still visit the holy shrine and view a photograph of the divine tree lady attached to a limb of the tree. Taufer Park, 700 S. 300 East, Salt Lake City

Disc in the City: Free
One of the best ways to enjoy the landscape of Salt Lake City, get a workout and talk trash with your friends is a laid-back round of disc golf at the University of Utah disc-golf course. What used to be the school’s regular golf course is now a wide-open, nine-hole, beginner frolfin’ course. It’s free to play, but if you drive, you’ll need to have a university parking permit or pay at the meters. South Wasatch Drive, Salt Lake City, PDGA.com

Salt Lake Bees: $5 & up
Minor League Baseball is well under way, and the Salt Lake Bees make it easy to haul the family out for a cheap night at the ballgame. Tickets normally range from $8 to $24, but with promotions like Monday Family Night (a ticket and a hot dog for $5), two-for-one Tuesdays, $1 hot dog Wednesdays and Thirsty Thursdays ($2.75 drinks), you’ll be rooting for the home team and your massive savings. Spring Mobile Ballpark, 77 W. 1300 South, Salt Lake City, 801-325-2273, SLBees.com

Fairmont Skatepark: Free
Built on the remains of the old Sugar House public pool, the Fairmont skatepark is one of Utah’s hidden shred gems. It’s a classic cement-style park that spans over 15,000 square feet and hosts a street park with a variety of rails, ledges and gaps, a mini ramp and an 8-foot mini bowl. The park recently installed outdoor lighting, so now you can thrash late into the evening. BMX riders are also allowed. 2200 S. 900 East, Salt Lake City

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Daughters of Utah Pioneers Memorial Museum: Free
If you’ve ever been interested in Utah’s rugged pioneer past, then spend an afternoon at the Daughters of Utah Pioneers Memorial Museum. The museum hosts the largest collection of artifacts based around the time of the earliest settlers to enter the Valley of The Great Salt Lake. With free admission, you can drag the whole litter out for an action-packed afternoon of edutainment. 300 N. Main, Salt Lake City, 801-532-6479, DUPInternational.org

Utah Film Center Screenings: Free
You might as well cancel your Netflix subscription—all the best documentaries, kids’ movies, independent films and dramatic movies are presented by the Utah Film Center, often for free. Escape from the sweltering sun and catch some great cinema in various locations around town, including the Salt Lake City Main Library and the Utah Museum of Fine Arts. Various locations, UtahFilmCenter.org

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Redwood Drive-In Theatre: $7
Nothing says summer like sitting in the back of a pickup truck taking in a drive-in movie, with a loved one close by and cooler full of your preferred libations on hand. The Redwood Drive-In brings all the summer blockbusters as well as all the nostalgia and charm of the classic American outdoor-movie experience right to the comfort of your vehicle. Besides all the movie magic at night, the drive-in also offers bargain hunters a good excuse to visit during the day, when the massive community swap meet brings out locals on the hunt for secondhand treasures. 3688 S. Redwood Road, West Valley City, 801-973-7088, RedwoodDrive-In.com

Cultural Celebration Center: Free
Anyone who feels that the tapestry of Utah is woven with a little too much white Mormon thread obviously hasn’t spent enough time in West Valley City, which many diverse communities call home. And no place is this diversity celebrated more than at the West Valley Cultural Celebration Center. Patrons can check out an amazing summer concert series featuring the Latin jazz sizzle of Rumba Libre or the passionate dance and song of Pacific Islander group Islands in the Desert, just to name a few. The center also host permanent and traveling art installations as well as educational programming for youth looking to have a world of art brought to them in a fun classroom setting. 1355 W. 3100 South, West Valley City, 801-965-5100, www.WVC-UT.Gov

Bubble Tea at Gossip Tapioca: $3.99
Bubble-tea aficionados can’t get enough of the special Taiwanese drink at Gossip, a local eatery and haven for boba fanatics. Bubble tea is a sweet tea-based drink that comes filled with tasty “bubbles” of small tapioca balls. Gossip girls and guys are fond of favorites such as mango, taro root and other boba combinations, like the white-chocolate coconut banana. There’s also more to bubble about at Gossip than the boba, such as killer Vietnamese coffee and some of the best pho in town. 1629 W. 3500 South, West Valley City, 801-886-2868

Bucket O’ Crawfish: $9.95
If you’ve got a hunger for seafood that can’t be sated with a simple plate’s worth of tasty crustaceans, then you need to make Bucket O’ Crawfish your next dining destination. Here you can get tasty seafood by the pound for just about $10. With prices like that, you can hunker down with a couple dozen tasty crawfish, clams or shrimp, paired with a zesty, lip-smacking Cajun spice or savory garlic butter. 1980 W. 3500 South, West Valley City, 801-419-0900, BucketOCrawfish.com

Ride the Mechanical Bull at The Westerner: Free
Only one club truly puts the “West” in West Valley, and it’s none other than the honky-tonk haven of The Westerner. Test your mettle against the metal of the club’s mechanical bull for free. If that doesn’t grab you by the horns, you can certainly always root for those who will challenge the bull (especially on Friday nights, when female riders don bikinis). The Westerner also has free karaoke in a quiet corner of the club, where you can croon Patsy Cline and Jerry Jeff Walker to your heart’s content. 3360 S. Redwood Road, West Valley City, 801-972-5447

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Stroll through the Latino Mall: Free
WVC’s Latino Mall is more than just an emporium of all things south of the border. Here you can check out amazing gifts and goods during a stroll through a mini mall that bustles with all the life and color of Tijuana. Bring a few bucks just in case you’re unable to resist some of the tasty foods available at the mall, like the steamy bowls of posole, tender Peruvian-style roasted chicken and—how’s this for variety?—great Vietnamese noodle bowls. Every Sunday, you can sup on these authentic tastes while also enjoying free live music from great Latino bands often rocking classic norteño music. 2470 S. Redwood Road

Game Grid Arcade: 50 cents & up
Gamers, rejoice! If you want to come out of your game cave this summer and beat the heat in a nice air-conditioned arcade, nothing beats the Game Grid in WVC. This arcade specializes in rare arcade games like Pac-Man Battle Royale and Super Street Fighter IV. Besides arcade mainstays like pinball and air hockey, Game Grid also hosts online arcade tournaments so you can come test your mad joystick thumbs against gamers across the country. Valley Fair Mall, 3601 Constitution Blvd., West Valley City, 801-964-0599, GameGridArcade.com

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American West Symphony Pops Concert: Free
Symphony under the stars has become a great Utah tradition. You can head up to Park City, or you could stay closer to home and enjoy a free pops concert by the American West Symphony. Bring a blanket and the family to a performance of rousing classics like Tchaikovsky’s 1812 overture, “Stars and Stripes Forever” and “Battle Hymn of the Republic.” Sandy Amphitheater, 1245 E. 9400 South, June 28, 8 p.m, AmericanWestSymphony.org

Early Bird Weekends at Club 90, $1.95 and up
A night on the town of music and dancing doesn’t have to break the bank. If you come to Sandy’s Club 90 before 7 p.m. on Friday and Saturday evenings, you can enjoy a relaxing dinner or appetizer, then pay no cover charge for a full night of fun. Check the club’s calendar for the schedule of DJ or live band entertainment. 9065 S. Monroe St. (150 West), Sandy, 801-566-3254, Club90SLC.com

Draper Days: $8
Every July, thousands of Utahns take advantage of a full week of free or low-cost events in Draper leading up to Pioneer Day. The annual rodeo at the Ballard Equestrian Center from July 13-14 is only $8 for adults and $5 for children. Families can enjoy a free carnival and pool party at the Treehouse Athletic Club on July 16. And the July 20-21 days of free entertainment at Draper City Park features live music performances, a parade and evening fireworks. Various Draper locations, July 12-21, full schedule and maps at DraperDays.com

International Folk Festival: Free
For the fourth year running, Sandy Amphitheater will host a free showcase of folk-art groups from around the state performing traditional music, singing and dancing. The full slate of 2012 performers is not yet set at press time, but the 2011 event featured entertainment representing Nepal, Hungary, Scotland, Spain and the Ukraine. Take a mini global tour without leaving the 801. Sandy Amphitheater, 1245 E. 9400 South, 801-568-6097, Aug. 22, 8 p.m., SandyArts.com/Sandy-Amphitheater

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Sandy City Movies in the Parks: Free
The summer roadshow of family-friendly flicks returns to Sandy City parks this year; they provide a 30-foot inflatable screen, the show and available-for-purchase concessions, while you just bring a blanket or a chair. Features scheduled for 2012 are The Muppets (June 20, Flat Iron Park), Puss in Boots (July 11, Wildflower Park), Cars 2 (Aug. 8, Bicentennial Park) and Kung Fu Panda 2 (Aug. 22, Crescent Park). Various Sandy parks, dusk, full schedule at Sandy.Utah.gov/movies

Living Planet Aquarium: $9
If you’ve yet to experience Utah’s showcase of aquatic critters of all kinds, a warm summer day is a perfect opportunity for a cool visit. Regular adult admission is only $9 for adults and $7 for children; discounts are available for KUED/KUER members. Visit with the latest residents at the North American river otter exhibit, learn about Utah’s own indigenous waterlife or get your hands wet in the touch pool. 725 E. 10600 South, 801-355-3474, TheLivingPlanet.com

Jordan River Parkway Trails: Free
Wonderful spots abound for a stroll or a bike ride along the Jordan River and other picturesque locations in South Jordan. Trailheads include the Jordan River Parkway Trail (692 W. 10600 South), Bingham Creek Trailhead (4500 W. Skye Drive) and Shields Lane Trailhead (9879 S. 950 West). Shields Lane trail includes picnic tables; bring a lunch and find a little oasis of serenity in the suburbs. SJC.Utah.gov/recreation/parks-trails.asp

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Hike the Bonneville Shoreline Trail, then Volunteer at This Is the Place Heritage Park: Free/$10
Honor ancient Lake Bonneville for carving out the Salt Lake Valley by hiking the foothills of the Wasatch Range along the Shoreline Trail, which, at around 5,100 feet in elevation, runs on top of the Wasatch Fault for most of its route. While hiking the trail, you can access This Is the Place Heritage Park. Visit the iconic This Is the Place monument for free, as well as the new Mormon Battalion Museum inside the visitor center. You can also volunteer to help in the Village, in the houses or maintain the grounds. Or, just pay the admission so you can enjoy pony rides, an American Indian village, artisan trade demonstrations, historical trains and more. 2601 E. Sunnyside Ave., Salt Lake City, 801-582-1847, ThisIsThePlace.org

Snowbird Brewfest: $1 and up
The fourth-annual Snowbird Brewfest is well-stocked (with beer from Bohemian, Red Rock, Uinta, Hoppers, Ruby River, Moab, Wasatch, Squatters, Roosters and Epic breweries) and, even better, cheap—admission is free, and it’s just $1 per 3-ounce beer sample. No bar patio in the state has this selection and scenery combo—beer it in the mountains. Highway 210, Little Cottonwood Canyon, Snowbird, 801-933-2222, June 16-17, Snowbird.com

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Cottonwood Heights Platform Pool: $5.50
Hands down the best way to beat the summer heat is with some extreme pool action, and the Cottonwood Heights pool is one of the best splash zones in Utah. It’s more than just a simple outdoor pool; here you’ll find multi-level diving platforms for the daring, tons of deck space for tanning and a two-story splash slide that rips. 7500 S. 2700 East, Cottonwood Heights, 801-943-3160, CottonwoodHeights.com

Moonlight Hike on the Brighton Lakes Trail: Free
During the day, this 3.8-mile moderate hike showcases cliffside overlooks, woodland forests, breathtaking valley views and wildflowers galore. The trail will take you past three pristine blue mountain lakes: Lake Mary, Lake Martha and Lake Catherine. (There’s also a fourth lake, Dog Lake, on an offshoot trail.) Because of its beauty and popularity, the trail can get crowded on many summer days. But on a clear evening, with a full moon overhead, the hike can pretty much be all yours. Keep your eyes peeled for moose and assorted magic. Brighton Resort parking lot, 12601 E. Big Cottonwood Canyon Road, Brighton

Lectures & Sundance Films at Red Butte Garden: Free
Red Butte Garden offers a few days of the year when admission is free. In the summer, that day is July 24. And that’s not all that’s free: There are free horticulture lectures on June 25 (tree identification), July 30 (Western wildflowers), Aug. 27 (creative ways to garden with limited water) and Sept. 24 (discover ornamental grasses). If the cold and icy roads of the Sundance Film Festival kept you away from screenings, here’s your chance to see Sundance films for free, outside in the garden amphitheater at sundown (around 9 p.m): June 20 (Under African Skies), July 11 (CSNY DÉJĄ VU), July 25 (Filly Brown) and Aug. 1 (Bones Brigade). Plus, there is always an art exhibit by local artists in the visitor center. 300 Wakara Way, Salt Lake City, 801-581-4747, RedButteGarden.org

Bike & Get Horny at Solitude: Free
Sure, who doesn’t love eating Utah’s best cuisine at the Taste of Wasatch (Aug. 5 from noon to 4 p.m. at Solitude Mountain Resort), especially when 100 percent of the monies raised go toward ending hunger in Utah? But at $90 per ticket, it isn’t cheap to attend, even if it is for a damned good cause. Luckily, there’s plenty of free stuff to do at Solitude, include hiking Silver Fork trail, biking the Wasatch Crest Trail and watching the Mid-Week Mountain Bike Series races, held July 31 and Aug. 7, 14, and 21. Solitude is also the spot where alphorn players from around the world hold an annual retreat that ends with a free alphorn concert on Aug. 12 at 1 p.m. 12000 Big Cottonwood Canyon, Solitude, 801-534-1400, SkiSolitude.com

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Park Silly Sunday Market: Free
Thanks to the DIY Park City locals, Main Street gets silly on a weekly basis over the summer. From June through September, Park Silly Sunday Market is a one-stop walkway of local and regional arts and crafts, eclectic music and performance art, booths for the foodies and just plain hungry, home-grown fresh produce and more. Park Silly gets bigger every year, and while you can see all there is for free, bring a some cash if you want to barter your way to claiming some unique treasures. Main Street, Park City, 435-655-0994, Sundays, June 10-Sept. 23, 10 a.m.-5 p.m., ParkSillySundayMarket.com

Deer Valley Trails Hike: Free
While winter was a letdown this year, anyone looking to make up for lost time on the mountain this summer will find plenty to do on Deer Valley Resort’s trails. The trails are open to hikers and bikers, with free historic hikes running June through October. For best results, park at the Silver Lake Express parking lot and hike to the peak of Bald Mountain for the best view of Park City and its surroundings. A lift pass up the mountain would be $13, but a ride down is free and is a great reward after a long uphill hike. 2250 Deer Valley Drive South, Park City, 435-649-1000, full lift service 10 a.m.-5 p.m., DeerValley.com

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Canyons Saturday Summer Concert Series: Free
“Park City” and “free” are two phrases that rarely appear in the same sentence, so when there are free concerts in Park City, people notice. Free concerts bring the masses here, so to make it to the biggest, plan ahead, pack your lawn chair (but no sharp-legged chairs or chairs taller than 9 inches) and arrive at Canyons at 4 p.m. on Saturdays to claim your spot in the grass for one of the best places to picnic with live music. Confirmed bands include Tea Leaf Green and The Wood Brothers. 4000 Canyons Resort Drive, Park City, 435-649-5400, Saturdays, July 14-Sept. 1, 6-8:30 p.m., CanyonsResort.com

Park City Gallery Stroll: Free
What do the Kimball Art Center, J GO and the Old Towne Gallery all have in common? Aside from the obvious, these art venues are some of the best stops along Park City’s Gallery Stroll on Main Street. Park your car in the China Bridge Garage and walk to the roughly 20 participating art galleries within a stone’s throw of one another. You’ll be able to wine and (sort of) dine without spending a dime. Main Street, Park City, last Friday of every month, 6-9 p.m., ParkCityGalleryAssociation.com

Peoplewatching at Park City Coffee Roasters: Free
Don’t get us wrong: The coffee is great and the service is friendly, but that’s not why you should visit Park City Coffee Roasters. The coffee shops are the crossroads for the many strange, interesting and beautiful people of Park City; you’re as likely to see a thousand-dollar fur coat as a handmade hemp sack in either of the two locations. It has a comfy atmosphere in which to slow down, enjoy some cold iced coffee and do some people watching. 1680 W. Ute Blvd., Park City, 435-647-9097; 638 Park Ave., Park City, 435-649-0051, ParkCityCoffeeRoaster.com

Szechwan Chinese Kitchen: $6.75 and up
There are a few things sacred to your average Parkite: fresh powder and the lunch special at Szechwan Chinese Kitchen. A well-known spot for the PC lunch rush, before 3 p.m., there are 43 items on its lunchtime menu that include an egg roll, steamed or fried rice and choice of soup, all for under $8. Casual atmosphere and some tasty Chinese cuisine make this a local secret no more. 1612 Ute Blvd., No. 103, Park City, 435-655-8916, lunch special 11:30 a.m.-3 p.m., ChineseRestaurantParkCity.com

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Lorin Farr Pool & Rampage: $3
The quintessential summer activity is a day lounging at the city pool, repeating the endless cycle of laying out, getting in the water, laying out, getting cheap, greasy food from the concessions stand, laying out, getting back in the water. ... In Ogden, the city pool takes it up a notch, with its enormous Olympic-size pool and two huge, practically vertical “rampage” waterslides. Memorable scenes from The Sandlot were filmed by the pool, but we don’t recommend going to such lengths to attract the attention of a dreamy lifeguard. 1619 S. Gramercy Ave., Ogden, 801-629-8259

Farr Ice Cream at The Oaks Restaurant: $2.95
Driving up beautiful Ogden Canyon on the way to Pineview Reservoir, you’ll probably catch a glimpse of a rustic building on the right side of the road with a passel of cars and motorcycles parked out front. That’s The Oaks Restaurant, and it’s got one of the best vantage points in the state, overlooking the rushing Ogden River. It’s a full-service restaurant, but when you’re in the mood for some lighter fare, you can grab “just” (they’re huge) a cone of delicious, local Farr Ice Cream from the front-counter shop and take it to the back deck, right over the river. Patios might get the credit for summer-dining fun, but if more restaurants had a deck like The Oaks’, patios would have some competition. 750 Ogden Canyon, Ogden, 801-394-2421, TheOaksInOgdenCanyon.com

Wednesday-night Films at Peery’s Egyptian Theater: $5
Nine out of 10 movie snobs agree: Seeing a movie in the theater just has a certain something that sitting on the couch watching a DVD doesn’t. What is that certain something? Once you watch a movie at Peery’s Egyptian Theater in Ogden, you’ll get it. PET presents a summer film series each year from June to August featuring a mix of movies from cult classics to comedy classics to bona fide black & white classics. We can’t decide what part of the experience is better: the historic theater’s elaborate Egyptian setting and Wurlitzer Pipe Organ, or the fact that beer is served. 2415 Washington Blvd., Ogden, 801-689-8600, EgyptianTheater Ogden.com

Wasatch Hikers Weekly Wednesday Hikes: Free
They say the road to hell is paved with good intentions, but so is the road to … nothing. Hiking is a summer activity that seems like it should be easy enough, but when it comes to corralling friends into deciding on a date and time that works for everyone, and agreeing on where to go, sometimes it’s just easier to give up and head to the bar. Put down that stein: There’s a group of hiking-crazy friends out there who’ve already got the hike planned. Part of nonprofit Weber Pathways, the Wasatch Hikers group meets every Wednesday evening for a hike somewhere in Weber County. Details are posted weekly; all you have to do is show up. MeetUp.com/WeberCountyOutdoors/

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Ogden Eccles Dinosaur Park: $7
Things have probably changed in the dinosaur world since you were a kid and learned about Brontosaurus and Triceratops. For one thing, there was no such thing as a Brontosaurus. Shocked? Well, you should head to Ogden’s Dinosaur Park to get a refresher course on the mysterious beasts that roamed the planet millions of years ago. The park has an indoor museum and education center, but the real draw is the expansive park grounds, nestled at the mouth of Ogden Canyon, which are home to more than 100 life-size sculptures of dinosaurs, modeled after fossils, that are brought to life via robotics and an advanced sound system. Yes, robotic dinosaurs—sounds like the recipe for one killer afternoon. 1544 E. Park Blvd., Ogden, 801-393-3466, DinosaurPark.org

Taste of Downtown: $10
This annual, often-sold-out event is the ultimate in efficient eating. Some of Ogden’s best restaurants—and bars, too—provide samples of their dishes, from wings to chicken canapés to sushi to lasagna. Held in conjunction with Ogden’s Art Festival, the Taste of Downtown makes it easy to have your local culture and eat it, too. Union Station Grand Lobby, 2501 Wall Ave., Ogden, 801-393-9890, June 8, 6:30 p.m.

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America’s Freedom Festival: Free
It’s not big, it’s huge. America’s Freedom Festival is one of the country’s largest Fourth of July festivals—so large that it starts three weeks before the holiday, with the flag-retirement ceremony June 14. The festival offers a killer parade, cultural events, flea markets, carnival-style vendor booths, a car show, one heck of a fireworks extravaganza and the Ring of Fire concert, where The Beach Boys (with Brian Wilson) perform as part of their 50th anniversary tour. That concert isn’t free, but many of the other events are. Various locations and dates, FreedomFestival.org

Provo Rooftop Concert Series: Free
Now in its third season, Provo’s Rooftop Concert Series is a mainstay of the city’s buzzing nightlife, if only for one night a month. The monthly shindig creates a lively environment—with up to 2,500 patrons at each performance in 2011—at the show and on the streets, which are full of buskers and gallery-stroll patrons. It’s a fine evening, and this year’s local-centric series lineup can’t be beat: Fictionist, The Lower Lights and a Tom Petty tribute. Provo Towne Square Parking Terrace, 100 N. 100 West, Provo, first Friday of each month, RooftopConcertSeries.com

Hiking to the Y
Why? Because the Y on Y Mountain is one huge piece of university insignia, which, when trodden upon, affords excellent views of downtown Provo, Utah Lake and surrounding areas. One of the largest collegiate symbols in the country, the concrete Y is 380 feet high and 180 feet wide. It’s a fairly steep 1.2-mile hike to the Y, and hiking to the summit of Y Mountain can take around two hours—but enough of the numbers already. This hike is perfect for bringing along a date or the whole fam, and is close enough to downtown to incorporate into an event-filled afternoon and/or evening. Terrace Drive, Provo

Spark Mocktails: $3.50 & up
Provo isn’t exactly known for its nightlife. But in the clean and sober vibe of the town, Spark Restaurant offers a bevy of beverages to sate the thirstiest cocktail critic. Try the bottomless (can any bar offer that in Utah? No.) housemade lemonades with a pinch of flavor, from pomegranate to peach, for $4.95. Or sip the restaurant’s signature mocktails, like the mango mojito, the double-berry martini or the stripped piña colada—each $3.50. 86 N. University Ave., Provo, 801-701-6780, SparkProvo.com

Moustache Mondays at Sammy’s Cafe Provo: Free
This Provo burger & shake institution is mad about moustaches. The upper-lip ornaments are all over Sammy’s website and can be seen in high frequency inside the store on Mondays. Sporting a moustache on Moustache Mondays gets customers a free grilled-cheese sandwich (ladies: wear a fake or draw one on); even without the moustache, they’re just a buck on Mondays. But the real lure is the pie shake, which are two-for-one on Tuesdays. Try the pumpkin pie or the banana-cream pie shakes, which are sure to transform the droopiest moustache into perky handlebars. 27 N. 100 West, Provo, 801-805-9208, SammysPieShake.com

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Nickel City: $2.25 & up
As you navigate the dot-munching Ms. Pac Man through a time warp only to wind up in Sue the Orange Ghost’s destructive path, you can rest assured that your loss didn’t also break the bank. At Nickel City, every arcade game costs a mere 5 cents, after the nominal $2.25 admission. The entertainment center boasts everything from classics like the aforementioned Ms. Pac Man to daredevilish driving adventures to sheer-luck games like Plinko in a near-maddening midi-soundscape of plings, bings and boinks.
1515 S. State, Orem, 801-802-8555, NickelCityOrem.com

Spanish Oaks Reservoir: Free
When it’s a darn hot Utah summer day and you’ve already had your fair share of frozen yogurt, how else can one chill out? Try the Spanish Oaks Reservoir. Nestled along the Spanish Fork hills just before the mouth of the canyon, this free swimming hole has stunning views, access to hiking jaunts and some refreshingly cold H2O to plunge into. A summer afternoon sees families playing on the beach, college students soaking up the sun and fishermen trying to lure the reservoir’s stockpile of rainbow trout. It’s cheaper than fro-yo and can only do good for your bikini bod. 2931 S. Spanish Oaks Drive, Spanish Fork

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