In case you were unsure (or if the temperatures hadn’t informed you), summer is officially here. Whether you’re looking for another outdoors event to add to your July itinerary or feel like escaping into the cool and quiet hallways of a museum, here are five happenings worth the trip:
The 150th Anniversary National Civil War Battle Reenactment, July 4-7
Travel back in time to the single-largest battle ever fought on American soil for a truly impressive history lesson at The 150th Gettysburg Anniversary National Civil WarReenactment. From July 4 through July 7, legions of volunteers will suit up in navy and gray in Gettysburg, Pa. to reenact the infamous battle between Union and Confederate soldiers. It’s not all about the boom of the cannons, though. Throughout the four-day event, you’ll be able to experience a behind-the-battle look at the war with events such as strategy meetings between Union and Confederate generals, informational talks on The Pinkerton Agency and spies of the Civil War and, of course, the Gettysburg Address delivered by Abraham Lincoln himself (or at least someone who will look a lot like him). Be warned, the battlefield can get quite hot — the temperature during last year’s event hit a blistering 101 degrees.
Basilica Block Party, July 12-13
If a music festival isn’t the first thing that pops into your head when you think of church, the Basilica Block Party in Minneapolis could be the event to rearrange your thought process. Held on the grounds of the beautiful The Basilica of Saint Mary (the proceeds go toward the continued renovation of the Basilica and other buildings on the campus), several big-name acts will be praising the loud (as their oh-so-clever tagline states) this year including Grace Potter & The Nocturnals, Matchbox Twenty, Goo Goo Dolls and Cloud Cult. Sunday brings a more family-friendly atmosphere with activities for all ages and a family concert (from kid-approved band Imagination Movers) at 1 p.m.
MLB All-Star Game 2013, July 12-16
Although the main draw is always the game itself, every all-star event features much more than just the action on the field. This year, the MLB All-Star Game heads to the Mets’ Citi Field in New York City and brings with it an extended weekend’s worth of stickball attractions. The Major League Baseball All-Star FanFest (9 a.m. to 8 p.m., July 12–15, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., July 16 at The Jacob K. Javits Convention Center of New York) gives baseball fans ample opportunity to have an all-star experience. Test your fielding skills while scooping up grounders, check out memorabilia from NYC’s storied baseball history, challenge others on the virtual diamond in MLB 2K baseball games, and plenty more. Feel like lacing up those running shoes for a good cause? The All-Star 5K & Fun Run (July 13) will be donating 100 percent of race net proceeds to Sandy Relief with the top fundraising teams winning exclusive MLB experiences. Of course, the bells and whistles are just precursors to the All-Star game proper (July 16), so be sure to head over to MLB.com and vote for the American and National League representatives now.
Can’t get enough of the baseball action? The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s “Legends of the Dead Ball Era” exhibition presents a more historical slant to America’s pastime by showcasing seriously old-school baseball cards from the game’s infamously pitcher-dominated period.
California Wine Festival, July 18-20
Head to the sun and surf of Santa Barbara for this 10th-annual celebration of all things vino, including more than 50 wineries such as Francis Ford Coppola Winery (Sonoma County) and Houdini (Napa Valley). Each day features a food event — Thursday’s “Old Spanish Nights” wine tasting with Latin music, flamenco dancing and tapas, Friday’s “Sunset Rare & Reserve Wine Tasting” in Chase Palm Park Plaza, and Saturday’s “Beachside Wine Festival” — highlighting a wide range of participating restaurants (from Kerrygold Irish Dairy to Santa Barbara Chocolate Fountain), and you’ll be treated to live entertainment from the jazzy Ron Kobayashi Trio, Reggae and Soca group Upstream, and the bluesy Donna Greene and The Roadhouse Daddies.
Beyond the Great Wave: Hokusai’s Images of Mount Fuji, July 20–October 6
Formed by a trio of volcanoes, Mount Fuji rising into the sky is an unmistakable image of Japanese culture. Katsushika Hokusai’s series of images featuring the towering mountain — Thirty-Six Views of Mount Fuji — will be on display at The Art Institute of Chicago between July 20 and October 6. Throughout the 36 works (including the famous and instantly recognizable “The Great Wave”), a heavy use of Berlin blue pigment can be seen, marking the time when the color became newly affordable, but it’s the fragile nature of the works that cements this exhibition as a must-see for any art lover. Concern that exposure to light would darken and fade the images has made this series a rarely viewed collection.
Images Courtesy of ESPN, California Wine Festival and iStock/christopherarndt