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Warmer weather is finally upon us as the semester comes to an end. While the end may be in sight for the pandemic we still need to take precautions to avoid the spread of COVID-19 & the development of variants of viruses. We all want to get back to our so-called normal life, but we should still mask up and social distance as much as possible. I have compiled a list of Covid- conscious dates or activities to do with friends this summer! 

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Hike

Utah has so many hikes throughout the state of varying difficulties. Hiking is a great way to get active and enjoy nature. Some of my favorites are Donut falls, Cecret Lake, Living Room, Lake Mary, Bell's Canyon, and of course Block U hike! 

Picnic

Pack your own food or grab takeout for an easy picnic in the park! You can also bring board games, frisbees, card games like "We're not Really Strangers" or "Cards against Humanity", or activities like ladder ball or cornhole.

Paint

If you want to add an activity to your picnic, painting in the park is a great option. You can also do a paint competition by choosing a painting or image to recreate and paint! Grab canvases, mini easels, brushes, and paint and you're ready to go!

Tie-Dye & Bleach Tie-Dye

Tie-dye is making a major comeback and it is so easy to do. I love using Rit dye for vibrant colors. Bleach dye is essentially the same as tie-dye except you use bleach instead of dye. Many retail stores are selling tie-dye sets that are cute but you can customize your own if you buy dye and a sweatshirt & sweatpants or a t-shirt & shorts!

Visit an Animal Shelter

If you're looking to adopt or foster reach out to your local animal shelter. SL animal shelter has an amazing program "Hounds Around Town" where you can help shelter pups get out in the community and go on an adventure, whether it's a car ride, puppuccino, walk in the park, hike, or self serve grooming. It gives the pups a chance to get out of the shelter and get exposure so they can get adopted! Be conscious that some shelters require appointments so call before you go! If you already have a dog you can treat them by taking them for a drive, walk in the park, or hosting a puppy play-date.

Tracy Aviary & Botanical Gardens

Located in Liberty Park, you can have close experiences with birds and nature. June through August they have $5 admission after 5pm on Mondays. They also have a discount for students so check their website before your visit!

Bonfire

Whether you're camping or in your backyard, a bonfire is perfect for summer nights. Don't forget to make smores!

Drive-In Theatre

The Drive-in is making a major comeback this year, and it's a great way to see the new summer blockbusters in a safe way! Redwood Drive-In is operating now for the season & they are taking precautions to provide a safe visit for those who come by!

Movies in the Park

Many parks host movie nights throughout summer, this will be dependent on COVID but dates for these events are typically posted in June!

Camping

Camping is a great way to travel and take a break without breaking the bank! Whether you go on a solo trip or with friends or family, bring a mask in case you're in a heavily trafficked area. 

Swimming

Before we know it, it will be 90 degrees. Most outdoor pools open in June and close around Labor day weekend so be sure to take advantage of the hot temps and go for a swim. 

Lake Day

Last year I went paddleboarding for the first time and loved it! I rented one a few times last summer and decided to buy one this year. The lake is a great place to unwind whether you choose to go paddleboarding, kayaking, swimming, or boating. For lakes my favorites are Jordanelle & Willard's Bay. If you're going for a longer trip I recommend  Bear Lake.

Farmer's Market

Farmer's Markets are not only amazing for purchasing local produce, but also supporting local businesses and you can find one-of-a-kind jewelry and clothing! The Wheeler Farm Sunday Market is starting their season on May 23. The Downtown Farmer's Market operates year-round with a winter market at the gateway & opening for their Saturday market in June at Pioneer Park.

Thanksgiving Point

Ashton gardens reopened in late March, and their annual tulip festival runs through May 8th! If you're there be sure to check out their butterfly biosphere!

Geocaching 

Geocaching is an outdoor activity in which participants download the app and search for geocaches in their city. It's basically like a treasure hunt for adults.

Thrifting 

Buying second-hand clothing is becoming more and more popular as it not only allows you to find unique pieces but additionally it is better for our environment as fast fashion continues to negatively impact our environment.

Red Butte Garden

Red Butte is beautiful and it's a great place to visit that is close to campus! Visit their website to purchase your tickets in advance.

Watch a Sunset 

Drive up to Mount Olympus or Ensign Peak for an amazing view of the sunset. 

Ziplining

If you're looking for a more adventurous activity, Zipline Utah has the longest zipline over water in the world and additionally has the longest continual zipline course!

Mini Golf

Several businesses in SLC or near SLC have mini-golf, Fat Cats has a glow-in-the-dark indoor course, while Boondocks and Mulligans have outdoor golf courses.

Color Me Mine

If you want to get crafty, Color Me Mine is a great option! They are following CDC guidelines and government mandates to ensure safety while participating. They host various events from date nights to pajama nights and Two-4-Tuesday where their studio fees are half price. Reservations are required so be sure to book a time on their website!

Volunteer

Volunteering is a great way to get involved and better your community! It has been proven to increase happiness levels as well. There are so many volunteer opportunities within SLC, whether you want to volunteer at an animal shelter, food bank, or serve food to individuals experiencing homelessness. I recommend checking out the burrito project, UARC, Ronald McDonald House, as well as the SL Animal Shelter.

Workout

If you are both fitness junkies opt for a workout together! You can do an at-home workout, at the park, or a gym!

Plant Nursery

There's nothing like being surrounded by plants and greenery to boost your mood and lower stress. Spend the day visiting plant nurseries to find the perfect plant for your home.

Listen to Music

Take turns listening to each other's favorite songs; it's a great way to get to know one another & you may find new songs to add to your playlist.

Stargazing

Due to light pollution it is very difficult to stargaze in the city but you can travel to Antelope Island, Bryce Canyon, or Arches National Park; you can spend the night seeing the stars.

Cook or Bake Together

Pick a recipe, go shopping for ingredients, and then make dinner or dessert together!

Movie Marathon

It's a basic one but always a great option as it's cheap and you can do it in the comfort and safety of your own home.

International Peace Gardens

It was founded as a citizenship project and lesson in peace and unity among nations. It's a beautiful place and I highly recommend visiting! The gardens open May 1st!

Zoo

Hogle Zoo is open currently, and you can visit the exhibits throughout to see the animals. They are requiring masks for all patrons as well as restricting the number of guests to enter the zoo to ensure proper distancing capabilities. 

Aquarium

The Loveland Living Planet Aquarium has many opportunities to see and interact with marine life. You can walk around and explore the aquarium or have close encounters with Penguins or Stingrays. They also host events like Yoga with the Sharks & Nights under the Lights. They are currently requiring masks for admission, and gloves for encounters with animals to provide a safer experience for patrons and the animals. 

Arcade

Dave & Busters is close to the U, located in the Gallivan Center. They have dining options as well as arcade games & also play sports on their TVs so you can watch everything from football to UFC. 

Canyon Drive

Take a scenic drive through Big or Little Cottonwood Canyon or Millcreek Canyon. You can also stop and do a hike or have a picnic along the way!

 

As the semester winds to an end, we can begin making our summer plans! While we should still be conscious of the pandemic, there are so many things you can do with your friends and family or S.O. Whether you choose to spend time outdoors or mask up and do something indoors, there's something for everyone. Things will get better in time, and they will improve sooner if we are conscious of our actions and take necessary precautions to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Here's to brighter days ahead!

Natasha is currently working towards her Bachelor's of Science in Psychology. She plans to return to the U after graduating to obtain a second bachelor's degree in Community Health. She adores animals, music, nature, art, and spending time with her friends and family.
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