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The sun is shining, the weather is getting warmer, and folks are getting vaccinated. It’s time for us to collectively exit hibernation mode and start having some fun again! The best way to do that is with friends you may not have seen for an extended period. To help you get started, here’s a list of fun things to do with friends this summer – get out there and start having some fun!
*Please follow all safety precautions before doing any of these things. Getting vaccinated is a great step, but follow all the safety rules and regulations not only of your state but of any place you decide to visit as well.
52 Fun Things to Do With Friends
I’ve come up with a giant list of over 50 fun activities to do with your friends. The prices vary from completely free to fairly expensive. There are daytime activities, evening activities, and even things that take up an entire weekend (or more!). The point is, there is something on this list for every friend group. There’s no reason to be bored this summer when you have all these fun things to do with your friends!
Hiking is probably the best thing to do with friends this summer. It’s outdoors, which makes maintaining social distancing easy, and you also get to hang out and do something physically rewarding together. It’s the best of all worlds, really.
There are hiking trails near almost every city (and some even in cities!) with varying degrees of difficulty. Check out alltrails.com to find the best trails near you.
The great thing about a potluck is that no one is stuck doing all of the cooking. Everyone brings their favorite dish, and you can all share in the culinary expertise of everyone else. It’s magical!
To keep socially distanced, instead of hosting a potluck at home, you can try a potluck picnic. Meet up at your favorite park with your favorite dish, share, and catch up, all while staying outside in the fresh air.
Restaurants are finally starting to open! It’s been so long since many of us have been able to dine out. It might be just the thing to do with your best friends when you can get together again.
My friends and I used to have a monthly dinner outing with a twist. Each month, someone new would choose a restaurant and make reservations. This way, we all got together at least once a month, and we got to check out a restaurant that the rest of us may not have thought to check. It was so much fun! I highly recommend a similar system.
It’s just as easy to have fun with friends while staying inside as it is going out – and cheaper too! One of my favorite things to do with friends is hosting a game night. As you know, I love video games, so my game nights often involve rotating the controller and killing some Bowser. Another great thing about hosting a video game night is that it can be virtual if some folks can’t make it.
But game nights go way beyond video games. You can play board games, adult card games, and even random party games (Pictionary was always my favorite party game – using a giant whiteboard so everyone can see what you draw makes it even better!).
A weird thing about growing up near a certain place is that you don’t generally do any things tourists do. I grew up in Chicago and lived there for twenty years before I ever went up to the top of the Sears Tower (It will always be the Sears Tower – fight me!), and I only did it because a friend was visiting from out of town.
You don’t need to wait until you have an out-of-town visitor to explore the sites near your city. Grab your best friends and pretend that you’re tourists for the day. See all the fun things your town has to offer!
My favorite thing to do in any city that I visit is a ghost tour. Most cities have some type of walking paranormal tour, and they are always a good time. Learn the sordid history of your town, and have fun with friends trying to spook each other.
Even if your town doesn’t have a specific ghost tour, there is probably some record of spooky happenings someplace in the city. You and your friends can make up your own! Research the history of your town, visit a local graveyard, pay respects to all the past residents, and see any haunted locales. Not only will you learn about your city, but you’ll have fun doing it!
Visit a Museum
Speaking of learning, visiting a museum is a great way to spend a day with your friends learning something new. Although I love a traditional museum of natural history or art museum, there are so many different types of museums that there is sure to be one that your friend group will enjoy.
I’ve visited car museums, flight museums, torture museums, sex museums, and a whole host of other quirky museums worldwide. Explore these interesting and quirky museums with your friends; it’s a guaranteed good time!
Host a BBQ
There is nothing like firing up a grill and cooking out for all of your favorite people. A BBQ is a perfect way to get together with friends on a warm spring or summer day.
Grab your hot dogs, hamburgers, and beer cooler, and make a day of it! Ask your friends to bring some side dishes, so you don’t have to do all the prep work, and enjoy some time cooking out in the nice weather.
Grab your favorite films and some buttery popcorn, and stay in with your best pals. A movie night is one of the best things to do with friends because it’s cozy and relaxing, and you can all bond over the feelings elicited from the movie.
If your friends feel sad, a drama cryfest is a great way to help get it all out. A scary movie can help you feel closer to the people you’re watching it with (there’s a reason horror is the go-to genre for dates!), and funny movies can give you all a relaxing good time. Pick a few different genres for a well-rounded evening of fun.
A book club is often seen as the quintessential thing to do with friends, especially for women. It’s often made fun of as an excuse to gossip and drink wine, but I’ve never been a member of a book club that wasn’t actually about the book.
Reading is fun, and it’s also fun to share your thoughts and feelings about any given book you are reading. A book club is a great excuse to get together and allows you to read books that you wouldn’t have considered and learn about your friends’ deeper opinions on things.
If you need to go to the store for some new clothes or home décor, why not bring your friends with you? It’s always good to have a second or third opinion on how something looks or whether that adorable little vase you randomly found is really worth the twenty bucks.
Shopping is a fun, relaxing activity that often gets a bad rap, especially in the personal finance world. Clearly, we shouldn’t be spending all of our money on things that we want. However, it’s not bad to spend some money on things that make you happy, and enjoying the experience with friends makes it even better.
Play Dress Up
Sometimes you don’t need to buy things to get the thrill of trying stuff on and getting your friends’ opinions. Often, we have a ton of fancy clothes right in our own closets!
Invite your friends over to try some of your old stuff on. See if the formal dresses and old Halloween costumes still fit. Match some jewelry with it and pretend you’re getting ready for a night of glamour! A bonus to doing this is that you might find it’s time to downsize. After trying all of your old stuff on, you can decide what you want to keep and what you’d rather donate. It’s a fun thing to do with friends that can help you clear your life of some clutter.
Paint and Sip
Paint and sips have been popping up all over the country lately, and it’s easy to see why. What other activity gives you the opportunity to have some tasty drinks, explore your creativity, and not have to worry about buying all the materials or cleaning everything up?
Paint and sip nights are great ways to explore painting as a hobby without knowing what to buy or even how to start. They provide all the materials and instructions. All you have to do is bring yourself and a willingness to have fun.
The Six Flags, Universals, and Disneys all over the country are starting to open back up. What better way to spend a day with your friends than waiting in outrageously long lines for twenty seconds of fun?
I kid. I love rides and roller coasters. The waiting in line part isn’t even that bad – it’s actually a great way to get a group of folks to talk and engage while waiting for something exciting to happen. When I really hate the wait, I’ll grab a front-of-the-line pass (but I only do that for Halloween Horror Nights when lines are so bad that you won’t be able to see everything if you don’t get one).
Do you want to relax with your friends? Why not try a spa day? Grab your group of besties and hit the spa for a day of pampering and relaxation.
The great thing about a spa day is that each person can pick the specific services that are right for them. Some may enjoy a relaxing massage, while others may be more interested in a scrub. You can take notes and compare the services all while enjoying a luxurious day together.
If you’re looking for fun and adventurous things to do with friends, try paintballing. Is there a better way to have some fun than running around the woods shooting each other with paint?
Paintballing is great because you get to be outside, get to be active, and get to do stuff that you normally wouldn’t (like climb trees, try out some military maneuvers, and get shot with paint). It’s an epic way to spend a free Saturday with your best friends.
Laser tag is a cross between paintballing and hide & go seek. It’s a great option for an indoor activity that still gets the blood flowing. And lasers leave fewer bruises than paintballs do!
Another big advantage to laser tag is that it’s much cleaner. Lasers don’t leave giant paint stains on anything, and since it’s indoors, you are less likely to get muddy.
Want to know your future? Well, that’s not what card readings do, but they are still a lot of fun! You can find a card reader at a local psychic or most fairs and festivals. Although they don’t really read your future, they can give you insights into a problem you’re facing.
If you don’t want to go to someone to get your cards read, you and your friends can take turns reading each other’s cards. All you need is a tarot deck and a how-to book, and you can spend hours pretending to read each other’s fortunes. Remember – even though it’s all in good fun, you might find out something interesting about yourself.
Smores, hot dogs, bonfires, and scary stories! Doesn’t that sound like a great time? Relaxing around a fire with a group of friends is so iconic that it’s a scene in pretty much every movie about growing up. But it’s fun for adults too.
There are options for local camping in every state. Find a park near you and get your friends together for a weekend of hiking, fishing, campfires, and fun.
Helping others is immensely satisfying. If you and your friends are looking for something fun and rewarding, why not try doing some volunteer work?
There are thousands of charities in every state that need help. You could join a Habitat for Humanity crew and help build homes or volunteer at the local animal shelter to walk dogs and socialize cats. There are tons of options for giving back, and it’s amazing to be able to share such a rewarding experience with those closest to you.
Take a Class
It’s also rewarding to learn something new. Grab your crew and sign up for a random class near you. You can find a class in any niche you can think of, from fitness to cooking, art to language. You can even take a class together online!
I took a sushi-making class with my gals when I lived in Long Beach, and not only was it fun, but it was delicious as well! We got a little messy with the rice, but we all had an amazing time learning how to roll sushi.
Wine Tasting or Brewery Hopping
Let’s face it. When we get together with friends, we often end up at the bar. So let’s embrace that and plan out a fun adventure of day drinking! Instead of hitting the regular place, find some new local breweries or wineries in your area. Check out their brewing styles and sample their wares. You may even find a hidden gem of a pub that you never knew existed!
Please be safe about it, though. Before you plan a fun drinking outing, be sure to designate a driver or have an alternate plan (like uber) for getting home. Be sure to eat throughout the day and pace yourself, so you don’t get sick.
Want to have a friendly competition with friends that doesn’t really matter? Head to the local family fun center and hit the greens! Put-put is a silly little outdoor game, but it’s always a ton of fun. Try to get below par on all the courses, and see who has the best skills!
For a different type of mini-golf experience, you can even try disc golf. It’s basically the same as mini-golf, but instead of getting a ball in a hole, you have to get a frisbee in a basket. You have to bring your own discs with disc golf, though – so prepare for that before you decide to go!
Speaking of the family fun center, why not check out the games at the local arcade? Travel back in time to your teenage years and try out the new pinball machines and first-person shooters. Challenge your friends to an air hockey tournament.
If you want a more adult arcade experience, head to a Dave and Busters. They are a little overpriced, but you can grab a drink and play your favorite game all in one place.
Do you remember bowling alleys? The smokey air, the harsh clanging bangs as ball hits pin, and the disgusting old shoes sprayed with questionable disinfectant. Don’t sell me on a good time!
Seriously though, bowling may have hit peak popularity in the 1980s, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t fun anymore. It’s a great way for a group of friends to get together and play a fun game, eat some horrible bar food, and have an overall fantastic time.
The roller rink is a blast from an even more distant past – the 70s. But even though they’ve been around for going on fifty years now, they are still a lot of fun.
I’ll bet that most of you haven’t been to a roller rink since a fifth-grade field trip – so it will be fun to grab your friends and reminisce about favorite childhood activities. Not only that, it’s a great leg workout, so it’s a wonderful excuse to hang out with your friends and stay fit at the same time.
What better way to make memories with your friends than by looking through old memories? Scrapbooking is an excellent way to look back on all the fun adventures you’ve had, and doing it with a friend makes it that much better.
Perhaps you can create BFF friendship books. You can each include photos and mementos of the favorite times you shared and decide together how to design the books. Or you can make each other’s book, adding in-jokes and mementos throughout that your friend will cherish for the rest of their lives. Scrapbooking can be a sentimental activity, and it’s fun to share those memories with your best friends.
Have you ever tried inventing a signature cocktail? Think about the ingredients that best describe you, and try putting them together in a tasty adult drink!
For even more fun, make it a competition amongst friends. See who can create the tastiest cocktail, and vote on who created the drink that represents themselves best. To ensure everyone’s safety, make it a sleepover and host a movie night with your tasty new drinks!
Karaoke is one of my favorite things to do with friends. You’ve got a cozy bar, tasty drinks, and some terrible singing; how can you not love it?
If you’re afraid of your singing skills (which you shouldn’t be – no one is good at karaoke, that’s half the fun!), choose a song that everyone knows. My go-to is Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believing” because it’s guaranteed that pretty much everyone in the bar will know the song and start singing along. This masks my horrible singing voice and makes me a karaoke goddess!
Make a Vision Board
If you have a goal that you are making a vision board for, why not ask a friend to help you out? Our best friends know us best, and they can help us figure out the key things we are missing in our lives and our goals.
Grab your closest friends for a vision board brainstorming session. Help each other create life goals and dreams, and be each other’s motivation to follow through on the things you discussed. The best friendships are those that help each other accomplish their goals.
Take a Day Trip
Think about where you live, and then think about all the things within a 2-3 hour car ride from home. I’m guessing there’s a ton of stuff you can do within that radius. Pick something that you’ve always wanted to do, and make a trip out of it!
Grab your best pals and plan a semi-trip to someplace you wouldn’t normally go. Stop at a random small town for lunch. Explore the world a little bit beyond your home town.
If you have even more time, why not plan a weekend getaway? My best memories of living in California are all of the amazing weekend trips I took with my best friends. During my 10 years in the state, I hit all the best places in California just by taking random weekend trips with my best friends.
Wherever you live, I’m sure there are fabulous destinations close enough for a weekend trip. Arranging one or two trips per year will help you keep your friendships blooming and allow you to visit many places that you wouldn’t have gone to on your own.
Open Mic Night
Whether you choose to perform or not, open mic nights are always a good time. If you want to perform, it’s even better knowing that your friends are there cheering you on. If not, it’s just fun to watch folks develop their crafts and improv their ways into good sets.
I love the variety of performers you see at an open mic night. You may watch poets, comedians, songwriters, and various other amateur artists work up the courage to perform for an audience. Their bravery is inspiring, and it’s a great way to get your own creative juices flowing.
Hit the Festivals
Fairs and festivals are the best parts of summer. There is a fair for everyone – from Renaissance fairs for those who love history to craft beer festivals for those who enjoy brewing. Most small towns even have their own little carnival with small rides and great fair food for the locals.
Head to a fair with your group of friends to get the most out of the experience. Challenge each other to an epic ring toss battle, or ride the tilt-a-whirl together and try not to vomit. Eat fried everything and get a fresh-squeezed lemonade. Watch a local band perform at the fairgrounds for a free concert. Fairs and festivals really are the best of summer.
Try to Escape a Room
Want your friendship to grow through problem solving and teamwork? Then try an escape room. These rooms are filled with puzzles and clues that you need to solve within a short time frame to make your escape.
And they aren’t easy. I’ve done a ton of escape rooms and only actually got out within the time frame one time (though my team was only 30 seconds late a different time – I’m glad they let us finish!). But it doesn’t matter whether you win or lose. The fun part is working together and solving the clues. It’s a great time and a fabulous way to spend a day with friends.
Geocaching is a giant treasure hunt that millions of people participate in. Someone will hide the cache, or treasure, somewhere in public and add clues to the location on the geocache app. When someone finds it, they get to take the treasure (usually a small toy or a dollar) and replace it with something different. There’s also usually a small scroll that lists all the people who have found it.
Take your friends on a treasure hunt through your local area and dig up some old caches! Be sure to bring some fun little items to leave behind for others as well.
If you want to be even more adventurous, arrange a scavenger hunt for your friends. Those who are really hard-core can make their own using an app like Goose Chase, but you can also find ready-made scavenger hunts online.
Some cities have pre-built scavenger hunts that you can purchase online. I did one of these when I lived in LA. It took me through the city from landmark to landmark, and I had to answer questions about the place I found to move on. It was a great way to explore my adopted home in a new way. I saw neighborhoods and landmarks that I would never have even considered visiting just by doing a silly scavenger hunt.
Cheering for a team really gets the blood flowing. Catching a live game of your favorite team is a great way to bond with your friends. It’s even more fun when you like opposite teams; there’s nothing like a friendly rivalry to keep the crowd engaged!
Unfortunately, professional sporting events can get pricey. But guess what – minor league games are just as fun! Go show some support to your local minor league team. They will appreciate it far more than the professionals.
Girls (or Boys!) Trip
We’ve talked about weekend trips and day trips, but sometimes a full-fledged vacation with your best friends is just the ticket for extraordinary fun and lasting memories. I’ve taken several trips to Europe with my girls, and it’s always been a great time.
One advantage of traveling with a group like this is that you get to see and do things you would never have thought to do on your own. Trier would never have been on my list of cities to visit, and guess what? The best restaurant I’ve ever eaten at in my life is there. I also would never have thought to visit Laufen Castle or take a random detour through the Black Forest if I wasn’t traveling with friends. These are moments I will remember for the rest of my life.
Check out a Comedy Club
Laughter is the best medicine. So instead of going to the same old stale dive bar, why not mix things up and go to a comedy club instead?
I prefer going to the smaller clubs with amateur comedians. These entertainers are at the beginning of their careers and trying incredibly hard to make a name for themselves. Who knows, that performer you saw at amateur night may turn out to be the next Chris Rock!
Hit the Beach
If you live anywhere near the coast, you should definitely plan a beach day with your best buds. Laying out in the sun, watching the waves crash to shore, and relaxing in serenity is a perfect way to spend the day. If you get bored of that, you can always dip in for a swim or take a walk along the coast looking for fun seashells.
If you aren’t near a coast, you can still enjoy most of the fun that a beach offers. Many lakes have beaches that are just as enjoyable as the ocean ones. Find a lake near your area and see if they have any sandy beaches. You probably won’t be able to surf, but you will be able to enjoy everything else about beach life.
Thrift shops, flea markets, and garage sales are great places to shop for amazing deals. You never know what treasures you will find lurking in someone’s garage!
And who better to hunt treasures with than your best friends? You can even make a game out of it. See who can find the best item for under five dollars. Or make a competition to find the quirkiest object. You never know; you might need that wooden statue of a dog holding a teapot someday.
Check Out Old Bookstores
If you and your friends are voracious readers, plan a day around visiting local bookshops. Old, used bookstores often have incredible selections of books that you’d never find and a Barnes & Noble. You don’t know what you miss when you only shop at new bookstores.
There are used bookstores in nearly every city. Map out the ones that you want to go to, and spend a day bookshop hopping with your crew. Find some inspiring books to read and learn more about your friends’ literary tastes in one fantastic day!
Visit Historical Sites
Did you know that the first casualty of the civil war was from Schuylkill County, Pennsylvania? Or that there are hundreds of ancient Native American pueblos in Southwestern Utah and Southeastern Colorado?
My point is that history has happened everywhere. No matter where you live, there’s probably an interesting historical tidbit somewhere near you. So why not go with your friends to check it out? Learn about the history of your town and the surrounding areas. Take turns picking which sites to visit, and explore your area not just through distance but through time as well.
Prepare a Meal Together
Amongst a giant list of things to do with friends, preparing a meal together is one of the most wholesome. Cooking together is an intimate experience; it helps build bonds and solidify friendships in a way that other things don’t.
Cooking together is about working together to complete a goal and then sharing in the bounties of that accomplishment. It’s a fun, low-cost activity that any friend group can organize. We all have to eat, right?
Be a Kid Again
Remember the thrill of seeing how high you could swing or checking out the big new slide? That thrill doesn’t have to be gone just because you’re an adult.
Take a walk to the local playground, and monkey around on the equipment (Obviously let children play in peace first!), organize a game of tag or hide and go seek, and embrace your inner child. The fun doesn’t have to end when you grow up.
Find Out What is in Walking Distance
Whether you live in a small town or bustling city, there has to be something interesting within walking distance of your home. So grab your friends and head out on a walk. See what there is to see in your neighborhood.
You may be surprised to find a quaint little creek with a walking trail beside it or a local bakery tucked in with homes down the street. You may even find that there’s not much worthwhile within walking distance, but you still got to do some physical activity with good company, and that’s worthwhile, isn’t it?
Create Something Together
Whether it’s painting, woodworking, knitting, or anything else, getting together with your friends to make something unique is always a good time.
When I lived in Georgia, I’d regularly get together with a group of friends for a “craft night.” Usually, we’d just make jewelry with beads and lines we got at Michaels, but sometimes the girls would want to work on other things, like needlepoint or cross-stitching. We even made a day of it by shopping for supplies together.
Visit a Zoo or Aquarium
People watching is great and all, but have you tried animal watching? Your local zoo or aquarium will have tons of animals to watch in their natural environments. My favorites are the sea otters and polar bears because they always seem to be having a good time, but it’s fun to check out all the different animals.
Some folks don’t like zoos because animals shouldn’t be in captivity. Still, in my opinion, zoos do amazing work with conservation and education and are greatly needed to showcase the importance of taking care of our planet.
I didn’t think I’d enjoy botanical gardens -I mean, who wants to walk around looking at a bunch of plants? My friends convinced me to go to one, and I was hooked.
There are so many gorgeous plant species with a huge variety of colorful and aromatic flowers. Learn a little bit about the native species that populate our environment and how they work symbiotically with local pollinators. Take time to smell the flowers – it’s worth it.
If you don’t want to figure out what to do on your own, why not book a walking tour through your city? I’ve gone on walking tours in numerous cities that I visited, but you can get just as much fun out of one, right in your own backyard.
Perhaps the tour guide knows hidden gems about your city that you and your friends didn’t know about. Or they might have an interesting story about a local hotspot that isn’t widely known. Either way, taking a walking tour of your own backyard is a fun way to spend the day with your best friends.
If you loved the walking tour idea, you might want to take it a step further and book a food tour. Not only will you get to walk around your city, but you will also check out some small, local restaurants that you probably didn’t even know existed.
Who knows, maybe you and your friends will find a brand-new go-to brunch spot, or maybe you’ll remember why your favorite was your favorite all along. Either way, the path to discovery is part of the fun.
Have a Great Time with your Friends this Summer!
This epic list of things to do with friends is only the beginning. Hopefully, you will find some inspiration for awesome experiences and use it as a starting point to find even more ideas.
And if you have an activity that you do with your friends regularly that didn’t make the list – share it with us! We’re always going to be on the lookout for more fun things to try with our friends!
Melanie launched Partners in Fire in 2017 to document her quest for financial independence with a mix of finance, fun, and solving the world’s problems. She’s self educated in personal finance and passionate about fighting systematic problems that prevent others from achieving their own financial goals. She also loves travel, anthropology, gaming and her cats.