A cheapskate’s guide to summer

Summer is a time for students to explore their city, and it doesn’t have to be expensive.

by Courtney Johnson

Summer is so close, and I am anxiously anticipating the warm summer night air and the soft summer breezes blowing through my hair. My favorite time of the year is summer because it is a time for making memories, taking extra time to work on an extra project or an internship and relaxing after a busy school year. It is also a time for exploring new places with friends. But if you’re like me, then there isn’t quite enough extra cash to go around for paying for these tiny details of hitting up the town. That is why I bring to you all sorts of fun and inviting activities to do in the Twin Cities this summer at college-student-approved prices.

Let’s say you’ve just paid rent for the month of June, and you’re feeling really broke. You had to turn the air conditioner on, so there goes another 20 bucks, and you have to eat right? Well, there goes the rest of your money on groceries. If you’re able to scrounge up just enough extra cash for gas or bus fare, then how about heading over to Lake Calhoun and the entire chain of lakes for some free activities.

The Calhoun area has some wonderful amenities to offer. The Minneapolis Park System features about 50 miles of trails that people can walk, bike and rollerblade on. Not only that, but if you’re feeling like getting a group of friends to head over to this beautiful nook of Minneapolis, you can hang out around the lake, play some volleyball or toss a Frisbee around for a bit, and then head over to Uptown for some of my personal favorite kind of nighttime fun.

Getting involved in the Minneapolis nightlife is not unusual for students. But if you’re interested in doing something a little different, then the Vali-Hi Drive-In movie theater is a great way to do just that. Vali-Hi Drive-In theater is in Lake Elmo, and despite its distance from the University, it is well worth it. City Pages called it as the Best Drive-In Movie Theatre in 2009. It is something different and completely out of the ordinary. Best of all is that three movies play each night regardless of the weather.

If you’re in the mood for something a little more cultured and less recreational this summer, then I suggest you head over to one of several art museums — heck, go to all of them. For starters, the outdoor Sculpture Garden exhibit of the Walker Art Center is my favorite place to go and goof off with friends. Most people that I know have been there, but there is always that one friend who hasn’t. I suggest you take them — or have your friends who have already been take you — to see the iconic Minneapolis spoon and cherry sculpture and a breathtaking view of the Minneapolis skyline.

If that seems like a bore to you, or if it’s raining, you can make an afternoon out of it and head over to the Minneapolis Institute of Arts. One thing that I love about the institute is that not only is it free, but they have a wide variety of collections and things to do once you’re there. If you’re into craft brews — or are somewhat interested in the brewing process of Minnesota craft beers — then on May 17th, as a part of their “Third Thursday” events program, the institute will be hosting an event featuring Minnesota’s own craft brews. If you’re into that, then the Institute holds events similar to this every third Thursday of the month throughout the entire summer. And yes, these delicious refreshments such as Summit and Northern Brewer will be for sale at the event.

Doing something fun in the summer in Minneapolis does not have to be expensive. Strolling around Lake Calhoun or Lake Harriet this summer with good company and an ice cream cone, going to a drive-in movie or drinking beer in an art museum can be only a few of the ways that you can shake it up this summer and do something inexpensively fun. I guarantee that exciting memories will be made.