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When the temperatures rise, so do the number of events beckoning for your attention. We scoured the U.S.—make that the globe—for some of the hottest things to do this summer, and plan a trip around.

RELATED: Which All-American summer vacation should you take?

Free Shakespeare in the Park: New York, NY (May 23–August 13)
Nothing says “summer in New York” like an al fresco performance of the Bard’s work in Central Park. A-list actors like James Earl Jones, Meryl Streep and Anne Hathaway have been part of this beloved tradition of the Public Theater, so it’s probably worth your time. This year’s schedule includes Julius Caesar and, aptly, A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Take that, Hamilton.

Tampa Theatre | Credit Dalia Colón

Summer Classics Movie Series: Tampa, FL (April 4–September 8)
If you can’t stand the heat, then escape to Tampa Theater. The 1920’s-era movie palace was one of the city’s first air-conditioned buildings, and remains a popular refuge from the Florida sun. This summer’s throwback flicks include Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure, The Princess Bride and more. Arrive early for a pre-show concert on the original Mighty Wurlitzer Theatre Organ.

Parade the Circle | Flickr photo credit: Erik Drost

Parade the Circle: Cleveland, OH (June 10)
The city once dubbed the Mistake on the Lake deserves major props for a turnaround, and not just because of LeBron James. Cleveland’s arts scene is thriving, and one of its crown jewels is this annual spectacular at University Circle. Motorless floats, dancers, stilt walkers and musicians strut their stuff in a showcase that’s way more impressive than whatever you were just watching your smartphone.

Genius Loci Fest: Baja, Mexico (June 22–26)
Slow things down at this retreat-like festival whose tenets are yoga, surfing, music and… wait for it… love. The event takes place on remote Punta Cabras beach, so bring your camping and snorkel gear, but leave the illegal paraphernalia at home. It’s not that kind of party.

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Montreal International Jazz Festival: Montreal, Canada (June 28–July 8)
“Jazz” may be a bit of a misnomer, because while this musical extravaganza is rooted in the genre, today it satisfies musical tastes of every variety. This summer’s galaxy of star performers includes jazz songbird Norah Jones, singer-turned-Nobel-Prize-winner Bob Dylan, blues guitarist Buddy Guy, Flamenco stars the Gypsy Kings and dozens more. Downtown Montreal’s outdoor cultural hub, the Quartier des spectacles, sets the backdrop for summer to remember.

Wawa Welcome America: Philadelphia, PA (June 29–July 4)
At least once in your life, you should celebrate Independence Day in America’s birthplace. Benjamin Franklin Parkway sets the scene for concerts from Kidz Bop to hometown hero and Hamilton star Leslie Odom, Jr., to the Philly Pops Orchestra. There will also be children’s activities, cultural performances and lots of food. On July 4, stay for fireworks over the Philadelphia Museum of Art and party like it’s 1776.

National Cherry Festival: Traverse City, MI (July 1–8)
Eat, drink and be cherry at this annual Great Lakes State gathering that celebrates the tart red fruit. The pageantry includes carnival rides, three parades, concerts and of course the crowning of the National Cherry Queen. And the food? Cherry everything.

Knysna Oyster Festival: Western Cape, South Africa (July 7–16)
If you like oysters—and gorgeous mountains and coastline—you’ll find this far flung festival worth the trek. Seafood is just the beginning of this South African shindig dedicated to food, culture and sports. Sure, you’ll find oysters every which way from local fisheries, restaurants, bars and hotels. Then there are the physical and mental challenges, including a marathon, obstacle course, chess tournament and more.

Splendour in the Grass: North Byron Parklands, Australia (July 21–23)
The spelling of “splendour” is a tip-off that this summer festival isn’t in the States. In fact, technically it’s not even a summer music festival, since July is the dead of winter Down Under. So take a break from the heat and head to this music fest where tens of thousands of fans from across the globe descend to catch A-list performers, hear still-under-the-radar acts and dance their cares away in the festival’s iconic Tipi Forest.

Cheyenne Frontier Days | Flickr photo credit Larry Jacobsen

Cheyenne Frontier Days: Cheyenne, Wyoming (July 21–30)
Pack your boots and spurs for a trip back in time. This annual event pays homage to the Old West with a mock frontier town that includes artisans, re-enactments and even a chuckwagon cook-off. Leave plenty of time to visit the festival’s Indian Village, which features Native American storytelling, music, dance and a nightly powwow. Then fast-forward to the present to enjoy a parade, art show, carnival midway and more.

Fuji Rock Festival: Niigata Prefecture, Japan (July 28-30)
Wonder why your favorite musicians haven’t made it to your town yet? They’re probably too busy at this music festival that draws some of entertainment’s biggest names to a Japanese ski resort. This year’s lineup includes Lorde, Major Lazer, Gorillaz, The xx, Björk, Train, Trombone Shorty and other big names that’ll have you asking, “Why didn’t I know about this sooner?”

Edinburgh Festival Fringe | Photo credit Laura Suarez/Flickr Creative Commons

Edinburgh Festival Fringe: Edinburgh, Scotland (August 4–28)
Pick an art form, any art form. There’s a good chance you’ll find it in Scotland’s capital during this annual celebration of creativity. Thousands of performers showcase theater, dance, circus arts, spoken word, comedy and just about anything else that can fit onto the event’s hundreds of citywide stages.

Iowa State Fair: Des Moines, Iowa (August 10–20)
Corndog on a stick? That’s for amateurs. This all-American event takes fair food to the next level with “on-a-stick” creations like Caprese salad, loaded taters and chocolate-covered chunky bacon maple nougat. You can’t make this stuff up. Had enough? Ride the rides or take in a concert on the grandstand. This year’s headliners include country trio Alabama, a capella phenoms the Pentatonix and an “I Love the ‘90s” throwback featuring Vanilla Ice, Salt-n-Pepa and more.

Austin Ice Cream Festival: Austin, TX (August 12)
Do we even need to make the case for why this is an awesome idea? A hot Texas summer is all the excuse you’ll need to dive into a cold treat. This dog-friendly gathering brings together some of the city’s best purveyors of ice cream, fruit pops and even dairy-free goodies into the city’s Fiesta Gardens. To sweeten the deal, there are also themed contests: ice cream eating, Popsicle stick sculpture and homemade ice cream.

U.S. Sand Sculpting Challenge | Flickr photo: Port of San Diego

U.S. Sand Sculpting Challenge: San Diego, CA (September 1–4)
Squeeze out the last few drops of summer during this Labor Day Weekend extravaganza at the B Street Pier. Sand sculptors come from all over the world to showcase their 3-dimensional art, crafting a combined 300 tons of sand into ephemeral masterpieces. Rounding out the festivities are a traditional art show, a steady stream of live bands, kids’ activities and more than a dozen food trucks from across SAND-iego.

Labor Day Liftoff: Colorado Springs, Colorado (September 2–4)
Send summer off in style during this festival that begins each morning with dozens of hot air balloons ascending over the Rockies. The fun continues with skydiving demos, watersport competitions, live entertainment, beer gardens and more. On Saturday and Sunday, stick around for the balloon glow, as the so-called gentle giants light up the sky at sunset.

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Tagged: Africa, Asia, Austin, California, Colorado, Feature, Japan, Mexico, New York, Philadelphia, Texas, Top 10 Lists

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Dalia Colon

Dalia Colon

Dalia is a multimedia journalist in Tampa and the Smart Travel Insider for VISIT FLORIDA. Follow her on Twitter @daliacolon.

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