10 things to do with friends and on your own this summer

10 things to do with friends and on your own this summer
(Ross May / Los Angeles Times; Getty Images)

By this point, everyone’s sick of staying home. Here are 10 ideas for getting out of the house and seeing friends while maintaining safe social-distancing practices.

1. Walk and talk

As long as you maintain social-distancing protocols, you can go on a walk with a friend. You have to keep your faces covered and keep at least six feet between the two of you until restrictions are eased. Experts believe outdoor activities are safer than indoor ones. The fresh, open air and ample space provide good ventilation, lowering your chances of catching or spreading the virus.

2. Lawn-chair chat



If you’d rather sit down, at least do it outside. Invite people over for a chat on your front lawn or in the backyard (provided guests can get to the rear of your house without lingering indoors). Your friends can bring their own lawn chairs or you can sanitize the ones you have before their arrival. Space the chairs at least six feet apart (although 10 feet or 15 feet would be better) and make sure everyone keeps their faces covered.

3. Trips to a farmers market

Farmers markets are allowed to be open, and they’re a great place to get fresh air, support local businesses and farms, and see people other than the ones you’ve been confined with for two-plus months. Los Angeles keeps a running list of farmers markets that are open and their hours and locations. As always, cover your face and keep your distance.

Pacific Beach Garnet Avenue farmers market
A stand at Pacific Beach’s Garnet Avenue farmers market, which returned May 19 after being closed because of coronavirus restrictions.
(Milan Kovacevic)

4. Have a picnic

Picnics at Cinespia at Hollywood Forever Cemetery and the Hollywood Bowl are out this year. However, as parks reopen, a socially distanced picnic could be a great option for outdoor socializing. (Or have one in your yard or a friend’s.) Bring your own food, blankets and face coverings and picnic six feet apart. If you’re uncovering your face to eat, avoid talking while your mouth is full — at least until your mask is back in place.


5. Take a hike (or bike)

Parks and trails around Southern California are opening again. Time to take in sunshine with a hike or a long bike ride. Just like with a walk or a picnic, you and your friends have to follow the rules to keep yourselves safe. However, having to deal with a mask is a small price to pay to take in a slice of California summertime sun.

Still sitting at home? Try these outdoors things to do that are safe and fun

6. Backyard stargazing

Trying to avoid getting scorched by daylight? Absorb the glory of the cosmos from your backyard. Taking in the bigger picture might help you keep everything happening in the world in perspective. Here’s how to get your personal astronomy journey started. Also, while your regular smartphone camera probably won’t cut it for astral photography, we have an online guide to taking great photos of the night sky with just about any
digital single-lens reflex camera.

7. See a superbloom

Botanic gardens are reopening, albeit with the usual social-distancing caveats. Late spring means superblooms, and we’re in no short supply of those this year, including an unprecedented crop of roses. Reserve your ticket and time slot online. Also anticipate limited or closed bathrooms and reduced crowd capacity.

Los Angeles County Arboretum and Botanic Gardens
Pedestrians practice social distancing while enjoying morning exercise on the paved roads of the Los Angeles County Arboretum & Botanic Gardens.
(Gabriella Angotti-Jones / Los Angeles Times)

8. Shop at local businesses and do pickups


Want to get out of the house and see other people but only briefly? Do it while supporting local retailers by planning a pickup shopping day. Plenty of stores are open in the L.A. market now, including bookstores, clothing shops, toy stores and florists. Not sure where to start? Poke around online at Platform, the shopping center in Culver City, or check out the offerings at South Coast Plaza in Costa Mesa or the Beverly Center in Los Angeles.

9. Pick up new plants

Nurseries and plant stores are also open. 2020 is the year for a victory garden, and it’s not too late to get yours going. These local nurseries offer curbside plant pickup. Not sure what’s in stock? Most gardening retailers maintain robust Instagram presences. Or pick up the phone and call.

10. Barbecue, fire pit, pool party

Outdoor social gatherings such as barbecues and meeting around a fire pit have the same open-air benefits of walking and hiking. If you’ve got a pool, you’ll be able to use it. Chlorine kills the virus although you still have to be aware of the risk from shared surfaces such as the pool ladder. Also don’t get too close to any uncovered faces. Therefore, skip that game of Marco Polo for now.