12 Unconventional Ways To Spend Summer Fridays

If you're lucky enough to have them, Summer Fridays are a godsend. What better way to boost morale and keep your stride strong to finish out the workweek than getting to clock out early and kickstart the weekend? Those glorious half-days that await the end of every workweek between Memorial Day and Labor Day are full of promise and unabated hope. If you're one of the Chosen Ones enjoying this magnificent work perk, make sure you make the most of your summer Fridays with these unconventional ideas.

There are some tried-and-true go-tos when it comes to spending those additional out of office hours. Hydrating with happy hour specials at rooftop bars is a prevalent Summer Friday pastime, as is hopping town early to get a head start on the weekend. Another common Summer Friday pursuit (about which we are collectively less enthused) is catching up on errands that were put on the back burner during the workweek. Activities topping the list typically involve a well-deserved beverage of some sort, and when in doubt, there's always the beach. There's nothing wrong with these time-tested diversions, they're popular for a reason. But if you're looking for something a bit more inspired, try one of these less common ideas.

In addition to checking things off your summer bucket list and finally getting to all those thing you said you'd do, Summer Fridays can be a terrific opportunity to break outside your comfort zone and try something completely new. Roll up your sleeves and ready yourself to get a little messy, using your extra hours to their full potential and starting the weekend off right.

1. Grab Art Supplies And Get Crafty

As soon as you break from work in the early afternoon, get your hands on some art supplies and get going on your next masterpiece. Head to a scenic lookout equipped with tools to sketch or watercolor, or throw down some newspaper and get your hands dirty at home. Summer craft projects are a healthy break from the demands of an office job and an excellent way to encourage creative thinking. The best part is you can have a blast solo or get crafty with a friend. However you decide to express yourself, the possibilities are endless. You can even read up for some inspiration if you need a little help getting those creative juices flowing.

2. Give Your Apartment A Makeover

Now that you've spring cleaned, take time for a summer restyle. Use one of your free afternoons to revamp your apartment. Take on the project room by room, or focus on one that's the most important, like your bedroom. A makeover of your living space doesn't require spending a dime on new purchases. You can start by rearranging furniture and following hacks for staying more organized. If you need a little inspiration, browse catalogs from your favorite home decor stores or check out inspiring furniture DIYs and apartment makeover ideas. Even simple changes can refresh the space and have a big impact. Play around and have fun with it.

3. Check Out A Community Calendar For Free Events

Having more hours to kill on a Friday doesn't mean you have to increase your spending. Find fun and free ways to pass the time by checking out a community calendar for events in your area. You'll be surprised just how much is offered in your city during summer that doesn't cost a thing. Round up your friends to enjoy free festivals and concerts, museum events, and outdoor movie nights.

4. Take A Train Out Of Town

Getting out of town is a pretty standard way to spend a Summer Friday, but up the adventure factor by hopping onboard a train bound for a new destination. Forgo your usual day trip or weekend go-to and opt instead to explore uncharted territory (at least by your standards) and bring a companion to double the fun. Escape the city life by unwinding in a nearby small town, seeing what cuisine, attractions, and watering holes it has to offer (no designated driver needed). Book an Airbnb or quaint bed and breakfast to make a weekend of it, or hop back on a homeward bound train at the end of a satisfying afternoon.

5. Write Letters And Postcards To Friends And Loved Ones

Some things are worth doing the old-fashioned way, and when it comes to communicating, nothing beats classic snail mail if you're reaching out with a heartfelt message. You've always been meaning to keep in touch more with friends and family who don't live near, so take a half day to commit in writing. Take out your cutest stationery and pen sweet notes to those you've fallen out of touch with. You'll brighten their day in a way a simple text never could.

6. Explore A New Neighborhood

Keep things local but still exciting by exploring a neighborhood with which you're less acquainted. Do your research ahead of time to plan out all the things you have to try, like its best eats, boutiques, and coffee shops.

7. Take A Class

You're never too old to learn something new, so up your self-improvement game by signing up for a class. A quick browse on Groupon or Living Social makes it clear that the options are endless (there's even such a thing as a slipper-making class), so find a great deal on something you've always wanted to try and bite the bullet. Spend your next Summer Friday learning how to correctly bust a move in ballroom lessons or brushing up on your photography skills. Have a laugh in an improv class or find your inner artist in a (BYOB) painting workshop.

8. Volunteer

There are many reasons why you should volunteer. Not only is it a great way to put your free Friday hours to productive use, but you'll be giving back while also bringing positivity into your life. Practicing altruism will have a direct impact on your attitude and improve your health. Explore the many ways to volunteer and get involved with a cause you're passionate about. Become a mentor at a local school, lend a helping hand maintaining one of your city's parks, or sign up to help out at an animal rescue or shelter.

9. Snap Photos Of Art In Your City

Spend an afternoon taking in your city's art without ever having to step foot inside a museum. Soak up the sun while strolling through the streets in search of stunning murals and outdoor art installations. Map out your route to make sure you hit all the good stuff but also keep an eye out for hidden wonders and gems.

10. Attend A Book Reading

Beat the heat indoors and venture to a local bookstore to attend a book reading. It's a great opportunity to discover new authors and also meet fellow book lovers.

11. Hit Up A Farmers' Market And Pick Up Fresh Ingredients For Dinner

Skip the grocery store and take a stroll through a farmers' market. People watch and sample locally grown selections. Now that you have extra time to prepare dinner, pick up some fresh ingredients and try your hand at farmers' market recipes, or stock up your kitchen for Saturday brunch.

12. Start Or Join An Activity Club

Summer Fridays are a great way to meet new people, and the methods for doing so go beyond rooftop happy hour. Join an activity club that interests you, and make the most of your added hours with others who are doing the same. If you want to keep things between friends, start your own "activity club." The are no rules. The activities can be anything you want, from the prototypal book club to reenacting your favorite parties from the '90s (with venues like the rolling rink or bowling alley), and you can switch it up for something fresh each and every time.

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