June kicks off the summer season, and the weather combined with the holidays that happen make it a popular month for travel. Schools let out for the break, and many people take time to travel and enjoy the nice weather. Here are the festivals and events that happen each June in the USA.
June 21: Summer Solstice. The solstice marks the official first day of summer, and, in the northern hemisphere, the longest day of the year.
After the 21st, days get incrementally shorter until the winter solstice on December 21st when nights are at there longest. Then, the cycle starts all over again.
People have recognized and celebrated the day since the time of the ancient Greeks. The solstice was the beginning of the Greek calendar year, and they rung it in with days-long festivals. Today, places across the U.S. celebrate with parades, parties and music. New York City take a different approach and hosts an annual “Mind over Madness” yoga day with free classes in Times Square happening from sunrise to sunset. On the west coast, Santa Barbra celebrates with a three-day festival. Each year has a different theme, and people come out to dance listen to music, and view public art installations put up especially for the event.
Early- to Mid-June: Chicago Blues Festival. A chance to see the Blues in the city that made it popular, the Chicago Blues Festival is a free musical event each June that features local as well as internationally-known jazz, blues, and rock artists.
It takes place in the outdoor Grant Park over the course of three days, and is spread out on multiple stages throughout the park. The largest free blue festival in the world, it draws big names like Fred Wesley and Shemekia Copeland. Not surprisingly, the event attracts a lot of people, so prepare for long lines and crowds.
June 14: Flag Day. Although not a federal holiday, Flag Day celebrates the day George Washington and the rest of the Founding Fathers made a resolution that officially designated the stars and stripes we know today as the American flag. It was officially declared a day of recognition by former President Woodrow Wilson in 1916. People are encouraged to hang the flag outside of their homes, and many businesses put flags out in celebration. Learn more about the Flag Day holiday from About's Guide to the U.S. Military.
Third Sunday in June: Father's Day. Father’s Day is a day to celebrate dads and parenting. It became an official holiday in 1972, and is usually spent with card-giving, family brunches, and family outings to wherever dad wants to go.
Late June/Early July: New York Restaurant Week. A good reason many tourists flock to New York is for the world-class dining. Twice a year, for two weeks from January to February and two weeks from June to July, food lovers have the chance to dine at some of the best restaurants in the city for a bargain prix fixe price.
Restaurants across Manhattan and Brooklyn participate, so you'll have plenty of choices in ambience and cuisine to choose from. Make sure to reserve a table early; New Yorkers and visitors alike love the chance to try out new cuisine for a bargain, and tables tend to book up fast. If you're a foodie, planning your New York City trip around Restaurant Week is a no-brainer. Learn more about New York Restaurant Week from About's Guide to New York City Travel. See also July in the USA.