Wild summer nights

’Tis the season to play and party ’til the sun comes up … and never don a jacket

There’s something exquisite about Sacramento summer nights. But like any ethereal pleasure, it’s tough to define exactly why they so thrill the senses.

Maybe it’s their warmth, and the fact that you can comfortably walk around nearly naked at midnight, something you can’t do in other seasons or locales. Or maybe it’s their coolness, a nocturnal respite from the wilting summer sun that makes you actually want to roam your neighborhood at midnight, an activity unthinkable at noon.

Summer is a time of year when we spend our nights celebrating, sometimes celebrating the mere facts that it’s summer and it’s night. It’s a time to be outdoors, cooking meals away from our stifling kitchens, attending concerts or Shakespeare in the Park, gazing at people or stars or a drive-in movie (sadly, maybe for the very last time this summer, as you’ll soon learn).

For many Sacramento area residents, especially the young, summer is a time free of many of the responsibilities that plague us the rest of the year, a time when we find creative and sometimes serendipitous ways of filling our time and creating memories. Even for those of us whose duties change little with summer’s arrival, those memories can still infuse our summer nights with a sense of excitement and possibility.

And so it was, with all these thoughts and facets circulating through our heads, that we came up with a list of stories for this year’s Summer Guide that creates a mosaic of what summer nights mean to Sacramento and Sacramentans.

So kick back, drink up, enjoy the read and we’ll see you around town.

Nightlife - Search for the perfect margarita

Entertainment - Drive-ins divulged!

Recreation - Venus in the sky with diamonds

Food&Drink - Beyond barbecue

Teens - Kids just wanna have fun

Environment - Surviving the summer swelter

Arts - Theater moves outdoors

Home Party - Zen and the art of the house party

Calendar - Less filling, tastes great