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Writer Ashley Goldsmith

Summer Events in the West

Posted by Ashley Goldsmith on May 16, 2017
a selection of assorted bottles of beer at the Portland International Beerfest, picture
Photo credit
Photo Courtesy of the Portland International Beer Festival
Photo caption
The Portland International Beerfest is a three-day event that features more than 200 beers from 16 different countries.

Summer is when the West blossoms with fun for everyone. We’ve gathered some of the best events for live music and food, along with a few great art exhibitions for those days when the sun is scorching hot and a day inside at the museum is the perfect activity.

Portland International Beerfest, Portland, Oregon: June 23–June 25

Portland’s three-day beer festival specializes in rare and hard-to-find beers from around the world. This year, attendees can find more than 200 beers from 16 different countries. Portland’s famous food trucks will be on hand to feed hungry beer drinkers between pints.  

Outlaw Field Summer Concert Series, Boise, Idaho: May–September

Outdoor concerts are always better than those at indoor venues, but when you mix in the foliage and beauty of a botanical garden, nothing else compares. The Idaho Botanical Garden’s summer concert series features artists such as Carlos Santana, John Mellencamp, and Diana Krall who will be serenading the crowd among the beautiful Boise foothills.  

Baconland, San Jose, California: May 28

For some bacon lovers, the idea of Baconland sounds like a dream in which everything is made of crispy strips of porky goodness. While the Baconland event at History Park in San Jose may not be a full-fledged dreamworld, it comes pretty close. The day-long event hosts more than 25 food trucks offering bacony dishes from waffles to cheesesteaks to tacos, and craft beers that pair perfectly with everyone’s favorite breakfast side. Between bacon bites, attendees can dance to live music, play games, and watch lucha libre wrestlers. 

Dusty Mickel, Untitled, 2000, picture
Photo credit
Collection of Nevada Museum of Art, Center for Art + Environment Archive Collections, gift of Dusty Mikel
Photo caption
Dusty Mickel's untitled work (2000) is one of the many personal pieces on display during the behind-the-scenes Burning Man exhibition, City of Dust.

City of Dust: The Evolution of Burning Man, Reno, Nevada: July 1–January 2018

Have you ever wondered what it’s like behind the scenes of the West Coast’s annual community gathering in the middle of the desert? Burning Man’s founders will be revealing just that in this exhibit at the Nevada Museum of Art, by sharing their personal collections of historical materials from the nearly 30 years that the event has been held. Visitors will find photographs, sketches, and journals. There will also be an interpretive video of the event, so that visitors can feel what it’s like to be at Burning Man without spending a week among 70,000 people in a makeshift city. 

Friday Nights at the de Young Museum, San Francisco, California: June 2–August 18 

There’s something magical about visiting a museum at night, and the de Young Museum knows how to entice visitors with after-hours activities like live music, film screenings, and poetry readings. Fridays during the summer, the museum will be open for an additional three hours until 8:30 p.m. Events will include several nods to the city’s Summer of Love celebration including a screening of a documentary about the Haight-Ashbury neighborhood and a conversation with a rock poster artist. 

Andy Warhol, African Elephant, 1983, picture
Photo credit
©The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc./Artists Rights Society (ARS) New York/Ronald Feldman Fine Arts, New York.
Photo caption
Andy Warhol (American, 1928–1987), African Elephant, 1983. Screenprint. 38 x 38 inches. Gift of the 2006 Collectors Circle and an Anonymous Donor and the NMWA Acquisitions Fund, National Museum of Wildlife Art.

Andy Warhol: Endangered Species, Jackson Hole, Wyoming: May 17–November 5

Most people know Andy Warhol for his role as one of the greatest pop art artists of our time, but few know about his passion for nature. Inspired by his beachfront home in New York and the undeveloped land he owned in Colorado, Warhol created his signature brightly colored silkscreen prints of endangered species in 1983. The complete portfolio of these 10 prints on display at the National Museum of Wildlife Art explores his love of animals and nature through his unique lens. 

L.A. Food Fest, Los Angeles, California: June 10

The organizers of L.A.’s annual Food Fest encourage attendees to “dust off their stretchy pants,” because it’s going to be a day of gluttony. More than 100 vendors from restaurants and food trucks across the country will be cooking up some of their signature bites for hungry Angelenos. Break up the feasting with a stop at the craft beer garden or iced coffee lounge, and then end the evening with a scoop or two at the ice cream social. 

Symphony in the Park, Billings, Montana: June 25

Bring a blanket or lawn chair, and grab a seat under the Montana sky for a free evening of live music in Pioneer Park. The Billings Symphony Orchestra and Chorale invite area residents and visitors alike to enjoy local guest artists such as the Billings Community Band and soloist Amy Logan. Grab a bite from one of the many food stalls available and have a picnic under the stars while music plays all evening.