July kicks in (literally) with a bang, giving way to a month that calls for operating at a slower pace, rediscovering the great outdoors and setting off on adventures near and far. In between all of the BBQs, beach reading lists and poolside parties, take time to explore summer in the city. You just might find yourself cheering on a cool coupe at the only vintage car race run on city streets, seeing a world premiere eco-opera inspired by Rachel Carson, or stomping along with a punk rock brass band at a quirky neighborhood festival. This July, the city is your playground.

A-41 Brian Joseph, "Something Special", (1986 Lauterbach 2.5 Mod class hydroplane)

Courtesy of the EQT Three Rivers Regatta.

1. Three Rivers Regatta & Fireworks at Point State Park: July 3 -5

Three days packed with music, fireworks and fun in the sun on the city’s iconic waterways, the EQT Three River Regatta reigns as a quintessentially Pittsburgh way to spend Fourth of July. The largest inland regatta in the U.S., the aquatic happening has something for everyone—from high-speed feats on the water to tranquil crafts in the sand. Events and activities take place on both the river and city sides of Point State Park from noon to 10 p.m.

Photo courtesy of Peony Entertainment.

Photo courtesy of Peony Entertainment.

Seeking thrills? Watch in awe as synchronized freestylers do flips, jumps and rolls during Jet Ski Stunt Shows, cheer on drivers competing in the tricky Formula One Power Boat Race Finals and be dazzled by the gravity-defying Monster Energy BMX Team. Take a ride on the 90-foot-tall Gondola Ferris Wheel, which boats 12 LED light patterns and 16 passenger carriages. Sure to steal the show will be the agile and adorable Muttley Crew Flying Dogs frisbee team.

Looking for low-key fun? Check out beautiful wooden hydroplanes at the Vintage Power Boat Exhibit, watch as 150 tons of sand are transformed into towering art, try paddling a Dragon Boat and enter your own contraption in the Anything That Floats Race. Musical entertainment on the Regatta’s five stages includes award-winning country artist Brett Eldredge, the U.S. Air Force Heritage of America Band, Grammy nominated singer-songwriter Chris Young, The Hobbs Sisters and more. The EQT Flashes of Freedom Fireworks, produced by Pyrotecnico, will light up the skies starting at 9:36 p.m. on July 4th.

D-Fuse, Pattern and Noise. Photo courtesy of the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust.

D-Fuse, Pattern and Noise. Photo courtesy of Pittsburgh Cultural Trust.

2. Gallery Crawl in the Cultural District: July 10

Take advantage of the extra daylight to crawl your way through art downtown. More than 25 venues large and small will swing open their doors for the summer installment of the Gallery Crawl in the Cultural District. The quarterly showcase features a rotating lineup of thought-provoking world-class works by local, national and international artists, accompanied by a music, dance and film, hands-on activities and special events. Did we mention it’s all free?

Photo courtesy of Space Gallery.

Photo courtesy of Space Gallery.

What’s new downtown? At Wood St. Galleries, see Pattern and Noise, the first solo U.S. exhibition and audio visual performance by London-based art collective D-Fuse. At nearby SPACE, see how 12 artists created large paintings directly on the gallery walls. The opening will feature a live art happening, music by DJ Dave Zak Party Time and Randy Gilson’s window installation, Thinkerers, featuring 200 colorful faces hand-painted on reclaimed tiles.

Explore ancient Africa, pop culture and hip hop at Grits Capone’s Deeper than Rap exhibit at 717 Liberty Ave., and walk through an outdoor pop art exhibit in Triangle Park. Head to Katz Plaza for live music by Lindsey Smith, Soul Distribution and DJ SMI. Shop al fresco from 5:30 to 11 p.m. at the Night Market teeming with independent artists, gift vendors and food purveyors. Extend your stay downtown at special CrawlAfterDark events taking place at participating venues. View a complete Gallery Crawl schedule.

Photo courtesy of the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust.

Photo courtesy of the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust.

3. Cosmopolitan Pittsburgh at the African American Cultural Center: July 10

Be transported to the Big Top for a night of thrills, chills and spectacle at Cosmopolitan Pittsburgh. The Pittsburgh Cultural Trust’s signature fundraiser will transform downtown’s African American Cultural Center into an indulgent summer soirée dubbed “Circus After Dark.”

The VIP portion kicks off at 7 p.m. with mouthwatering fare catered by top Pittsburgh chefs, including David Bulman (Creative Culinary), Jason Dalling (Habitat), Curtis Gamble (Station), Clare Lise (Bill’s Bar & Burger) and Derek Stevens (Eleven). VIPers will also be treated to exclusive performances by the Hills and the Rivers, Miracle Elixir Sideshow, drag performer Marti G. Cummings and pianist Alec Chapman.