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From food trucks to Close Encounters, five reasons to leave your house this summer

Get Out

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Gears Lookin' at You, Kid

One of the great things about Nashville's greenways, aside from their very existence, is the fact that you can borrow a bike to ride on them — for free. Nashville GreenBikes get you rolling on 46 miles of greenway and 133 miles of on-road bike lanes; information and checkout locations are available at nashvillebikeshare.org. If you still haven't pedaled to your place of employment yet during this soon-to-be-over Bike to Work Week, you've still got a chance to participate: Friday, May 18, bikers of all stripes and tie widths will meet on the Public Square at 8 a.m. — strength and safety in numbers are important for cyclists — where mayor Karl Dean will speak and, with any luck, not make anyone late for work. The annual Tour de Nash hits the city on Saturday (see Critics' Picks on p. 37), and Nashville Bike Month continues through the end of the month with a slew of events still in the offing — including Bike to Worship Weekend, a bike tour of the Stones River battlefield, open hours at the Oasis Bike Workshop and the month's closing event, the New Belgium Tour de Fat, on Saturday, June 2, at Centennial Park. Check out walkbikenashville.org/bikemonth to find events or to add your own. SH

Tune Yards

It's less than a month before the two biggest music events of the year hit Middle Tennessee — Bonnaroo and CMA Fest, in alphabetical order — but there's plenty of fanfare for the common folks around these parts if you like your summer jams served up under a blazing sun (or a full moon). Musicians Corner transforms a small quadrant of Centennial Park into a microcosm of Music City — think of it as off-off-Lower-Broadway. This Saturday's slate includes The McCrary Sisters, Umbrella Tree, Kristen Wright and more, with Jim Lauderdale, Chuck Mead, Megan McCormick, Sarah Siskind, Andy Davis, Heypenny and a host of others booked for coming weeks; complete schedule at musicianscornernashville.com. The Full Moon Pickin' Parties at Warner Park celebrate the fullness of the moon, the shine thereof, and good old-fashioned string music. The next installment is June 1; see friendsofwarnerparks.com/pickingparty.html for more information. A more urban pairing of bluegrass and moonshine — both the celestial and bottled varieties — comes to Broadway and Second Avenue starting in June, courtesy of the new Full Moon Bluegrass Festival. Keep your eye on bootleggersnashville.com/fullmoonfestival for bands and updates. Resident singer-supermodel Karen Elson kicked off this year's Supper + Song series in the backyard of 12South denim den Imogene + Willie, and the festivities continue this month; check imogeneandwillie.com for performers. SH

Food al fresco

With summer also comes the zenith of the growing season, and with Tennessee farmers supplying their bounty to CSAs, farmers' markets and, in some cases, directly to restaurants, there's no better time to eat the freshest, most delicious local foods. Grab some sandwiches from Sloco or some popsicles from Las Paletas, and slip across 12th Avenue South to Sevier Park for a picnic. Pick up some tamales and empanadas from Karla's and enjoy the West Nashville Farmers' Market in Richland Park. This weekend, lose yourself among the many food trucks at Wanderland Urban Food Park's movable feast, which continues at Elmington Park on West End, every weekend through June. Come July, you can sample the fire bird that put Nashville on the culinary map at the Hot Chicken Festival. Between and beyond, there's plenty of breezy seating waiting at your favorite restaurants — from the sail-shaped deck at Pomodoro East to the courtyard at Suzy Wong's House of Yum, there's plenty of reason to dine out. SH

Drink Up, Drink Out

As anyone who's ever toted a beer around a backyard barbecue will tell you, there's just something about drinking outside with a chaser of summer air. Luckily, Nashville offers up a wide variety of open-air venues for exterior imbibing. Care for the rush of traffic clamoring past? Try the kitschy miniature Astroturf lawn out in front of cocktail cavern Bar No. 308. Prefer a more elevated experience? Climb up to the Virago rooftop. Everything from the sprawling outdoor garden at The Pharmacy to the beer and wine zone at the aforementioned Musicians Corner awaits the plein-air sipper. There probably isn't a more proven formula, though, than beer and baseball, and Greer Stadium is home to a summer's worth of both. While the Sounds may not be off to their best start in recent memory (and Thirsty Thursday is a memory), the combination of suds and strikes — those two great American pastimes — makes a visit to Chestnut Street as good an option as Nashville has for a warm starry night. SH

Summer for Reel

Watching a movie indoors, noise tends to be a nuisance. Outdoors, it's ambience — more whirring insects, rustling leaves and passing cars than cell phones, text replies and "Dude, Hulk just swatted Thor!" If you missed out on growing up with the drive-in experience, there's hope yet for your moviegoer soul, as a piece of Americana once thought as dustbin-bound as the typewriter has managed to carve itself a toehold. The closest drive-in within an hour is the Stardust Drive-In in Watertown (310 Purple Tiger Drive, 237-0077), located approximately 40 miles down I-40E, now showing double features of current releases on weekends (nightly during summer months). Upcoming titles include this week's Battleship, Men in Black 3 and G.I. Joe: Retaliation, but just as much an attraction is the concession stand slinging cheese steaks, funnel cakes and crinkle-cut fries. Admission is $7.50 for adults, $5 for kids, with 5 years and under free; see stardustdrivein.com for directions and show times. And if you prefer the drive-in without the drive, The Belcourt kicks off its monthly Second Saturday Summer Series of free outdoor screenings in its side parking lot June 9 with Steven Spielberg's Close Encounters of the Third Kind. The all sci-fi lineup continues with Creature From the Black Lagoon (July 14), the animated cult favorite Fantastic Planet (Aug. 11) and Abbott & Costello Meet Frankenstein (Sept. 8). Watch belcourt.org for more details. JR

More Summer Guide:

* Here Comes the Sun: We're solar generation partners. We have the power — and so can you

* Pit Stops: Tips for world-class barbecue worth a road trip, from Martin's to Memphis and beyond

* Parks and Recreation: Ten Nashville parks you might not have known about — and shouldn't miss

* Blood Rival: Mosquitoes are a worthy foe, so your best bet is to know thine enemy well

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