Ease into your Pittsburgh post-vax summer season with these occasion ideas | Arts + Leisure | Pittsburgh

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CP Photo: Kaycee Orwig

Festival goers listen to music at Point State Park during the Three Rivers Arts Festival on Sat., June 12.

After one summer of sitting in baby pools or stuck at home bored with the AC on, Pittsburgh partiers are vaccinated and chomping at the bit to mingle. Bars and clubs are ready to accommodate DJ nights, live music, and other activities bringing people returning to their dance floors, stages, and outdoor spaces. But for many, the prospect of going out again brings a mix of anticipation and anxiety.

As an arts and entertainment resource, Pittsburgh City Paper understands that giving you options for the weekend also means helping you feel confident leaving the house in the first place. See below for a list of tips on how to ease into your hot, post-vax summer.

Start out small
The thought of jumping into big events with tons of people right away might send some people into a panic attack. Test the waters first by meeting a friend for lunch, or inviting a few people over for a small gathering. Some places also offer ways to have a more intimate night out, like COBRA Lounge (cobrapgh.com) in Bloomfield, where a small group can rent out an individual, sound-proof karaoke room closed off from the rest of the crowd.

Consent, consent, consent
This should be a given in any situation, but in a COVID-19 world, it’s important to remember that not everyone is comfortable with bodily contact yet. Before you wrap that friend you haven’t seen in over a year in a big bear hug, make sure to ask first. This also goes for handshakes, fist bumps, or any other physical touch.

Don’t forget your mask
While Pennsylvania restrictions have already started allowing maskless life for fully vaccinated residents, many businesses and events are still exercising caution. No matter where you go, remember to throw a mask in your pocket or bag. You should also check beforehand to see if a mask is required before heading out.

Bring lozenges
You and your friends have a lot of catching up to do, and your vocal chords are no longer calloused from weekends of yelling over loud music or the din of a crowd. As a result, you may wake up hoarse the next morning. To prevent this, make sure to bring a handful of cough drops or throat lozenges to your next get together.

Ear plugs are nice, too
In addition to your poor throat, your ears have become used to the low volume of many nights inside binging Netflix. As a result, that first punk show or booming bass might be a shock to the system. We recommend investing in a pair of ear plugs to avoid any ringing the following day.

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Inside Out with DJ Shoe at the Carnegie Museum of Art on Sat., June 12 - CP PHOTO: JARED WICKERHAM

CP Photo: Jared Wickerham

Inside Out with DJ Shoe at the Carnegie Museum of Art on Sat., June 12

Ditch the club wear (if you want)
It’s probably safe to assume that your body has only known the touch of sweatpants, yoga wear, sneakers, and loose-fitting tees for the past year. Don’t feel bad wanting to avoid the pain of wearing heels again. Leave those dress clothes in the closet. Now is the time to get creative with your wardrobe, finding ways to integrate comfortable, yet stylish pieces.

Pace yourself
After missing an entire year of, well, living your damn life, it makes sense that you want to make up for lost time. As you try to fill every weekend with as many activities as possible, keep in mind that you can overdo it. Exhaustion is imminent, so don’t be surprised if you pass out on your couch after visiting a market or festival, or meeting friends at the pool.

Returning to the bar and party scenes also includes the very real possibility of overindulging in potentially harmful behavior like binge drinking and increased recreational drug use. If you don’t want an entire summer of blackouts and hangovers, practice moderation. Be sure to check on your friends and fellow party-goers. Have an exit plan in place for when you or someone else becomes too inebriated, such as designating a sober driver or using rideshare or taxi service. Practicing these habits helps to ensure everyone has the maximum amount of fun while still getting home safe.

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