Summertime, and the living is easy -- so why mess it up with voluntary perspiration? There are civilized people, thank you, who wouldn't be caught dead in athletic socks and trainers, let alone cargo shorts. Adventure is a state of mind, not an embrace of poison ivy and ibuprofen. Stay home and savor the city that roughly 5 million people have to leave home to visit each summer. You'll have it made in the shade.
BARD BY NIGHT
This summer marks the 34th season for the Publick Theatre, so isn't it about time you headed for the riverbank to cool down on a hot night and catch outdoor performances of Shake- speare's grown-up tales of wartime love (Troilus and Cressida, starting July 8) and minority marginalization (The Merchant of Venice, starting July 29)? Christian Herter Park, Soldiers Field Road, Allston, 617-782-5425, www.publicktheatre.com.
GET YOUR HANDS DIRTY
And you thought crafts were just for summer camp. Learn to make pottery on the wheel or by free-form construction in day or evening classes at Mudflat Studio's intensive three-week August courses. Lumpy ashtrays optional. 149 Broadway, Somerville, 617-628-0589, www.mudflat.org.
Bastille Day isn't the only French treat in July. Between July 8 and 25, the Museum of Fine Arts screens about 20 features during the Boston French Film Festival. The Boston premieres will include new works by some of France's top directors. 465 Huntington Avenue, 617-369-3306, www.mfa.org.
In heaven, the pints are imperial, the boards are bristle, and there's nary a plastic tip. If stout is your drink and a quick wrist flick your idea of exercise, you get the point. Many neighborhood pubs have a dartboard; hit the bull's-eye at Sevens Ale House (77 Charles Street, Boston, 617-523-9074) and The Field (20 Prospect Street, Cambridge, 617-354-7345).
ZANY STUFF AND ALL THAT JAZZ
Art gallery by day, Zeitgeist turns performance venue after dark for the mad, surreal, edgy -- and for the inexpensive. Check the listings for nearly nightly encounters with jazz masters, ranting poets, crypto-folk singers, performance artists, and other like-minded anarchists. 1353 Cambridge Street, Cambridge, 617-876-6060, www.zeitgeistgallery.org.
Lots of wine shops offer tastings, but show up at Brookline Liquor Mart on Saturday afternoons, and you get a free education in wines of the world from one of the region's top importers. It beats the heck out of watching golf or gardening shows on TV. 1354 Commonwealth Avenue, Allston, 617-734-7700, www.blmwine.com.
Step lively by the silvery orb when the Boston Tango Society holds its Tango by Moonlight events on or near the full moon. The slinking starts around 8 p.m. on the Weeks Foot Bridge in Cambridge on the Charles River. Novices welcome. 617-699-6246, www.bostontango.org.
BEAN CITY ROLLERS
Slap on the knee and elbow pads, grab a helmet, and take to Boston's streets for the In Line Club of Boston's Tuesday Night Skate, weekly through October. Good stopping skills essential; ability to keep up useful. Gather at the Hatch Shell at 7 p.m. 781-932-5457, www.sk8net.com.
SIP TO SERENITY
How can so much caffeine be so soothing? It's all in the formalities. Dress neatly (no jeans) and experience the traditional Japanese tea ceremony any Sunday afternoon at Kaji Aso Studio, 4-6 p.m. Reservations required one day ahead. 40 St. Stephen Street, Boston, 617-247-1719, www.kajiasostudio.com.
THE SHELL GAME
Civilized summer folk know there's no special virtue about cracking and picking a lobster. Enjoy the naked crustacean by letting the kitchen do the hard work. Some great bets include Lydia Shire's lobster club sandwich for lunch at Locke-Ober (3 Winter Place, Boston, 617-542-1340), Jasper White's lobster risotto at Summer Shack (149 Alewife Brook Parkway, Cambridge, 617-520-9500; 50 Dalton Street, Boston, 617-867-9955), and C.K. Sau's transporting Shanghai lobster (on lo mein) at New Shanghai (21 Hudson Street, Boston, 617-338-6688).
VENICE ON THE CHARLES
The leisurely gondola tours leaving from the Charles River Esplanade have become such a popular way to propose marriage that you'd better be serious about your boating companion. Missed signals could lead to muddy waters. Reservations are essential. Gondola di Venezia, 617-876-2800, 866-283-6423, www.bostongondolas.com.
Get your exercise rolling tenpins or playing billiards in Brylcreem-retro Kings next to the Hynes Veterans Memorial Convention Center. Good food and a bustling bar make it the perfect summer hangout for the great indoorsman. 10 Scotia Street, 617-266-2695, www.kingsbackbay.com.
The Copley Square branch of the Boston Public Library was built as the palace of the people, but few of the noble masses have ever seen just how glam it gets. Free Art & Architecture tours, daily except Sunday and Wednesday, gather at the Daniel Chester French doors of the Dartmouth Street entrance (2:30 p.m. Monday, 6 p.m. Tuesday and Thursday, 11 a.m. Friday and Saturday). Artists read like a who's who in the arts, circa 1890. 617-859-2216.