What better way to enjoy a summer evening than dancing the night away under the stars? No matter where you live, chances are your local arts center or parks department has a free (or low cost) outdoor dance festival that’s a perfect opportunity to have a fabulous time, make new friends and burn a few calories.

Outdoor dance fests are a good way to have fun and burn calories.  (Photographer: Robert Churchill/Getty Images)

Outdoor dance fests are a good way to have fun and burn calories. (Photographer: Robert Churchill/Getty Images)

Here are a few outdoor dance parties held around the country. If you don’t see your city, Google search “summer dance” and the name of your town to see what’s nearby:

1. New York — This weekend (July 12) Lincoln Center celebrates the last night of its legendary Midsummer Night Swing series on its outdoor plaza. A free, live concert and dance lessons are included.

2. Los Angeles — Fridays, through July and August, The Music Center in downtown Los Angeles holds Dance Downtown. The center brings in live bands, DJs and dance teachers to offer beginner instructions. Take an impromptu class or just have fun.

3. Chapel Hill, N.C. — Kick it like a college kid at the Sweet Carolina festival this July. The schedule includes free concerts, but the area’s top beach bands are brought in for a party on the outdoor dance floor.

4. Chicago — Step, salsa or swing at 2014 Chicago SummerDance. The 18th annual version of the super popular festival is held on selected summer Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays at the city’s Spirit of Music Garden in Grant Park.

5. Nashville, Tenn. — Boogie to the big band sound at Nashville’s Metro Parks’ Big Band Dances every Saturday night through July and August.

6. St. Paul, Minn. — They don’t play at Ordway, St. Paul’s art center. Check the dates for its Summer Dance Series celebration, which begins with a free lesson from professional instructors in soul-steppin’, salsa, disco or ballroom dancing.

7. Seattle — Check the schedule to find the location of Seattle’s mobile Dancing ’til Dusk series. Organizers lay down a real dance floor and bring live DJs to several parks around the city during July and August.

8. Austin, Texas — Party at the Soul Summit (August 7) or pick another August date to support the arts (it’s $5.00) at the Long Center’s Dell Hall: Dance Hall this summer.

If a Google search fails to turn up a local summer dance option, try your local tourism bureau and have a ball!