From "It's Perseid Week," by Gary Kronk, St. Louis Astronomy Examiner
"The Perseids are the biggest meteor shower of the summer. It is currently building in strength and will reach its peak on the night of August 12/13. Observers far from city lights will be able to see 50-80 meteors every hour on the night of maximum, while the 3-4 nights before and after this date should see 10 or more meteors per hour.
"The Perseids generally start making an appearance around 10:00 p.m. They are then coming from near the northeast horizon. As the evening progresses into morning, the area of the sky from which the Perseids radiate will move further up into the sky. It is the time after midnight when the Perseids put on the best show. Each Perseid is hitting the atmosphere at about 132,000 miles per hour and can cross large areas of the sky in just a second or two."
It gets its name from the constellation Perseus. The Chinese record it as far back as 36 AD. There are Korean and Japanese records of the shower as well.
Its a good excuse to get away from city lights (a requirement) and lounge in a lawn chair. Whatever you bring to dine on or imbibe is entirely up to you. Use a designated driver (or, walker if you're on foot), be responsible and have fun!
The best pictures I could find: Solarsystem.NASA.gov (95) and last year's view.
Link: Promising Perseid Meteor Shower Makes Impressive Start, by Joe Rao, Space.com Skywatching Columnist