Here in NYC, there’s always something new to see! From rotating art installations to free events around the city, there are so many happenings to match any style and personality. Now that summer is in full swing, there are tons of event series and festivals you should bookmark on your calendar. Let’s dig into our favorite festivals in NYC that are either happening now or coming up later this summer!
SummerStage in Central Park is a New York summer tradition, and it is back this summer with an incredible lineup. What started back in June is currently running throughout the dog days of summer, welcoming tons of fantastic artists to NYC. The concert series is organized by City Parks, and offers shows in 12 different parks across the city, with the largest stage being in Central Park. Booked artists range from Afrobeat to hip-hop to indie, and many concerts are even free as well!
Take a look at SummerStage’s full lineup here and plan a visit today.
New York’s iconic Governors Ball Music Festival is happening in June, and this year’s lineup is stacked! The 3 day festival will take over Flushing Meadows Corona Park, with musical acts featuring Lizzo, ODESZA, and Kendrick Lamar, Lil Nas X, HAIM, Lil Uzi Vert, Diplo, Lil Baby, PinkPantheress, Pusha T, Joey Badass, and more. Don’t forget about their tasty food lineup too which will keep you filled all weekend long.
Check out our complete guide to Governors Ball here!
Grab some food and friends at Smorgasburg, one of the best open air markets in the entire city! Walk through a variety of vendors and try out different snacks and foods while you enjoy the warm summer air. There are 4 Smorgasburg locations in NYC, including Williamsburg (Saturdays 11 am – 6 pm), Prospect Park (Sundays 11 am – 6pm), and World Trade Center (Fridays 11 am – 7 pm). These food festivals are the perfect way to spend a day and have some delicious bites along the way!
The Tribeca Festival returns to NYC this June, running from June 7 until June 18! This year’s experience includes brand new film debuts, panels and talks, immersive games and experiences, and so much more. You can catch all of these events happening at various theaters an venues around Tribeca and Chelsea! Check out our guide to Tribeca Film Festival for more info.
Enjoy free outdoor performances all summer long in Bryant Park, where there the likes of New York City Opera and American Symphony Orchestra will be doing shows. They are running through September 14 with performances starting at 7 pm on select days! Check out the full schedule of Bryant Park Picnic Performances here.
One of the best free festivals in NYC this summer and every summer is Shakespeare in the Park, the cultural fix you’ll crave no matter how literary you may be! With some of the biggest names in entertainment, and shows running from June through September, there’s always something new to see here. This year’s nine-week production is Hamlet, directed by Kenny Leon. Learn about the ticket acquiring process in our Shakespeare in the Park guide.
Where: 81 Central Park West
Lincoln Center’s Summer for the City is officially returning for the second year! From June 14 – August 12, Lincoln Center will be transformed, offering all kinds of fun summer activities. We’re talking everything from outdoor movies to silent discos on the Dance Floor at Josie Robertson Plaza. Check out all of the scheduled events happening at this year’s Summer for the City here.
Where: Lincoln Center Plaza
8. Electric Zoo
After a smashing success in 2022, Electric Zoo is set to return to Randall’s Island this September. Being one of the world’s largest dance and electronic music festivals, this year’s lineup surely won’t disappoint! While the lineup and theme have yet to be announced, you can expect A-list names, art installations across the grounds, innovative set designs, and expert light shows during every set of the weekend. Stay tuned for the full lineup announcement coming soon!
Where: Randall’s Island
Happening on the west side, the Backyard at Hudson Yards will be having an entire summer of fun programming! Headlined by a free 8-week concert series (featuring artists like flor, Geese, and more), there also be other offerings like movie nights, sport viewing parties on the big screen, weekly fitness classes, family-fun workshops, DJ sets, food trucks, and more! Learn more about Backyard at Hudson Yards here.
Returning for its third season is Little Island’s Summer Season of entertainment and events. It’s happening from June 2 – Sept 3, and includes free concerts, dance performances, comedy events, drag bingo nights, cabaret, and much more. They’ll take place in the Glade, and the Play Ground, the two performance spaces over the course of several months. Confirmed acts already include Grammy-winning artists Joshua Henry and J Hoard, Tony winner Tonya Pinkins, “Saturday Night Live” cast member James Austin Johnson, and more.
Where: Pier 55
The perfect summer event series, Pioneer Works is hosting their beloved Second Sundays event this year which consists of fun and free programming through November. The event itself consists of a day of live music, food, artist studios, and interactive programs. From science activities for to newly opened exhibitions, there’s always something new to check out. Learn more about Second Sundays here!
12. Dragon Fest
NYC’s largest Chinese food festival is set to touch down this summer on select locations between June – September. Dragon Fest will feature over 100 varieties of Chinese cuisine, ranging from soup dumplings to bowl pudding cake. Some of the recognizable NYC vendors include MáLà Project, Kopitiam, Pecking House, Nom Wah, Lady Wong, and Nan Xiang. Check out the dates and learn more about Dragon Fest here.
13. Palm Tree Music Festival
Kygo’s annual Palm Tree Music Festival is returing to The Hamptons this year on June 24! This year’s lineup includes headlining sets from Kygo and Calvin Harris, alongside Loud Luxury, Sam Feldt, and Chantel Jeffries. Tequila Don Julio and CELSIUS Essential Vibe Tour will also be serving as festival sponsors, providing signature craft cocktails and luxury drink experiences! Learn more about Palm Tree Music Festival here!
Step into an immersive hard seltzer experience this July when Seltzerland returns to NYC! This festival will consist of over 100+ hard seltzer brands bringing samples, tasting, activations, merch and so much more to The Noble Lot at Greenpoint Terminal. Come hang out with friends, play games, take Instagram flicks, and discover some new brands. Tickets start at $46 and the event is on July 22. Learn more about it here.
15. Manhattan West Woof Fest: Paws for Pride
Gear up for Pride Month at Manhattan West Plaza, where this free festival will be taking place on June 10 from 12 pm – 4 pm. Humans and canines alike will enjoy a live program of performances by award-winning and queerly-situated Circus Amok and activities that range from pet tarot card readings to rainbow pawdicures. Plus there will be giveaways, photo-ops, a mini dog run, and much more. Learn more about it here.
16. Afropunk Festival
Celebrating black culture and black creativity is Afropunk Festival, the annual music and arts festival that touches down in Brooklyn every year. Taking place this year on August 26 + 27, there will be musical acts, food, activations and so much more that aim to “celebrate the resilience of the Brooklyn community.” This year’s lineup and location is yet to be announced, but we can expect it to be fantastic as always! Stay tuned to announcements here.
17. Central Park Film Festival
If outdoor film festivals are more your thing, we suggest you check out the Central Park Film Festival. Although details of the 2023 series haven’t been announced quite yet, it usually takes in late summer and consists of film screenings and preceding DJ sets. Stay tuned here for announcements in the coming months!
Where: between Sheep Meadow and the 72nd Street Cross Drive