It’s finally August, which means we’re in the dog days of summer.
Luckily, there are plenty of ways to cool off in NYC! There are also lots of new rooftops, outdoor concerts, park movie nights, and more to keep you busy.
From dreamy art installations to free kayaking to biking to beaching, here’s how to make the most of the last summer months!
The stunning LUMA festival is back this fall with a larger-than-life light show just three hours north of NYC. For their seventh annual projection arts fest, the buildings of downtown Binghamton will be taken over with breathtaking 3D projections on the weekend of September 10th and 11th. And it’s completely free to attend! Reserve your spot here. ⭐️ Sponsored⭐️
Multi-faceted electronic musician Jai Wolf and indie-pop sensation Big Wild are teaming up to bring Infinite Summer to Brooklyn on Sunday, August 29! Get ready for a night of music that will traverse the full spectrum of emotion. Manila Killa and Crooked Colours will set the mood for the evening and Jai Wolf will play an additional DJ set with some surprise friends. Get your tickets before it’s too late here! ⭐️ Sponsored⭐️
With its endless layers and unique pockets to explore, New Yorkers sometimes get the feeling they’ll never get to experience all our amazing city has to offer. Questo, experts in creating open-air exploration games, has found a solution. By mixing real-life elements, local folklore and immersive quests, these exploratory games take you on eventful adventures across the city and offer one of the most unique ways of discovering our hometown. Check it out here! ⭐️ Sponsored⭐️
Mayor de Blasio announced “Homecoming Week,” a “city-wide celebration of New York City” to take place August 14-22. The main event of the week will be the massive concert in Central Park, and other events include four additional concerts produced by the Universal Hip Hop Museum in the Bronx, Staten Island, Brooklyn, and Queens; free movie screenings by Rooftop Films; cultural activities and public art; and iconic events including NYC Restaurant Week and Summer Streets! Read more here.
First Bryant Park’s free yoga classes were back, and now so are their summer movie nights! Always a warm-weather staple in NYC, the free sunset movies will return after a hiatus last year due to COVID-19 — their first break in tradition in 26 years. They will be back a little later this year, with opening date set for August 23. This year’s showing will feature 10 films over the course of the season, chosen in collaboration with NY Mag’s Vulture. Find out more here.
Who said it’s too early to plan for Halloween? Prepare yourself for a night full of mystery and magic, paired perfectly with cocktails. This fall, you’re invited to a haunted soirée at a stylishly eerie mansion! House of Spirits is a two-hour immersive cocktail experience that weaves a disquieting and interactive storyline certain to leave guests delightfully chilled — and tickets are now on sale!
7-12. Sail around the city
Nothing sounds like a perfect summer evening in the city quite like enjoying a drink on the water, sailing around Manhattan and watching the sun set over the skyline. We can feel those fresh Hudson River breezes already! Here are some amazing options still taking place, with safety measures of course:
- Afternoon Wine Tasting Cruise On The Hudson
- Sunset Wine & Jazz City Sail
- NYC Cruise – Taco & Tequila Tuesdays
- EDM Yacht Cruise Around The Hudson
- Hip Hop vs Reggae Yacht Party
Or, though you won’t be out sailing on the water, you can enjoy anchored boat dining at the dreamy Grand Banks Oyster Bar at Pier 25!
Treat yourself to a relaxing evening surrounded by shimmering candlelight and beautiful music at these stunning evening concerts in NYC. Fever’s widely popular Candlelight series is back indoors, bringing mesmerizing classical and jazz by candlelight to NYC’s loveliest spaces once again! Get your tickets here.
14-18. Head to the beach
NYC is know for its notoriously hot and humid summers, which may be true for all over the tri-state but definitely seem worse when you’re surrounded by tons of sky-high buildings! Taking a trip to one of our lovely beaches is definitely one of the best ways to beat the heat, so check out our list of the 10 best beaches in NYC. Here’s a sneak peek:
- The People’s Beach at Jacob Riis Park, Queens
- Coney Island, Brooklyn
- Orchard Beach, The Bronx
- Rockaway Beach, Queens
- Brighton Beach, Brooklyn
After photos, tickets, and secret locations, all of the anticipation finally came to an end when Van Gogh: The Immersive Experience finally opened in NYC earlier this summer and we couldn’t be more excited! This incredible exhibition will bring you right into the universe of Dutch artist Vincent van Gogh with a 360° digital presentation of his work. Get your tickets now.
This Concerts Under The Stars series will set you back in time with unique vintage sounds in beautiful star-lit venues. Experience the works of Sinatra, Ella Fitzgerald, & more presented by NYC’s finest while sipping a martini in a jazz-age vibe on a variety of NYC rooftops. Grab tickets here!
Be transported to the ritzy, burlesque-era with this all-in-one immersive theatrical mixology experience—with five unique cocktails throughout the performance included in each ticket. From one of the most prolific NYC producers, Holly-Anne Devlin brings Speakeasy, a blend of theater, music and mixology to Times Square at acclaimed restaurant Bond45. Grab your tickets here.
Brookfield Place has converted their waterfront Upper Plaza into a beachfront retreat right in NYC inspired by “a summer day in Montauk.” Completely free and open to the public, The Bungalow is reintroducing the social scene into Lower Manhattan with a waterfront space that offers incredible views of the Hudson River, while featuring bi-weekly retail, lifestyle, and culinary programming throughout the summer on Wednesdays and Fridays. Read more right here.
You can explore the magic of our planet in a completely unparalleled way at Arcadia Earth in Greenwich Village. This interactive multi-storied, multi-sensory exhibit will take you through underwater worlds, forests and mystical caves. Not only will you get to experience Earth’s varying landscapes of texture and color through VR and AR technology, but you’ll also learn how to have a positive impact on the future of our planet! Get tickets here.
The luminous, dream-like art installation “SuperReal” is back at the hundred-year-old Cipriani location in FiDi! NYC’s iconic Italian restaurant Cipriani and multimedia studio Moment Factory (known for their unmatched video mapping technology) have united once again to bring New Yorkers this mesmerizing experience that projects vibrant video content throughout architectural details of the historic building. Get your tickets here.
The Jazz Age Lawn Party has become a staple part of summer in New York City, and after a two-year hiatus, the Roaring Twenties soiree is finally back! The Prohibition Era celebration that started out in 2005 as a small gathering of 1920s aficionados has been transformed over the years into one of the city’s most loved parties. Enjoy it August 14th & 15th — grab tickets right here.
Williamsburg’s Area 53 has always been known for paintball, but they’ve recently opened an incredible indoor adventure park in the massive warehouse next door! Located at 616 Scholes St., the venue’s 40,o00-square-foot Indoor Adventure Park first opened back in May. It looks like the ultimate space for a fun date, hangout with friends, or even company get-together because it has practically EVERY fun activity you could be looking for. Get tickets here.
You read that right! This new restaurant serving up delicious Mexican fare is literally in the Hudson River. Cruise around and enjoy the sunset views over the city skyline during your meal, and cheers your friends amongst the beautiful backdrop before you sip on one of their many agave-based spirits. Read more here.
The city’s brand new floating park Little Island just announced they will be hosting the city’s first-ever “NYC Free” Festival starting this August 11. The month-long event will be the culmination of New York State’s NY PopsUp initiative — which brought over 300 free, outdoor performances across NY during the pandemic — and will feature 460 artists and 160 performances, up to seven free events five days a week! Read more here.
Nothing beats a drink in hand and a skyline in sight. Here are some of our favorite rooftops around the city:
- Check out Cantina Rooftop and try the 12-lb taco!
- Experience a backyard vibe at The Ready
- Escape to the Hamptons right in the city at this beachy-themed bar
- Dine on Eataly’s rooftop and see their seasonal decor
- Admire all the floral installations at Ampia Rooftop
- Sip on cocktails at Top of the Box in Brooklyn
Check the entire list here and adventure to one of these fantastic rooftops across the city for the most unbeatable scenery and not to mention, refreshing cocktails!
The newly opened Somewhere Nowhere NYC is a fairytale two-level rooftop lounge & pool located atop the Renaissance NY Chelsea Hotel on the 38th & 39th floor, that is sure to be double the fun! Its magical secret garden theme stretches across 5,516-square-feet and will transport you to a wonderland away from the city. Find out more here.
Every Wednesday, Thursday, and Saturday through the end of August this summer you can enjoy for free kayaking at Brooklyn Bridge Park Boathouse Pier 2 (registration is required). The sessions only run for 20 minutes but the views are worth it and at the end of the day, it’s a free activity! So why not? Learn how to make your reservation here.
37-41. Take a dip in an NYC pool
NYC’s free public pools are open for the season, but if you’re looking for something more high-end, there are tons of gorgeous private pools to check out too! Here are some of our favorites:
- Roosevelt Island’s stunning multicolored pool
- Jimmy at the James in SoHo
- The Beach at Dream Downtown in Chelsea
- McCarren Hotel & Pool in Brooklyn
- Profundo Pool Club at the Ravel Hotel in LIC
Unlike your average spots to swim, “Floating Pool Lady” at Barretto Point Park in the Bronx is actually located on a barge floating in the East River! Walk across a gangplank to travel between land and the seven-lane infinity pool that boasts incredible waterfront views, along with guest access to locker rooms, bathrooms, and a pool house. Read more here.
One of the best ways to beat the heat in NYC is by indulging in some delicious ice cream! Of course Mister Softee is a classic, but here are some of our other favorite spots to grab a cone:
- Mikey Likes It, Lower East Side & Harlem
- Whipped Urban Dessert Lab, Lower East Side
- Van Leeuwen’s, Multiple Locations
- Tipsy Scoop, Kips Bay & Williamsburg
- Milk & Cream Cereal Bar, Little Italy
To celebrate the 30th anniversary of Nickelodeon’s Rugrats, popular NYC ice cream shop Milk & Cream Bar has created a Rugrats themed menu filled with delicious and brilliantly colored sweet treats! The limited-time menu first launched on July 16th and New Yorkers have been eating it up one green tongue at a time. Find out more here.
The lovely Happy Day Farm in nearby New Jersey has opened its sunflower field for the summer to those looking to come out and pick their own fresh flowers. And honestly, even if you decide not to take any home (though, why wouldn’t you?) the sight of a sunflower field alone is worth the visit. Find out how to visit here.
Enjoy these record-breaking fries for a whopping sum of $200! The iconic Serendipity3 reopened on July 9th after more than a year of renovations and is back with an even more outrageous menu than before. From the famous Frrrozen Hot Chocolate to the seemingly endless savory menu, the restaurant has taken extravagant dining to a whole new level! Read more here.
Spending time outdoors has been one of our few escapes during the pandemic. Safely, of course! So we were looking for some perfect summertime activities you can do without taking a trip out of NYC…and what’s better than a lovely (not to strenuous) summer bike ride? We asked the true experts: New Yorkers themselves (aka you, our readers and followers!) for their best spots on Instagram, and as usual, you didn’t disappoint! Here are some:
- West Side Highway/Hudson River Greenway
- Central Park, specifically Bethesda Terrace
- Prospect Park, Brooklyn
- Madison Square Park
- Flushing Meadows-Corona Park, Queens
56-61. Dine on the waterfront
Take in the breezes at NYC’s best spots for waterfront dining! From eating on historic boats with insane views of the sunset to checking out secluded seafood hotspots on NYC’s smaller surrounding islands, you’ll be cooling down in no time. Here are a few of our favorites:
- Watermark Bar, Pier 15
- Baylander Steel Beach, Harlem
- City Vineyard, Pier 26
- The Frying Pan, Pier 66
- Anable Basin, LIC
- Johnny’s Reef, City Island
Treat yourself to this lovely glamping experience on NYC’s perfect island getaway: Governors Island! Over the years, Collective Governors Island Luxury Camping Retreat introduced plenty of new and exciting amenities that included “live music nights, tarot readings, crafting, morning yoga, bike rentals, chair massages, plenty of lawn games, campfires and cocktails” throughout the season—but this year, the experience is offering even more incredible amenities than years prior. Find out more here!
Another fun pick for during the day in Governors Island is Slide Hill! Slide Hill is part of the island’s tremendous man-made landscape feature “The Hills.” The “audacious feats of engineering and design” rise up to 70 feet above sea-level, offering incredible views of New York Harbor. Find out more here.
Who else is looking for a little summer getaway from the city? Well, we asked and you answered! Here are 10 charming, scenic escapes from NYC life, if only for a day or two. Most of these ideas came from SecretNYC readers themselves, responding to a survey on our Instagram story. So, thank YOU. Get a peek here:
- The Catskills
- The East End of Long Island
- Beacon, NY
- Minnewaska State Park Preserve / Lake Minnewaska
- Sea Bright Beach, NJ
- Lake George, NY
When NYC gives you lemons…Be sure to take pictures with them? Well, that’s the idea behind the brand new free pop-up Citrovia NYC on the West Side! In a rather creative turn of events, developers of the upcoming mixed-use development “Manhattan West” have disguised ugly construction scaffolding along 9th Ave. 31st & 33rd St. with enormous lemon slices and flowing fabrics. Find out exactly where it is here.
Joining other prominent cities like Dubai, London, & Prague, NYC now has its very own world-famous Buddha-Bar location…and it’s about time! After more than five years of construction, Buddha-Bar, NYC’s newest upscale restaurant is finally opening to the public. This opulent restaurant, bar and lounge is serving up elevated Pan-Asian cuisine along with featured dishes from Buddha-Bar’s original menu at its Paris location. Read more here.
Even on the hottest summer days, we’re lucky enough to live in a city surrounded by water. And even more luckily, there are tons of public parks situated along the waterfront — allowing for stunning views and refreshing breezes! Whether it be on the Hudson or East River, uptown or down, there are plenty of options the next time you want to cool down in one of NYC’s waterfront oases.
- Little Island, Hudson River Park
- Gantry Plaza State Park, LIC
- Brooklyn Bridge Park, Dumbo
32-Stories of pure island paradise…right in Times Square! Manhattan will finally feel like the island it is with the new Margaritaville Resort in Times Square. Originally set to open in late 2020, the resort (and highly anticipated pool — the only outdoor one in Times Square) is finally open! Read more here.