With the summer solstice very quickly approaching, July will offer plenty of opportunities to soak in the sun and hang by the water before the brutal heat of August kicks in.
Check out glorious rooftops, cool off at beaches and pools, traipse through fields of sunflowers and lavender (ok, those are a bit outside of NYC!), and much more with our recommendations of things to do this month:
Star Wars fans unite for something you’ve definitely never seen before! Empire Strips Back is taking over the Orpheum Theatre with sultry Stormtroopers, an enticing Boba Fett, and more. Let’s just say, the force is definitely with this production. Get your tickets here.
Every July, New Yorkers look forward to one of the city’s biggest celebrations—Macy’s Fourth of July Fireworks. And this year, it promises to be “the most dynamic collection of animated shells ever launched during Macy’s annual spectacle.” The 47th annual Macy’s Fourth of July Fireworks will take place on Tuesday night, July 4, and you can find out everything you need to know here.
Dress like royalty and head over to NYC’s Queens Ball: A Bridgerton Experience. Live out your rengecy-era fantasy and dress to impress the Queen as you bow before her majesty. Learn dances, take portrait photos, and be sure to grab a Bridgerton-inspired cocktail. Grab your tickets now!
4. Get creeped out by this new Broadway thriller that will leave your heart racing
Calling all horror fans! If Halloween just can’t come soon enough, Grey House will put you in the creepy, thrilling mood all summer long. The cast includes The Conners star Laurie Metcalf, Orphan Black’s Tatiana Maslany, House of Cards actor Paul Sparks, and many more. When Broadway meets horror and adds in a dose of humor and heart who knows what will happen? Take a journey to see what this unsettling cabin and its inhabitants are hiding. And maybe you’ll find out where those noises in the walls are coming from, and why they keep getting louder. Get your tickets here.
5-8. 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
- Orchard Beach, The Bronx
- Rockaway Beach, Queens
- Coney Island, Brooklyn
NYC’s free public pools are now officially 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
- The Beach at Dream Downtown in Chelsea
- McCarren Hotel & Pool in Brooklyn
- Profundo Pool Club at the Ravel Hotel in LIC
Thought-provoking sculptures and horticulture displays by contemporary artist Ebony G. Patterson have completely transformed the New York Botanical Garden! Now through October 22, 2023, head to NYBG to be captivated by breathtaking displays of exotic flora and garden-inspired installations. Learn more here.
Ride Zero-G, the tallest double looping thrill slide, or get the ultimate adrenaline rush from the Canyon Cliff Jump at Mountain Creek Waterpark this summer. The park is less than two hours from the city and makes for the perfect day trip! Read more here.
Explore personal artifacts from real life passengers at this captivating exhibit about the world’s most legendary ship. Get a look at recreated interiors of the ship’s many rooms and embark on an emotional journey you can’t miss out on while it’s in NYC. Grab your tickets here.
Manhattanhenge is when the setting sun aligns with the street grid of Manhattan, illuminating every cross street on the north and south sides of the borough, and the year’s final Manhattanhenge will be on Wednesday, July 12th, with the half sun version on Thursday, July 13th. Learn everything you need to know so you don’t miss it here.
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!
Fever’s popular Candlelight Concerts are better than ever this summer! With tons of dazzling concerts to choose from, there’s sure to be one you’ll love. Here are a few of our favorites:
- Best of Amy Winehouse at The Williamsburg Hotel
- The Sights and Sounds of Flamenco & Spanish Guitar
- The Best of Hans Zimmer at The Opera House
- A Tribute to Fleetwood Mac
- Rings and Dragons
Check out the full range of concerts here.
Ever wanted to be a part of the iconic friend group? Well now you can, when you check out The Friends Experience in NYC! Step into your favorite scenes with remarkable set recreations, tons of photo-ops, and even a functioning Central Perk. Buy your tickets today.
Check out the first exhibition to bring the miniature art phenomenon to NYC at Small Is Beautiful: Miniature Art Exhibition. The exhibition features 120 exclusive artworks from international artists that play on politics, humor, and poetry. Score your tickets today.
You read that right! This buoyant 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.
Head to Old St. Patrick’s Cathedral in Nolita for a one-of-a-kind tour of its historic catacombs–an experience everyone should check out. On this tour you’ll spend 80 minutes beneath an NYC landmark on a stroll through the city’s past, which until recently was closed off and forgotten. This experience shines a light on the final resting place of notable New Yorkers and the achievements and hurdles faced by New York’s historic Catholic residents. Get your tickets here!
27. Get a bird’s eye view of NYC on the city’s first-ever flight simulation ride
RiseNY is taking visitors to new heights, giving New Yorkers the chance to view the city like never before! Guests begin their adventure with an immersive film before embarking on a self-guided gallery walkthrough that showcases the history of NYC. But the best part is the opportunity to soar to new heights with a spectacular uplifting ride giving visitors a unique bird’s-eye view tour of the Big Apple. Learn more on their website here.
Nothing beats a drink in hand and a skyline in sight. Here are some of our favorite rooftops around the city:
- Go for a dip in the pool at Somewhere Nowhere
- Escape to the Hamptons right in the city at this beachy-themed bar
- Dine on Eataly’s rooftop and see their seasonal decor
- See panoramic views from Roosevelt Island’s Panorama Room
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!
Thanks to all of our fantastic Parks, New Yorkers have plenty of choices for where to spend time outdoors this summer. And besides enjoying picnics, games, or just lounging, you can also hear some incredible music performances in NYC Parks this summer–all for free. Find all NYC’s free summer concerts here.
Wanna kick butt at trivia and frolic around NYC? Then you’ll definitely want to check out this two-day citywide scavenger hunt coming to NYC July 7 and 8! Players will race to decipher more than 60 clues that will take them to various sculptures, plazas, playgrounds, and buildings, competing for some awesome prizes! Read all about it here.
Alexa Meade’s 26,000-square-foot floor-to-ceiling hand-painted immersive exhibit brings Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland come to life! Become the subject of various paintings with 20 rooms to roam through. Plus, once you’re done exploring the magical exhibit you can recharge with delicious small plates and drinks at the storytelling-themed wine bar and café. Grab your tickets today!
Every Wednesday, Thursday, and Saturday through the end of September this summer you’ll be able to walk up to the Brooklyn Bridge Park Boathouse Pier 2 for free kayaking. 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.
Make some time to stop & smell the lavender this July. Lavender By The Bay is a lavender farm on the East End of Long Island that offers the perfect weekend visit out of the city. Typically, it’s in full bloom from mid-June through July, so stay updated on their Instagram so you can plan a visit right when they are their most vibrant. Currently, they are in the middle of their English bloom, a bit smaller than their French bloom, which has just started to show its color! Read more here.
Nothing says summer quite like getting lost in a field of sunflowers, and being able to take some home! Happy Day Farm in New Jersey is opening its sunflower field for the summer on Saturday, July 9, 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 more details here.
Allow every sense but sight to guide you and elevate your tasting experience as you dig into a a curated 3-course meal completely blindfolded! Guests will be able to tap into their tastebuds full potential once sight is removed and really experience dishes in a new way. Reserve your spot now.
39. Enjoy free programming at various NYC parks & places
Though NYC is infamous for being pretty pricey, there are many parks that host tons of free summer programming. Some of these parks include:
There’s so much beautiful art in NYC to explore, see some of the best exhibitions and installations on display now here.
41. Grab a bite at an outdoor food market
If one thing’s for sure, New Yorkers know how to eat! And with summer weather here, your next delicious bite to eat is at one of NYC’s open-air food markets. See our favorites below:
Gitano’s Tulum-inspired paradise has rebranded as a fabulous beach club! Once called “Gitano Garden of Love,” it is now known as “Gitano Island,” featuring 12 truckloads of sand plus 500 tropical plants and palm trees to complete the beachy feel. See more here.
Pop in the City, a massive walk-through inflatable experience, has taken over Greeley Square Park! Complete with gIiant slides, oversized ball pits, cutting-edge effects, and mesmerizing lighting… Pop in the City brings the fun this summer and you do not want to miss out! It’s open through September 3 and you can get your tickets 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
Calling all Queen fans! This ‘Broadway Sings’ is a nostalgic reenactment of the legendary group’s most popular tunes that will satisfy any die-hard Queen fan or just the ones who know the hits! The immersive concert provides a fresh perspective to Queen’s most legendary melodies as Broadway performers sing the rock band’s classics and hidden gems, backed up by an impressive 14-piece orchestra. Read more about the must-see experience and grab your tickets here.
Whether you’re a yogi or someone more inclined to say “Namast-ay at home,” Bryant Park’s amazing free yoga classes are worth attending. And, for the first time in two years, they are finally returning to the Midtown green space! These hour-long classes focus on healing and stress reduction. They will continue all summer long through August 24. Read more here!
Make your workout a bit more bearable by working out outdoors with a gorgeous view! Working out outdoors provides you with a ton of benefits, including reduced stress, better sleep, improved mental health, and a greater sense of happiness, and you can’t deny those benefits! Find our favorite outdoor fitness classes here.
The best (and coolest) place to be in the summer is on the water (Manhattan is an island, after all). From eating on historic boats with insane views of the sunset to checking out secluded seafood hotspots on NYC’s smaller surrounding islands, these are some of our favorite spots for a breezy cocktail and bites:
- Cobble Fish, Pier 16, The Seaport
- Grand Banks, Pier 25 in Tribeca
- Watermark Bar, Pier 15 in South Street Seaport
- Baylander Steel Beach, Harlem
- Anable Basin, Long Island City
One of the most nostalgic and entertaining ways to spend a summer night is definitely enjoying an outdoor movie. With that, here are all the NYC parks hosting free movies this summer!
Culture is no stranger to NYC, and so many wonderful outdoor public exhibitions have been popping up around the city for visitors to explore! From sculptures to mind-bending light displays, our city has it all, and you can find all the best outdoor installations here.
Take a walk through the city streets and you’ll find colorful murals, big bold writing on subway cars, and spray painted words on sidewalks and streets—proving that basically anything is fair game to act as a canvas. The work you’ll find around the city is bright, inspiring, and incredibly artistic, and you can find some of the best places to view street art around NYC here.
NYers beloved Restaurant Week is returning for the summer from July 24 to August 20 where New Yorkers can celebrate NYC’s dining scene by enjoying prix fixe menus at some of the city’s most established restaurants and neighborhood favorites. General reservations open July 6! Learn more here.
59-63. Check out some of NYC’s most recently opened restaurants
- Café Mars – Brooklyn’s newest ‘Unusual Italian Restaurant’
- Sake No Hana – where tacos and hand rolls collide
- Appas Pizza – for delicious Korean Pizza
- Twenty Three Grand – to dine on a stunning sun-soaked atrium
- &Beer – for rotating food pop-ups
Also published on Medium.