Summer in New York City is filled with plenty of things to do, and it’s finally the perfect outdoor weather!
With 4th of July on the horizon and summer in full swing, July will offer plenty of opportunities to soak in the sun and hang by the water before the brutal heat of August kicks in (because like it or not, it’s coming!).
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:
Though we had 4th of July fireworks last year, it came in the form of smaller displays at different “surprise” locations across the city to prevent crowds in the crux of the pandemic. Now, the full Annual Macy’s 4th of July Fireworks will be back in full swing this year, promising their biggest show EVER. Read all about the best places to see them here!
2-6. 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
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
- 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
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!
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 last month 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.
Explore the largest collection of Banksy art pieces anywhere in the world at the Banksy: Genius or Vandal? exhibition. Discover clues to the artist’s secret identity, adventure through interactive installations, and immerse yourself in a VR element that truly elevates his work like you’ve never seen before. It opens in August, but you don’t want to miss out so book your date asap.
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. Grab tickets here!
Fever’s popular Candlelight Concerts are back and better than ever this summer! This dazzling concert will highlight anime classics from iconic series like Naruto, Inuyash, Full Metal Alchemist (Brotherhood), Sailor Moon, Dragon Ball and more! Get tickets here, or check out the full range of concerts here.
Take advantage of the beautiful summer weather & enjoy performance arts in NYC once again at this hilarious rooftop comedy show in Brooklyn. The Tiny Cupboard, a self-proclaimed hipster comedy club with its own church, is hosting incredible comics on its giant rooftop in Bushwick! Grab your tickets here.
Take a closer glimpse into the life of legendary artist Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec with this spellbinding tour. You’ll be whisked away to the romance and intrigue of 19th century Paris as you’re guided through the dreams of iconic artist Toulouse-Lautrec — who made the Moulin Rouge the legendary location it is thanks to his oil-on-canvas paintings — as he recalls his final absinthe-laced years living and working in Montmartre. And it’s all happening right within historic Greenwich Village itself! Get your tickets now.
Wander through eight immersive rooms at the Happy-Go-Lucky exhibit that just opened in SoHo, designed to integrate technology with the humanities and art. Visitors will be able to strut the diamond runway, step into mind-altering optical illusions and stand among a tower of flowers. It’s definitely an experience you don’t want to miss. Get tickets here.
The infamous masked bandits of Netflix’s hit show are planning their new attack and they’re looking for new members! Do you have what it takes to join the infamous gang as they take over the Big Apple? This immersive experience doesn’t open until December, but get your tickets while they’re still available here!
Located at Pier 55, this $260 million project is complete with incredible green spaces, pathways, performance venues, and food and beverage options. Whether you go to ‘Little Island’ morning or night, you’ll be sure to catch incredible views of the NYC skyline and Hudson River. See gorgeous photos of the park here.
Last month, Bryant Park started hosting their “Picnic Performances”: 25 stunning summer concerts. Programs like the New York Philharmonic, Carnegie Hall, Jazz at Lincoln Center, Joe’s Pub, the Classical Theater of Harlem, Paul Taylor Dance Company and the Town Hall will appear. Tickets can be purchased 10 days ahead of each show. See here for the full schedule.
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.
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!
New art installations and exhibitions are constantly popping up all over the city. One of the most recent installations can be found lounging in Morningside Park. Check out the enormous and beautiful Lady Liberty taking a little nap and even join her! See here for more details.
Every Wednesday, Thursday, and Saturday through the end of August 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 10, 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.
Deno’s Wonder Wheel Amusement Park on Coney Island just opened a suspended thrill coaster called The Phoenix, their biggest investment ever. The coaster rises 68 feet tall and goes up to 34 mph, and is called The Phoenix because of the way its suspending carts mimic flying as passengers’ feet dangle in the air. Read more here.
Six Flags Great Adventure, located just over an hour from NYC in neighboring New Jersey, debuted their newest roller coaster last month…and it will broke THREE World Records in the process! Called the “Jersey Devil,” the colossal coaster tops out at 13 stories, speeds along at up to 58mph, and carries riders over 3,000 feet of track. Find out more here.
The largest bounce house in the world is returning to NYC, and it’s for adults! The Big Bounce America claims to be the largest touring inflatable theme park in the world, and even broke the Guinness World Record for “World’s Biggest Bounce House.” Beginning the tour in Brooklyn this July, Big Bounce America will work its way across the country this year and through the next. Read more here.
Transport 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.
This electrifying off-Broadway show utilizes cutting-edge technology combined with immersive lighting and atmospheric design to transport the audience to a near-future shrouded in impermeable darkness. One of the first performing arts events to reopen in NYC this year (due to its genius socially distanced layout), Blindness has been met with rave reviews since opening in April and will only be in New York through July! Get tickets here.
Like Smorgasburg, except better! The Queens Night Market, now in its sixth season, is back open at Flushing-Meadows Corona Park. Featuring nearly 60 independent vendors and a price cap on almost all food options of $5 (with several $6 exceptions), it’s an NYC foodie’s dream. 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
Explore the stunning details of Michelangelo’s iconic work at Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel: The Exhibition. Visitors will be able to experience one of mankind’s greatest artistic achievements from an up-close, life-sized, and never-before-seen perspective. Join the waitlist and be the first to get access to tickets when they go one sale July 27th.
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 and occur on Wednesdays at 6 p.m. They will continue all summer long through August 18. Read more 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:
- Grand Banks, Pier 25 in Tribeca
- Watermark Bar, Pier 15 in South Street Seaport
- Baylander Steel Beach, Harlem
- City Vineyard, Pier 26 in Tribeca
- Anable Basin, Long Island City
52-58. Catch an outdoor movie
As the great outdoors have become a familiar and crucial space for everyone throughout the pandemic, New Yorkers will only continue to utilize outdoor spaces through warmer months ahead. And one of the most nostalgic and entertaining ways to spend a summer night is definitely enjoying an outdoor movie. With that, here are 10 spots to go see an outdoor movie this summer before the cold weather is back and we regret ever saying “it’s too hot out!”
The world’s largest Harry Potter store just opened in Flatiron this June. You can now walk around the three-story, 21,000-square-foot space that’s home to the largest collection of Harry Potter and Fantastic Beasts products in the world. There are 15 themed areas throughout the store where you’ll be able to take photos, play interactive games and travel on virtual reality adventures. Ready for the magic?
One of the most notable highlights at the new flagship Harry Potter store is the “Butterbeer Bar.” Visitors will not only be able to enjoy a glass of Butterbeer on draft, but also in ice cream or bottled form! Drink and watch almost 1,000 glowing Butterbeer bottles appear to rise up from the floor and “float” up over the bar while listening to the Butterbeer move through the copper pipes in the ceiling. OH — and they have Butterbeer ice cream. Find out more here.
featured image source: Courtesy Manhattan Park Management
Also published on Medium.