The weather is warm, the sun is setting late, and after our last two summers didn’t go exactly as planned, we’re here to make sure that New Yorkers make this one count! From taking advantage of the season’s gorgeous weather, to telling you about the best summer happenings in NYC, get ready to cross your way off the most ultimate NYC summer bucket list ever!
Here are all the best summer activities in (and around) NYC:
1-3. Pack your schedule with all of NYC’s free summer concerts
Thanks to all of our fantastic Parks, New Yorkers have plenty of choices for where to spend time outdoors during the warm weather months, and you can hear some incredible music performances in NYC Parks this summer, all for free, while doing so. Some free concerts this summer include:
- Bryant Park “Picnic Performances”
- Hudson River Park concerts
- The city’s new summer concert series, “Rise Up NYC”
See the full list of free concerts here.
Be active and paddle your way around the East River. Brooklyn Bridge Park is offering free, 20-minute sessions on the water to kayak and see the city from a new perspective. Learn how to reserve your spot, on Wednesdays, Thursdays & Saturdays here.
6-8. Experience an enchanting concert by candlelight
Calm your mind and experience classical music in a new light with these sensational candlelit dinners in some of New York City’s most magical locations, from stunning restaurants to glamorous lounges.
- Sway along to legends of R&B at The Williamsburg Hotel
- Or enjoy dreamy vibes with a tribute to Beyonce at St. Ann & the Holy Trinity Church in Brooklyn Heights
- Or sing along to the best of Amy Winehouse
Either way it’s an experience you won’t want to miss! More candlelight concerts can be found here.
9. Get transported to the ultimate fan-made Star Wars universe
Dive deep into the Star Wars Universe at this exhilarating exhibition featuring over 600 official items collected by fans. This epic exhibition showcases some of the coolest collections that the most dedicated Star Wars fans across the globe have collected over the years. Over 600 official items will be displayed at The Fans Strike Back exhibition, including photos, posters, costumes, life-size figures, models & 50+ one-of-a-kind sculptures. Get your tickets here.
10. Check out Brooklyn’s expansive new Arts District
Arts District is an experiential arts venue just opened in Brooklyn’s Greenpoint neighborhood this summer, taking over a reclaimed warehouse along the East River. The new arts hub is featuring globally-recognized experiences, and will feature the U.S. premiere of the installation “Limitless AI” by artists Ferdi & Eylul Alici – designed to expand your imagination and fuel your curiosity. Get your tickets here.
11-13. Skate around NYC’s newest roller rinks
Summer 2022 has been one groovy season as new roller skating rinks have taken over the city! Grab your skates and get your groove on at these four spots:
- The DiscOasis – Central Park’s Wollman Rink
- Flipper’s Roller Boogie Palace – Rockefeller Center
- ‘Roll-A-Rama’ at the Runway Rink – TWA Hotel, JFK
Forget about sleeping on the floor and going to the bathroom outside, regular camping is so last year! That’s right, now it’s all about glamping. Enjoy a luxurious stay on NYC’s island oasis with incredible amenities under the sky. Camp under the stars tonight!
15. Become a part of your favorite scenes at The FRIENDS Experience
This interactive experience features realistic replicas of your favorite scenes and moments from FRIENDS. Grab a fellow fan, and dive into these sentimental set recreations! Whether you’re lounging on Chandler and Joey’s recliner or sipping on an imaginary coffee at Central Perk, prepare to be filled with FRIENDS frenzy! Get your tickets here.
Whether you’re looking for a good skyline view or a refreshing cocktail to sip on, New York City has all the rooftop bars you could ever imagine.
- Looking for more of a chill, backyard vibe, try The Ready Rooftop.
- If you want something more glam, try The Skylark in Midtown.
- Maybe you want a live DJ and somewhere to dance, then check out Somewhere Nowhere.
Whatever you decide, you’re in for a great time and even greater views. Read the full list here.
Who doesn’t love a day on the water? Escape the city heat and spend your time relaxing (or partying) on some luxurious cruises around the Hudson and East River. From wine tastings, brunching, & dancing, take all your favorite summer activities and make them that much better afloat! Take in the skyline and cheers your friends because there’s a cruise experience for everyone, day or night…hey why not both!? See the full list of cruises here.
In for a little friendly competition? Head to Williamsburg’s waterfront mini golf course PUTTING GREEN, an 18-hole climate change-themed mini golf course with the goal of educating and enlightening visitors on climate change in a fun and creative way. Read more here.
For more mini golf ideas, try our top mini golf spots in NYC here!
21. Cool off in one of NYC’s public pools
If we know one thing, it’s that summers in NYC are HOT! From sweaty subway rides, to AC’s units dripping on you, taking advantage of pools are an essential way to survive the season. See the full list of NYC public pools here, which are open through Labor Day Weekend.
Also, don’t forget to check out America’s only floating pool right here in NYC!
22-23. …Or at one of NYC’s private hotel & rooftop pools
Maybe you’re looking for something a little less…public. You can still take a dip in the many private hotel and rooftop pools around the city sure to cool you down one canon ball at a time.
- Make sure to check out Long Island City’s new rooftop pool The Summer Club.
- Or Governors Island’s gorgeous new pool at the QC NY Spa.
View the full list here.
No matter if you’re if in Midtown to Brooklyn, there are hundreds of free outdoor movies you can enjoy in your local park. Here’s some of what’s left for the summer:
- Brooklyn Bridge Park: August 25, Public Choice with options of: Back to the Future [PG], Mamma Mia! [PG-13], or Mission Impossible [PG]). You’ll be able to vote online starting in early August!
- Washington Square Park: September 8, The Velvet Queen by Marie Amiguet & Vincent Munier (Columbia University); September 9, Eleanor’s Secret by Dominique Monfery (McGolrick Park)
- Hunter’s Point South Park in Long Island City: September 9, Encanto
Tune your worries away at these insanely gorgeous outdoor rooftop concerts across NYC for an unforgettable evening.
- In the mood for Sinatra Under the Stars?
- Or enjoy an alluring evening of variety & burlesque at Parlor Particular
29. Catch a free event on NYC’s Little Island
As we welcome live performances back to the city, check out some of the incredible shows happening at “The Amph” and “The Glade” on Little Island. From live storytelling to musical concerts, there’s a show for everyone. And the best part: they’re free! View the full schedule here.
30. Pick your own sunflowers at a farm outside of NYC
Journey through sunflowers towering up to 10-feet at this farm in New Jersey. Visitors are welcome to pick the flowers, sip on some fresh squeezed lemonade, and obviously snap a few pics for the ‘gram! They open for the season the weekend of July 2, and you can discover more details here.
31. Test your teamwork skills at this live game show experience
This one hour long show will test your social strategy, reaction time, useless knowledge, puzzle-solving skills, and ultimately—your pure cosmic luck. Up to 32 people can play at once, each with their own buzzer. Guided by a live host, teams of 4 compete in a series of high-energy party games. Prepare for an adrenaline-infused experience that measures your collective wits and button-finger agility. Bring a team, or show up and join one. Get your tickets here.
32-34. Taste yummy bites at some of NYC’s outdoor food markets
With warm weather comes nights spent outdoors, and there’s no better way to celebrate some of the city’s most delicious food than at one of its beloved markets. Some of our favs are:
35-36. Dine on the waterfront
Nothing pairs better than a cocktail in hand and the skyline in sight! Spend your summer waterside at any of NYC’s gorgeous waterfront restaurants and bars like:
View the full list here.
37-38. Take in the sun in new green spaces across the city
This summer, more places to relax and lounge outdoors opened for New Yorkers to enjoy. So make the most of the green space where you can find it! There’s:
- 50 Kent at Bushwick Inlet Park, which was originally imagined as a popup park to be open only on weekends, but after a year of design and construction, this seemingly endless lush open space has opened as a permanent public park. More here.
- Two new public plazas in Lower Manhattan, with seating, greenery, drinking fountains, and synthetic turf areas for recreation. See more here.
39. Watch a baseball game at the ballpark
40. Tan at the best beaches in NYC
Let’s face it, everyone needs a little beach day from time to time. Spend your weekend relaxing oceanside or building sandcastles at these best beaches across NYC.
41-43. Taste test the most delicious ice cream shops in NYC
A large scoop of ice cream is the answer to any hot or cold day in the city (let’s be honest ice cream is good in any weather). Spend your summer trying every ice cream shop in the city to find your favorite. Need somewhere to start?
Or any of our other favorites here.
44. Do yoga in Bryant Park
All the way through August 24th, Bryant Park will be hosting their free yoga classes in the park. So whether you’re a yogi or a first-time goer, learn from expert instructors for an active and energetic session beyond a mere indoor studio class. See more information here.
- 10 a.m. on Tuesday mornings on the Upper Terrace
- 6 p.m. on Wednesday evenings on the Lawn
The last class will be August 31.
45-46. Take advantage of the best happy hour deals
New Yorkers love scoring deals whenever they can, so take advantage of some of the best happy hour deals going on this summer. You know what they say, it’s 5-o-clock somewhere! Try some of our favorites like:
- The Mermaid Inn for $1.25 East Coast oysters & select $6 beers
- Lido for cheap drinks and tasty bites
See the entire list here.
47-49. Book a city escape
Sure we love the city, but sometimes a few days away is an absolute necessity. Here are some unique ideas not too far away:
- Take a boat ride to this stunning island castle.
- Explore this whimsical octagon-shaped house.
- Take in gorgeous scenery at this stunning waterfront Vanderbilt mansion
It’s time to lay out the plaid blanket and prepare the charcuterie board! A picnic in the city is just the thing you should do to celebrate the summer. Who doesn’t love snacking while soaking up a little sun? Find the best spots picnic here.
51. Adventure to Coney Island
Stroll the beach, ride the coasters, or munch on a Nathan’s hot dog. Whatever you’re in the mood for, Coney Island has got you covered!
52. Venture around NYC while partaking in the Artists of Manhattan City Exploration Game
Stroll through the streets of Greenwich Village and discover the epicenter of the hippie movement on this fun quest. As you play this city exploration game, follow clues to find out where poets and musicians lived and performed while enjoying the musical vibes at NYC’s oldest rock and roll club. Get your tickets here.
53. Be amazed by NYC’s colorful street art
New York is filled with some of the best museums and galleries, but heading indoors isn’t the only way to get your art and culture fix. Take a walk through the city streets and you’ll find colorful murals on walls, big bold writing on subway cars, and spray painted words on sidewalks and streets—basically anything is fair game to act as a canvas. Find out some of our favorite spots to view street art here.
54-56. Discover the best waterfront parks NYC has to offer
There are tons of beautiful waterfront parks across the boroughs to spend a lovely summer day relaxing. Observe the dazzling skyline from uptown or downtown, the East River or the Hudson, your options are truly endless.
- Domino Park, Brooklyn
- NYC’s floating park, Little Island
- Inwood Hill Park, Inwood
EJ Stevens Group has turned an 18,000-square-foot warehouse space at 34-39 31st Street into a foodie hot spot. The news of the food hall was originally released in 2018 but the project was put on pause for quite some time due to construction delays and COVID-19. And now, five of the seven business are open, and it’s set to be fully open by the end of this summer! Called World Artisan Market, the new food hall focuses on bringing a diverse selection of cuisines to one place with a handful of restaurants that offer authentic Italian, Spanish, European, Japanese, Chinese, Vietnamese, and Colombian flavors to the venue. There will even be a fully vegan spot to check out! Read more about it here.
While you’re there, check out our Astoria neighborhood guide here with more fun things to do.
58-59. Stock up on fresh produce at a local farmer’s market
New York City is no stranger to fairs, markets, and outdoor bazaars. The city’s endless amount of farmers markets are a must-visit—especially in the warm weather—and the level of fresh produce and goods you can find here is unmatched. Some of our favorite spots to visit can be found here.
60-61. Find treasures at an outdoor flea market
Flea markets are arguably some of the best places to find interesting treasures. Whether you’re looking for something vintage, unique, or downright weird, you’re bound to find something at a flea market, like one of the following:
- Ludlow Flea: 159 Ludlow St., every Friday & Saturday
- Bushwick Market: 54 Wyckoff Ave., 12-8 p.m. daily
Find the rest of our favs here.
62. Explore 20 years of Banksy’s work at a new museum-style exhibit
A new exhibit, Banksy: Building Castles in the Sky, is now open in NYC, celebrating the artist in a museum-style exhibition. See his exhilarating work from when he first came on the scene to a look at his intriguing “Dismaland,” a dystopian pop-up art exhibition in the resort town of Weston-super-Mare in Somerset, England, that satirized Disneyland. Get your tickets here.
63-64. Immerse yourself in performance, art, and music at three different exciting MoonRise experiences
These immersive experiences located in Brooklyn will take you on two different and totally exciting experiences.
- Experience a free-roaming cocktail soirée that combines its signature nouveau cirque acts with five specialty lunar concoctions at the Lunar Cocktail Experience.
- Or immerse yourself in the stories of each moon goddess through high level nouveau circus based acts and multisensory interactive installations at MoonRise.
For a six-day event, the largest inflatable theme park will be stopping in Brooklyn for all the bouncy fun. Learn how you can join the fun here.
66-67. Enjoy cocktails at some of NYC’s newest speakeasies
There’s something about having a drink in a speakeasy that blows the experience of having a drink in a regular bar straight out of the water. Some of our newest favorite openings include:
Some more good spots can be found here.
With 40,000-sq-feet, this indoor adventure park is the ultimate spot for fun! Offering everything from paintball, rock climbing, roller skating, rope courses, and more, there’s no limit to what you can do! See more information here.
69-71. Spend the afternoon at the perfect outdoor brunch with friends
Among rent controlled apartments and cheap slices, brunch makes the list of New Yorker favorites! And there’s no better way to spend a warm weekend than with an outdoor brunch with your besties. Some of our recs are below, but you can find the rest of them here.
- Rabbithole, Williamsburg
- Bronx Alehouse, Bronx
- Jackson’s Eatery, LIC
72-74. Hangout with the animals
Forget people, hangout with animals this summer!
- Make some furry friends at the Bronx Zoo
- Head underwater at the New York Aquarium
- Get adventurous on a Whale Watching Cruise
For Lego lovers of all ages, make sure to spend a day (or two) at the Legoland theme park in New York. With years in the making, its 2021 summer debut has not disappoint. The entire park is jam-packed with so many features like an immersive Legoland Hotel with 250 Lego-themed rooms, Lego 4D movie theater, 50 rides, a Legoland Factory, and more! Get tickets here.