New York City is a magical place all year round – but there’s something extra special about the city during the summertime.
Both native New Yorkers and those new to the city all know there’s a special energy once the heat cranks up.
Some of the most popular NYC attractions provide an endless list of things to do outside. From free concerts to kayaking and more, here’s how to make the absolute most of these warm summer nights, no matter your budget.
See a Free SummerStage Show
Never take for granted how lucky we are to be in a city where a free show in the park has become a quintessential summer experience. For New York’s largest free performing-arts festival, various parks around the city offer free programming, with Central Park’s Mainstage at the center of the action.
This year’s festival runs from June 1 through September 24. Events happen almost every day of the summer including both free concerts, dance parties, live theater, ballet and an outdoor opera series. The series’ affiliated benefit shows (for which you’ll need a ticket) run through September.
Eat, Drink, and Shop In The Streets
If you need another reason to get excited for summer, NYC street fairs take over various blocks in all five boroughs when the weather gets warmer. While frolicking through these vehicle-free roads, snack on eats from the best restaurants and shop around for vintage items and antiques as you would find at our city’s finest vintage clothing stores.
Take A Trip to Governors Island
Can’t afford a tropical vacation? Hitch a ferry to New York’s car-free island, and once you’re there, get a tan as you chill in one of its hammocks.
After launching the appropriately named 10-acre park the Hills, Governors Island continues to expand with exciting openings of attractions like a Collective Retreats camp site, so you can sleep under the stars on the island. Pretty cool.
Go Kayaking (for free!)
Grab a paddle and seek out some free kayaking! NYC’s waterways reveal some of the best views of the city. You’ll get to see New York City attractions in a whole new light.
Stargaze on The Highline
Every Tuesday, this event gives you an astronaut-worthy view of the stars from the high-powered telescopes of the Amateur Astronomers Association. Just in case you’re worried you’ll have no idea what you are looking at, the AAA leads the star-spotting expeditions, pointing out celestial bodies above the park.
Tackle the water slide at Summer Streets
During Summer Streets, seven miles of Gotham turf along Lafayette Street and Park Avenue is completely cleared of vehicles in order to create a pedestrian paradise. Hundreds and thousands of revelers descend upon the asphalt for invigorating sight-filled tours, plus free activities including a rock climbing wall, a zipline, outdoor art installations, misting stations and a water slide.
Have a picnic in the park
One of the best things to do in summer is pack a picnic basket and partake in some outdoor dining at one of the best picnic spots NYC has to offer. There are plenty of NYC parks, at which you can sprawl out and enjoy an alfresco feast. However, we’ve chosen a few of our favorite grassy refuges from all corners of Gotham, as well as the best places for grabbing snacks nearby, to help you decide the best spot to pick.
No matter your budget, there are plenty of ways to take advantage of NYC this summer! Whether its rain or shine – there are enough options to choose a new activity every weekend of the summer. Enjoy!
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