This post is about SummerStage, a series of free concerts held in Central Park every summer, and is updated for 2023.

We include information on how to attend a show, a list of who is performing, and other free music options throughout NYC.


Every summer since 1986, a series of free concerts called SummerStage has been held in Central Park.

Though most of the shows are in Central Park, there are also concerts in Harlem at Marcus Garvey Park, Coney Island's Amphitheater and other locations over all 5 boroughs.

The SummerStage line-up is diverse and includes everything from afro-punk, Latin jazz, soul, hip-hop, avant-garde, and good old rock and roll.

They also have stand-up comedy, dance performances, and sometimes Broadway musical performances.

A few shows are benefit concerts and require tickets, but those are benefit shows to raise money to keep the rest of the concerts free.

If you are heading to a show, why not make time beforehand to explore Central Park?

Consider joining us on one of our pay-what-you-wish tours. We also have a GPS-led Audio Tour of Central Park which you can take any time.

Where is SummerStage?

The stage is located in Central Park at Rumsey Playfield near 5th Avenue and 72nd Street.

Where is Summerstage NYC

How To Get There

The easiest way to get there is to take the subway. Take the 6 train to “68th St-Hunter College” station and enter the park at Fifth Ave and 72nd St.

You can use this Google Maps link to get exact directions from your point of departure to Summerstage.

To learn more about using the subway check our guides

Are Tickets Needed?

No tickets are necessary if it is a free show. Admission is given on a first-come, first-served basis, so entry is not guaranteed.

Benefit shows require a ticket. These shows cost around $40 - $80 Some extra spectacular with multiple top performers, shows may cost $100 and up.

When Should I Arrive?

  • Free weekend shows - gates open 90 minutes prior to the show-time
  • Free weekday shows - gates open 60 minutes prior to show-time
  • Benefit concert times vary

Food and Beverages

  • At the free shows, food and non-alcoholic beverages are permitted
  • However, glass bottles, coolers, and alcohol are not permitted
  • You can purchase food and drink at the concert

Items Not Allowed in Concerts

Your bags will be searched on entry. You cannot bring:

  • alcoholic beverages
  • any kind of glass bottle
  • ice coolers
  • pets
  • bicycles
  • video cameras
  • recording devices
  • flash cameras

TIP: If you have large bags, a bicycle, luggage, or anything else you can't bring to the concert, you can find inexpensive hourly storage in the area.

See our post about where to store luggage and more in NYC.


The 2023 line-up is awesome! There are more than 90 shows! That is too many to list here, so we have listed the best Central Park, Harlem and Coney Island shows.

Benefit shows that require tickets are noted. Otherwise, all these shows are free!

To see the full summer line-up see the SummerStage website. See the full benefit concert line-up here!

Shows in Central Park

  • As of Jan 2023, schedule for this year is yet to be announced

Harlem's Marcus Garvey Park

  • As of Jan 2023, schedule for this year is yet to be announced

Coney IslandAmphitheater

  • As of Jan 2023, schedule for this year is yet to be announced

See the SummerStage website for other shows and any other details.

If you can't make the live shows, many of the 2023 SummerStage shows will be live-streamed via SummerStage Anywhere.


Look at our guide to Summer in NYC and our monthly posts:

Also, see our post on hundreds of free things to do in New York.

Don't forget that NYC Street & Subway Performers are always free!


About The Author


Courtney is a lifelong New Yorker fascinated with the city’s history, culture and cuisine. She loves exploring the world, as well as sharing her travel expertise with others. She joined the Free Tours by Foot team in 2011, first as a guide and then as a writer. She has a law degree, a teaching degree and a worn-out passport. Her motto is “Have backpack, will travel”.
Updated: enero 21st, 2023
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