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Events and Things to Do in Bryant Park

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Bryant Park in New York City is a leafy green space in the heart of Midtown just a few blocks from Times Square. 

This nearly 10,000-acre (40 sq km) park runs from 40th to 42nd Street between 5th and 6th Avenue (map).

It’s visited by more than 12 million people each year. Many are office workers who come during the week to escape their cubicles during lunch hour. 

Bryant Park

But many more are locals and visitors who come at all times of the year to partake in the array of activities in Bryant Park.

Bryant Park is so much more than a place to stretch your legs. It’s a cultural hub, a playground for kids and grown-ups, and a historic location.

You can enjoy the park all year round. It is open every day from 7 am-10 pm. (Hours can vary monthly). There is also free Wi-Fi and a very nice public bathroom!

Here are the top things to do in Bryant Park in NYC!

Winter

Winter Village

During the holiday season in NYC, Christmas markets pop up throughout the city, and Bryant Park’s Winter Village is one of the very best!

You can stroll along the small stalls strung with holiday lights where artisans sell their wares. 

Warm yourself up with some hot apple cider and hot chocolate and other yummy foods at the food vendors. 

They also have an annual Christmas Tree lighting ceremony with an ice skating show with Olympic medalists. 

Read our post on Bryant Park’s Winter Village for dates, hours and all the great things to see and do there.


Ice Skating 

In the Winter, the giant lawn in Bryant Park is transformed into an ice skating rink. It’s one of the prettiest - and cheapest - ice rinks in New York City.

people ice skating at night

It’s free to skate! But that is if you bring your own skates. Otherwise, skates are available for rental. 

Read more about ice skating at The Rink at Bryant Park.


Summer 

Free Movie Night

Every summer, Bryant Park hosts its iconic Free Movie Nights. 

This is a much-loved summer activity that locals flock to with blankets and picnic baskets.

The movie selection is excellent and the price is right! 

See our Summer Guide to NYC for details on this and other free outdoor movie nights.


Broadway in Bryant Park 

In the summer, Bryant Park hosts their Broadway In The Park program.

Every Thursday in August, you can see free performances by stars of Broadway shows from 12:30 pm - 1:30 pm. 


Picnic Performances

In the summer, Bryant Park hosts a series of live performances - 26 in all - and they are all free!

You can hear top-notch music including jazz, classical, opera and cutting-edge music. 

Bryant Park Picnc Performances

There are also contemporary dance, ballet and theater productions.

Grab some food at one of the places to eat nearby and absorb yourself in culture in this beautiful setting.


Symphony in the Park

In September, the American Symphony Orchestra performs on several dates. There is limited space, so it is first-come, first serve. 

Find out about the other arts and culture events in Bryant Park.


Spring to Fall

Free Games 

Every day (weather permitting) between April to early October, from 11 am - 7 pm, Bryant Park sets up free lawn games Pétanque, Putting, and Kubb. 

Ping-pong tables are set up as well. Board games and Chess tables are available. Read more here.


Reading Room

Bryant Park’s Reading Room provides books to borrow, newspapers and magazines to enjoy in the park. 

Bryant Park Reading Room

They also put on a great calendar of literary events, including Books on Broadway, Authors, BookClub, Poetry, StoryTime, and much more!


Art Cart

Located on the north end of the 5th Avenue Terrace, near the New York Public Library, you’ll find the Art Cart. 

Filled with free craft supplies and art materials for use, adults and kids are welcome! 


Fitness Classes

Free classes with instructors include Yoga,  Boot Camp, Limón Dance, and Tai Chi. See more here.

Bryant Park Yoga

Classes

Learn how to juggle, knit, and ribbon dance. Hear about beekeeping, take a Birding tour, or take a writing workshop. Read more here.


Music

Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays from June to October, stop by for live music including ragtime, jazz and piano playing.


For Kids

Most of the above activities are suited for children, though maybe not young children. Here are two activities they will love!

Le Carrousel 

This kiddie carousel is a delight! Its 14 classic carousel animals revolve while French cabaret music plays.  It is open all year (see hours) and costs $4 per ride.

Bryant Park Carousel

Kids Creative Corner

Open June through September next to the Carrousel, the Kids Corner invites parents and their children to enjoy coloring, reading and engaging in other creative activities. 

Find out about things to do with kids in New York City.


Restaurants Near Bryant Park

Bryant Park Grill

Looking out onto the park through its large windows, this restaurant serving New American cuisine is a lovely place to dine. There is a rooftop garden as well. 

Bryant Park Grill

It is open daily from 11:30 am - 9 pm, In addition to the regular menu, the Grill serves brunch on Saturday & Sunday from 11:30 am-3:30 pm.

Reservations are suggested for the dining room. The rooftop is first-come-first-serve. Read more here.


Bryant Park Cafe

Run by the Bryant Park Grill, the cafe serves American cuisine in a casual atmosphere.

It is open from mid-April to November from 11 am-11:30 pm. No reservations are needed.


The Porch

Located on the south side of the park, this casual restaurant is open daily starting at 11 am.

Bryant Park Porch

It closes at 11 pm in the summer and winter months, and at 10 pm in spring and fall.


The Lodge Deck

Open during the winter, located next to the ice rink, The Lodge is perfect for hot drinks and snacks like sausages with different sauces and fries with cheese. 


Food Kiosks

A few permanent food stalls are located in the park along the western end along 6th Avenue. You’ll find Breads Bakery, Joe Coffee, Le Pain Quotidien and Wafels & Dinges.


Things To Do Near Bryant Park

About The Author

Courtney

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: October 10th, 2022
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