New York City Summer Guide

Summer is a fantastic time of year to visit New York City. Not only is the weather lovely, but there are a number of (mostly free!) activities that are available exclusively in the summer months.  Our New York City Summer Guide lists some of our favorite summer activities and options for visitors as well as locals.

NYC Weather in the Summer 

If visiting the city during the summer months, be sure to pack appropriately!  Depending on where you are coming from, New York City weather may be hot and humid with afternoon thundershowers happening often.  Below are our weather

Special Summer Events 

  • 4th of July Fireworks — New York is a great city to celebrate the 4th as it offers one of best fireworks shows in the country!
  • Restaurant Week — This semi-annual event takes place in January and late July, and allows guests to sample some of the best cuisine in the city at a greatly reduced cost.


Theater and BroadwayShakespeare in The Park

  • Shakespeare in the Park — An NYC summer pastime, Shakespeare in the Park offers attendees the unique experience to see big-name stars performing in a classic play in Central Park.
  • Broadway in Bryant Park  — Popular shows on and off Broadway perform in the park every Thursday at 12:30pm throughout the summer.


Free outdoor movies

  • Bryant Park Movie Night — Go early if you want a spot on the lawn and watch some great films surrounded by the city’s shimmering lights.
  • Movies with a View – Every Thursday in July and August in Brooklyn Bridge Park’s Pier 1’s. Movies start at sunset but arrive early as the open lawn fills up quickly.
  • Movies Under the Stars – Many of the parks around NYC host nightly, outdoor screenings of famous films — all of which are free!
  • Free week of movies in Central Park  – The last week of August, the Park Conservancy shows movies on the lush lawn near the Sheep Meadow.
  • Red Hook Flicks  in Red Hook with an amazing view of the Statue of Liberty
  • Summerscreen in Williamsburg with live music before the movie, and food & drink from local vendors

Free music

  • Free Music — a comprehensive calendar of all free music, of every genre, throughout New York City.
  • Summerstage — Marketed as the “largest free performing arts festival in New York City,” Summer Stage features a huge variety of theatrical performances around the city throughout the summer.
  • Celebrate Brooklyn in Prospect Park — Top performers of pop, funk, alternative, country, jazz and hip-hop perform at the bandshell.
  • New York Philharmonic in the Park — a New York summer tradition. Bring a picnic basket and go early to hear high-quality symphonies along with 100,000 other New Yorkers! A “must-do” in NYC!
  • Metropolitan Opera Recital Series— Each of New York’s 5 boroughs gets a free recital by the world-famous opera company.
  • GMA free concerts in Central Park – incredible line-up, every Friday at 7am (yes, you read that right) starting May 20th – September 2nd. See our post about VIP Tickets!

Tip: If you aren’t here during the summer months to catch some of these free live gigs, (Tip: If you are looking for great free musical performances, don’t forget that New York City has some of the best subway musicians, buskers and performers. Our post about Where to find New York City Street Performers and Subway Music will lead you to right to them!)

Best Outdoor Activities for Summer 

  • Check Out New York City Beaches — Most people don’t necessarily think of the beach when they think of New York City, but there are some decent options for those looking to escape the urban jungle and go for a swim, especially the famed (if crowded) Coney Island.
  • Experience a Rooftop Bar in NYC — New York has one of the most iconic skylines in the world, and what better way to appreciate it than from a rooftop bar during a warm evening in July!
  • Explore the High Line — This unique park was once an elevated railroad line, but has since been converted into park that weaves through the rooftops of the city. As with Central Park, we offer many tours of the High Line, including a regular, daytime High Line tour, a Dark Side of the High Line tour, and a self-guided tour.
  • Visit Governors Island — Governors Island is particularly nice in the summertime. We suggest you get there early and rent bikes to explore — especially as bike rentals are FREE from 10am-noon during the weekdays.