This post lists the many great things to do in NYC in September 2021, including free, family-friendly, and nighttime activities and events.
Let's dive in!
TOP 10 EVENTS AND THINGS TO DO IN SEPTEMBER
This is our list of the ten best events and things to do in NYC in September. For even more suggestions, see our comprehensive guide to things to do in NYC.
Several of the items below are already included for free with the purchase of a tourist discount pass.
For tips on the most popular activities in NYC, check out the following posts:
This month you have a bunch of different options to see a sports event. Baseball is still going strong and the football season kicks.
The U.S. Open Tennis Tournament is finishing up this month. A soccer match is also an option.
This month some fantastic performers come to town, so you might want to consider going to one of the following concerts on our list below.
- My Morning Jacket - Sept 10th - 11th
- Megadeth and Lamb of God - Sept 12th
- Ben Folds - Sept 12th
- Black Crowes - Sept 17th
- Dave Matthews Band - Sept 10th
- Pet Shop Boys and New Order - Sept 22nd
- Andrew W.K. - Sept 23rd
- Dashboard Confessional - Sept 24th
- Primus, Wolfmother, and The Sword - Sept 28th
Check out the full list of September concerts.
TIP: Madison Square Garden offers All-Access Tours so you can see how this iconic arena has become a world landmark.
When in New York City, you should try to get to a Broadway show. Some great ones are on this month.
See what is playing when you are here or take a look at our select shows below.
These are some of the popular musicals playing in September 2021:
NOTE: Broadway Week probably won't be running this year, as Broadway is literally re-opening in September.
4) Go to a Music Festival
If you're not interested in any of the concerts available, there are multiple music festivals in the NYC area this September that you might want to consider.
The biggest show is the Governors Ball from September 24th - 26th.
Artists such as Post Malone, A$AP Rocky, Billie Eilish, Portugal The Man, and Carly Rae Jepsen will be making an appearance.
The Sea Hear Now Festival on September 18th & 19th will include performances by The Beach Boys, Billy Idol, The Avett Brothers, Patty Smith, and many more.
Alternatively, the Electric Zoo Festival will take place from September 3rd - 5th and you can expect performances from both Tiesto and Steve Aoki.
5) Take a Walking Tour
September is a really nice time of the year to take a walking tour. Temperatures are comfortable both day and night.
We offer pay-what-you-wish walking tours in several neighborhoods throughout the city, including a Brooklyn Bridge
Check our schedule of pay-what-you-wish walking tours.
6) See New York City from the Water
This month is a fine time to see the skyline of the city from a deck of one of the many NYC boat tours and cruises.
7) San Gennaro Festival in Little Italy
After 90 years, this festival is still going strong. In 2021, it takes place between Sept. 16th-26th. Learn more about the festivities here.
If you want to experience more New York food, then why not join us for one of our pay-what-you-wish food tours?
Both the San Gennaro festival and our pay-what-you-wish food tours are family-friendly activities.
8) September 11th Tribute in Light
From dusk through dawn every 9/11, two massive beams of light are projected into the sky as a tribute to the Twin Towers.
The 9/11 Memorial can be visited at any time of the day or night. Use our guide to the 9/11 Memorial Plaza to plan your visit.
If you would like to learn more about the memorial and the historic events of 9/11, check out anytime GPS audio tour.
We also offer several pay-what-you-wish tours that include the 9/11 Memorial. Check out our schedule.
9) Walk Over the Brooklyn Bridge - Day or Night
The Brooklyn Bridge can be walked over 24 hours a day. There's so much to know about this iconic bridge and the views from it.
10) Utilize a Tourist Attraction Discount Pass
If you're looking to see and do as much as possible, using a New York City tourist attraction discount pass can help you save money and time.
Attractions Available on Passes Include:
- Museum of Modern Art
- Empire State Building
- Hop-On-Hop-Off Bus Tour
- Madame Tussauds
- 9/11 Memorial and Guided Tour
- The Metropolitan Museum of Art
- Madison Square Garden All Access Tour
These passes save you money by bundling dozens of popular attractions and tours into one discounted ticket (up to 55% off).
They can also save you time by allowing you to skip the ticket lines and numerous locations. Read our post comparing your options.
For more ideas for any time of year, be sure to read our master post on things to do in NYC.
FREE THINGS TO DO IN SEPTEMBER
Below are just a few of the many, many free things you can do in NYC in September. Be sure to read all sections of this post, as there are other free activities throughout.
For year-round free things to do see our comprehensive post about free things to do in NYC.
Ride the Free Staten Island Ferry
Take a free ferry ride from Manhattan to Staten Island and back again.
Whether you ride it during the day or at night, you will get spectacular views of Lower Manhattan and the Statue of Liberty.
Our guide to riding the Staten Island Ferry should come in handy.
Known by locals as the Antic, this is one of the biggest street fairs in NYC. It's free to attend, and it is a very family-friendly activity as well.
Get more information here.
The Antic is on a Sunday and is located in Brooklyn Heights, so why not join us for our 2 pm pay-what-you-like Brooklyn Heights Tour before or after the Antic?
UPDATE: This event has been rescheduled for October 3rd, 2021.
New York Caribbean Carnival Parade
On September 6th, things are getting hot, hot, hot with the colorful, flavorful, and lively parade in Crown Heights, Brooklyn.
There will be floats with fantastic dancers shaking their stuff to the sounds of Caribbean culture. Grab a Ginger Beer and a Jamaican Beef Patty and you are all set!
Find out more information here.
NOTE: This parade can get pretty wild and extremely crowded. If you do not like crowds, you should skip this event. Also, it's best not to bring the little ones!
Washington Square Outdoor Art Exhibit
For decades, the streets surrounding Washington Square Park have been the home to this art show with more than 100 artists displaying their works.
It is held two weekends in September 2021: the 4th - 6th and the 11th - 12th. Get the details here.
Museum Day Live
On September 18th, many Smithsonian museums offer free admission. The Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum is included. It normally costs $25 and up.
If you cannot get tickets on Museum Day Live, read our post on discount tickets to the Intrepid.
For a list of museums that are free or almost free year-round, click here.
African-American Day Parade
On September 19th, 2021, at 1 pm in Harlem, you can watch the festive African-American Day Parade. The parade is the largest of its kind in America.
It showcases African-American culture and heritage, with more than 200 participating organizations from all over the world.
While in Harlem, take some time to stroll the neighborhood and see historic sights and popular sites.
You can also use our guide to Harlem to discover this interesting neighborhood.
Brazilian Independence Day
On September 7th, 2021, the small enclave in Midtown Manhattan known as “Little Brazil” is the place to be to celebrate Brazil’s independence from Portugal.
There will be free entertainment including popular Brazilian musicians and vendors serving up traditional Brazilian Food.
Find out all the details here.
Brooklyn Book Festival
This annual week-long free literary event takes place between September 26th - October 4th in and around Brooklyn Heights
Usually, there are dozens of free readings and panel discussions with both world-famous and up-and-coming authors.
There is typically a Children's Day as well, but they might change things up for 2o21 due to the pandemic.
Find all the details of the Festival here.
TIP: Why not join us on our pay-what-you-like Brooklyn Heights tour since you are already in the neighborhood.
For even more free activities, see our guide to free things to do in NYC.
Below are just some of the ideas for things to do in September in NYC at night.
Some of the events and things to do in the other sections of this post are also great nighttime activities, so be sure to read this post in its entirety.
For even more ideas, see our post about things to do in New York City at night.
See a Free Concert at Central Park’s Summerstage
Summerstage is a summer series of (mostly) free performances that has been held in Central Park since 1986!
The concert line-up has everything from pop, alternative rock, jazz, soul, avant-garde, and good old rock and roll.
The series starts in May but wraps up in September. You can see shows until the end of the month.
Check our Summerstage guide for a list of performers, including the Machine Gun Kelly!
Take a Night Walking Tour
New York is really two cities - one by day and a very different one by night. Temperature-wise, September is an ideal month for taking a night tour.
We offer several pay-what-you-wish night tours including:
Enjoy Free Admission to the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum
In the past, this engaging museum has been free to enter between 5 pm and 9 pm at least one day in September.
Due to the pandemic, we don't yet know if they will offer this option in 2021, but you can at least look forward to the Smithsonian Museum Day!
It's one of the most popular attractions in NYC, but is usually $25 and up to visit. Take advantage of this freebie!
This museum is housed on an aircraft carrier and some of its exhibits are a Concorde, a space shuttle and more.
This is also a kid-friendly activity. Get details here.
Metropolitan Opera Summer HD Festival
In the past, you have been able to see an amazing performance by this world-famous opera on a huge HD screen in the heart of Lincoln Center's Plaza.
The Met Opera Summer HD Festival is free to attend and there are more than 3,000 seats as well as additional standing room.
If you are interested in seeing what goes on behind the scenes at Lincoln Center, you can take a tour. Find out more here.
Unfortunately, this event has yet to be confirmed for 2021, and given that the return season for the Metropolitan Opera begins on September 27th, chances are they won't do the Summer Festival this year.
But hey! Maybe you can get tickets to one of the first Metropolitan Opera performances of 2021!
Check out Photoville, a free photography exhibit held in a make-shift village of ship cargo containers used as individual art galleries.
It takes place in Brooklyn Bridge Park in DUMBO and stays open until 9 pm every night.
There's a beer garden, nighttime art projections and of course the surrounding skyline of Manhattan.
Make a full evening of it with a stroll over the Brooklyn Bridge before or after.
NOTE: This event is currently celebrating its 10th anniversary, but there is not yet any word on their plans for September 2021.
TIP: Be sure to check out more night ideas on our main things to do in NYC at night post.
Here are just a few fun activities that will keep the kids and adults amused. Many events listed above are family-friendly, such as the Atlantic Antic and the San Gennaro Festival.
Visit Governors Island
Governors Island is a small, recreational, vehicle-free island just 7 minutes by ferry from Lower Manhattan.
You can rent bikes, kayak for free, picnic, visit the various playgrounds, and try out the longest slide in NYC — three stories high and 57-feet long!
Read our post on Governors Island for information on ferry hours, how to get there and what activities are offered.
Central Park Horse Show Family Day
As part of the CPHS, Family Day on September 22, offers the whole family the chance to enjoy the splendor of horses in the beautiful setting of Central Park.
It is free to attend and takes place at Wollman Rink. See our guide to Central Park to find your way around.
Why not consider a Central Park Horse and Carriage ride while you are there!
NOTE: There is currently no information about when or if this event will be held in 2021.
Visit the Bronx Zoo
The Bronx Zoo is one of the best zoos in the country and September is the best month to visit as the animals are more active this time of year.
The Zoo's Harvest Festival throughout the month allows kids to participate in apple-tasting, to learn about composting and how to press flowers.
Find out the details from the Zoo's website.
Be sure to see our post on ways to get discounts on tickets to the Bronx Zoo!
Autumn Moon Festival
September 21, 2021, marks the fall equinox. Traditionally, Chinese families go outside to admire the big autumn moon and light paper lanterns.
Here in NYC, you can be part of the Autumn Moon Festival in the heart of Chinatown. There will be traditional Asian music and dance, food, and even storytelling for kids.
Find out more about the festival here.
Children's Day at the Brooklyn Book Festival
There is usually a Children's Day at this famous literary festival.
From 10 am – 4 pm, your kids can attend author readings, create art projects and participate in workshops.
All events are free to the public. Get details here.
NOTE: We have yet to determine when Children's Day will be in 2021.
Take a Superhero Tour
Not just for kids, our self-guided Super Hero tour takes you all over the city to the sites of many movie scenes filmed here.
You'll see locales of memorable scenes from X-Men, Spiderman, the Avengers and many more.
Kids might really like our self-guided Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles tour that includes some popular destinations around the city that Ninja Turtles fans might enjoy.
Be sure to read our post on the best things to do with kids in NYC.