This post lists the many great things to do in NYC in September 2023, including free, family-friendly, and nighttime activities and events.
Let's dive in!
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:
Keep in mind that Labor Day, a public holiday falls on the 1st Monday in September so some activities may be affected that day.
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.
Games are played at MetLife Stadium. For instructions on how to get there, click here.
The US Open runs from August 28th -September 10th, 2023
The NYC FC plays at Yankee Stadium, and the NY Red Bulls play at Red Bull Arena in Harrison, NJ.
- Hot Wheels Monster Trucks Live Glow Party | September 30th
Music is all around the NYC area in September!
You can hear diverse music in a variety of settings -- from iconic Madison Square Garden to the outdoor Jones Beach Amphitheater.
- Bruce Springsteen | September 1st, 3rd
- Foreigner | September 3rd
- James Taylor | September 3rd, 4th
- Sting | September 8th
- Arctic Monkeys | September 8th, 9th
- Squeeze | September 8th, 10th
- Aerosmith | September 9th
- Beck | September 9th
- Lynyrd Skynyrd/ZZ Top | September 10th
- Peter Gabriel | September 18th
- Dead Cab for Cutie/The Postal Service | September 19th, 20th
- Maneskin | September 21st
- Duran Duran | September 22nd
- Tedeschi Trucks Band | September 29th
- Electric Zoo | Randalls Island Park | September 1st | lineup TBA
- Sea.Hear.Now. Festival | North Beach Asbury Park | Sept 16th-17th | The Killers, Greta Van Fleet, Nathaniel Rateliff, and more
- Outlaw Music Festival | Forest Hill Stadium | September 17th | Willie Nelson, Robert Plant, Alison Krauss, and more
- Sound on Sound Festival | Seaside Park CT | Sept 30th-Oct 1st | Red Hot Chili Peppers, John Mayer, Alanis Morissette, and more
For even more concerts in and around the NYC area in September, visit Stubhub.
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 2023:
- The Lion King
- The Book of Mormon
- MJ the Musical
- Six the Musical
- Moulin Rouge
- Sweeney Todd
- Funny Girl
Click here to find other September shows.
4. Enjoy a Salsa Dance Festival
The annual New York International Salsa Congress returns to the city in September.
At the festival, you'll find dance companies and salsa dancer performances, live music, and workshops conducted by pros.
You'll also get to dance yourself and practice your salsa steps. It's sure to be a colorful and exciting event.
The festival takes place August 31st - September 4th at the Marriott Marquis in Times Square.
For more information, visit the New York International Salsa Congress website.
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
For over 90 years, the Feast of San Gennaro, is still going strong. It exists in celebration of a Bishop who was martyred in 350 A
Activities include a processional with floats; cannoli, pizza, zeppoli, and meatball eating contests; live music; and fantastic Italian food from local vendors.
The festival takes place in Little Italy and runs from September 14th - September 24th.
For more information, visit the San Gennaro website.
Tip: 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 Discount 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.
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.
Attend the West Indian American Day Carnivale & Parade
On September 4th, things are getting hot, hot, hot with the colorful, flavorful, and lively parade in Crown Heights, Brooklyn at the largest Carribean Carnival in North America.
There will be floats with fantastic dancers shaking their stuff to the sounds of Caribbean music.
Grab a Ginger Beer and a Jamaican Beef Patty and you are all set!
Find out more information on the WIADCA website.
NOTE: This parade can get pretty wild and extremely crowded. If you do not like crowds, you should skip this event, and it's best not to bring the little ones!
Find Art at the 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 this month:
- September 2nd - 4th
- September 9th - 10th
Get the details at the Washington Square Outdoor Art Exhibit website.
Attend Museum Day Live
On September 17th, 2023 many Smithsonian museums offer free admission.
The Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum is included. It normally costs $33 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.
Watch the African-American Day Parade
On September 17th, 2023, at 1 pm in Harlem, you can find the festive African-American Day Parade.
The parade is the largest of its kind in America and is now celebrating its 54th year.
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.
Go to the German-American Steuben Parade New York
For over 65th years the German-American Steuben Parade has taken place.
There are decorated floats, over 50 dance groups, folks dressed in traditional costumes, music, and much more.
The parade starts on the east side of Central Park, at 64th St. on 5th Avenue - heading north to 86th St.
Several groups from Germany come in for the event each year, and it's truly fun for all involved.
For more information, visit the German-American Steuben Parade website.
Afterward, if you feel like trying some German foods, consider joining one of our food tours.
Attend another Art Fair
Known as the “Anti-Fair for Independent Artists”, the Clio Contemporary Art Fair has received rave reviews from the 'establishment' art world.
The Clio Art Fair is held in Chelsea and runs September 7th-10th.
Tip: If you decide to go take a look at our post on the High Line Park which is located in Chelsea.
We also run several different tours of Chelsea and the High Line as well.
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 have 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 information on this year's performances, maps, and more.
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
On September 29th, 2023 this engaging museum is free to enter between 5:00 PM and 9:00 PM.
It's one of the most popular attractions in NYC, but is usually $33 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.
Attend Picnic Performances at Bryant Park
Throughout the summer Bryant Park offers free access to their performance series in Bryant Park.
Over 25 live music, dance, and theatrical events will take place, all with the help of some of New York's best performaing arts institutions.
Bring food and drink, or purchase it once you are there. Blankets and chairs are free for the borrowing or you can bring your own.
The schedule of 2023 performances includes:
- Sept. 1st | The Classical Theatre of Harlem: Langston in Harlem
Sept. 7th | American Symphony Orchestra: American Expressions
Sept. 8th | New York City Opera: Romeo and Juliet
Sept. 9th | Drom: Gaye Su Akyol (U.S. debut)
Sept. 14th | Harlem Stage: 40th Anniversary Concert
See the 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.
Dates haven't been released yet but it usually runs through September.
If you are interested in seeing what goes on behind the scenes at Lincoln Center, you can take a tour. Find out more here.
Tickets can be purchased here. There are only 2,800 seats and it's first come first serve.
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 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.
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!
Attend the Autumn Moon Festival
The fall equinox occurs in September. This year September 29th is the Autumn Moon Festival.
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.
In September there is a parade and festival celebrating the Lunar New Year, also in Chinatown.
Find out more about the festival here.
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.