What to Do in August in NYC

This post lists the many great things to do in NYC in August 2019, including free, family-friendly, as well as nighttime activities and events. 

For even more suggestions, see our comprehensive guide to Things to Do in NYC.  

 

 


TOP 10 EVENTS AND THINGS TO DO IN AUGUST

This is our list of the ten best events and things to do in NYC in August. 

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:


(1) See a Sports Event! 

Three thrilling sports to choose from this month. We’ve got good old baseball, two of Europe’s best soccer teams, and pre-season American football. Also, the US Open Tennis Championship Tournament begins August 23rd.

Whether or not you have the kids with you, all of these games are great all-ages activities.

 

 

Baseball

Yankees (click for ticket information)

TIP: The classic tour of Yankee Stadium is available with both the New York Pass and the Explorer Pass. For more information, check our post about New York tourist passes.

Mets (click for ticket information)

TIP: You can get a free ticket to either a Mets or Yankees game with the Freestyle Pass. The classic tour of Yankee Stadium is also available with both the New York Pass and the Explorer Pass. For more information, check our post about New York tourist passes.


Football  (Games played at MetLife Stadium. For instructions on how to get there, click here.)


 Tennis


Soccer (Football)

For more fun with the family, check out the things to do with kids section below. 


(2) Attend a Concert 

August has some amazing performers arriving in NYC. Here are just a few to see.

 

 

If you didn’t already know, Madison Square Garden offers an All Access Tour where you can see behind the scenes. 


(3) See a Broadway Show

Seeing a performance on Broadway is a must-do activity when you’re in New York City! See what is playing when you are here.

 

 

Here are a few popular musicals running in August 2019:

Dear Evan Hanson

The story of a high schooler who wants to fit in but finds himself caught up in a lie so big it might disrupt all of his relationships. 

Come From Away

This heartfelt musical was inspired by true stories of what happened and relationships that formed following the September 11 attacks.  

See what else is playing when you are here.


(4) Take a Walking Tour 

August is an excellent month to take a walking tour pretty much anywhere in New York City.

 

 

We offer pay-what-you-wish walking tours in several neighborhoods throughout the city, including:

For more ideas, check our schedule of pay-what-you-wish walking tours.


(5) Free Shakespeare in Central Park

In 2019, this annual festival starts in late May continues through early August, with performances of Coriolanus.

Getting tickets will take advance planning and patience, but it truly is worth the effort.

 

 

Check out our guide to Central Park which includes maps, activities, tours and more. 


(6) See an Outdoor Movie

New York City is full of magical views and lights. So where better than to relax in with a fun film than at Movies with a View?

 

 

Every Thursday in August you can see a free movie in Brooklyn Bridge Park’s Pier 1’s. Movies start at sunset, but if you want a good spot on the lawn you should plan on arriving early.

Movie Lineup:

  • August 8 – The Big Lebowski
  • August 15 – An American Tail
  • August 22 – Selma
  • August 29 – To Be Decided with a Vote! 

Check out more free things to do, including more weekly outdoor movies, below! 


(7) Soar to the Top of a Skyscraper  

In summer, the city’s tallest observation decks stay open late.

The Empire State Building is open until 2 am, and the Top of the Rock and One World Trade Center Observatory are both open until midnight.

 

 

If you aren’t sure which view is best for you, read our post about the pros and cons of each of them.

There are also free options and you can find them in our post, where to get the best free skyline views of NYC.


(8) NYC Restaurant Week

July 22 – August 16, 2019  

Restaurant Week (which starts in late July) gives you the chance to try NYC’s top restaurants at a fraction of their normal prices. 

 

 

This year, two-course lunches are priced at $26 and three-course dinners are $42. Reservations can be made after July 9th when the participating restaurants are announced.

See below for our recommendations of kid-friendly restaurants.

Use the tips in our post on Restaurant Week to get seating at the restaurant of your choice – and there are over 380 participating this year. 


(9) See Great Street Art

New York City is undoubtedly one of the best cities in the world to see street art and murals. You can see masterpieces for free…if you know where to look. 

We can help you discover the latest, greatest pieces of street art around NYC if you join us on one of our pay-what-you-like Street Art Tours.

 

 

We have tours in both Manhattan and Brooklyn, including a tour of Bushwick and its highly-regarded Bushwick Collective Street Art Gallery.

If you can’t make it to one of our tours or prefer to move at your own pace, enjoy our Bushwick Collective self-guided tour to explore the area and find the best art.


(10) Utilize a City 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 Met
  • 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.

 


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FREE THINGS TO DO IN AUGUST

Below are just a few of the hundreds of free things you can do in NYC during August. And be sure to read the other sections of this post for more ideas.

For year-round free things to do see our comprehensive post about free things to do in NYC.

 

 


Hear Broadway Showtunes in Bryant Park

Every summer, Broadway in Bryant Park allows the public to hear some fabulous Broadway tunes for free. 

In 2019, the dates are on the following Thursdays: August 1, 8 and 15. The performances are from 12:30 pm – 1:30 pm.

This years’ performances include songs from many different shows such as Wickedthe Lion King, Aladdin, Frozen, Rock of Ages and many more! 

There are also 3 dates in July. See our post on things to do in July to find out more.

If you miss these performances, find out how to get discount tickets for Broadway shows here.

Read about some of the other ways to get cheap Broadway show tickets.


Harlem Day 

August 16, 2019  

This day-long festival is the culmination of Harlem Week.

Head up to Harlem to see live music of all genres from Jazz, R&B Musical Theatre, Hip Hop, and Gospel. There will be arts & crafts, fashion shows, and local food.

You might find our post on things to do in Harlem or come along on our pay-what-you one of our Harlem Tours


Dragon Boat Festival 

August 3 – 4, 2019  

A great excuse to check out the borough of Queens! It’s a race of 170 dragon-boat teams on the very big Meadows Lake, in Flushing Meadows Park in Queens.

Besides boats, there will be traditional dance, martial arts, music, folk art, and Chinese food. More information can be found here.


Summer Streets 

Every Sunday in August from 7:00 am – 1:00 pm (13:00), NYC closes off main thoroughfares to vehicular traffic for Summer Streets – in other words, NO CARS!

Almost 7 miles (11 km) of open streets with 5 rest stops are free to roam on anything that will move except vehicles.


Kayak under the Brooklyn Bridge 

Head over to Brooklyn Bridge Park in DUMBO and enjoy a free 20-minute kayak ride. It’s quite safe and unlike anything you have done before.

See the Brooklyn Bridge from underneath! Click here for more information.

 


This photo of The Brooklyn Bridge is courtesy of TripAdvisor

 

Find out about some other ways to get out on NYC’s waters for free or cheap, such as the Staten Island Ferry.


Good Morning America Concert Series

Great for early birds and lovers of top pop stars! The 2019 lineup is set!

To find out more about attending or possibly getting VIP tickets, see our post, Good Morning America Summer Concert Series VIP Tickets.

To see a taping of Good Morning America, see our post on how to attend a live TV show taping.


Fan Week at the U.S. Open Tennis Tournament

During the first week of this Grand Slam tournament, (Monday, Aug. 19 – Friday, Aug. 23) you can see dozens of free great tennis matches during the Qualifying Rounds.

While you won’t be seeing players in the top 50, you will be seeing professional tennis players fighting ferociously to qualify for a spot in the main tournament beginning on August 26.

There will be lots of other activities and fun to be had at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center. See more here.

For year-round free things to do see our comprehensive post about free things to do in NYC.

 


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THINGS TO DO AT NIGHT

Many of the activities included in our other sections can be enjoyed at night as well, but here are a few more ideas on how to spend a great night in August in NYC.

 

 

For even more ideas, see our post, Things to Do in New York City at Night.


Take a Night Bus Tour

A night tour on an open-top double-decker bus is a wonderful way to see more of the city while giving your feet a break from all that walking!

With so many tours out there, you may want to read our post comparing New York City bus tours as you might decide this is a good way to spend your night in New York. 

Many tourist passes include a night tour by bus, so you may want to look at our post comparing NYC Tourist Passes before buying tickets. 


Enjoy Free Admission to the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum

On August 16, you can visit this highly interactive and engaging museum for free between 5 pm (17:00) and 9 pm (21:00).

This museum is housed on an aircraft carrier whose exhibits include a Concorde, submarine, a space shuttle, and much more.

This is a fun way to spend an evening in NYC. This is also a kid-friendly activity. Plan your visit and learn about additional discounts.


Walk over the Brooklyn Bridge 

The Brooklyn Bridge can be walked over 24 hours a day. We definitely do not recommend you taking a 4 am stroll.

 

 

But for those who want some guidance to enjoy the Bridge when the sun goes down, join us for our combined 911 Memorial and Brooklyn Bridge Night Tour.  

It runs Tuesday, Fridays and Sundays at 7:30 pm (19:30) from March through October.  


Free Outdoor Movie Screenings 

Practically every night of the summer months you can find a free, outdoor movie screening. Here are the best series:

  • Movies with a View – Every Thursday, you can see a free movie in Brooklyn Bridge Park’s Pier 1’s. Movies start at sunset but arrive early as the open lawn fills up quickly.
  • Bryant Park Movie Night – Every Monday. Go early if you want a spot on the lawn and watch some great films surrounded by the city’s shimmering lights.
  • Movies Under the Stars — Many of the parks around NYC host nightly, outdoor screenings of famous films — all of which are free! 

For even more choices see our New York City Summer Guide


Free Outdoor Concerts 

There are numerous free, outdoor concerts in NYC all summer. Click here for even more options

Summerstage in Central Park 

Every year, the list of performers at this festival in Central Park draws famous and talented performers. Most performances are free.

Celebrate Brooklyn! 

These free concerts are held in Prospect Park in Park Slope. The line-ups are quite impressive considering that they are free.  


Stargaze with an Astronomer 

Every Tuesday in August, head to the one-of-a-kind High Line Park to gaze at the stars, planets, and moon through high-powered telescopes.

 


This photo of High Line Park is courtesy of TripAdvisor

 

Experts are on hand to answer any astronomical questions. Arrive by dusk. There is no charge for this activity. Click here for more information. 

Learn more about the High Line, with our Guide to the High Line or our GPS audio tour

For even more ideas, see our post, Things to Do in New York City at Night.

 


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THINGS TO DO WITH KIDS IN AUGUST

Many things in the other sections of this post are certainly family-friendly. Below are a few more things to do with kids in August in NYC.

 

 

Check out our posts Top 10 Things to Do with Kids in New York City or our 3-day itinerary for families


Summer Fun at Coney Island

Visit Coney Island and find out just how much there is to do at this legendary New York seaside spot.

You can go to Luna Park, one of the best amusement parks in the NYC area. Ride the Thunderbolt, a 115-foot-tall roller coaster that reaches up to 55 miles per hour.

Don’t worry there are plenty of rides for those weak of heart and toddlers like water rides and the classic Steeplechase.

Afterward, walk along the Boardwalk to the New York Aquarium, where you can see penguins, harbor seals, otters and more. 

TIP:  Luna Park is included with the NY Pass, while both Luna Park and the Aquarium are included in the Sightseeeing Pass


Shakespeare for Kids

Hip to Hip Theatre Company performs adult theater in a manner that a young audience can access great plays at their own level of understanding. 

They also believe that great works should not cost anything to attend! 

In 2019, they are performing two plays on 2 dates: August 4 is The Tragedy of King Richard III  and on August 11 is A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

The shows are held in Socrates Sculpture Park in Queens with beautiful views of Manhattan’s skyline.  See here for more details.


Get out on the water! 

Cool off with cool views of New York City. It doesn’t cost much to get out into the beautiful NYC Harbor.  

check out the many New York Boat Tours and Excursions you can take, such as the Circle Line and other affordable, fun cruises.

 

 

Consider taking a ride on the East River Ferry which costs the same as a subway ride but with a much nicer view.


Watch a Movie on a Battleship Flight Deck – August 16, 2019

Sit on the historic deck of the Intrepid battleship and watch the last movie of the summer in their movie series.

Click here for more information.

The Intrepid Sea, Air, and Space Museum is fascinating to both children and adults alike. To find out how to get discounts on tickets, click here.


Hudson River Flicks Fridays

The movies are shown outdoors at Pier 46 in Greenwich Village. For information on the Pier and the movie series, click here.

August 2 – Hotel Transylvania 3
August 9 – Incredibles 2
August 16 – How to Train Your Dragon
August 23 – Trolls

While you are in the Village, take the time to stroll the gorgeous streets and historic sites using our guide, What to See and Do in Greenwich Village.


Restaurant Week With the Kids

Restaurant Week isn’t just for adults. Our kid-friendly recommendations for 2018 are:

Massoni 

How do meatballs with garlic knots sound? Follow it up with pizzas or classic pasta and you will have a happy family. Room for dessert? Order the cannoli or assorted ice creams.

Sarabeth’s West  

Sarabeth’s is known for its homestyle cooking and family-friendly service.

It is on the Upper West Side and is within walking distance of the American Museum of Natural History and the Children’s Museum of Manhattan.

Tavern on the Green 

This iconic New York restaurant located in Central Park has an uncomplicated but tasty menu that should satisfy palettes of all ages. And you cannot beat the setting!

For more information and to see how to make reservations, see our Restaurant Week post for more information. 


Jazz Age Lawn Party 

August 24 – 25

You don’t need to dress in your finest flapper dress or seersucker suit to come out and enjoy fabulous music by the Dreamland Orchestra.

There will be a Charleston dance contest (along with lessons), food, 1920s cars, croquet, and fun for the kiddies.

Get the low-down at their website. This is a ticketed event and is held on Governors Island, a kid-friendly destination itself.

 


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