This post lists the many great things to do in NYC in August 2023, 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.
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:
The season may almost be over, but there's still a chance to enjoy baseball in August in addition to other sports.
Games are played at MetLife Stadium. For instructions on how to get there, click here.
The NYC FC plays at Yankee Stadium, and the NY Red Bulls play at Red Bull Arena in Harrison, NJ.
If the Islanders make it, there will be a Stanley Cup Finals game in August
US Open Tennis
The US Open runs from August 28th -September 10th, 2023
Check out Stubhub for other sports events in August.
For additional things to do in New York City with the family, check out the family-friendly section below.
Music is all around the NYC area in August!
You can hear diverse music in a variety of settings -- from iconic Madison Square Garden to the outdoor Jones Beach Amphitheater.
- Fall Out Boy | August 1st
- Snoop Dog | August 2nd
- Wiz Khalifa | August 4th
- PINK | August 3rd
- Brandi Carlisle | August 3rd
- Sam Smith | August 8th, 9th
- Lionel Richie/Earth Wind Fire | August 12th
- Earth, Wind, and Fire | August 12th
- Jonas Brothers | August 12th, 13th
- Guns N' Roses | August 15th | East Rutherford
- George Clinton | August 18th, 19th
- Pixies/Modest Mouse | August 20th, 21st, 22nd
- The Smashing Pumpkins | August 24th, 30th | Holmdel, Wantagh
- Madonna | August 23rd, 24th, 26th, 27th
- Billy Joel | August 29th
- Bruce Springsteen | August 30th | East Rutherford
- M72 World Tour | August 4th-6th | MetLife Stadium | Featuring: Metallica, Pantera, Nine Inch Nails, and more
- Rock the Bells | August 5th | Forest Hills Stadium | Featuring: Duran Duran, Dave Mathews Band, Arctic Monkeys, and more
- Zamna Festival | August 5th | The Brooklyn Mirage at Avant Gardner | Line up TBD
- Outlaw Music Festival | August 6th | PNC Bank Arts Center | Featuring: Willie Nelson, Robert Plant, Alison Krauss, and more
For even more concerts in and around the NYC area in August, visit StubHub.
If you didn't already know, Madison Square Garden offers an All Access Tour where you can see behind the scenes.
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 2022:
- The Lion King
- The Book of Mormon
- MJ the Musical
- Six the Musical
- Moulin Rouge
- Sweeney Todd
See what else is playing when you are here.
To see how to get discount tickets, read our post How to Get Cheap Broadway Tickets.
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. Enjoy Free Shakespeare in Central Park
Every summer, the Public Theater puts on two Shakespeare plays at the outdoor Delacorte Theater in Central Park.
Tickets are entirely free but will require some work on your part to get one.
Be sure to check out our post explaining the 5 ways to get tickets to Shakespeare in the Park.
The 2023 season features Hamlet from June 8th- August 6th.
If you do get a ticket, or even if you don't, make sure to spend some time in Central Park while you're in the area.
Read our post about things to do in Central Park for some ideas.
This month will bring a few notable comedians to the New York City area.
Stand Up Comedy
7. Soar to the Top of a Skyscraper
In summer, the city's tallest observation decks stay open late.
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. Attend Free Outdoor Movie Screenings
Free, fun, and occurring almost every night of the summer!
The most well-known is Bryant Park Movie Night which usually runs on Mondays from mid-June to mid-August.
This is an especially popular event, so go early to grab a spot on the lawn. Bring a picnic basket too!
Some other places to see movies outdoors are:
- Movies Under the Stars - May - September nightly, outdoor movie screenings at parks all over the city!
- Central Park Film Festival - last week of August on the lawn near the Sheep Meadow in Central Park.
- Films on the Green - June-September. French films are shown in various parks throughout the city.
- Coney Island Flicks - July-August. Four free screenings at Coney Island for kids. Spend the day at Coney Island first!
For even more sites to visit, visit our post about a movie with a view.
Check out more free things to do, including more weekly outdoor movies, below!
9. View 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.
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.
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.
Enjoy Free Music in Bryant Park
In 2023 Bryant Park presents Picnic Performances.
The August announced shows are:
- 3rd - Ailey Moves NYC: Ailey II
4th - Carnegie Hall Citywide: Ndlovu Youth Choir
11th - Joe's Pub: Shaina Taub
18th - New York City Opera: The Barber of Seville
19th - New York City Opera: Alessandro Lora in Concert
25th - Accordions Around the World: Diana Burco, Suistamon Sähkö, Ragini Ensemble
26th - Roulette Intermedium: 75 Dollar Bill, Ka Baird, TBA
Attire is casual, picnic blankets can be borrowed, and attendees may bring food or purchase it on-site.
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.
Charlie Parker Jazz Festival in Harlem
This annual free event, now in its 31st year, offers the public three evenings of free music featuring the music of jazz legend Charlie Parker.
The Festival takes place August 19th - 26th, 2023, in Marcus Garvey Park and Tompkins Square Park in the East Village.
For more details click here.
Note that Harlem Week, a celebration of the best of Harlem, takes place August 10th - August 20th, 2023.
Kayak Under the Brooklyn Bridge
Head over to Brooklyn Bridge Park in DUMBO to enjoy a free 20-minute kayak ride. You can get an up-close look at the Brooklyn Bridge.
It's safe and unlike anything you have done before.
Click here for more information.
Each August, NYC closes off to vehicular traffic for Summer Streets. While cars are not allowed, every other mode of transport is!
People can walk, run, bike, play, and generally enjoy nearly 7 miles (11 km) of Park Avenue between the Brooklyn Bridge and Central Park.
2023 dates and events have not been posted yet, but details should be coming to their website soon.
Indulge in Ice Cream
In the heat of the summer where best to spend some time than in what is called a "gloriously Wonka-like" ice cream factory.
The 15,000-square-foot Red Hook Factory churns out over 500,000 gallons of delicious ice cream a year.
Entry is free. With that, you can watch them making the ice cream and also visit their interactive ice cream museum.
You can also purchase one of their ice creams which come with names like I Wanna Dance With Some Berry!, PB's Fluff & Fold, and Pistachio Squared.
They also have traditional flavors like Strawberries and Cream and Just Vanilla, Please.
For more information, visit their website.
Good Morning America Concert Series
Great for early birds and lovers of top pop stars! Many musical artists head to Bryant Park for the free GMA Summer Concert Series.
To see a taping of Good Morning America, see our post on how to attend a live TV show taping.
For More Free Things to Do
For year-round free things to do see our comprehensive post about free things to do in NYC.
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.
Walk over the Brooklyn Bridge
The Brooklyn Bridge can be walked over 24 hours a day, although we definitely do not recommend you take a 4 am stroll.
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.
Free Outdoor Concerts
There are numerous free, outdoor concert series in NYC during the summer. Here are just a few of them:
Most performances are free and the few concerts that require tickets are benefit shows to raise money to keep the festival free.
This annual festival of free concerts is held at the Bandshell in Prospect Park in Park Slope.
Opening night of the 2023 season is June 7th and it runs through August 24th. You can see the impressive lineup here.
Click here for even more options.
For even more things to do, see our New York City Summer Guide.
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.
Experts are on hand to answer any astronomical questions. Arrive by dusk. There is no charge for this activity. Click here for more information.
An alternative free activity at the High Line is to take a free High Line Tour!
Enjoy Free Admission to the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum
On select nights, you can visit this highly interactive and engaging museum for free between 5 pm (17:00) and 8:30 pm (20:30).
In August 2023, that date is August 25th.
This museum is housed on an aircraft carrier whose exhibits include a Concorde, a 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.
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.
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.
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.
Visit Little Island
In Hudson River Park, near the Meatpacking Districk, you'll find Little Island.
This park sits on 132 "tulip-like" concrete piles in the Hudson river and is described as "a lush, seasonal, landscape with rolling hills, winding pathways, and dazzling views, coupled with programming that includes music, dance, theater, poetry, comedy and art workshops for all ages."
Items in the playground include spinning chairs, dance chimes, and a Sing for Hope piano.
There are also food items for purchase. A 40-minute audio tour of the park can be found online as well.
Hours are 6 am to 11 between May 29th and September 3rd.
Tickets for performances gain you entry to the park so no additional tickets are needed.
Although events for summer 2023 haven't been listed yet, you can check here for park entry tickets as well as future performances.
Take a Bike Tour
With expanded bike paths and a bicycle-friendly attitude, NYC is a great place for kids to ride a bike and explore the city.
Consider joining us for a pay-what-you-wish bike tour!
See our post about New York Bike Tours + Rentals.
Visit a Farm
You'll find all sorts of four-legged friends at the Queens County Farm Museum, on land which has been farmed since 1697!
The farm offers free admission to the general public (except on special admission days).
They also offer hayrides from 1:00 pm - 4:00 pm on weekdays, and 11:00 am - 4:00 pm on weekends.
You can stroll the fields and gardens, feed the animals, and enjoy a picnic. They also have a seasonal farmstand, an apiary, a farm store/welcome center, and more.
Visit their website to plan your visit.