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What to Do in August in NYC

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This post lists the many great things to do in NYC in August 2022, 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:

New York Walking Tours

1. Attend a Sports Event!

Baseball

The season may almost be over, but there's still plenty of baseball to enjoy in August.

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

Football 

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

Soccer (Football)

 Tennis

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. Take in 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 2022:

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:

New York Walking Tours

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 2022 season features As You Like It from August 10th - September 11th.

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.


6. Check out a Live Comedy Show

This month will bring a few notable comedians to New York City.

One half of the comedy duo, Tim and Eric, Tim Heidecker will be appearing at The Bell House in Brooklyn, August 22nd-26th.

In addition to this performance, you can also see Bill Burr at Forest Hills Stadium on August 10th. 

If you feel like taking a trip to Atlantic City, you'll also have an opportunity to see either Amy Schumer on August 6th.

TIP: Don't forget that there are tours of both Radio City Music Hall and Madison Square Garden, each of them included on at least one New York City Tourist Pass.


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.

The new Summit One Vanderbilt is open on weekends till midnight, otherwise till 7pm (19:00).

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. See an Outdoor Movie

New York City is full of magical views and lights. Where better to relax than with seeing a movie with a view?

Every Thursday in August you can see a free movie as part of Brooklyn Bridge Park's series Movies with a View.

Movies start at sunset, but if you want a good spot, plan on arriving when the lawn opens at 6 pm.

  • Jurassic Park | August 4th
  • Thelma and Louise | August 11th
  • The Mitchells vs. The Machines | August 18th
  • Public Choice/TBD | August 25th

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.

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.


Enjoy Free Music in Bryant Park

In 2022 Bryant Park presents Picnic Performances.

The August the announced shows are:

  • TBD | August 5th
  • New York City Opera: La traviata | August 12th
  • Rafiq Bhatia and Ian Chang | August 19th
  • Esraa Warda, Firas Zreik, Yacine Boularès, and AJOYO | August 28th
  • Eighth Blackbird Celebrates John Cage | August 29th

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.

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Charlie Parker Jazz Festival in Harlem

This annual free event, now in it's 30th year, offers the public three evenings of free music featuring the music of jazz legend Charlie Parker.

In Marcus Garvey Park

On August 26th, you can see Jazzmeia Horn and Her Noble Force as well as Calvin Booker on Tap & Friends.

On August 27th, Terence Blanchard featuring the E-Collective and Turtle Island, Buster Williams & Something More, Nikara Presents Black Wall Street, Vuyo Sotashe

In Tompkins Square Park

On August 28th, you'll find Archie Shepp and Jason Moran, Melissa Aldana, Bria Skonberg, and Pasquale Grasso

For more details click here.

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


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.

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


Summer Streets

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.

2022 dates and events have not been posted yet, but their website says details should be coming 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! They haven't release the 2022 lineup yet, but check out the 2021 schedule to see what kinds of artists perform.

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.


For More Free Things to Do

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


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.


Walk over the Brooklyn Bridge 

The Brooklyn Bridge can be walked over 24 hours a day, although we definitely do not recommend you taking 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.

It runs Tuesdays, 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 on the Waterfront - Many of the parks around NYC host nightly, outdoor screenings of famous films -- all of which are free!
  • 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.

For even more choices see our New York City Summer Guide.


Free Outdoor Concerts 

There are numerous free, outdoor concerts in NYC all summer.

Summerstage in Central Park

Every year, this annual festival in Central Park draws famous and talented performers. Some concerts are held in Harlem and some in Coney Island.

Most performances are free and the few concerts that require tickets are benefit shows to raise money to keep the festival free.

Celebrate Brooklyn!

This annual festival of free concerts is held at the Bandshell in Prospect Park in Park Slope.

Opening night of the 2022 season is June 11th and it runs through August 6th. You can see the impressive line-up here.

Click here for even more options.


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!

Learn more about the High Line, with our guide to the High Line or our GPS audio 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 9:00 pm (21:00).

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.

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


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 Sightseeing Pass.


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 Hudson River Park

There are always activities going on in Hudson River Park.

In August 2022 you can take your children to a Hudson RiverKids! event. Twice a week there are family-friendly activies and live entertainment. There may even me dancing involved at times!

There are also free concerts, the chance to fish (catch and release), and much more. Visit their page for a schedule of events.

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 (July 18th-August 21st, 2022) isn't just for adults. Our kid-friendly recommendations are:

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!

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.

Bill's Bar & Burger

This family-friendly restaurant located in Rockefeller Center serves both classic burgers that kids will love and burgers with a twist for daring adults. Wash it all down with a thick milkshake!

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


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.


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About The Author

Courtney

Courtney is a lifelong New Yorker fascinated with the city’s history, culture and cuisine. She loves exploring the world, as well as sharing her travel expertise with others. She joined the Free Tours by Foot team in 2011, first as a guide and then as a writer. She has a law degree, a teaching degree and a worn-out passport. Her motto is “Have backpack, will travel”.
Updated: November 10th, 2022
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