Events and Things to Do In NYC in July

This post covers things to do in New York City in July, including a top 10 list, family-friendly activities, things to do at night, and free events, updated for 2021.

Check out our master post on things to do in NYC for year-round ideas.

 


TOP 10 EVENTS AND THINGS TO DO IN JULY

This section will feature our top 10 activities to enjoy in New York City throughout July. 

Several of the items below are already included for free with the purchase of a tourist attraction discount pass.

For tips on the most popular activities in NYC, check out the following posts:


1. Eat Some Iconic New York City Foods

If you want to know where you can taste many of the classic NYC foods let us take you to all the best places!

For example, our Greenwich Village Food Tour hits up two pizza joints, both considered among the best in the city.

Greenwich Village Food Tour YT

We have several pay-what-you-wish food tours so you can try many of the treats of the city.

Plus our food tours are very family-friendly so consider joining one if you are traveling with kids.


2. Get out on the Water

New York City is surrounded by water so there are so many ways to get out there and enjoy the cool breeze and the amazing views.

You can choose between single-ride tourist boats, hop-on-hop-off tickets, speedboats, and sailboats. There are also nighttime rides and dinner and music cruises.

TIP:  If you are on a budget, there are also free boat rides and tours, including the Staten Island Ferry.


3. Take a Walking Tour

July is a perfect month to walk around New York. People are out and about and the city is at its liveliest.

Our tours are free to join and operate on a pay-what-you-like basis, which means you decide what a tour was worth or what you could afford (even free) when the tour is over.

Harlem Walking Tour Video

We also offer self-guided and GPS-led audio tours of every neighborhood that you will likely visit as a tourist in NYC.

Check out our homepage or look at our schedule to see what we have available when you are here.


4. Take a Virtual Tour of NYC

In response to the pandemic, we have begun to offer a lot of new virtual walking tours in New York City and other locations around the world.

Midtown Manhattan Video Tour

We’re currently offering the following digital outings in NYC:

Each tour includes a plethora of information about various notable areas in New York, and our tour guides make sure to keep things fun and interesting.

If you want, you can even leave your tour guide a tip!


5. Go to a Sports Event 

Two major sports in NYC in July are baseball and soccer.  

Baseball 

For a different perspective on this all-American sport, consider taking a tour of Yankee Stadium! These tours are popular and get great reviews. 

Soccer (Football)

Both NYC soccer teams are playing in July. Get tickets here for the New York City Football Club or the New York Red Bulls.

Going to a sports event is a fun way to spend a night out in NYC. For more nighttime activity ideas, see the things to do at night section below.

NOTE: The MLB currently has plans to allow only a limited number of people into the stadium in 2021 to prevent the spread of Covid-19. 

Because of this policy, it will be important to get your tickets well in advance if you want to attend a game. 

New York Travel Tips and Hacks

6. See a Concert

Music is all around in July! You can hear diverse music in a variety of settings — from iconic Madison Square Garden to the outdoor Jones Beach Amphitheater.

If you are on a budget or just want to see as much music as possible, see the free section below as summer is filled with many free concerts.

If you’re not interested in any of these shows, check this list of concerts in NYC in June for even more live musical performances to attend.

NOTE: Some of these concerts might be either postponed or canceled due to the pandemic, but they are currently still scheduled to take place in 2021.


7. Enjoy a Broadway Show

Although a lot of Broadway theatrical performances have been cancelled in recent months in response to the pandemic, there are still some pretty great shows scheduled in July.

Here are a few of the most notable shows to see this month:

Find out what else is playing while you are in NYC.

To see how to get discount tickets, read our post How to Get Cheap Broadway Tickets.

NOTE: Although these shows are currently scheduled for July, they might be canceled, postponed, or offer only limited seating due to the pandemic. Please plan accordingly.


8. See a Free Performance of Shakespeare in the 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 2021 season features Merry Wives from July 5th – August 29th.

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. 

NOTE: They are planning a triumphant return of Shakespeare in the Park for the summer of 2021.


9. Grab a Bite During Restaurant Week 

Starting in July, hundreds of restaurants in New York City begin to celebrate an event known as Restaurant Week.

During this time period, a two-course lunch will cost $26 and a 3-course dinner will be $42. These prices are fantastic for the quality of the food you will enjoy.

For more details, take a look at our post about Restaurant Week. And consider taking one of our free food tours.

NOTE: This event will return in 2021, but it will be done by delivery to prevent the spread of Covid-19.


10.  Attend the New York E-Prix Race

This two-day race car event features electric vehicles traveling at insane speeds around difficult tracks. This year, it takes place in Brooklyn.

This is suited for both adults and children. If you are traveling with kids, there is a special immersive fan festival for kids called Allianz E-Village.

Tickets range from $55-$85 per person. Click here for more details.

NOTE: This event is currently scheduled for July 10th, 2021. It might be canceled due to the pandemic, but there is no indication of any such plan.


BONUS: Get a Tourist Attraction Discount Pass

tourist discount pass affords you discounted entry into most of NYC’s most popular attractions.

While the passes themselves certainly aren’t free, if you plan your itineraries well, you will end up getting one or two attractions for free each day.

New York City Passes

There are several different types of passes, so be sure to read our comparison post to learn about how you can save the most money on your trip.

 


FREE THINGS TO DO IN JULY

Below are just a handful of the hundreds of free things you can do during July in NYC.

In the other sections of this post, you can find more free activities, like seeing Shakespeare in the Park, stargazing on the High Line Park, or taking a walking tour, so be sure to read this post in its entirety. 

For year-round free things to do see our comprehensive post about free things to do in NYC as well as our list of free NYC attractions.


Celebrate Independence Day 

There are several great places to enjoy the 4th of July and see the amazing Macy’s fireworks show.  

Check out our post on where to see the Macys fireworks display.


Hear Broadway Showtunes in Bryant Park

Every summer, a special series called Broadway in Bryant Park gives the public an opportunity to get a taste of Broadway for free.

This years’ performances have yet to be announced. If you miss these performances, find out how to get discount tickets for Broadway shows here.

NOTE: This event has yet to be announced for 2021.


See a Good Morning America Concert

For early birds, you can see some of the best artists and bands in Central Park every Friday at 7 am. 

The series runs from May through August. The 2021 line-up has not yet been announced, but rest assured there will be some major stars playing. 

Click here for more details. And see our post about VIP Tickets!

NOTE: This event has yet to be announced for 2021.


Watch a Free Outdoor Movie Screening

During the summer, there are dozens of free movie screenings held outdoors at locations all over NYC. 

Several of the series are for families and kids specifically.

To find out about all the series, see our New York City Summer Guide

NOTE: This event has yet to be scheduled for 2021.


Attend Lincoln Center Out of Doors

Starting in late July and running through mid-August, Lincoln Center hosts several free outdoor shows including musical acts, spoken word artists, and professional dancing.

See their events page for details on dates and performances.

To see behind the scenes of this world-renowned performance space, you can take a Lincoln Center Tour.

NOTE: There are not currently any events scheduled for Lincoln Center: Out of Doors in 2021, but that could change soon. Keep an eye on their events page for more details.


Experience Manhattanhenge

During Manhattanhenge, the sunset aligns with the east-west streets and the buildings on either side seem to perfectly frame the sun.

This event takes place in 2021 on July 11th – 12th, and you can see it pretty well from the following streets 

  • 14th street, 23rd street, 34th street, 42nd street

TIP: If you watch from 42nd Street, you can also visit Grand Central, which is just as mesmerizing as Manhattanhenge!


Celebrate Bastille Day 

Sunday, July 14th is France’s version of our Independence Day. All over the city, you can find events celebrating this French holiday. 

Most events are free. Some are family-friendly. You can eat French food at street fairs, see stage performances, live music, and more. 

Click here for a full list of Bastille Day activities.


Get Free Tickets with A Tourist Discount Pass

Admittedly, these passes have a cost.  However, if you plan well, you will essentially get several tickets to attractions or tours each day for free.

Tourist discount passes work by bundling multiple tickets into one price, usually between 20%-50% the retail price.   

Read our post comparing the different tourist discount passes

Several bus tour companies, including hop-on-hop-off buses, also offer discounts and deals.

For year-round free things to do see our comprehensive post about free things to do in NYC as well as our list of free NYC attractions.

 


THINGS TO DO AT NIGHT

This section contains ideas of things to do after dark in NYC in July. 

Don’t forget to check our other sections for things to do like going to Shakespeare in the Park, seeing a concert or Broadway show, or going to a baseball game. 

Be sure to check out our master post on things to do at night in NYC as well as our list of late-open attractions.
 


Take a Night Tour

One of the best times to take a walking tour is after the sun goes down when it starts to get cooler outside.

We offer pay-what-you-like night walking tours of picturesque locations. Here are a few tours to consider:

Make sure to read our post on New York City walking tours for more information. 


See a Free Concert at Central Park’s Summerstage

Summerstage is a summer series of free performances with a diverse line up of music everything from afro-punk, Latin jazz, soul, hip-hop, avant-garde, and good old rock and roll. 

They also have stand-up comedy, dance performances and sometimes Broadway musical performances. Most of the concerts are free or low cost.

Check our Summerstage guide for a list of performers.

NOTE: This event has been taken digital for 2021 and you can watch it live from SummerStageAnywhere.org.


Enjoy a Night Cruise

There are many ways to enjoy an evening on the water. There is no shortage of excellent night cruises offered at night.

You can see what is available by reading our post about NYC boat tours.

For a free ride, take the Staten Island Ferry. For just a few dollars you can take the East River Ferry


Go Stargazing 

On Tuesday nights in July, the Amateur Astronomers Association of New York brings high-powered telescopes to the High Line Park where you can get a free peek at the cosmos!

Find out more information here.

While you are there, use our guide to the High Line to learn more about this innovative and unique park.  

You might like to try one of our tour guide-led walking tours.

We also have a GPS-enabled audio tour of the High Line and a High Line self-guided tour.  


Hear Live Music at the Museum of Modern Art

On Sundays in July, the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) has free concerts in their beautiful sculpture garden. This series, known as Summergarden, is free, though space is limited so go early.

The Sculpture Garden opens at 7:00 pm, concerts start at 8:00 pm and the garden closes at 10:00 pm. The museum is not open during these hours.

MoMA is a fantastic museum and you should consider visiting it during their open hours.

They have free hours on Fridays from 4 pm-8 pm. Find out more here. For other free museums, see our post here.

NOTE: This event has yet to be scheduled for 2021.


See a Free Outdoor Movie 

There are multiple free movie series held outdoors throughout the city all summer long.

Our New York City Summer Guide has a complete listing of all the free movie series during the summer months.

The Summer on the Hudson series is just one outdoor movies series. It is typically held in Riverside Park South.

NOTE: Outdoor movies have yet to be announced in 2021, likely due to regulations for preventing the spread of Covid-19.


Get a Drink at a Rooftop Bar

If you’re looking for a way to enjoy incredible views of the NYC skyline, check out one of the best rooftop bars in NYC.

If you visit at the right time, you can catch the sunset and watch as all the lights turn on in New York.


Come Out & Play! After Dark

This new annual event called After Dark transforms the streets in a location in a certain neighborhood into an arcade of sorts, with technology-enabled live-action games. 

Come Out & Play typically takes place on a date in late July from 7 pm to 10 pm, Manhattan Bridge Archway Plaza in DUMBO, Brooklyn.

It’s a party for grown-ups that is a companion to the daytime kids’ Come Out & Play! listed below in the kids’ section.

Note: After Dark players must be 18 or older.

See their website for details.

Be sure to check out our master post on things to do at night in NYC as well as our list of late-open attractions.

NOTE: This event has not been scheduled for 2021 as of yet.

 


FAMILY-FRIENDLY EVENTS

Below are just a few activities for the family in July.

There are others throughout this entire post, such as seeing a baseball game, going to Coney Island and watching the fireworks on the 4th of July. Be sure to read the whole post for more ideas!
 

This video is for things to do with kids any time of year.

 

Check out our posts Top 10 Things to Do with Kids in New York City, our 3-day itinerary for families and our list of over 100 things to do in New York City with dozens of kid-friendly activities.


SummerStage Family Day in Central Park

This annual event, taking place on July 14th, is part of the larger famous annual free concert series called Summerstage.

This year’s theme is Americana and will feature performances by two bands, Railroad Earth (a bluegrass-infused jam band) and Ranky Tanky (southern jazz-influenced band).

There will also be a performance by the PuppetMobile. The fun begins at 3:30 pm. See here for more information.

NOTE: As with all things Summerstage, this event may go entirely digital in 2021. Check SummerStageAnywhere.org for more details.


Come Out & Play!

This annual family day festival has taken place in locations like DUMBO in Brooklyn in late July.

From 1 pm- 5 pm, there will be street games specially designed for families and kids of all ages. 

See their website for details.

NOTE: This event has yet to be scheduled or announced for 2021.


See a Free Movie on the Intrepid Aircraft Carrier

During the summer months, you can usually see at least one movie on the flight deck of the Intrepid as part of the Intrepid Museum’s Summer Movie Series.

The Intrepid Sea, Air, and Space Museum is a very interactive and engaging attraction perfect for curious children and adults.

Find out about discounted tickets here. The Museum is also included in several New York Tourist Passes. 

NOTE: This event has yet to be scheduled or announced for 2021, but that may change soon. Keep an eye on their events calendar for more details.


Celebrate City of Water Day

Every summer, the Waterfront Alliance hosts City of Water Day. Their goal is to “get people to, on, and in the water”. The festival is at the South Street Seaport at Pier 16.

Activities include kayaking, paddleboarding, boat tours and more. Most activities are free, though the boat tours require a reservation.

If you aren’t here for the event, you can still get out on the water for free. Find out how from our post on free boat rides in NYC.

NOTE: This event has yet to be announced for 2021, but they did eventually host it in 2020, so there’s a good chance it will happen again this year.


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

 

 


Watch the Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest

The biggest and most famous hot dog eating contest in the world, Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest, takes place in Coney Island on July 4th. 

There are loads of fun activities at Coney Island, so read our post about Coney Island to find out about the things to do like visit Luna Park.

TIP: Tickets to Luna Park are included with the New York Sightseeing Pass, the New York Pass, and the Explorer Pass.


Family-Friendly Free Movies Outdoors

Hudson River Park hosts a special event called RiverFlicks each summer allowing families to see a movie by the river.

Each of these films will be free to come and enjoy, but the location where they are shown will change from one week to the next.  

NOTE: This event went digital for 2020, and there’s a chance it will stay that way in 2021.


T. rex: The Ultimate Predator

This ongoing exhibit at the American Museum of Natural History (AMNH) should be very engaging for your children.

It includes a virtual reality experience, fossils, life-size models, and interactive elements, life-size models, and fossils.

To see what discounts and special deals are available, see our post about visiting the American Museum of Natural History


Enjoy Restaurant Week With the Kids

If you read above about Restaurant Week, you may wonder if any restaurants are good for children’s taste-buds?

Here are two very special restaurants that are ideal for families and kids:

Sarabeth’s West – comfort food on the Upper West Side just a few blocks away from the American Museum of Natural History.

Tavern on the Green  – this iconic New York restaurant is located in Central Park. Fun Fact: It was the location of a scene in Ghostbusters!

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

Find more activities from our post of over 100 things to do with kids in NYC.

NOTE: This event will be done by delivery in 2021.

 


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About the author

Stephen is the CEO of Free Tours by Foot and has overseen the transformation of a local walking tour company into a global tour community and traveler’s advice platform. He has personally led thousands of group tours in the US and Europe, and is an expert in trip planning and sightseeing, with a focus on budget travelers.

Stephen has been published and featured in dozens of publications including The Wall Street Journal, BBC, Yahoo, Washington.org, and more.