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 2023.
Check out our master post on things to do in NYC for year-round ideas.
TOP 10 ACTIVITIES AND ATTRACTIONS
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:
Keep in mind that the 4th of July is a public holiday and some activities may be affected that day.
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.
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.
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. Get a Tourist Attraction Discount Pass
A 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.
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.
5. Go to a Sports Event
In July in New York City baseball and soccer are king.
For a different perspective on this all-American sport, consider taking a tour of Yankee Stadium! These tours are popular and get great reviews.
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.
6. Attend 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.
- Luke Bryan | July 6th | Wantagh
- Rebelution | July 6th
- Counting Crows | July 6th, 8th | Wantagh
- Garbage/Noel Gallagher | July 10th
- Shania Twain | July 11th
- Barenaked Ladies | July 12th
- Gladys Knight | July 16th
- Drake | July 17th, 18th, 20th, 23rd, 25th
- Dave Matthews Band | July 18th, 19th | Holmdel/Wantagh
- Thomas Rhett/Cole Swindell/Nate Smith | July 22nd | Elmont
- Billy Joel | July 24th
- Dierks Bentley | July 27th
- Beyonce | July 29th, 30th | East Rutherford
Festivals and Group Tours
- Sad Summer Festival | July 14th | Holmdel, NJ | Featuring: Taking Bank Sunday, The Maine, PVRIS, and more
- Happy Together Tour | July 27th | Red Bank, NJ | Featuring: The Turtles, Little Anthony, Gary Puckett, and more
Check this list of concerts in NYC in July for even more live musical performances.
7. Enjoy 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 of the most notable shows to see this month
- The Lion King
- The Book of Mormon
- MJ the Musical
- Six the Musical
- Moulin Rouge
- Sweeney Todd
Find out what else is playing in July while you are in NYC.
To see how to get discount tickets, read our post How to Get Cheap Broadway Tickets.
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 2023 season features Hamlet from June 8th- August 6th. *No performances on July 4th as this is a national holiday.
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.
9. Visit an Observation Deck
Since the weather will probably be nice, this is an excellent time of year to get a good view of New York City from the top of an observation deck.
The Edge is one of the newest and tallest sky decks in NYC.
At 100 stories high, this location definitely offers one of the best and most unforgettable views in the entire city.
Here are a few other locations you might want to visit as well:
Keep in mind that most of these attractions are included with multiple New York tourist passes.
For more information about observation decks in New York, read our post covering which NYC observation deck is best.
10. See the Romeo and Juliet Ballet
In July the American Ballet Theatre brings Romeo and Juliet to the Metropolitan Opera.
The ballet is, of course, based on William Shakespeare's tragic love story.
Shows take place from July 18th-22nd, and tickets can be purchased here.
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 (4th of July)
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.
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 July through August and will feature such stars as Megan Thee Stallion, Demi Lavato, and the cast of Hamilton.
Click here for more details. And see our post about VIP Tickets!
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 the series and discover more things to do, see our New York City Summer Guide.
Attend Lincoln Summer for the City
From May 15th-August 14th, hundreds of free outdoor and indoor concerts will be taking place, There will be live music, dance performances, and more.
See their Summer for the City website for details on dates and performances.
Note that Lincoln Center also has a Concerts for Kids series as well.
To see behind the scenes of this world-renowned performance space, you can take a Lincoln Center Tour.
During Manhattanhenge, the sunset aligns with the east-west streets and the buildings on either side seem to perfectly frame the sun.
Image by Andreas H. from Pixabay
This event takes place in 2023 on July 12th (full sun) and 13th (half sun).
You can see it pretty well from the following east-west thoroughfares:
- 14th Street
- 23rd Street
- 34th Street
- 42nd Street
- 57th Street
It can also be viewed from Tudor City Overpass in Manhattan and Hunter's Point South Park in Long Island City, Queens.
TIP: If you watch from 42nd Street, you can also visit Grand Central, which is just as mesmerizing as Manhattanhenge!
Celebrate Bastille Day
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.
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.
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:
- Highline at Sunset
- Central Park at Sunset
- Midtown Manhattan at Night
- 9-11 Memorial/Brooklyn Bridge at Night
Check out our current schedule here.
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 lineup 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.
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.
On Tuesday nights in July, the Amateur Astronomers Association of New York brings high-powered telescopes to High Line Park where you can get a free peek at the cosmos!
Note that Tuesday, July 4th as is a national holiday and the event may be affected.
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 downloadable 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 its beautiful sculpture garden. This series, known as Summergarden, is free. Be sure to go early because space is limited.
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 its 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.
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 movie series. It is typically held in Riverside Park South.
Get a Drink at a Rooftop Bar
If you’re looking for a way to enjoy incredible views of the NYC skyline, check out some 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.
Attend Restaurant Week
Restaurant Week is a twice-yearly event when more than 300 of New York City's best restaurants offer a prix-fixe menu at a low price, relative to their regular prices.
If you dined at some of these restaurants at other times of the year, your entree alone might cost you as much as what you will pay for your entire meal during Restaurant Week.
The summer event usually takes place between mid-July and mid-August.
For more information on how Restaurant Week works and for tips visit our post.
FAMILY-FRIENDLY ACTIVITIES IN JULY
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!
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.
Family Fun in the Park
Throughout the summer SummerStage, one of New York's outdoor performing arts festivals puts on family-friendly activities in the various parks.
Past Events have included the play Little Red's Hood and Wake up, Daisy!, a marionette production about a strong little girl with a vivid imagination.
Visit the Family Fun in the Park page for times and locations.
Visit Little Island
In Hudson River Park, near the Meatpacking District, 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.
See a Free Movie on the Intrepid Aircraft Carrier
During the summer months, you can usually see at least one movie flight deck of the Intrepid as part of the Intrepid Museum’s Summer Movie Series.
On July 28th, 2023 they will be showing the movie Crimson Tide.
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.
For a list of additional events in July, visit Intrepid's Public Events Page.
Celebrate City of Water Day
Every summer, the Waterfront Alliance hosts the City of Water Day. Their goal is to "get people to, on, and in the water".
This year the festival will take place in a number of neighborhoods throughout the five boroughs on July 15, 2023.
Activities include kayaking, paddle boarding, boat tours, and more. Most activities are free, though the boat tours require a reservation.
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.
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.
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 Restaurants With the Kids
If you read about Restaurant Week above, 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.