NYC definitely comes to life during warmer weather. People are out and about and enjoying life. Summer in NYC is filled with events and activities that can go late into the night (or even into the early morning hours). Just be sure to keep yourself hydrated because NYC can get very hot and humid.
Our Absolute 34 Things to do in Summer in New York City
You’ll pretty much find things to do in the different neighborhoods such as Midtown, SoHo or DUMBO. With so many summer events in NYC, we’ve curated this list to the best 33. What is New York City like in the summer? Find out in this article!
Most popular tours & activities during summertime in New York
Enjoy the view at one of NYC’s many rooftop barsRooftop Bar in DumboOur Highlight
For us, being at a rooftop bar in NYC in the summer is one of the best ways to enjoy the city. There’s a lot of them around this enormous metropolis. Our favorites are the Gallow Green Rooftop Bar, and because of the view of the Empire State Building, we also recommend the 230 Fifth Rooftop Bar. Another highlight is the Westlight NYC in Brooklyn and if you want to an amazing view of the Brooklyn Bridge, Manhattan Bridge, and the Manhattan skyline, then the rooftop bar at the 1 Hotel Brooklyn is an exceptional choice. You’re definitely flushed with options.
My tip: Here you can find the 43 Best Rooftop Bars in New York
Take an NYC boat tourCruise in Battery Park CityOur Highlight
Living in NYC, we know how awesome it is to take a boat tour. With the hot summer weather, some summer activities can just be way too hot to move. Sometimes it’s just nice to hop onto a boat and feel the breeze while taking in the city views. Even though The East River, Hudson River, and the harbor are usually busy, it can also be very calming. Here, you’ll have many options.
You can either take the free Staten Island Ferry, or one of the many boat tours that are included in the sightseeing passes (this is an easy way to save up to 70% on tickets and tours, here you can compare all New York City Passes). Or, you can sail to the Statue of Liberty.
Bryant Park Film FestivalOther Attraction in Midtown Manhattan
One of the best things to do in July in New York is visiting the free Bryant Park Film Festival and picnic performances in Bryant Park. In the heart of Manhattan, people gather in the summer months with blankets and chairs they’ve brought themselves to relax at the outdoor movie theater and concerts by the New York Philharmonics. Bryant Park is just under a 5 minute walk from Times Square, surrounded by tall trees, so it’s a bit secluded from the rest, but you’re still in the middle of it all: Awesome!
Visit Governors Island during the SummerOther Attraction in Outside of New York City
It is still one of our favorite things to do in the summer in NYC. Governors Island is amazing during the summer months and it’s super-cheap to reach by ferry – just grab the ferry at the southern tip of Manhattan. Here you can enjoy the view of the Statue of Liberty among the New York locals and just watch the city of New York City in peace.
Here you can find our Best Things to do on Governors Island.
Smorgasburg Food MarketFood Market in Williamsburg
The Smorgasburg Food Market in Williamsburg is one of the best open-air food markets in New York City. It’s a place where people meet up in the warmer months to eat, drink and enjoy the view of the Manhattan skyline along the East River waterfront. If you can’t make it out to the Smorgasburg, no worries. There are other food markets that you can check out in NYC.
Rock yourself on a shipSea Food Restaurant in DumboOur Highlight
Ok, so you don’t really go anywhere on this ship, but right on Pier 25, you will find the Grand Banks. It’s a restaurant, that is also a boat. And yes, it rocks with the waves. With a glass of wine in hand and relaxing music, you can look down the Hudson River to the Statue of Liberty. Also, it’s new sister ship, Pilot Brooklyn is located in another spot, but is very similar to Grand Banks.
Honorable William WallCruise in Lower ManhattanOur Highlight
This is my discovery of the summer in New York – the floating boathouse from Manhattan Sailing Club! It is called Honorable William Wall and is located right next to Ellis Island. Especially in the evening, when you look at the illuminated Manhattan, it is just sensational here.
This is my review (AWESOME!) of the Honorable William Wall.
Discover New York from an observation deckBuilding in Hudson YardsOur Highlight
This should be a part of any New York experience: visiting one of the world famous observation decks and observatories in New York! You can choose between Empire State Building, The Edge Hudson Yards, Top of the Rock, One World Observatory and the brand-new One Vanderbilt.
Want to know more? Check out our article about the 9 Best Observation Desks New York!
Enjoy the New York Philharmonic Concerts in the ParksOther Art & Culture in Midtown Manhattan
Do you want to listen to relaxing classical music in the evening? That’s not a problem. Summer concerts in NYC of this kind are held in virtually every part of the city. If there are suitable concerts during your travel time, make sure to check them out.
Pizza Wine Movie Nights at Rooftop RedsOther Attraction in DumboOur Highlight
On a roof of the Brooklyn Navy Yards you can sit in a real winery: Rooftop Reds grows wine here, which you can taste and enjoy at their Rooftop Red Tours & Tastings!
During summer you can watch movies with a view of the skyline and a glass of wine in your hand. Tickets are available here.
Visit one of the summer festivals in NYCOther Attraction in Tribeca
In 2002, Robert De Niro and producer Jane Rosenthal created the Tribeca Film Festival to bring life back to the neighborhood near Ground Zero. New York City suffered greatly from the attacks of September 11, 2001, and De Niro’s intention in creating the festival was to help New Yorkers out of this deep-seated depression and give them reason to celebrate again. The Tribeca Film Festival has grown over the years, and now all the big names from the film industry show up each spring. There are many associated events like short film presentations, film premiers, and various awards.
But this is just one of the amazing summer concerts and summer festivals you can choose from!
Here you can find my complete list of summer festivals in NYC this year!!
Get A Scoop of the Best Ice Cream in New YorkIce Cream in NoHo
Wasabi, ginger, corn, and black sesame may not sound like ice cream flavors, but somehow Sundaes and Cones make it work! Sundaes and Cones have been one of the most famous ice cream shops NYC for the past two decades. Customers have loyally lined up to try their new and innovative flavors for years. They even make beautiful ice cream cakes for every occasion. If you go in the winter, make sure to try their gooey hot fudge sundae for a chocolatey treat.
My tip: Here you find the best ice cream shops in NYC.
Eat delicious BBQ in New YorkBBQ in WilliamsburgOur Highlight
American Museum of Natural HistoryMuseum in Upper West Side
The American Museum of Natural History is one of the more popular museums in NYC. If the name sounds recognizable it’s because the museum was the center of attention in the movie, Night at the Museum featuring Ben Stiller. Regardless of it’s Hollywood fame, the Natural History Museum is a huge institution that features numerous exhibits. This is a great place for families with kids so they can learn about the world’s geography, plants, different animal species and many other things.
The American Museum of Natural History is located in the Upper West Side in Manhattan and is the largest natural history museum in the world.
Marvel at the fireworks of the 4th of JulyCruise in Lower East Side
July 4 is Independence Day is one of the most important events in the US. The fourth of July in NYC is a pretty big celebration. There are fireworks in different parts of the city. In our 4th of July article, you’ll find everything you need to know in regards to Independence Day.
Manhattanhenge: Experience a very special summer event in NYCOther Events in Midtown Manhattan
Twice a year, the sun sets at a specific angle. The streets and avenues of New York are set up as a grid. During this time, the sun will align perfectly in between the skyscrapers. This phenomenon is called Manhattanhenge and can be observed in May and July. Do not miss out on this one. What’s even just as astonishing is how many people show up and take pictures of this special occasion.
Enjoy the Lincoln Center Festival – one of the best summer festivals in NYC!Building in Upper West Side
The Lincoln Center Festival is one of the most celebrated and popular festivals of the year. The extraordinary festival usually shows works and performances of the most renowned artists from all over the world in three weeks.
Free Kayaking on the Hudson River & East RiverPier in Dumbo
This is a really cool event that can be booked several times a month: discover New York from the water – and even better: from a kayak! You can start at the Manhattan Community Boathouse (Pier 96 at the Hudson River) or at the Brooklyn Bridge Park between Pier 1 and Pier 2 (every Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday until the end of August).
Enjoy a game of baseball featuring The New York Yankees or the MetsSport Events in Bronx
We’ve been pretty lucky three times when it comes to baseball games. Compared to many other sporting events in New York, the tickets for baseball games are relatively cheap and therefore also for families which is a great thing. You may even experience some inner-city rivalry when the New York Yankees play against the New York Mets!
Visit Little IslandOther Attraction in Meatpacking District
Not far from the Meatpacking District and the High Line, Little Island is one of the newest attractions in New York and is something very special: a park on 132 beautiful tulip-shaped concrete stilts in the Hudson River.
Besides the view, you can visit various events and art exhibitions (every day except Tuesday). Click here for the Little Island event calendar.
Shakespeare in the ParkOther Art & Culture in Upper West Side
At the Delacorte Theater you can see one of the most famous plays in the world in Central Park. Sounds crazy? Well, it is in New York! In recent years, some stars have made it to the stage as well. Stop by and you might see Meryl Streep, Kevin Kline, Al Pacino, Blythe Danner, George C. Scott or Denzel Washington.
Find out more about the Shakespeare in the Park event in New York and the current dates here.
End the evening at a wine barBar in Greenwich Village
Having a fresh glass of white wine in one of the city’s many wine bars (many have small tables outside, kind of like Paris) is something we really enjoy doing. It is easy to start a conversation with anyone since you’ll most likely be surrounded by New Yorkers. Even though it is late in the evening, it’s still nice and warm out. The experience is simply terrific.
Our favorite wine bars are La Compagnie des Vins Surnaturels in SoHo, Corkbuzz in Union Square and The Four Horsemen in Williamsburg. These are just some of the many little spots we love the city for.
Take a trip to the HamptonsDay Trip in Long Island City
The Hamptons are a very popular destination to take a day trip from New York and has a very special flair. We’ve seen the Hamptons already in the winter and in the summer. It’s truly a total counterpart to the hustle and bustle of New York City. Especially Sag Harbor, it exudes a relaxed calming environment that is extremely contagious. The small town is almost 300 years old and is surrounded by greenery, the sea, and great beaches. The Hamptons are so worth the trip in the summer and high on my list of things to do in the summer in NYC.
Enjoy the best ice cream in the cityIce Cream in West Village
Unfortunately, the Brooklyn Ice Cream Factory right next to the Brooklyn Bridge, what was, which we thought was the best ice cream in NYC, is not there anymore. However, there are still some creative and tasty spots in New York where you can get your hands on some amazing ice cream. Our favorites are Big Gay Ice Cream Shop in the East Village and West Village, Ice & Vice and Morgenstern’s Finest Ice Cream in the Lower East Side. Also, make sure to check out Van Leeuwen, which has multiple locations throughout the city.
My tip: These are the best ice cream shops in NYC!
Attend the Museum Mile FestivalMuseum in Upper East SideOur Highlight
The annual Museum Mile Festival gives you free admission to the most popular museums in New York City. The museums stay open longer as well. The section of Fifth Avenue, known as the Museum Mile, houses nine participating museums. They are El Museo del Barrio, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Cooper-Hewitt, the Jewish Museum, the National Academy Museum, the Neue Galerie, the Museum of the City of New York and the Africa Center.
Visitors can enjoy countless outdoor activities to the exciting art in the museums. In addition, to live music and artistic highlights, there is always something for everyone. The Museum Mile Festival is a real highlight for culture enthusiasts and perfect for families with children.
My tip: Here you find our 36 Absolute Best Museums in NYC.
Jazz at Pier 84Pier in Hell's Kitchen
Every second Wednesday in July, the concert series “Jazz at Pier 84” takes place – New York and jazz are a combination that I personally like a lot. You sit at the Hudson River and the best part? It’s even free because it’s a project of Hudson River Park and the Jazz Foundation of America.
To see exactly which act will be at Pier 84 in New York at the time of your trip, check out the event calendar.
Head to the beach!Other Attraction in Coney Island & Brighton Beach
Where is the beach in New York? New York City and beaches? Yes exactly! It’s pretty awesome to wake up early in the city, spend the whole day on the beach and be back in the middle of the busy metropolis in the evening. To get to the beach is super-relaxed and not expensive at all. With the new New York Ferry, you can go to Long Island for only $3. You start at the East River (Pier 15), past Governors Island and then straight to the beach. Coney Island is also worth checking out.
Travel through New York City in the Summer via JetskiOther Tours in Outside of New York City
If you take a jet ski tour, you will be guided along many of New York’s famous landmarks. A guide is always there and brings you to the spots where you have the best view. The jet skis can go really fast (up to 55 mph) and you just cruise through the water. It’s fun, and action is definitely guaranteed. Just make sure to be careful. There are several providers of these tours, take a look at Sea the City Jet Ski, Jetty Jumpers or Rockaway Jetski!
Gay Pride ParadeOther Art & Culture in Greenwich Village
Once a year, the Gay Pride Parade takes place in New York and is the most popular LGBT event (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender). New York shines in the colors of the rainbow during almost the entire month of June, and every corner (especially in areas around Chelsea and the West Village) dons the rainbow flag.
Explore the city by bikeBike Tour in Midtown Manhattan
New York has always been a true bicycle city. The city bike program, Citi Bike makes it easier for people to access a bike. There are many bike paths within the city and designated bike lanes as well. Just grab a bike at one of the many stations (there are over 800) and ride along the Hudson River, for example. It only takes about 30 minutes from Central Park to Battery Park – and if you need a break or stop, the Hudson River Park is perfect for that!
Find a hotel with a poolHotels & Accommodations in Williamsburg
Lying by the pool during the summer in NYC while looking at the city skyline is an absolute luxury. If you have the budget, make sure to stay at the Gansevoort Hotel in the Meatpacking District, The Dominick in SoHo or even the new 1 Hotel Brooklyn Bridge in DUMBO. The latter even has a rooftop bar.
My tip: these are the best hotels with pool in NYC.
Cool off at these indoor activities!Museum in Upper West Side
Is it too hot? During the summer in New York, most buildings are air-conditioned which can be a nice change from the heat. That’s what one of the many museums in New York is all about! Also very popular are the Escape Rooms, where you’re “trapped” inside a room, and must work with your team members to solve clues in order to get out. Another great thing to do when it’s too hot is to go shopping! Of course, we have also prepared a suitable shopping guide for New York.
Go attend and party at the many festivals in NYCOther Events in Governors Island
Summer is the season for festivals and you have a lot of choices. There’s Pinknic, Governor’s Ball, Electric Zoo, Summer Jam, and The Meadows Music and Arts Festival – just to name a few. And here you can find the best summer festivals in NYC.
Head down the shoreOther Attraction in Jersey City
Don’t miss out on the amazing things to do down the Jersey Shore in the summer. A little over an hour away by car, the Jersey Shore offers beautiful beaches, great restaurants by the water, adventures, fun boardwalks, nightlife and stunning state parks such as the Island Beach State Park. One of our favorite areas to spend time in is Asbury Park. The vibrant crowds, the history of the town and the many really cool bars are making the trip down the shore even more worth it.
Off to the city's parks: Brooklyn Bridge Park, Prospect Park & Central ParkPark in Dumbo
Just below the Brooklyn Bridge is the infamous Brooklyn Bridge Park. Just like Brooklyn Heights, it offers a stunning view of the Manhattan skyline. It also offers tons of green space, fields, and courts. At Central Park, you can either walk around, just relax in the many green spaces or you can rent a boat and go around the lake. Prospect Park is pretty much Brooklyn’s version of Central Park. There’s a lot of green space and many things to do there in the summer.
My tip: These are the best parks in NYC.
If you want to visit several observations deck, attraction and tours in New York, check out the New York sightseeing passes. You can save up to 60% on the ticket price!
To find out which New York Pass is the best for you, check out my New York Pass Comparison.