28 Fun Things To Do In NYC This Summer

With days that last well past 8pm and amazing warm weather, there’s no better time to visit New York City than during the summer months. Expect high temperatures in the mid 80s (high 20s celsius) and daylight from just before 6 am to well after 8pm. Given that you’ll have nearly 15 hours of sunshine to take advantage of, New York City is yours to explore. 

So say goodbye to the short, blustery days of winter, grab your short sleeve shirts and take notes because we’re going to share all the best activities to enjoy when you visit New York City this summer!

Below you’ll find events, festivals, sites, and more throughout NYC that you can enjoy throughout the five boroughs this summer.

My Favorite Fun Things To Do In NYC This Summer

  1. 01

    BRIC Celebrate Brooklyn! Festival: among our fun free things to do in NYC this summer

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    Since its first performances in 1979, the BRIC Celebrate Brooklyn! Festival has been entertaining audiences of New Yorkers and visitors alike. This free festival hosts events all summer long that are a testament to culture and creativity.

    With performances featuring “global music icons, legendary jazz artists, chart-topping indie bands, gravity-defying dance troupes, large-scale film projects” and even VR installations, this Prospect Park Bandshell-based series is a must-see for any NYC summer visit. 

    My tip: these are all summer festivals and concerts in NYC.

  2. 02

    Explore Little Island

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    Located just off the West side of Manhattan between 13th and 14th Streets, the Little Island is a 2.4 acre public park that features a playground, an amphitheater, and stunning views of the Hudson River.

    A beautiful natural oasis, Little Island is also a wonderful spot for families to stop by. A summer highlight for kids of all ages is the Little Island’s Art Cart, a mobile artmaking hub that provides step-by-step DIY activities, as well as the regular Perform In The Park Series of concerts featuring New Yorkers showing off their passions and talents.

    Starting June 7, 2023, Little Island will once again kick off its free summer programming. There will be concerts, art activities for all ages, dance parties and much more throughout the summer. For the full program, visit Little Island’s homepage.

  3. 03

    Definitely fun: Celebrate At The National Puerto Rican Day Parade (June 11, 2023)

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    The National Puerto Rican Day Parade is a grand celebration honoring a culture and a people that have made a significant impact both in New York and in the US.

    This year’s theme, Un Pueblo, Muchas Voces (One Nation, Many Voices), promotes the creativity and diversity of thought in Puerto Rico and across the diaspora. Taking place on 5th Avenue throughout the day on June 11, 2023, this is one of the highlights for any summer visit to New York.

  4. 04

    Get Inspired By The River

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    Taking place each summer in Lower Manhattan, the River to River Festival is a free summer arts festival that features live art performances and public art installations.

    Put on by the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, this event was started after the events of 9/11 as a way to help heal and celebrate New Yorkers’ resiliency. For tourists to New York, this is a moving way to connect with the city and to experience some beautiful, thought-provoking art.

    My tip: These are the best art festivals and art fairs in NYC right now.

  5. 05

    One of the best fun things to do in NYC this summer: Sail to the Statue of Liberty

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    A day sail on this 105-foot schooner is perfect for family outings, dates, and entertaining guests from out of town and locals alike. A sail on America 2.0 is guaranteed to be a memorable experience.

  6. 06

    Have a great time at Honorable William Wall

    Cruise in Lower Manhattan
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    The Honorable William Wall, affectionately called “Willy Wall”, is the floating clubhouse of the Manhattan Yacht Club. The clubhouse is anchored in New York Harbor north of Ellis Island from May to October. What is so special about it? It’s definitely an insider’s spot, which not only gives you a great view of Ellis Island and of course the Statue of Liberty – you can also enjoy the sunset from here.

  7. The 50 Absolute Best Things to Do in New York (90+ pages)

    TOP 50 Things to Do in NYCWe’ve chosen the 50 best spots, events and activities to showcase the full diversity of New York City. Even after more than 20 visits, the city never gets boring for us. And with our recommendations, you’ll have a really good time in New York, too, and you’ll have plenty left for your next visit. If you’re not planning a trip yet, you’re sure to get wanderlust after perusing this list!

  8. 07

    Governors Ball Music Festival (June 9 - 11, 2023)

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    The Governors Ball Music Festival, originally held on Governors Island, will now take place in a new location. Flushing Meadows Corona Park in Queens, with its green lawns and lofty trees, is the perfect location for a festival weekend in the summer. 

    In addition to an exciting lineup with great musicians, GOV BALL also offers a wide selection of food and drinks to suit every taste. With this, nothing can stop you from having an exciting festival weekend in New York!

  9. 08

    A Fun Thing To Do In NYC This Summer: Broadway In Bryant Park

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    When you visit New York during the winter, Broadway can be one of the best ways to take in world-class performances while also taking a bit of a break from the freezing temperatures.

    While Broadway shows are just as amazing during the summer, it’s nice to have a way to enjoy them and still be outside. That’s why Broadway in Bryant Park is such a treat for folks visiting NYC.

    Seeing the biggest hit numbers from on and off Broadway shows while enjoying the fresh air? Sounds like the perfect summer event to us!

  10. 09

    One Vanderbilt Observatory: Enjoy breath-taking views

    Building in Midtown Manhattan
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    The New York City skyline is one of the most famous and recognizable skylines in the world. It’s a city filled with skyscrapers and tall buildings. In most recent years, it has been expanding which made way for new observation decks. The newest observation deck is located at the top of the One Vanderbilt Building and is called The Summit. This deck is the second-highest outdoor deck in NYC which follows the Edge and has been open since October 2021.

  11. 10

    Witness Hot Dog Eating Champions: one of my fun things to do in NYC for this summer

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    There are many ways to celebrate the 4th of July in New York City. For some visitors, the most iconic might be to witness the annual Hot Dog Eating Contest. Sponsored by Nathan’s Famous Hot Dogs, this 10-minute event takes place on Coney Island and features the world’s top competitive eaters.

    With reigning champ Joey Chestnut having just set a world record, will 2023 see him hitting new highs? You’ll have to be there live to see for yourself (and maybe try a hot dog for yourself, too!).

    Get more information here about the legendary Nathan’s Famous International Hot Dog Eating Contest.

  12. 11

    Experience The Magical Manhattanhenge (May 29 & 30 and July 12 & 13)

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    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.

  13. 12

    Celebrate America’s Birthday with NYC 4th Of July Fireworks

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    If you happen to be traveling to New York in early July, make sure to make a note for Tuesday, July 4th. As America’s Independence Day, cities all over the country will be marking the holiday with festivals, community events, and yes, fireworks!

    Macy’s is returning with their annual fireworks show which will take place on Tuesday, July 4 at 9:25pm. To get a good view of the event, you’ll want to head over to the East River early!

    My tip: this is the complete guide to 4th of July in New York and here you find the best 4th of July Cruises!

  14. 13

    A Fun Thing To Do In NYC This Summer For Foodies: Smorgasburg

    Food Market in Midtown Manhattan
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    If there’s one thing there’s no shortage of in New York City, it’s incredible food. So when you combine some of the best, most creative cooks and chefs working with one easy-to-access event, you get Smorgasburg, a weekly open air food market featuring dozens of local vendors.

    Currently operating in Jersey City, Williamsburg, Prospect Park, and at the World Trade Center, there’s likely to be a convenient option for you no matter which part of the city you’re visiting.

  15. 14

    Take Pride In The New York City Pride March

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    Occurring annually each year since 1970, the Pride March is a celebration of diversity, accessibility and inclusion for the LGBTQ+ community. From its tens of thousands of participants and millions of spectators, it is one of the largest Pride marches in the world.

    In addition to the NYC Pride March which happens in June each year, other Pride-related events include Pride Island, PrideFest, Youth Pride, Pride Presents, and more.

  16. 15

    Devour The Queens Night Market

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    Inspired by some of Asia’s impressive, delicious night markets, the Queens International Night Market is an absolute delight. Celebrating the culture diversity and heritage of NYC and Queens, this family-friendly open air market features up to 100 independent vendors selling food, art, and more.

    The 2023 Queens Night Market will take place at the New York Hall of Science at Flushing Meadows Corona Park, Queens.

  17. 16

    Exploring Governor’s Island Had To Be On Our List Fun Things To Do In NYC This Summer

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    Want to take a break from the hustle and bustle of the city? Riding the ferry over to Governor’s Island is a great way to soak in the best of the summer with hiking, running, biking, and more – all in a zone that’s free of cars.

    For just a $4 ferry ride, you can enjoy a full day at Governor’s Island. In addition to the other activities, kayaking is also available – with free kayaking being offered on Saturdays from mid-June through September. There’s also plenty of eating and drinking establishments, so get ready to enjoy craft beers, fresh oysters, and more.

  18. 17

    Take A Stroll Down The High Line

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    There are few parks as unique as the High Line. The elevated freight rail line was repurposed as a public green space that opened in 2009 and now offers amazing views of the city, as well as a place to relax and unwind. Its plant life is based directly off what was growing there while it was abandoned, giving this park a unique and interesting atmosphere! The High Line stretches from The Meatpacking District all the way to Hudson Yards-34th Street.

  19. 18

    Get In The Swing At The 2023 US Open

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    Whether you’re a local New Yorker or visiting from out of town, the buzz around the US Open is one of the best parts of being in New York during the summer. The biggest stars in professional tennis compete at one of the most iconic tennis venues (and the largest tennis stadium in the world), Arthur Ashe Stadium.

    The 2023 tournament starts in late August with qualifying rounds from August 28th. The tournament then plays out for the next few weeks, ending with the finals on September 10th for the women and men, respectively.

  20. 19

    Among The Best Free Fun Things To Do In NYC This Summer: Having A Picnic In Central Park

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    As if you needed another excuse to visit Central Park, Manhattan’s largest public park! Taking a moment with your family to grab lunch and enjoy a breezy afternoon on one of the lovely shaded hills is essential to getting the most out of your New York visit. Plus, with long summer afternoons and warm weather, you could also enjoy a romantic picnic for two.

    From barbecue picnics to custom events, planning a picnic at Central Park is one of the best ways to enjoy the outdoors while still staying within Manhattan.

    My tip: check out my article about the best things to do in Central Park in Summer including the best picnic spots in the park!

  21. 20

    ... Or Enjoy A Picnic With The Philharmonic

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    Looking for an even classier way to enjoy your park picnic? Then you’ll have to check out the New York Philharmonic’s live performances at Concerts in the Park. An annual event since 1965, this is a beautiful way to experience one of the world’s most accomplished orchestras.

    For any classical music fan, being able to experience the NY Phil playing as the sun goes down and the stars come out is likely to be the highlight of your New York city trip.

  22. 21

    Catch An Outdoor Movie At Bryant Park

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    Just as the sun begins to set, it’s time to light up the big screen at Bryant Park. If you’re visiting New York towards the end of August, this is a can’t-miss way to spend a Monday or Tuesday evening.

    With a lineup of cool, classic movies like Clueless, Moulin Rouge, and the Muppets Take Manhattan, there’s plenty for friends and family to enjoy while sitting outside and enjoying the warm summer breezes. And did we mention there’s often some epic celebrity guest surprises? Don’t miss out!

    Check out the upcoming lineup and schedule for yourself here.

  23. 22

    See Shakespeare In The Wild

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    One of New York’s summertime highlights is the staging of Shakespearean plays at the open-air Delacorte Theater. Enjoy the best of the Bard’s wit, storytelling, and dramatic flair in a beautiful setting alongside plenty of passionate theater fans.

    Located in Central Park, these plays are free and the tickets are distributed on the day of the performance. This year’s plays include Richard III and As You Like It.

  24. 23

    Take In A Baseball Game

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    New York is an iconic destination for many sports, from basketball at Madison Square Garden to tennis at Arthur Ashe Stadium. Still, one sport stands out as one of the most important to New York City’s history: baseball.

    And though Major League Baseball is having some difficulties to start the season, that shouldn’t stop you from taking a trip to at least see some of the iconic baseball stadiums in New York. Plus, if you time your trip right, you might even be able to catch a game!

    Check out the New York Yankees schedule here and the New York Mets schedule here.

  25. 24

    New York Restaurant Week: Eat Out On The Town

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    Coming to New York to visit means is the perfect excuse to line up delicious meal after delicious meal. And when you come to visit during the summer, you may be able to take advantage of NYC Restaurant Week.

    Often taking place around July and August, NYC Restaurant Week is a chance to eat at some of the city’s best restaurants at a more reasonable price. Participating restaurants offer a sort of prix fixe menu that gives you the chance to taste some of their best offerings.

  26. 25

    Travel Back In Time With The Jazz Age Lawn Party

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    This lively, colorful, and family-oriented event features performances from an orchestra specializing in Hot Jazz of the 1920s, a dance troupe that channels the Roaring ‘20s, vaudeville spectacles, and more. And because it’s prohibition-themed, you know there’s always a great lineup of summer cocktails and drinks.


    • June 10, 2023 (Saturday)
    • June 11, 2023 (Sunday)
    • August 12, 2023 (Saturday)
    • August 13, 2023 (Sunday)
  27. 26

    Ride, Walk, And Run The Streets Of New York

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    New York City is already one of the world’s most walkable cities. But have you ever wondered what it would be like without any cars?

    Then you’ll love Summer Streets, an annual multi-day car-free event held in August. Taking place over seven miles of NYC streets between the Brooklyn Bridge and Central Park, you’ll have the opportunity to walk, run, bike, and more along wide-open streets. Plus, there are public art installations, performances, and activities all along the route.

  28. 27

    Stop By Liberty And Ellis Islands

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    Though many people recognize the Statue of Liberty as an iconic part of any New York City visit, there’s also another hidden gem worth visiting, too: Ellis Island.

    Ellis Island is where you’ll find the Ellis Island National Museum of Immigration, which has an accessible database of passenger manifests for Ellis Island and the Port of New York between 1820 and 1954. Then just a short distance away is Liberty Island, where the Statue of Liberty is. Given the great summer weather and the chance to be out on the water, this is an ideal time to visit and enjoy a waterfront walk along with some important American history.

    And this is my recommended walking tour if you want to experience the islands with a professional tour guide 👇

Profilbild Steffen Kneist
About the author


I'm a true New York fan! Not only have I visited the city over 25 times but also have I spent several months here at a time. On my blog I show you the best and most beautiful spots of the city, so that you have a really good time! You can also find lots of insider tips in our New York travel guide. Also check out my hotel finder for New York!

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