Things to Do in New York this August

What you can do in NYC in August 2021

New York in August is especially beautiful and typically a great time to visit. Yet, even without concerts, and other large events, your time in NYC will not be boring! Below, we have summarized the best things to do in New York this August.

Our top 12 things to do in New York in August

Despite the ongoing pandemic, New York isn’t sleeping. As we are continuously reopening the city, the list of things to do in NYC this August is growing. For those of you who either live in NYC or visit NYC in August, we’ve compiled the ultimate list of things you can actually do.

While exploring the city, please be sure to always follow the guidelines: stay at least 6 feet away from others and wear a mask whenever that is not possible! The better we do right now, the sooner we’ll get over this and can enjoy NYC to the fullest again!

1. Explore Governors Island

Governors Island is one of our favorite places in New York City. Especially in the summer, it’s a lot of fun to explore. Being completely surrounded by water, you can count on a fresh breeze. Our tip would be to rent a bicycle (or even tandem, if you dare!) to ride around the island. It’s much more comfortable than walking. Even though you can only explore the outdoors, there’s still a lot to do: have a picnic, ride on NYC’s longest slide, chill out in one of the hammocks, climb up the hill to enjoy gorgeous views of Lower Manhattan and the Statue of Liberty, take a look at Fort Jay, enjoy fresh lemonade, or even go glamping for anything between $200 and $600 a night. Be sure to reserve your ferry tickets in advance as capacity is limited to ensure safe distances.

Governors Island Visitor Guide

2. Enjoy mesmerizing views from an observation deck

edge reopening

By August, three of our four observation decks in NYC will be open again. The Empire State Building reopened on July 21, Top of the Rock reopens on August 6, and New York’s newest observation deck Edge hints at a reopening in August as well. As of right now, you can book Edge tickets starting from August 16th, even though Edge hasn’t made official announcements as to when they open. The highly anticipated attraction is very likely to reopen this month, making it one of the most anticipated and best things to do in New York in August.

observation decks in NYC

3. Spend a day at one of NYC’s beaches

New York’s summer is not only hot but extremely hot! Heatwaves are not uncommon in August, making NYC’s beaches the perfect escape. You can either choose to head to Coney Island or the Rockaways by ferry if you want to stay in New York City. If you choose to do so, be sure to get an early start. I’ve already seen lines with more than 120 minutes’ wait time in July. As people cannot travel, more folks are headed to New York’s beaches resulting in larger crowds. Also, be sure to keep your distance at all times and stay safe!

beaches in nyc

4. Soak up the sun in Central Park

central park in august

Central Park is always a good idea! Even though you won’t find large events like Shakespeare in the Park, there is still plenty you can do in Central Park at any given time. Even most locals don’t know all corners of Manhattan’s backyard. So why not uncover some stunning greenery or other hidden gems that the park has to offer? New York in August is a wonderful time to go out and explore. Central Park offers plenty of shade to avoid the heat, too. If you rent a bike, you can enjoy an additional breeze while you ride.

Central park guide

5. Treat yourself at “Smorg To Go”

smorga to go august

Chances are you have already heard of New York’s famous outdoor food market Smorgasburg. Its main market takes place in Williamsburg over the summer months. Since last year, there has also been an indoor market during the winter. Because of the current situation, Smorgasburg has reinvented itself and recently launched Smorg To Go, allowing you to enjoy some of the best food in NYC despite the ongoing pandemic. To ensure safety, all meals are (as the name implies) to-go orders. That, however, shouldn’t keep you from stopping by as you can easily take your food to a nearby bench or the waterfront.

Read more

6. Check out Rockefeller Center’s Flag Project

rockefeller center flags

In Spring this year, Rockefeller Center launched the Flag Project. The design competition called for artists from around the world to come up with a design for its 192 flags at Rockefeller Plaza. Starting August 1st, the winning designs will be displayed through August 16th, giving you lots of time to explore them. Before you go, you can read more about the Flag Project here. It’s one of our highlights in New York this August.

7. Take in stunning views from a rooftop bars

What is summer in NYC with rooftop bars? Luckily, some rooftop bars have already implemented safety measures and are able to welcome back guests, letting us combine amazing views with refreshing drinks. Before heading to any rooftop bar, however, you should double-check whether it’s open and whether reservations are needed. The pandemic has reduced venue capacities and placed more importance on reservations than ever before!

the best rooftop bars in nyc

8. Escape the heat by visiting a museum

August in New York can be incredibly hot, so far that temperatures over 40 degrees and high humidity are commonplace. To beat the heat, you can choose to cool off at one of NYC’s museums. The Met Museum, for example, has already announced its reopening plans and date. Provided that the state and city approves, the Met will reopen on August 29.

Best NYC Museums

9. Walk the High Line

high line reopening

The High Line reopened on July 16th along with newly implemented social distancing measures, making it safe to visit. In order to guarantee social distancing, however, access is limited and you will need to reserve a time slot in advance. You can do so online and for free here. Tickets go online in blocks for two weeks each, so be sure to make your reservation as soon as you can. Even though your visit is completely free, we encourage you to consider donating.

about the high line

10. Cool off on a jet ski

take a jet ski tour in the summer

New York in August is hot! So why not cool off by jet skiing on the Hudson and East River? 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 locations where you’ll have the best views. The jet skis pick up speed, which can go up to 55 mph. At that speed, you’ll fly over the water. Fun and action are guaranteed, just make sure you’re safe! There are several providers of these tours. Take a look at Jetty Jumpers or Rockaway Jetski!

11. Sail New York’s waterways

sailing in nyc

Thanks to reduced capacity on boats and social distancing measures in place, you can already enjoy sailing tours again. Any of the sailing tours offer you fresh air, delicious refreshments, and stunning views from the water – the perfect thing to do in NYC in August! Here are some of the tours that have already returned to the water:

Sailing in NYC

12. Take in the maritime atmosphere at Grand Banks

New York is surrounded by water, giving it plenty of waterfronts to enjoy breathtaking views. You should absolutely take advantage of NYC’s waterfront in the summer! Whether you’re walking along Hudson River Park or want to grab a meal, it’s an absolute must-do in NYC in August. Our favorite summer location is Grand Banks because of its maritime atmosphere and super delicious food! If you decide to go to Grand Banks, try to get there a little before the golden hour.

Grand Banks

The weather in New York in August

Monthly Avg DAY

Monthly Avg NIGHT

Rainfall days


82.4°F / 28°C

68°F / 20°C

9 days

11 hours daily

Top tours in New York in August

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NYC Sightseeing FLEX Pass

Statue of Liberty with Manhattan in the background

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The best time to visit the Statue of Liberty is the summer. This is one of our favorite tours!

Explore the Statue of Liberty early in the morning to have the most of your summer day in NYC.


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About the author

Being a photographer and creative in general, New York City, I think is the perfect place to be. I moved to NYC from Boston in 2013 and never looked back. Loving New York has given me the opportunity to do what I love and share those images with you all.

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