The 31 Best Summer Events in NYC: A Comprehensive Guide

New York City is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world, and with good reason! There is always something to do in this vibrant city. Whether you’re a culture vulture or a party animal, there’s something for everyone. In this comprehensive guide, we will list some of the best summer events in NYC.

From Broadway shows and outdoor concerts to food festivals and art exhibitions, we have got you covered! So mark your calendars and get ready for an unforgettable summer in New York City!

31 Amazing Summer Events in NYC This Year

  1. 01

    My Favorite Food Event in Summer: Smorgasburg In Williamsburg

    Food Market in Williamsburg
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    Smorgasburg is a foodie paradise. This open-air market features over 100 different food vendors, selling everything from traditional dishes to innovative fusion cuisine. So whether you’re in the mood for some Korean tacos or a classic burger, you’ll find it all at Smorgasburg. And if you get there early enough, you’ll be able to score a seat to enjoy the view of the skyline of Manhattan.

  2. 02

    Gay Pride Week & Christopher Street Parade

    Other Art & Culture in Greenwich Village
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    The New York Gay Pride is one of the oldest parades for gays from all over the world. The beautiful Greenwich Village has been hosting it every year since 1970. Especially Christopher Street is colorfully decorated and you can find the famous rainbow flags everywhere. Also the global company Google decorates its outer facade at this time and shows tolerance. The parade taking place at the end of June is one of the biggest parades in New York. It leads along 5th Avenue to Greenwich Street.

  3. 03

    Summer Stage Festival: One Of the Best Summer Events in Central Park

    Other Events in Midtown Manhattan
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    At this event you can visit over 100 concerts & shows for free in many parks all over New York. It’s one of the most popular summer events in New York and a MUST DO for locals. If you’re in New York this summer, be sure to check out one of the shows!

    My tip: Here you find the 15 best things to do in summer in Central Park.

  4. 04

    An Impressive Summer Event in NYC: Watch Fireworks On The 4th Of July

    Cruise in Lower East Side
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    What’s more American than watching fireworks on the Fourth of July? New York City is the perfect place to celebrate Independence Day. The best spot to watch the fireworks show is from one of the city’s many parks, such as Berry Park, Dumbo Park, East River State Park, South Street Seaport, or 50Star Fireshow in Jersey. Make sure to arrive early to get a good spot, and don’t forget to pack a picnic!

    My tip: this is the complete guide to 4th of July in NYC, here you find the best 4th of July cruises and here is everything you need to know about the 4th of July fireworks this year.

  5. 05

    Summer Solstice Festival & Celebration (June 21, 2022)

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    The summer solstice is the longest day of the year. You can experience the sunset either in one of the many parks in Manhattan or you can go to Socrates Sculpture Park. Here every year the summer solstice is celebrated with its own event. There are various live acts, ceremonies and smaller art exhibitions. From Socrates Sculpture Park you can enjoy the sunset over the East River and the New York skyline. 

    An alternative is to visit the New York observation decks. Once you’re at the top and see the setting sun, it can’t get much better!

  6. 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!

  7. 06

    A Summer Event In New York for Sport Enthusiasts: Enjoy A Baseball Game At Yankee Stadium

    Sport Events in Bronx
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    Yankee Stadium is a must-see for any baseball fan. This iconic stadium is home to the New York Yankees, one of the most successful teams in MLB history. If you’re lucky enough to get tickets to a game, be sure to arrive early to enjoy all the pre-game festivities. Games run from March through November, so make sure to check the schedule in advance to find a game that works with your trip dates!

  8. 07

    Governors Ball Music Festival

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    This music festival takes place on Governors Island and is one of the most popular ones in NYC. It draws a lot of people and brings in top talent from different musical genres. You’ll often find celebrities and influencers joining in on the fun as well. This year, Governors Ball will take place on June 10-12.

  9. 08

    Bryant Park Film Festival

    Other Attraction in Midtown Manhattan
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    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!

  10. 09

    An Family Event All Summer-Long: Visit On Of The 26 Best Broadway Shows 2022 in New York

    Broadway Show in Theatre District
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    The answer to whether you should or should not see a Broadway show when visiting New York in summer is crystal clear: YES, it absolutely belongs on your bucket list! What is not always as clear, however, is which show to pick.

    In order to help you out, we’ve created an overview of the absolute best broadway shows in NYC in summer!

  11. The Perfect Itinerary For Your New York Trip

    Itinerary New York 4 to 6 days

    This itinerary contains over 50 spots and highlights of the city, including a map that shows you the best way to travel each day, taking you to or past the many big attractions. In addition, we‘ve added our favorite places, from great breakfast spots to start your day right to small bars and restaurants and hidden insider spots.

    What awaits you here now is the perfect New York week, because this is what my itinerary would look like if I were visiting the Big Apple for the first or second time right now!

  12. 10

    Blue Note Jazz Festival

    Other Events in West Village
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    This is for the lovers of jazz music. This festival is about a month long and takes place across different venues in NYC. Their mission is to bring in some of the top talents around the world and locally based and bring jazz music to the people here in NYC. It’s definitely you don’t want to miss, especially if you’re a jazz lover. 

    There will be over 50 events in 2022 – some with several performances per day. The complete schedule can be found here.

  13. 11

    Lincoln Center Festival (July & August 2022)

    Building in Upper West Side
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    Lincoln Center at dusk and water fountains, New York, New York
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    The Lincoln Center Festival is one of the most highly anticipated cultural events in New York City. This summer, the festival will feature various performances, from opera to theater to dance. There will also be film screenings, lectures, and panel discussions. The festival runs from July through August, so make sure to check the schedule and buy your tickets.

  14. 12

    Manhattanhenge

    Other Events in Midtown Manhattan
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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.

  15. 13

    Enjoy BBQ and Blues at the Blues BBQ Festival (August 13, 2022)

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    One of New Yorkers’ favorite free summer festivals is the Blues BBQ Festival at Pier 76 in Hudson River Park. What could be better than listening to live blues while eating delicious BBQ from the best BBQ spots in the city?

  16. 14

    Museum Mile Festival (June 14, 2022): A Free Summer Event in NYC

    Other Events in Upper East Side
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    As the name suggests, the Museum Mile Festival is a mile-long celebration of art and culture. The annual festival is geared towards letting people experience special art collections amassed from various museums along Fifth Avenue in New York. During the event, visitors can enjoy artistic masterpieces that stretch over 20 blocks. 

    The Museum Mile Festival is a fan favorite among locals and is completely free to the public. It also features inclusive activities like face painting, chalk art drawing, and live shows by street performers. 

  17. 15

    A Fun Summer Event in NYC: The National Puerto Rican Day Parade (June 12, 2022)

    Other Events in Midtown Manhattan
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    The Puerto Rican Day Parade has been held annually since 1959 on Fifth Avenue in the Manhattan district. The parade is held on the second Sunday in June in honor of almost four million Puerto Rican citizens and all people of Puerto Rican descent living on the US mainland.

    My tip: this is the complete guide to parades in New York.

  18. 16

    MoMA PS1 Warm-Up

    Other Events in Long Island City
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    In Long Island City, The MoMA PS1 hosts their annual “Warm-Up” party. The party happens at the MoMA PS1 museum and usually has up-and-coming artists perform. Also, if you’d like to visit the museum, we recommend purchasing one of the New York Sightseeing Passes to receive free entry to multiple museums including this one.

  19. 17

    Electric Zoo Music Festival

    Other Events in Upper West Side
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    Labor Day Weekend hosts the annual Electric Zoo Music Festival in New York. The Electric Zoo Festival is a three-day music festival that takes place on Randall’s Island, which you can walk to if you’re in Astoria, Queens. Electric Zoo brings in some of the top performers in the house and dubstep genre. Some of the past performers include the late Avicii, Steve Aoki, Benny Benassi and much more. There are a bunch of ways to get to Randall’s Island: the closest subway station is “125 Station”. Your best bet is either by taking the NYC Ferry or an Uber. Also, if you’re in Astoria, you can walk across the RFK bridge. That bridge will lead you right into the island. Tickets are sold out quickly and should be ordered online in advance.

  20. 18

    Tribeca Film Festival (June 8 - 19, 2022)

    Other Attraction in Tribeca
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    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 Di 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. 

  21. 19

    Summer on the Hudson

    Other Events in Upper West Side
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    Summer on the Hudson is Riverside Park & West Harlem Piers Park’s annual outdoor arts and culture festival. Between 59th and 153rd Streets on the Hudson River, you can experience live DJs, exhibits, special shows for kids, and of course, the outdoor movies. And the best part? All the events are free! 

  22. 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!

  23. 20

    Coney Island Mermaid Parade

    Other Events in Coney Island & Brighton Beach
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    The Coney Island Mermaid Parade is one of the craziest events in New York. Every year thousands of dressed up people make the pilgrimage to Coney Island’s Surf Avenue. Pirates, squids, sailors, mermaids, paired with music and many floats, seem like a mixture of Christopher Street Day and Cologne Carnival.

  24. 21

    Hotdog Eating Contest at Nathan's Famous: A Summer Event With A Long Tradition

    Other Restaurants in Coney Island & Brighton Beach
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    Nathan’s has the best hot dog in New York City. The restaurant was founded in 1916 and here in the main building the world famous hot dog eating competition takes place.

  25. 22

    BRIC Celebrate Brooklyn! Festival

    Other Events in Park Slope
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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.

  26. 23

    Dominican Day Parade (August 14, 2022)

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    Another great parade in summer is the Dominican Day Parade, which takes place every 2nd Sunday in August. This parade has been around since 1982 in New York, which starts at the Avenue of the Americas (6th Avenue) level of 38th Street and continues north to 52nd Street.

  27. 24

    Brklyn Film Festival (June 3 - 12, 2022)

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    If you can’t get enough of movies in the summer, New York is the place to be. The Brooklyn Film Festival features more than 100 films from around the world – this year’s 25th anniversary also features many premieres! There’s everything from documentaries to animation and other film experiments.

  28. 25

    River to River Festival

    Other Events in Battery Park City
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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.

  29. 26

    Juneteenth

    Other Events in Park Slope
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    This official holiday, which commemorates the end of slavery, has only existed in the USA since 2021. The name is a combination of the words Nineteen and June – hence “Juneteenth”. The story behind it is really exciting: on January 1, 1863, Abraham Lincoln passed a law banning slavery. From that point on, Union soldiers marched into Confederate territories and gradually freed the enslaved people. But it was not until two and a half years later that their mission was accomplished, for on June 19, 1865, Galveston Bay was reached by Texas – the people here being the last to be freed, so to speak.

    In New York itself, there has been a Juneteenth Festival since 2009, which always takes place around June 19 in Brooklyn.

  30. 27

    Labor Day Parade

    Other Events in Crown Heights
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    The Labor Day Parade (also known as West Indian Day Parade and Caribbean American Parade) is the most colorful event in NYC. Every year, between 2 and 3 million people are expected to celebrate Caribbean culture. 

    At the same time, the West Indian Day Parade has a long history: in fact, in 2021 it will be held for the 51st time. The parade starts in Crown Heights in Brooklyn, not far from Park Slope. Get ready for a lot of happy and colorfully decorated people – good mood is guaranteed!

  31. 28

    Hot 97 Summer Jam - Not officially confirmed for 2022

    Other Events in Outside of New York City
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    The Hot 97 Summer Jam is an annual summer festival in New York that has been around for over 20 years. I’ve been to the Hot 97 Summer Jam myself – if hip-hop interests you, this music festival is a perfect match for you!

    Over the years, it’s featured big-name acts like 50 Cent, Lil Wayne, Nas and Wiz Khalifa. What’s so special about the Hot 97 Summer Jam? You get to see the best hip-hop greats and talented up-and-coming artists all in one event!

  32. 29

    Annual German-American Steuben Parade

    Other Events in Upper East Side
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    The Annual German-American Steuben Parade attracts up to one million people and is therefore also one of the biggest parades in New York. Always in mid-September, New York is firmly in the hands of Germans or New Yorkers with German roots

  33. 30

    Harlem Meer Music Festival: A Free Summer Festival in NYC

    Other Art & Culture in Harlem & Washington Heights
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    Every Sunday during the summer months of July and August, the Harlem Meer Performance Festival is held. It is a free event held at the Charles A. Dana Discovery Center (elevation 110th Street and 5th Avenue). The Harlem Meer Performance Festival was founded in 1993 to celebrate the restoration of the Harlem Meer and the surrounding 225 acres above 96th Street.

    This year, you can experience the Harlem Meer Performance Festival from July 17 to August 21, 2022.

  34. 31

    Make Music Festival

    Other Events in Park Slope
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    If you would rather spend the extra hours of the summer solstice outdoors enjoying music, be sure to check out the Make Music Festival. This event began in France in 1982 as the Fete de la Musique but gained significant momentum and is now held on the same day each year in 120 countries and over 1,000 cities. 

    Unlike any traditional music festival you’ve ever attended, Make Music is open to anyone who wants to join in. Here you’ll find every type of musician – both old and young, professional and amateur, from every genre. On June 21, 2022, you’ll have the opportunity to watch said performers flood the streets, parks, porches, and plazas around the city. The entire event is open to the public and free of charge. 

About the author
Steffen

I'm a true New York fan! Not only have I visited the city over 20 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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