Summer in NYC is filled with so many events that it can get pretty overwhelming. Summer is obviously the busiest season in New York City. There’s always something going on and at any given time. These events include music festivals and summer concerts in NYC. There’s numerous free concerts and outdoor concerts. There are also music festivals which draw in numerous people. These big music festivals are usually held at Randall’s Island, Central Park and Governors Island. It usually turns into a huge, loud and fun party.
You'll love this:
Free concerts in NYC happens all the time during the summer. You just need to know where to look. Since free concerts aren’t announced until closer to the show date, we will be updating this section throughout the summer.
My tip: here you find the Best Summer Events in New York.
25 Amazing Summer Festivals in NYC
Music Festivals are definitely an event that you should check out and is one of the best things to do in the summer in NYC. These type of events usually bring out top talent and a large crowd! Summer in New York City reminds you that it is definitely a great time to be alive. With that being said, here are our favorite music festivals and summer concerts in NYC.
Summer Stage FestivalOther Events in Midtown ManhattanOur Highlight
Electric Zoo Music Festival (September 1-3, 2023)Other Events in Upper West SideAdd to myNY added
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.
Governors Ball Music Festival (June 9 - 11, 2023)Other Events in FlushingAdd to myNY added
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!
Blue Note Jazz Festival (June 2023)Other Events in West VillageAdd to myNY added
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 2023 – some with several performances per day. The complete schedule can be found here.
Charlie Parker Jazz FestivalOther Events in East VillageAdd to myNY added
New York City’s esteemed Charlie Parker Jazz Festival returns for its 31st edition, celebrating the iconic saxophonist in the very neighborhoods he once graced, such as the iconic Marcus Garvey Park in Harlem and Tompkins Square Park in the East Village. Annually, this event gathers the crème de la crème of jazz musicians who encapsulate Charlie “Bird” Parker’s unparalleled musical artistry, fostering a deep appreciation for this globally celebrated maestro.
From August 25 to 27, this year promises a harmonious blend of both seasoned legends and emerging jazz stars. Noteworthy performances include Orrin Evans with the Captain Black Big Band and T.K. Blue in collaboration with Jazzmobile, the innovative jazz ensemble The Cookers, the legendary saxophonist Charles McPherson, and the renowned Vincent Herring Septet presenting “Something Else!” among other talents.
Music & Dance Festival (2023 tba)Other Events in Meatpacking DistrictAdd to myNY added
One of the newest summer festivals in NYC is the Music & Dance Festival on Little Island (this little park on Pier 55 in the Hudson River is one of my insider tips for New York and always worth a visit).
Their Music & Dance Festival will be held for the 3rd time in 2023 and you can experience various New York artists. Styles include hip hop, jazz, soul, blues and Broadway specials.
- The exact dates for 2023 will be announced soon.
Lincoln Center's Summer for the City Festival (June 14 - August 12, 2023)Building in Upper West SideAdd to myNY added
Summer for the City is the ultimate New York festival with many free events and countless artists celebrating New York’s vibrant culture. From June to August 2023, people from all over the world are invited to dance and party together.
Enjoy BBQ and Blues at the Blues BBQ Festival (2023 tba)Other Events in Hudson Yards
Jazz Age Lawn PartOther Art & Culture in Governors IslandAdd to myNY added
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)
MoMA PS1 Warm-UpOther Events in Long Island CityAdd to myNY added
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.
Museum Mile Festival (June 13, 2023)Other Events in Upper East SideAdd to myNY added
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 more than 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.
Tribeca Film Festival (June 7 - 18, 2023)Other Attraction in TribecaAdd to myNY added
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.
Bryant Park Film Festival (2023 dates tba)Other Attraction in Midtown ManhattanAdd to myNY added
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!
Summer on the HudsonOther Events in Upper West SideAdd to myNY added
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!
Summer HD Festival at The Met's OperaOther Art & Culture in Upper West SideAdd to myNY added
Even if you are not a fan of the opera, the Metropolitan Opera in New York at Lincoln Center is an institution and definitely worth a visit. In the summer, the New York Opera even shows its best pieces open air.
The Metropolitan Opera’s Summer HD Festival is one of the most popular summer festivals in New York. In 2022 it took place for the 13th time.
The dates for 2023 will be announced soon.
Accordion Festival at Bryant ParkOther Events in Midtown ManhattanAdd to myNY added
Bryant Park eagerly welcomes the return of the cherished musical event, Accordions Around the World, on August 25 from 7pm-10pm as part of the Picnic Performances sponsored by Bank of America. Experience a mesmerizing evening with international artists lighting up the stage!
Craving more accordion melodies? Revisit Bryant Park on the following three Mondays beginning August 28, from 5:30pm-7:30pm. Delight in up-close solo recitals scattered across the park.
Brklyn Film Festival (June 2 - 11, 2023)Other Events in GreenpointAdd to myNY added
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 – last year’s 25th anniversary also featured many premieres! There’s everything from documentaries to animation and other film experiments. This year it will take place online and in a few physical venues.
BRIC Celebrate Brooklyn! FestivalOther Events in Park SlopeAdd to myNY added
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.
River to River FestivalOther Events in Battery Park CityAdd to myNY added
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.
JuneteenthOther Events in Park SlopeAdd to myNY added
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.
Hot 97 Summer Jam Festival (June 4, 2023)Other Events in Outside of New York CityAdd to myNY added
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!
4th of July Fireworks And Food FestivalOther Events in New JerseyAdd to myNY added
Macy’s 4th Of July Fireworks are undoubtedly impressive. Still, they’re not the only fireworks show in town! If you’re looking for a full festival experience, complete with great street food, music, and more, the Fireworks And Food Festival in Jersey City is just across the Hudson River.
Complete with great views of New York and ideal for those families who are staying in New Jersey during their New York Trip, the Jersey City Fireworks and Food Festival is being hosted on Montgomery Street.
This free event features food from the Jersey City Night Market, artisanal works, drinks, and music up till 9:30pm, when the food stops and the fireworks begin. For more details on this 4th of July Fireworks and Food Festival, head to the official event page.
Harlem Meer Music Festival: A Free Summer Festival in NYCOther Art & Culture in Harlem & Washington HeightsAdd to myNY added
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.
The dates for 2023 will be announced soon.
Make Music FestivalOther Events in Park SlopeAdd to myNY added
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, 2023, 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.
Hong Kong Dragon Boat Festival (August 12+13, 2023)Other Events in FlushingAdd to myNY added
The Hong Kong Dragon Boat Festival in New York is an annual multicultural and sporting event. It is celebrated on Meadow Lake in Flushing Meadows Corona Park, Queens, during August, which corresponds with the fifth moon of the lunar calendar. The festival combines sports, cultural performances, and traditional Chinese food, creating a unique experience for all attendees.
Where are concerts in Central Park?
Most of the concerts in Central Park are held at Rumsey Playfield. Concerts and other performances are held here from May to September, including the famous Summer Stage Festival. The Rumsey Playfield is located in Central Park at 5th Avenue and 69th Street.
What was the legendary music festival in New York?
The most famous festival ever held in New York State was the Woodstock Festival in 1969, held in the small town of Bethel, which is about 105 miles from New York City. At that time, more than 400,000 spectators came to see the live bands.
You'll love this:
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!