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Free outdoor concert series for NYC families in summer 2013

Take to city parks this summer for tons of free open-air concert series, from local kindie rockers to classical chamber music

  • Free outdoor concert series for New York City families in summer 2013: SummerStage Kids

  • Photograph: Courtesy Madison Square Park Conservancy

    Free outdoor concert series for New York City families in summer 2013: Madison Square Kids Concerts

  • Photograph: Samantha Modell

    Free outdoor concert series for New York City families in summer 2013: Summer in the Square

  • Photo: Beth Levendis

    Free outdoor concert series for New York City families in summer 2013: Washington Market Park Concert Series

  • Photograph: Adam Abramson

    Free outdoor concert series for New York City families in summer 2013: Carroll Park Kids' Concert Series

     

  • Photograph: Courtesy of Bryant Park

    Free outdoor concert series for New York City families in summer 2013: Bryant Park Word for Word Kids

  • Free outdoor concert series for New York City families in summer 2013:  Family Fun Nights at Shipyard Park

  • Courtesy Madison Square Park

    Free outdoor concert series for New York City families in summer 2013: Mad. Sq. Music: Oval Lawn Series

  • Photograph: Courtesy Fort Greene Park Conservancy

    Free outdoor concert series for New York City families in summer 2013: Music in the Grove

  • Photograph: Courtesy FAB Alliance

    Free outdoor concert series for New York City families in summer 2013: FAB Concerts for Kids

  • Free outdoor concert series for New York City families in summer 2013: Today Show Concert Series

  • Photograph: Ida Mae Astute/ABC

    Free outdoor concert series for New York City families in summer 2013: Good Morning America Concert Series 

  • Photograph: Courtesy of Fritz Haeg

    Free outdoor concert series for New York City families in summer 2013: MoMA Nights

  • Photograph: Michael Kirby

    Free outdoor concert series for New York City families in summer 2013: New York Philharmonic: Concerts in the Parks

  • Free outdoor concert series for New York City families in summer 2013: Summer on the Hudson: Children's Performance Series

  • Photograph: Katherine Kritzalis

    Free outdoor concert series for New York City families in summer 2013: Broadway in Bryant Park

Free outdoor concert series for New York City families in summer 2013: SummerStage Kids


It’s not summer until you’re jamming to your favorite tunes in the great outdoors, and we’ve got you covered nearly every day of the week. Check out our list of the best open-air concert series for kids this summer, taking place at museum gardens, street corners and even on a floating barge. So whether your little one is the get-up-and-boogie type or prefers chilling out on the picnic blanket, she’ll find something to love.

RECOMMENDED: More summer activities for kids in New York City

SummerStage Kids

  • Free

Sponsored by Disney, the SummerStage children's series hits all five boroughs. Catch tons of performers at one of the five family days, but concerts, shows and circus acts will be a regular occurrence at parks citywide. See website for full venue details.

  1. Various locations
  2. Sat Jun 1 - Sat Aug 31

Music in Abe Lebewohl Park

  • Free

This summer concert series will represent artistic traditions from around the world, from klezmer to flamenco to jazz. Students from the Third Street Music School will also perform. All ages.

  1. Abe Lebewohl Park E 10th St, at Second Ave
  2. Thu Jun 6 - Thu Aug 1
More info

Madison Square Kids Concerts 2013

  • Free

Madison Square Park hosts some of the best names in children music for a special series of free outdoor entertainment for kids and their families. Dubbed the “Queen of the NY Kids Rock Scene” (by us!), Steve Songs kicks off the series and will be followed weekly by such acts like Audra Rox (6/13), The Deedle Deedle Dees (6/18), Matt Wilson's Family Jazz Band (6/20), Lucky Diaz and the Family Jam Band (6/25), KBC Kids (6/27), Big Bang Boom (7/2), Alastair Moock and Friends (7/9), David Weinstone and the Music for Aardvarks Band (7/11), Recess Monkey (7/16), Robbi K & Friends (7/18), The Rockdoves (7/23), Songs for Seeds (7/25), The Dirty Sock Funtime Band (7/30), Billy Jonas and the Billy Jonas Band (8/1), The Suzi Shelton Band (8/6) and Shine and the Moonbeams (8/8). Free. All ages.

  1. Madison Square Park E 23rd St to E 26th St, between Fifth and Madison Aves
  2. Tue Jun 11 - Thu Aug 8
More info

Summer in the Square

  • Free

While we dig the free Wi-Fi, Summer in the Square is an even better reason to visit Union Square Park on Thursdays. Get in some early-morning fitness with Yoga Storytime at 10am hosted by Karma Kids, followed by performances by popular kid's musicians at 11am, like Meg's Melodies (June 27, Rolie Polie Guacamole (July 18) and Hot Peas 'n Butter (August 15).  Stick around for lunchtime jazz, courtesy of the New School for Jazz and Contemporary Music, while the rest of the day promises family-friendly activities ending with free dance lessons from various contemporary companies at 6pm. See the website for a complete schedule. All ages.

  1. Union Square 14th St to 17th St, between Broadway and Park Ave South
  2. Thu Jun 14 - Thu Aug 15
More info

Washington Market Park Concert Series

Lay out a blanket, pack a picnic and get serenaded by kiddie rock up–and–comers like Brady Rymer and The Little Band That Could (June 13), spewing rootsy tunes steeped in American folk and R&B. The group's most recent album was inspired by their performances with children on the autism spectrum: Themes deal with positivity amid change and challenges through songs like "Who Wants to Wear Shoes?" and "Keep Your Wiggle Alive". Next, return for a pop–rock show by costumed goofballs Princess Katie and Racer Steve, who encourage young fans to dress like rock stars (June 27). Ages 6 and under.

  1. Washington Market Park Greenwich St, between Chambers and Duane Sts
  2. Thu Jun 16 - Thu Jun 27
More info

Bryant Park Word for Word Kids

  • Free

The kids’ edition of the popular Word for Word reading series includes music, arts and crafts, and storytimes. This summer, expect appearances by the likes of Clifford the Big Red Dog (June 8), Rolie Polie Guacamole (July 13), Erin Lee and the Up Past Bedtime Band (July 27) and Moey's Music Party (Aug 3). On other weeks, kids can look forward to a 50th birthday party for Amelia Bedelia, a Comic Con Bryant Park graphic novel celebration and Where You Come From, an original play by Daniel Kitrosser (a.k.a. Flaubert Frog). Visit bryantpark.org for a complete schedule. Ages 2 to 8.

  1. Bryant Park Reading Room W 42nd St, between Fifth and Sixth Aves
  2. Sat Jun 22 - Sat Aug 17
More info

Carroll Park Kids Concert Series

  • Free

Composer, ukuleleist and Brooklyn-bred Amelia Robinson leads Mil's Trills in this outdoor concert series. While shows start at 4, families can take advantage of crafts, games and munchies (bring a few bucks) on-site beforehand. All ages.

  1. Carroll Park President St, between Court and Smith Sts
  2. Sun Jun 23 - Sun Sep 22
More info

Family Fun Nights at Shipyard Park

  • Free

Take the crew to sit waterside in Hoboken's Shipyard Park, where they'll have the chance to check out a slew of outdoor kid-friendly performances. Featured performers include The Hey Ya Brothers (June 4), the Kidville-sponsored Rockin Railroad (June 18), the Fuzzy Lemons (July 23), Erin Lee & the Up Past Bedtime Band (July 30) and others. All ages.

  1. Shipyard Park 13th St, at Shipyard Ln
  2. Tue Jun 25 - Tue Aug 20
More info

Mad. Sq. Music: Oval Lawn Series

  • Critics choice
  • Free

You'll want to bring a picnic blanket to the 11th season of Madison Square Park's outdoor concert series—the Fatty Crew (that's drool-worthy restaurant trifecta Fatty Crab, Fatty Cue and Pig & Khao) will be dishing out some of their famous fare. Hosting a wide range of musical acts, the summerlong series kicks off with the folksy Suzanne Vega (June 19), followed by the clarinet-led Anat Cohen Quartet (June 26), bluegrass band The Grascals with eclectic collective Joy Kills Sorrow (July 3), jazz singer Rene Marie (July 10), celloist Ben Sollee (July 17), the Cuban-bred Dafnis Prieto Sextet with the Yosvany Terry Quintet (July 24), kooky folk star Erin McKeown with indie poppers Lake Street Dive (July 31) and Big Easy natives Ivan Neville's Dumpstaphunk (August 7). All ages.

  1. Madison Square Park E 23rd St to E 26th St, between Fifth and Madison Aves
  2. Wed Jun 26 - Wed Aug 7
More info

Music in the Grove

Top children’s-music acts like the folksy Astrograss (June 26), kindie stars Rolie Polie Guacamolie (July 10) and the old–timey Deedle Deedle Dees (July 24) play every Wednesday morning. Additional names include Suzi Shelton (July 17) playing poppy, girl–power tunes like "Tomboy in a Princess Dress" and Vered Music (Aug 7) whose songs are designed to assist healthy growth in babies. (The July 31 headliner is still TBA.) There’s ample stroller parking, but you’ll want to bring a blanket to sit on. Ages 0 to 8.

  1. Fort Greene Park Washington Park, between DeKalb and Myrtle Aves
  2. Wed Jun 26 - Wed Aug 7
More info

FAB Concerts for Kids

  • Free

Once a month during the spring and summer, FAB Alliance hosts live outdoor concerts for tots, plus crafts and activities. This year's series kicks off with singer-songwriter and music therapist Jon Samson (Apr 26), followed by Brooklyn-based kindie rockers Rolie Polie Guacamole (May 31). The lineup continues into the summer with Roderick Jackson and Palms Down Percussion Ensemble (June 28), Lou Gallo (July 26), the Good Ms. Padgett (Aug 23) and the Rozz and Val Show (Sep 27). Ages 18 months to 8 years.

  1. Putnam Triangle Plaza Fulton St, between Cambridge Pl and Grand Ave, 11238
  2. Fri Jun 28 - Fri Sep 27
More info

Today Show Concert Series

  • Free

Early-rising tweens will likely be dragging their sleep-deprived parents to this free concert at the crack of dawn. Catch Hunter Hayes (June 21), Phillip Phillips (June 28), John Mayer (July 5), Ed Sheeran (July 12), Fall Out Boy (July 19), Train (July 26), The Band Perry (August 2), Michael Buble (August 9), Luke Bryan (August 16), One Direction (August 23) and Chris Brown (August 30). Arrive by 6am for the best spot in the crowd. Ages 7 and up.

  1. Rockefeller Plaza Fifth and Sixth Aves, between 48th and 49th Sts
  2. Fri Jun 28 - Fri Aug 30
More info

Good Morning America Concert Series

  • Free

Catch the hottest names in pop music for free—there's just one catch: All concerts start at 7am. See R&B pianist John Legend (June 21), Disney megastar Demi Lovato (June 28), Imagine Dragons (July 5), OneRepublic (July 12), Jennifer Lopez (July 19; advance tickets required), Selena Gomez (July 26), Ne-Yo (August 2), Kenny Chesney (August 9), Macklemore & Ryan Lewis (August 16), The Wanted (August 23) and Alicia Keys (August 30). We highly recommend lining up at park's 6am opening time. All ages.

  1. Central Park, Rumsey Playfield Enter park at Fifth Ave , at 69th St
  2. Fri Jun 28 - Fri Aug 30
More info

Bargemusic Family Concert

  • Free

Head to Brooklyn Bridge Park for a TBA chamber music concert (programs are announced at the beginning of each performance) every Saturday all summer long. Each 60-minute concert is followed by a Q&A session with the musicians. Be sure to arrive early; doors open at 2:30pm. Ages 5 and up.

  1. Fulton Ferry Landing Old Fulton St, at the East River
  2. Sat Jun 29 - Sat Aug 31
More info

MoMA Nights 2013

  • Price band: 2/4

On Thursdays in midsummer, the museum stays open late for live sets in the sculpture garden starting at 6:30pm. July's acts include indie rockers selected by MoMA's PopRally committee, followed by musicians related to the exhibition "Soundings: A Contemporary Score" (Aug 1, 8, 15). Rounding out the summer are blues and folk performers to compliment the "American Modern: Hopper to O'Keeffe" exhibition (Aug 22, 29). Ages 2 and up.

  1. Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) 11 W 53rd St, between Fifth and Sixth Aves, 10019
  2. Thu Jul 4 - Thu Aug 29
More info

New York Philharmonic: Concerts in the Parks

  • Critics choice
  • Free

The New York Philharmonic kicks off their 48th season with five free outdoor concerts (and one that's indoors) where families can spread out a cozy blanket and spend an evening under the stars. All ages.

  1. Van Cortlandt Park Broadway, at 242nd St
  2. Wed Jul 10 - Tue Jul 16
More info

Hippo Playground Concert Series

  • Free

This uptown afternoon concert series kicks off with Mil's Trills on the electric ukulele (July 10), followed by girl rocker Joanie Leeds and the Nightlights (July 18), charming soulful songstress Sweetbeatz (July 25) and Tim of Space Cadet-fame (July 31). All ages.

  1. Riverside Park, Hippo Playground 91st St, at Riverside Dr
  2. Wed Jul 10 - Wed Jul 31
More info

Summer on the Hudson: Children's Performance Series

  • Free

This morningtime children's series isn't music only—check out family-friendly performances by Rolie Polie Guacamole (July 11), Appleseeds' Songs for Seeds (July 18), Moey's Music Party (July 25), Meg's Melodies (Aug 1), Joanie Leeds and the Nightlights (Aug 8) and a performance by the puppeteers from the Swedish Cottage Marionette Theater (Aug 15). Ages 7 and under.

  1. Pier I, Riverside Park South W 66th St, at the Hudson River
  2. Thu Jul 11 - Thu Aug 15
More info

Broadway in Bryant Park

  • Critics choice
  • Free

If you’re too tired (or tapped out) to sit through Wicked again, bring the kids to the park on Thursdays for free lunchtime concerts by cast members of the Great White Way’s hottest musicals, who will perform two or three numbers from their shows. Perennial faves include Mamma Mia, Annieand The Lion King; check the Bryant Park website for the complete schedule. This event is presented by 106.7 Lite FM. All ages.

  1. Bryant Park Sixth Ave, between 40th and 42nd Sts
  2. Thu Jul 11 - Thu Aug 15
More info

Summer Sandbox Series

  • Free

Weather permitting, Upper East Side families can jam to local groups' educational music programming. Learn a few new words with I'm Bilingual (July 16), get in touch with children's innate musical talents with Eastside Westside Music Together (July 23), play with musical props at Moosiki Kids (July 30), singalong with LIly Rose and her puppet Princess Francesca (August 6) and bond with little ones as they master developmental goals with I Make My Music (August 13). Ages 5 and under.

  1. Carl Schurz Park E 86th St, at East End Ave
  2. Tue Jul 16 - Tue Aug 13
More info

Cobble Hill Park Concert Series

  • Free

Get up close with local musicians at this small outdoor concert series like Amelia Robinson of Mil's Trills (July 18), the barnyard stompin' Bodega Tall Boys (July 25), singer-songwriter Kenn Lowy (August 1), 17-year-old folk artist Nadim Silverman (August 8) and a jazz quartet let by Adam Smale (August 15). All ages.

  1. Cobble Hill Park Clinton Street, between Verandah Pl and Congress St
  2. Thu Jul 18 - Thu Aug 15
More info

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