Summer events calendar: The best picks for the season

Check out our summer events calendar for the top events, parties, concerts, outdoor activities, freebies and more.

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  • Photograph: Courtesy of www.flickr.com/David_Reeves

    Tue May 28 - Sat Jul 13: Manhattanhenge

  • Photograph: Courtesy Shakespeare in the Park

    Tue May 28 - Sun Aug 18: Shakespeare in the Park

  • Photograph: Jerry Goodman

    Summer Restaurant Week

  • Photograph: Virginia Rollison

    Celebrate Brooklyn!

  • Photograph: John Klemm

    SummerStage

  • Thu Jul 4: Macy's Fourth of July Fireworks

  • Photograph: Wikimedia Commons/Derek Jensen

    Thu Jul 4: The Statue of Liberty reopens

  • Photograph: Courtesy of Nathan's Famous

    Thu Jul 4: Nathan’s Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest

  • Photograph: Virginia Rollison

    Sat Jul 6: HARD NYC and Verboten Present Hot Natured Live

  • Photograph: William Struhs

    Sat Jul 6: Lincoln Center Festival

  • Photograph: Chris Lee

    Wed Jul 10 - Tue Jul 16: New York Philharmonic: Concerts in the Parks

  • Photograph: Sean T. Smith

    Wed Jul 10 - Wed Aug 14: Summerscreen

  • Photograph: Robert Adam Mayer

    Wed Jul 10 - Sat Jul 13: Brooklyn Hip-Hop Fest

  • Photograph: Reuben Cox

    Thu Jul 11: Belle and Sebastian

  • Fri Jul 19 - Sat Jul 20: Jay-Z and Justin Timberlake

  • Sat Jul 20: Bastille Day

  • Sat Jul 20: City of Water Day

  • Mon Jul 22 - Tue Jul 23: fun. + Tegan and Sara

  • Photograph: Krista Schlueter

    Sat Jul 27: Bushwick Block Party

  • Fri Jun 28 - Tue Jul 2: One Direction

  • Photograph: Courtesy Schure Media

    Wed Jul 31 - Mon Aug 5: Beyoncé

Photograph: Courtesy of www.flickr.com/David_Reeves

Tue May 28 - Sat Jul 13: Manhattanhenge

Featured events in July 2013

Summer Restaurant Week

Twice a year, for two weeks or more at a stretch, some of the city’s finest restaurants dish out three-course prix-fixe lunches for around $24; some places also offer dinner for $35. For the full list of participating restaurants, visit nycgo.com/restaurantweek. Not surprisingly, the event is immensely popular, so you’ll need to make reservations well in advance.

  1. Various locations

HARD NYC and Verboten Present Hot Natured Live

A DJ dream team has agreed to meet halfway between their respective stomping grounds to bring NYC a summer music experience that’s not to be missed. U.K. spinner-producer golden boy Jamie Jones, whose tracks have made it onto many a techno and house compilation, has teamed up with L.A.’s likeminded Lee Foss. Their brainchild, Hot Natured, delivers groovy and deep four-to-the-floor rhythms that are a little chuggy, a little druggy, a touch psychedelic and a whole lot of fun. 212-260-4700, terminal5nyc.com. 9pm; $25–$50.

  1. Terminal 5, 610 W 56th St at Eleventh Ave
  2. Sat Jul 12

Free events in July 2013

New York Philharmonic in Central Park

New York Philharmonic: Concerts in the Parks

  • Critics choice
  • Free

The hometown orchestra will play several concerts in parks across the city this year.

  1. Various locations
  2. July 10–16

Fourth of July events in July 2013

Macy's Fourth of July Fireworks

  • Critics choice
  • Free

For this mother of all pyrotechnic displays, Macy's will explode more than 40,000 fireworks choreographed to a 25-minute patriotic score. Stake out a nice spot along the Hudson to watch, and bring your own picnic basket with beverages to toast our country's birthday.

  1. Location TBA
  2. Thu Jul 10
More info

The Statue of Liberty reopens

Poor Lady Liberty has been shuttered since October 2011, thanks to a $30 million, one-year renovation and damage sustained during Hurricane Sandy. The symbol of freedom makes its triumphant return, appropriately, this Fourth of July, with upgrades like shallower steps inside the statue, a new air-conditioning system and more wheelchair accessibility. Unfortunately, you’re still going to have to deal with all the tourists. 212-363-3200, nps.gov/stli; ferry ticket $12, children 4–12 $5, children under 4 free; crown access additional $3.

  1. Liberty Island
  2. Thu Jul 10

Nathan’s Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest

  • Critics choice
  • Free

Celebrate our nation’s independence by joining an estimated 40,000 viewers in watching people stuff their faces with franks. (America, ladies and gents.) Reigning champ Joey Chestnut is back in action after winning his sixth contest and tying for the honor of Most Consecutive Wins last year. The flagship location of Nathan’s Famous was hit hard by Sandy and had to close for part of the season. Despite the setback, the company will still make its usual donation of 100,000 hot dogs to the Food Bank for New York City.

  1. Nathan’s Famous 1310 Surf Ave, at Stillwell Ave, 11224
  2. Thu Jul 10
More info

Theater events in July 2013

Shakespeare in the Park

This annual festival, which begins in June, presents the Bard's greats performed in open air at the Delacorte Theater in Central Park. Created by the late Joseph Papp and presented by the Public, Shakespeare in the Park has endured not just because it's a night of free theater in New York's backyard, but because it's a night of great performances by some of the most talented actors of our day, including Meryl Streep, Kevin Kline, Al Pacino, Oliver Platt, Blythe Danner, Philip Seymour Hoffman, George C. Scott and Denzel Washington.

  1. Delacorte Theater
  2. Tue May 28 - Sun Aug 18

Music events in July 2013

Celebrate Brooklyn!

  • Price band: 1/4
  • Critics choice

Non-profit community arts organization BRIC launched this series of outdoor performances to revitalize Prospect Park, and now the festival is Brooklyn’s premier summer culture offering. It includes music, dance, film and spoken word acts, and has showcased the likes of Philip Glass, TV on the Radio and the Buena Vista Social Club. A $3 donation is requested and there’s an admission charge for some shows.

  1. Prospect Park West, (at 9th St)
More info

SummerStage

For more than 25 years now, the City Parks Foundation has filled summers in the park with just about every sound under the sun. This New York institution has an ear for music of every type—M.I.A., Television, and Amadou & Mariam have all played in recent years, as have Zap Mama, Nortec Collective and Neko Case. Many of the shows are free, with a handful of benefits covering for them.

  1. Rumsey Playfield, Central Park, (enter at Fifth Ave and 72nd St)
More info

Brooklyn Hip-Hop Fest

  • Price band: 2/4
  • Critics choice

Duck into Dumbo for this four-day celebration of rap culture, now in its ninth year, and see MC competitions; a retrospective on Ralph McDaniels’s famed local TV show, Video Music Box; and other explorations of the genre. BHHF’s big draw, though, is its closing-day block-party-style bash (Brooklyn Bridge Park, Main St at Fulton Ferry Landing, Dumbo, Brooklyn; July 13 noon–8pm; $20–$75), which has performances by good-time stalwart Redman, old-school talent EPMD, Pusha T (half of legendary group the Clipse), rising star Dizzy Wright and other top-flight acts. Locations and times vary; visit bkhiphopfestival.com for details; $10–$75. July 10–13.

  1. Location TBA
  2. Wed Jul 10 - Sat Jul 13
More info

Belle and Sebastian

Is there anything more Brooklynesque than a mass of people singing along to “Get Me Away from Here, I’m Dying” beneath a canopy of Prospect Park trees? This gig will be absolutely lovely, with B&S plowing through gems from its remarkable ’90s run of quotable retro-rock LPs (Tigermilk, If You’re Feeling Sinister, The Boy with the Arab Strap) and more recent songs. Support comes from apparently tireless indie-rock trio Yo La Tengo.

  1. Celebrate Brooklyn! (at the Prospect Park Bandshell) Prospect Park West, at 9th St
  2. Thu Jul 11
More info

Jay-Z and Justin Timberlake

  • Critics choice

Kid Rock may have trashed the hefty price tag on Jay-Z and JT’s Legends of the Summer tour, but that didn’t stop tickets from selling out almost immediately. (High-priced seats are still available.) If you’ve got one, consider yourself lucky: This is arguably the arena-music event of the season, with Timberlake in triumphant mode after his long-awaited comeback, and HovÑwell, he’s always triumphant. We assume he’ll be in especially good spirits at his hometown’s big-time ballpark.

  1. Yankee Stadium 1 E 161st St, between Jerome and River Aves
  2. Fri Jul 19 - Sat Jul 20
More info

fun. + Tegan and Sara

We can’t think of a pair of bands it’d be more of a blast to bounce around in the sunshine with than these two. Last year’s Some Nights propelled popsters fun. to Top 40 fame and double Grammy wins, due in large part to hits “We Are Young” and the disc’s title track. Twin sisters Tegan and Sara released their seventh album, Heartthrob, earlier this year, which is all layered vocals and tempered angst. Just try not to sing along.

  1. Pier 26 Hudson River, at North Moore St, 10013
  2. Mon Jul 22 - Tue Jul 23
More info

One Direction

  • Critics choice

What can you expect at this show from Simon Cowell–groomed U.K. boy band One Direction? Deafening screaming, barstool serenades, a million bucks’ worth of camera-phoneage and, of course, the smell of cheap body spray, wafting on stifling clouds of estrogen. Not to mention "What Makes You Beautiful" and other maddeningly catchy boy-band anthems. Plus, you'll no doubt get an earful of Take Me Home, issued in November and already a certifiable smash. Calm down, ladies!

  1. Izod Center Meadowlands Sports Complex, 50 State Rte 120
  2. Fri Jun 28 - Tue Jul 2
More info

Beyoncé

  • Price band: 3/4
  • Critics choice

The international leg of the Mrs. Carter Show World Tour has already begun, and reports from the road indicate that Bey isn’t holding back on the crowd-pleasing hits and elaborate costume changes, from dazzling sequins to equally dazzling skin-baring. Sadly, tickets vanished as fast as you can say “Blue Ivy,” so prepare to shell out at StubHub if you want to see the pop goddess in the flesh.

  1. Barclays Center 620 Atlantic Ave, at Flatbush Ave, 11217
  2. Wed Jul 31 - Mon Aug 5
More info

Arts events in July 2013

"Monkey: Journey to the West" will be performed July 6-28 in the David H. Koch Theater as part of the 2013 Lincoln Center Festival. (Pictured: Scene from the Spoleto Festival, Charleston 2008)

Lincoln Center Festival

This year’s international, multidisciplinary arts fest is focused on cross-cultural and cross-genre collaborations. It begins with Monkey: Journey to the West, an unconventional opera co-conceived by Chinese director Chen Shi-Zheng, and Damon Albarn and Jamie Hewlett of Gorillaz (July 6–28). John Malkovich helms a French-language production of the steamy Les Liaisons Dangereuses (July 9–14). Charlie Chaplin’s daughter and granddaughter, Victoria Thierrée Chaplin and Aurélia Thierrée, offer language-free acrobatics in Murmurs (July 24–28). And Sinéad O’Connor switches gears from Irish rock to American soul, taking on Sam Cooke and the like in the Gospel Sessions (July 26, 27). Locations, times and prices vary (212-721-6500, lincolncenterfestival.org). July 6–28.

  1. Sat Jul 12

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