The 20 best summer parties in New York

Whether you want to dance to music by a world-beating DJ, or prefer a sophisticated evening under the stars, we have the right summer party for you.

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You've gotta love summer in New York. You can't swing a cup of sangria without spilling on a great summer party in New York—from world-class DJs to pool powwows to prohibition-era jazz soirees like the fantastic Jazz Age Lawn Party, there's a little something for everyone. So head out and make the most of it! Get thee to one of the city's non-douchey rooftop bars (yes, they exist), or any number of places that offer refreshing summer drinks in NYC under the open sky. Here's a list of twenty top-notch shindigs to get you started.


  • Photograph: Filip Wolak

    PS1 Warm Up

    After a decade and a half of packing MoMA PS1's courtyard with NYC's music aficionados and sun-worshiping revelers, Warm Up is bigger than ever, with as strong a lineup of bands, DJs and producers as it's had in years. This year's awesome DJ talent includes Yeezus producer Evian Christ, Dâm-Funk and the pop/electronic duo Cibo Matto. Besides the irresistible beats on offer, Warm Up is also premiering Hy-Fi, a waste-, energy- and carbon-emissions–free circular tower of bricks made out of cornstalks and living root structures. Fancy! MoMA PS1, 22-25 Jackson Ave at 46th Ave, Long Island City, Queens (718-784-2084, momaps1.org). Sat 3–9pm; $20, advance $18. Through Sept 6.

  • Photograph: Luciana Golcman

    Jazz Age Lawn Party

    Brush up on your Fitzgerald and Hemingway in time for this outdoor bash, where part of Governors Island is transformed into a Prohibition-era soiree. Charleston to Michael Arenella and His Dreamland Orchestra playing jazz staples, while donning your finest flapper garb and Zoot suits. Then Lindy Hop over to the bar for decade-appropriate cocktails. Governors Island (jazzagelawnparty.com). Aug 16, 17 11am–5pm; $35, advance $30.

  • Photograph: Courtesy Output

    Kaviar Roof Club: Juan Maclean + Beto Cravioto + Travmatic

    Kaviar Disco Club's Beto Cravioto and Travmatic welcome DFA stalwart Juan Maclean to the Output roof for their event devoted to disco (duh), house and general break-a-sweat-to-this dance music. Mr. Maclean never fails to deliver a fun, jacking set of tunes, so you're sure to work up an appetite. Thankfully, Bolivian Llama Party will be on hand with tasty eats. Output, 74 Wythe Ave, (outputclub.com) Aug 16, 2pm, $15–$20

  • Photograph: Courtesy SOBs

    The VS: '90s vs. Naughts Yacht Party

    The VS Party sets sail and heads will definitely be bobbing (we couldn't resist) when this impressive lineup of NYC spinners goes head-to-head in three categories: DJs Soul and Tara face off for "Neptunes vs. Timbaland," Young Guru and Meka duke it out over "Bad Boy vs. YMCMB vs. So So Def," and heavyweights Stretch Armstrong and Moma take "’90s Hip-Hop vs. ’90s Dancehall." Get ready to rumble. Luxury Infinity Yachts at Hudson River Park Pier 40, 40 N River Pier, Aug 16, 10:30pm, $40–$75

  • Photograph: Jena Cumbo

    Blkmarket Membership: Secretsundaze Boat Party

    Secretsundaze, the great London soiree devoted to top-shelf (and utterly underground) house and techno, returns to Gotham for another big boat bash, tossed in conjunction with Blkmarket Membership. Secretsundaze residents Giles Smith and James Priestley will be manning the decks, along with talented Berlin musician/producer/DJ Sven Weisemann. Circle Line Sightseeing Cruises, Pier 83, W 42nd St (212-563-3200, circleline42.com), Aug 10, $30-$40

  • Photograph: Courtesy Output

    Sundays on the Roof

    Wind down your weekend with this early-evening, open-air event, featuring a host of top-notch house and disco spinners. Output, 74 Wythe Ave, (outputclub.com) Aug 17–31, Sep 7–28, 2pm, $15–$20

  • Photograph: Michelle O'Brien

    Mister Sunday

    Mister Saturday Night's Eamon Harkin and Justin Carter present their beloved end-of-the-week series at a new, larger location: Industry City in Brooklyn's Sunset Park. The all-ages event takes place in a courtyard and includes food, drink and, of course, plenty of good records. Industry City Sun at 3pm; $15.

  • Photographer: Courtesy Oliver Correa for VerbotenNewYork.com

    Dirtybird BBQ

    The audio avians from San Fran's bass-happy Dirtybird label bring their famed barbecue to Brooklyn for the first time ever—and, man, is this bill stacked: Justin and Christian Martin, Kill Frenzy, Justin Jay, Ardalan and, of course, the big bird himself, Claude VonStroke. If there's one thing you can safely say about these guys, it's that they like to have fun, so expect big smiles and bigger tunes. 50 Kent Ave, (verbotennewyork.com) Aug 17, 3pm, $40

  • Select Fridays

    Jules Kim and Katie Longmyer's after-work get-together offers cocktails, crêpes and stunning city views—the perfect way to toast the week and glide into the weekend. Project Matt and an array of top local spinners provide a sexy soundtrack of house and disco tunes. Le Bain, 444 W 13th St, (212-645-4646, standardhotels.com) Fri at 3pm, free

  • Photograph: Kenny Rodriguez

    Tiki Disco

    For ready-to-party New Yorkers, one of the season's best shindigs is Tiki Disco, making occasional forays into Rockaway Beach from its usual location at the Well. If you’ve been there, you know the drill—lots of beer-swillin’ dancey-dance fun, with Eli Escobar, Lloydski and Andy Pry serving up the rhythmic-motion-inducing goodness. Various locations and dates, visit tikidisco.tumblr.com for details. Sun 2–10pm; free.

  • Photograph: Bryan Derballa

    Vans House Parties

    Vans and FYF’s fourth annual free concert series takes place semimonthly at the House of Vans in Greenpoint through August 14. Free beer—yes, free beer—is provided, and all shows are totally gratis (we don't need to remind you to get there early, right?). Doors open at 7pm, and you can R.S.V.P. here. House of Vans, 35 Franklin St between Meserole Ave and Quay St, Greenpoint (vans.com/houseparties)

  • SwimRoot

    You know the deal, New York. Take advantage of the warm weather now, because come winter, all you'll have are your Netflix account and your memories. To aid with the latter, ROOT Studios is throwing a Friday evening pool bash at the McCarren Hotel & Pool, so grab your floaties, and go soak up some afterwork sun. The party is free, but an R.S.V.P. to rsvp@rootnyc.com is required. McCarren Hotel & Pool 160 North 12th Street, (718-218-7500, chelseahotels.com) Aug 22, free with R.S.V.P.

  • Photograph: Courtesy John Demato/www.johndemato.com

    Makossa Brooklyn Cookout

    We don't know about you, but we're never ones to say no to a backyard BBQ. DJs Wonway Posibul, Tara and Shinobi Shaw serenade you with a summertime mix of hip-hop, house and disco classics while you enjoy some grilled meats and swig one (or more) of Brooklyn Tap House's many craft beers. RSVP is mandatory, so head over to facebook.com/MakossaBK, and get yourself signed up. Brooklyn Tap House, 590 Myrtle Ave, (347-750-7557, brooklyntaphouse.com) Aug 23, 2pm, free with mandatory R.S.V.P. at facebook.com/MakossaBK

  • DFA Records presents a Summer Soiree

    The still-fab-after-all-these-years DFA label—home to Hercules and Love Affair, the Juan MacLean, Shit Robot et al.—throws an end-of-summer bash in Bushwick featuring label stalwarts Holy Ghost, Nancy Whang, Sinkane and more. The Wick, 260 Meserole St, (347-799-1049, thewicknyc.com) Aug 23, 9pm, $25–$35

  • Photograph courtesy of Carolyn Concepcion

    Sweet Spot Festival

    Harlem’s roving monthly dance party and artisan market is back. If you’re a DIY maker, apply online to be a vendor at one of the upcoming jamborees. Pier I, Riverside Park South (sweetspotfestival.com) Sat Aug 30, 6pm, free.

  • Photograph: Courtesy Kaitlin Perry

    Dark Disco: Cyril Hahn

    MeanRed and Good Peoples' beloved Dark Disco series comes into the light with a splendid rooftop edition, featuring the musical stylings of white-hot producer and R&B obsessive Cyril Hahn. Output, 74 Wythe Ave, (outputclub.com) Aug 23, 2pm, $15–$25

  • Electric Zoo

    New York—just like the rest of the world—goes gaga for EDM (electronic dance music) and shows its love at this annual three-day dayglo rave-up on Randall’s Island. In its four year history, the fest has seen headlining DJ sets and live performances from Skrillex, Deadmau5, Avicii, Pete Tong and Moby—yep, the big names. Sadly in 2013, there were two ecstasy-related deaths at the festival, and its last day was cancelled. This year’s edition is set to go ahead, however, and also sees the first installment of Electric Zoo Mexico in Mexico City in May. Randalls Island (madeevent.com/electriczoo). Aug 29–31, 11am–11pm; $99–$1,299.

  • Photograph: Beth Levendis

    718 Sessions

    The 718 Sessions—on a rooftop? Sounds good to us! Otherwise, it's the same glorious story: Body & Soul's Danny Krivit spinning his top-shelf deep house and classics for a crowd that is ready to work it on the dance floor. Output, 74 Wythe Ave, (outputclub.com) Aug 30, 2pm, $20, first 100 people before 3pm $5

  • Coney Island Reggae Beach Party

    If you’re getting baked on the beach, time your sunbathing to coincide with Carter Van Pelt’s monthly skankathon, which welcomes local selectors and legends like Clive Chin and Sir Tommy. Stake out a spot on the sand and you’ll still be able to hear the ska, rocksteady, dub, lovers rock and early dancehall emanating from DJ Chanter’s booming speaker stack. Listen to Van Pelt’s Saturday show, Eastern Standard Time, on WKCR 89.9 FM (Sat 8am–noon) or follow @CarterVanPelt to get the latest information on guest DJs. Coney Island Boardwalk (coneyisland.com) Aug 31, 4pm, free.

  • Photograph: Courtesy Output

    Okayafrica presents: Electrafrique NYC with DJ Marfox + DJ Cortega + DJ Underdog

    Launched in 1999 by Questlove, the Okayafrica website describes its mission as representing "Africa's new wave," presenting the continent's hugely varied traditional aesthetics with a futurist twist. If you're looking looking to branch out from the average, run-of-the-mill party tunes, this is most definitely the party for you. Output, 74 Wythe Ave, (outputclub.com) Sep 1, 2pm, $10

Photograph: Filip Wolak

PS1 Warm Up

After a decade and a half of packing MoMA PS1's courtyard with NYC's music aficionados and sun-worshiping revelers, Warm Up is bigger than ever, with as strong a lineup of bands, DJs and producers as it's had in years. This year's awesome DJ talent includes Yeezus producer Evian Christ, Dâm-Funk and the pop/electronic duo Cibo Matto. Besides the irresistible beats on offer, Warm Up is also premiering Hy-Fi, a waste-, energy- and carbon-emissions–free circular tower of bricks made out of cornstalks and living root structures. Fancy! MoMA PS1, 22-25 Jackson Ave at 46th Ave, Long Island City, Queens (718-784-2084, momaps1.org). Sat 3–9pm; $20, advance $18. Through Sept 6.

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