Summer party guide to NYC: 50 great parties and nights out

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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Photograph: J.Bobé Photography

21. Bad

See all summer rooftop parties in Time Out's summer party guide

Summer rooftop parties

21

Bad

  • Critics choice
  • Free

On Fridays and Saturdays, waiting in line to enter Hotel Chantelle’s three levels of revelry will cut into your valuable dancing time, so we recommend Lance Pilgrim and Neky Romero’s weekend-warm-up on Thursdays, when the doorman won’t detain you for long (unless you’re a pack of guys). DJ Lily Vanilli spins an eclectic array of funky tunes and remixes, so even though most of the dressed up or studiously dressed down clientele hangs out around the cluster of bottle-service tables in the middle, spontaneous pockets of dancing break out amid the pretty Parisian-street-lamp lighting.

  1. Hotel Chantelle 92 Ludlow St, between Broome and Delancey Sts, 10022
  2. Thu 10pm–4am
More info
22

Good Vybez Reggae Night

  • Free

This low-key Sunday wind-down on hotel King & Grove’s eighth-floor rooftop bar, Upper Elm, boasts a heavily Instagrammed view of the midtown skyline and feels relatively undiscovered, despite its proximity to McCarren Park. Arrive early and you’ll likely share the space with lethargic-looking out-of-towners, but soon friends and acquaintances of DJs Damon DeGraff and 77Klash show up, the rum cocktails take effect, and sporadic wining breaks out to the playlist of reggae one drops, lovers rock and dancehall. It’s how to transition into the work week like a pro.

  1. King & Grove Williamsburg 160 North 12th St, between Bedford Ave and Berry St
  2. Sun 5–10pm
More info
23

On Top

  • Critics choice
  • Free

If your style is wild enough to satisfy the unpredictable door policy, nothing beats Susanne Bartsch’s hit soiree atop the Standard Hotel. Every Tuesday, Bartsch and her nightlife circus take over the Jacuzzi-sporting club with house music from DJs like A Village Raid and W. Jeremy, and queer performance acts—planned and impromptu. But the real action is up one level on the AstroTurfed roof, where chain-smoking male models, fashion designers and other cool kids are silhouetted against the dramatic skyline.

  1. Le Bain 444 W 13th St, at Washington St, 10014
  2. Tue Jul 16–Tue Sep 3 at 11pm
More info
24

SPF Sundays

  • Free

Putting their popular gay free-for-all, Griffin Sundays, on hold for the summer, Brian Rafferty and Shawn Paul Mazur have transferred their signature shenanigans from the Meatpacking District to Hell’s Kitchen for this new affair on the Dream Hotel’s 15th-floor rooftop. In tow are the promoters’ regular partners in crime: DJs Corey Craig and Nando spinning dance pop and high-energy house, photographer Santiago Felipe and door girl Roze Black. But the neon-tank-top-loving party boys also have some new treats up their sleeves, like free vodka snow cones (sugarless, thankfully) and boozy cotton candy, which means the playful crowd will be quick to get bombed while enjoying the tropical decor.

  1. Dream Hotel, 210 W 55th St , (between Seventh Ave and Broadway)
  2. Sun 3–9pm
More info
25

Stiletto

  • Critics choice
  • Free

For six years, the place for lipstick lesbians to waste away their summer Sundays has been Maggie C’s popular affair in the Cabanas at the Maritime Hotel. The promotions queen welcomes pop DJs like Brynn Taylor and shErOck, and serves drink specials like Stilittle Girl Shots, loosening up the ladies for an afternoon of scantily clad flirtation. Keep your eye out for special events—June’s Pride edition included a ticket giveaway to Annie on Broadway and a dunk tank.

  1. Cabanas at the Maritime 363 W 16th St, at Ninth Ave
  2. Sun Jul 21–Mon Sep 30; 4pm–midnight
More info
26

The Sunday Monocle

  • Critics choice
  • Free

Update: The Sunday Monocle has been canceled.

If the male dancers in site-specific Off Broadway hit Sleep No More tickled your fancy, then check out the real-life gay Sunday party at the show’s rooftop garden lounge, Gallow Green, should give you plenty of reason to visit. Brandon Voss, recently escaped from XL Nightclub, teams with veteran scene maker Patrick Duffy, for a sophisticated evening of socializing, with soul grooves courtesy of DJ Jeannie Hopper. They’ve already brought along marquee names like Amanda Lepore and Candis Cayne, which should help them stand out from the increasingly crowded number of gay Sunday offerings.

  1. Gallow Green 530 W 27th St, between Tenth and Eleventh Aves, 10001
  2. Next event Sun Jul 21 4–11pm; every other Sunday through September
More info

Summer garden parties

27

Cocktail Evenings and Summer Concerts

  • Price band: 3/4
  • Critics choice

Head to the northernmost borough for a Renaissance–style get-together. Settle into New York Botanical Garden’s open-air pavilion for live music inspired by the Boot; the jazzy Marco Pignatoro Quartet (Thu 18) and tenor Micheal Castaldo accompanied by a string quartet (Aug 15). The temporary tent holds seating as well as plenty of room for dancing and mingling. As you sip the botanically inspired cocktail included with your admission, such as the Desert Flower (Crème Yvette, lime juice and tequila or mezcal; additional drinks $5–$8), wander into the conservatory to take in this summer’s “Wild Medicine” exhibition. Arrive early with a picnic basket for a leisurely dinner on the lawn.

  1. New York Botanical Garden Bronx River Pkwy, at Fordham Rd
  2. Thu Jul 18–Thu Aug 15
More info
28

Hot Jazz/Cool Garden Summer Concert Series

  • Price band: 1/4
  • Critics choice

We can’t think of a better place to dance the Charleston than the former home of the great Satchmo. These Saturday afternoon concerts in Queens go down in the Louis Armstrong House Museum’s pretty Japanese-inspired garden, a tranquil space with a Koi pond. On Saturday 20, you’ll hear from local quartet Jon-Erik Kellso and the EarRegulars, while the twin-led Peter and Will Anderson Sextet performs August 17. There’s plenty of chairs, but should you choose to dance—and people do—you can do so on the patio. Though no booze is served, your admission gets you a bowl of red beans and rice (the trumpet player’s favorite dish), unlimited sweet tea and (if you purchase tickets in advance, not a bad idea since this year’s first installment sold out) a Historic House Tour pass good for six months.

  1. 34-56 107th St, (between 34th and 37th Aves)
  2. Sat Jul 20, Sat Aug 17 at 2pm
More info
29

MoMA Nights

This refined Thursday night performance series boasts top-flight music; indie rock dominates the lineup in July, which boasts garage-pop genius Mikal Cronin (July 18) and dreamy Real Estate spin-off Ducktails (July 25), while August showcases diverse acts to coincide with the exhibitions “Soundings: A Contemporary Score” (the museum’s first show dedicated to sound art) and “American Modern: Hopper to O’Keeffe.” Relating to the former, hear experimental soundscapes from composer Tristan Perich and Meehan/Perkins Duo (Aug 15), and for the latter, twangy blues from Jerron Paxton (Aug 29), among others. All concerts take place in the sculpture garden for maximum highbrow Instagram bragging. Doors open at 5:30pm, with performances beginning an hour later. Museum admission fees ($25, seniors $18, students $14) apply.

  1. Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) 11 W 53rd St, between Fifth and Sixth Aves, 10019
  2. Thu Jul 18–Thu Aug 29; 5:30–8pm
More info
30

Drinks to Die For

  • Critics choice
  • Free

Commune with spirits of the fermented kind when Brooklyn Historical Society’s annual summer beer garden takes up temporary residence in Green-Wood Cemetery’s open meadow, as part of a collaboration to celebrate the organizations’ histories and the borough they share. Indulge in Shake Shack custard and Brooklyn Brewery suds ($5) while live bands serenade.

  1. Green-Wood Cemetery 500 25th St, at Fifth Ave
  2. Thu Jul 25, Thu Aug 22 at 6pm
More info


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