101 things to do in New York City in the summer

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  • Photograph: Courtesy Red Frog Events

    Run around the city in costume during the Great Urban Race

  • Photograph: Michael Kirby New York

    Booze and rock out at Union Pool---for free

  • Photograph: Donald Yip

    Explore Figment's art installations on Governors Island

  • Photograph: Virginia Rollison

    Devour an Elvis ice cream cone at Ample Hills Creamery

  • Photograph: Kisha Bari

    Get your Rocks Off on a boat

  • Do yoga outdoors. Pictured: Laughing Lotus Yoga on the High Line

  • Photograph: Paul Wagtouicz

    Get buzzed at a new rooftop bar, La Birreria

  • Photograph: Jakob Layman

    Pick over the new vendors' wares at Brooklyn Flea Williamsburg

  • Photograph: Brett Messenger

    Warm up the dance floor at MoMA PS1

  • Fly a rainbow flag during NYC Pride

Photograph: Courtesy Red Frog Events

Run around the city in costume during the Great Urban Race


RECOMMENDED: The most recent 101 things to do in the summer in New York City

1. Run around the city in costume during the Great Urban Race
Always wanted to complete an obstacle course dressed as an Oompa-Loompa or Austin Powers? Here's your chance. This urban adventure is in its fifth year in New York, and takes place in 40 cities around the world. Similar in format to the Amazing Race television show, it tasks teams of two—usually in fancy dress—to run around the city for a few hours, solving clues and completing mental and physical challenges, like stacking three golf balls on top of each other or shooting a basketball blindfolded. Winning teams receive modest cash prizes and qualify for the National Championships in New Orleans, which boasts a $10,000 reward; however, most teams are in it for the fun and to support a good cause—a portion of the proceeds are donated to charity. Brooklyn race: June 11; $45--$65. Manhattan race: Aug 20; $50--$70. Register at greaturbanrace.com or call 773-687-4595.

2. Booze and rock out at Union Pool—for free
Beer! Bands! Tacos! Sunshine! Williamsburg watering hole Union Pool boasts all four warm-weather delights as part of its "Summer Thunder" series. Catch rowdy rockers K Holes (June 25, with free shots of Jameson), Hidden Fees (July 23), Blues Control (Aug 27) and more acts playing gratis gigs in the bar's outdoor space. 484 Union Ave at Meeker Ave, Williamsburg, Brooklyn (718-609-0484, unionpool.blogspot.com). Sat 4--8:30pm. Through Sept 24; free.

3. Explore Figment's art installations on Governors Island
The participatory art group takes over the whole island for its annual festival (June 10--12; newyork.figmentproject.org), but it's also installed fun projects for the duration of the summer. The 14-hole minigolf course (Fri 10am--4pm; Sat, Sun 10am--6pm; free) includes the Bed Bug Hazard, an obstacle as frustrating as ridding yourself of the pests, and the returning Skee-Ball challenge. Once you master those, explore the 17 installations in the sculpture garden: Invisible Sculptures adds pleasant odor-delivery devices to nine trees, triggered by pulling ropes hanging from the branches, or you can try to find the life-size F-117 replica camouflaged in Astroturf in Stealth Fighter. After all that excitement, take the weight off at the frankly indescribable Burple Bup pavilion. Governors Island (212-253-2727, govisland.com). Fri 10am--5pm; Sat, Sun 10am--7pm; free. Through Sept 25.

4. Devour an Elvis ice cream cone at Ample Hills Creamery
Twenty-four rotating flavors—made with Battenkill Valley Creamery milk, organic cane sugar and cage-free eggs—are on offer at this sunny artisanal ice cream parlor, which opened in May. Take a seat at the L-shaped marble counter, or watch the creamy treats being made through the production-room window. Flavors range from simple and seasonal, such as strawberry and pumpkin, to more baroque creations, including the Elvis Impersonator, made with banana ice cream, ribbons of peanut butter and candied bacon, or the Chocolate Monkey, made with banana ice cream, ribbons of peanut butter and chocolate chips. 623 Vanderbilt Ave at St. Marks Pl, Prospect Heights, Brooklyn (718-670-3346, amplehills.com). Single scoop $3.95, double scoop $5.85, homemade cone $1.50, sauce or topping $1.

5. Get your Rocks Off on a boat
Booze, rock out and take in an up-close view of Lady Liberty during one of this summer's Rocks Off concert cruises. Board the three-tier Queen of Hearts to see fun garage-rock trio the Greenhornes (July 23) or local funk outfit Budos Band (July 28). Pier 40, W Houston St at the Hudson River (866-468-7619, rocksoff.com). Various dates, see website for details; 8pm, doors 7pm; $35, advance $30.

6. Do yoga outdoors
There are multiple options for those seeking to do their sun salutations in the sunshine, and they're free to boot! Socrates Sculpture Park offers hatha yoga on Saturday mornings (32-01 Vernon Blvd at Broadway, Long Island City, Queens; 718-956-1819, socratessculpturepark.org; 9:30--10:30am, 11am--noon; Through Sept 25), Laughing Lotus Yoga Center runs vinyasa classes on Wednesdays evenings (14th St Park, Tenth Ave between 14th and 15th Sts; 212-414-2903, laughinglotus.com; 7--8pm; June 8--Aug 31), Sunday mornings you can do vinyasa with Yoga Sole in Prospect Park (Enter at 15th St at Prospect Park West; 718-541-1382, yogasole.com; 10am--11am; July 3--31) and Lululemon Athletica runs vinyasa classes for hundreds of people at a time in Bryant Park on Tuesday mornings and Thursdays evenings (42nd St at Sixth Ave; 212-768-4242, bryantpark.org; Tue 10am--11am, Thu 6--7pm; through Sept 29).

7. Get buzzed at a new rooftop bar
Biergartens
are traditionally Bavarian, but Eataly's anticipated rooftop suds spot, La Birreria, is resolutely Italian, with exclusive brews by Birra del Borgo and Birra Baladin. The 4,500-square-foot, 150-seat brewery and restaurant, slated to open in early June, will also brew its own cask-conditioned ales 30 feet from where you'll be sitting. See our rooftop bar guide for more sky-high boozing spots. 200 Fifth Ave between 23rd and 24th Sts (212-229-2560, eataly.com)

8. Pick over the new vendors' wares at Brooklyn Flea Williamsburg
Get some fresh air while you lazily pick through Jimmy D'Amico's collection of rare LPs or peruse Phil Fehr's vintage comic books and sports cards, both at the market's new waterfront location in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. When your feet need a break, chill out on the vintage furniture in the Brooklyn Art Library's "reading room" and pull a book from their stack, or refuel at one of the many gourmet food vendors. A glazed treat from Clinton Hill doughnut shop Dough ($2) or a gourmet hot dog from Brooklyn Bangers ($4) will give you the juice to keep going. 27 North 6th St between Kent Ave and the East River, Williamsburg, Brooklyn (brooklynflea.com). Sun 10am--5pm.

9. Warm up the dance floor at MoMA PS1
It's easy to see why the annual Warm Up party series is so popular: You get to drink beer, eye contemporary art and dance beneath a large-scale outdoor installation. And then there's the quality of the musical lineup, which in previous years has included Afrika Bambaataa, ?uestlove, Francois K, Danny Krivit, the Scissor Sisters and LCD Soundsystem. Details of this summer's performers have yet to be released, but we suggest blocking off Saturday afternoons for this: It's going to be worth it. 22-25 Jackson Ave at 46th Ave, Long Island City, Queens (718-784-2084, ps1.org). Sat 2--9pm; $15; July 2—Sep 3.

10. Fly a rainbow flag during NYC Pride
At the core of this weekend celebrating Gay Pride and advocating equal rights is the NYC Pride March through the streets of Manhattan, on June 26 (starts at Fifth Ave and 36th St; noon, free). Warm up the night before with lesbian dance party Rapture on the River (Pier 54, West Side Hwy at 13th St; June 25 3--11pm. Tickets $25--$35 from boxofficetickets.com/hop) with DJs Mary Mac and Susan Levine, or don a pair of "budgie smugglers" (a Speedo) for the Australian-themed Bondi Beach Bash on Governors Island (June 25 6pm--midnight; fvevents.com; $50--$200) with DJs Phil Romano and Hector Romero. On Sunday, continue the postmarch celebrations with DJs Ana Paula, Vito Fun and Lina at Dance on the Pier (Pier 54, West Side Hwy at 13th St; June 26 2--10:30pm. Tickets $55--$125 from boxofficetickets.com/hop). Visit nycpride.org for more information on the march and other official NYC Pride events.

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Users say

12 comments
Daniel Davidson
Daniel Davidson

Us cheapskates thank you for this great list! You mentioned yoga in Bryant Park, but they also have free movie screenings. You just have to get there early to stake out your spot. I included Bryant Park in my Kindle book: 101 Free Things To Do In NYC (http://amzn.to/NT0eoQ) because it's got so many great activities, including tai chi, fencing, juggling, ping pong tournaments, fly fishing classes, birding, a restaurant bar, and free wifi.

Buy a flat in London
Buy a flat in London

These all are really fantastic activity. These kind of activity is really helpful for an individual to develop their skill. Interesting

Mark
Mark

wow. all the activities were either boring or repeats from the boring.

Anonymous
Anonymous

Great job ,it is really helpful !

Anonymous
Anonymous

Great, varied list and most comments are about whether you are PC or not. Sad. Life is more fun with a bit of colour. Give me non PC any day!

Anonymous
Anonymous

Skip the Prospect Park Zoo. The way they keep the animals is depressing and the crowds aren't much better. Go to the Bronx Zoo instead.

Anonymous
Anonymous

also agreed re: use of "loony bin." not cool.

Anonymous
Anonymous

17. Feel fancy at Cocktails@Cooper-Hewitt Been there, done that - Drinks are not free with price of admission!

Anonymous
Anonymous

i agree with the 'looney bin' comment. read it twice 'cause i thought i misread it.

Anonymous
Anonymous

#70 Former loony bin? That's not very PC and a little offensive. Otherwise, great list.

Anonymous
Anonymous

#70 Former loony bin? That's not very PC and a little offensive. Otherwise, great list.

Anonymous
Anonymous

#70 Former loony bin? That's not very PC and a little offensive. Otherwise, great list.