101 things to do in New York City in the summer

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  • Drink in the view from the Met's roof garden

  • Photograph: Courtesy Brooklyn Bridge Park

    Get a tan at Brooklyn Bridge Park, Pier 1

  • Photograph: William Alatriste

    Get down at WEPA! Wednesdays at El Museo del Barrio

  • Photograph: courtesy Animation Block Party

    Discover the Animation Block Party

  • Photograph: Jon Klemm

    Enjoy free concerts, movies at Celebrate Brooklyn

  • Photograph: Michael Kirby

    Stroll the Brooklyn Heights Promenade

  • Graze at New Amsterdam Market

  • Photograph: courtesy www.flickr.com/islandlife

    Cool off in the Floating Pool Lady

    Cool off in the Floating Pool Lady

  • Photograph: Magda Biernat

    See how the other half do at Gansevoort Summer Series

  • Photograph: Heidi Van Vost

    Lindy Hop at the Jazz Age Lawn Party

Drink in the view from the Met's roof garden


21. Drink in the view from the Met's roof garden
See the dazzling expanse of Central Park from the top of the Met, where you can also check out current exhibit "Anthony Caro on the Roof." While you ponder Caro's futuristic sculptures, sip a Midday Martini, a summery mixture of coconut rum, mango and pineapple juice ($12). 1000 Fifth Ave at 82nd St (212-535-7710, metmuseum.org). Tue--Thu, Sun 10am--4:30pm; Fri, Sat 10am--9pm.

22. Get a tan
In summer, a New Yorker's needs are often drastically simple: Give us a grassy knoll and a sunny day, and we're happy. Escape your shoebox apartment for prime sunbathing territory in Brooklyn Bridge Park, where you can lay down a blanket and soak in UV rays on the soft slope of Pier 1. Throw in a basket lunch, and you've got a perfect afternoon. See our roundup of the best picnic spots to find a sunny locale near you. Old Fulton St at Furman St, Brooklyn, Brooklyn Heights (brooklynbridgepark.org)

23. Discover the Animation Block Party
If you were the kid who spent more time in class doodling in your notebook than raising your hand, chances are you'll enjoy the whimsical offerings at this eighth annual animation bash. Student, professional and independent animated short films will be on view for three evenings, complete with an open-bar after-party at Matchless (557 Manhattan Ave at Driggs Ave, Williamsburg, Brooklyn; July 29 at 11:30pm; free) on opening night. Locations and prices vary; visit animationblock.com for details. July 29--31.

24. Get down at WEPA! Wednesdays at El Museo del Barrio
A roster of DJs spin a mix of Latin tribal, Afro-Cuban and house beats at this free weekly bash in the outdoor courtyard, while you can browse the museum's galleries during extended hours. Check out "Voces y Visiones: Signs, Systems and the City," a collection of modern and contemporary urban art. 1230 Fifth Ave between 104th and 105th Sts (212-831-7272, elmuseo.org). Wed 6pm; free. Through June 29.

25. Enjoy free concerts, movies at Celebrate Brooklyn
Popular acts like the Decemberists and Animal Collective are playing gigs in Prospect Park...but they're all sold out. Don't fear, though: There are also plenty of freebie shows worth catching. Chill out to local found-audio experimenters the Books (June 17 at 7pm, gates 6pm), or move to peppy rock when New Jersey icons the Feelies and two of indie rock's finest new acts, Real Estate and Times New Viking, take over the stage (July 23 at 7pm, gates 6pm). Cinastes should consider joining the West Side Story sing-along (July 21 at 8pm), or taking in the silent classic Metropolis alongside the Alloy Orchestra (Aug 4 at 7pm). For more options across the city, check out our complete guide to free outdoor movies. Celebrate Brooklyn at the Prospect Park Bandshell, enter at Prospect Park West and 9th St, Park Slope, Brooklyn (bricartsmedia.org). Various dates and times, see website for details; free.

26. Stroll the Brooklyn Heights Promenade
Workweeks spent in dank subways and dim offices can make you to forget the city's charms. Fall in love all over again with a walk down this iconic stretch, where you can stop and smell the flowers (literally) and gaze at the Brooklyn Bridge and Empire State Building. After you get your fill of postcard views, satisfy your stomach at the Brooklyn Ice Cream factory (1 Water St at Fulton St, Dumbo, Brooklyn; 718-246-3963, brooklynicecreamfactory.com; Mon--Thu, Sun noon--10pm; Fri, Sat noon--11pm) with a scoop of chocolaty goodness ($4).

27. Graze at New Amsterdam Market
By the desolate site formerly occupied by the Fulton Fish Market, commerce is bustling once again. Every Sunday, locavores and artisan purveyors gather to buy and sell local produce and gourmet products. Some weeks the vendors are curated around a theme, but motif or no, the quality of this snackfest is consistently excellent. South St between Beekman St and Peck Slip (newamsterdammarket.org). Sun 11am--4pm.

28. Cool off in the Floating Pool Lady
In the spirit of the "floating baths" that helped 19th-century tenement dwellers get clean, the seven-lane Floating Pool Lady sits atop a barge, and though Barretto Point is its permanent home, it can be floated to locations around the city. The Pool Lady premiered on the Brooklyn Heights waterfront in 2007 (you might remember ungodly crowds and long, sun-weary waits) and has piqued the curiosity of New Yorkers ever since. Her current location is a hike from the subway so hope that the sweating populace skip the trek in favor of a cold shower and leave the fair Pool Lady to you. Viele Ave between Barretto and Tiffany Sts, Bronx (718-430-4601, nycgovparks.org). Open late June through Labor Day, check website for exact dates and opening hours; free.

29. See how the other half do
The Gansevoort Park Avenue hotel launches a free series of Sunday-afternoon parties, opening up the rooftop pool that's usually reserved for guests (and scenesters) to the plebs and inviting DJs of the house and trance persuasion—Paul Oakenfold, Sharam and Chris Lake in June—to spin. Smooth your entry with an R.S.V.P. at gansevoortsummerseries.com, where you can also search for your sunburnt mug among the photos the next day. Gansevoort Park Avenue, 420 Park Ave South at 29th St (212-929-0067). Sun 3--9pm; free.

30. Lindy Hop at the Jazz Age Lawn Party
Bust out your best Daisy Buchanan frock or Gatsby suit for this '20s-themed fete. Old-timey tunes from Michael Arenella and his Dreamland Orchestra, cocktails from St. Germain and complimentary dance lessons from Roddy Caravella will complete a day of throwback revelry—as will red-blooded American activities like a game of tug-of-war and a pie-baking contest. Immortalize the afternoon with a snapshot in front of one of the antique cars on display. Governors Island (dreamlandorchestra.com). June 25, 26, Aug 20, 21 11am--5pm; advance $7, at the door $10, children under 12 free.

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.