101 things to do in New York City in the summer

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  • Photograph: Julie Larsen Maher

    Hop it to Prospect Park Zoo

  • Photograph: Bryan Close

    Gasp at the King of New York competition

  • Photograph: John Skalicky

    Sample queer culture at the Hot Festival, which opens with Tom Judson's new...

    Sample queer culture at the Hot Festival, which opens with Tom Judson's new cabaret show

  • Photograph: David Michalek

    Slow. The. Fuck. Down. With Portraits in Dramatic Time

    Slow. The. Fuck. Down. With Portraits in Dramatic Time

  • Photograph: (c) Mark J. Rebilas/Red Bull Content Pool

    Cheer on the New York Red Bulls

  • Photograph: flickr.com/Gary Soup

    Have lunch at the Red Hook ball fields

  • Go beyond Central Park to Riverside Park

  • Photograph: Matthieu Raffard

    Celebrate Bastille Day on 60th Street

  • Photograph: Courtesy Butter

    Go on a retro getaway to Kate's Lazy Meadow

Photograph: Julie Larsen Maher

Hop it to Prospect Park Zoo


81. Hop it to Prospect Park Zoo
The menagerie's Discovery Trail, specifically its seasonal Australian Walkabout section, welcomes two additions this year: a pair of joeys, or baby yellow-footed rock wallabies. As you wander through the open-air exhibit, you'll also see a Western gray kangaroo and two long-necked emus. To see what else is on view, take a peek at out Prospect Park Zoo guide. Prospect Park Zoo, 450 Flatbush Ave at Empire Blvd, Prospect Park, Brooklyn (718-399-7339, prospectparkzoo.com). Mon--Fri 10am--5pm; Sat, Sun 10am--5:30pm; $8, seniors $6, children 3--12 $5, children under 3 free.

82. Gasp at the King of New York competition
Tiny bikes, crazy stunts and wicked tricks await when this annual BMX and skateboard competition wheels back into view. Pros and amateurs will compete in a range of styles, from street to flatland, while DJs spin and bands play. This year, see attempts to break the world record for highest bicycle bunny hop. Location and price TBA; visit kingofnewyorkevent.com for more info. Aug 6, 7 noon--6pm; free.

83. Sample queer culture at the Hot Festival
The 20th-annual celebration of LGBTQ performance cooks up a monthlong explosion, opened by polymath Tom Judson (also known as Gus Mattox, his porn-star handle), who takes on cabaret in his new act, The Tom Judson Show (June 24, 25 at 7:30pm; $15, seniors and students $12). A storied activist provides another highlight in From the Front Porch: An Evening with David Mixner (Benefit: July 11 at 7:30pm; $100--$3000. Also July 18 at 7:30pm; $20, advance $15, priority seating $50), as the man himself spins yarns interspersed with folk music. Dixon Place, 161A Chrystie St between Delancey and Rivington Sts (hotfestival.org). June 24--Aug 6.

84. Slow. The. Fuck. Down. With Portraits in Dramatic Time
When temperatures start rising, things need to proceed at a more languid pace, making David Michalek's new work particularly apt. At first glance, the giant projections on the facade of the David H. Koch Theater look like still images, but are in fact short films slowed down to the point where movement is almost imperceptible. Make yourself comfortable for the three-hour duration and watch actors like Alan Rickman, Liev Schreiber and a shirtless William H. Macy perform in engrossing vignettes. 20 Lincoln Center Plaza at 63rd St (212-721-6500, lincolncenter.org). July 5--31 8:45--11:45pm; free.

85. Cheer on the New York Red Bulls
If baseball leaves you cold but you miss shouting at grown men chasing a ball, visit New Jersey and this soccer team's impressive 25,000-seat stadium for what, so far, has been a successful season. With attacking legend Thierry Henry leading the line and Rafael Marquez shoring up the back, the Red Bulls are pushing for the top spot in the Eastern Conference. Try to befriend a season-ticket holder and persuade them to buy you a ticket to the MLS All-Star game (July 27 at 8:30pm; $75--$400), where the cream of the U.S. league takes on England's Premier League champions, Manchester United. Keep an eye on the team's website in case tickets are released to the general public. Red Bull Arena, 600 Cape May St, Harrison, NJ (newyorkredbulls.com). Tickets start at $25. Through Oct 20.

86. Have lunch at the Red Hook ball fields
Although it's home to Fairway and Ikea, Red Hook's remote location and lack of subway lines make it feel like unexplored terrain. Hop onto your bike or take the Water Taxi service from downtown Manhattan (it's $5 during the week, but free on Saturdays and Sundays) and make a beeline for the much-praised Latin-food vendors that set up on the Red Hook ball fields. Sample excellent Salvadoran pupusas and other national delicacies, and watch some serious teams play soccer—kickball in McCarren Park this ain't. Red Hook Recreational Area, Clinton St at Bay St, Red Hook, Brooklyn (redhookfoodvendors.com). Sat, Sun 10am--8pm through October.

87. Go beyond Central Park
No, that green stretch in the middle of Manhattan is not the only park our fair city has to offer. Try a different locale for your next nature excursion, such as stunning Riverside Park (Riverside Dr between 59th and 158th Sts, 212-870-3070), complete with more than 330 acres of views, monuments and recreation areas, like ball fields, a skate park and tennis courts. For even more outdoor options, reference our guide to the city's overlooked parks.

88. Celebrate Bastille Day on 60th Street
Take Marie Antoinette's advice and stuff yourself silly with all manner of French sweets (macarons, crpes and canels provided by Francois Payard and others, to be exact) at this Gallic celebration. Approximately 60 vendors will be on hand, as well as musical acts and gratis wine and cheese tastings courtesy of the French Institute Alliance Franaise. Francophiles will want to try their luck with the raffle—prizes include trips to the mother country and gift certificates to Parisian-style bistros. 60th St between Fifth and Lexington Aves (bastilledaynyc.com). July 10 noon--5pm; free.

89. Celebrate Harlem during Harlem week
What started as Harlem Day in 1974 has mushroomed into a month of events celebrating the neighborhood's artistic talent and cultural history. Highlights include Summer in the City (Aug 20 noon--9pm; free), incorporating a reggae dance tribute to Bob Marley and an outdoor film showcase at St. Nicholas Park; and the Harlem Day street fair (Aug 21 10am--9pm; free), filled with musical performances, fashion shows and vendors. Go to harlemweek.com for more information.

90. Go on a retro getaway
Take a trip to yesteryear in the wooded Catskill Mountains—that's right, the same location where Johnny wooed Baby in Dirty Dancing. While it's not quite the same as the grand resort in the movie, you can get a slice of 1963 at Kate's Lazy Meadow, a nine-acre haven offering retro Airsteam trailers. Each one comes equipped with a picnic table and charcoal grill that's perfect for whipping up some BBQ on a lazy summer day. 845-688-7200, lazymeadow.com. Trailers $175--$200 per night.

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.