101 things to do in the summer in New York City 2013

Check out the best things to do in the summer, including street fairs, block parties, festivals, outdoor bars, alfresco screenings, beaches and more!

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  • Photograph: Hyla Skopitz, courtesy the Metropolitan Museum of Art

    11. Walk on art at the Met, one of the best things to do in the summer. Pictured: "The Roof Garden Commission: Imran Qureshi," installation view

  • Photograph: Bill Kelly

    12. Celebrate good times at the Prospect Park Bandshell, one of the best things to do in the summer. Pictured: Wild Flag at Celebrate Brooklyn!

  • Photograph: Amy Plitt

    13. Cruise around the city on a Citibike, one of the best new things to do in the summer. Pictured: A CitiBike in a docking station in Dumbo.

  • Photograph: Grace Chu

    14. Stroll, cycle or zip along car-free avenues during Summer Streets, one of the best outdoor things to do in the summer.

  • Photograph: Loren Wohl

    15. Warm up dancing to red hot DJs, cool down under the water cannon at MoMA PS1's Warm Up parties, one of the best parties to go to in the summer. Pictured: Warm Up 2012 at MoMA PS1

  • 16. Plug into the electric atmosphere at the 2013 US Open at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center, one of the best things to do in the summer.

  • Photograph: Filip Wolak

    17. Learn some new moves at Midsummer Night Swing, one of the best things to do in the summer.

  • 18. Commune with carnivores at the Big Apple BBQ Block Party, one of the best things to do in the summer.

  • Photograph: Paul Wagtouicz

    19. Escape the sweltering sidewalks at a breezy rooftop bar, one of the best things to do in the summer. Pictured: Gallow Green.

  • Photograph: Courtesy Gagosian Gallery

    20. See Jeff Koons bestride the art world like a colossus, one of the best shows to see this summer. Pictured: Jeff Koons, Metallic Venus, 2010–12

Photograph: Hyla Skopitz, courtesy the Metropolitan Museum of Art

11. Walk on art at the Met, one of the best things to do in the summer. Pictured: "The Roof Garden Commission: Imran Qureshi," installation view

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Walk on art at the Met

  • Price band: 2/4
  • Critics choice

Pakistani artist Imran Qureshi supplies this year’s summer installation in the Met’s stunning roof garden. Best known for contemporary updates on the miniature painting that flourished on the Indian subcontinent during the Mughal era (1526–1857), Qureshi has created a site-specific work on the floor of the terrace that visitors are invited to walk on as they inspect it. Intricate floral patterns blossom from bloody pools of rich red paint. Mull over the piece’s commentary on the modern world with a stiff drink Friday and Saturday evenings (5:30–8pm), when cocktails are served.

  1. The Metropolitan Museum of Art 1000 Fifth Ave, at 82nd St, 10028
  2. Tue May 21 - Sun Nov 3
More info
12

Celebrate good times at the Prospect Park Bandshell

  • Price band: 1/4
  • Critics choice

The friendly rival to SummerStage is Celebrate Brooklyn!, which was programming great free concerts before Kings County became the borough du jour (and, dare we say, will continue to do so after BK becomes passé). For the 35th season it’s laying on a delightfully eclectic lineup of shows. Austin-based alt-country singer Patty Griffin opens the series (June 14), which cheerfully skips through hip-hop heavyweight Big Boi (June 20), Malian guitar duo Amadou & Mariam (June 21), folkies the Waterboys (July 19), Brooklyn country-soul rockers the Lone Bellow (July 20), a genre-busting evening with Jamie Lidell and Dan Deacon (Aug 2), and “Birdhouse in Your Soul” hit makers They Might Be Giants (Aug 10). For a change of pace, don’t miss two screenings paired with live music: 1931’s Dracula (July 13), set to a Philip Glass score, and Beasts of the Southern Wild (Aug 8). If you can pony up more than the $3 suggested admission, splurge on one of the benefit concerts: the Roots and Jim James (June 18; $41), Belle and Sebastian (July 11; $42.50), Robert Plant (July 27; $40, reserved seating $80) and Beck (Aug 4; $50).

  1. Prospect Park West, (at 9th St)
  2. Wed Jun 5 - Sat Aug 10
Book online
13
Cruise around the city on a Citibike, one of Time Out's 101 things to do in the summer in New York City 2013. Pictured: A CitiBike in a docking station in Dumbo.

Cruise around the city on a Citibike

  • Critics choice

Never worry about cycle theft again with this new bike-share program that's perfect for making quick trips. Starting May 27 for annual members (and June 2 for the rest of us), 6,000 seriously sturdy two-wheelers will become available at 330 stations along a corridor that runs downtown from 60th Street, across the East River and infto central Brooklyn. A pass affords you unlimited 30–45 minute trips—but beware, staying out longer incurs a penalty ($2.50–$12). To see how the ride handles, take a trial run with a gratis day pass, given out after free Street Skills classes at Bicycle Habitat in Soho or Red Lantern Bicycles in Fort Greene (locations, dates and times vary; visit bikenewyork.org for details; registration required). citibikenyc.com. Passes: day $9.95, week $25, annual $95.

  1. Beginning Mon May 27
14

Stroll, cycle or zip along car-free avenues during Summer Streets

  • Critics choice
  • Free

For this three-Saturday event, nearly seven miles of NYC turf—from the Brooklyn Bridge all the way to Central Park—will be cleared of vehicles, creating a pedestrian paradise complete with food and entertainment. This edition’s offerings are still being finalized, but previous years have included free bike rentals, a rock-climbing wall, a zip line and picnics along the route. Be sure to keep your eyes peeled for outdoor art installations. To avoid traffic all summer, try these car-free bike paths.

15

Warm up dancing to DJs, cool down under the water cannon

  • Price band: 2/4
  • Critics choice

Boozy alfresco daytime dance party Warm Up ($18, advance $15) held in MoMA PS1’s courtyard is back for a round of 11 shows this summer. The series kicks off with one of Detroit techno’s founding fathers, Juan Atkins (June 29), and there’s another elder statesman headlining later, acid house kingpin A Guy Called Gerald of “Voodoo Ray” fame (July 27). House heads should check out local hotshot duo the Martinez Brothers (July 6), Kode9 should keep fans of envelope-pushing dubstep happy (July 20), King Britt is on a bill with hip-hop artist J. Cole and rapper Mr. Muthafuckin’ eXquire (Aug 17), and avant-pop trio Liars pitches in with a live set (Aug 31). As if that sampling of the lineup weren’t enough, this season’s architectural installation is Party Wall. Made using leftovers from an Ithaca skateboard manufacturer, the towering structure has the obligatory wading pools and a water cannon. The whole shebang is weighted down with pillow-shaped balloons of water that will be illuminated at night. Are you ready to snap up tickets when they go on sale June 5? Good.

  1. 22-25 Jackson Ave, (at 46th Ave)
  2. Sat Jun 29 - Sat Sep 7
More info
16

Plug into the electric atmosphere at the 2013 US Open

  • Price band: 3/4
  • Critics choice

To the tennis fan, the US Open is better than Christmas. The enthusiastic (but not barbaric) crowd, the delightful getups, the impressive feats of grace and athleticism unfolding under a wide-open summertime sky, all that sporty grunting… There is nothing quite like it. The big questions this year: Will top-ranked Serbian player Novak Djokovic’s bad ankle lead to his demise? Will number-two Andy Murray rise to the top? Can Serena Williams replicate last year’s victory? Is Feliciano López too handsome, or just handsome enough?

  1. USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center Flushing Meadows–Corona Park, Kennedy Cir, at New York Ave
  2. Mon Aug 25 - Mon Sep 8
Buy tickets
17

Learn some new moves at Midsummer Night Swing

  • Price band: 2/4

Lincoln Center's Damrosch Park transforms into an open-air ballroom for the 25th straight year. Don't be intimidated by the old-timers showing you up on the dance floor, every evening opens with a 45-minute introductory lesson. And while you may struggle to master the steps to salsa dancing led by the Spanish Harlem Orchestra (June 28) or a toe-tapping set by the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra on opening night (June 25), we bet you'll have more success flailing wildly during Jonathan Toubin's high-energy soul night (July 5) or grooving at the Loser's Lounge evening of disco (July 11).

  1. Damrosch Park at Lincoln Center W 62nd St, between Columbus and Amsterdam Aves
  2. Sat Jul 13
More info
18

Commune with carnivores at the Big Apple BBQ Block Party

  • Price band: 1/4
  • Critics choice
  • Free

Head to Madison Square Park for the 11th edition of this smoked- and grilled-meat blowout. Top pit masters from restaurants all over the country—including Blue Smoke, Dinosaur Bar-B-Que, Texas’s famed Salt Lick and more—will dish out exceptional ’cue for $9 a plate. Live music from bluesy songstress Marcia Ball (June 8) and rootsy rockers the Dirty Guv’nahs (June 9) will accompany the gluttony. FastPasses (which grant you $100 to spend and access to express lines for two eaters) sold out quickly last year, so plan ahead if you want to skip the queue.

  1. Madison Square Park E 23rd St to E 26th St, between Fifth and Madison Aves
  2. Sat Jun 8 - Sun Jun 9
More info
19

Escape the sweltering sidewalks at a breezy rooftop bar

  • Price band: 3/4
  • Critics choice

We don't know why, if hot air rises, rooftop bars aren't sweatboxes; but then we're journalists (and drinkers), not scientists. Our favorite spot for imbibing above ground level is Gallow Green, a dreamy, overgrown rooftop with trellises woven with flowers and weathered wooden tables, which sits atop a warehouse that operates as the McKittrick Hotel for the wildly popular Sleep No More. We recommend going with friends and sharing a punch bowl in the abandoned antique railcar, the best seats in the house. For more drinks and views, check out our comprehensive roundup of rooftop bars.

  1. 530 W 27th St, (between Tenth and Eleventh Aves), 10001
More info
20

See Jeff Koons bestride the art world like a colossus

  • Critics choice
  • Free

Rival megadealers Larry Gagosian and David Zwirner are sharing the wealth with concurrent shows of new works by Jeff Koons. In “Gazing Ball,” at the Zwirner space, deep-purple orbs balance precariously on white sculptures of classical figures, balloonlike snowmen and mailboxes. Over at Gagosian, Koons debuts new series of paintings, sculptures, and three twists on his crowd-pleasing balloon animals: Balloon Swan (Blue), Balloon Rabbit (Yellow) and Balloon Monkey (Red).

  1. Through Sat Jun 29

Users say

2 comments
Melinda Moses
Melinda Moses

Oh My. I live in Boston. This is going to be a problem. What an excellent selection of just the sorts of things I love to do!! AWESOME, A++++ List, @Timeout. Thank you!

Clare
Clare

Is there any way to print all the pages at once?

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