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: Joseph Moran

    21. Remember the Bard sayeth, "How poor are they who have not patience," so suck it up and wait in line for Shakespeare in the Park, one of the best things to do in the summer.

  • Photograph: Ethan Ries

    22. Discover the LES during sunlight hours at DayLife street fest, one of the best things to do in the summer.

  • Photograph: J Carter Rinaldi

    23. Wave your freak flag at the Mermaid Parade, one of the best things to do in the summer.

  • Photograph: Jena Cumbo

    24. Hang out in Brooklyn Bridge Park, one of the best things to do in the summer. Pictured: Brooklyn Bridge Park's pool at Pier 2.

  • Photograph: Adam Suerte

    25. Sing us a song, you're the piano man (or women), during Sing for Hope Pianos, one of the best things to do in the summer.

  • 26. Hit the biggest arena show of the season, Jay-Z and Justin Timberlake's Legends of the Summer concert at Yankee Stadium, one of the best things to do in the summer.

  • Photograph: Irwin Seow

    27. See a free flick with Rooftop Films, one of the best things to do in the summer. Pictured: Rooftop Films screening in Coney Island.

  • Photograph: Filip Wolak

    28. Live out all of your Great Gatsby fantasies at the Jazz Age Lawn Party, one of the best things to do in the summer.

  • Photograph: Chad Batka

    29. See the best show in town: Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812, one of the best things to do this summer.

  • Photograph: Gaby Amarantos/Junior Franch

    30. See the Brazilian Beyoncé, Gaby Amarantos, during Brasil Summerfest, one of the best things to do this summer.

Photograph: Joseph Moran

21. Remember the Bard sayeth, "How poor are they who have not patience," so suck it up and wait in line for Shakespeare in the Park, one of the best things to do in the summer.

21

Remember the Bard sayeth, "How poor are they who have not patience," so suck it up and wait in line for Shakespeare in the Park

  • Critics choice
  • Free

Each year, the Public Theater’s festival brings droves of culture lovers to Central Park’s Delacorte Theater. First up this year is The Comedy of Errors (May 28–June 30), one of the Bard’s sillier farces, starring company vets Jesse Tyler Ferguson (Modern Family) and Hamish Linklater (The Big C). The big news this year is a musical adaptation of battle-of-the-sexes comedy Love’s Labour’s Lost (July 23–Aug 18) from Alex Timbers and Michael Friedman, who last collaborated on the very fun Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson. Free tickets (two per person) are distributed at both theaters at 1pm on the day of the performance. It's usually good to begin waiting around 9am, although the line can start forming as early as 6am when big-name stars are on the bill. You can also enter an online lottery for tickets. Check out our tips for snagging tickets to Shakespeare in the Park.

  1. Central Park, (at 81st St)
More info
22
Discover the LES during sunlight hours at DayLife street fest, one of the best things to do in the summer.

Discover the LES during sunlight hours

  • Critics choice
  • Free

We all pigeonhole neighborhoods—midtown’s for work, the West Village strolling, Williamsburg hipster-trolling, and the Lower East Side exists purely for after-dark pleasures. The DayLife street fair plans to shine the warm light of truth on that misconception by AstroTurfing three city blocks and bringing local shops, restaurants, music venues and games out into the street. To celebrate the 125th anniversary of Katz’s Delicatessen, the main event will be an official Major League Eating pastrami-scarfing contest at 2pm. For the love of all that’s holy, don’t enter—save room for treats from 30 roving pushcarts courtesy of neighborhood favorites such as Mission Chinese Food and the Meatball Shop. There will also be a live-music stage set up in front of Tammany Hall and programmed by the Living Room. Pencil in two more editions of the festival in 2013, on September 15 and October 27. Visit lowereastsideny.com for more information. Noon–5pm.

  1. Orchard St between Delancey and E Houston Sts
  2. Sun Jun 8
23

Wave your freak flag at the Mermaid Parade

  • Critics choice
  • Free

And we mean literally: Wave the flag you earned by donating to the Kickstarter campaign that hopes to fund this season’s installment of the annual art parade. Coney Island USA’s event passed the 30-year mark in 2012, but we’re in danger of missing the procession of glitter-covered seminude revelers, aquatically adorned floats and classic cruisers due to TBS (That Bitch Sandy). At time of writing, almost three quarters of the $100,000 needed before June 3 had been raised. Chip in $5 and you’ll get access to a kick-ass freak flag design and instructions for how to make it. Take it to the parade and expect a lot of high fives.

24

Hang out in Brooklyn Bridge Park

  • Critics choice
  • Free

Next year, expect to see the article “101 things to do in this waterfront development.” A small sampling of the warm-weather delights: Hang out in Picnic Peninsula and grill on one of the 22 no-permit-required barbecues, play a game of tetherball, cool off in the pop-up pool (opening TBA), take a ride on Jane’s Carousel ($2), lick a salted-crack-caramel ice-cream cone from the Ample Hills Creamery concession at Pier 5, or fill your belly every Sunday at Smorgasburg. Then there’s always the free programming, including Syfy Movies with a View series (Thu 9pm, July 11–Aug 9), the Books Beneath the Bridge reading series (Mon 7pm, July 8–Aug 12), a performance by the Metropolitan Opera (July 19 7pm), the Bard on Pier 1 (A Midsummer Night’s Dream June 7–9, Much Ado About Nothing June 28–30; 7pm) a marathon reading of Walt Whitman’s “Song of Myself” (June 2 3pm), kayaking (select Thu 5:30–6:45pm; Sat 10am–3pm; June 13–Aug 31), morning yoga (Mon 7:30am, July 1–Aug 19) and sunset Pilates (Wed 7pm, June 26–Sept 25). And the biggest perk for any park? The outdoor drinkery, Brooklyn Bridge Wine Bar at the Pier 1. 

  1. Main St, (at Fulton Ferry Landing), 11201
More info
25

Sing us a song, you're the piano man (or women)

  • Critics choice
  • Free

Itching to show off your Scott Joplin–like skills—or at least your “Chopsticks” chops? For 16 days, service organization Sing for Hope will scatter 88 artist-decorated pianos (one for each key, get it?) in outdoor public locations throughout the five boroughs. Passersby are encouraged to pull up a bench and tickle the ivories. At the end of the project, the instruments will be donated to schools, hospitals and other community institutions that otherwise wouldn’t be able to afford to buy one.

  1. Various locations
  2. Sat Jun 1 - Sun Jun 16
More info
26

Hit the biggest arena show of the season

  • Critics choice

Kid Rock may have trashed the hefty price tag on Jay-Z and JT’s Legends of the Summer tour, but that didn’t stop tickets from selling out almost immediately. (High-priced seats are still available.) If you’ve got one, consider yourself lucky: This is arguably the arena-music event of the season, with Timberlake in triumphant mode after his long-awaited comeback, and Hov—well, he’s always triumphant. We assume he’ll be in especially good spirits at his hometown’s big-time ballpark.

  1. Yankee Stadium 1 E 161st St, between Jerome and River Aves
  2. Fri Jul 19 - Sat Jul 20
Buy tickets
27
See a free flick with Rooftop Films, one of the best things to do in the summer. Pictured: Rooftop Films screening in Coney Island.

See a free flick with Rooftop Films

  • Critics choice
  • Free

New York is packed to the gills with gratis screenings in the summer, but few compare to the indie programming and unique locations of this warm-weather favorite, and between now and closing night on August 17, there are 12 complimentary events to complement the ticketed portion of the series. See Ken Burns’s The Central Park Five (June 18) in, rather appropriately, Dag Hammarskjold Plaza; Bending Steel (July 8), about a budding strongman, lights up Coney Island beach at West 12th Street; and Brasslands (July 13), in Brookfield Place Plaza, documents a Balkan music festival. The latter is followed by live performances of local favorites Zlatne Uste, Slavic Soul Party! and Raya Brass Band. Visit rooftopfilms.com for a complete schedule.

  1. Locations vary
  2. Through Sat Aug 17
28

Jazz Age Lawn Party

  • Critics choice

Bust out your flapper gear (or buy some) and brush up on The Great Gatsby: For this outdoor bash, part of Governors Island is transformed into a Prohibition-era soiree, complete with old-timey touches like ’20s motorcars and functional antique gramophones. Over two weekends, you can catch Michael Arenella and His Dreamland Orchestra playing jazz staples, as well as performances by dance group Dreamland Follies and musicians Gelber & Manning. Between sets, snag cool duds and goods from vintage collectors and artisans, and sip era-appropriate cocktails.

  1. Governors Island Governors Island
  2. Sun Aug 17
More info
29

See the best show in town

  • Rated as: 5/5
  • Price band: 2/4
  • Critics choice

Dave Malloy’s musical Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812, adapted from a brief section of Tolstoy’s War and Peace, wowed us last year when it opened at Ars Nova. It’s returned at Kazino, a sumptuous pop-up venue in the Meatpacking District that doubles as a Russian supper club, and it’s swept us off our feet again. An eight-piece band is scattered throughout the room, while the luxuriously costumed cast mingles with an audience seated at cabaret-style tables. The price of admission (which includes a modest dinner and a shot of booze) is worth every kopeck. Inventive and thoughtful, knowingly sincere, this is theater like no other in New York.

  1. Kazino W 13th St, at Washington St, 10011
  2. Through Sun Sep 1
Buy tickets
30
See the Brazilian Beyoncé, Gaby Amarantos, during Brasil Summerfest, one of the best things to do this summer.

See the Brazilian Beyoncé during Brasil Summerfest

  • Critics choice

Samba in the sunshine at South Street Seaport, then shake your rump to the latest baile-funk and hip-hop sounds at Joe’s Pub at the Public Theater, Drom and other after-dark spots. It’s all part of Brasil Summerfest, a movable feast of traditional and contemporary sounds and styles, starting July 20 at Central Park SummerStage with the U.S. debut of Gaby Amarantos, often called “the Brazilian Beyoncé.” Visit facebook.com/brasilsummerfest for the complete schedule.

  1. Locations vary
  2. Sat Jul 20–Sat Jul 27

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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