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: Courtesy Governors Ball Music Fesitval/Forest Woodward

    51. Catch the headliners at Governors Ball, one of the best things to do in the summer.

  • 52. Play musical chairs in Bryant Park, one of the best things to do in the summer.

  • Photograph: Marielle Solan

    53. Welcome Big Mark and his Action Park to the Coney Island boardwalk, one of the best things to do in the summer.

  • Copyright: Randy Duchaine, Photograph: Randy Duchaine

    54. Put a big red circle in your planner around New Amsterdam Market’s one confirmed summer date, one of the best things to do in the summer.

  • Photograph: Lars van den Brink

    55. Take your chances at the New York International Fringe Festival, one of the best things to do in the summer.

  • Photograph: Dominic Perri

    56. Blow your tiny mind at the World Science Festival, one of the best things to do in the summer.

  • 57. Try a new outdoor activity for free during Outdoor Rise, one of the best free things to do in the summer for explorers in training.

  • Photographs: Andrew Eccles

    58. Watch chorus boys and girls grin and bare it at Broadway Bares 23: United Strips of America, one of the best things to do in the summer.

  • Photograph: Virginia Rollison

    59. Dress appropriately for "PUNK: Chaos to Couture" at the Met, one of the best things to do in the summer.

  • Photograph: Courtesy Socrates Sculpture Park

    60. Get involved with Hans Ulrich Obrist's do it (outside) at Socrates Sculpture Park, one of the best things to do in the summer.

Photograph: Courtesy Governors Ball Music Fesitval/Forest Woodward

51. Catch the headliners at Governors Ball, one of the best things to do in the summer.

51

Catch the headliners at Governors Ball

  • Price band: 4/4
  • Critics choice

Pulling off a successful blockbuster outdoor music fest around these parts is tough (RIP, All Points West), but it looks like the Gov Ball is going to do it; three-day passes are sold out, as the response to 2013’s lineup has been much more enthusiastic than in years past. It helps that the Randalls Island–set bonanza has nabbed some of the biggest names in rock (Kings of Leon) and hip-hop (Kanye West)—plus, erm, Guns N’ Roses. But we’re just as excited to catch lower-billed, of-the-moment acts like envelope-pushing indie-rock outfit Deerhunter, L.A. rap phenom Kendrick Lamar and dance-inducing electropopsters Crystal Castles, among others.

  1. Randalls Island Park Robert F. Kennedy Bridge, at Randalls Island
  2. Fri Jun 7 - Sun Jun 9
More info
52

Play musical chairs in Bryant Park

  • Critics choice
  • Free

Last year, close to 400 people converged on the lawn to compete in the classic party game, using the park’s iconic green chairs. Now it’s been turned into an annual event, with comedian Sara Barron returning as host. There will be 20 circles of chairs, with 30 people to a circle, all vying for a place in the final playoff. Just remember to bring your A-game: The grand prize includes a pair of Southwest Airlines tickets (whatever), one of Bryant Park’s green lawn chairs (want!) and a plaque in the park (immortality—yes!). Fair warning: We detected a take-no-prisoners attitude at last year’s event; see for yourself with our video. If you think you’ve got what it takes, sign up at bryantpark.org/musicalchairs.

  1. Sixth Ave, (between 40th and 42nd Sts)
  2. Mon Jun 9
More info
53
Welcome Big Mark and his Action Park to the Coney Island boardwalk, one of the best things to do in the summer.

Welcome Big Mark and his Action Park to the Coney Island boardwalk

Slated to debut Memorial Day weekend, new amusement destination Big Mark's Action Park aims to complement Coney Island’s kitschy, throwback vibe while offering modern touches. Most of the rides ($5–$25) and attractions were selected with high action and a low carbon footprint in mind; look for a wind tunnel designed to simulate skydiving, a zip line spanning the length of a city block, rock-climbing walls and hot-air-balloon rides. The now-defunct Mega Whirl, a ride that was destroyed by Sandy, will find new life as a tropical-themed bar. And if you’re not in the mood for a hot dog (especially post–wind tunnel), the park plans to offer a variety of international, health-conscious fare. Visit facebook.com/bigmarksactionpark for more information, and for more delights of the Brooklyn shore, check out our Coney Island and Luna Park guide.

  1. 3049 Stillwell Ave at the boardwalk
  2. Opens Sat May 25
54

Put a big red circle in your planner around New Amsterdam Market’s one confirmed summer date

  • Critics choice
  • Free

The smartly curated outdoor local-food bazaar is in limbo. The outdoor market was always intended as a prelude to a permanent indoor market in the Fulton Fish Market and New Amsterdam building, but that vision is competing with other commercial development. While founder Robert LaValva is weighing his options (which include walking away from the site), there is one market currently scheduled for this year on June 23 (11am–5pm), with more than 50 vendors confirmed. Visit the bread pavilion for freshly baked loafs made from local grains, and a dairy bar with treats made with locally produced milk. In addition, Anton Nocito of P&H Soda will mark the release of his cookbook, Make Your Own Soda, by creating a one-off beverage with Gomberg of the Brooklyn Seltzer Boys. You could wait for more announcements, but honestly, just block out the time and go.

  1. Fulton Fish Market, (South St between Beekman St and Peck Slip)
  2. Sun Jun 29
More info
55
Take your chances at the New York International Fringe Festival, one of the best things to do in the summer.

Take your chances at the New York International Fringe Festival

  • Critics choice

Each August, New York straps itself in for this annual theater megafest, in which scrappy performers and troupes from around the world descend on the city, raw talent (or lack thereof) in tow. Choosing between the nearly 200 shows on offer is a game of theatrical Russian roulette: You never know which alternamusical, one-woman confessional or puppet ballet will be the next underground hit, and which will be a self-indulgent flop. But hey—it’s cheap!—with tickets available for $18 (advance $15). Visit fringenyc.org for more information.

  1. Locations vary
  2. Fri Aug 9 - Sun Aug 25
56

Blow your tiny mind at the World Science Festival

  • Critics choice

This fun four-day affair combines scientific innovation with cutting-edge arts and culture. Special guests this year include James Watson, one of the discoverers of DNA structure, and actor and science lover Alan Alda. Take in talks on the multiverse, whales, infinity and how the human mind responds to beauty. At the fest’s open-to-all Innovation Square in MetroTech Plaza in downtown Brooklyn, you can check out everything from flying robots to super-evaporated cocktails.

  1. Locations vary
  2. Sat May 31 - Sun Jun 1
More info
57

Try a new outdoor activity for free

  • Critics choice
  • Free

Spend some time in the sun learning a new sport (or trying a gratis session of your favorite) with Outdoor Rise, a free weeklong program sponsored by adventure-travel company Discover Outdoors. Start the day with yoga (daily 8–9:15am) in Central Park’s Sheep Meadow, or splash around during a kayaking (June 17, 19, 21 noon–1pm) or stand-up paddleboarding session (June 17, 19, 21 1:30–2:30pm) with the Manhattan Kayaking Company at Pier 66. A bouldering class will be offered at Rat Rock in Central Park (enter at Columbus Circle; June 18 6–7:30pm) and at Pier 46, you can try your hand at fishing (June 18, 20 6–8pm). If you prefer straight-up, no-nonsense locomotion, sign up for the bike ride that follows the Manhattan waterfront and starts at Pier 84’s Bike and Roll (June 23 10:30am–5:30pm), or meet at Grand Central Terminal to take the Metro-North to Breakneck Ridge (round-trip $26), where you’ll hike five miles, scrambling to make it to the summit to watch the sunset (June 21 4–10pm). There’s also a range of talks to spark your wanderlust; visit outdoorrise.com for details and to book your place in each activity.

58

Watch chorus boys and girls grin and bare it

  • Price band: 3/4
  • Critics choice

More than 200 chorus boys and girls take it all off in annual frisky fund-raiser Broadway Bares for Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS. This year's show, directed by Nick Kenkel, is inspired by the fruited plains, amber waves and other double entendre–worthy landscapes of these here United States. For more information, go to broadwaycares.org.

  1. Roseland Ballroom 239 W 52nd St, between Broadway and Eighth Ave
  2. Until Sun Jun 23
More info
59

Dress appropriately for "PUNK: Chaos to Couture" at the Met

  • Critics choice

The Met’s Costume Institute—responsible for 2011’s blockbuster “Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty” exhibit—investigates the aesthetics of punk culture and how it has influenced designers like Vivienne Westwood, Laura Mulleavy (Rodarte), Karl Lagerfeld (Chanel) and Gianna Versace. Expect to hear plenty of the Ramones, the Sex Pistols and the Clash while you check out 100 garments ranging from shredded, safety-pinned ’70s outfits to contemporary couture. Fair warning: Don't turn up in a faux-hawk if you're a celeb, the press will have a field day.

  1. The Metropolitan Museum of Art 1000 Fifth Ave, at 82nd St, 10028
  2. Wed Aug 14
More info
60

Get involved at Socrates Sculpture Park

  • Critics choice
  • Free

In the most recent incarnation of Hans Ulrich Obrist's exhibition do it (outside), that’s taken place in 50-plus venues around the world, Obrist recruited more than 60 international artists (Ai Weiwei, David Lynch and Joan Jonas among them) to write instructions for creating all manner of works, which in turn have been interpreted by other artists and put on display alongside the directions. You’re invited to visit the park and act out the performative pieces yourself.

  1. 32-01 Vernon Blvd, (at Broadway)
  2. Through Sun July 7
More info

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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