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: Jena Cumbo

    61. Watch artists make masterpieces by the sea at Creative Time’s second annual Sandcastle Competition in Far Rockaway, one of the best things to do in the summer. Pictured: 2012's winning team of Jen Catron and Paul Outlaw.

  • Photograph: Filip Wolak

    62. Spend a summer Sunday dancing in Gowanus Grove for one last season at Mister Sunday, one of the best things to do in the summer.

  • Photograph: Adam Stoltman

    63. Experience a Polynesian festival at the Hawaiian Airlines Liberty Challenge, one of the best things to do in the summer.

  • 64. Get chills at Film Forum’s Son of Summer Festival of Fantasy, Horror and Science Fiction, one of the best things to do this summer.

  • 65. Pay fealty to B.B. King at the Lowdown Hudson Blues Festival, one of the best things to do in the summer.

  • 66. Marvel at how time flies during Harlem Week, one of the best things to do in the summer.

  • Photograph: Owen Franken/CORBIS

    67. See "AIDS in New York: The First Five Years" at N-YHS, one of the best exhibitions to visit in the summer. Pictured: Gay Protesters on Gay Pride Day

  • Photograph: ©2012 Fredrik Nilsen, All Rights Reserved, Fredrik Nilsen

    68. Don't get lost, Little Red, in Paul McCarthy's fairy-tale forest at the Park Avenue Armory, one of the best exhibits to see in the summer. Pictured: Paul McCarthy, White Snow Dwarf, Sleepy #1 (Midget)

  • Photograph: courtesy 5 Pointz

    69. Celebrate 40 years of Hip-Hop at 5 Pointz, one of the best things to do this summer.

  • Photograph: Thomas Hargis

    70. Prick up your ears at the New York Musical Theatre Festival, one of the best things to try in the summer. Pictured: Re-Animator The Musical (2012)

Photograph: Jena Cumbo

61. Watch artists make masterpieces by the sea at Creative Time’s second annual Sandcastle Competition in Far Rockaway, one of the best things to do in the summer. Pictured: 2012's winning team of Jen Catron and Paul Outlaw.

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Watch artists make masterpieces by the sea at Creative Time’s second annual Sandcastle Competition in Far Rockaway, one of the best things to do in the summer. Pictured: 2012's winning team of Jen Catron and Paul Outlaw.

Watch artists make masterpieces by the sea

  • Critics choice
  • Free

The humble beach diversion gets an artistic makeover at Creative Time’s second annual Sandcastle Competition in Far Rockaway. Artists (and their teams) are invited to spend an afternoon fashioning great works; while you lounge, listen to a DJ and sample the goods from the boardwalk’s lauded food vendors. Last year, Tom Sachs’s group dug a hole bound for China, team Marie Lorenz built a coliseum, while winners Jen Catron and Paul Outlaw, pictured, er…not sure what it is—a human fountain?—but it looks cool! And after the winners have been chosen and feted, it’s time for an after-party. This edition is tentatively scheduled for the beginning of August on Rockaway Beach in the general vicinity of 80th Street; visit creativetime.org or follow the Twitter handle @creativetimenyc nearer the time for details.

  1. Rockaway Beach
  2. Early Aug
62

Spend a summer Sunday dancing in Gowanus Grove for one last season

  • Price band: 1/4
  • Critics choice

Before new property development swallows the outdoor lot by the canal, make sure to hit up at least one of this season’s Mister Sunday outdoor parties. Impresarios and residents Justin Carter and Eamon Harkin create a relaxed, kid-friendly vibe in the afternoon, spinning a good-time soundtrack to games of Ping-Pong and plates of tacos by food truck Country Boys. As dusk arrives, the energy ramps up and a fun, sweaty mass of people dance under the disco ball hung in the poplar tree grove. While we’d bet that the Mister Sunday parties will continue after the venue closes, it’s still worth enjoying the party in this soon-to-be-gone setting. E-mail mister@mistersaturdaynight.com to get on the reduced-admission list.

  1. Gowanus Grove 400 Carroll St, between Bond and Nevins Sts
  2. Sun (end date TBA)
More info
63

Experience a Polynesian festival

  • Critics choice
  • Free

The Hawaiian Airlines Liberty Challenge brings in top teams of paddlers to race outriggers (a canoe with a buoyancy arm attached to one side) around New York Harbor. For the 17th annual competition, host organization New York Outrigger is throwing a free all-day affair on Pier 26 at Hudson River Park by the start and finish line. While crews are sweating through the 15-mile course, sample traditional Polynesian culture at a lei-making class and dance lesson, or see how an outrigger handles out on the water. If that whets your appetite, head to one of NYO’s free novice sessions on weekends starting June 1 (assuming Sandy-related repairs of the group’s Pier 66 home base have been completed); visit newyorkoutrigger.org/novices for updates and to register.

  1. Pier 26 Hudson River, at North Moore St, 10013
  2. Sat Jun 22
More info
64

Get chills at Film Forum’s Son of Summer Festival of Fantasy, Horror and Science Fiction

  • Price band: 1/4
  • Critics choice

Sometimes, even a movie theater's air conditioning isn't enough to cool you down during the height of summer. If only there was a way to send chills down your spine…. Thankfully, the venerable downtown movie house is reviving its cinematic salute to creepy, geeky fare for the first time in 17 years. Expect a few new prints and celeb appearances (both TBA at press time) at the four-week series, which includes showings of Alien, Evil Dead 2, Ghostbusters, Starship Troopers, Plan 9 from Outer Space!, a 3-D presentation of The Creature from the Black Lagoon and many more wide-ranging titles.

  1. 209 W Houston St, (between Sixth Ave and Varick St), 10014
  2. Fri Aug 9 - Thu Sep 5
More info
65

Pay fealty to B.B. King at the Lowdown Hudson Blues Festival

  • Critics choice
  • Free

Now in its third year, the Lowdown Hudson Blues Festival sets up in Brookfield Place Plaza for an electrifying two-night stand (6–9:30pm). Topping the first night’s bill is none other than legendary guitarist and vocalist B.B. King; closing out night two is the veteran California rock band Los Lobos, whose 1992 album, Kiko, is as classic as it gets.

  1. 220 Vesey St, (at West St), 10281
  2. Wed Jul 10 - Thu Jul 11
More info
66
Marvel at how time flies during Harlem Week, one of the best things to do in the summer.

Marvel at how time flies during Harlem Week

  • Critics choice
  • Free

Times flies when you're having fun, which is presumably the excuse this annual festival gives for stretching its free programming over a month. We're not complaining, though, there's a bounty of cultural riches to enjoy uptown. For instance, A Great Day in Harlem in U.S. Grant National Memorial Park (July 28 1–8:30pm) includes an international gospel showcase; the Studio Museum in Harlem resurrects Uptown Fridays, an evening of free tours and music (Fri 6–9pm Aug 2–30); Jazzmobile hosts cool-kid concerts every Wednesday back in Grant Memorial Park (July 31–Aug 21, 7pm) and puts on a one-off engagement on Central Park's Great Hill (Aug 17 4–7pm). And then there's the Entertainer's Basketball Classic at the world-renowned Rucker Park (Frederick Douglass Blvd at 155th St; ebcsports.com; July 31–Aug 15, Mon–Fri 6–10pm)—who knows which star might drop by. (Is this a video of Kevin Durant at Rucker Park? Yes—yes it is.) Visit harlemweek.com for a complete schedule.

  1. Locations vary
  2. Sat Jul 27 - Fri Aug 30
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See "AIDS in New York: The First Five Years" at N-YHS

  • Price band: 2/4
  • Critics choice

This summer’s main exhibition at New-York Historical Society puts the early days of a ravaging epidemic on display, exploring its impact on the culture and life of Gotham. Using posters, photos, and troves of information from the archives of the New York Public Library, NYU and the National Archive of LGBT History, “AIDS in New York” looks back on a time when few knew how to handle the disease or where to turn for help.

  1. New-York Historical Society 170 Central Park West, between 76th and 77th Sts
  2. Sun Sep 15
More info
68

Don't get lost, Little Red, in Paul McCarthy's fairy-tale forest

  • Price band: 2/4
  • Critics choice

If you’re uptown and looking to escape to another world, head to the Park Avenue Armory. In the last year alone, its Drill Hall has been transformed into the surface of the Red Planet (for Tom Sachs’s Space Program: Mars) and a giant swing set (Ann Hamilton’s The Event of a Thread). Now, artist Paul McCarthy is turning the 55,000-square-foot space into a dark (read: not kid-friendly) fairy-tale forest, drawing inspiration from the brothers Grimm and American mythology. The installation will include tall trees, two warped suburban houses, and immersive film and sound. If this expansive experience doesn't scratch your McCarthy itch, make for Hauser & Wirth's two exhibitions, “Paul McCarthy: Life Cast” (through July 26) and “Paul McCarthy: Sculptures” (through June 1).

  1. Park Avenue Armory 643 Park Ave, between 66th and 67th Sts
  2. Sun Aug 4
More info
69

Celebrate 40 years of Hip-Hop at 5 Pointz

  • Critics choice
  • Free

It’s been four decades since DJ Kool Herc’s Bronx block parties helped ignite a new genre of music and a global movement. This season, 5 Pointz Aerosol Art Center hosts “Summer 2013: Celebrating 40 Years of Hip-Hop,” a four-month tribute to both the graffiti hub’s decade in existence and the culture that inspires it. Throughout the season, Bronx street-art crew Zimad TD4 will curate rotating gallery exhibits; influential first-generation DJ and producer Marley Marl will spin old-school house on Saturdays; and local MCs, including 5 Pointz’ resident beat-box instructor Grey Matter, will battle.

  1. 45-46 Davis St, (at Jackson Ave)
  2. Through Sat Sep 14
More info
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Prick up your ears at the New York Musical Theatre Festival, one of the best things to try in the summer. Pictured: Re-Animator The Musical (2012)

Prick up your ears at the New York Musical Theatre Festival

Like the Fringe Fest, this annual festival is one of the city’s essential incubators for new theater. Since its inception in 2004, many shows have gone on to Broadway and Off Broadway glory, such as [title of show] and Next to Normal. This year’s lineup is a grab bag of 30 fully staged works, ranging from heartfelt to campy. Best bets include Volleygirls, an underdog story about a scrappy all-lady volleyball team; Icarus, which situates the Greek fallen-from-the-sky myth in a 1930s carnival; and Homo the Musical!, chronicling an extraterrestrial from—you guessed it—Planet Homo, who touches down in a Bible Belt suburb…with dancing! No guarantees here, people. But don’t you want to say you caught the next big thing on the ground floor? Visit nymf.org for a complete schedule.

  1. Locations vary
  2. Mon Jul 8 - Sun Jul 28

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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