Get us in your inbox


The ultimate NYC summer bucket list

Written by
Time Out New York contributors

It’s summer in New York, and the living is easy. The bad news? The season is flying! By now, you’ve probably taken a trip to one or more of the city’s best beaches, gotten drunk at non-douchey rooftop bars, scored tickets to movies under the stars and spent the day lounging by rooftops with pools. Oh, wait. You haven’t done all those things yet? Well, lucky for you, we’ve come up with the perfect summer bucket list, which will help you keep track of every can’t-miss event from now through September. No more FOMO.

1. Sacrifice your “beach body” goals for a day and do a food crawl at Rockaway Beach. Order this: A burger from Rippers, Clam Pizza and the Fuck*n Good Burger from Whit’s End, plus the Pelmeni at Uma’s.

2. Schedule a much-needed day drinking session at as many waterfront, rooftop and boat bars as possible. (You get a special bonus if you’re home watching re-runs of The West Wing before sundown).

3. Tell your boss your “working” remotely from home (a.k.a. at hotels with rooftop pools) while sipping multiple mid-day negronis and margaritas.

Nab some crazy sausages (bacon cheeseburger, French onion, red wine and rosemary) and dry-aged beef from Meat Hook in Williamsburg, then hit the waterfront grills at Pier 5 in Brooklyn Bridge Park.

5. Take day trips to the Hudson Valley or the Catskills, where you can splash around a waterfall (Instagram every minute).

6. Dust off your Super Soaker and go to a massive water fight in Central Park.

7. Hit up bumpin’ rooftop parties at McCarren Pool, Our Wicked Lady or Output.

8. Scream your guts out on the new space-themed thrill ride—the Endeavor—at Coney Island.

9. Finally score free tickets to Shakespeare in the Park.

10. Do some sunbathing on the High Line during the day, go stargazing at night.

11. Learn how to surf at Rockaway Beach.

12. Make sure you attend all the outdoor festivals worth going to this summer.

13. Go to a Mets or Yankees game (perhaps for the first time?).

14. Free the nipple during Go Topless Day.

15. Dance your way through as many Warm Up at MoMa PS 1 parties as possible.

16. Let your freak flag fly at a BangOn! Rave.

17. Nosh on as many lobster rolls as you can stomach, particularly Fairway Market’s $10 deal in Red Hook, Brooklyn.

18. Attend one of the Mckittrick Hotel’s wild themed dance parties.

19. Stay out late and chug many brews at Queens International Night Market.

20. Throw on your bathing suit and go to Fire Island like you’ve always wanted to.

21. Frolic on that new park called The Hills on Governors Island. (Take multiple joy rides down the biggest slide in NYC).

22. Go to Barge Bar (finally!). Oh, wait, it closed. Or did it?

24. Rock out at a free SummerStage show.

25. Drink every single boozy frozen treat from this list. Special bonus if you slurp all 10 in one weekend.

26. Guzzle a Staten Island Ferry on the Staten Island Ferry. That’s one part Malibu rum, three parts pineapple juice (or the other way around, if you want a wilder ride).

27. Eat as many treats from Smorgasburg vendors as you can in one summer.

28. Finally work up the courage to ride a bike at one of New York’s best beaches, like Fort Tilden.

29. Get your groove on at Midsummer Night Swing.

30. Wear your stretchy pants and join the Five Boro Pizza Challenge on July 30.

31. Do another food crawl and chomp on some seafood in Red Hook, Brooklyn. Spots to hit: Brooklyn Crab, Red Hook Lobster Pound and the Ball Fields.

32. Go to the Museum of Ice Cream and swim in a pool of sprinkles, like, every single damn day.

33. Watch outdoor movies under the stars. For some extra fun, borrow a friend’s child, dress him like Damien and freak people out at Bryant Park’s summer film festival during The Omen screening on July 18.

34. When seven miles of NYC streets are closed due to traffic during Summer Streets, why not try a homemade ‘Bicycle Bar Tour’? Or partake in all the fun by zip lining, rock climbing or taking a spin on the giant water slide. (All free).

35. Get horn-y with someone at the famed Unicorn Tapestries at the Cloisters.

36. Go kayaking (for free!) in Manhattan. Try not to flip it, fall in the water or catch anything.

37. On an extremely hot day, use Dave & Buster’s for their A/C and play overpriced arcade games very, very slowly.

38. Check out the amazing Hong Kong Dragon Boat Festival.

39. Attend a tennis match during the U.S. Open.

40. Make a splash at one of the many public swimming pools in NYC.

41. Get a big group of friends together and hit the Jazz Age Lawn Party on Governor’s Island, but dress like you thought it was the 1830s. See what happens.

42. Stage your own ‘historical performance art piece’ or ‘period stand-up comedy’ for the poor folks waiting on line for Hamilton tickets.

43. Study any of the online “Hidden Rooftop Pools” pieces. Using Google Maps, triangulate building positions. Wait outside. Befriend people. Swim.

44. Sail miniaturized boats in Central Park.

45. Take a bazillion photos of the PsychoBarn at the Met.

46. Go to the Full Moon Festival on Governors Island.

47. Have a picnic in Prospect Park.

48. Hop aboard a booze cruise in NYC.

49. Make out with at least three strangers at one of these summer parties.

50. Eat everything on our NYC food lover’s summer bucket list.

Popular on Time Out

    You may also like
    You may also like