The best NYC events in August 2018

Plan your month with the best NYC events in August 2018 including the Jazz Age Lawn Party, street fairs and more
Photograph: Shutterstock
By Jennifer Picht and Time Out contributors |
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Get ready to use our NYC events in August calendar as your guide for ending the summer with a bang! Now that we’re stuck in a heat dome, now’s the time to take advantage of New York beaches before they close for swimming next month. There are many more things to do outside this month, like incredible summer concerts, festivals and delicious alfresco food and drink opportunities too. And use August as your last change to take advantage of all the outdoor movies at the best NYC parks. This is the last full-month of summer—make it count!

RECOMMENDED: Full NYC events calendar

Featured NYC events in August 2018

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Photograph: Courtesy Niklas Rhose
Restaurants

Time Out New York’s Battle of the Burger 2018

Battle is back and set to sizzle in 2018. Join us by the water at LIC Landing for a summer cookout of epic proportions. Your Instagram shots will be framed by the Empire State Building on one side and the Chrysler Building on the other, as you dig into some of the city’s most delicious burgers, washed down with icy Budweiser

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Summer Streets NYC
Photograph: Courtesy CC/Flickr/NYC DOT
Things to do

Summer Streets NYC 2018

During Summer Streets NYC 2018 around seven miles of Gotham turf along Lafayette Street and Park Avenue is completely car-free in order to create a pedestrian paradise. Hundreds and thousands of revelers descend upon the asphalt for invigorating sight-filled tours, plus free activities including a rock climbing wall, a zipline, outdoor art installations and misting stations. You won’t want to miss this year’s five rest stops which normally include fitness classes, a dog park, arts and crafts workshops, plus walking tours that explore NYC parks and some of the most beautiful NYC buildings. This is one of the best NYC events in August, so make sure to hit the streets for the first three Saturdays. We'll be sure to alert you when it's time to sign up for popular attractions such as the water slide and other hot-ticket items. 

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3
Photograph: Evan Link
News, City Life

Candytopia

New Yorkers sure do love immersive dessert-themed pop-ups. Last month, the Instagram-opp–heavy Museum of Ice Cream returned to the city, bringing a temporary space to Chelsea specifically designed for people chasing likes on social media. And in August, a similar selfie-oriented exhibit is setting up shop in New York: Candytopia. Marketed as an “imaginative confectionary wonderland,” the space will feature more than a dozen rooms and interactive installations for guests to wander through, phone in hand. 

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Photograph: Courtesy The Color Factory
News, City Life

Color Factory

Color us stoked! The Color Factory—a collaborative and now traveling art exhibition—lands in New York City on August 20, and it promises to give you even more opportunities to flood your Instagram feed with rainbows post-Pride. After a successful run in San Francisco last year, the creators are transforming a 20,000-square-foot Soho space (located at 251 Spring Street) into an immersive selfie nirvana that is meant to help folks explore and appreciate how fun and joyful being surrounded by vibrant colors can be. Not only a sight for sore eyes, the event is also meant to be a fun zone filled with whimsical installations to explore. 

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5
Jazz Age Lawn Party 2013 at Governors Island
Photograph: Luciana Golcman
Music

Jazz Age Lawn Party

The Jazz Age Lawn Party 2018 is a spectacular summer tradition on gorgeous Governors Island. Step onto the ferry, and back in time, with thousands of others dressed to the 1920s nines and enjoy music from Michael Arenella and his Dreamland Orchestra, learn the Charleston and sip on cocktails in the sunshine.

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Christina McHale seen playing in the US Open
Photograph: Matthew Stockman
Things to do, Festivals

The U.S. Open tennis tournament

For two weeks, Flushing Meadows–Corona Park will be the tennis capital of the world for the U.S. Open tennis tournament. While Wimbeldon has its white, New Yorkers bring the party to the National Tennis Center with a celebrity-studded crowd, international food vendors and live musicians performing on the grounds—not to mention tennis's top pros.

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7
HO99O9 - Afropunk Fest
Photograph: Filip Wolak
Music

Afropunk Festival 2018

Afropunk Festival is an annual event that takes place in August at Brooklyn’s Commodore Barry Park (City Park). Over the course of a weekend, the outdoor summer music festival—which celebrates multicultural arts—hosts a wide array of well-known musical artists (including some of the biggest hip-hop artists), as well as “BITES & BEATS” food trucks, live artworks and the SpinThrift Market. Additionally, Afropunk strives to raise multicultural awareness in New York City with its Activism Row initiative.

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Shakespeare in the Park
Photograph: Courtesy Tammy Shell
Theater

Shakespeare in the Park

Created by the late Joseph Papp in 1962, the Public Theater’s series offers free, large-scale productions of works by William Shakespeare (as well as the occasional musical or non-Shakespearean drama). The productions often feature some of the most talented actors of our day. Past casts have included including Meryl Streep, Kevin Kline, Al Pacino, Blythe Danner, Philip Seymour Hoffman, George C. Scott and Denzel Washington.

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NYC Cocktail Expo
Photograph: Courtesy NYC Cocktail Expo
Things to do

NYC Cocktail Expo

Expect to see the room spinning after your tastings at the cocktail expo. Sample the spirits from craft distilleries, along with cocktails mixed by local bartenders competing in the “Best Cocktail” competition.

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The Smashing Pumpkins
Photograph: Courtesy Olivia Bee
Music, Rock and indie

Smashing Pumpkins

What better way to endure the dog days of summer than with a good dose of ’90s angst? The alt-rockers hit town on their reunion tour, which has an almost-complete original lineup. (Alas, bassist D’Arcy Wretzky will be absent because of a feud with Billy Corgan.)

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Music events in August 2018

Carly Rae Jepsen
Photograph: Courtesy Hazel & Pine
Music, Rock and indie

NPR Music’s Turning the Tables Live: 21st-Century Edition

This free concert celebrates the "150 Greatest Albums Made by Women" list, published last year by NPR Music, and its recent companion, "The 200 Greatest Songs By 21st Century Women+". Focusing on the new generation of artists, the show brings pop singer Carly Rae Jepsen (yes, "Call Me Maybe" and "Run Away With Me" both made the cut), R&B vocalist Jamila Woods, indie-rocker Mitski, songwriter Phoebe Bridgers and Americana group I’m With Her to the Lincoln Center Out of Doors Festival. Expect performances and a conversation moderated by Ann Powers.

The Smashing Pumpkins
Photograph: Courtesy Olivia Bee
Music, Rock and indie

Smashing Pumpkins

What better way to endure the dog days of summer than with a good dose of ’90s angst? The alt-rockers hit town on their reunion tour, which has an almost-complete original lineup. (Alas, bassist D’Arcy Wretzky will be absent because of a feud with Billy Corgan.)

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Music, Rap, hip-hop and R&B

Jay-Z + Beyoncé

Dubbed OTR II (a nod to their 2014 On the Run tour), this stadium showcases music’s ultimate power couple at the peak of their craft. JAY-Z’s raw 4:44 is his best album in decade, and Bey’s headlining set at Coachella made every other music festival look like a county fair. We’re not worthy.

Jessy Lanza
Photograph: courtesy Terrorbird
Music, Dance and electronic

Jessy Lanza + Shyboi

Canadian singer-producer Lanza, whose music suggests Grimes-gone-bass-music, spins her skittering, subdued alt-R&B on the Elsewhere roof alongside multi-faceted DJ of queer crew Kunq, Shyboi.

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Coney Island
Photograph: Virginia Rollison
Music, Music festivals

Coney Island Music Festival

Coney Island Music Festival brings an impressive slate of young artists to the beach for the low, low entry fee of $0. Folky indie-rock songwriter (Sandy) Alex G, who crafted one of our favorite albums of 2017, Rocket, headlines along with garage-rock singer Shannon Shaw, who released two strong albums already this year. Her most recent triumph, Shannon in Nashville, pairs the powerful vocalist with the vintage soul sounds of Black Keys mastermind Dan Auerbach. The Veldt, Navy Gangs, Pow Pow Family Band, Public Practice and Queens singer-songwriter Juan Wauters round out the lineup.

Music, Pop

Shakira

Hard on the heels of her smash-hit World Cup anthem, "Waka Waka (This Time for Africa)," Colombian pop princess Shakira hits town to celebrate a forthcoming new album, the bilingual Sale el Sol/The Sun Comes Out, due on Oct 19. Maybe it's just us, but we hope she'll also share plenty of material from her last release, the loopy Euro-disco confection She-Wolf. Ahh-oooh!

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Gary Clark Jr.
Photograph: Frank Maddocks
Music, Rock and indie

Gary Clark Jr.

This Austinite's draw is almost comically broad—he's been heard onstage with the Stones and Clapton, at Jay Z's Made in America fest and even at the freakin' White House—but amid the mass appeal, he manages to retain the essential snarl of the blues. This week, Clark shows off his smooth pipes and edgy licks at Celebrate Brooklyn! in Prospect Park.

The Breeders
Photograph: Courtesy Chris Glass
Music, Rock and indie

The Breeders + Speedy Ortiz

The ’90s indie act still rocks with insouciantly punky cool. Its reunited lineup, with sisters Kim and Kelley Deal, Josephine Wiggs and Jim Macpherson, plays behind a strong new release, All Nerve, for an entry fee of absolutely zilch.

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Porches
Photograph: Courtesy City Parks Foundation
Music, Rock and indie

Porches + Sunflower Bean + Crumb

Recording under the alias of Porches, Aaron Maine has managed to create the musical representation of the shy, awkward teenager in every John Hughes movie. For this triple threat, Porches plays alongside rocking NYC trio Sunflower Bean and the jazzy, grooving up-and-coming quartet Crumb.

Music, Dance and electronic

TOKiMONSTA

A member of L.A.'s famed Brainfeeder label, producer Jennifer Lee makes psychedelic hip-hop with skittering electronic beats. Expect new tunes here from her latest, Lune Rouge, written during the producer's recovery from brain surgery.

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See more NYC concerts in August
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