Get ready to use our NYC events in August calendar as your guide to finishing the season with a bang! Now that we’re stuck in a heat dome, it’s safe to say that the dog days of summer are here to stay, but don’t hide indoors—there are too many exciting things to do in August. So make sure to check out all the incredible summer concerts, festivals and delicious food and drink opportunities happening this month. And use this month as your last change to take advantage of all the movies in the park and outdoor screenings as well as NYC’s best beaches. This is the last full-month of summer, people—this is not a drill!
RECOMMENDED: Full NYC events calendar
Featured NYC events in August 2017
Travel to beautiful Hong Kong without ever leaving the city thanks to this annual event at Flushing Meadows–Corona Park, now in it’s 26th year. Around 180 teams gather at the lake to race on long boats while paddling to the beat of their boat’s drummer at this culture fest inspired by Chinese tradition. On land, you can join in on the fun with music and dance performances, martial arts demonstrations and food-court vendors selling Asian cuisine like steamed dumplings, pork-belly buns and frozen delights such as Sno Biz shaved ice.
Start polishing your wands, people! The biggest event for witches and wizards is here. Original Harry Potter fans might have grown up, but that doesn’t mean they have to act like it. PotterCon brings magic lovers together at Irving Plaza for a day of childish fun, including Butterbeer, costume contests and trivia. Enjoy Hogwarts-inspired activities including a live sorting with the infamous Sorting Hat, a House Cup trivia tournament and a photo booth in front of Diagon Alley’s entrance with Potter-tastic props.
The Jazz Age Lawn Party 2016 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.
Four stages featuring electronic music acts, 3D projections, food trucks, vendors, death-defying aerialists, circus performers and a giant inflatable slide: It looks like BangOn!NYC is going all out for this bash. Get pumped for DJs such as Sweater Beats, LE YOUTH, Prince Fox and plenty more. This mind-blowing music and arts festival is not one to be missed, so grab your tickets and keep your eyes peeled for the secret location announcement.
A vegan and vegetarian-friendly event showcasing Africa’s unique and varied cuisines, festival goers can try dishes from rising star chefs, learn how to make African food at home and enjoy live music. $30 regular admission gets you in the door for food, art and music, and a little more secures a spot for special events like the bottomless vegan brunch or a five-course, pan-African meal.
In its sixth year as one of the city’s top summer music festivals, the fest is named for and modeled after the monthly all-night parties on the Thai island of Koh Phangan. This year’s lineup blends pop, hip-hop and dance music presenting more than a dozen acts over two-days. Our highlights to the fest are below.
Break out the stretchy pants, New York, and get ready to taste your way through 20 of New York's best burgers at Time Out's Battle of the Burger. Join us as we crown the 2016 champ on August 18 at Seaport District NYC, where refreshing Budweiser beers flow and tunes will be playing throughout the night. Time Out New York’s Battle of the Burger is presented by Budweiser on Thursday, August 18 at 8pm, South Street Seaport, $50.
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.
Free NYC events in August 2017
Jeffrey Emerson, Jill Weiner and Brian Moran host this weekly night of stellar stand-up featuring a diverse range of comedians, including known names like Matteo Lane and Farah Brook and newcomers like Menuhin Hart and Melissa Diaz. The April 3 edition features Megan Walsh, Colin Lewis, Ja-Ron Young and Haley Sacks.
At this massive grub hub, there’s only one rule: Come hungry. The Brooklyn Flea spin-off draws more than 10,000 visitors per day with a slew of 75 to 100 incredible food vendors. Our pro tip? Make sure you peruse the lineup before you go—those mouthwatering scents and the bevy of choices can make you dizzy (and the dense crowds can make you hangry).
This Lower East Side flea hosts one of the best collections of food vendors in Manhattan, with more upstarts joining the fray each week. Standouts from recent years include Adirondack Creamery, an upstate outfit that makes ice cream using local dairy, and Wonder City Coffee & Donut Bar stand—a spin-off of the Brindle Room’s morning java service.
One and One hosts this local talent showcase every Friday, with Phil Stamato, Daniel Raderstrong and Fume Abe wrangling acts from across town to headline the bill. Past guests have included Myq Kaplan, Shane Torres and Aparna Nancherla. After the show, performers get the weekend started by joining the audience for a lively afterparty. This week features Brooklyn fan-favorites Alingon Mitra, Anna Drezen, Sonia Denis and Nick Vatterott.
Get down at an old-school honky-tonk at Johnny Utah’s every Wednesday night, featuring covers and new music from the charming country performer Ben O’Connor. To make the night more interesting, try your hand at the mechanical bull, or order dangerous drinks like the Dixie Tea and Texas Mule. Plus, sample the bar’s beloved baby back ribs.
Music events in August 2017
Neo-soul innovator Erykah Badu—whose influence on contemporary R&B can't be understated—has teased the idea of a follow-up to 2010's New Amerykah Part Two: Return of the Ankh for years. There's still no definitive plans, but that incredibly dreamy Drake cover that rendered the original obselete (sorry, Aubrey) had us mighty satisfied when she released her last mixtape, But U Cain’t Use My Phone. Tonight, watch the empress touch down upon Times Square, and if you pray hard enough, maybe we'll hear some new tunes.
Two of the most influential voices in rap right now grace the house that Billy Joel built—er, plays all the friggin’ time—with this four-night stretch at Madison Square Garden. Expect to hear cuts from last year’s team-up album, What a Time to be Alive (unavoidable viral hit “Jumpman” is a shoo-in), and plenty from Drake’s latest LP, Views.
Texas expat Alan Palomo's 2011 collection as Neon Indian, Era Extraña, fine-tuned the sun-warped synth-pop that helped him break out alongside fellow chillwave stars Washed Out and Toro y Moi. But while the world soon left chillwave behind in the nostalgic past for which its artists constantly yearn, Neon Indian and his two compatriots turned out to have staying power that transgressed the genre's limitations. At this free show, he'll play from last year's, VEGA INTL Night School, which presented newly flourescent, loose-limbed electrofunk.
The three-fourths of the original Black Sabbath lineup—Ozzy Osbourne, Tony Iommi and Geezer Butler, minus drummer Bill Ward—issued a highly impressive Rick Rubin–helmed comeback, 13, in 2013, followed by a multi-leg world tour. Now, the first and greatest heavy-metal band, plus fill-in drummer Tommy Clufetos, hits the road for what it claims will be its final trek. Prepare to tremble before immortal classics such as "Black Sabbath" and "Iron Man," and hear a few of the new joints as well.
Once again, the city becomes a movable ode to Bird for a weekend in August. While this fest may be named for the legendary Charlie Parker, SummerStage’s jazz program isn’t stuck in the past. This year’s boundary-pushing talent, presented over three days, includes composer Randy Weston’s African Rhythms Sextet, keyboardist Jason Lindner’s Breeding Ground and piano powerhouse Jason Moran.
Last year, young Virginia-bred MC GoldLink received the all-important imprimatur of producer-guru Rick Rubin who proceeded to assist on the rapper's debut album, And After That, We Didn't Talk. Like his mixtape, The God Complex, the record demonstrates a promising knack for innovative hip-hop—he calls his style "future bounce"—which still manages to sound timeless.
Arts events in August 2017
View over 100 works made by creators outside of the artistic community, including inventive self-taught sculptors in New York City and illustrators who found their passion in prisons and psychiatric hospitals. Explore the inner lives of unknown artists through works made in private and often discovered after the artists' passing, with pieces like Steve Ashby's Rocking Bed Cunnilingus Whirligig and Henry Darger's watercolor At Sunbeam Creak/At Wickey Lansinia.
Remarkably, Rama, a self-taught Italian artist, lived to the ripe old age of 103, and the energy that sustained her for so long is evident in the aggressively erotic drawings drawings that were her métier. Much of her long career was spent in obscurity, though in the last decade of her life she received major recognition in the form of museum shows and the award of a Golden Lion for lifetime achievement at the 2003 Venice Biennale. This is her her first major survey in the United States.
Like Pablo Picasso, Rauschenberg (1925–2008) was known for his protean output and willingness to experiment outside the box. He was a collagist who used found objects and images in densely packed pictorial compositions and sculptural aggregations that explored the gap between art and life. His work helped to loosen Abstract Expressionism’s aesthetic stranglehold on the New York art scene of the 1950s, and in the bargain, set the stage for Pop Art. His 60-year career is celebrated in this retrospective bringing together some 250 paintings, sculptures, drawings, prints, photographs, sound and video recordings.
Six sculptures based on the eponymous animal by this African-American artist are on view in this outdoor installation, the title for which is actually an acronym for “Greatest Of All Time,” a favorite expression of the legendary Muhammed Ali, who used it to describe himself with some frequency. According to the artist, the exhibit—his first solo in an institutional setting—will explore “how hubris creates misplaced expectations in American cultural politics.”
Born into wealth, Florine Stettheimer (1871–1944), was a supporter and promoter of a circle of New York avant-garde artists during the 1910s and 1920s. Stettheimer was also an artist in her own right whose uniquely surreal and dreamy paintings often featured friends such as Marcel Duchamp, Georgia O'Keeffe and Alfred Stieglitz. This show presents 50 examples of her work, including her forays into set design.
The writings of cultural critic Walter Benjamin (1892–1940) has had a tremendous impact on postwar and contemporary art. This is especially true of his seminal essay “The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction," which, while written in 1936, was hugely influential in shaping the course of Postmodernism. This show gathers a group of artist to reflect on The Arcades Project, the Benjamin magnum opus that never was. The book was cobbled together posthumously out of notes he'd kept on a subject that fascinated him: The proto-shopping malls of 19th- and early 20-century Paris known as arcades. Essentially shopping streets enclosed by glass roofs, the arcades represented the first expressions of mass-consumer culture and the observations Benjamin made about them represented the first stab at deconstructing the connection between mass-produced goods and the efforts to stimulate an appetite for them.