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20 ways to have the best summer ever in New York

From outdoor movie screenings to rooftop cocktails, here’s everything you need to do in New York this summer

The Aqueduct ​- Images 26-40 (Bourbon, Licor 43, Strawberries, Basil)
Photograph: Liz Clayman St. Cloud

If you’re looking for things to do in NYC this summer, look no further. Below, you’ll find our pick of the best restaurants, bars, beaches and events to make sure that this year, you really do have the best summer ever. What are you waiting for? Get out there!

RECOMMENDED: Full guide to things to do in the summer in NYC

Ways to have the best summer ever

Roberta's pizza, bee sting
Photograph: Dominic Perri
Restaurants, Pizza

Order the Bee Sting at Roberta's

East Williamsburg
This oasis, located on an industrial Brooklyn block, has its own urban farm, with produce growing in backyard plant bins and greenhouses on top of a metal shipping container. At night, the outdoor patio is lit by sweeping, diagonally strung Christmas lights. In other words, it's the perfect spot for eating outdoors. We recommend the Bee Sting, an off-menu pizza that mixes soppressata with honey for perfect salty-sweet goodness. 
Willie Nelson
Photograph: David McClister
Music, Folk, country and blues

Mellow out to Willie Nelson & Family

We'd be hard-pressed to think of a better way to spend a steamy mid-August night than in the company of outlaw-country figurehead and genuine American institution Willie Nelson, who shares this Celebrate Brooklyn! bill with tootsy Nashville string ensemble Old Crow Medicine Show.

Things to do

Watch Back to the Future II in the Rockaways

The most convoluted of the trilogy gets a special seaside screening on August 4, so bring along a chair, a blanket and some self-adjusting sneakers if you have them. Refreshments will be provided, but feel free to bring along a picnic to relax after a sun-soaked day.

NYC Beach Bus
Photograph: NYC Beach Bus
Things to do

Take the NYC Beach Bus

And how should you get to the Rockaways, you ask? Like this! Get the party started early with free Sixpoint beers in a bus full of beachgoers. The NYC Beach Bus heads to Rockaway Beach and Jacob Riis Park a few times a day on the weekends, with pickup locations in Williamsburg and Downtown Brooklyn. With a round-trip cost of $14, it's a steal. Pickup at 168 Flatbush Ave and 412 Metropolitan Ave, Brooklyn.

Moritz von Oswald
Photograph: Marion Beoit
Things to do, Concerts

Dance to Moritz von Oswald at Warm Up

Known in his home country as the “Eminem of Techno," the German master of forward-thinking music has been a vital influence in not only the club-music of Berlin, but also in the worldwide techno scene. See him do his thing at MoMA PS1's legendary Warm Up series.

The Knickerbocker Martini at St. Cloud
Photograph: Liz Clayman
Bars, Hotel bars

Admire the view from St. Cloud

Midtown West

There are few better ways to enjoy New York than from above, cocktail in hand, gazing across the lights and landmarks that define the city. One such landmark is the historic Knickerbocker Hotel, which serves as the base of this 7,800-square-foot rooftop bar and terrace. Find classic cocktails like 1920s-style gin martinis, offset with small plates (Wagyu hot dogs with house relish, tuna tacos with wasabi aioli) from chef Charlie Palmer.

Attractions, Beaches

Stroll on Jones Beach

Long Island

Jones Beach is one of New York State’s biggest, with 6.5 miles of sand, two swimming pools, a two-mile boardwalk, miniature golf and the Theodore Roosevelt Nature Center, which offers educational tours. It’s also particularly good for long strolls on the boardwalk with your iPod.

Mykki Blanco
Photograph: Michael J. Chen

Rock out at Riis Park Beach Bazaar


Along with shopping, sports (beach volleyball, Ultimate Frisbee) and live tunes (including Time Out Live weekend gigs from the likes of Old Gray and Mykki Blanco), this summertime sibling to the recently displaced Brooklyn Night Bazaar is offering top-flight beach snacks at Bay 9 and Bay 6 through Labor Day, such as Salted Crack Caramel scoops from Ample Hills Creamery ($3) and fried-chicken waffle cones from Brooklyn Star ($10), available in Classic (wing sauce with bacon buttermilk) and Hot Honey (honey with sriracha) varieties. Drooling yet?

Jeppe Hein, “Please Touch the Art," Brooklyn Bridge Park
Photograph: Anders Sune Berg
Things to do

Get lost in a mirror maze at Brooklyn Bridge Park

How much more fun can Brooklyn Bridge Park get, you ask? Quite a bit more, thanks to Danish artist Jeppe Hein, who is seeding the greensward with interactive projects, including a labyrinth of mirrors, a group of undulating benches and a quadrant of outdoor “rooms” whose “walls” are formed by seven-foot-tall curtains of water jetting into the air.

Restaurants, Cuban

Watch Jaws at Habana Outpost

Fort Greene

Habana Outpost's outdoor space is worth your time on any night during the summer, but on July 26, it's screening the original summer blockbuster, making a trip here a no-brainer. Got that theme music stuck in your head yet?


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