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How to spend your summer Fridays in New York

There are only a few summer Fridays left this year! Here’s how to make the most of your long weekends (or half-day).

By Tolly Wright and Kaitlyn Mitchell

For all NYC office building dwellers, ‘tis the season of the lusted-after summer Fridays. New York offers too many amazing events and luxuries to waste a sultry summer afternoon by going straight home from the office. We’ve got all the best events lined up from now until the end of August so you won’t waste a minute of that balmy weather. (You can nap when it’s gross out in November.) This Friday treat yo’self to a day at one of the best beaches near NYC, awesome public swimming pools or pack a meal and head to one of the best picnic spots in NYC after the workday wraps up. Mischief managed.

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

Things to do on summer Fridays

Photograph: Courtesy Hudson River Park

June 30: Movies Under the Stars: Hidden Figures

Things to do Film events

Catch a free, outdoor screening of the award-winning film about three African-American women—Katherine Johnson, Dorothy Vaughan and Mary Jackson (played by Taraji P. Henson, Octavia Spencer and Janelle Monáe, respectively)—and the crucial role they served in launching astronaut John Glenn into orbit.

Jazz @ Pier 84
Photograph: Courtesy Hudson River Park Trust

July 7: Jazz at Pier 84 and Sunset on the Hudson

Things to do Concerts

Free jazz along the waterfront couldn’t get any more enticing. This summer the Jazz Foundation of America will perform at Pier 84 while local artists will be performing on Pier 45. The lineup at Pier 84 includes George Braith, Art Baron and Gregory Lewis Organ Monk Trio. The Sunset on the Hudson lineup features the Chuck Braman Jazz Band, Max Gallico & Friends Acoustic Soul Duos and Shanti Star & the Afro-Reggae All-Stars. Catch live jazz along with a beautiful sunset along the Hudson.

Alive After Five Happy Hour Cruise
Photograph: Courtesy Paul Seibert

July 14: Alive After Five Happy Hour Cruise

Things to do

Everyone loves a good New York happy hour, but on a boat? Why yes please. For two hours you can party on the highseas with Hornblower's Alive After Five Happy Hour Cruise, complete with a DJ and drink packages to assist your good time.

All's Well That Ends Well
Photograph: Courtesy Jonathan Slaff

July 21: All’s Well That Ends Well

Theater Shakespeare

The Drilling Company begins its annual summer season of Shakespeare in the Parking Lot with the Bard's problematic romantic comedy about an otherwise sensible woman who not only stands by the cad who spurns her but tracks him halfway across Europe. Karla Hendrick directs the Lowerr East Side series' first attempt at staging this prickly piece in its 22-year history.

Photograph: Paul Wagtouicz

July 28: NYC Restaurant Week

The biannual restaurant blowout will feature a whopping 360 restaurants for the summer. A prix-fixe lunch will only set you back $25, so we suggest taking a leisurely midday break for a spectacular feast overlooking the East River at Riverpark.

Bryant Park
Photograph: Courtesy Bryant Park Corporation

August 4: Picnic in Bryant Park

4 out of 5 stars
Attractions Parks and gardens Midtown West

On Fridays, the park is making it even easier for you to dine in the open-air by providing free blankets and lawn games as well as food and drinks for purchase. While you gorge on tasty grub, be entertained by live theater, dance or music performances scheduled through September 1.


August 11: Public swimming pools in NYC

Don’t spend these precious last few summer weeks angry at the heat! This is your chance to take advantage of the free(!) public pools. Do some laps or lazily splash at water holes in all five boroughs. After you’ve burned off some calories playing Marco Polo, explore the nearby eateries.

Chihuly at the New York Botanical Gardens
Ben Hider

August 18: Jazz & Chihuly

Things to do Concerts

Relax on the Conservatory Lawn and let world-class musicians serenade you at this live jazz concert series in the New York Botanical Garden. The series closes out on Aug 18 with Songs of Protest & Reconciliation, featuring pianist Damien Sneed and guests, including trumpeter Keyon Harrold.


August 25: Lola Star’s Dreamland Roller Disco

Things to do Quirky events

Have you ever wanted to dress up like a character from Xanadu, The Great Gatsby or the “Thriller” video and dance in a park with like-minded people? Join the insanity at Coney Island icon Lola Star’s infamous Friday-night skating party, where you can unleash your inner Roller Blade vixen. Costumes are highly encouraged at this kitschy adults-only skate, so be sure to dress to dazzle the crowd.

September 1: Coney Island and Luna Park

Make Labor Day weekend a four-day affair and wave goodbye to summer by riding the waves. Even though it’s September, the city’s beaches go strong one week past Labor Day, so get your last taste of sea breeze—and Nathan’s Famous—at Coney Island. Even if the autumn chill hits early this year, the Wonder Wheel and Sideshow are calling your name.

Did someone say happy hour?


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