Summer fun: Sports, tours and events in New York

Summer fun in NYC comes in the form of sporting events, museum parties, walking tours and other alfresco activities.

  • Photograph: Chris Trotman/USTA

    US Open

  • Outdoor yoga at Socrates Sculpture Park



  • Photograph: Jakob N. Layman

    Space Shuttle Enterprise

  • Photograph: D. Finnin/AMNH

    "Beyond Planet Earth: The Future of Space Exploration"

Photograph: Chris Trotman/USTA

US Open

There’s summer fun aplenty in New York City. Get your fill with the US Open, Hurricane Harbor and the third annual Etsy Craft Party at Empire–Fulton Ferry State Park. Plus, use the warm weather as an excuse to hit up a few outdoor walking tours.

RECOMMENDED: Guide to the end of summer in NYC

Rock Junket and Rum & Blackbird tours

In a few months, your hatred of heat waves will fade into longing memories of walking the streets of New York City in just a T-shirt and shorts. Take a purposeful stroll in your favorite seasonal attire: We love the walks designed by music-industry vet Bobby Pinn, who guides you through New York’s rock & roll glory days on his East Village Rock and Punk Tour, which stops at some of the area’s music landmarks. You’ll visit the apartment fronts from Led Zeppelin’s Physical Graffiti cover shoot and the club where the Velvet Underground made its debut. Or try one of the Rum & Blackbird Tasting Tours: Lifelong foodie Moira Campbell searched nearly every block in Hell’s Kitchen to put together a unique culinary experience. The trek embraces both the history and the future of the neighborhood, with mainstays like Poseidon Bakery and Empanada Mama given equal importance. • Rock Junket: Schedule varies; call 212-209-3370 or visit $35. • Rum and Blackbird: Schedule varies; call 212-209-3370 or visit $49.

  1. Schedule varies

US Open

  • Price band: 3/4
  • Critics choice

For two weeks each summer, New York becomes the capital of the tennis world as the sport’s final Grand Slam tournament thwacks its way into Queens. Watch stars play under the lights during the popular evening sessions, or just don your tennis whites and try to spot fashion editrix Anna Wintour, who usually comes out to cheer on the always-dapper Roger Federer. • Times and prices vary.

  1. USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center Flushing Meadows–Corona Park, Kennedy Cir, at New York Ave
  2. Until Sun Sep 13
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Outdoor yoga

Show off those $98 Lululemon yoga pants  at a series of gratis outdoor classes—because before long, your cobra poses will be relegated to the inside of sweaty studios. Bryant Park Yoga is hosting free vinyasa sessions organized by the funky yoga-apparel line, taught by more than 15 instructors from various studios including Pure Yoga, YogaWorks and Sonic Yoga (mats are provided). At Socrates Sculpture Park (mats not provided), Monique Schubert leads a group through a gentle flow; she focuses on the Kripalu system of hatha yoga, which incorporates postures, breathing, relaxation and meditation. BYO mat to Fort Tryon Park’s Abby’s Lawn after work on Wednesdays for sunset yoga, led by seven rotating instructors from studios including MindBodySoul Yoga and Beloved Yogi Harlem. If the fresh air and tranquil workout don’t trigger your endorphins, the fact that you didn’t damage your wallet surely will. • Bryant Park, Sixth Ave at 42nd St (212-768-4242, Tue 10–11am, Thu 6–7pm; free. Through Sept 30. • Socrates Sculpture Park, 32-01 Vernon Blvd at Broadway, Long Island City, Queens (718-956-1819, Sat 9:30–10:30am, 11am–noon; free. Through Sept 30. • Fort Tryon Park, Cabrini Blvd at Fort Washington Ave (212-795-1388, 6:45–8pm; free.

  1. Through August 29

Brooklyn Loves Michael Jackson

Whip your moonwalk into shape and pull on a sparkly glove before heading to Prospect Park to honor the late, great King of Pop at this free Spike Lee–sponsored soiree. DJs will spin the MJ hits you know and love, and Lee’s production company, Filmworks, will be on hand to film the whole event. • Noon–6pm; free.

  1. Prospect Park, the Nethermead Field, enter at Prospect Park Southwest at 15th St, Park Slope, Brooklyn
  2. Thu Aug 25

Etsy Craft Party

On this third annual day of DIY, the team behind the popular online marketplace hosts tutorials on stenciling, decorating glass bottles and making postcards. This year’s theme is “Wish You Were Here,” with a special emphasis placed on neighborhood and localized projects that reflect the maker’s hometown. You’ll also be encouraged to mingle with other craft-crazy individuals, and might even become inspired to throw a hands-on house party of your own this fall. • ( 6–8pm; free with R.S.V.P.

  1. Brooklyn Bridge Park, Pier 1, Furman St at Old Fulton St, Brooklyn Heights
  2. Wed Aug 24

Hurricane Harbor

Admit it, part of you wants to spend a day waiting in lines for cheap-thrill flume rides: At Six Flags’ 45-acre tropical-island setting, you’ll find a million-gallon wave pool, not to mention nearly 20 waterslides. And don’t miss Tornado, an extreme tube ride that thrusts you into a manufactured storm, ascending seven stories into a tunnel before whipping you through a water funnel that measures 60 feet in diameter. • Hop on a bus from Port Authority; NJ Transit offers direct service (973-275-5555,; one way $17.50). • Six Flags Hurricane Harbor (732-928-1821, 10:30am–6pm; $29.99–$39.99.

  1. Six Flags Hurricane Harbor, Rte 537, Jackson, NJ
  2. Through Monday, September 3, 2012

Space Shuttle Enterprise

  • Critics choice

The year’s biggest addition to New York’s museum scene isn’t taking another trip until 2014, when it will move to its permanent home, currently being built at the Intrepid. For now, though, it’s on view at a temporary pavilion on the aircraft carrier’s deck. Walk underneath the 100-foot-wide, 180-foot-long Shuttle and ascend to a viewing platform near the nose to get a better perspective. • (877-957-7447, Mon–Fri 10am–5pm; Sat, Sun 10am–6pm. $24, seniors and U.S. college students $20, veterans $17, children 7–17 $19, children 3–6 $12, children under 3 and retired and active military personnel free.

  1. Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum Pier 86, Twelfth Ave, at 46th St
  2. Wed Dec 31
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"Beyond Planet Earth: The Future of Space Exploration"

This is your last week to tour the American Museum of Natural History’s latest sci-fi exhibit, “Beyond Planet Earth,” which covers everything from the future of extraterrestrial travel and research to what it takes to attempt a two-year journey to Mars. Check out a model of a proposed lunar elevator, hang out on an asteroid, give some new space suits the once-over and pick up a few impressive cocktail-party factoids (moon rocks, apparently, smell like gunpowder). • 212-769-5100, Daily 10am–5:45pm; $25, seniors and students $19, children 2–12 $14.50, children under 2 free.

  1. American Museum of Natural History Central Park West, at 79th St
  2. Wed Aug 8 - Sun Aug 12
More info