Ah, sweet summer, you’ve arrived! The city gains a boundless energy once the warmer months roll around, and there’s endless things to do in the summer—including some great free things to do in NYC, our Rooftop Cinema Club and places to go camping near NYC for when you just need to get out of town. Use our guide to make the absolute most of these steamy summer nights!
The best things to do in the summer
It's easy to see why the annual Warm Up party series is so popular: You get to drink beer, eye contemporary art and dance beneath a large-scale outdoor installation. And then there's the quality of the musical lineup, which in previous years has included Afrika Bambaataa, ?uestlove, Francois K, Danny Krivit, the Scissor Sisters and LCD Soundsystem. This year, check out a sick lineup of artists and DJs, including Hot Chip and other big acts to be announced. Block off Saturday afternoons for this: It's going to be worth it.
Never take for granted how lucky we are to be in a city where a free show in the park has become a quintessential summer experience (even when you're stuck in the interminable line for said free show). For New York's largest free performing-arts festival, 18 parks around the city offer gratis programming, with Central Park's Mainstage at the center of the action. This year's musical lineup covers classical, jazz, hip-hop, indie rock and even comedy. Highlights include Chairlift (June 14), Public Enemy (June 21) and Indigo Girls (June 27).
Twenty-four rotating flavors—made with Battenkill Valley Creamery milk, organic cane sugar and cage-free eggs—are on offer at this sunny artisanal ice cream parlor. Take a seat at the L-shaped marble counter, or watch the creamy treats being made through the production-room window. Flavors range from simple and seasonal, such as strawberry and pumpkin, to more baroque creations like The Munchies: pretzel-infused ice cream with Ritz crackers, potato chips, pretzels and mini M&Ms.
Watch an alfresco flick on a pretty perch at this long-running series. A panoply of rooftop venues across the city are hosting screenings of dozens of films, from romance (Don Juan) to documentaries (Weiner). Be sure to look out for after-parties offering cheap beer or an open bar.
Bust out your best Daisy Buchanan frock or Gatsby suit for this '20s-themed fete. Old-timey tunes from Michael Arenella and his Dreamland Orchestra, cocktails from St. Germain and complimentary dance lessons will complete a day of throwback revelry. Try your steps out in the Charleston contest!
Partake in the ultimate hipster sport without committing to a weekly team. Simply email email@example.com and add your name to the roster of 350 roving players. If you're contacted to participate in a match, the fee will be at the discretion of the team. Various times and locations; visit brooklynkickball.com for more details.
Ever wanted to dance with the devil in the pale moonlight? Find a partner at Hudson River Park's Sunset Swing series to swing and salse with music by live bands. Arrive at 6:30pm for a dance lesson before that night's orchestra strikes up and practice your steps as the sun sets over Jersey—the romantic view should help your partner forgive you for treading on their toes. Pier 45, W 44th St at the Hudson River (212-627-2020, hudsonriverpark.org). Tue 6:30–10pm, July 10--Aug 16; free.