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Photograph: Courtesy Output

The best things to do on NYC rooftops

Get high and have a ball with this list of amazing things to do on NYC rooftops from rooftop bars to movie screenings

Written by
Tazi Phillips
Time Out New York contributors

In the summer, New Yorkers can escape their cramped, poorly air-conditioned apartments in exchange for things to do on NYC rooftops. There’s nothing better than drinking atop one of Gotham’s many rooftop bars or watching outdoor movies with killer views of the skyline at sunset. When the heat cranks up to melt-mode, you’ll be grateful for all the hotels with rooftop pools that are open to the public. Reserve a lounge chair, crack open a good book and keep the frozen cocktails coming. Sounds like bliss, right? These are just a few of the amazing things to do outside on NYC rooftops during the warmer months. Read on for more suggestions for cool things to do way up high. 

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

Things to do on NYC rooftops

McCarren Rooftop
  • Restaurants
  • Cafés
  • Williamsburg

After a few identity changes the party pad atop the McCarren Hotel & Pool is still bumpin'. Head there for either weekly or monthly parties, during which you can shake your hips to contemporary electronic and other genres of music. The primo Manhattan skyline views and cocktails are just the icing on the cake.

  • Nightlife
  • Clubs
  • East Williamsburg

There’s a lot going on at this Bushwick spot. The former warehouse boasts a bar, rehearsal and performance spaces, artist studios and a locally sourced and always-evolving food menu (egg soufflé sandwiches, organic Colombian grub)—oh, yeah, and a 1,300-square-foot rooftop that hosts buzzy bands like BOYTOY. 

  • Music
  • Williamsburg

The party doesn’t stop inside Williamsburg’s EDM mecca. Output’s tune-fueled rooftop and its view of the Manhattan skyline is prime for continued reveling or, at the very least, grabbing a lounge chair and some much needed fresh air. The 3,000-square-foot open-air space even hosts the occasional daytime affair. And there’s a full bar to keep you dancing to boot.

Subway Sets at Brooklyn Grange
  • Things to do
  • Concerts

This alfresco series gives talented subway buskers a new type of platform: an airy venue and paying customers. The first concert of the season is May 19 ($35), and you can expect several performances that range from lively brass to experimental folk, with vibes that start off mellow and pick up fire as the night goes on. Who knows? You might even see the next bloggable act. Enter at Clinton and Flushing Aves, building 3 (

Yo Yoga!
  • Sports and fitness
  • Yoga & Pilates
  • Upper East Side

City fitness sessions can sometimes be pretty intimidating. Yo Yoga! ain’t like that. Its midtown studio offers various levels of classes on its private roof deck, like the fast-paced Power Yoga and the fundamentals-focused Basics. The ambiance is made all the more chill thanks to decor touches like potted plants and string lights.

  • Restaurants
  • French
  • Williamsburg

Both rooftops and brunches are lifestyles in their own rights, and thank heavens Juliette is in Williamsburg to give you a two-for-one deal. The French bistro’s upstairs patio is decked out with antique tables and chairs, umbrellas and a bar. The menu focuses on hearty plates like the roasted banana stuffed French toast and traditional French fare like a croque monsieur and a duck confit.

Pod 39 Rooftop
  • Hotels
  • Chain hotels
  • Murray Hill

April Bloomfield’s festive Salvation Taco sits on Pod 39’s bottom floor, but the goodies of the colorful Mexican joint are best enjoyed at this two-story rooftop bar. Characterized by a brick facade, tall terra-cotta columns, twinkling string lights and a midtown backdrop, it’s Instagram heaven. Choose between two tacos—carnitas (rubbed Berkshire pork with avocado salsa) and chicken tinga—and wash ’em down with the Palomita, a cocktail with vodka, grapefruit soda and vanilla salt.

Brooklyn Grange
  • Attractions
  • Farms
  • Greenwood

With two-and-a-half acres of agricultural utopia, a.k.a. rows on rows of fresh produce, Brooklyn Grange is the world’s largest rooftop soil farm. The urban garden is actually spread between two rooftops—a flagship in Long Island City, Queens, and a second outpost in Brooklyn Navy Yard—and grows more than 50,000 pounds of tomatoes, leafy greens, carrots and other produce each year. Get a look at the farming magic via weekly facility tours, volunteer work and educational classes, during which you can learn about beekeeping and mushroom cultivation. It’s the true farm-to-table experience.

Eagle Street Rooftop Farm
  • Things to do
  • Greenpoint

Arrive at the film and TV production company Broadway Stages in Greenpoint, and head up several flights of stairs to the company-owned garden in the sky that’s operated by a rooftop farm specialist. The space is a sprawling 6,000 square feet full of vegetables and herbs, there for area restaurants (like Brooklyn’s Marlow & Sons) and you to purchase at the on-site produce market. Or, if you want to get your hands dirty, sign up online to help harvest and seed the site. Reap what you sow. Ya dig?

  • Bars
  • Cocktail bars
  • Central Park

Stand above world-class art with a summer sipper in hand at the Met's seasonal rooftop bar, open from May to November. As the sun sets over an enviable view of Central Park, enjoy the art installation—it changes every year—while drinking cocktails like a house-made lemonade with limoncello and mint or a classic Cosmopolitan.

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