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Fireworks nyc brooklyn
Photograph: Shutterstock

The best things to do in NYC this week

The best things to do in NYC this week, including Pride celebrations and dining outside at newly reopened eateries

By Collier Sutter and Shaye Weaver

Many performances, museums and venues have been closed and canceled so we've come up with an exciting list of things to do. Be sure to not leave home without your mask or face covering.

We've finally reached the week of Fourth of July, when we can celebrate a little bit, with fireworks from Macy's, some good barbecue and some must-see theater queued up on our computers. Scroll down to see this week's best things to do in NYC.

RECOMMENDED: Full list of the best things to do in New York

Best things to do in NYC this week

Mayor De Blasio, NYC, Macy’s, Fourth Of July, East River, FDR Drive, Brooklyn
Photograph: Kent Miller/Macy’s

1. Watch the 4th of July fireworks in NYC

Things to do

Macy's 4th of July Fireworks will happen on not one, but four nights to celebrate the Fourth of July, according to Mayor Bill de Blasio. The shows, which will be five minutes each, will take place Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday evenings, June 29 - July 1,  across the five boroughs. The time and location of each show won't be released until the night of so as to avoid making crowds in any one place, the mayor announced.  "It will be brief bursts, brief but mighty," he said about the shows. "This is not like what you're seeing with the illegal fireworks, you'll know this is a very professional, beautiful show." Macy's says thousands of shells will be fired into the sky, up to 1,000 feet, per minute at each borough's selected locations. The finale will take place on the Fourth of July, from 8 to 10pm, from the Empire State Building, which you can watch on NBC.

Parklife outdoor movies
Photograph: Courtesy Parklife

2. Outdoor Cinema at Parklife

Things to do Parklife, Gowanus

Parklife's Outdoor Cinema series is back with film screened outside on Wednesday evenings around 8:30pm. Since outdoor space is limited due to health and safety restrictions, early to get a seat (and sit in for trivia at 7:30pm) For more info on our safety measures please visit JULY: 7/1: Wet Hot American Summer 7/8: Black Panther  7/15: Clueless  7/22: A League of Their Own  7/29: My Big Fat Greek Wedding  AUGUST: 8/5: High Fidelity 8/12: Bring It On  8/19: Singles  8/26: Do The Right Thing SEPTEMBER: 9/2: Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure  9/9: Beverly Hills Cop  9/16: When Harry Met Sally  9/23: Mad Max: Fury Road  9/30: Viewer's Choice 

New York City Beach
Photograph: Shutterstock

3. Go to the beach for a socially distanced swim

News City Life

Mayor Bill de Blasio announced last week that all NYC beaches will open July 1.

New York State beaches opened back on Memorial Day weekend, but the mayor held off on NYC beaches because our COVID-19 numbers were too great. He warned that beach crowds could easily get out of hand and could spread the virus. And since many New Yorkers do not have cars to transport themselves to their beach day, they'd cram onto MTA buses and subways to get there, which was another concern.

So, while beaches will be fully open to swimming, there will still be rules to follow: Beach-goers should only visit with members of their immediate household; They must keep six feet from people while swimming and on beaches and boardwalks; They have to keep beach blankets and chairs at least 10 feet apart from others; and they have to wear a mask.

Classic Harbor Line Cruise Sail
Photograph: Courtesy Classic Harbor Line

4. Cruise around NYC

News City Life

Many of New York City's cruise lines, touring vessels and party boats are open for business and ready (or getting ready) to take on passengers for the summer. But your excursion out on the water will still involve masks and social distancing.

Classic Harbor Line, opened last weekend with various trips available including a sightseeing cruise, an evening sunset cruise and two-hour daytime sails and sunset sailing excursions in New York Harbor. Hornblower Cruises and Events, which has dining cruises, tours and sightseeing, has tickets available beginning in July, while Circle Line, which has several sightseeing cruises, has plans to open late July. Clearly, summer isn't canceled and we will get back out on the water. It just comes with a few caveats. To operate, each cruise line must follow CDC-compliant guidelines set by the Passenger Vessel Association.

Ethel's Club Outdoor Market
Photograph: Courtesy Ethel's Club

5. Ethel's Club Outdoor Market

Shopping Ethel's Club, East Williamsburg

Enjoy a day of reclaiming Black liberation through a socially-distanced outdoor market and celebration space by Ethel's Club, showcasing local brands and restaurants by Black people and people of color. All safety guidelines will be followed. Visitors will have access to free water, gloves and masks. 

Photograph: Courtesy of Antoni Porowski

6. Make Queer Eye’s Antoni Porowski's summer canapes


As Queer Eye’s resident food and wine expert, Antoni Porowski doesn’t simply help people learn how to cook in their kitchens. Whether it was his controversial guacamole or a crowd-pleasing bruschetta (see recipe below), food is Porowski’s vehicle for connecting people and telling stories. The past few months, however, have put a different spin on the Canadian’s life.

Click through to find a recipe Porowski walked us through in an interview with Time Out New York—with tidbits on his favorite dishes in the latest season, his favorite New York bakeries and that he does indeed eat carbs (but just on weekends).


7. Rule of 7x7: A presentation of plays

Theater Various locations, Hell's Kitchen

This ongoing series premieres seven brand-new 10-minute plays by seven different writers. For each show, every playwright comes up with one rule and then the seven playwrights create new plays using all seven rules. Some past rules have been: "Somewhere on page one: a back-handed compliment, followed by ten seconds of silence" and "This reminds me of the time I (an action) with (a person)." To attend, you must RSVP at

Mariusz Kwiecien (center) in the title role of Mozart's "Don Giovanni"
Photograph: Marty Sohl

10. The Metropolitan Opera streams Wagner, Mozart & more

News Theater & Performance

The Met Opera lineup from June 29 through July 5 includes complete works by Wagner, Mozart, Donizetti, Bizet, Rossini and Shostakovich. All but two of the productions were recorded for the Met's Live in HD series.  The Nightly Met Opera Streams go up on the Met's website at 7:30pm and can also be watched with the Met Opera on Demand app. 

Click through for a full schedule for Week 16. 

bodega nyc street
Photograph: Shuttertsock

11. Support your favorite NYC businesses by buying artist-designed merch

News Shopping & Style

There's a new way to help New York City restaurants and small businesses as they continue to struggle through the shutdown: literally wear your support on your sleeve. Merch Aid, a project by R/GA—a design and marketing company based in New York—helps small businesses by teaming them up with artists to create exclusive merchandise. Merch Aid then puts the items up for sale on its website and gives 100% of the profits back to the businesses. Local businesses that have worked with Merch Aid so far include, Astoria Bookshop, New Kam Hing Coffee Shop, Astor Place Hairstylists, Lighthouse, Harlem Doggie Day Spa, Metro Community Laundromat, Court Street Grocers, Magic Jewelry, Carmelo's, Sugar Hill Disco and others.

Photograph: Shutterstock

12. Go to these restaurants open for outdoor dining

News Eating

Finally, New Yorkers are able dine at their favorite restaurants again — only outside. We hope customers interested in participating will be sure to tip generously to support the people behind the industry who have endured so much uncertainty during this tumultuous time for hospitality. Stay safe out there, please. Click through to see some restaurants now open for outdoor dining.

McCarren Park
Photographer: Johnny Cirillo

13. McCarren Park Vigils

Things to do McCarren Park, Greenpoint

For nearly two weeks now, each night at 7pm a vigil for George Floyd has been happening at Greenpoint’s McCarren Park. Thousands of demonstrators hold a deep silence for 30 minutes over the green lawns, and afterwards, the silence turns to chanting calls for racial justice and police reform. Attendees are encourage to bring a sign, wear a mask or face covering and keep up with social distancing guidelines.

New York City, Skyline Drive-In, Greenpoint, Brooklyn, Manhattan, Yankee Stadium
Photograph: Courtesy Skyline Drive-In NYC

14. Go to a new drive-in movie theater with a view of Manhattan

News City Life

Ever since the pandemic shut down movie theaters across the five boroughs, New Yorkers have had to make do with streaming to get their flick fix. Meanwhile, your favorite multiplex or art house won't be welcoming you back for a while: Though NYC has entered Phase 1 of the state's reopening plan, with Phase 2 expected next month, cinemas won't reopen until Phase fucking 4—meaning sometime in late August at the earliest. But recently, there's been another option for filmgoers and it's a blast from the past: drive-ins.   Photograph: Courtesy Skyline Drive-In NYC   Though drive-ins are generally thought to have gone the way of tail fins and 25 cents a gallon gas, there’s has been something of a micro-revival of the concept in NYC, with a Queens Diner hosting movies in its parking lot, and Yankee Stadium doing the same during July. Now, a new drive-in has just open in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, offering "killer views of Manhattan's skyline" along with popular movie classics; not surprisingly, it’s called the Skyline Drive-In. Located at 1 Oak Street across the river from downtown Manhattan, the Skyline operates on a site that’s been used for shooting Fendi and Converse ads as well as the opening credits of Saturday Night Live.   Photograph: Courtesy Skyline Drive-In NYC   This week's schedule includes crowd-pleasers from Ferris Bueller's Day Off to Grease.

NYCB's Jewels
Photograph: Erin Baiano

15. Watch incredible NYC Ballet performances for free

News Theater & Performance

It's never been easier to catch the ballet than right now. This month, you'll be able to tap into the grace and elegance of the classical dance online as the New York City Ballet takes its spring season virtual by releasing performances each Tuesday and Friday evening at 8pm, new episodes of "City Ballet The Podcast" and putting on two series of workshops—"Ballet Essentials" (for all ages) and "Ballet Breaks" (for children ages 3 to 8) and "Wednesday with Wendy," a series of ballet-inspired movement classes taught by NYCB Associate Artistic Director Wendy Whelan.

Here's the schedule of performances:

Tuesday, May 26, at 8pm: George Balanchine’s high-energy Donizetti Variations, led by Ashley Bouder and Andrew Veyette;

Friday, May 29: Justin Peck’s Easy, set to music by Leonard Bernstein, along with excerpts from six other ballets.

Looking for more things to do?


NYC events calendar

Things to do

Find the best things to do all year with our NYC events calendar of the coolest events, including parades, concerts, films and art exhibits


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