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Photograph: Shutterstock

Things to do in NYC today

The best things to do in NYC today involves free and cheap activities, awesome concerts and more

By Time Out New York editors

UPDATE: Many events have been canceled or postponed due to coronavirus. If you're unsure if yours has been affected, please call ahead to confirm.

It’s rare to be in the greatest city on earth and not have plans, but if you’re stumped for things to do in NYC today, consider us your entertainment saviors. Daily, there are awesome events to stream and new attractions to see, but if you’re searching for something really specific like new exhibitions at the city’s top art museums or something low-budget—like free things to do—we have everything you need listed right here.

RECOMMENDED: Full NYC events calendar

Things to do in NYC today

Ampia Restaurant & Rooftop
Photograph: Travis W Keyes Photography

Dine in a private greenhouse at this Manhattan rooftop restaurant

News Eating

Indoor dining in New York City is delayed indefinitely, but when Ampia Restaurant & Rooftop in the Financial District opens next week, guests can still dine privately—in a greenhouse. Michele and Anisa Iuliano, the husband-and-wife team behind the rooftop restaurant, have installed five greenhouses atop a 4,500-square-foot outdoor space filled with tropical greenery, Japanese maples and seasonal flowers. Like the couple’s other seven restaurants, the theme here is focused on Italy with a seafood-leaning menu. Each intimate greenhouse features a wood table for two guests. It’s made of a polycarbonate plastic-like material that supposedly blocks most UV rays and is 7-feet high. 

Brooklyn Bridge Park, New York City, Pier 2 Uplands, BQE, Brooklyn Bridge, Brooklyn Heights, Dumbo
Photograph: Courtesy Brooklyn Bridge Park Corporation/Alexa Hoyer

Sit in this new green space in Brooklyn Bridge Park

News Art

Tthe Pier 2 Uplands has just opened. The Uplands cover a three-acre site that includes a 6,300-square-foot lawn and a water play area made from materials salvaged from one of the former piers that lined the East River when it was still a working waterfront. Built-in jet sprays will cool visitors down, with runoff water being recycled to irrigate other parts of the park. The new section of the park is also planted with 1,300 new trees and shrubs interspersed with seating made of granite, all of which is sheltered behind a new noise-reducing berm that diminishes the roar of traffic from the nearby BQE. 

Photograph: Courtesy Nick Childers

Tune into SummerStage

Dance Contemporary and experimental Various locations, Hell's Kitchen

The City Parks Foundation's SummerStage, an annual feast of free outdoor performances, is online this year. Here's this week's lineup:  

Monday: Joan Myers Brown, founder of the Philadelphia Dance Company (PHILADANCO) and The Philadelphia School of Dance Arts, will join SummerStage Dance Curator Danni Gee for a conversation at 7pm on the SummerStage Instagram channel.

Tuesday: Global Grammy winner Angélique Kidjo will join in conversation with veteran lifestyle and social justice journalist Amy "Aimstar" Andrieux for a Culture Talk at 8pm across all SummerStage social channels.

Wednesday: Indie rock singer/songwriter Patrick Watson perform live at 8pm.

Thursday: DJ Lobo, one of New York's most prominent socially active Latino trendsetters, will take over SummerStage's social media accounts with a live DJ set as part of the SummerStage Anywhere Weekly Beat: DJ Session at 8pm.

Friday: Kool DJ Red Alert will be taking over the SummerStage social channels at 8pm.

Saturday: Join in on a family-friendly Tap Masterclass with Ayodele Casel at 2pm.

Sunday: The #PeopleSpeakSundays curator takeover will kick off at 2pm with special guest curator Uptown Vinyl Supreme, a Bronx-based DJ collective. Since we can't all make it to Central Park this year, this should be the next best thing.

Sing along with Shake Rattle & Roll Dueling Pianos

Things to do Multiple venues

Every Saturday night at 8pm, two piano men battle it out to prove who is truly the master of all 88 keys, with a playlist decided entirely by the audience. Whether you’re in the mood for Billy Joel, Christina Aguilera or current chart toppers, these pianists are up for the challenge. But they expect you to do your part by singing along, but from home. Find tickets and request songs here: 

Every Tuesday night at 7pm, play Name That Tune for a chance at $50 in cash and other prizes. There's a new theme each week. Tickets are at

On Wednesday nights at 7pm, try your hand at Piano Bingo, an interactive, all-request event. Every song checks a box and every game has a winner! There's $100 in prizes every week. Get your game card at   

Shows broadcast on and

Biking in NYC
Photograph: Shutterstock

Bike New York City

Things to do

Chances are you'll be cycling around more than usual. Therefore, we declare summer 2020: The Summer of Cycling. Since New York City has a growing number of bike lanes (including temporary ones opening during the shutdown), great bicycle shops and perfect parks for taking a ride through, it's one of the best things to do outside in NYC, and if you want to venture away from Gotham and plan a getaway, we’ll tell you where to go so you can cycle to your heart's content. 

NYCB's Jewels
Photograph: Erin Baiano

Dance along with NYC ballet troupes

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.

Street art, Brooklyn, New York, JR, Brooklyn Museum, The Chronicles of New York City, 80 Hanson Arts building
Photograph: Courtesy Brooklyn Museum/Marc Azoulay/JR-ART.NET

Check out the giant interactive NYC street mural

News Art

One of the biggest names in street art, the French artist who goes by the initials JR, has been very busy of late, especially in the Borough Of Kings. He was the subject of a recent, major exhibition at the Brooklyn Museum, and as part of that show, he created a massive outdoor photo-mural mounted on a tower of shipping containers stacked on top of each other like giant Jenga blocks. Titled The Chronicles of New York City, it depicted a cityscape filled with more than 1000 real New Yorkers (including Robert De Niro!) who posed for the artist in a mobile studio: A 53-foot-long trailer truck which tooled around NYC in the summer of 2018 looking for passersby willing to have their picture taken. Now, a large detail of that same piece has been installed on the side of the 80 Hanson Arts building in Downtown Brooklyn's cultural district, and it comes with a special interactive feature: An augmented reality function that allows you to point your phone at any specific individual in the image and hear their back story by downloading a free app (JR murals).   

Madama Butterfly
Photograph: Ken Howard

Stream the Metropolitan Opera

News Theater & Performance

The Metropolitan Opera will be closed for the remainder of 2020, but the essential New York cultural institution is continuing to provide home viewers with free nightly recordings of past productions every week. The lineup from July 6 through July 12 includes full works by Puccini, Wagner, Mozart, Verdi and Tchaikovsky. Most of the productions were recorded for the Met's Live in HD series. (Click here to see the Met's schedule for July 13 through July 19.) 


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