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An Expert’s Guide to Summer in New York City!

You know what they say right? Ain’t no party like a summer in New York City party! That’s why you totally need this post about the many beyond fun things to do in NYC in the summer.

And spoiler alert? There are A LOT of them.

Yeah, I’ve been a New York City local for well over 30 years and know exactly what you should and should not do when spending summer in New York!

I mean sure, NYC is fun all year round, But, the Big Apple exudes a special kind of awesomeness, in the summer, by offering visitors a variety of unique and exciting things to do in NYC this summer, and well basically every summer after that.
And by awesomeness, I am NOT referring to the putrid stench and unbearable heat that creeps out from the New York City subway and onto the trash-ridden streets. Sorry but NYC is not the cleanest city.
But onwards to fun summer activities in NYC, that will be less likely to induce nausea.
Along the way, I’ll also throw in tons of expert tips to help you plan the most hella epic trip to NYC ever.
You know, super useful info on:
  • Average Summer in New York City Weather
  • How to Get to New York City in the Summer
  • Getting to and From the Airport in New York City
  • How to Get Around New York City in the Summer
  • What to Pack for Summer in New York City
  • Top Things to do this Summer in New York City
  • Where to Stay this Summer in New York City
  • Where to Eat this Summer in New York City
  • Additional Resources to Help You Plan the Perfect Summer in New York City
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Contents show

Average Summer in New York City Weather

Stop by Central Park and spend summer in New York City
Summer in New York City is typically considered to be during the months of July and August (sometimes June too when the highs are around 80 and the low is around 64).
That’s why, if you’re planning to spend the summer in New York City, expect insanely hot and humid weather with highs around 84 degrees Fahrenheit and lows around 69 degrees Fahrenheit.
It’s also usually pretty sunny with only about seven days out of the entire month experiencing rain.
And while that might all sound fine and dandy, summer in New York City (in terms of weather) can be more than a little miserable.
It’s hot, it’s humid, the city (and public transit) is packed with people, and many days can bring highs that soar into the 90s (F) and 100s (F).
Therefore, if you plan to spend summer in NYC, be sure to carry a water bottle, wear plenty of sunscreen, and be prepared for hordes of people.
You also may want to pack a sweatshirt since New Yorkers LOVE their AC and any indoor space you step inside will be hella cold.
Also, because New York City observes Daylight saving time, you can enjoy nice long days that are filled with sunshine.
So, in general, the sun will typically rise at 5:30 am and set at 8:30 pm, giving you a solid fifteen hours of daylight with which to explore the city that never sleeps.

How to Get to New York City in the Summer

If you’re planning to spend summer in New York City, be prepared to spend a lot of money since this is peak travel season. As a result, flights into and out of NYC will be extremely expensive (Translation? Budget accordingly).

Now, if you’re flying into NYC, you’ll probably fly into JFK (aka John F. Kennedy International Airport) since this is where most international flights will fly into the city.

However, other popular airports that you might fly into include Newark (This airport is actually in New Jersey, is the farthest one from the city, and also handles international flights) and LaGuardia (this airport is in Queens and is where most domestic flights will land in NYC).

Now, if you don’t want to fly into New York City and are traveling here from within the United States, then you could always take a Greyhound Bus into Port Authority Bus Terminal or an Amtrak Train into Penn Station.

Both stations are in Manhattan and from there, you’d just have to take either a bus or the subway to your hotel.

Oh wait, I almost forgot! If you’re coming into New York City from upstate New York you can also take either a MetroNorth or Amtrak train into Grand Central Terminal, which is right in Midtown.

And while you can sometimes find great deals on bus fares into NYC, train tickets can be REALLY expensive. Therefore, definitely do your research and make sure that the train is actually cheaper than flying.

Pro Tip: Above all else though, if you are planning to spend summer in New York City, for the love of God and all that is holy, do NOT drive into the city. Parking spaces are hard to find, there are a ton of ridiculous parking regulations, and parking your car in a garage will be INSANELY expensive. You also don’t actually need a car while in NYC since you can quickly and easily use the subway to get anywhere you like.

Getting to and From the Airport in New York City

If you’re spending summer in New York City and plan to take either the train or the bus, then you’re in luck because the Port Authority Bus Station, Penn Station, and Grand Central Terminal are ALL located in Manhattan. So, you definitely don’t need to worry about getting into and out of the city.

However, if you’re flying into the city, then getting to/from the airport and into NYC will vary based on the airport that you fly into. So, here’s a quick rundown of how to travel between NYC and all three of its major airports.

  • JFK (for more info, check out this post about how to get from JFK to Manhattan) – From here, you can take either a taxi, an express bus, a commuter train, or a shuttle. The fastest way to get into the city is probably the commuter train (about 35 minutes and it will cost about $15.50 because no traffic), and the cheapest way is via subway, which can be a long, hot ride in the summer (between 60 and 90 minutes and it costs $10.50).
  • Newark (for more info, check out this post about how to get from Newark to Manhattan) – Because you’re in Jersey, I would definitely avoid taking a taxi since it will be expensive and you could encounter a lot of traffic. Instead, take an NJ Transit train from Penn Station (or vice versa), and connect to Newark via the AirTrain, which costs $5.50 per journey. You can also board an NJ Transit bus in Manhattan at one of three stops to get directly to the airport but the train will probably be faster because of traffic
  • LaGuardia – There are a couple of different ways to get from Manhattan to LaGuardia (and vice versa). You could take the M60 bus all the way to LaGuardia from uptown Manhattan (106th street and above), you could take the E, F, M, R, or 7 train to Jackson Heights-Roosevelt Avenue and then
    take the Q70 bus to LaGuardia (if you’re coming from midtown), or you could take an LIRR train to Woodside and then take the Q70 bus to LaGuardia (good if you’re coming from lower Manhattan).

How to Get Around New York City in the Summer

Cloister with areches and columns in NYC

Okay, so luckily for you, there are a ton of different ways that you can get around New York City in the summer. You could:

  • Walk – This is obviously one of the many free things to do in NYC and a great option if you want to get a bit of exercise. NYC is huge though so you for sure cannot walk everywhere but can definitely walk around either midtown, uptown, or downtown Manhattan, within reason. However, if you do decide to walk, be sure to wear sunscreen (or a hat), have a water bottle handy, rock a pair of comfy shoes, wear light clothes, and always keep an eye on your belongings. Summer in New York City is hot and humid and you want to be PREPARED.
  • Rent a City Bike – Citibike is a great way to get around NYC when it’s warm outside. You will need your own helmet though and you should be a decent cyclist since traffic in NYC is pretty insane (aka dangerous). However, it’s a really cheap way to get around the city since an annual membership costs $95 while one week pass costs $25, and a 24-hour pass costs $9.95.
  • Take the Subway – Okay, so going into the subway is a nightmare because there’s a lot of people, there’s no AC and it’s humid AF. However, once you’re inside the train, it’s usually air-conditioned, making the ride itself pretty bearable. And if you grab a Metrocard, you’ll be able to enjoy single rides on all NYC subway trains and buses for $2.75 per ride. Just know that to buy your first “pay-per-ride” Metrocard, you’ll need to pay a minimum of $5.50. Also, I tend to stick with the subway as opposed to buses since buses can get caught in A LOT of traffic.
  • Hail a Taxi – Real talk? I never use taxis in NYC. They’re just really expensive. However, they are convenient if you’re in a rush and there’s not a ton of traffic. Typically a taxi ride in NYC will start off with a $2.50 charge. You’ll then pay 50 cents per 1/5 mile when traveling over 12 mph or per 60 seconds if traffic is intense or the vehicle is stopped. You could also take an uber but it’s definitely not as cheap as it once was.

Pro TIp: Do NOT take a pedicab ride (those bikes where people pedal you around while you sit in the back) through Central Park. They are expensive AF and are definitely not worth your money. Trust me, I’ve done it, paid a small fortune, and was very much unimpressed with a capital “U”.

What to Pack for Summer in New York City

Bryant Park

Planning to spend summer in New York City but not sure what to wear? If so then check out this comprehensive guide on what to wear in New York City! It has tons of insider tips on what to pack for NYC, regardless of the season.

It also has a free, printable NYC packing list that you can use when getting ready to travel to NYC.

But, if you’re looking for ideas on what to wear when spending summer in New York City specifically, then be sure to pack things that will help make the heat and humidity infinitely more bearable.

So, lots of light, breathable clothing that is also comfortable. This way, you can walk around the city if you need to, without spontaneously combusting.

I would also definitely pack a water bottle to help you stay hydrated (bottled water here is expensive and just bad for the environment), as well as some sunscreen or a hat to help protect you from the sun.

Additionally, because the weather can be kind of unpredictable, you may want to bring some rain gear since you’ll likely encounter at least one or two rainy days during your time in NYC.

In general, though, black, tailored clothes will help you look more like a local, as will wearing cropped pants as opposed to shorts. You’ll also want to bring a warm jacket/sweatshirt of some kind since AC is outta control (read, frigid AF) throughout the summer in NYC.

That’s why, if I were packing for a summer trip to NYC, I’d be sure to bring sunglasses, a backpack, comfortable sneakers, a casual skirt. a simple black dress, a warm/jacket sweatshirt, t-shirts, a water bottle, and sunscreen or a sunhat to protect you from the sun.

  • Sunglasses – Sunglasses are an integral part of any native New Yorkers’ wardrobe since we basically rock a solid pair of sunnies on any day that ends in “y”. So yeah, wearing a pair will help you instantly look more like a local. They also actually really do protect your eyes from the sun and help guard against ugly squinty faces in all of your photos. I personally like these sunglasses from Carfia since they’re cheap (a smidge over $20), come in a ton of different colors, actually don’t break, are polarized, and provide actual UV protection.
  • Backpack – Okay, since you’ll be walking around NYC A LOT, you’ll obviously need something big enough to fit all your crap, I mean stuff. It also needs to be chic and antitheft since pickpockets are always a concern in the Big Apple. That’s why I love and personally use this Kenneth Cole Backpack. Not only does it last forever (I’ve had mine for well over 2 years and used it daily), but it’s stylish, reasonably priced (less than $60), and is large enough to fit a 15′ laptop.
  • Sneakers – I bet you wondering why I didn’t put sandals here instead? Well, NYC is dirty beyond belief, Therefore, wear sandals and your feet will be caked in filth in about five seconds flat So, instead, rock a pair of stylish but comfortable sneakers that will help you walk for, literally, miles every single day – like these Dr. Scholl’s slip-on women’s sneakers. They’re comfy AF while still being sleek and stylish. This way, you can actually feel good about wearing them. They’re also reasonably priced and if you get a pair in black, they’ll be incredibly versatile and won’t get super dirty while you walk around NYC.
  • Casual Skirt – Trust me on this, a nice, casual skirt is incredibly versatile, will help keep you cool, and is infinitely more “New York” than a pair of shorts. So, check out this stretch waist, mini-flared skater skirt since it comes in every color of the rainbow imaginable (and even in some cute patterns too) and costs less than $20 per skirt.
  • Black Dress – What can I say? This little black dress has it all! I mean, you can dress it up or down, it comes with pockets, it’s super comfortable,  it costs less than $30, it’s pretty dang stylish, and it falls just below the knee. Therefore, you don’t have to worry about it getting dirty while dragging on the floor as you do with long dresses.
  • Bomber Jacket – The AC in NYC is outta control. So, if you plan on spending any time indoors, then you’ll definitely need at least a mildly warm jacket, like this chic, Andy & Natalie women’s quilted bomber jacket. It’s lightweight/stylish, totally durable, comes in a ton of colors, and is well-priced at under $40 per jacket. FYI, this jacket is hand wash only, and pay close attention to the size chart.
  • Light T-shirts – Umm, what can I say? It’s a woman’s t-shirt. They’re light, breathable, well-priced, and come in neutral colors so that you can mix and match to create a bunch of different outfits.
  • Water Bottle – When spending summer in New York City, a water bottle is your new best friend. I mean, it’s good for the environment, it’ll help you stay hydrated, and you’ll save a ton of money on bottled water. If you can, go with a collapsible water bottle since it’s much easier to pack into your dag bag when you’re not actively using it. Personally, I like this one from Nefeeko since it’s cheap (under $15), leak-proof, BPA-free, and comes with a carabineer so that you can carry it outside of your backpack.
  • Sunhat (or lots of sunscreen if you look like crap in hats)- The sun is pretty intense throughout the summer in New York City. Therefore, packing a nice sunhat is a total must since you obviously want to protect your face from sunburn. And added bonus? A nice sunhat, like this one right here, will help you look baller level awesome in all of your photos. Plus, I mean, hey, it even has a giant black bow in the back. So, really, what’s not to love?

Top Things to do this Summer in New York City

Summer in New York City is such an amazing time of year. The city is brimming over with life and excitement that the warm weather is FINALLY here (even if it’s a little too warm at times).

So, whether it’s your first or twenty-fifth time to the city that never sleeps, summer truly is a magical time to visit my glorious hometown.

Because between vibrant flower blossoms and exciting outdoor events, there is always something new to see and do when visiting NYC in summer!

1. Zipline at Bear Mountain

Bear Mountain Bridge

About an hour North of New York City, you can find Bear Mountain, State Park!

Here, you will find a truly enchanting respite from the city by hiking, barbequing, and ziplining through this lovely state park (You’ll also find some of the best hikes in upstate New York here too)!

Come on, you know you want to fly through the air with the greatest of ease! Okay, maybe this activity is only for adrenaline junkies and travelers who are not terrified of heights.

But, how can you resist over 2,700 feet of zip lines that launch you through the forest at a pretty impressive 35 miles an hour (I got nothing for speed in kilometers. Just think super fast)?

It’s easily one of the best ways to make the most out of all those warm and sunny days of summer in New York City (going on my list of top things to do in NYC this summer).

Plus, the final stretch of the zip line brings you through a meadow, where you get to expertly land on a three-story climbing structure. Or…almost face plant since you’re a spaz like me (I hope you’re not).

FYI, Bear Mountain Ziplines has two courses that are geared toward kids and adults.

Sessions are offered every two hours, between 9:00 am and 5:00 pm, except for Thursdays and Tuesdays. 

Adult zip line courses cost $75  a person and can be booked online unless you want to book your tour on the same day. Participants must also weigh between 70 and 250 lbs and be at least 8 years old.

2. Black Tap Milkshake

Me sitting in front of a giant milkshake with a piece of vanilla cake on top. I am sitting isnide Black Tap which has grafiti on the walls of one os the best dessert places in NYC.

OMG! Yes, these are the insane milkshakes that you saw on Facebook and yes, they really are as good as they look.

I’ve also heard they have really good burgers tooBut, alas, I’m a vegetarian so I’ve only heard it through the grapevine (get it? no? right… awkward).

Anyway, clearly, you NEED a milkshake to help you escape the hot and humid weather that proliferates all throughout summer in New York City.

But really, when are milkshakes NOT a good idea? Because, to me, milkshakes are always one of the most fun things to do in the summer.

Besides, the one served at Black Tap is easily one of the best desserts in New York City.

Sure, you can get classic shakes for $9 each, that come in flavors like Nutella, Peanut Butter, Cookies and Cream, Black Cherry, etc.

But it’s summer so you gotta treat yo’self! So, splurge and get a crazy shake for $15! Trust me, it’s like two desserts in one so it’s really not as expensive as it sounds.

Plus, you can choose from epic flavors like Sweet n’ Salty Peanut Butter Shake, Cotton Candy Strawberry Shake, the Vanilla Cookie Shake, Sour Power Black Cherry Shake, etc.

Trust me,I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream, even when you’re adulting and life totally sucks…besides the milkshake of course.

3. Visit the Best Beaches in NYC

The summer ain’t the summer unless you hit up some of the best beaches in New York City.

After all, this area is full of them with places like Jacob Riis Park Beach and Coney Island regularly filling up with people who want to go for a swim or get a tan.

However, I go out to Long Island if I want to enjoy the beach. The water is nicer IMHO, the waves are better, and the crowds aren’t AS intense.

Robert Moses is my fave since it is quiet and one of the epic things to do in NYC in summer.

4. Explore Dumbo (Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass)

DUMBO and the Manhattan bridge surrounded by brick warehouses.

This is one of my absolute favorite neighborhoods in NYC (and one of the great free things to do in NYC this summer) that only gets better in the summer, when you can actually stand outside and NOT freeze to death.

Because in this trendy part of Brooklyn (wait, what part of Brooklyn isn’t trendy?), cobblestone streets and converted Brooklyn warehouses serve as the backdrop for some stunning views of the Manhattan skyline.

But wait, because it gets even better! Add in some independent boutiques, high-end restaurants (umm can you say Juliana’s pizza?), and trendy cafes like Brooklyn Roasting Company and you could easily spend an entire day in NYC here.

Before Leaving Dumbo though, be sure to check out St. Ann’s Warehouse near the waterfront, a building that is at the epicenter of the performance art and gallery scene.

Additionally, all of the streets here are just chock full of delightful street art that anyone can enjoy. Plus, the north end of Brooklyn Bridge Park is home to the historic Jane’s Carousel.

5. Cool Off at a Rooftop Pool

If you want to cool off and love a good rooftop pool with sweeping views of NYC, then head to one of the best hotels in the city.

Not only do they have killer pools, but they also offer day passes for people (like me) who can’t afford a room.

These pools always usually come outfitted with swank bars, sleek cabanas, and epic lounge chairs that make these urban oases the perfect place to relax.

My faves include Dream Downtown’s Dream Beach, The William Vale, The Rockaway Hotel + Spa, and Hotel Indigo Williamsburg.

6. Street Art

Street art Bushwick collective in New York City

I love street art. But man when it’s cold and snowy outside, I have no desire to tromp through the city to see street art.

So thank God for summer in New York City! This is that fab time of year when you can walk through the streets of New York and enjoy the beautiful weather.

Some of the best street art in NYC can be found in areas like DUMBO, the Highline, Little Italy, Bowery and Houston, at the Bushwick Collective, and the Centre-fuge Public art project on first street.

There are a ton of other amazing street art spots but this is truly one of my favorite free things to do in NYC in summer.

7. Attend Shakespeare in the Park

A view of the iconic skyscrapers of the upper west side reflected in the lake in Central Park.

During your stay in New York City in the summer, don’t miss the chance to experience Shakespeare in the Park.

This complimentary theatrical event is a gift from The Public Theater and is held at the Delacorte Theater in Central Park.

Originally launched as the New York Shakespeare Festival by Joseph Papp, it was rebranded in 2002 by The Public Theater.

For over six decades, this cultural event has captivated audiences with its riveting performances of Shakespearean plays.

However, tickets are only available the day of the performance, from noon onwards.

So, arriving early is key, as tickets are given out on a first-come, first-served basis. After all, Shakespeare in the Park is a treasured tradition for residents and tourists alike.

It allows everyone to enjoy premier theater while being surrounded by the lush greenery of the city’s best park.

8. Governors Island

An aerial view of Governors island

Found amidst the putrid waters of New York Harbor is Governors Island, a true haven of peace within the sea of chaos that is NYC.

And it’s car-free too! So no danger of getting run over by a tyrannical, NYC cabbie. Intrigued?

Then hop on the Governors Island Ferry, which departs from the Battery Maritime Building in Lower Manhattan.

Enjoy some of the fun things to do this summer in New York City since this place is a marvelous combination of delicious food vendors (Blue Marble Ice Cream/Fauzia’s Heavenly Delights) and amazing festivals.

Festival highlights include Gov Ball, the NYC Poetry Festival, the Pinknic Rose Festival (each morning from noon to 9:00 pm), the Jazz Age Lawn party, and more.

Looking for a bit more adventure? Then try out Adventures at Governors Island, a fantastic outdoor activity area that includes a climbing wall, maze, and ziplining course.

And if you’re broke like a joke, then take advantage of the island’s free bike mornings.

But what if you don’t want to leave?No worries because for the first time EVER, this island will allow visitors to camp overnight at trendy, oh la la, glamping areas.

They are spread out across six acres of the island and can accommodate over a hundred guests.

Yup, just stick with this New York City summer guide and I promise that you’ll be way hipper than I could ever hope to be.

9. Enjoy a Night Market

When the weather warms up the city comes alive with incredible night markets that are known for their epic shopping in NYC and even better food.

They pop up all across the city and can be found everywhere from Brooklyn to Manhattan to Queens.

However, they are largely cash only. So, be sure to head to the ATM before visiting.

Personal faves include the Queens Night Market (my fave), the Bronx Night Market, the Uptown Night Market, the Brooklyn Night Market, the Bronx Night Market, and the Chinatown Night Market.

Local Tip: There’s also a cool Vegan Night Market at Wollman Rink in Central Park. It’s one of the best things to do in NYC in the evening if you’re on a plant-based diet.

10. Watch a Movie in Bryant Park

The fountain at Bryant Park in the evening with water coming out. It is surrounded by skyscrapers and there are buildings associated with the winter market at Bryant Park arund the fountain.

This summer in NYC movie nights in Bryant Park are back and better than ever.

After all, this exciting program has been running for well over 30 years and is one of the coolest outdoor activities in NYC.

This event is typically held once the sun goes down and was run on Monday evenings last year.

Screenings typically start at the end of June and continue through the end of August.

11. Party at Watermark Beach

Located on Pier 15 in South Street Seaport, Watermark Beach is a fun tropical spot that comes alive in NYC in the summer.

So, grab an umbrella drink, enjoy the tiki decor, and dance beneath the twinkle lights until the early morning.

You can also enjoy some of the best views of Brooklyn and the Brooklyn Bridge since the views here are unobstructed and totally amazing.

Just be sure to make reservations since, as you probably already guessed, this event is seasonal and super popular during the summer in NYC.

12. Grab a Drink on the Roof of the MET

The exterior of the MET (metropolitan museum of art). One of the many cool museums in NYC.

Just when you thought one of the coolest museums in NYC couldn’t get any better, it does.

See, throughout the summer, the MET opens up its impressive rooftop to guests (usually until October).

So, you can grab a drink, relax, and enjoy awesome views of Central Park.

Plus, there are always cool, temporary art installations on display. So, admire unique art while drinking at the one and only, Cantor Roof Garden Bar.

13. Check Out Free Events at Little Island

An aerial view of Little Island in Chelsea. This is the view of this raised platform park with trees in the water. It is a view from the roof of the Whitney Museum.

Little Island is a new, elevated garden that is perched atop Pier 55 on Hudson River Park.

Located on the west side near the Whitney Museum, is a great place to walk around in the summer in NYC.

You can also enjoy a wide array of free events that include dynamic DJ performances, drag bingo, dance fêtes, stand-up comedy shows, and live jazz music on The Glade stage.

Past performers include a long list of A-list celebrities like James Austin Johnson (of SNL), Tonya Pinkins (Tony Award winner), Shaina Taub (Emmy-nominated), and more.

Plus, access to these summer events in NYC is hassle-free since no tickets or pre-scheduled entry is required.

14. Enjoy a Free Show in Times Square

Me standing on the red steps in Times square with my arms bent and near my ears and my toungue sticking out. I am standing in front of a neon sign and I have a gray and yellow hat with a black jacket.

As you can see from the photo, I am a local who hates the crowds and chaos of Times Square.

However, if you’re visiting for the first time and backpacking in NYC on a budget, then you might want to head to Times Square this summer.

The Times Square Alliance hosts NYC’s biggest free performance series here with a bunch of live performances that are free and open to everyone.

Events include everything from DJ sets to live jazz to dance shows. So, regardless of what you’re into, there’s a show for you.

15. Grab Some Grub at the Boathouse

Throughout the summer in NYC, the boathouse comes alive with activity since you can rent a boat and take it out onto the “lake” in the middle of Central Park.

I don’t do this since it’s semi-expensive and the lake is kind of small. But, you absolutely can if you’re heading to the boathouse anyway.

Otherwise, just enjoy a bit of casual dining with a view since their on-site cafe serves things like burgers, lobster rolls, and hot dogs.

Local Tip: If you want to rent a boat the Loeb Boathouse, they are $15.00 an hour. They only accept cash and a $20.00 deposit is required.

They will also charge $4.00 for each additional 15 minutes you use the boat.

16. Enjoy Hudson River Park

Me looking out at the river from Hudson River Park. I am wearing a black t-shirt and black boots, and a pink skirt that goes down to my knees.

Easily one of the best green spaces in New York City, Hudson River Park extends all along the west side of Manhattan and offers visitors beautiful views of the Hudson River.

Throughout the summer in NYC, the park also plays host to a wide variety of free events that are typically held from May through November.

In the past, 400+ scheduled events have been held here, including the Hudson River Dance Festival, the Blues BBQ Festival, Jazz at Pier 84, and the SUBMERGE Marine Science Festival.

You can also attend dance workshops that cover genres like Salsa and Bollywood, as well as yoga sessions, HIIT workouts, nature walks, and STEM events.

These events are awesome and easily some of the best free things to do on the Upper West Side.

17. Sign Up for Pickleball in Central Park

It seems like everyone and their brother’s sister’s cousin is playing pickleball in NYC.

So, if this includes you then one of the best things to do in NYC in the summer is to head over to CityPickle in Central Park and play a game…or ten.

There are fourteen different courts at Wollman Rink and they are available for rent from 7:00 am until 9:00 pm daily.

They are also open seasonally until early October and are suitable for players of all skill levels.

However, this is not one of the best solo activities in NYC since the courts are designed for groups of four to eight people.

Rates are also fixed at $80.00 to $120.00 per hour for peak and off-peak hours. Yeah, I know that sounds like a lot. But, broken down, it’s only $10.00 per person per hour.

18. Go Roller Skating at Rockefeller Center

View of the Ice Skating Rink at Rockefeller Center. Skaters glide past the giant Christmas here.

Once winter in New York City is long gone, a fun roller rink pops up in Rockefeller Center.

Known as Flipper’s Roller Boogie Palace, this rink is typically open through October. So, even if you’re visiting NYC in the fall, you can still enjoy this fun activity.

Yes, the rink is a bit small. But, you can enjoy a smooth ride through one of the most immortal landmarks in NYC.

It’s also relatively cheap since tickets are just $20.00 for a one-hour sesh.

19. Brunch at Hotel Chantelle

Aerial view of Avocado toast with a poached egg and a bread basket with pink pastries on a wooden table at one of the best brunch spots in NYC. This is one of the best things to do in NYC in the summer.

This is easily one of my absolute favorite NYC brunch spots of all time.

This gem of a restaurant, not an actual hotel, offers a delicious, reasonably priced brunch menu that is served amidst a light and airy top floor.

This dining room is adorned with vintage light fixtures, beautiful greenery, and a lovely glass ceiling that inundates the room with a beautiful amount of light.

As if the decor didn’t make this place awesome enough, they also have a live 20-style band.

So, expect trumpeters and saxophonists accompanied by a lead vocalist, who croons into a vintage microphone while dressed in a snazzy bow tie, a cabby hat, and a cool pair of shades.

Sprinkle in some fantastic wall art to create the perfect Instagram spot in NYC.

Plus, this restaurant is also located right down the street from Black Tap and the first street outdoor street art gallery; making this my new go-to brunch spot this summer.

And if you’re not sure what to get, then order the stuffed brioche french toast with maple-infused mascarpone/ricotta and crusted in frosted flakes.

20. Bookmarks Lounge

Looking for one of the best views in NYC? If so then why not try one of NYC’s most sensational rooftop bars, like Bookmarks Lounge!

Far from your traditional rooftop bar scene, this quaint, literary-inspired garden lounge can be found on the 14th floor of the Library Hotel.

Here, you’ll enjoy a more cultured experience with literary-based cocktails that can savor atop a charming wrap-around terrace, set amongst the jungle of skyscrapers that are known as Midtown East

Yup, talk about a total book lover’s dream.

Local Tip: Other rooftop bars you might want to check out include Loopy Doopy rooftop bar, 230 Fifth, Upstairs at the Kimberley, Gallow Green, Pod 39 rooftop, and La Piscine rooftop pool bar.

21. Enjoy an Outdoor Movie On the Roof

Sadly, there aren’t too many drive-in movie theaters in NYC. However, you can always watch your fave movie from the roof of one of the best hotels in the city.

It’s one of the top things to do in NYC in the summer if you love rewatching classics like “Casablanca” and “Clueless” with the starry Manhattan sky high above you.

So, enjoy one of the many events hosted by The Rooftop Cinema Club. Just stop by the Skylawn at the Embassy Suites Hotel on West 37th Street

Plus, for an even more amazing experience, listen to the film through a pair of personal wireless headphones that will help reduce ambient noise.

22. Coney Island

Beach and rides at Coney Island

I’ll admit it. I’m not a HUGE fan of Coney island. But, I feel like it’s an essential experience for anyone spending summer in New York City.

And, it’s gorgeous. Because between the beach, the boardwalk, Luna Park, the original Nathan’s hot dog stand, and the Cyclone rollercoaster.

On the downside though, Coney Island about two hours from midtown by subway. This iconic theme park can also be super crowded, damn expensive, and rather touristy.

Yet, it’s still one of those experiences that you should most definitely have at least once in your lifetime.

And my favorite part of Coney Island? Not surprisingly, the pizza, since I think with my stomach and nothing else! Legit though, Totonno’s has some of the best pizza that I have EVER had.

I would, without a doubt,  sit for two hours on the subway just to get a slice of this pizza. Because it;’s THAT good,

So, skip the Nathan’s hotdogs and come here instead. Trust me, this place has been around since 1921 for a reason.

Local Tip: Visit in the middle of June to see the world-famous Mermaid Parade. This event brings various nautical and mythological creatures to life.

23. Attend Pop in the City

Me sitting in a ball pit with pale blue balls around me. Only my face is visible and I have black glasses on and blond hair. My hand is curved above my head and points to my face.

Indulge in all of your youthful fantasies by cruising down a slide and crashing into a sea of over half a million plastic balls at Pop In The City.

This colossal 120-foot bouncy castle and ball pit features a network of interconnected domes that are filled with a ton of cool interactive elements.

So, expect an NYC-inspired escapade that includes colossal apples, towering skyscrapers, gigantic slices of pizza, etc.

There’s even a “glitterball dome” that has a Studio 54 vibe about it and a stage for live performances from DJs, hosts, musicians, and more.

Add in dynamic lighting, special effects, and 100 glinting disco balls, and you have the chance for some killer photo ops.

So, stop by for $20.00 a person and enjoy this epic space near Greeley Square Park.

24. Enjoy Free Performances in Bryant Park

One of the best things to do in summer in NYC is to grab a blanket, pack a picnic lunch/dinner, and enjoy one of the many free performances on the lawn of Bryant Park.

Most music and dance shows are held in the evening and typically start in June.

Past performers include the New York City Opera, the Classical Theatre of Harlem, and the American Symphony Orchestra.

So, regardless of when you stop by you’re sure to enjoy a great show. Just come early since this place fills up fast.

25. Robert Moses Beach

Robert Moses Beach at dusk on Long Island

Okay, I know you’ll find this SUPER hard to believe but…Manhattan is an Island!

Yeah, not a shocker but I still feel like people forget that New York City is right on the ocean and as a result, has some pretty EPIC beaches.

And while some are better than others (i.e. some are disgusting and you might find a dead body or get Tetanus if you go into the water), others are pretty dang awesome and should be on your summer in New York City bucket list.

Accordingly, one of my favorite beaches just happens to be Robert Moses Beach on Long Island.

Not only is it less crowded than Jones Beach, but it is much less built up and much more peaceful.

You’ll need a Zipcar to get here though, but I promise, the trip will be worth it since you’ll find some of the best hikes on Long Island here.

Before you go though, just remember that Robert Moses does have a nude beach, which I had no idea about until I went.

26. Watch the Stars from Summit One Vanderbilt

Looking up at the multi-colored boxes and vertical white lines that make up Summit One Vanderbilt in the evening. This is the view of the skyscraper from the street below and you are looking up at the building during summer in NYC.

Believe it or not, you really can stargaze in NYC in summer – all without leaving the city.

See, SUMMIT One Vanderbilt is collaborating with the Amateur Astronomers Association to create an extraordinary stargazing event.

So, get ready for a date night in NYC unlike any other since amateur astronomy experts will lead you into a full-on, immersive sky-gazing experience.

You’ll even use advanced telescopes and admire the stars from SUMMIT’s open-air terrace.

Positioned on the 93rd floor and situated 1,100 feet above street level, participants will have the chance to see the night sky in a unique way.

Who knows, you might even recognize a constellation or two while looking up at the stars.

27. Marvel at Montague Street Blooms

Head to Brooklyn Heights and enjoy a magical floral display that has bloomed to life.

This 6-foot-tall, flower park features an array of flowers that have been brought to life by Piera Bonerba, as well as various other artists.

It’s a fun, allergy-friendly art installation that can be found at 108 Montague Street. So, stop by and have your camera ready so you can take some cool photos.

28. Enjoy Some Free Kayaking!

girl kayaking

I would never characterize myself as an “outdoor girl”, but kayaking is one of the few, outdoorsy activities that I absolutely love.

I find peace and tranquility when I’m alone, cruising through the water, just me and my kayak enjoying the fabulous summer in New York City weather.

For real though. All of life’s problems just seem to dissipate with every stroke I take. Even if my arms scream in agony since  I am so physically unfit.

So, this one is for the water enthusiasts like me who want to get away from it all. It’s also one of the many free things to do in New York City, so how can you go wrong?

All you have to do is grab a kayak from public boathouses like the Downtown Boathouse and the Long Island Community Boathouse, in Queens.

Then get ready to enjoy the tranquility that the waters surrounding New York City offers.

29. Attend a 1920s-themed Party

Channel your love of The Great Gatsby and enjoy a 1920s-themed party unlike any other on Governor’s Island.

Just hop on the ferry in Lower Manhattan and do the Charleston along with a thousand of your closest friends – all of whom are dressed up in 1920s-inspired clothes.

Highlights include live music from Michael Arenella and the Dreamland Orchestra, as well as delish cocktails.

Just pack a picnic, relax on the lawn, and enjoy stellar views of Manhattan during The Jazz Age Lawn Party.

30. Go Shopping at Woodbury Commons

Woodbury Commons Outlets

Why not partake in some outdoor, retail therapy at Woodbury Commons, this summer in New York City?

I mean, this outdoor outlet mall has it all and is a great place to enjoy those warm and lazy days of summer, especially if you’re solo traveling NYC.

They have over 240 stores to choose from, that sell designer items for between 25% to 65% off retail prices.

On second thought, you may need to extend your credit line while you’re there. The only downside? This outlet mall is about an hour North of the city.

But never fear because the Port Authority offers daily bus service from NYC to Woodbury Commons (Buses cost $42.00 roundtrip for adults and $21.00 roundtrip for children).

Just be prepared to do an insane amount of walking once you get there! Yeah, this mall is ridiculously huge so wear comfy shoes.

Also, grab a map before you start shopping so that you can make the most of your time at one of the best discount shopping spots near NYC.

31. Attend a Free Summer Concert Series Concert

Between the Today Show and Good Morning America, there are a ton of free, outdoor concerts that you can add to your list of things to do this summer in NYC.

But like with anything free in NYC, these concerts get ridiculously crowded.

That’s why you need to show up and wait in line the night before, with snacks and drinks so that you can get a good seat. And by seat, I obviously mean a good place to stand.

No really. Trust me on this. I’ve seen Maroon Five and the Backstreet Boys this way.

However, I’ve reached the age where I’d rather buy tickets than stay up all night, waiting to surge the stage, and fighting a thousand other screaming women for a primo viewing spot.

But if you’re young, dumb, and broke, free concerts are the way to go (not personal, just a song).

32. See What’s Going on at MOMA

The entrance to MOMA, the Museum of Modern Art. One of the cool museums in NYC.

As one of the best museums in NYC, MOMA regularly hosts an array of incredible temporary exhibits that you’ll want to check out this summer in NYC. Plus, the AC inside will help you escape the summer heat.

See, MOMA (The Museum of Modern Art) is filled with iconic works from celebrated masters like Van Gogh, Matisse, and Picasso and innovative creators like Warhol and Pollock.

Since its inauguration in 1929, the museum has amassed an awe-inspiring collection of 200,000+ pieces.

These works not only showcase awesome creativity but also challenge visitors to explore the depths and emotions of modern art.

For novices, MoMA offers an electrifying introduction to the essence of this artistic movement.

Spanning four floors, the museum’s exhibits include prints, illustrated books, designs, photographs, as well as paintings and sculptures, with the most renowned pieces housed on the upper levels.

Just be sure to start your visit at the top and work your way down, making sure not to miss the Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Sculpture Garden with works from Matisse, Miró, and Picasso.

Yup, a day spent at MoMA is a day well spent in New York City.

Local Tip: Book your tickets online to save $2.00. NYC residents can also enjoy free admission on the first Friday of the month from 4:00 pm to 8:00 pm.

You will need to pre-book your tickets a week in advance online.

33. See Exciting New Exhibits at the New York Botanical Gardens

The beautiful water lily pond you'll find at the New York Botanical Gardens in the Bronx.

Located in the Bronx, the New York Botanical Garden is easily one of the top parks in New York City.

It covers an astounding 250 acres and dates back to 1891. It is also home to a collection that exceeds a million plants and that includes 50 acres of Old Growth Forest.

So, visitors are encouraged to wander through the Azalea Garden, the interactive Children’s Adventure Garden, the Lilac Collection, the indigenous Native Plant Garden, the Wetland Trail, and the Ornamental Conifers.

Afterward, check out the Enid A. Haupt Conservatory, a Victorian-era glasshouse that stands proudly as an iconic New York landmark.

It’s a place that also hosts numerous cultural events and temporary exhibits that are well worth enjoying this summer in NYC.

Local Tip: If you plan to spend Christmas in New York City then check out the Holiday Train Show.

34. Enjoy a Concert at Forest Hills Stadium

Tucked away in Queens, Forest Hills Stadium usually hosts a wide array of performances from world-class musicians and performers throughout the summer in NYC.

In the past, artists like Kevin Hart, Dave Matthews Band, Fall Out Boy, Duran Duran, Weezer, and The Strokes, have all performed here.

So, expect upwards of thirty events to take place here and grab your tickets as soon as they become available.

35. Check Out Some Street Fairs

In the summer, the concrete jungle of New York comes alive with street fairs. And I say a hearty, three cheers for streets that are devoid of crazy cabbies who try and run you over!

So, between the pop-up shops of Seventh avenue and the food courts of Broadway Bites (along Herald Square), there is no shortage of places where you can eat, shop, and just enjoy the pure awesomeness of NYC this summer.

So take advantage of the beautiful, but grossly humid, NYC weather. 

And if you’re looking for something unique to do, you can also shop for antiques/vintage clothes, rock out to outdoor music, or enjoy one of the city’s many outdoor street art festivals.

Because while NYC may be a lot of things, boring is not one of them. 

36. Enjoy a Pop-Up Event at Roosevelt Island

View of the red Roosevelt Island tram car pulling into the station with people standing inside on a cloudy day with the city in back of it.

One of the best things to do in NYC this summer is to hop aboard the Roosevelt Island tram, at 59th Street and 2nd Avenue, and head to this magical spot in the East River.

Not only is the tram one of the best budget-friendly things to do in the Upper East Side, but you can enjoy stellar views of the city and check out some summer pop-up events on the island.

In the past, Roosevelt Island has hosted a fun, pop-up pool party. Each year, the theme of the party is different, with last year’s event centered around a pool mural created by artist James Gortner.

Just be aware that access to the pool is only through monthly or seasonal memberships, which start at $400 per month for an individual.

37. Dance the Day Away at MoMA PS1 Warm Up

Beer + amazing contemporary art installations + nice summer weather + dancing under a large-scale outdoor installation = a hopping good time, only minus the beer for me.

And trust me, it isn’t crap, elevator music either.

In the past, this outdoor music series has featured rising rap stars, DJs, and underground musicians like Afrika Bambaataa, Questlove, Francois K, Danny Krivit, the Scissor Sisters and more.

So free up your calendar on Saturday afternoons between June 30th and September 1st (roughly).

Oh and get your butt to 22-25 Jackson Avenue in Long Island City, Queens for an amazing event that also features a series of exciting and totally innovative, contemporary art installations.

Pro Tip: This event is popular so make sure that you score some tickets in advance ($25 a person). Also, to get here, just take the 7 or G train to Court Square.

38. Enjoy a Luxurious Picnic

If you can’t travel overseas this summer then fear not because a range of new pop-up picnic experiences will be bringing Mediterranean style to NYC.

See, The NYC PopUpPicnic Group is set to create an extravagant picnic filled with Mediterranean-inspired fare.

So, make use of plush floor cushions, chic decorative pillows, and an elegant table setup that resembles a high-end garden.

Plus, you won’t have to worry about a thing since PopUpPicnic takes care of everything from selecting the spot to post-picnic clean-up.

In total, the picnic will last around two hours and will cost around $75.00 to $100.00 per person, depending on the number of guests.

Therefore, this is one of the best things to do in NYC in the summer if you love al fresco dining.

39. Explore Ellis Island

The historic, round ceiling, interior of the museum at Elis Island. There are two levels with white railings, vinatge lihgts on tops, and two American flags on either side.

So visiting the Statue of Liberty? Kind of lame. But Ellis Island, not so much.

Seriously, it’s one of the best museums in New York City. And way better in the summer when you can actually walk around the island without getting frostbite.

Okay, that was dramatic but the island is insanely windy and can get brutally cold in the winter.

But, wait, why was this building so Important?

Well, as America’s most historically significant, immigrant gateway, Ellis Island was the processing station for steerage class passengers who entered the United States (12 million between 1892 and 1924).

Today, this relic of history has been transformed into a three-level Immigration museum with detailed narratives from historians and immigrants – stories that personalize the objects on display.

Just make sure you save time for the second floor (my fave)! 

This exhibit is entitled ‘Through America’s Gate,’ and details the rigorous, step-by-step process that immigrants underwent before entering the country.

Also take a look at the ‘Peak Immigration Years,’ exhibit. too. This section of the museum examines why immigrants came to the US, and what their life was like once they got here.

Pro Tip: If you have time, head to the third floor, where you can see haunting remnants from the building’s years of disuse.

Also, always book your tickets in advance ($18 a person). To visit, take the 4 or 5 to Bowling Green, and then walk towards Battery Park to reach the ferry.

40. Explore The MET

The old stone entrance ways and hieroglyphics that line the walls of the Egyptian Temple of Dendur in the MET.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art, often abbreviated to The MET, was established in 1880 and is home to more than 36,000 artifacts.

These items go back over 5,000 years and represent every corner of the world.

So, whether you love antiquities, are an admirer of the avant-garde, or enjoy art from the Middle Ages, the MET has something for you.

Be forewarned that the sheer size of this museum makes it impossible to visit in a single day.

But, you can check out the Temple of Dendur and various other spots before heading to the rooftop for a drink this summer in NYC.

You can also try the museum’s special “Date Nights”. This event allows visitors to better understand the art on display through informal chats that are paired with live music and epic cocktails.

Last year this event was held on Friday and Saturday evenings at the American Winge Cafe, from 5:00 pm to 9:00 pm.

41. Smorgasburg in Brooklyn

Umm, I’m sorry but this is like the best seasonal, outdoor foodie’s market ever!

Translation? If you ingest food then you should go here, like now. Just be aware that it’s only open on Saturday and Sunday, between 11 am and 6 pm.

FYI, Saturdays are in Williamsburg at East River State Park and Sundays are in Prospect Park, at East Drive, Lincoln Hill.

It’s open from April through October so if you wanna avoid crowds, go when it’s cooler. But with over a hundred vendors, it can be hard to figure out which stands have the best eats.

That’s why, I’m gonna give you my top picks, which include:

  • Deep-fried cookie dough from Mozz and DO
  • Bonsai Kakigori (aka fluffy Japanese shaved ice),
  • Btarts (Canadian butter tarts with Maple syrup)
  • King Street Kitchen Baked goods (PB&J Brownie)
  • Bread and Monkey (Banana Bread/Grilled French Toast)
  • Frico Italia (a fried potato and three cheese pie that is traditionally served in Italy)
  • Spaghetti doughnuts
  • And so much more. I’m getting hungry now, so I’ll stop!

Pro Tip: The market is open rain or shine and during holiday weekends. Bring cash just in case but most vendors do accept credit cards.

Also, no disposable water bottles are allowed in the market, so bring a reusable bottle that you can fill at refilling stations. No pets are allowed on Saturdays but they are totally welcome on Sundays.

42. Visit Gitano Island

Tradtional Mexican flan from one of the best restaurants in Oaxaca.

Summer in NYC means the much-anticipated return of Gitano Island.

Filled with Tulum beach club vibes and the Manhattan skyline in the background, this beach club is making a splash again and can be found on, you guessed it, Governors Island.

With a fresh look for the summer season, Gitano Island is enhancing visitors with its waterside allure and menu filled with modern Mexican cuisine.

Under the guidance of Chef Antonio Maldonado, the menu features sophisticated dishes like truffle-infused soups, lobster tostadas, Baja-style kampachi, duck carnitas huarache, and short rib birria.

All this food is masterfully prepared in an open kitchen, with the option to upgrade to full caviar service for an even more luxurious experience.

43. Go Mini Golfing at Swingers

Located in Nomad, Swingers is a self-described “crazy mini-golf course”. It sits inside a 23,000-square-foot space and features three unique courses that have nine holes each.

However, this is not your family’s mini-golf course and is only suitable for visitors 21 and over since you can enjoy specialty cocktails that are served to you during the game by expert caddies.

You can even rent your very own private room, check out their amazing clubhouse, and indulge in food served to you by Emmy Squared Burger, Sauce Pizzeria, and Mah Ze Dahr Bakery.

Yup, this is a great place to visit and one of the best things to do in New York City for your birthday.

44. Check Out a Yankees Game

View of a batter swinging at a pitch in Yankee Stadium.

FYI, I’m a die-hard Yankees fan so there will be no mention of the Mets in this post. But Baseball is one of those iconic, NYC summer pastimes that gives you a taste of what real New York City life is all about.

But what If you’re broke? That’s okay because tickets don’t HAVE to be expensive.

Just purchase them on StubHub either the day of the game or the night before, when prices drop as sellers try and unload all their unsold tickets.

Just remember that food, alcohol, and Yankee swag is all ridiculously expensive at the stadium.

Therefore, the only acceptable food item that you should ever purchase at the game is the garlic cheese fries. Nom.

Also, DO NOT TAKE YOUR CAR! Parking is insanely expensive. You can either take the 6 train or ride the Metro North train to Yankee Stadium from Harlem 125th.

45. Dance the Night Away at Lincoln Center

A view of the central building with banners advertising shows hanging from the five white arches out front. There is fount in Lincoln Center but it is not working because of winter.

Every summer in NYC, Lincoln Center organizes a special “Summer for the City” that features an awesome selection of complimentary events.

In the past, attendees have enjoyed silent discos, open-air movies, LGBTQ+-inspired music, performances from local symphonies, etc.

However, the real highlight of the schedule is The Dance Floor at Josie Robertson Plaza.

It’s a magical spot where everyone can come to enjoy a bit of dancing beneath a huge, 10-foot-wide disco ball.

So, get ready to enjoy a little Saturday Night Fever this summer in New York City.

46. Relax Aboard a Floating Restaurant

While there are many cool restaurants in NYC, there is only one floating Mexican restaurant.

Known as La Barca Cantina, this snazzy eatery sits on a three-storey boat that is docked at Pier 81 (near West 41st Street).

They serve a wide variety of tacos as well as agave-focused drinks that are perfect during summer in NYC.

All in all this place has fun live music, great guac, killer views of the city, and nice beef/chicken tacos.

Sure, they don’t serve the best Mexican food in the city. But, it’s a great place to hang out on a warm summer day.

47. Check Out a Pop-Up Event in Union Square

A flight of beers from Sebago Brewing Co.

In the past, Union Square has hosted a wide variety of outdoor events throughout the summer in NYC.

One of the best breweries in NYC, Torch & Crown, even brought their epic beers to a fun pop-up event in the Union Square Pavillion.

So, if you want to enjoy a nice brew while savoring the botanical beauty of Union Square, then this may just be one of the best things to do in NYC in the summer for you.

In particular, their Almost Famous IPA is a real delight and is filled with incredible peach/grapefruit flavors.

Just keep an eye out for all the cool things happening in Union Square this summer.

48. Check Out a Cool Rooftop Bar

Me standing with my arms extended diagonally in a maroon sweatshirt, gray winter hat, and brown pants with brown boots. I am standing in front of a massive pink structure filled with pinks flowers and ski-lift like seats with low tables. So, if you're wondering why is new york so expensive then rooftop bars like Magic Hour are why.

There are a ton of rooftop restaurants and bars in NYC that you need to check out right this minute.

I went to Magic Hour for their pink AF brunch and really loved the food. The views of the Empire State Building from the 18th floor of the Moxy Hotel were also lovely.

However, there are a ton of different rooftop bars that you can enjoy this summer. Serra By Birerria usually features amazing floral decor, even if the views and food are a bit MEH.

Personal faves include The Empire Rooftop, Refinery Rooftop, and Bella Union Rooftop Bar.

49. Party Like a Rockstar at The Frying Pan

Located on a lightship that is docked at Pier 66, The Frying Pan is one of the top outdoor activities in New York City for anyone who likes to party.

Yeah, this place was all the rage when I went to college many moons ago and sits right near Chelea Piers, making this bar one of the best places to go in Chelsea.

It sits on an old lighthouse boat that was formerly used by the Maryland Coast Guard. So, stop by for beers, lobster rolls, fish/chips, and more at one of the most unique bars in NYC.

Just remember that because this is an outdoor bar, it is only open from May through October. I would also very much NOT visit on the weekend since this place gets PACKED.

50. Cool Down at the Museum of Ice Cream

A view of a ling white table filled with trays of mini desserts in a bright pink room with pink balls hanging from the ceiling. This is the Museum of Ice Cream at it is one of the best things to do in NYC in the summer.

Is the Museum of Ice Cream my favorite museum in NYC? No, not even a little bit.

Sure, it’s great for kids but I feel like it’s designed so that you can take lots of photos for your Instagram account.

That being said, you do get to enjoy four “free” samples of ice cream, making this one of the best things to do in NYC in the summer if you’re dying because of the heat.

Other highlights include a massive tunnel slide and a giant pool filled with rainbow sprinkles.

But, if you’re looking for a real museum and don’t have kids in tow then I’d give this place a pass.

51. Watch the Stars from the Highline

View of NYC all lit up in the evening from the Highline. You can see read, white and blue colors on the Empire State Building and skyscrapers illuminated by lights in the night sky.

The Highline is one of my favorite parks in NYC. It sits on an old, railway track and runs for 1.5 miles along the westside of Manhattan, from the Whitney Museum to the Javits Center.

It’s a great place to see well-manicured gardens, cool outdoor art installations, and epic views of Manhattan.

If you visit during the summer in NYC, stop by on a Tuesday evening so that you can use high-end telescopes, with the Amateur Astronomers Association, to see the stars.

The event typically starts after sunset and continues until about thirty minutes before the park closes.

Volunteers will also be on hand to help you out and explain what you’re looking at if you’re not super familiar with the night sky.

52. Dig Into a Lobster Roll

The exterior of the Oyster Bar. There is red-ish tile on the ground and an oval like entrance filled with windows and gray trim with the name of the restaurant on toop. You can also see oyster shaped signs with menus on either side of the two main doors.

Nothing screams summer like digging into a giant lobster roll. Sure, they are infinitely more famous (and better) in Maine.

But, you can find decent versions in NYC too. Just be prepared to fork over a lot of $$$ since they are very much not cheap.

Now, if you’re wondering where to find the best lobster roll in NYC then stop by places like Greenpoint Fish and Lobster Co., Pearl Oyster Bar, Red Hook Lobster Pound, Luke’s Lobster, etc.

53. Do Some Glamping on Governors Island

Collective Governors Island reopens its doors for its sixth summer and is home to one of the most unique outdoor activities in New York.

This luxury retreat, known for its standalone accommodations, is available for overnight glamping and fine dining experiences all summer long.

It’s the perfect place to relax since it’s nestled in a vast, 173-acre park with epic views of the Statue of Liberty.

Just catch a ferry from Lower Manhattan and enjoy a quick, 8-minute ride to Governors Island.

Be sure to make a reservation in advance and say hi the the flock of sheep that routinely “mow the lawn” throughout the summer in NYC.

54. Grab an Ice Cream Cone

Me holding an ice cream cone with pink, raspberry cheesecake ice cream. I am holding the cone with my right hand in front of the store front for Morgenstern's.

I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream. And summer is the best time to indulge in this iconic dessert.

I love getting a cone of raspberry cheesecake ice cream cone from Morgenstern’s and feel like my summer in NYC hasn’t begun until I’ve done this.

However, there are a ton of great ice cream shops in NYC. In fact, Lexington Candy Shops serves a great vanilla and chocolate egg cream.

But, other places to grab a cone include Caleta, Van Leeuwen, The OG Ice Cream Factory in Chinatown, Oddfellows, Eddie’s Sweet Shop, and Brooklyn Farmacy and Soda Fountain.

55. Enjoy Electric Zoo

It ain’t summer in NYC until you hit up Electric Zoo since this epic electronic music festival is held every year on Randall’s Island.

It typically takes place over Labor Day Weekend and features world-class musicians, like Marshmello and The Chainsmokers, who do live performances across four different stages.

As of 2023, a stage was dedicated to the LGTBQ+ community, making this an iconic summer music festival that everyone should attend at least once.

We used to go every year and it’s a fun event that makes for a great way to say goodbye to summer in NYC.

Other Fun Things to do this Summer in New York City

As you may have guessed, this list of the best things to do this summer in New York City was originally gonna be MUCH longer.

But, per usual, I started word vomiting all over the page and just couldn’t stop. And now my fingers are slowly developing carpal tunnel syndrome and you are quickly running out of patience.

Therefore, I’m just gonna throw a few more, fun things to do this summer in New York City that you can add to your “What to do in New York City in the summer” NYC bucket list.

So, when planning the ultimate NYC itinerary this summer, don’t forget to:

  • Visit the Lemon Ice King of Corona
  • Explore the Cooper Hewitt Design Museum (one of the many cool museums in NYC)

Where to Stay this Summer in New York City

view of New York city through a fence

I believe in being totally honest. And honestly? Hotels in New York City are stupid expensive – especially if you plan to spend the summer in New York City.

Yeah, it’s just unavoidable since summer, like in most places are the globe, is peak travel season in the Big Apple.

Therefore,  it can be difficult to find accommodations (even hostels) that cost less than $100 per night. Thankfully though, I’m a local who knows exactly how to find reasonably priced hotel rooms in NYC.

Because we at Girl with the Passport are hardcore people pleasers who ALWAYS want to help intrepid travelers such as yourself – which, in reality, is next level perfect for you.

So, here are some of my favorite hotels in New York, organized from the least to the most expensive.


Pod 39 – Located in the Murray Hill neighborhood of NYC (FYI,  they have the best Indian food in the city), this modern, swank AF pod hotel offers an amazing assortment of rooms that start at around $120 per night. And just in case you were wondering, yes, that price is cheap by NYC standards.

Now, are these rooms kind of small? Yes, but that is to be expected since this is a pod hotel. However, what their rooms lack in space they more than compensate for with modern amenities, friendly staff members, and wonderfully clean facilities.

That’s why, if you book a room at Pod 39, you’ll have everything you could possibly want for a comfortable and well-located stay in NYC.

Also, added bonus? You get to stay inside a historic home from 1918 and have your choice of queen-size beds or stainless-steel bunk beds with TVs and bedside shelves.

414 Hotel – Oh I love this hotel for about 10,000 different reasons. Not only is it centrally located in the ever-famous Hell’s Kitchen neighborhood (it’s within walking distance of  Times Square), but the sleek, well-appointed rooms here start at $159 per night.

They also include a ton of extra awesome amenities like mini-fridges, flat-screen TVs, iPod docks, etc.

And even though these rooms here are reasonably priced this hotel doesn’t skimp when it comes to quality, hospitality, or cleanliness.

I mean, hello, there’s a working fireplace in the lobby that you can get all cozy around with your boo. Plus, staff are always happy to get you anything you could ever want.

Yessirree, now this is what I call living the proverbial dream.


The James New York – Want to enjoy the luxe life without needing a trust fund of your very own? If so then meet The James New York – aka your new best friend!

It’s conveniently located SOHO and is a stylish, modern hotel that is renowned for its clean, and comfy rooms – which are priced at $177 per night (and up).

So, if you’re planning on staying here, expect to find gorgeous high ceilings, expansive floor-to-ceiling windows, private glassed-off bathrooms, the finest of complimentary toiletries, and a fantastic collection of linens that are made exclusively of all-natural fibers,


The Bowery Hotel – Contrary to what the name might suggest, this is not a hotel for the downtrodden. Instead, this place a stylish, well-reviewed, five-star, hotel in Nolita that I would absolutely stay in if I had an off-shore bank account to dip into.

Sadly though, I can’t actually afford to stay in a hotel with rooms that start at $300 per night. I can, however, dream about it though since that will cost me exactly nothing.

But, with such a high price tag come exquisite rooms that feature free Wifi, free bike rentals, exquisite city views, and so much more. Honestly, that’s really just the beginning since I could go on and on about just how fab the hotel really is.

Guests will also love the impeccable service, making this the perfect place to treat yourself to a luxurious room at this fantastic hotel while spending the summer in New York City.

Where to Eat this Summer in New York City

Guess what? New York City is renowned for its world-class restaurants and for an exceptional diversity of delicious cuisine from around the world.

Therefore, when planning to spend the summer in New York City, be sure to check out some of the city’s best eateries. Because regardless of what your tastes and budget constraints are, NYC has an amazing selection of restaurants that will be perfect for you!

And because there are so many great places to eat and you have so little time, I wanted to share some local favorites with you – places that I personally know and love and frequent every chance I get.

  • Sylvia’s – Located in Harlem, Sylvia’s is known for serving up some of the most delicious and authentic soul food in the entire city. So, expect to find enormous, beyond decadent plates that are piled high with fan favorites like smothered chicken, waffles, cornbread, peach cobbler, and candied yams.
  • Red Rooster – Owned and operated by the ever-iconic chef Marcus Samuelson, Red Rooster is another Harlem hot spot that is the place to try southern comfort foods like collard greens, mac and cheese, Garvey Punch, mac and cheese, and chicken with waffles.
  • Rugelach by a Brother – Beeline it on over to Lee Lee’s Baked Goods in Harlem and try their awesome “rugelach by a brother”. It’s easily some of the best rugelach I’ve ever eaten and is just a great place to try this sweet, iconic NYC baked good. Plus, this place has been talked about in the New York Times, so you know it’s good.
  • Papaya King – If you like hot dogs and are looking for some good cheap eats in NYC, then Papaya King is THE place to go. I mean, they’ve been in business since 1932 and are known for their fresh papaya juice (hence the name) and Homerun (a hot dog with sauerkraut and NY-style onion relish) hot dogs.
  • LeVain Bakery – Honestly, this place sells some of the best cookies that I’ve ever had in my life. So, if you’re gonna spend summer in New York City, then definitely give this awesome bakery a try. It’s an Upper East Side cafe that sells chocolate chip walnut, dark chocolate chip, dark chocolate peanut butter chip, and oatmeal raisin cookies. Although, I personally love their chocolate chip walnut cookies.
  • Sarabeth’s – This place is an NYC brunch institution, although you can definitely eat here for either lunch or dinner too. But if you brunch it up here, definitely get the lemon and ricotta pancakes with blackberries. They’re delicious and will leave you wanting (or needing) to lick your plate clean.
  • Ess-A-Bagel – if you want to try an authentic, NY-style bagel then this is THE place to go. They’ve been open since 1976, have a great selection of freshly made bagels to choose from, are incredibly cheap, are located right near Grand Central Terminal, and have a fantastic assortment of premium creams cheeses to choose from, like chocolate chip.
  • Eataly – This grocery store/market/restaurant has outposts all over the city and is THE place to go for delicious Italian food. And that makes sense since it’s run by Iron Chef, Mario Batali. So, sip on espresso, devour some gelato, or sit down and savor some homemade pasta/pizza.
  • Eileen’s Special Cheesecake – Try authentic, NY-style cheesecake at this amazing Nolita bakery, which has been around since1975. They have more than twenty different flavors to choose from, including classic and dulce de leche (so flipping good).
  • Katz’s Deli – This place is a quintessential NY deli and a must-try for anyone visiting NYC for the first time. Get their enormous pastrami sandwich and enjoy all that summer in New York City has to offer.
  • Prince Street Pizza – Stop by this amazing pizzeria and grab a slice of delicious, Sicilian-style pizza. So yeah, these will be thick but delicious squares of pizza that everyone will love.

Local Tip: If you want authentic, NY-style pizza then you have to go to Lucali in the Carroll Gardens neighborhood of Brooklyn. They serve some of the best Margherita pizza ever since their slices here are a divine combo of sauce, fresh mozzarella, thin/crispy crust,  and a bit of fresh basil on top.

Summer in NYC FAQs

What are the Summer Months in New York?

The summer months in New York are July through early September.

How is NYC in the Summer?

NYC is hot and humid in the summer. But, there are plenty of things to do inside in NYC if you want to beat the heat with a little bit of AC.

How Long is Summer Break in New York?

Summer break in New York lasts for around eight to ten weeks. It starts at the end of June and continues through to early/mid-September.

Does New York Have Hot Summers?

The summers in New York City are hot, but not scorching (80°F). It’s also humid so it tends to feel hotter than it is.

Spending summer in New York City is an amazing experience that you and your family will love!

So, use this local guide to stress less and plan the perfect vacation to one of the world’s best cities!

If you found this post useful be sure to join our email list and Facebook group for even more awesome travel tips.

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Monday 24th of May 2021

I plan to visit new York city in summer. It looks amazing to visit in the summer too and this guide is really helpful!


Monday 24th of May 2021

Thanks for reading and so glad you found this post helpful.


Sunday 25th of April 2021

I visited New York City in the fall time and absolutely loved it with all of the changing leaves. It looks amazing to visit in the summer too and this guide is really helpful!


Monday 26th of April 2021

Thanks so much and agreed. I love the fall foliage in NYC


Saturday 24th of April 2021

Gosh, this is such an exhaustive list. Didn’t have idea about so many things. Hopefully will be able to check them out the next time. And I totally agree with you that NYC hotels are really expensive. I remember staying in a small room for which I paid a fortune. So I preferred day trips to NYC especially in summer.


Monday 26th of April 2021

That makes total sense and sounds like a great way to save money on hotels.


Wednesday 18th of July 2018

This makes me want to go back to NYC so badly! There's always something new to do! I've been 4 times yet I haven't done half of what you listed.


Wednesday 18th of July 2018

I get it. This city is always changing and there is no way you can do ti all. I've lived here almost my whole life and still haven't done it all. Thanks for the comment. I really appreciate it.


Sunday 10th of June 2018

I hope some of these can still be done in September? I will be visiting then. I have been to NYC 3 times and can never get enough of this city <3 I have yet to go to Coney Island. Thanks so much for sharing this. Always enjoy your insider's guide to New York!


Thursday 14th of June 2018

So glad to hear it and absolutely. The weather is usually still pretty warm in September so you can definitely make a trip to Coney Island for sure.

Comments are closed.