What to do in New York this summer

Make the most this summer with our guide to the best events and activities in New York. We have listed for you the best attractions in NYC for this summer. And they are free or very cheap!

Good news to all our students in “the big apple”! This summer is full of opportunities for adventure—waterways to explore, trails to discover and beautiful parks to plant yourself in for sunny afternoons (okay, we know that last one isn’t so adventurous—but we’re totally there). And we love all of that good stuff. We’re helping you find your fun with many great activities in New York.

Check out great art in Central Park

In a city overflowing with public art displays, few loom larger than the 34- and 28-foot flower sculptures, Two Orchids by Isa Genzken. On a lovely spring day, bask in the glory of this temporary display at Central Park’s Doris C. Freedman Plaza (Fifth Ave at 60 St).

Eat a pizza 

New Yorkers love to brag about how good the pizza they have, and while there’s much debate on the absolute best pizza place, folks pretty unanimously agree that Grimaldi’s (1 Front St, Brooklyn, 718-858-4300) in Dumbo is up there with the best of them. Sold only by the pie, these coal-baked, thin-crust masterpieces are well worth the long lines. (No reservations).

Take the tram to Roosevelt Island

Choose a sunny day to see NYC from a brand new perspective by taking the bright red tram to Roosevelt Island. From your spot in the boxy aerial tramway, which costs only the swipe of a MetroCard, you can see out the windows sweeping views of Midtown East, the Upper East Side, the East River and Roosevelt Island.

Have fun for cheap (or free!) at the Peoples Improv Theater

What to do on Mondays after your English lessons? Head to Peoples Improv Theater (123 E 24th St 212-563-7488) for the cure: Super Free Mondays. Starting at 7pm, the Improv shows in the downstairs theatre are completely free and, tickets to the more established acts are just $5 on the mainstage. The drinks are also fairly priced, which can make the onstage antics all the more hilarious.

Spend a tourist day in Times Square

Yes, it sounds too typical, but honestly there’s a reason why 50 million people visit Times Square every year: The sites are a ton of fun. Summer is a great time to do it, while New Yorkers are getting out of town, take a day and brave the crowds to appreciate the bright lights, cheesy megastores and maybe even take tickets to a Broadway show.

Ride the East River Ferry to Long Island City

Feel the breeze in your hair as you cruise down the East River-aboard this ferry heading to the popular Queens neighborhood. For a small fee (only $4 on weekdays and $6 on weekends) you’ll get to see the city’s bridges and midtown from the vantage point of the river.

 

Feel cultured at the Frieze Art Fair

For four days during the Frieze Art Fair, Randall’s Island Park becomes a world -class alfresco museum. International artists import projects of all varieties-sculptures, paintings, multimedia- for the annual festival. Some of the exhibits are interactive, so be prepared to take part.

Spend your Sunday playing in Prospect Park

Dedicate your next free day to hanging out off the grid in Brooklyn’s 585-acre park. Whether you’re relaxing by the lake, picnicking under a tree or hiking along any number of trails looking for wildlife and blooming greenery, you’ll feel at peace away from the hubbub of the big city.

A day trip to the New York’s newest green space

Attend the special sneak peek of Staten Island’s newest public green space Freshkills Park (228 Wild Ave, Staten Island). This Richmond County park, which will eventually span 2,200 acres (that’s three times the size of Central Park!) is the city’s largest park-development project in more than a century. During the “Discover Day” on May 15, catch a free shuttle from the Staten Island ferry to explore eight miles of hiking paths, bike three miles of trail through meadows, wetlands and forest, and see a public space come together.

Grab a spot in Central Park near a phenomenal busker

The city is overflowing with exceptional musicians; you don’t have to travel far before you hear a two-piece jazz outfit, a soulful trumpeter, a guitar-playing troubadour or a classical violinist. The tunes are made all the more great by a beautiful spring day and people-watching.

Hudson River Park Games

Enjoy a sense of camaraderie at the Hudson River Park Games on May 21. During the annual event, the piers along the 500-acre waterfront park (spans Battery Park City to 59th St) are filled with folks participating in team activities like races, volleyball and tug-of-war, while spectators munch on food from vendors and feel the river breeze in their hair as they cheer on the athletes.

10th annual Dance Parade

Watch the 10th annual Dance Parade conga its way down Broadway and East 8th Street on May 21. You’ll see 75 different styles of dance from cultures around the world-including Chinese, Caribbean and European traditions-presented live by parading professionals, amateurs’ enthusiasts and students.

Bird watch from your perch at the Belvedere Castle

This stone structure (79th St, midpark) offers not only some of the best views of the trees, where you might spot nesting songbirds and hawks, but also the expansive greenery and lakes of Central Park. From up here, you might just feel like royalty.

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