Plan Your Summer in New York City

Crowds in Central Park and city skyline, New York, USA

 Henglein and Steets / Getty Images

New York City is a popular summer vacation destination. While many New Yorkers leave town to spend their summer holidays elsewhere, visitors can take advantage of many wonderful summer events. This includes free concerts and outdoor film screenings as well as the city's beaches.

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The Essentials

Annual Puerto Rican Day Parade Marches Up New York's Fifth Avenue
Stephanie Keith / Getty Images

If you're visiting New York City during the summer, you won't want to miss the most popular activities of the year. One of the best and inexpensive things every summer traveler must do is head to Central Park for a picnic. On your way, you will find some great markets nearby to pick up your provisions.

You will also want to catch some sun on your vacation and can choose to book a room at one of the city's hotels with a pool. Then again, you can always head to one of the great beaches the area has to offer. Somewhere in your adventure, be sure to stop by the city's best ice cream shops for a cool treat.

There is always an event happening in New York City. For instance, the month of June has the Museum Mile Festival, the Met Opera in the parks, and the Bryant Park Film Festival. In the middle of June, you can catch the Puerto Rican Day parade or take part in any of the events during Pride Week.

In July, you will be treated to one of the best fireworks displays in the country. You can also enjoy Midsummer Night Swing at Lincoln Center or catch the New York Philharmonic in the Park.

Come August, you can continue to catch a baseball game or Shakespeare in the Park. Taking the family to Harlem Week is also a guaranteed good time.

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Enjoy the Holidays

Fireworks on the Hudson River
Photography by Steve Kelley aka mudpig / Getty Images

The summer holidays in New York City are celebrated on an incredible scale. You'll find events all over the city and many specials at favorite destinations.

Memorial Day weekend kicks off summer with Fleet Week, which has its own variety of events. You can also attend a concert by the New York Philharmonic or catch the afternoon parade in uptown Manhattan. The best part? All of these events are free.

The Fourth of July is topped off with the amazing Macy's fireworks display, but there's plenty to do before that. For example, you can catch a cruise that hangs out in the harbor for the big show. You might also be surprised that attractions like the Central Park Zoo and the top art museums are open that day as well.

Labor Day weekend is the close to summer and it's the perfect time to catch any of the city's most popular destinations. Even a few that are typically closed on Mondays open up for this one. You might also want to catch the Labor Day Parade on Fifth Avenue or head out to Queens to watch the US Open.

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03 of 05

Catch a Concert

Underground System At SummerStage
Jack Vartoogian/Getty Images / Getty Images

Throughout the summer, there are many outdoor concerts around New York City. The best news for travelers is that most of them are free. This alone is one of the great reasons to visit during this season.

In Central Park, for instance, you can enjoy SummerStage. It takes place at Rumsey Playfield and shows happen on weekend afternoons or evenings during the week. The acts cover a variety of genres and all are fun and free.

Bryant Park is another place to go for free summer shows. Broadway in Bryant Park is a free program that happens over the lunch hour on Thursdays. It includes selections from Broadway and off-Broadway shows and is a great way to spend the afternoon.

If you are a fan of opera or don't want to spend money to find out if are, get to one of The Metropolitan Opera's Summer Recitals. They occur on select days at various parks in all five boroughs throughout the summer. This offers an opportunity to hear talented young opera singers belt out amazing arias and duets.

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04 of 05

Movies Under the Stars

New Yorkers Gather On Waterfront For NYC Summer Tradition Of Movies Outside
Chris Hondros / Getty Images

One way to really feel like a New Yorker when you visit in the summer is to take in one of the great outdoor film festivals happening around town. Most movies are free and it's a great chance to experience New York City as a local.

The HBO Bryant Park Summer Film Festival is a favorite. Most Monday evenings of summer you can head down to the park with your blanket and catch a flick. They're classic films that you've probably seen, but the setting makes it seem as if it's your first time.

Summer on the Hudson is another fun summer-long festival to catch. While there are free yoga and workout classes many evenings, sometimes you can catch a movie under the stars. And yet, no outdoor movie will compare with the experience of Movies with a View at Brooklyn Bridge Park.

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05 of 05

Eat Well

Pellegrino's restaurant, Little Italy, NYC
Rudi Von Briel / Getty Images

New York City Restaurant Week returns every summer for two weeks. It offers visitors and locals alike the chance to dine at many of New York City's great restaurants for a fraction of the usual price.

The event and establishments change every year and there's also a Restaurant Week in the winter. Typically, the summer event begins the last week of either June or July and runs for two weeks.

Every venue will offer a different experience and you'll want to make your reservations early. Keep this in mind, though, because it's the perfect opportunity to dine at a place that might otherwise be out of your budget.

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