Every year we get about half way through the Summer before we look up all the fun, outdoor events NYC has to offer. Then when we do, all the exciting stuff is either gone or on days we can’t attend. Not this year! Maybe it’s the parents in us now, but we suddenly got an itch to plan ahead. Shawn and I have scoured the internet for our not-to-miss list and we’re excited to share it with you. But starting this far in advance causes a problem: There’s too much to be excited about! How do we include it all? So we’re passing on our top five NYC event calendars to keep top of mind when summer planning. You can pick and choose the best actual events, but these calendars will please everyone. And much of it is free. There are those that flee the city for the summer, and those who take advantage of all it has to offer. Our hope for you is a little of both!
1. Central Park Summerstage. One of the best places to see a concert in New York. This calendar also has event info for some city parks in Queens and Harlem. The stand out event to this NOLA girl is George Clinton and Galactic on June 4th, such a good ticket!
2. Summer on the Hudson. This calendar was a big find for us as parents—kids’ meet-ups, story times, live music, science lessons. There are also Tai Chi classes, bird watching outings, group workouts, and dance concerts. You name it and you can probably find it happening for free, with a view of the Hudson. Event we are most looking forward to—Billion Oyster Project. On Saturday afternoons, this amazing organization will teach New Yorkers how to help bring oysters back to New York Harbor.
3. Bryant Park Summer Calendar. If you have lived in NYC for even a minute, then you should know about the famous outdoor movie nights at Bryant Park. But did you know about the bee keeping workshops? Poetry readings? Dance parties? Juggling classes? Game Nights? Yoga? Chess lessons? The movie calendar isn’t up yet, but we’ll give you a pro tip—skip the Star Wars night and opt for the black & white classic. The crowds are just easier.
4. Midsummer & Out of Doors Festivals at Lincoln Center. Many consider Lincoln Center to be NYC’s cultural heart. We believe the events here are probably some of the highest caliber you can find, and during these festivals they’re mostly free. For Midsummer Night’s Swing, June 25th to July 13th, Lincoln Center reaches far and wide to bring a huge variety of musical genres to its beautiful outdoor bandshell. Not just for the music, but for the dance! An hour before the concert starts, free lessons are given, appropriate to the music scheduled. I recommend the Swing and the Cajun nights. Then this same bandshell, somehow tucked away on Upper West Side, houses The Out of Doors Festival, July 24th to August 12th, with dance, music, and theater from around the globe.
5. Governors Island. A relative newcomer to the must-do NYC list, it has quickly earned its place. What’s not to like, you start your visit on a ferry! This abandoned former military base turned culture hub is just a beautiful setting period. Put an art show or live music there and I never want to leave. Dress in your best Prohibition Era garb and check out the insanely fun Jazz Age Lawn Party on June 15th and 16th!
Lagniappe: Just a few outdoor places to shop and eat in good weather!
And there you have it! Bookmark’em, get your favs into the family calendar, and go be the savvy, culturally inclined NYCers we know you are!