The ultimate summer guide to New York
They call it ‘The City That Never Sleeps’ and, with an endless list of things to do, restaurants to try, parks to sit in and events to attend, you really could spend a whole summer in New York City without resting. To stop you from burning out, we’ve picked some of our top things to do in New York in the summer.
1. Shop in a flea market
For an authentic New York shopping experience, head to a flea market. You’ll find an eclectic mix of things for sale, from clothes, records and art to antiques, crafts and jewelry. Items will be vintage, hand-made or pre-loved, so you’re guaranteed to find something weird, wonderful and totally unique. In the Upper West Side, Grand Bazaar NYC is one of the oldest, biggest, and best-known flea markets, with over 100 local vendors.
The weekend Chelsea Flea Market is brilliant for vintage goodies, and Nolita Market in SoHo is great if you’re on a budget. Once you’ve shopped, head to the Bronx Night Market in Fordham Plaza. On Saturday evenings, this epic market has live music and incredible street food.
2. Go to an event in the park
Far more than just green spaces to relax in, many of New York’s parks are transformed into event venues each summer. Theater lovers, turn your back on Broadway for a night and head to Central Park to watch a free performance of Shakespeare in the Park.
The warm summer evenings are also perfect for watching an outdoor movie, and regular screenings take place all across the city. Pack a picnic and a blanket and head to one of the free film nights at Brooklyn Bridge Park and Bryant Park in Midtown Manhattan through June to August.
3. Mooch around a museum
New York has world-class museums covering everything from art and fashion, to history and science. On days when the summer heat and humidity get too much, you can’t beat a museum; Culture and air conditioning! Walking up the iconic steps of the Metropolitan Museum of Art (AKA – the Met) is a must. Made famous as the annual Met Gala stage for celebrities sporting wild outfits, these steps lead to a Great Hall and impressive exhibitions displaying artworks from all around the world.
The Smithsonian Design Museum celebrates all things, well, ‘design’, and the National Museum of the American Indian New York is a good place to start learning about the histories and cultures of the Americas’ 12,000 indigenous cultures. Oh, and there’s even a museum of ice cream Yup, you’re welcome.
4. Attend a festival
From local block parties (events which shut down several streets for dancing and music) to international live music events, NYC has a huge range of festivals to entertain you throughout the summer. Epic venues like Forest Hills Stadium and The Rooftop at Pier 17 at the Seaport (which boasts incredible city skyline views) host a summer-long series of concerts, and Governors Ball and SummerStage festivals should headline your calendar.
To experience a New York ‘block party’, head to the annual Bushwick Collective Block Party in Brooklyn, held in June. It is a free and bustling celebration where street artists paint incredible murals across the neighborhood’s buildings, and there’s a great atmosphere with live music and food trucks.
5. Head to the beach
This might surprise you, but it is actually pretty easy to spend a day at the beach when you live in New York. In Brooklyn, the wide and sandy Coney Island Beach is very popular, with volleyball courts, a boardwalk and fairground rides. Brighton Beach is just next door and can be a little quieter.
Beautiful Orchard Beach is the Bronx’s only beach, offering sheltered swimming in a wide bay and a woody park behind the beach for shady picnics. In Queen’s, Rockaway beach is a top spot for surfing. On Staten Island, the large South Beach has a great view of Verrazano Bridge, while the pretty Wolfe’s Pond Beach is a much smaller and lesser-known spot.
6. Discover New York State
The city is awesome, of course, but the varied and beautiful New York State countryside is not to be missed. Head to Long Island (a 30-minute train ride from Manhattan) for sandy beaches, peaceful vineyards and bold purple lavender fields.
Mohonk Preserve is a 2-hour drive from the city and is perfect for nature-lovers, with 8,000 acres of forests, mountains and rivers that are just begging to be hiked. Or, for a great place to rest and recharge, hop on the short train from Manhattan to spend the weekend in peaceful Cold Spring. This village is home to historic buildings and sits next to both the Hudson Highlands State Park and the Hudson River.