5 of the Best Summer Activities in New York City

New York City is a great place to visit any time of the year but there’s a particular buzz in the city come summertime. New York’s summer rituals include concerts and performances at Central Park, the gathering of top ranked tennis players for the final major of the year in Queens, special exhibits and openings at New York’s premier art museum, and last but not the least, the biggest fireworks display in honor of America’s birthday. Here are five of the best New York City summer activities.

New York City Summer Activities

Shakespeare in the Park

New York City Summer Activities: Shakespeare in the Park Presents "Tempest" (Photo by Joan Marcus)
Shakespeare in the Park Presents “Tempest” (Photo by Joan Marcus)

Shakespeare in the Park is a free theatrical performance that runs for several months at the Delacorte Theater in Central Park. This event is a long-standing tradition among locals and remains one of the best New York City summer activities. There is great demand for tickets especially if the season includes some of the biggest names in Hollywood. Tickets are limited to two per person, which can only be distributed on the day of the performance. Determined individuals can queue at Central Park as soon as the park opens at 6 a.m., or you can take part in three different types of ticket lotteries. There’s a virtual one that opens at midnight on the day of the performance, and in-person lotteries Downtown at Astor Place and multiple locations around the five boroughs. For a complete listing, check out the Public Theater’s website. Patrons are allowed to bring food and drinks to the park as long as they can fit under the seats, are non-alcoholic (city regulations) and aren’t in glass containers.

New York Philharmonic Concerts in the Park

New York City Summer Activities: New York Philharmonic Director Alan Gilbert and violinist Joshua Bell
New York Philharmonic Director Alan Gilbert and violinist Joshua Bell (Photo by Chris Lee)

Every year, the New York Philharmonic plays a handful of concerts around the five boroughs of New York City. These concerts are free and open to the public. Most performances occur outdoors with an accompanying fireworks display afterwards. On several occasions, local artists, bands, and aspiring classical musicians share the stage as an opening act for the orchestra and its featured soloist. Concerts may be canceled in cases of inclement weather so make sure to check the Philharmonic’s website for the latest updates.

The U.S. Open

New York City Summer Activities: Arthur Ashe Stadium
Arthur Ashe Stadium

Tennis’ last major tournament takes place at the tail end of the summer season, usually around the last week of August into the first week of September. In preparation for the two-week long event, the city partners with different organizations to host a number of pre-tournament events, most notably the family-friendly Arthur Ashe Kids Day. The tournament takes place at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Flushing Meadows. The sporting facility is easily accessible by Subway and is adjacent to two other kid-friendly sites: Corona Park and Shea Stadium. Grounds passes and reserved seating tickets for this year’s tournament are now on sale.

Cocktails on the Rooftop of The Met

New York City Summer Activities: The Met Rooftop Garden
The Met Rooftop Garden

Everyone has heard of the Metropolitan Museum of Art (The Met), one of the premier art museums in the world, located on the Upper East Side of Manhattan. What many of you perhaps didn’t know about is that every spring and summer, The Met opens up its rooftop and welcomes guests to its secret garden. Most people head up to get some fresh air and to inspect the gardens but the stunning panoramic views of Central Park, Midtown, and Fifth Avenue convinces them to sip a cocktail or two from The Met’s Roof Garden Café and Martini Bar and enjoy the sunset at this famous New York City landmark.

Macy’s 4th of July Fireworks

New York City Summer Activities: The Brooklyn Bridge
The Brooklyn Bridge

No other city celebrates America’s birthday with more pomp and circumstance than New York. The city has been hosting the Macy’s 4th of July Fireworks for almost 40 years. It is by far, the largest fireworks display on this side of the continent. A concert with performances from popular artists and hit Broadway shows generally precedes the main event. This year’s lineup includes Kelly Clarkson, Brad Paisley, and Gloria Estefan, who will be debuting her new song “America.” The fireworks are set off from the Brooklyn Bridge and from barges along the East River. The best viewing sites include the Brooklyn Promenade, Brooklyn Heights Park, and the east side of Lower Manhattan.

Are you planning a stay in New York City this summer and are looking for advice on where to stay, what to do, and where to eat? Visit NYCGO, the official city guide. It has recommendations on hotels in New York City, a calendar of events, and a listing of the best eateries in all five boroughs. It also offers more information on other New York City summer activities.

About Iris A

Website: http://www.travelingwithiris.com

Born in the Philippines, but grew up in Texas, Iris has been traveling and writing about her experiences for well over a decade. Her work has been published on well-known travel sites like Hipmunk (#hipmunkcitylove) and D Magazine Online Travel Club. She has been all over Europe, the US, and has recently started exploring Latin America. She loves trying local cuisine and visiting UNESCO deemed World Heritage sites. Her favourite city is New York, with London, following a close 2nd. You can follow her on Twitter @sundeeiris or through her travel blog, Traveling With Iris.

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