When summer rolls around, and New Yorkers fly the coop for vacation spots like Montauk and the Hamptons, it’s the perfect time to take advantage of the less-crowded city and seek out some outdoor fun. The possibilities are endless, so check out our list of favorite things to do in New York when the weather’s nice—whether you’re looking for a way to stay cool, uncover new favorite spots, or play tourist for the day.
- Escape the heat of the city and spend a sunny afternoon soaking up the breeze on New York’s picturesque waterways. Relax and watch the city’s iconic skyscrapers float by with a sightseeing cruise around the harbor from New York Water Tours, or snag a hop-on hop off ferry ticket from CitySightseeing New York for a scenic ride that also features convenient stops for more exploring on land. Get off the ferry for a bite to eat in Brooklyn’s hip DUMBO neighborhood, or take a leisurely waterfront stroll through Hudson River Park.
- For a dose of sunshine and free fun, grab your picnic gear and find your own urban oasis at one of New York’s tranquil city parks. Spread out your blanket for lounging and people-watching at Sheep’s Meadow in Central Park, or catch a classic movie under the stars at Bryant Park, which puts on an annual summer film festival. If you’re in the mood for something active, the latter also offers free yoga classes every Tuesday morning and Thursday evening—just make sure to get there early to stake out your spot.
- On a balmy summer evening, the rooftops of Manhattan are just the place to discover the hottest bars and lounges in the City That Never Sleeps. For an unforgettable and hassle-free night on the town, let New York Nightlife Tours introduce you to their favorite sky-high watering holes. Whether your night takes you to the stylish patio at Monarch, the wraparound balconies of Plunge, or the rooftop garden of 230 Fifth, expect to find amazing open-air ambience, stunning city views, and, of course, plenty of tasty cocktails.
- Head to Long Island City and liven up your Saturday at Warm Up, the weekly outdoor summer dance party hosted by MoMA PS1. Sip on refreshing beer, scope out contemporary art installations, and groove to the tunes of up-and-coming musicians. This annual event series, now 20 years running, always features an impressive lineup of artists and DJs, with past performers including Solange, Afrika Bambaataa, Grimes, Scissor Sisters, LCD Soundsystem, and DJ Premier.
- Home to a booming craft beer scene, New York is a veritable paradise for hops lovers and microbrew enthusiasts. Head out with Urban Adventures for a delicious tour of both time-honored and new breweries in trendy Brooklyn, or join New York Beer and Brewery Tour for a tasting extravaganza that takes you from Midtown to Queens and back again. Your thirst-quenching samples might include Bavarian-inspired lagers from Paulaner NYC, or perhaps rare Belgian ales from Williamsburg’s secret speakeasy, Spuyten Duyvil.
- Take a trip to the seaside and back to the New York of yesteryear at Luna Park in Coney Island, the old-timey theme park modeled after the 1903 park of the same name. Snag a wristband good for 4 hours of classic fun on rides for the whole family, from the splashy Wild River log flume ride to a vintage carousel and the historic wooden roller coaster known as the Cyclone. Once you’ve had your fill of thrills, mosey over to the original Nathan’s hot dog stand for a legendary beef frank, and then chow down as you stroll the beachfront boardwalk.
- Beautiful summer days couldn’t be better for exploring the city, so skip the subway, hop on a bike and create your own 2-wheeled adventure. Go New York Tours offers a full-day bike rental, making it easy to cruise to all those spots you’ve been meaning to check out. Beat the traffic and admire the views of the Hudson as you glide through the parks stretching along Manhattan’s western edge, or catch the ferry to Governors Island to conquer miles of car-free cycling trails.
What are your favorite things to do in New York in the summer?