As more people become vaccinated and American visitors begin traveling again, NYC’s five boroughs are brimming with activity all summer long.
The city-funded tourism agency, NYC & Company, predicts that 10 million visitors will travel to New York this summer—Memorial Day through Labor Day—recapturing more than half of summer 2019 visitation.
According to the President and CEO of NYC & Company, Fred Dixon, this summer season will be bursting with unique offers, including drive-in and rooftop theaters, new waterfront parks, expanded NYC Ferry access, outdoor performing arts spaces and café culture, countless green markets and gardens, and multicultural experiences.
Below is a selection of experiences to check out this summer in New York City, presented from A to Z:
- New York Aquarium
- Visit the New York Aquarium in Coney Island for wildlife encounters, maritime exhibits, including an interactive PlayQuarium exhibit opening soon, and entertaining shows with sea lions in the Aquatheater.
- Aire Ancient Baths
- For a relaxing and calming experience, Aire Ancient Baths in Tribeca offers massages, baths, and ancient rituals inspired from Roman, Greek and Ottoman traditions.
- Ancient Blends
- Founded by a Barbadian-born entrepreneur and healer, Ancient Blends apothecary in Brooklyn provides natural hair and body products, handmade soaps, purifying sprays, and aromatic treatments to promote rest and rejuvenation this summer.
- NYC beaches are officially open for the summer. To swim, read a book in the sand, or enjoy a stroll on the boardwalk, visit Coney Island Beach, Manhattan Beach, Orchard Beach, Rockaway Beach and South Beach, to name a few.
- Ball Game
- BRIC Celebrate Brooklyn! Festival
- For more than 40 years, the BRIC Celebrate Brooklyn! Festival has presented renowned acts from legendary jazz artists and global music icons, to dance troupes and film projects at the free, summer-long experience. This year, the festival will bring back live, in-person performances from July 31 through September 18 at the Prospect Park Bandshell.
- Backyard at Hudson Yards
- Every Saturday and Sunday through October 31, Backyard at Hudson Yards, presented by Wells Fargo, will show live sporting events and featured screenings on its 30-foot screen. Visitors will also enjoy lawn games, alfresco dining, pop-up events and family-friendly activities.
- Circle Line
- Circle Line Sightseeing Cruises offers six cruises this summer to see some of the City’s iconic landmarks during the day or at dusk, among other fun trips, including front-row seats to view Macy’s annual 4th of July Fireworks from the water.
- Chinese Scholar’s Garden
- One of two authentic classical outdoor Chinese gardens built in the US, the New York Chinese Scholar’s Garden at Snug Harbor Cultural Center & Botanical Garden on Staten Island features eight pavilions, a bamboo forest path, a koi-filled pond, Chinese calligraphy, waterfalls, and a variety of Ghongshi scholar’s rocks.
- Central Park Concerts
- This August, Central Park will host the Homecoming Concert on the Great Lawn, a celebration of NYC’s recovery from the pandemic. While the lineup is still to be announced, record producer Clive Davis will spearhead the three-hour, 60,000-attendee show.
- SummerStage will also return with in-person live concerts on June 20.
- Dim Sum
- Ellis Island /American Family Immigration History Center
- Board Statue Cruises to learn more about the history of the 12 million immigrants who came to our shores at the Ellis Island /American Family Immigration History Center.Guests can browse immigrant arrival records and other historical archives, and visit Liberty Island and the Statue in the same trip.
- Ferry Ride
- Fishing at New York City Parks
- The City has more than 520 miles of shoreline with opportunities for freshwater and saltwater sport fishing in all five boroughs. A fishing license is required.
- Green Markets and Gardens
- For fresh, locally-grown produce, visit one of the nearly 50 green markets around the five boroughs such as the Union Square Green market, St. George Green market,Brooklyn Borough Hall Saturday Greenmarket, Norwood Farmstand in the Bronx, and the Forest Hills Greenmarket. Enjoy weekly events and activities including cooking demonstrations and tastings.
- NYC has a wonderful selection of gardens and outdoor landscapes to visit, from the New York Botanical Garden in the Bronx, to the Brooklyn Botanical Garden, to Snug Harbor Cultural Center & Botanical Garden in Staten Island, and the Queens Botanical Garden. Each garden provides a dynamic experience to escape the City’s concrete and skyscrapers.
- Google Store
- Set to open this summer, the first Google store will be located in Chelsea where guests can expect to purchase a wide array of tech devices like Pixel phones, Fitbits, Pixelbooks, and more.
- Harry Potter New York
- Merlin’s beard! The Harry Potter Store New York is now open in Manhattan’s Flatiron District, bringing Butterbeer to NYC for the first time. Muggles everywhere are invited to try the golden, frothy magical drinks served in souvenir cups, while checking out the largest collection of Harry Potter and Fantastic Beasts products in the world.
- Hudson River Tow Pound
- The formerly dreary Hudson River tow pound at Pier 76 has been transformed into a public recreational oasis with stunning waterfront views for visitors to enjoy.
- High Line
- Irving Plaza
- The newly renovated Irving Plaza will reopen on August 17 with a concert by Ashley McBryde. Thereafter, audiences will be welcomed back to the iconic venue with a full slate of 40 upcoming shows.
- Island Hopping
- There are more than 30 “islands” throughout the five boroughs. From Coney Island and Staten Island to stand-alone havens like Governors Island, Randall’s Island andRoosevelt Island—home to the newly opened Graduate Roosevelt Island hotel—visitors can spend a few days visiting parks and green spaces on different islets around the five boroughs.
- Lincoln Center
- Lincoln Center offers outdoor programming all summer long through Restart Stages, with a special performance on June 19, “I Dream a Dream That Dreams Back at Me, a Juneteenth Celebration,” where visitors can move across the campus and experience the performance as it unfolds in distinct parts.
- Jeffrey’s Hook Lighthouse in Washington Heights is one of the few surviving lighthouses in NYC and even inspired a 1942 children’s book, which helped save the structure from the auction block. Tour the lighthouse and climb to the top of the tower for a remarkable view of the George Washington Bridge, followed by an afternoon exploring Latino culture in the neighborhood.
- Little Island
- Little Island, which opened in May with timed entry reservations, is located along the Hudson River and offers waterfront views in addition to outdoor performances, children’s programming and the quick service restaurant Bites & Sips.
- Luxury Hotels
- Enjoy a luxury getaway in Midtown at The Plaza, The Peninsula New York, the Lotte New York Palace, the Langham, New York Fifth Avenue, or The Beekman in Lower Manhattan.
- Indulge in authentic Italian cuisine at Arthur Avenue Retail Market in the Bronx; check out the newly renovated Essex Market, which offers kid and adult level cooking demonstrations, among other family-oriented programming; visit the Queens Night Market, which reopens this week, or experience the Time Out Market in Dumbo, Brooklyn, featuring more than 20 unique food concepts along with a rooftop stage offering musical acts, pop-up performances and more.
- NY PopsUp
- NY PopsUp is an expansive festival featuring hundreds of surprise pop-up performances, many of which are free of charge and open to the public through August 11. Follow @nypopsup on Instagram and Twitter for upcoming event announcements.
- Outdoor Movie Theaters
- Grab a bucket of popcorn and enjoy the City’s outdoor movie theaters, which include drive-ins, rooftops, waterfronts, gardens and beaches throughout the five boroughs.
- Observation Decks
- Celebrating its 27th year, PrideFest’s LGBTQIA+ street fair on June 27 features exhibitors, entertainers, food and activities. Participants can also tune in to a full slate of virtual events, including the NYC Pride March, from home.
- For additional details on Pride events and LGBTQ+ NYC, visit nycgo.com/pride.
- Pinknic Rosé Festival
- Toast the end of summer at the Pinknic Rosé Festival, which will return to NYC September 4-5 on Governors Island. Guests can enjoy live music, drinks including rosé, frosé, champagne, or a chilled cocktail, and food from local restaurants and dishes prepared by acclaimed chef Gabriel Pazos.
- Queens County Farm Museum
- A family-friendly museum and NYC Landmark, the Queens County Farm Museum gives visitors a chance to experience farming life in the big city through the Apple Blossom Carnival, a seasonal farm stand, a greenhouse, livestock, farm vehicles, planting fields, and much more.
- Located on the South Plaza at Astor Place, Red-Stage is open until July 4 for anyone and everyone to perform, meet or meditate. Reservations are required for artists and organizations that wish to perform and/or rehearse.
- Shakespeare in the Park
- Come one, come all to the Delacorte Theater in Central Park for the return of Shakespeare in the Park. This summer, the theater will host a fresh adaptation of Shakespeare’s “Merry Wives of Windsor” with free shows July 6 through September 18.
- Summer Solstice Yoga Classes in Times Square
- In honor of the summer solstice, socially-distanced, limited-capacity free yoga classes will be held in Times Square on the morning of June 20. Participants are invited to join in-person or virtually.
- Surfing at Rockaway Beach
- Rockaway Beach in Queens has a thriving surf community with lessons available from local surf shops, in addition to other outdoor recreational activities such as Jet Skiing, and is easily accessible by the A train or NYC Ferry. With so much to experience, spend a night or two at The Rockaway Hotel, which opened last year.
- Tribeca Festival
- This summer, the Tribeca Festival returned for its 20th anniversary with the premiere of In The Heights last week and a full slate of both virtual and in-person events through June 20.
- US Open
- The US Open Tennis Championships will return to Queens at Arthur Ashe Stadium at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center with fans this year, August 30 through September 12.
- Visit the Unisphere this summer, an iconic monument in Flushing Meadows Corona Park, originally commissioned for the New York World’s Fair of 1964-65 and located just steps from Arthur Ashe Stadium.
- Van Cortlandt Park
- Located in the Bronx, Van Cortlandt Park is a great spot for a summer picnic near the borough’s largest freshwater lake, or a game of golf on its public course, or a romp around its large playgrounds.
- Van Gogh Exhibit
- After receiving rave reviews worldwide, the Immersive Van Gogh Exhibit has arrived in NYC at Pier 36 and features more than 500,000 cubic feet of projections allowing visitors to step inside the iconic impressionist works of art.
- Waterfront Parks
- Enjoy Brooklyn Bridge Park, Marine Park, Alice Austen Park, Riverside Park and High Bridge Park. You can also visit America’s largest waterfront park, Hudson River Parkon Manhattan’s West Side, which stretches four miles long and features mini golf, rock climbing, batting cages, four dog parks and a carousel.
- Whitney Museum of American Art – Day’s End
- Wave Hill
- Sitting high above the Hudson River on a 28-acre urban oasis, Wave Hill offers visitors a world-class garden and place to celebrate the arts. There is always something to learn or experience whether it’s a workshop, contemporary art exhibit, or live performance.
- Experience the Bateaux NYC Cruise
- Yoga Classes
- Sky-High Yoga will host classes at over 1,100 feet in the air throughout the summer at the Edge at Hudson Yards in partnership with Equinox. Although tickets are sold out for June, tickets for July will go on sale on June 25 at 12pm.
- Classes such as the energizing vinyasa yoga class will also be offered throughout the summer in Central Park for those looking to cleanse and recharge.
- Visit one of NYC’s Zoos