10 Free Summer Activities in NYC

New York City is known for its vibrant atmosphere, iconic landmarks, and bustling streets. And during the warmer months, the city is extra abuzz with exciting activities and events, many of which are inexpensive or completely free! Here, we'll highlight ten free things to do in the city, ranging from movie nights and concerts to beachside escapes and blissful walks in the park.

LIM students on central park bridge
  1. Bryant Park Movie Nights: Escape the heat and immerse yourself in a unique cinematic experience at Bryant Park! Every Monday night during the summer, Bryant Park transforms into an open-air movie theater, featuring a range of classic and contemporary films. Pack a blanket, bring some snacks, and enjoy the movie under the stars.
  2. Little Island: Located in the Hudson River, Little Island is a magnificent public park designed to resemble a floating garden. This vibrant green space features great pathways for walking, stunning gardens, and a performance amphitheater which hosts many free events. Whether you just want to take a stroll, listen to live music, or take in the sights of the Hudson, Little Island is a must see.
  3. Governors Island: This 172-acre park offers a peaceful retreat with lush green spaces, historic forts, and stunning views of the Manhattan skyline. With a free ferry ride, you can come here to explore the public art installations, have a picnic, or participate in various events and happenings throughout the summer.
  4. Shakespeare in the Park (Central Park): Indulge in theater by attending the renowned Shakespeare in the Park performances at the Delacorte Theater in Central Park. Presented by The Public Theater, a play of Shakespeare's is brought to life each summer, with attendance free of charge.
  5. SummerStage (City Parks Foundation): If you're looking for a celebration of music, dance, and performing arts, look no further than SummerStage, presented by the City Parks Foundation. This series of concerts is hosted at their flagship venue, Rumsey Playfield, along with other parks across the five boroughs. From local up-and-coming bands to internationally acclaimed artists, SummerStage offers an unforgettable experience for music enthusiasts of all genres.
  6. Lincoln Center 'Summer for the City': This annual event offers many free cultural performances, including music, dance, theater, film screenings, and more. This festival is a true celebration of the arts and brings together people from all walks of life to appreciate the beauty of all the culture NYC has to offer.
  7. TSQ Live: In the heart of Times Square, this summer long concert series features over 80 free live performances by musicians, bands, dancers, and artists from various genres. Experience the best of both worlds, being surrounded by the stunning midtown Manhattan lights and listening to amazing music.
  8. Pier 57 Rooftop Park: This hidden gem is a quaint 2-acre park situated on the Hudson River. Pier 57 provides stunning views of the river and the city skyline. If the weather turns sour, go below the surface into the newly renovated “Living Room,” a public space with views of lower Manhattan and Little Island all from the comfort of indoors.
  9. Coney Island Boardwalk: A trip to the boardwalk makes for the perfect day of entertainment and leisure. Whether you want to take a ride on one of the rollercoasters, hit the arcade, play a game of beach volleyball, or simply relax on the beach and soak up the sun, Coney Island makes you want to come back again and again.
  10. Brighton Beach & Manhattan Beach: Escape the hustle and bustle, and find solace at these two adjacent beaches, which offer a serene retreat and make for the perfect beach day. You can also explore “Little Odessa,” the surrounding community known for their Eastern European shops and restaurants.