What’s on in New York this summer

By Amy Rosoman

Title photography by Ryan DeBerardinis

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Updated April 2019

New York summertime is prime time to see the city – with the sun on your side, you’ll have everything to smile about. Stroll the streets and catch a show in Central Park or hang out on rooftop bars for martinis and perfect picture moments.


Brooklyn boasts the largest weekly open-air food market in the US, attracting thousands of people every year to the weekend feast outs. With over 100 vendors open for business, food-lovers will be mouth-watering at the variety of cuisine to try. Stroll through the abundant stands as you try to choose which foods will satisfy your taste buds. From bulky burritos to frozen cocktails, you’ll be spoilt for choice as you take in the aromas and character of Williamsburg’s waterfront on Saturdays and picturesque Prospect Park on Sundays.

When? Ongoing

Where? Williamsburg’s East River Park, Kent Avenue and North 7th Street, 90 Kent Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11211 on Saturdays, Prospect Park’s Breeze Hill, 95 Prospect Park West, Brooklyn, NY 11215, on Sundays

Nearest Subway: Nassau Ave or Green point Ave

Where to stay: Aloft Brooklyn, which is well situated for exploring this side of the bridge. Foodies will appreciate the healthy treats at the snack bar, refuel by Aloft.

From Jersey to Coney Island, the sky bursts into a glamourous array of dazzling colours.

Shakespeare in The Park

Switch from indoor Broadway shows to the spectacular scenery of Central Park and take in the atmosphere and summer warmth. Set in the charming open-air Delacorte Theater of Central Park, Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing and Coriolanus come to life this summer. Everyone loves the comedy Much Ado About Nothing, especially the banter between its quick-witted central characters, Beatrice and Benedict. Coriolanus, a lesser-performed work, is a rare treat. This tragedy about a Roman leader is one of Shakespeare’s final plays.

When? Coriolanus from 16 July

Where? Delacorte Theater, 81 Central Park West, New York, NY 10023

Nearest Subway: 81 St – Museum of Natural History

Where to stay: The Ritz-Carlton New York Central Park. After the performance, it’s easy to wander back to your glorious room at the Ritz-Carlton. Make your stay in New York extra special by dining in one of its great restaurants.

  • The Public Theater’s Free Shakespeare in the Park. © Tammy Shell.

    Shakespeare in the Park

    Crowds come together to admire outstanding performances in the charm of Central Park.£272 return

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  • Beach life. © imageBROKER / Alamy Stock Photo.

    Rockaway Beach

    Take a break and enjoy the waves at Rockaway Beach. Escape to the city beach from May onwards.£416 pp

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  • Smorgasburg open air food market. © Smorgasburg / John von Pamer.

Rockaway Beach and Boardwalk

Steal the family away from Manhattan for just one day. With 5.5 miles of boardwalk to wander along, a variety of bars and restaurants to choose from and 170 acres of golden sand to lay your towel on, Rockaway offers plenty for a beach retreat. Catch some waves at New York’s only surf-friendly beach, listen to music and chill with the locals or try the best fish tacos at Tacoway Beach restaurant. When the sun starts to set, head back to the city on a bus or subway.

When? Visit May - September for the best weather and when lifeguards are on duty, open 6am-9pm every day

Where? Boardwalk, Queens, NY

Nearest Subway: Beach 67th St or Rockaway Beach 115 St

Where to stay: Shelburne An Affinia Hotel has a fantastic rooftop bar, perfect for a late night drink when you return from the beach. The Rare Bar & Grill is there to refill your stomach with brilliant burgers in the evening.

Camp: Notes on Fashion

Every year the Costume Institute at the Metropolitan Museum of Art puts on a drop-dead gorgeous fashion exhibition. The event always proves irresistible to New York’s fashion elite, and the museum puts on swanky Met Gala ball to celebrate the opening, with a guest list is as glittery as a Tiffany ring. If you don’t get a ball ticket, you can still visit the exhibition. This year’s theme, Camp: Notes on Fashion, is bound to bring some amazing ensembles into the public eye – from club kid couture to outfits that could upstage RuPaul in a pinch.

When? Until 8 September

Where? The Met Fifth Avenue

Nearest Subway: 5 Av/W 81 St

Where to stay: The Surrey is so close to the Met that you could totter there in your highest heels. Once you get there, you’ll find a high-end hotel with a rooftop terrace – and a chic monochrome bar inspired by Chanel; Coco would be charmed.

  • Serena Williams at the 2016 US Open. © Garrett Ellwood / USTA.

    US Open Tennis

    Watch the world’s finest tennis players hit the courts in New York.

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  • Met Life stadium. ©PCN Photography / Alamy Stock Photo.


    The Metlife stadium is home to the Jets and the Giants. It’s also a major concert venue. Recent performers include Beyoncé, The Rolling Stones and Taylor Swift.

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  • Affordable Art Fair NYC Fall 2018. Photography by Reed Photographic.

    A closer look

    Art you can touch – once you’ve bought it – at the Affordable Art Fair NYC.

Jazz Age Lawn Party

Swing your way back to the 1920s and 1930s for a roaring fun weekend. Twice this summer, the hottest foot-tapping event is back to bring you a real prohibition pastime experience. Learn the best dance moves as you jazz walk to authentic music, sip on vintage-styled cocktails and pop on your bow ties and flapper dresses. With its idyllic setting on Governors Island, head down to the south of the city and jump on a ferry to a place of time gone by. Enjoy a tipple or two as you listen to the live bands play.

When? 24 - 25 August

Where? Jazz Age Lawn Party, 10 South Street, New York, New York 10004

Nearest Subway: South Ferry

Where to stay: The Ludlow, with its charming décor, is a boutique hotel that’s perfect for fashionable folk. It’s Lower East Side location is useful for reaching Governors Island.

US Open Tennis Championship

Watch the best of the best play in New York. Choose from the men’s singles, women’s singles, doubles and mixed doubles as players from across the world compete for the grand slam championship title. Watch out for big names and game changing matches, as surprise winners Naomi Osaka and Stan Wawrinka have recently shown, it’s not always the favourite who wins. Enjoy the exciting atmosphere with a summer speciality cocktail and seasonal sandwich from the Patio Café and Bar, or pick up a glass of bubbles from the Moët and Chandon Terrace.

When? From 27 August

Where? Arthur Ashe Stadium, USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center, Louis Armstrong Stadium, 124-02 Roosevelt Ave, Flushing, NY 11368

Nearest Subway: Mets-Willets Point Station

Where to stay: Intercontinental The Barclay. If you enjoyed spotting famous faces at the tennis, why not stay in a historic hotel with its fair share of celebrity guests?

  • Rooftop bar – Hotel Metro, New York City.

    Rooftop bar delights

    Enjoy the sun on the rooftop bar of Hotel Metro during the afternoon, or drop by at night for the evening lights.

  • Central Park in Autumn. © rabbit75_ist.

    Under the trees

    “I recall Central Park in fall,” so sang Wayne Newton (and Ferris Bueller). Make your own memories this September, when the leaves are especially beautiful.

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  • Ensemble, Bertrand Guyon (French, born 1965) for House of Schiaparelli (French, founded 1927), fall/winter 2018–19 haute couture; Courtesy of Schiaparelli. Image courtesy of The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Photo © Johnny Dufort, 2019.

    Bird brain

    This pink flamingo cape appeared in Schiaparelli’s couture catwalk – but it isn’t the only flamboyant avian fashion at the Met’s exhibition: look out for Björk’s swan dress – famous for ruffling some feathers at the Oscars. From 9 May.

Go leaf peeping in Central Park

Leaf peeping is an east coast passion: from Vermont to Cape Cod, the trees go all ablaze in autumn and crowds gather to see the spectacle. Whilst many New Yorkers head to the Catskills and the state parks, you don’t have to leave New York City to see beautiful fall foliage, thanks to the parks and botanical gardens. The banks of the Reservoir in Central Park smoulder with the bronzing leaves of cherry trees, whilst The Pool is ornamented by the changing colours of the red and sugar maples. If you’re nearer Brooklyn, go along Brooklyn Botanical Garden to see the acers of the Japanese Hill and Pond garden.

When? From mid-September

Where? Central Park

Nearest subway: 5 Avenue

Where to stay: The Plaza has Central Park as its backyard. Its Guerlain spa and grand halls have stayed unchanged through the seasons for over 100 years.

Affordable Art Fair NYC

It’s time to up your souvenir game – with a visit to the Affordable Art Fair NYC. Doing exactly what it says on the tin, this touring event also hits London, Stockholm and Amsterdam at different points in the year (that’s all the coolest cities, then). Browse walls of excellent contemporary art, and maybe run into the artists. With prices for an original print coming in under $100 you can fill that gaping space above your mantelpiece for a song. Seek pieces by local painters to create some holiday memories.

When? 26 - 29 September 2019

Where? The Metropolitan Pavilion

Nearest subway: 18 Street

Where to stay: Royalton Park Avenue is a lofty-ceilinged, luxury hotel that’s – for all its glitz and glamour – surprisingly well-priced. It’s a 20 minute walk to the art fair.

Game season

The New York Giants and the New York Jets start the American football season in September. The teams share the state-of-the-art Metlife Stadium, making their rivalry rather keenly felt. They will play a preseason match against each other in late August, or you can see their early games against other NFL teams on certain dates in September. So whether you like the Giants or the Jets, or just want to see them getting beaten by the Dolphins, the Cowboys and the Patriots, head down to the Metlife. And dress for all weathers – the game will go ahead even if there’s autumn rain.

When? From mid-September

Where? Metlife Stadium, 1 MetLife Stadium Dr, East Rutherford

Nearest subway: Meadowlands Sports Complex Station

Where to stay: The Shelburne is a boutique hotel that’s good for families, so small sports fans will be welcome. It’s another great hotel with a rooftop bar – often voted one of the best in the city and the grill bar does great burgers for after the game.