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? From April

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? Much Ado About Nothing from 21 May, 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
  • 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.SEK4335 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.

World Pride NYC

Every year in June, New York celebrates Pride with events that celebrate the city’s – and the world’s – LGBTQIA+ communities. In 2019 it will be 50 years since the Stonewall riots. To mark how far it has come in its quest for equal rights, the city is planning something extra special, with over 50 events over 30 days. An astonishing three million people are expected to attend. Be one of them, and don’t miss the closing parade, which is the biggest of its kind. However you celebrate, you’ll witness a spectacle that the whole city can be honoured by. Expect glitter, glamour and plenty of love.

When? From 1 June to 30 June

Where? The parade starts at 26 St and 5 Ave

Nearest Subway: 5 Ave / W 26 St

Where to stay: Hipsters, listen up: the Hudson is designed by Philippe Starck but inhabited by New York’s fun crowd. Central Park is nearby – as are a number of bars. During Pride, head out and you’ll find yourself in party central.

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

    US Open Tennis

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  • Solstice in Times Square. © Amy Hart for Times Square Alliance

    Solstice yoga Times Square

    Embrace the longest day of the year with yoga classes in the city. Take over the town with yogis from around the world.

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  • Macy’s 4 July Fireworks. © Kent Miller Studios / Macy's, Inc.

    Fireworks galore

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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? From 9 May

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.

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? 15 - 16 June and 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.

  • 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.

  • Celebrate on Pride Island, part of NYC Pride. © Tiffany Sage.

    NYC Pride

    Pride Island, a music festival held on Pier 97, is the place to be on the closing weekend of NYC Pride. Past acts have included Kylie and Years & Years.

  • 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.

Summer Solstice

You know it’s summertime when the longest day of the year is here. The place to be is Times Square for the 16th Annual Solstice – join in and celebrate with free yoga classes in the heart of New York. Treat your body, mind and soul to a revitalising day at one of the most renowned city landmarks. Take in the atmosphere and sounds of the urban scape, as you join thousands of yogis to bring in the peak day of summer. Immerse yourself in this amazing experience, starting before sunrise and continuing past sunset.

When? 21 June

Where? Times Square

Nearest Subway: 49 St Subway Station

Where to stay: W New York is steps away from Times Square and is full of trendy types: you won’t be the only one heading out for yoga from here. Continue your health kick at the state-of-the-art gym.

Fourth of July Fireworks

Independence Day in New York is a summer holiday which celebrates with a bang. Enjoy the thriving city atmosphere as you find a BBQ hotspot, wander along the Hudson river with a hotdog in hand or make your own picnic and set a blanket down in Central Park. Prepare for an evening extravaganza, as firework displays are launched across the city. From Jersey to Coney Island, the sky bursts into a glamourous array of dazzling colours. Watch out for Macy’s  annual firework display, taking off from the East river. The show starts just after 9pm, so head to rooftop bars, brilliant balconies and bridges for the best views and see the city skyline light up the night.

When? 4 July

Where? Watch from Houston, Midtown, Lower Manhattan and Brooklyn

Nearest Subway: Vernon Blvd – Jackson Av or Lexington Av/53 St.

Where to stay: Doubletree by Hilton Metropolitan is in the heart of Midtown, within easy reach of the fireworks.

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?

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