The city is never lacking for things to do, and the summer season brings about a whole new variety of unique, exciting [and mostly free] events. Here are 15 ideas for some good, clean summer fun.
1. HBO Bryant Park Summer Film Festival | June 18 – August 20
See a movie every Monday night on the main lawn in honor of HBO’s 20th anniversary. Enjoy classics like All About Eve, Psycho, and Butch and the Sundance Kid while the sun sets. Make it dinner and movie by picking up food from ‘wichCraft, conviently located in the park.
2. Broadway in Bryant Park | July 12 – August 16
Every Wednesday, take a lunch break to listen to the most popular shows on and off Broadway perform their biggest hits on the lawn. Shows include Rent, Wicked, Spiderman: Turn Off the Dark, Jersey Boys, and Rock of Ages.
3. Shakespeare in the Park | June 5 – 30, July 23 – August 25
A New York City summer tradition, Shakespeare in the Park continues this year in Central Park, presenting As You Like It and Into the Woods. See Amy Adams [Enchanted, The Fighter] and Oliver Platt [The Big C, X-Men: First Class] headline this years shows.
4. Governor’s Island Bike Rental | June – September 30
Take the free public ferry to Governors Island, where bikes, quadracycles, and tandems can be rented. Explore the island, see magnificent views of the New York Harbor and Statue of Liberty, enjoy a picnic, and play mini-golf.
5. Madison Square Music: Oval Lawn Series 2012 | June 20 – August 8
Mad. Sq. Music is an outdoor concert series every Wednesday and one of the best ways to enjoy free world class performances in New York City. Bonus: while you wait for the music, you can pick up some Shake Shack.
6. Speakers at Barnes & Noble | Year Round
Listen to authors and musicians speak and perform their new works. Recent speakers include Joan Rivers and Colin Powell, while Chris Colfer, Matisyahu, and Michael Chabon are lined up later in the summer.
7. The Metropolitan Muesum of Art’s Schiaparelli and Prada: Impossible Conversations | May 10 – August 19
The Met’s Spring 2012 Costume Institute exhibition, Schiaparelli and Prada: Impossible Conversations, explores the striking similarities between Elsa Schiaparelli and Miuccia Prada, two Italian designers from different eras.
8. Kayak for Free | Year Round
The Downtown Boathouse is an all volunteer-run nonprofit ogranization dedicated to providing free public access to the harbor in NYC through public kayaking programs.
9. Outdoor Yoga | June – September 27th
Everybody’s favorite free outdoor yoga classes return to Bryant Park for the summer. Presented in partnership with Lululemon Athletica, Bryant Park Yoga is an excellent mind-body workout for students of all ages and levels.
10. NBC Concert Series 2012 | June – August 31
Fans and visitors are encouraged to come to the plaza for the live performances. See Usher, Maroon 5, Train, Flo Rida and more in Rockerfeller Plaza.
11. SummerStage | June 5 – August 30
SummerStage has been NYC’s preeminent outdoor concert series, providing countless hours of entertainment for the people of New York. This season’s performers include Foster the People, Young the Giant, M83 and many more.
12. Central Park Conservancy Film Festival | August
Stave off the summer heat at this annual outdoor film series. Screenings are held just north of Sheep Meadow in Central Park [enter at 72nd Street]. Come early – gates open at 6:30pm – to snag a good seat.
13. Summer Streets | August
For three weekends in August from 7am to 1pm, and from the Brooklyn Bridge to Central Park, Park Avenue and connecting streets will be closed to traffic and open to the public to enjoy anything from biking to strolling to dancing.
14. Lincoln Center Festival | July 5 – August 5
The Lincoln Center Festival has showcased the best in a wide range of art forms, including opera, chamber music, theater, multimedia performance, ballet, modern dance and multidisciplinary works.
15. Intrepid | Year Round
Celebrate America’s Independence at Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum. Take a guided tour, view a variety of exhibits, experience the simulators, or simply explore on your own.