NYC City Guide: Summer Events 2018

Check out this mix of under-the-radar and traditional NYC activities you don't want to miss this summer.

Summer is upon us! Warmer weather brings with it SummerStage concerts, Warm Up dance parties at MoMA PS1, Macy’s Fourth of July Fireworks and outdoor cinemas to let you enjoy the open air; those who prefer air-conditioning might gravitate toward the free exhibits during Museum Mile festival (or at any time, for that matter). If you’re looking for a fantastic event to attend in the coming months, look no further. Our list is chock-full of exciting annual happenings like NYC Restaurant Week, Shakespeare in the Park and more. And, if you want to attend some awesome concerts, we’ve collected a few that shouldn’t be missed. Let's get to it!

Secret Summer

Secret Summer is the nation's first and only “Farm-to-Bar” cocktail festival. It's like being transported to a Great Gatsby-esque garden party filled with a multitude of flowers inside a turn of the century factory that’s over 100 years old overlooking the Queensboro Bridge. Come celebrate sustainable mixology, fresh eats, music, art, dance, fashion and more on August 12. Enjoy vibrant seasonal sippers prepared with only raw, peak-season ingredients sourced from local farms and paired with some of the best quality spirit brands on the market. The celebration will go from 2-8 pm and tickets can be purchased here.

Macy’s Fourth of July Fireworks

Details have not yet been released yet for the Wednesday, July 4 celebration, but as the unrivaled nation’s largest pyrotechnic display it usually comes to life over the East River, and it continues to captivate more than 3 million spectators lining the shorelines, waterways, streets and rooftops of the Big Apple and millions more on television coast-to-coast as we marvel at the largest and most exciting firework display. Beginning at approximately 9:25 pm, the first shells will most likely  launch the celebration along the shores of Manhattan, Queens and Brooklyn with more than 60,000 effects rumbling toward the grand finale.

Shakespeare in the Park

This theatrical program stages productions of Shakespearean plays at the Delacorte Theater, an open-air theater in Central Park every summer. Gather your families and friends together to enjoy captivating stories unfold in the moment and experience the magic at Free Shakespeare in the Park. This year, Ruben Santiago-Hudson presents the devastating Othello, May 29- June 24 and the Public Works’ joyful musical adaptation of Twelfth Night, will play from July 17-August 19, featuring 120 extraordinary community members on stage. This is the season to be in Central Park.

NYC Restaurant week

The semi-annual NYC Restaurant Week returns July 23–August 17. The promotion that celebrates fine dining at an affordable price usually includes more than 300 restaurants throughout the five boroughs. Participating restaurants offer two-course prix-fixe menus specially priced for lunch and three-course prix-fixe menus for dinner. Reservations are highly recommended. However, the NYC Restaurant Week menu is offered to all guests, including walk-ins. We encourage you to make reservations via the program sponsor, OpenTable.com 

MoMa PS1 Warm Up

Got a love for Electronica? Check out Warm Up, MoMA PS1’s outdoor music series, returning for its 21st season from June 30 to September 1. Presenting the best in live and electronic music, Warm Up celebrates a wide range of artists—emerging and established, local and global and across genres. The program’s alumni include contemporary creators Solange, Cardi B, Black Dice, Jamie XX and Arca, as well as legendary DJs including Ritchie Hawtin, DJ Premier and Derrick May. Look out for this season’s lineup, to be announced in this month. For a limited time only, enjoy an entire summer of music and expedited entry for only $99. Click here for your ticket to all ten Warm Up events this season.

Summerstage Fetival

SummerStage

The free SummerStage concert series is one of the city's best perks. The calendar for this year’s festival doesn’t disappoint, bringing more than 100 music and dance offerings to 18 parks in all five boroughs. The festival kicks off June 2 in Central Park with a free show headlined by jazz singer, Gregory Porter. What follows is a diverse, wide-ranging lineup of acts that are both conscious of history and embracing of new talent.

Hit up Some of NYC’s Street Fairs

Now until June 1, the outdoor food fest, Madison Square Eats brings buzzworthy bites from the city’s best restaurants to Worth Square in the Flatiron District. The highly anticipated bi-annual event draws hungry crowds of neighborhood residents and tourists who enjoy this unique opportunity to savor offerings from 25 vendors including Chick’N Cone and the Truffleist. Enjoy some outdoor seating at the food fest or Madison Square Park where you can take in the iconic Flatiron building directly across the street.

Brooklyn’s Smorgasburg is the largest weekly open-air food market in America, attracting 20,000-30,000 people to Brooklyn each weekend to eat from 100 local vendors—Saturdays on the Williamsburg waterfront and Sundays in Prospect Park. The New York Times dubbed Smorgasburg “The Woodstock of Eating.”

Don't wear white June 9-10 and come hungry to the Big Apple Barbecue Block Party, the nation’s largest culinary and music festival dedicated to the best in barbecue. The weekend-long event welcomes over 130,000 guests annually from across the country. Enjoy mouthwatering ’cue from the world’s most celebrated chefs and pit masters. Throw in the beer, wine and great live music and you’ll find yourself at the ultimate summer street party. And bring wet wipes—you're gonna need ‘em.

Mr. Purple Rooftop bar

Fact: Cocktails Snap WAY Better on Rooftops

Not all rooftop bars are created equal. Head to The Delancey and Mr.Purple on the Lower East Side to capture the artistic vibe of the borough and spectacular views of Manhattan. Grab a lounge seat, a colorful cocktail and maybe find a new boo to enjoy that skyline and tear up the dance floor.

On the rooftop of the Italian culinary megaplex Eataly, Serra by Birreria has been transformed this season into the Italian countryside called at the new "greenhouse" pop-up on the roof. Escape the hot pavement of Manhattan and sit down at rustic tables under a canopy of foliage for down-to-earth dishes and served family-style. Lower East Side newcomer from “Top Chef” alum Dale Talde, The Crown, commands some of the only sweeping views of downtown Manhattan, Brooklyn, and even the far off silhouettes of Queens and New Jersey. With a variety of Asian-inspired cocktails and a globally-inspired menu of small bites, this spot is always poppin’ on the weekend.

Take a Trip to Governors Island

Poetry enthusiasts flock to The New York City Poetry Festival where poetry organizations and collectives bring their unique formats, aesthetics and personalities to the festival grounds ringed with a collection of beautiful Victorian houses and tucked beneath the wide, green canopies of dozens of century-old trees. By uniting the largest community of poets in the country and offering a one-of-a-kind setting for literary activity, the New York City Poetry Festival electrifies arts and literature.

For jazz lovers, there’s The Jazz Age Lawn Party, New York City’s original prohibition-era inspired gathering. The event attracts 20,000 fans over two weekends, who come together to discover music and zeitgeist of the 1920s and 1930s, learn the hottest dance steps of the time, frolic in their flapper dresses and glad rags and enjoy sophisticated bites and vintage-inspired cocktails in a romantic, playful setting.

Watch Blockbusters Under the Stars

We believe that movies are better outside in a comfy deck chair, cocktail in hand, set alongside panoramic views and sunsets. From May 18-September 9, NYC parks offer free summer movie screenings throughout the five boroughs with something for all types of film buffs including romance, action, sci-fi, and comedy—as well as something for kids. Check the schedule for details.

Punk and Hip-Hop Turned All The Way Up

Afropunk Fest, is an annual music festival that brings together a dope community people of all backgrounds speaking through music, art, film, comedy, fashion and more. The enormous fest takes over Brooklyn this year highlighting the black presence in the American punk scene—it is a platform for the alternative and experimental. The multi-stage concert series boasts major headliners including Erykah Badu, Janelle Monaé, Miguel and more this year.

The Brooklyn Hip-Hop Festival is NYC’s largest hip-hop cultural event that showcases the positivity of Hip-Hop culture. The Festival offers a variety of culture-based educational and entertainment events, which are in addition to its performances. Activities include panel lectures, exhibitions, movie screenings and even a family-friendly block party for all.