Explore New York City

Dancing in the Street in NYC

Where and when to find outdoor dance parties.

All the world’s a stage, especially in the summer. You can be walking along an avenue, and suddenly there’s someone singing, dancing or making music. Here’s a rundown of where and when.

Squares and Steps

On any given day, at the foot of the stairways leading to the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the New York Public Library’s Stephen A. Schwarzman branch, doo-wop or a cappella groups harmoniously serenade, competing with the occasional juggler. At the southern end of Grand Army Plaza (Fifth Ave., btw 58th & 60th sts.), steps away from The Plaza Hotel’s carpeted staircase, break-dancing groups frequently perform; and around the illuminated steps of Lincoln Center, it’s rare not to find a flutist, violinist or even a bagpipe player.

Parks

If you want to brush up your bachata, tango or swing, Midtown’s Bryant Park is the place to be; every Wednesday evening this month, its terraced grounds host  90-minute dance parties with live bands. If you prefer modern tunes, the New Music series on select Mondays (Jun. 1, 8 & 15) features freshly commissioned classical or jazz pieces. In Central Park, key spots to catch musicians include the Lake (mid-park from 71st to 78th sts.), the tunnel leading to the Bethesda Fountain (mid-park, north of 72nd St.) and the Literary Walk (mid-park from 66th to 72nd sts., just before Bandshell Plaza). For more elaborate entertainment, Rumsey Playfield hosts eight free evening concerts throughout June. At the foot of Fifth Ave., Washington Square Park has long been famed for its street performers and musicians. Go on a Tuesday night (Jun. 16, 23 & 30) for one of the Washington Square Music Festival concerts. 

Water's Edge

Strolling the cobblestoned streets of the South Street Seaport, don’t be surprised if you hear live melodies, stand-up routines and interviews rending the air. It’s all part of the daylong, weekend broadcast from the new Little Water Radio station, located in the Fulton Stall Market. During the second half of the month, the River to River Festival (Jun. 18-28) turns spaces in Lower Manhattan into an alfresco theater for contemporary music, dance, drama and art. 

Down Under

More than 350 musicians perform in subway stations and train terminals, offering an international array of sounds: You may hear a New Orleans band on the Times Square shuttle platform, or the Yaz Band at Fulton Center, so keep your ears open!