The Best Summer Activities in NYC

May 27, 2015

the best summer activities in nyc

There’s nothing like summer in New York. With summer unofficially/officially upon us, I’ve gotten to thinking about how I’ll be soaking up the season this year in New York City. I’m going to be on the road quite a bit but will have some weekends to enjoy and while I have my personal favorites, I decided to round up some of my friends’ favorites as well. 

Consider this your guide to summer in NYC if you’re living here, moving here or just visiting here. So many good recommendations and lots of tried and tested ideas after my ten years living here. Summer Bucket List = all set!

Best of Summer in New York City

There’s no better time or place for picnics in Central Park! It gets really crowded on the weekends, but half the fun is scouting the perfect spot and claiming it with a big blanket.  – Carly

Running (biking or walking) along the east river. The breeze is a welcome reprieve from city heat, and you can’t beat the view! – Hallie

what to do in nyc in the summer

My favorite thing to do when it gets warm out is to be outside as much as possible! I walk everywhere, and just signed up for Citi Bike so am looking forward to riding around the city a bit more… and there’s nothing better than packing a delicious picnic in the park. Cheeses from Murray’s, a baguette from Amy’s, and maybe a little rosé. There’s nothing better than a leisurely day spent reading, napping, and catching up with friends in the sun. – Grace

Stone Street in the Financial District is so great to enjoy some beers and sit outside under the tents. Feels like spending the day in Europe! I also love Grand Banks – it’s a boat on the Hudson with the perfect breeze and endless rosé. – Hailey

Dinner with a glass of rosé at Jacks Wife Freda or Cafe Gitane. – Alicia

I feel like everyone knows places like the Boat Basin and the Frying Pan so they tend to be overcrowded so I have been trying to be find a new waterfront spot for drinks. A few weeks ago, I stumbled upon Pier A Harbor House in Battery Park City. Huge venue, tons of beers and oysters as big as ya head. Gorgeous views of Lady Liberty to boot! – Alyson

the best things to do in new york in the summer

A train to the Rockaways – must stop at Rockaway Taco & /or Rippers on the beach at 86th street. If you want to learn to surf, try Locals Surf School. And ice cream from Van Leeuwen or even just Mister Softee in the park! – Bekka

Brooklyn Crab is super cool! I spent a very long day there last summer and it’s my goal to go all the time this summer. BK Bridge Park has cool spots to grill outside too which I’ve heard is really amazing and want to do this summer. – Jenny

Walking the High Line and then biking to The Loeb Boat House in Central Park! – Carrie

While you’re at the High Line – venture further West and check out New York’s newest park – Little Island.

One of my all-time favorite summer activities in New York is an evening aboard The Honorable William Wall. This floating clubhouse (part of The Manhattan Yacht Club) not far from Ellis Island is accessible by a fleet of motorboats that ferry out from downtown Jersey City. $18 gets you a ride to and from the clubhouse, and once aboard, drinks are relatively inexpensive. My advice? Pack a picnic (there’s no food served) and head out in time for sunset. Grab a spot on the top deck that looks back at the NYC skyline and get tipsy while enjoying the cool breeze that can be hard to find within the sweltering city. – Taylor

Even More NYC Summer Activity Ideas:

Rooftop Bar Crawl. There’s no shortage of amazing rooftops in New York City with loads of beautiful views. Spend your summer checking each off your list!

Shakespeare in the Park is a storied tradition of the summer in New York. Sit under the trees of Central Park and enjoy world class live theatre. Tickets go fast though so be on top of trying to secure one!

Staten Island Ferry. Want to visit the Statue of Liberty without visiting the Statue of Liberty? Hop onto the (Free!) Staten Island Ferry and ride right by Lady Liberty – you’ll score some great pictures and beautiful views.

Metropolitan Museum of Art – Need to cool off on a hot day? Head to New York’s biggest museum and home to so much great art.

Empire State Building is another great activity on a hot day as you’ll be able to take advantage of the breezes way up high. Pro tip: Book your tickets in advance! Already done the Empire State Building? Try the Top of the Rock – a personal favorite rooftop of mine!

Don’t want to go under ground this summer? Rent a CitiBike! It’s inexpensive and there’s loads of great bike paths carved out around the city now that you can enjoy.

Brooklyn Bridge Park is one of my favorite spots to cool off by the water. You’ll get sweeping views of Lower Manhattan and if you’re feeling adventurous you can easily walk the Brooklyn Bridge afterwards. 

Coney Island is quintessential New York City summer. Head to the boardwalk and then ride some amusement park rides and eat whatever your heart may desire.

Ride the New York Ferry. Hit the water and avoid the subway with all the ferry options through New York City now! Riding the ferry is my personal favorite pastime

. . .

Hope you enjoy all the recommendations and here’s to a summer filled with great times, memorable moments and of course, plenty of rosé. Enjoy your summer months in the city!

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[Photos via Instagram]

comments +

  1. Kari Wetzel says:

    One of my favorite things to do in the summer was to kayak on the Hudson. The Manhattan Community Boathouse has free kayaking and it’s so much fun and the views are great!


  2. Jim says:

    Thanks, but what do men think?

  3. Loving this post!! SO fun! XO
    ig: @stylemelauren

  4. Abby says:

    I’m in the city for the summer and this is such a fun list!! I’ve been to a few of the places mentioned (The High Line, Van Leeuwen), but I’m dying to go to Stone Street!

  5. Oh, what a beautiful city that New York looks like right there. I wonder though, are you able to get a motorboat into the waters there? This question came to my mind since my uncle is inviting me to his summer home in New York.

  6. Véronique says:

    Thanks Meghan, it sounds so nice. I have never been to NYC but it’s even higher on my list now 🙂

  7. In the middle of December – I am dreaming of summer again! Looks so different to what I see today.

  8. Chelsea says:

    Summer. It’s the only time I could enjoy myself here. Thanks for the recommendation,btw.

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