100 Free Things to Do in New York in Summer

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FREE Summer Activities in NYC

Free things to do in New York in Summer are everywhere, every day and every night! Kids, adults, outdoors, indoors, active, lazy…you name it! Free summer activities in NYC include concerts, movies, sports and fitness, arts and culture, museums, tours. So whether you want free tennis, an outdoor concert, a movie under the stars or free opera outdoors in the park, we have you covered with over 100 FREE things to do in NYC this summer.


Free Summer Concerts and Music

Just about every park in every NYC borough hosts dozens of free outdoor concerts throughout the summer. The more popular free summer concerts include Central Park SummerStage and NY Philharmonic in the Park.

Free NYC Summer Concerts and Music

If you want to see today’s hottest pop superstars, and are able to brave long lines and early wake up times, then the Today Show Summer Concert Series or Good Morning America Summer Concert Series might be for you, both every Friday morning from May to August.

For dozens more free concerts check the NYC Parks guide to Free Outdoor Concerts in NYC and also check all the local neighborhood sites, such as Union Square, Meatpacking District, Tribeca, Battery Park City and Governors Island.

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Free Summer Arts and Culture

Free NYC Summer Arts and CultureWhile there are plenty of times throughout the year to see a NYC Museum Free, summer has some extra special bonuses for saving. You can’t beat the Annual Museum Mile Festival in June, which opens up Museum Mile to the public for free. The Metropolitan Museum of Art is always a suggested donation, but what better way to spend a summer evening than with skyline views, beautiful art and hand-crafted cocktails at the Met Roof Martini Bar? To reward those who so bravely serve our country, check out Free NYC Museum Admission for Military Families all Summer.

Interested in free, outdoor Opera? Grab yourself a blanket and picnic and head to the Metropolitan Opera Summer Recital Series and the Metropolitan Opera Summer HD Festival.

For the MOST quintessential, classic NYC experience every New Yorker should experience at least once, Shakespeare in the Park is a don’t miss! Tickets are free, but do require waiting on long lines, unless you win the ticket lottery. Not to worry, for those willing to pay a small line sitting fee, NYC Insider has you covered with guaranteed tickets.

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Free Summer Movies in NYC

Free Summer Movies in NYCWatching a movie under the stars is a great thing to do in summer just about anywhere. But in NYC, we throw in a view of the Brooklyn Bridge or NYC Skyline, the sound of the water lapping, the scenery of Central Park or just the fact that you’re on the Flight Deck of a war ship!

Each free summer outdoor movie festival has it’s own theme, allowing you watch classics, kid-friendly films or the latest blockbusters.

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Free Summer Sports and Fitness Around NYC

Free Things to Do in New York in SummerThink the US Tennis Open is expensive? Think again! The FREE Qualifying Rounds at the US Tennis Open are a fantastic way to see the world’s greatest tennis players practice and compete completely free and take place every year from Tues-Fri, the week before the start of the US Open.

You can also catch the AVP New York City (Volleyball) Open in June and General Admission is free.

Rather be active? Summer sports, fitness classes, bootcamps and more abound throughout the city. Catch some yoga, running, training or bootcamp every Thursday at Fitness in the (Union) Square. Check out Yoga, Tai Chi, Circuit Training, Tennis and much more at the NYC Parks Calendar for FREE Fitness Activities all over NYC. Prefer to be active along the water (me too!)? Then Healthy on the Hudson is for you. More free workouts: South Street Seaport, Brooklyn Bridge Park, Free Yoga.

Did you know there is Free Kayaking on the Hudson and free Beach Volleyball every weekend all summer long? There are so many awesome activities all along the West Side Highway (WSH) all summer. Once you’re on a bike, the WSH is one of the best ways to see and experience NYC.

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NYC Free Tours All Summer

Free Walking Tours NYCNew York walking tours are offered free by almost every neighborhood organization in Manhattan. As you know, New Yorkers LOVE to brag…especially about how much we love our City…so why not take advantage of those who want to brag to you?

The summer is an especially great time to explore every nook and cranny of NYC outdoors, and on foot. There likely isn’t an inch of NYC you can’t cover on a Free New York City Walking Tour, so feel free to find your guide to Central Park, Lower Manhattan, Greenwich Village, Times Square, Movie and TV locations, Wall Street, Lower East Side, NY Public Library, Grand Central Station…and more!

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NYC Free Summer Fairs and Festivals

NYC Free Summer Fairs and FestivalsThere are free fairs and festivals just about every day all summer throughout NYC. Some are geared towards specific cultures and groups, like the Puerto Rican Day Parade, Pride Week and Fleet Week.

While others, such as the American Crafts Festival at Lincoln Center, Taste of Times Square, River to River Festival and Annual Downtown Dance Festival in Battery Park appeal to a wider audience.

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NYC Insider Free Picks by Month

June Free NYC Events – Annual Museum Mile Festival, Shakespeare in the Park, Philharmonic in the Park, Taste of Times Square, Pride Week, Midsummer Night Swing (watching is free), Metropolitan Opera Summer Recital Series, Bryant Park Film Festival, River to River Festival, Intrepid Museum Summer Movie Series, Bryant Park Film Festival

July Free NYC Events – July 4th Fireworks, Shakespeare in the Park, Midsummer Night Swing, Met Museum Roof Martini Bar, FREE Broadway (and Off Broadway) in Bryant Park, Riverflicks Movies in Hudson River Park, Free Fitness in New York City, Lincoln Center Festival

August Free NYC Events – U.S. Tennis Open Qualifying Rounds, Central Park Film Festival, Metropolitan Opera Summer HD Festival, Met Museum Roof Martini Bar, Shakespeare in the Park, Bryant Park Film Festival

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NYC Insider Searchable Events Calendar

For even more FREE things to do in NYC, check out our User Submitted Events Calendar, searchable by category and date.

We welcome all NYers who submit their concerts, art exhibits, shows, plays, festivals, fairs, fashion events and more! More great Free Summer Activities articles:


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