Summer in New York – Top 10 things to do

28th March 2019

Summer in New York – Top 10 things to do

From the spectacular skylines and stunning architecture to the sensational food culture and superb art scene, summer in New York is an adventure like no other. As the balmy breeze replaces the wintry air, New York evolves into an urban jungle filled with street performers, artists, food stalls, festivals, markets, and more.

The possibilities are endless in the iconic ‘city that never sleeps’ from kayaking the Hudson River to Shakespeare in the Park and everything in between.

Start planning your summer in New York with our travel expert’s list of the top attractions and events that you will only experience in the Big Apple.

Feel peckish at Union Square Greenmarket

Union Square Greenmarket

Established in 1967, the famous Union Square Greenmarket hosts the largest gathering of regional farmers, bakers, and fishers around and provides New Yorkers with the best locally grown and sourced foods the area has to offer.

Frequented by locals and chefs, Greenmarket produces a bounty of fresh fruits and vegetables, meats and cheeses, artisan breads, jams, pickles, cut flowers, wine, coffee, ciders, honey and more.

Greenmarket is a must during summer in New York offering the best variety of organic and local produce and professional cooking demos, all in the Instagram-worthy location of Union Square. Head there to pick up some delicious supplies for a sunny day picnic in the park. Open 5 days a week from 8am – 6pm (Closed on Thursdays and Sundays)

Put the feet up at a Rooftop Cinema

Rooftop Cinema in New York City

Take to the rooftops this summer in New York to experience cinema like never before. Rooftop Cinema Club at Skylawn features iconic films at sunset so you can experience the movies you love under the stars surrounded by the panoramic views of the city that never sleeps.

Spectacular sunsets, an enchanting city backdrop, state of the art wireless headphones, comfy deck chairs (adjustable to the perfect angle) and a full-service bar, make Rooftop Cinema Club a must for your Summer in NYC bucket list. Be sure to get there early for your pick of the best seats!

If you’ve got little ones in tow, you’ll be glad to hear screenings before 4:30 pm are open to all ages, with screenings starting at 4:30pm or later being strictly 18+. Standard tickets start from about $21.50.

Picnic in Central Park

Couple enjoying a picnic in new york city

Escape to scenic Central Park to enjoy an afternoon of literary readings, boating on the lake, or sunbathing in Sheep’s Meadow, near the southwestern section of the park. Summer activities in the park include walking tours, catch and release fishing, yoga, running and fitness tours, hiking, and even overnight camping.

Visitors can also borrow a Field Day Kit consisting of a wiffle ball and bat, football, soccer ball, frisbee, jump ropes, cones and more from the North Meadow Rec Center if you fancy a games day in the sun.

For a more laid-back afternoon enjoy some people watching, relive some of your favourite movie scenes, tour the park in a romantic horse-drawn carriage, ride the Central Park carousel, catch a free concert from one of the parks many buskers, enjoy the Central Park Film Festival or attend Shakespeare in the Park. The park atmosphere is electric all summer long and deserves a stop on every New York itinerary.

Coasters at Coney Island

Scenic Views of Coney Island

Get ready to be transported back in time with a visit to Coney Island – the quintessential American pop culture destination! Located in Brooklyn, this iconic landmark has been a beloved retreat for New Yorkers and tourists alike for decades. Strolling down the legendary boardwalk, visitors can take in the stunning ocean views, soak up the sun on the sandy beach, or indulge in some classic boardwalk games.

But that’s not all! Coney Island offers a range of entertainment options that will make your visit even more memorable. Catch a movie under the stars at the historic Boardwalk Amphitheater, dance to live music at the Seaside Summer Concert Series, or test your bravery on one of the many thrilling rides at Luna Park. And let’s not forget about the famous Friday night fireworks display – a spectacular show that lights up the night sky with bursts of colour and sound.

One of the most popular events at Coney Island every summer is the annual Mermaid Parade, where participants dress up in elaborate costumes and parade down the boardwalk. This celebration of all things whimsical and nautical is not to be missed if you’re visiting the city in June!

Indulging at Smorgasburg

If there are any self-proclaimed foodies reading this blog then listen up to this next bucket-list must do! Smorgasburg is the largest weekly open-air food market in America! With up to 100 food vendors showcasing their culinary creations, this place is food paradise.

From the latest food trends to unique takes on classics, Smorgasburg has it all. Bite into a juicy ramen burger or indulge in some deep-fried cookie dough – the possibilities are endless! And don’t forget to bring a picnic blanket and an empty stomach to this weekly food festival. With so many delicious options to choose from, you’ll want to taste everything trust us!
The market is located in some of the city’s most scenic locations, including Brooklyn Bridge Park and Prospect Park. So, after you’ve sampled your way through the vendors, take a stroll through the park and soak up some stunning views.

With such a vibrant sense of community and excitement that fills the air at Smorgasburg, you’ll be delighted you stopped by.

Bike the City

Couple enjoying the views of new york city on their bicycle

Want an unforgettable way to explore the Big Apple? Ditch the traditional bus tour and hop on a bike for a more immersive and exhilarating experience. New York bike tours offer a convenient and eco-friendly alternative to the usual sightseeing options.

With a bike, you’ll have the freedom to cover more ground and see more of the city’s iconic landmarks up close. Pedal across the Brooklyn Bridge and take in the stunning views of Manhattan’s skyline, or ride through Central Park and soak up the natural beauty of the city’s beloved green space.

Biking also allows you to uncover hidden gems and explore the unique neighbourhoods of New York, from the trendy streets of Williamsburg to the historic brownstones of Harlem.

You’ll be able to interact with the city in a way that’s impossible from the confines of a tour bus. Feel the energy of the bustling streets and hear the sounds of the city as you weave through traffic and interact with locals. Plus, with a knowledgeable guide leading the way, you’ll learn fascinating facts and insider tips about the city’s history and culture.

Whether you’re a seasoned cyclist or a beginner, New York bike tours offer something for everyone. So, grab a helmet and get ready to pedal your way through the city that never sleeps!

Kayak the Hudson River

Kayak on the water along the Hudson River

We know it can get pretty toasty in New York during the summer months so to stay cool in the scorching summer heat, we recommend immersing yourself in the refreshing waters of the Hudson River! Kayaking on the Hudson is a one-of-a-kind urban adventure that offers breathtaking views of the city skyline from a unique vantage point.

You don’t need to be an experienced kayaker to enjoy this activity – it’s suitable for all skill levels, from beginners to experts. Get your adrenaline pumping as you paddle along the tranquil river and feel the cool breeze on your skin, surrounded by the distant sounds of the bustling city.

Take in stunning views of iconic landmarks like the Statue of Liberty, One World Trade Center, and the Empire State Building. See the city from a new perspective as you glide under the historic bridges that connect Manhattan and Brooklyn.

It’s also a unique way to learn about the history and ecology of the river from knowledgeable guides. Hear fascinating stories about the river’s past and present, and learn about the diverse wildlife that calls the Hudson home.

Walk the High Line

High Lane Park in New York

Discover a unique green oasis in the heart of New York City by exploring the High Line! This former freight line during the 1930s, elevated above the bustling streets of Manhattan, has been transformed into a stunning park filled with lush gardens, stunning artwork, and a variety of cultural events.

As you wander through the High Line, you’ll be amazed by over 500 different species of plants, including wildflowers, grasses, and trees on display, you’ll feel like you’re walking through a vibrant urban jungle.

Along the way, you’ll also discover a wide range of contemporary art installations, from sculptures to murals to interactive exhibits. These works of art are carefully curated to complement the surrounding greenery and architecture, creating a harmonious blend of nature and culture.

During the summer months, the High Line is also home to a variety of cultural events, from music concerts to dance performances to film screenings. The High Line is currently open daily from 7am to 10pm.

Discover Governors Island

The ice cream cone shaped property of Governors Island resides in the heart of the New York harbour, surrounded by breathtaking views of the city skyline and the Statue of Liberty.

Formerly an abandoned military base, the park is now a scenic destination created for relaxation and recreation, consisting of a 6-acre plaza, 10-acre grove of hammocks and trees, 14-acre lawn, and beautiful rolling hills overlooking the water.

Take in stunning views while enjoying art exhibitions, cultural festivals (like the beloved Jazz Age Lawn Party), and endless outdoor activities. Take a thrilling ride down New York’s largest slide, hike through the park’s extensive trail network, or rent a bike to explore the island’s historic landmarks. Whatever you choose, Governors Island is a must-visit during your summer in New York.

See the city from new heights at the Top of the Rock Observation Deck

New York City Skyline view

Experience the city from a higher altitude at the iconic Rockefeller Center, where you can discover the ultimate shopping experience and dine at top-notch restaurants while taking in the unique energy of New York.

The centrepiece of the Rockefeller Center is the Top of the Rock Observation Deck, featuring panoramic views of the city skyline that stretch for miles, including a perfect view of the Empire State Building. It’s a view like no other, and a perfect spot to get the ultimate NYC selfie. Whether you’re there to watch the sunset over the city or see the twinkling lights of the skyline at night, you won’t want to forget your camera so you can capture some unforgettable moments from this quintessential New York landmark.

Well surely that settles it, New York is the ultimate summer destination, with a never-ending list of exciting activities and attractions to explore.

We can tell you’re itching for this Big Apple Adventure to begin so go ahead and contact us today to speak to one of our travel experts and let’s get your Summer in NYC trip into the calendar.

By Paula McMullan

Personal Travel Planner

Favourite Destination: New York City

I love a trip to New York City, the big apple never disappoints. A must see destination with incredible diversity, vibrancy and entertainment, There’s truly something for everyone in New York. Personally I love to eat in Little Italy or just spend the evening watching the world go by in Greenwich Village while sipping a glass of red in one of their many bistros. The energy and pace of this fantastic city that will capture you heart immediately, the shopping is not bad either!