Don’t have an island holiday home to retreat to during the dog days of summer? Consider yourself lucky to experience unfettered access to some of the best the Big Apple has to offer without facing the swarm of one-percenters who so often ruin it for the rest of us. Read on as NewYork.com brings you the best bets for August, from a world-famous tennis tournament in Queens to an epic electronic music festival on Randall’s Island.
1. OUTDOORS: Summer Streets in Manhattan on August 2nd, 9th and 16th
Think New York City would be perfect if it weren’t for all the traffic? Well, the NYC DOT will be making your dreams come true for three consecutive Saturdays this month when a stretch of the city from the Brooklyn Bridge to Central Park will be closed to cars and open to pedestrians, pooches and cyclists who can enjoy free bike rentals, food demos, mini-golfing, art, musical performances and even a zip line.
DETAILS: 7am-1pm; free; from the Brooklyn Bridge to 72nd Street on Lafayette Street and Park Avenue; nyc.gov
2. SPORTS: Yankees vs. Tigers at Yankees Stadium on August 5
Since baseball is a rite of summer, why not root, root, root for the home team at Yankees Stadium this month? There are games aplenty to choose from, but the bombers will really need your cheers as they take on one of the top teams in the American League, the Detroit Tigers. What’s in it for you other than a night at the ball game? The first 18,000 fans will receive Derek Jeter Commemorative Ticket Key Rings.
DETAILS: 7:05pm; from $48.50 (get tickets!); 1 E. 161st St.
3. THEATER: New York International Fringe Festival at various venues August 8-24
Add a little culture to your lazy, late summer stupor by taking in a show or two at the 18th annual New York International Fringe Festival where more than 200 companies from around the globe will perform at more than 20 venues in the city. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry and with tickets at just $18 a pop, you’ll still have enough leftover cash to buy a drink afterwards.
DETAILS: Various times and venues; all shows $18; fringenyc.org
4. BOATING: Hong Kong Dragon Boat Festival at Flushing Meadows Park August 9-10
In honor of the fifth moon of the lunar calendar, some 120 dragon boat teams from across North America will descend upon Flushing Meadows Park to compete in a series of high-speed races in New York City’s largest lake. Looking for further incentives to come to Queens? In addition to the dramatic displays on the water, the festivities will also include music, dancing, martial arts demonstrations and delicious Chinese food.
DETAILS: 9am-5pm; free; Meadow Lake, Flushing Meadows Corona Park; hkdbf-ny.org
5. MUSEUM: 9/11 Memorial Museum on August 11 and throughout the month
It may not be the obvious choice of summer activity, but a visit to the newly opened 9/11 Memorial Museum provides a fascinating and essential look at a day that New York will never forget, through some 10,000 artifacts and more. Get out of the heat and pay your respects to the victims, first responders and the survivors of a tragedy that changed this city forever but also brought out the best in its citizens.
DETAILS: Admission slots from 9am-6pm; $24 (get tickets!); 180 Greenwich St.
6. MUSIC: Neon Trees at Today show on August 15
It started with a whisper, but now everybody talks about this Utah-born alt pop foursome. Come find out why at a free performance outside the Today show studios in Rockefeller Center. Yes, you’ll have to wake up at the crack of dawn to secure a prime viewing spot, but isn’t it worth it to hear great music and indulge in your secret Matt Lauer crush?
DETAILS: Recommended arrival by 6am; free; 49th Street and Rockefeller Plaza; today.com
7. FOOD: Smorgasburg in Brooklyn Bridge Park on August 17
Lobster rolls, donuts, ice cream cones, tacos and ramen burgers are just a few of the delights on offer at the Sunday installment of this outdoor food fest whose best season has got to be summer. After your belly is full of treats, you can still feast your eyes on stunning views of the East River and the Manhattan skyline from postcard photo-worthy Brooklyn Bridge Park.
DETAILS: 11am-6pm; free entry; Brooklyn Bridge Park, Pier 5; brooklynflea.com
8. MOVIE: Frozen at Rockaway Beach on August 19
You don’t have to be a kid to appreciate this Oscar-winning animated fairy tale about two feisty princesses grappling with one’s icy powers. The little ones will love the rousing songs, moving story and comedy courtesy of a wisecracking snowman, while grown-ups will appreciate the picturesque backdrop of Rockaway Beach. Who knew Queens had its own Riviera?
DETAILS: 8pm; free; Beach 108th Street Hockey Rink; nycgovparks.org
9. THEATER: The Book of Mormon at the Eugene O’Neill Theatre on August 21
Before Josh Gad was winning over the hearts and funny bones of kids everywhere in Frozen, he was earning laughs and a Tony nomination as Elder Cunningham in this megahit musical on Broadway. Even three years and a few different Elder Cunninghams later, the show is still immensely popular, so a sleepy mid-week August night is the perfect time to score top seats (and enjoy the air conditioning.)
DETAILS: 7pm; from $184 (get tickets!); 230 W. 49th St.
10. MOVIE: Rear Window at the Central Park Conservancy Film Festival on August 22
What could be better than a summer stroll in Central Park? How about a free movie afterwards courtesy of the Master of Suspense, Alfred Hitchcock? In this classic thriller, Jimmy Stewart and Grace Kelly take part in the ultimate New York City pastime: spying on the neighbors. We’ve all done it. But we don’t usually stumble upon what looks like a murder in the process.
DETAILS: Gates at 6:30pm; movie begins at 8pm; free; Central Park between Sheep Meadow and the 72nd Street Cross Drive; centralparknyc.org
11. FOOD: 15th Annual Blues BBQ at Pier 84 on August 23
With the summer nearly over (sigh), why not start building your autumn body insulation early by indulging in some mouthwatering grub from three of the city’s top ‘cue kitchens (Dinosaur Bar-B-Que, Delaney and Mighty Quinn’s) while listening to some stellar blues and roots acts? This amazing annual music and meat extravaganza features a lineup worthy of its 15th anniversary with free performances by Big Sam’s Funky Nation, The Slide Brothers, Samantha Fish, Shemekia Copeland and John Németh.
DETAILS: 2pm; free; West 44th Street and the Hudson River; hudsonriverpark.org
12. MUSIC: Afropunk Festival at Commodore Barry Park August 23-24
This can’t-miss multi-cultural celebration features two days of local artwork, live music, food trucks and more in Brooklyn’s Commodore Barry Park. While it’s technically a free festival, since the diverse lineup includes big-name artists like D’Angelo, Body Count, Trash Talk and Meshell Ndegeocello, you might want to invest in a “Fast Pass” ticket to guarantee admission and avoid waiting in line in the sweltering sun.
DETAILS: All day; free admission with RSVP, $25 donation for a “Fast Pass” guaranteed admission; entrance at Navy Street and Flushing Avenue; afropunkfest.com
13. HISTORY: Battle of Brooklyn Day at Green-Wood Cemetery on August 24
Some 230 years before the battle of the hipsters vs. the hedge-funders, Brooklyn hosted a very different conflict between two equally hostile opposing forces: the patriots and the redcoats. Make your high school history teacher proud by commemorating the first Revolutionary War battle to take place after the signing of the Declaration of Independence with a day of re-enactments, canon fire, colonial cooking, trolley tours and more in beautiful Green-Wood Cemetery.
DETAILS: 10am-4pm; free entry including re-enactments and parade, $30 for trolley tours; 500 25th Street in Brooklyn; green-wood.com
14. SPORTS: The US Open at Billie Jean King National Tennis Center from August 25-September 8
Djokovic, Nadal, Federer, Wawrinka? Williams, Na, Halep, Kvitova? There’s no telling who will dominate in Center Court come September, but the journey begins this month as the best of the best players hit the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center for the final tournament in the Grand Slam. Get a grounds pass to catch as much of the early action as possible while minimizing damage to your wallet.
DETAILS: Sessions at 11am and 7pm; from $67; Flushing Meadows-Corona Park; usopen.org
15. MUSIC: Electric Zoo on Randall’s Island Park from August 29-31
If, like us, you’re feeling old this summer, why not search for the fountain of youth by spending Labor Day with the cool kids at this epic, three-day electronic music festival on Randall’s Island? Though last year’s concert was cut short by tragic drug overdoses, this year’s event promises to return triumphant with increased safety measures and a superstar lineup including David Guetta, Laidback Luke, Armin van Buuren, Zedd and Kaskade. Play safe and play on.
DETAILS: 1pm-11pm; tickets from $99 for a Friday Pass (includes transportation); ferries from East 35th Street Ferry Landing, shuttle buses from Harlem; electriczoofestival.com
For more ideas of what to do, check out our 50 Free Things to Do This Summer and our Daily 5, which features five of the best things to do in New York every day. Have an event you’d like us to list? Email firstname.lastname@example.org