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Chinatown Ice Cream Cone 2 | © Labyrinth X/Flickr
Chinatown Ice Cream Cone 2 | © Labyrinth X/Flickr
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Your Top 10 Guide To Essential Summer Activities In New York City

Picture of Carrie Cabral
Updated: 9 February 2017
Hoards of locals escape to the Hamptons while New York City floods with tourists in the summer months, but that doesn’t mean that summer slows the city down. New York’s sweltering heat may tempt you to stay indoors, but the city offers some of the best outdoor activities around. Beat the heat by having fun, and explore these 10 essential summer activities.

Pay A Visit To Coney Island

It may be an obvious destination, but Coney Island remains one of those must see spots in New York City. Charming and historic, who wouldn’t want to spend a Saturday afternoon at a place that smells like popcorn and funnel cake. Even if you’re not one for roller coasters or spinning teacups, Coney Island makes for a fun beach day getaway.

Cyclone - Coney Island | © Mark Houtzager/Flickr
Cyclone – Coney Island | © Mark Houtzager/Flickr

Go Kayaking

Contrary to popular belief, the Hudson River is not filled with quite as many radioactive toxins as legend would have it thanks to efforts made by the city and environmental groups to clean it up. Therefore, it’s suitable for water activities like kayaking. No need to travel all the way upstate when the Manhattan Kayak Company and New York Kayak Company offer the same opportunities on the Hudson all summer. Not only will kayaking give you a great tan, it’s also an awesome exercise alternative for the summer months with a pretty cool backdrop to boot.

Manhattan Kayak Company, 555 12th Avenue, New York, NY, USA +1 212 924 1788

New York Kayak Company, 40 Hudson River Greenway #10, New York, NY, USA +1 212 924 1327

Lower Manhattan - Viewed From Hudson River | © Jody Claborn/Flickr
Lower Manhattan – Viewed From Hudson River | © Jody Claborn/Flickr
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Score Tickets To Shakespeare In The Park

Every summer, The Public Theater puts on outdoor shows at the Delacorte Theater in Central Park. In 2016 you could catch Shakespeare in the Park’s production of Troilus and Cressida for free. Better yet, the company encourages the audience to bring their own food and beverages, just as long as you enjoy the show.

The Delacorte Theater, 81 Central Park West, New York, NY, USA +1 212 539 8500

Delacorte Theater 011 | © Kathleen Maher/Flickr

Delacorte Theater 011 | © Kathleen Maher/Flickr

Wander A Flea Market

The Brooklyn Flea boasts the largest number of flea market vendors and operates in neighborhoods like Fort Greene, Williamsburg, and Bushwick to offer locals a day of shopping and exploration. With great deals on one off items from clothing to tools and custom furniture, it’s easy to get lost in the rows of exciting finds. There are other great flea markets set up in Queens and Manhattan, so be sure to check them all out for a day of outdoor retail therapy.

Luggage-Van Fair | © Pedro Ribeiro Simões/Flickr
Luggage-Van Fair | © Pedro Ribeiro Simões/Flickr

Relax In Bryant Park

The HBO Summer Film Festival is one of the most highly anticipated outdoor events of the season. The festival is a favorite for groups of friends and date nights, and it offers spots to set up your picnic blankets starting at 5pm, and films start at 8pm. Bryant Park offers a plethora of outdoor activities from yoga to chess and Broadway in Bryant Park, so be sure to check their website for a full summer schedule.

Bryant Park, New York, NY, USA +1 212 768 4242

Bryant Park subway station | © m01229/Flickr
Bryant Park subway station | © m01229/Flickr

Explore A Street Fair

You may want to stick around for a weekend in New York because every neighborhood will have at least one street fair with vendors selling a variety of clothing, jewelry, crafts, and other goods, not to mention the amazing food like grilled corn. These street fairs are essentially huge block parties, and everyone is invited. A great way to meet other people in your neighborhood and support local small businesses and vendors, street fairs are an essential part of summer in NYC.

P5312955 | © Joy/Flickr
P5312955 | © Joy/Flickr

Ice Cream

It probably won’t fill your whole day, but going out for ice cream is a staple summer activity in every city. New York has several shops with specialty ice creams, including gelato shops and Italian ices. If locally sourced ingredients are your thing, stop by Blue Marble. Vegans can head to Ample Hills Creamery. It’s a refreshing way to end a day – or start it (or both).

Blue Marble Ice Cream, 186 Underhill Avenue, Brooklyn, NY, USA +1 718 399 6926

Ample Hills Creamery, 305 Nevins Street, Brooklyn, NY, USA +1 347 725 4061

Ici | © Neil Conway/Flickr
Ici | © Neil Conway/Flickr
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Have A Rooftop Drink

What could be better than drinking cocktails under the night sky with gorgeous city views. Rooftop drinks in New York City are a summer must, and the good news is that the city has no shortage of incredible venues. From Manhattan to Brooklyn and Queens, spaces like Penthouse 808, Sunset Lounge, Henry’s Rooftop Bar, and even the rooftop of the Metropolitan Museum of Art offer a range of casual to super trendy environments.

Penthouse 808, 8-08 Queens Plaza South, Long Island City, NY, USA +1 718 289 6118

View of Central Park from The Met's Rooftop | © Lydia Liu/Flickr

View of Central Park from The Met’s Rooftop | © Lydia Liu/Flickr

Take In A Baseball Game

Nothing says summer in New York quite like a baseball game. Both Citi Field and Yankee Stadium are accessible by subway, which beats the cost of parking (and time spent getting out of the parking lot). The Mets and Yankees both have new stadiums filled with fan favorite options for food, such as Shake Shack at Citi Field and Brother Jimmy’s BBQ at Yankee Stadium. Check out the teams’ calendars above to see what freebies are offered on what days, and watch out for special pre or post game events.

Citi Field, 123-01 Roosevelt Avenue, Flushing, NY, USA +1 718 507 8499

Yankee Stadium, 1 East 161st Street, Bronx, NY, USA +1 718 293 4300

Yankees | © Dex(07)/Flickr
Yankees | © Dex(07)/Flickr

Join A Sports League

It’s easy to stay fit in New York City at any time of year, but summer is a great time to join a sports team. With more than 1,700 parks, recreational, community, and competitive leagues have plenty of space to play. There are teams of all levels of competition, some with no commitment, and others with mandatory weekly practices. NYC Social maintains a website to sign up for teams and manage schedules. There’s an option for every sport or game from football to ultimate frisbee.