12 Things to Do in NYC This Summer

There are plenty of guides that list the prime spots to hit in New York during fall, spring and winter, but there truly is nothing like summer in the city. From amusement park fun to free movies and shows, here are just a few of the opportunities you can take advantage of this summer in the city that never sleeps. 

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Take a stroll on The High Line

Originally part of the West Side Improvement Project, the High Line was a rail system that first opened to trains in 1934. After the rise of the interstate trucking industry, the line was officially closed in 1980. Fast forward three decades and now the High Line is one of Chelsea's trendiest attractions. Spanning from Gansevoort Street all the way to West 34th Street, the park creates a perfect green getaway in the heart of the concrete jungle complete with food trucks, art, music and more. 

See the skyline from Gantry Plaza State Park

This 12-acre haven situated on the banks of Long Island City is just a quick subway ride away from Midtown and offers the best panoramic view of the Manhattan skyline any time of day. 

Spend the day at Coney Island

This crowded Brooklyn hot spot is home to the Coney Island Wonder Wheel, the Cyclone rollercoaster and countless other famous attractions that have entertained millions of tourists over the last century. Coney Island showcases many decades of history and growth and is the perfect place to spend a sunny summer day away from Manhattan. Its newest attraction, Luna Park, opened in 2010 and boasts thrills of a new generation, including new rollercoasters, water rides, carnival-style games and more. 

Score a ticket to Shakespeare in the Park

This beloved event takes place every summer in Central Park's Delacorte Theater and often features some of Broadway's and Hollywood's biggest stars. You can score free tickets by waiting in line, winning the digital lottery, or make a donation to the Public Theatre to secure a reserved seat. 

Compete in Nathan's Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest

Considering the reigning champion, Joey Chesnut, averages about 70 hot dogs per competition, competing may be a bit of a stretch for most people. However, being part of the crowd to witness this century-old event is definitely a unique way to spend a day in the city. Grab a hot dog and watch the contestants battle it out for the coveted Mustard Belt this Fourth of July on Coney Island.

Grab a famous freakshake

Why settle for a normal milkshake or ice cream cone when you could have your cake and eat it too? Literally. The freakshake craze has taken the world by storm over the last couple of years and continues to gain popularity every day. Each shake comes towering with candy, cake and sometimes even doughnuts. No matter what toppings you're searching for, you can find them somewhere in the city. Pick your favorite and head there when you need to cool off on a hot day.

Watch Macy's 4th of July Fireworks

There is no better way to celebrate Independence Day than watching this wondrous firework display over the East River. For the last 41 years, Macy's has produced the patriotic showcase, featuring a star-studded performance lineup, an original musical score, local music groups and more.  

Take a trip to Brighton Beach

One of the most diverse neighborhoods around the city, this unique Brooklyn beach community is the perfect place for a day trip. Whether it's sand, sea, food, shopping or theater, Brighton Beach has something for everyone to enjoy

Go kayaking on the Hudson

Looking for a unique and fun way to see the city? Look no further. For those wanting to embrace their adventurous side, book a kayaking trip on the Hudson River. There are tours available for every skill level from professionals to people who have never touched a paddle. They also offer stand up paddle boarding tours for those brave enough to try. 

Have a picnic in Sheep Meadow

Having a picnic in Central Park is perhaps the most cliche way to spend a summer day, but hey, it's New York. Everything is a cliche, especially when you're a tourist. Pack up the whole family and head on out to Sheep Meadow for a day of fun in the city sun. 

Catch a movie in Bryant Park

The HBO Bryant Park Summer Film Festival offers the perfect opportunity to have movie night without paying the price. This free event draws thousands of New Yorkers each summer, showcasing a different film on one night every week. 

Spend an evening at a rooftop bar

New York's lively rooftop bar scene presents a perfect and fun opportunity to see the city from new heights. There are hundreds to pick from, each of them offering something unique for patrons to enjoy. What better way to spend a warm summer night?