Free Summer Concerts in New York City

By: Lisa – Lisa@CheapInTheCity.com
Last Updated: June 7, 2018

Great music is a summer essential, and NYC has plenty of it. These are free outdoor concerts and shows found throughout the city that take place all summer long. Grab a blanket, some snacks, and rock out this summer.

Some tips: Show up early; the concerts fill up quickly. Wear comfortable shoes; you’ll be standing a lot. Bring something to read; you’ll be waiting a lot. Bring some water; you’ll be sweating a lot. Have fun!

Summer Stage:

When: All summer long
Where: All over the city

City Parks Foundation provides this amazing series of concerts. Summer stage offers everything from classical to rap. There are shows in all five boroughs and they take place all summer long. Check out the calendar for dates and bands.

Naumburg Orchestral Series at the Central Park Bandshell:

When: Tuesdays June through August at 7:30 p.m.
Where: Central Park just south of 72nd Street.

Want to class it up? Head out to the Central Park Bandshell for some classical music. Seating is first come first serve. Check out the schedule for more info.

Lincoln Center Out of Doors:

When: Late July through early August
Where: Guggenheim Bandshell in Damrosch Park can be found on West 62nd Street, west of the David H. Koch Theater, and between Columbus and Amsterdam Avenues.

Concerts from jazz and funk to gospel and R&B, you’ll find it all. New artists will be featured. Opening act on July 24th will feature RZA - Live from 36th Chamer of Shalion!

Madison Square Music:

When: Wednesdays, during the month of July at varying times.
Where: Madison Square Park

The Oval Lawn series features nationally touring groups and eclectic genres, while the Above Ground Series features an array of NYC performers.

River to River:

When: The month of June on varying dates and times
Where: 40 unique sites across lower Manhattan

Enjoy free outdoor music in Lower Manhattan at several locations. A full schedule of concerts and locations can be found on their website.

Met Opera in the Park - Summer Recital Series:

When: Various days and times during the month of June.
Where: Multiple locations.

Get a taste of opera at one of these six free performances at parks across the five boroughs. Grab your friends, a blanket, and some snacks and settle in for an evening of free opera.

Celebrate Brooklyn!:

When: The month of June at varying times.
Prospect Park Bandshell near 9th Street.

This is one of my favorite. Not only do you have great music but a lot of companies come out and give away free swag. There is also food and beer available for purchase. Come out and celebrate all that Brooklyn has to offer. There are often several different performances each day. Please note that some of these events are free and others require tickets. Check the calendar on their website for exact dates and times.

GMA Summer Concert Series:

When: Mid May through August at 7am.
Where: Rumsey Playfield via the 72nd Street entrance on Fifth Avenue

This is a great way to see some popular acts for free. Every Friday in the summer, Good Morning America hosts live performances in Central Park. Gates open at 6am (and yes, if you want to see, you better be there EARLY) and performances are usually between 7am and 9am. But note, each act only plays a few songs. Bring a book and some comfortable shoes. This usually involves a lot of standing around and waiting. You also have the option to try and get tickets by kining their virtual wait list. Find out more on thei website.

Today Show Concert Series:

When: June through August on varying days. Be there by 5am!
Where: Arrive at 48th Street betweern 5th and 6th.

Another great way to see some of today’s most popular acts. Most performances are on Fridays but check the site for the most up-to-date performance schedule. Fans are asked to arrive at 48th Street betweern 5th and 6th no later than 5am (yep, another early one!) for best viewing. Again, each act will play only a few songs and there might be a lot of standing around and waiting, but hey, it’s free! And you might even be on TV! You don't need advanced tickets to get in, but if you want a chance (although slim) to see the artist up close and personal, enter their lotto system on their website. Good luck!

Concerts in NYC Public Parks:

When: June through August on varying days and times
Where: In NYC Parks all over the city

One thing NYC has a lot of, is parks. The parks department has 69 (lol) concerts throughout the five boroughs this summer. Everything from Jazz, folk, classic rock, rap and more! Stop by their summer concerts web page for dates, times and artists.