Free Summer Events in New York City

By: Josh –
Last Updated: July 11, 2015

To submit your free summer event, send us a quick email including the event name, location, dates, times and a brief paragraph or a flyer describing the event. If the event passes our “cheapdar” and seems to be something our readers may be interested in, it shouldn’t take long for your event to be posted.

Housing Works Open Air Street Fair

June 7 10am - 7pm

Crosby Street is turned into an open air market, stocked with books, movies, CDs and records, usually for $1 or less. Plus they have all-you-can-stuff bags of clothes for just $20. If you’re not in the mood to shop, there’s free live music by local bands, as well as beer and BBQ for cheap.

Shakespeare in the Park

May 27th- July 5th and July 23rd-August 23rd, 8pm

For the 2015 Season, the Public Theater presents The Tempest and Cymbeline. These are AMAZING shows, usually with a few famous faces on the stage, and a great way to see some great theater. Tickets can only be reserved on the day of the show and you must pick them up at the theater in Central Park, so get there early. Lines have started as early as 6am. They also now have a virtual lottery for tickets on the day of each performance. Submit your ticket request before noon on the day of the show and skip the lines. Those who will be given tickets will be notified via email. You can get guaranteed tickets by making a $175 donation to the Public Theater.

Taste of Times Square

June 1 - 5pm to 9pm (just in time for dinner!)

Tons of top NYC restaurants will be offering great food at this outdoor food and music festival. There will even be live entertainment and special musical guests.

The event is free, but dishes vary from $1 to $5. Not too shabby for gourmet dishes! But get there early. All the best dishes will go fast.

Broadway in Bryant Park:

Thursdays at the Bryant Park Lawn, 12:30-1:30 from July 9th-August 13th

Check out the biggest hits from some of Broadway’s most popular shows. There are often contests to win free Broadway tickets at these events. 

Museum Mile Festival

June 9th 6pm to 9pm

You know all those amazing NYC museums that you keep swearing you’ll check out one of these days? I think the Museum Mile Festival on June 9, 2015 should be that day! Nine museums, including the Met, the Guggenheim, Cooper Hewitt design museum and the Museum of New York City, are open to the public FREE from 6pm to 9pm. Plus the streets are closed to traffic and there’s a ton of live bands, entertainment and street artists along 5th Avenue between 82nd and 105th. There’s even a ton of art activities for kids. If you’ve thought about checking out any of these museums, this is a great way to get a little taste.

Come Out and Play Festival

July 17th,18th

Just because we’re adults, doesn’t mean we don’t like to play games . For one ngith and one day this summer, the Come Out and Play festival presents original games in DUMBO and on Governors Island.

On July 18th, Come Out and Play AFTER DARK will turn the streets of DUMBO into one giant playground with social and arcade-style games lasting into the wee hours of the morning.

On July 19th, Come Out and Play moves to Governors Island where Field Day will take place. Expect dodge ball and other outdoor daytime games to take place.

Solstice in Times Square

June 21st, all day

What better way to welcome the summer sun than a sun salutation at Summer Solstice Yoga in Times Square? This is an all day FREE event for Yogis of all levels to start summer off right. They have a full day of classes with any type of yoga you can think of, plus get a goody bag full of free swag and coupons for tons of yoga studios, spas, and gyms around the city. But remember, you must register in advance.

Coney Island Mermaid Parade

June 20th at 1pm

The Mermaid Parade is another “only in New York” tradition to celebrate the sand, sea and the start of summer. People (barely) dressed in mermaid, fish and other under-the-sea costumes crowd the streets to celebrate King Neptune and the Mermaid Queen at this annual festival. This over the top parade attracts all sorts of street performers, artists, and general craziness that is sure to make for a fun day!

The parade starts at W 21st St and Surf Ave but go totheir websitefor more information on the route and the best places to see the parade.

Nathan’s Coney Island Hotdog Eating Contest

July 4th at noon

What goes better with fireworks than hotdogs? The Nathan’s Hotdog Eating Contest is a New York Tradition. Watch the professionals stuff their faces full of hotdogs, and enjoy all that Coney Island has to offer. But if you want to actually SEE, you may want to get there early. The contest takes place at Stillwell Ave at Surf Ave in Coney Island.

City of Water Day Festival

July 18th from 10 – 4pm

Want to take a FREE harbor boat tour? We’ve found the perfect event for you. The City of Water Day festival, founded to celebrate the New York Harbor, offers free ferry rides to and from Governors Island and Liberty State park. There’s also live music, great food vendors, and tons of activities for kids. So get on out and enjoy the New York City waterfront!

Bastille Day

July 12th,12-5pm

Celebrate French culture (and eat a TON of French food) at this outdoor street fair. Stop by for everything from wine and cheese tastings and crepes to authentic French music and art on 60th St between 5th Ave and Lexington Ave. Oui! Oui! 

Summer Streets

August 1st, 8th, 15th from 7am to 1pm

Any runner knows that variety is the spice of life. How many times can you REALLY run around Central Park and not be bored out of your mind? Summer Streets is the answer to your summer workout blues. Police shut down Park Ave from Central Park to Brooklyn Bridge and walkers, joggers, bikers and skaters are free to roam the streets without the threat of getting run over by a taxi. There are usually a few sponsors out there with some free goodies and music as well as free yoga and other classes. It’s like a concrete oasis.