July is one of the most popular months to visit New York, and for good reason. The hot weather is perfect for enjoying the city’s parks and outdoor attractions, plus there are countless festivals and concerts. Visitors can also enjoy seasonal, summer-only activities- like free kayaking and outdoor movie nights! From firework extravaganzas to the best beaches in New York, here are some of the coolest things to do in New York in July!
Weather in NYC in July
July is the hottest month in New York, reaching an average temperature of 85 degrees during the day. But the highs can hit 90 degrees and up. At night, the temperature is barely milder because of the urban heat island effect. On a good night, maybe mid-70s or low 80s.
However, the AC will be blasting everywhere. So bring a cardigan for that, especially on the train or indoors like at a movie theatre where it can feel cold.
July is also the rainest month in NYC. The humidity may also be at an all-time high from mid-July through mid-September. Thus, there could be some afternoon thunderstorms during your visit, though they usually pass by quickly. So pack an umbrella!
Practical Tips When Traveling to New York in July
- Waiting for the Subway can get extremely hot and sweaty. Take an Uber if you’re sensitive to heat on days when the trains are slower (like weekends).
- But then the inside is blasting AC, so wear a sweater if it’s a long train ride or if you’re a woman to avoid creepy men. We call them modesty shirts (check number 15 on this NYC fashion guide).
- The easiest and most affordable way to get around NYC is with the subway, and you can pay for rides by tapping your credit card or Smartphone. Counting from Monday, after 12 subway rides, you ride free for the rest of the week- otherwise, individual rides are $2.75.
- Since July is peak-high season, crowds will be abundant, especially at popular tourist attractions. Try to get an early start, and not only will you be rewarded with fewer people, but you’ll also get to explore the city before the heat sets in.
- Wear an umbrella not just for the rain, but for the sun! A UV umbrella works wonders.
Things to Do in New York in July
With summer in full swing, you’ll have no shortage of events in July. Dozens of outdoor festivals begin in NYC in June, and by July the city is completely thriving with celebrations and festivities. From outdoor movie festivals and culinary feasts, to poetry events and concerts in the park- everyday offers a completely new, exciting experience. While the choices are endless, we’ve narrowed down a few our favorite things to do in NYC in July.
1. Visit the Hidden Gem Parks
With crowds at their peak, July is the perfect time to explore some of the city’s lesser-known parks. When you need a break from the city’s hustle, head to one of these peaceful green spaces for an easy reset.
- Prospect Park: If you’re in Brooklyn, head to Prospect Park for an idyllic afternoon. This expansive park houses a boat house, botanical garden, stunning lake, and enough green space to nearly make you forget that you’re in a busy metropolis.
- Fort Tryon: Located in Northern Manhattan, Fort Tryon is a stunning park along the Hudson River, where you can take in breathtaking views while visiting the city’s largest garden. Art lovers will especially love this park, as it’s also home to The Cloisters- a branch of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, centered on medieval arts.
- Domino Park: Previously an industrial production plant, Domino Park is now a gorgeous, 5-ace park along the East River in Williamsburg. Featuring an elevated walkway, bocce and volleyball courts, a taco stand, and inviting promenade, this unique park is the perfect place to relax in Brooklyn while enjoying stunning views of Manhattan’s cityscape.
- Central Park: This one may not be a hidden gem- but it wouldn’t feel right to not mention New York City’s most iconic park. While Central Park may be the city’s most popular park, it’s so massive that it rarely feels too crowded. Picnic in Sheep Meadow, stroll around the historic Bethesda Terrace, or take a rowboat out on Central Park Lake- the options are truly endless.
2. Rooftop Vineyard Dinners, Yoga & Movie Nights
As possibly the first urban rooftop vineyard in the world, Rooftop Reds is a unique, New York City experience. This gorgeous rooftop within the Brooklyn Navy Yard is the perfect place to sample delicious wines and mouth-watering pizza while enjoying striking city views. But the fun doesn’t end there- the venue also hosts movie nights, yoga classes, and other fun events throughout the summer. Keep an eye on their website for everything they have planned for July.
3. Hudson River Cruises
- Manhattan Island Cruise: July is the best time to take in the breathtaking NYC skyline from the water. Soak in the warm weather while admiring the views of some of the city’s most iconic sights- including the Statue of Liberty, Brooklyn Bridge, and Empire State Building. This tour lasts over two hours, and takes you around all of Manhattan Island. An informative guide will be there to teach you about Manhattan’s history, and food and beverages will be available for purchase.
- Romantic Dinner Cruise: If you’re looking for something more romantic, this three-hour cruise on an all-glass boat includes a delicious 3-course dinner and live jazz music, while floating through both the East and Hudson Rivers.
- Sailing Experience: If you’re an architecture lover, you might prefer this 1920’s style yacht, which passes by NYC’s top landmarks. This cruise includes one drink, and food is available for purchase.
- Sunset Sail: Sail down the Hudson River on a magnificent schooner cruise. On this 2-hour ride, you’ll sail past some of the city’s most famous landmarks as the sun begins to set. Champagne, wine, or beer are included; you’re welcome to bring snacks.
4. July Food Markets in NYC
New York’s many food markets are a perfect way to discover and support local businesses, while getting to sample delicious food from around the globe.
- Bronx Night Market: Taking place in Fordham Plaza on the last Saturday of the month, this large open-air market is filled with vendors selling mouth-watering cuisines of all kinds. Seventy percent of the vendors are female, LGBTQIA, people of color, or immigrants- making it an especially inclusive event to support.
- Smorgasburg: As the biggest open-air food market in the United States, Smorgasburg is a culinary experience that New Yorkers flock to every weekend in the summer. The popular market is held along the Williamsburg waterfront every Saturday, and in Prospect Park on Sundays, with over 65 vendors present each weekend.
- Uptown Night Market: Over 7,000 people come to experience this monthly market and sample delectable tastings from a diverse range of vendors. Held under the arches in West Harlem, every other Thursday, this is the perfect festival to listen to live music and celebrate delicious cuisine from around the world!
- Queens Night Market: Taking place every Saturday from 5pm to midnight, the Queens Night Market showcases 100 different vendors, selling everything from incredible food to artisanal jewelry and crafts. There are always cultural performances to enjoy as well, making this an ideal event for a night of food, culture and entertainment.
5. Bike the West Side Highway
Manhattan’s West Side Highway is one of the most popular places to go for a bike ride in NYC. Situated along the Hudson River, this two lane bike path will reward you with breathtaking views while you get your workout in. Grab a bike from a nearby Citi Bike Station, or rent one in Hudson River Park, at Pier 84. Remember, July is very hot in the city, so don’t forget your water for this one!
6. Rooftop Pools
The heat in NYC in July can be relentless, and spending the day at one of the city’s many rooftop pools is a perfect way to cool off!
- Gansevoort Hotel: With 360-degree views of Manhattan, this heated rooftop pool in the Meatpacking District epitomizes luxury. The pool is only available to hotel guests, so if you’re staying at the Gansevoort, be sure to take advantage of this exclusive NYC experience!
- Royalton Park Ave: Placed on the 20th floor of the Royalton Park Ave, this luxurious rooftop pool awards guests with stunning views of the Empire State Building. If you’re not staying at the hotel, you can still spend the day here, though you must make a reservation in advance.
- 1 Hotel Brooklyn Bridge: Harriet’s Rooftop is a luxury rooftop bar within 1 Hotel Brooklyn Bridge, where you’ll find a breathtaking pool deck and plunge pool directly facing downtown Manhattan’s skyline. If you’re not a hotel guest, you’ll have to check availability in advance and have a 2-hour limit in the pool.
- The Williamsburg Hotel: This rooftop pool in one of Brooklyn’s trendiest hotels offers stunning views of Manhattan while you beat the heat. The pool and terrace is open to the public, though you’ll need to reserve a chair, daybed, or cabana in advance.
7. Summerstage Festival
Summerstage is a summer-long Central Park music festival featuring free and benefit concerts. It’s one of New Yorkers’ most beloved summer events and an especially fun way to enjoy live music without spending tons of money. The lineup is different each year and always features a range of performances and genres, so keep an eye on their website for the current schedule. Bring your picnic blanket and be prepared to line up early for the free shows- as this is one of the most popular things to do in New York in July.
- Location: Central Park
- Admission: FREE
- Dates: July 10, 2023 & July 22, 2023
8. Free Kayaking
If you love being out on the water, then kayaking is one of the best things to do in NYC in July. Even better, it’s often a completely free activity!
- Hudson River on Pier 26: Experience the world’s largest free kayaking program at the Downtown Boathouse on Pier 26. No reservations are required; just hop on the line when you arrive, listen to a brief introduction, and then enjoy 20 minutes out on the bay.
- Canoeing the Bronx River: Paddling down the Bronx River might be one of the most unique ways to get out on the water in NYC. Prior experience is not necessary, and various options are offered, from a free, 15 minute community paddle to 3 hours along the estuary. Your starting point will depend on which experience you choose.
- Brooklyn Bridge Park: From Pier 2 in the Brooklyn Bridge Park, admire sweeping views of the city while kayaking along the East River. Available on Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays, kayak rentals are free, but pre-registration is required.
- Kayak Staten Island: Kayak Staten Island offers free kayak excursions every summer. Head to 850 Page Ave in Staten Island for their free walk up program, where you’ll be able to get out on the water for 20 minutes. Stunning sunset excursions are also available, for a $10 donation.
9. Fourth of July Fireworks
Every year, millions gather to watch an unforgettable fireworks display over the New York City skyline on July 4th. There are countless places to enjoy this stunning spectacle, which typically begins at 9:30 pm.
- Brooklyn Bridge Park: For an unrivaled view, head to Brooklyn Bridge Park to witness the impressive fireworks displayed against the iconic backdrop of the NYC skyline. Pack a picnic blanket and head to DUMBO early to find a perfect spot to view the spectacle.
- FDR Drive: With the Macy’s 4th of July Fireworks taking place along the East River, FDR Drive is considered the official viewing point for the event. Access points can be found at East 23rd, 34th, and 42nd street- and all are expected to be crowded, so definitely arrive as early as you can.
- Domino Park: Situated along the East River, this serene park on the Williamsburg waterfront is the perfect place to admire the fireworks display. It also places you in the middle of a vibrant Brooklyn neighborhood, in case you want to keep the party going after the show.
- Coney Island: For an Independence Day you’re guaranteed to not forget, make your way to Coney Island, where you can witness the annual Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest before viewing their impressive fireworks show. The fireworks usually begin around 9:30 pm, and you can watch them from the boardwalk or on the beach.
10. Jazz Series at Pier 84 & Pier 45
Summer comes alive in the Hudson River Park each year, thanks to their free jazz series. Every Wednesday on Pier 84, talented jazz musicians perform against the backdrop of the river.
On Fridays, pack your picnic and enjoy their weekly Sunset on the Hudson series on Pier 45. Listen to incredible live music while enjoying unparalleled sunset views over the river. Keep an eye on the full July lineup for both piers.
- Location: Pier 84 & Pier 45
- Admission: FREE
- Dates: July 6 & July 20, 2023
11. NYC Beaches + Surfing
Enjoying a beach day is one of the best things to do in NYC in July. Take the Q train down to Brighton Beach for a day in the sand, while being immersed in the area’s Eastern European community. From here, you’re also close to Coney Island’s iconic boardwalk and amusement park.
Alternatively, take the ferry to Fort Tilden, a former military site that is now a beautiful beach featuring multiple trails. You’ll also be walking distance to Breezy Point, one of the best beaches in New York, although it is unfortunately not open to the public.
If you’re a surfer, then take the A train to Rockaway Beach– the only legal beach to surf from in NYC. The waves are suitable for beginners to pros, but can get pretty crowded- especially on the weekends.
12. Summer on the Hudson
Every year, a summer-long, outdoor arts and culture festival takes over Riverside Park. Summer on the Hudson hosts a mix of concerts, movies, dance performances, DJ parties, wellness activities, and events for kids. Attendance is completely free and there is no registration required, so feel free to just show up and take part in all the fun. Keep an eye out for the festival’s list of events and activities scheduled for July.
- Location: 59th Street to 181st Street along the Hudson River
- Admission: FREE
- Dates: To be Announced
13. Harlem Meer Performance Festival
Held by the Central Park Conservancy, the Harlem Meer Performance Festival has been celebrating incredible, local talent for the past 30 years. Always held in Central Park, the festival hosts a variety of multicultural dance, music, and entertainment performances. The event is completely free, and takes place every Sunday in July, from 2-4 pm. It’s one of the best ways to celebrate the arts, and the summer, when you’re in NYC.
- Location: Central Park
- Admission: FREE
- Dates: July 16, 23, 30, 2023 through August
14. New York City Poetry Festival
If you’re a poetry lover, then don’t miss out on the New York City Poetry Festival. Every year, this two day event brings together the largest community of poets in the country. Held in Governor’s Island, poetry organizations and collectives of all sizes come together to share their talents with one another. The event is free and open to the public, so take the ferry over and enjoy a day of literary inspiration in a unique, peaceful setting.
- Location: Colonels Row, Governors Island
- Admission: FREE
- Dates: July 29 + 30, 2023 | 11:00 AM – 6:00 PM
15. Brooklyn Museum First Saturdays
One of the best ways to beat the heat in July is to visit one of our many museums. If you’re visiting on the first Saturday of the month, then take advantage of Brooklyn Museum First Saturdays, a monthly event where the Brooklyn Museum opens its doors for free. Beginning at 5pm, you can visit the exhibits at no cost, as well as enjoy various performances, talks, screenings and dancing.
Luckily, even if you’re not here on the first Saturday of the month, there are plenty of other free museums in NYC to check out.
16. Riverflicks Movie Nights at Hudson River Park
One of the best things to do in NYC during the summer months is to take advantage of all the free outdoor movie screenings. Riverlicks Movie Nights is one of my favorites, taking place in Hudson River Park, along Piers 46 and 63. The films are always either classics taking place in New York, or recently released, family-friendly movies. Get there early to find a prime viewing spot, especially to catch a magical sunset over the river before the film begins.
17. Giglio Feast
If you’re looking for a day of fun, festivities, and mouth-watering food, then make your way to Williamsburg’s Giglio Feast. Taking place over 12 days, this festival takes over the neighborhood with rides, games, and food vendors to celebrate Italian culture and heritage. The most famous part of the festival is The Dancing of the Giglio, where hundreds dance down the streets, led by a seven-story Giglio structure. It’s a one-of-a-kind festival that you-and your taste buds- won’t want to miss.
- Location: Williamsburg, Brooklyn
- Admission: FREE
- Dates: July 5-16, 2023
18. Waterfront Restaurants & Breweries
July is the perfect month to enjoy New York City’s many waterfront restaurants and breweries. Not only will you eat well, but you couldn’t ask for a more idyllic setting on the water.
- Strong Rope Red Hook: Strong Rope Red Hook is a casual brewery in Red Hook, Brooklyn, situated on the water and loved by locals. Enjoy an unmatched sunset view from their long picnic tables while sampling their many beers on tap.
- Brooklyn Crab: Also located in Red Hook, Brooklyn Crab is a must for seafood lovers. Not only does this huge crab shack offer delicious seafood, it also has an 18-hole mini golf course, three cornhole courts, and a gorgeous view of the water.
- Grand Banks: Situated on the deck of a historic schooner ship on Pier 25, Grand Banks offers sustainably sourced oysters and decadent cocktails, all with breathtaking views of the Hudson River. The luxurious setting is hard to beat, but keep in mind, it comes with a high price tag.
- The Baylander: Housed on a 1968 aircraft carrier docked on the Hudson River, The Baylander is one of New York’s most unique waterfront restaurants. Head to West Harlem to dine al fresco at this casual bar and restaurant, which is known for their delicious cocktails.
20. Roosevelt Island Tramway
For a birds-eye-view of the city, take the Roosevelt Island Tramway to Roosevelt Island. This 4 minute ride takes you over the East River, beginning on 59th Street and 2nd Avenue, providing you with sweeping views before arriving in Roosevelt Island. Once you’re here, explore Lighthouse Park for a breathtaking view of Manhattan, check out the Renwick Ruin- a former smallpox hospital, or roam around the Octagon Tower, which used to be an insane asylum. Since the tram runs every 7-15 minutes, getting back to Manhattan will be seamless.
21. Long Island Day Trips
With countless wineries, beaches and charming towns on Long Island to explore, July is a perfect time to visit. Day trips to Long Island are easy thanks to the LIRR, which provides regular train service to and from NYC.
- Long Island Wine Country: With 57 different wine producers, wine lovers will have no problem finding a vineyard to explore in Long Island. Long Island Wine Country is spread throughout three different regions, although the majority of wineries can be found in the North Fork. The train ride takes a little over two hours, and you’ll be heavily rewarded with delicious wine upon your arrival.
- Montauk: Montauk is a charming town on the Easternmost end of Long Island, where you’ll find breathtaking beaches and hiking trails, the historic Montauk Point Lighthouse, and delicious, fresh seafood restaurants. The train ride can take anywhere from 3 to 4 hours, but this idyllic hamlet is well worth the ride.
- Greenport + Shelter Island: Greenport is a charming, historic fishing village located on the North Fork, that also serves as a gateway to Shelter Island- an endearing town reached only by ferry. Between Greenport and Shelter Island, you’ll find numerous wineries, get to try oyster shucking, and even visit a gorgeous lavender field. If you’re hoping to get out on the water, you’re in luck, as this area is also one of the best places to go kayaking on Long Island.
22. Upstate New York Day Trips
With warm weather and consistently blue skies, July is the perfect month to check out one of the many day trips from NYC. From beautiful hikes to experiencing small town charm, Upstate NY is perfect when you need a quick break from the city.
- Beacon, NY: There are so many things to do in Beacon, NY, a picturesque town along the Hudson River. You can spend the day hiking through Mount Beacon Park, explore the delightful boutique shops along Main Street (Binnacle Books is my personal favorite), or dine at one of the many popular restaurants in town.
- Woodstock, NY: Just over two hours from NYC, Woodstock is a popular choice for New Yorkers seeking a day in the Catskills. While the town itself is very charming, the big draw is Kaaterskill Falls, a breathtaking waterfall on Spruce Creek, reached by a 1.4 mile round trip hike.
- Cold Spring, NY: Not far from Beacon, Cold Spring is another lovely town along the Hudson River. Although there are many things to do in Cold Spring, hiking is one of its main attractions. Some of the most popular hikes in the area are Anthony’s Nose, Bull Hill, and the Breakneck Ridge Loop.
23. NYC’s July Flea Markets
If you’re looking for a one-of-a-kind souvenir to commemorate your trip to NYC, then head to one of the city’s many flea markets, often selling artisanal crafts, antiques, and vintage items.
- Brooklyn Flea Market: The Brooklyn Flea is Brooklyn’s largest flea market, known for vintage pieces, antiques and crafts made by local artisans. The market is held every weekend, under the Manhattan Bridge in DUMBO.
- Bushwick Flea Market: The Bushwick Flea Market is open everyday, and sells a variety of plants, jewelry, antiques and vintage items. It’s located right off the Jefferson stop on the L train, in a lively area filled with impressive street art, so it’s worth exploring the neighborhood once you’re done shopping.
- Grand Bazaar NYC: Located on the Upper West Side and open only on Sundays, Grand Bazaar is NYC’s oldest and largest flea market- and one that you can feel good about supporting. The market’s mission is to highlight independent local vendors, and the organizers donate all their profits to four local public schools.
- The Hester Street Fair: The Hester Street Fair is a popular downtown market located on Pier 17, held every weekend in July. With an aim to support local artists and entrepreneurs, this market hosts dozens of creative vendors selling jewelry, crafts, clothing and more.
- Chelsea Flea: Run by the same team as Brooklyn Flea, the Chelsea Flea hosts 135 vendors, and is open every weekend on West 25t Street. Antique lovers can find vendors selling historic items, antique jewelry, and vintage cameras, among many other treasures.
24. Governor’s Island
Only a 10 minute ferry ride from lower Manhattan, a day on Governor’s Island will almost make you forget you’re in the city- aside from the stunning NYC skyline views. You can rent bikes to explore the island, check out public art installations, or simply enjoy all the quiet green space.
Governor’s Island also hosts numerous events throughout the summer, and you can even spend the night glamping here! Whether you’re coming for a few hours or overnight, Governor’s Island is well worth a visit.
25. Outdoor Spas
Exploring the city can be a lot, so why not treat yourself to a spa day while you’re here?
- QC NY Spa is an outdoor spa located on Governors Island, where you can pamper yourself while admiring striking views of the Manhattan skyline.
- Sojo Spa Club is a Korean bath house just across the river in New Jersey, featuring heated thermal pools, baths, saunas, and luxury treatments.
- In Brooklyn, cityWell is an affordable, boutique bathhouse with an outdoor cedar sauna, steam room, outdoor lounging area, and more.
26. Bryant Park Film Festival
Over the summer, Bryant Park hosts a free movie screening every Monday evening. Hundreds flock to the park’s lawn to picnic under the stars for this weekly movie night. The films vary in genre and change every year, so keep an eye on Bryant Park’s website for July’s schedule. The film begins at 8, but the lawn opens at 5, so try to get there early to get a good spot!
27. Shakespeare in the Park
Held annually in Central Park, Shakespeare in the Park is one of the city’s most beloved summer events. Every year, one to two classic Shakespeare plays are performed, and tickets are entirely free- though they do need to be reserved in advance. Enter an online lottery for tickets, or spend your morning in line outside the theater for first come, first serve tickets on the day of the show. If you’re a theater lover visiting New York in July, then this is one event you definitely won’t want to miss.
28. Outdoor Tours from NYC (with transportation!)
Don’t want to drive nor plan a getaway? Then book a guided tour leaving from the city and taking you and your friends (or just you) on a group tour to the outdoors near NYC.
- Whitewater Rafting: Why not go Whitewater rafting on the Lehigh River? Only 2 hours from NYC, the river runs through a beautiful, pristine gorge. You’ll get to spend 3-4 hours rafting down Class II and Class III rapids. The tour includes transport to/from NYC, life vest, raft + paddle hire, and lunch.
- River Tubing: Just a short drive from NYC, you’ll find the Delaware River where you can enjoy river tubing. This tour, will pick you up from NYC and take you to the river where you’ll get to enjoy 2-hours of tubing. Afterwards, you’ll get to enjoy lunch and visit The Drowned Lands Brewery where you’ll get to enjoy a 12oz beer.
- Go Karting: You could also consider this go-karting day trip where you’ll get to enjoy 2 go-karting sessions plus 1 hour of other fun activities such as axe throwing and 10 arcade tickets for 1 hour of arcade games. The tour includes lunch and transport to/from Manhattan.
- Kayaking & Wine Tasting: Another great option is this kayaking and wine tasting day trip. You’ll go kayaking on the Delaware River, where you’ll spend 2-2.5 hours kayaking through beautiful scenery. After, you’ll enjoy a picnic lunch then head off to a winery where you’ll get to enjoy tasting 5 different wines. Kayak hire, and round-trip transportation is included.
- Long Island Wine Tour: If you’re looking for a wine-tasting tour you could consider this wine tasting tour to Long Island. You’ll get to taste 10-12 different wines, at 3 different award-winning wineries in Long Island. The wine tasting includes transportation, a guide and lunch.
About the Author: Shea Glaser
Shea was born in NYC and has called the city home for most of her life. Her work as a travel-focused content creator has taken her around the globe, but her heart always brings her back home to New York City. You can usually find her drinking coffee in Brooklyn, hiking somewhere Upstate, or running up to pet a stranger’s dog. Follow her on Instagram @sheaglaser.