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20 Incredible Things to do in New York City in July (Festivals + Events 2024)

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In July, New York City bursts with summer vibes, offering a plethora of fun activities. The challenging part is deciding which ones to do. From Central Park to sunsets on the pier, your summer-time options are truly endless.

The days get longer, drinks get colder and everyone is looking for something to get into. If you’re lucky enough to be visiting New York City in July I’m here to help. I’ll serve as your friend in the city, pointing you in the direction of all the fun events, festivals and things to do in NYC in July.

I hope you packed your sunscreen and drank plenty of water because we’ll hit the ground running. Without further ado, here are the best things to do in New York City in July.

Visiting New York City? If you haven’t decided where to stay (yet) check out our helpful guide on Where to Stay in New York City (10 Best Neighborhoods +3 to Avoid). Don’t have time? Here’s our favorite hotel in NYC, hands down.

Things to Do in New York City in July

Table of Contents: Things to Do NYC in July

Front Row Fireworks, 4th of July in NYC
Image Courtesy Front Row Fireworks

Celebrate the Fourth of July

Date: July 4, 2024

The Fourth of July in New York City is a party in every sense of the word. From one of the greatest firework shows in the country to going bottoms-up on a rooftop bar, Independence Day is a hoot.

We have a full Fourth of July in New York City Guide on our site to help you make the most of the day. Be sure to give it a gander for recommendations on the best private parties, free places to see the fireworks and things to do with kids.

Nonetheless, if you need something short and sweet here’s what you need to know: The Macy’s Fourth of July Firework Show in New York City takes place on the East River a little before 9:30PM. The show is the beating heart of Independence Day celebrations. You can view it for free at one of the designated viewpoints or attend one of the dozens of private viewing parties.

moving to NYC

Catch the Last Manhattanhenge of 2024

Date: July 11th & 12, 2024

Listen up folks, if you are looking for things to do in New York City in July that will blow your mind, look no more. There’s a well-known annual phenomenon in New York City known as Manhattanhenge. In short it is when the setting sun aligns perfectly with east-to-west running streets. 

The mesmerizing sunset is unlike anything you’ve ever seen, I can guarantee it. The streets create a perfect pocket that seemingly catches the sun. Seeing Manhattanhenge is one of the most popular things to do in New York City in July (and only happens twice a year), so I suggest arriving at your spot early.

The American Museum of Natural History recommends the following streets for the best view:

  • 14th Street
  • 23rd Street
  • 34th Street
  • 42nd Street
  • 57th Street

My suggestion is to head to the streets where they intersect with 8th or 9th Avenues. The event will take place at approximately 8:20PM this July in New York City.

Observe the Thunderbird 45th Annual Powwow

Dates: July 26th – July 28th, 2024
Address: 73-50 Little Neck Pkwy, Queens, NY 11004

One of the most memorable things to do in New York City in July is to attend the Thunderbird 44th Annual Powwow. Held at the Queens County Farm Museum, more than 40 Indian Nations gather to dance and sing.

There’s competitive dance and dancing just for fun, and at the end of the last two days of the powwow guests are invited to join in as well. The mixing of cultures is beautiful to look at especially with the Native Americans in their full regalia.

During the New York City July event you’ll also have a chance to shop through a market fully stocked with Native American jewelry, art and food! Everyone has suggested the fry bread so come back for my full review. 😉 If you’re visiting New York City in July the powwow is a can’t miss event. Fortunately the Queens County Farm Museum is accessible via public transportation and tickets start at less than $20.

Sunset Salsa at Hudson River Park Things to do New York City June
Image Courtesy Hudson River Park

Partake in Summer on the Hudson

Date: May through October, 2024
Website: The full event list can be found here
Address: Riverside Park between 59th Street and 153rd Street

Summer on the Hudson is an annual festival put on by NYC Parks in collaboration with the Riverside Park Conservancy. There are endless activities for both kids and adults alike lasting all July in New York City. The activities include things like movie showings, musical performances and Tai-Chi lessons. There’s a full schedule available for you to survey your options and choose which you’d like to participate in.

The two I’m most looking forward to are the silent disco and the birding walk. The best things to do during this July in New York City are all taking place on the Hudson! If scheduling isn’t your style and you’re more go with the flow, consider following Summer on the Hudson’s social media pages. This way you’ll get consistent reminders of that day’s activities.

Some Summer on the Hudson events to look forward to this July in New York City:

  • Star Gazing
  • Silent Disco
  • Birding Walk
  • Latin Jazz
  • Sun Gazing

Uptown Night Market
Image Courtesy Uptown Night Market

Spend the Evening Bopping Around a Night Market

Date: Uptown Night Market: TBD | Bronx Night Market: TBD | Queens Night Market: TBD

Exploring a night market is one of the best things to do in New York City in July. The amount of food, drinks, art and live performances right at your fingertips is only made better by the gorgeous summer skies! The weather is comfortable and with the sun setting later in the evening, don’t expect to be home before bedtime. 

Everyone has heard of bar hopping, but have you ever heard of vendor hopping? It’s is one of the best things to do in New York City in July if you’re into trying a little bit of everything. Foodies will be in heaven thanks to the wide array of grub. Burgers, tacos, baklava, kebab, and more are available.

Rooftop Cinema Club
Image Courtesy the Rooftop Cinema Club

Catch an Outdoor Movie at the Rooftop Cinema Club Midtown

Date: Daily | Check out the calendar with movies and start times here.
Address: 60 W 37th St, New York, NY 10018

Prepare yourself for a movie-viewing experience unlike anything you could imagine. Thanks to the Rooftop Cinema Club, you can watch some of the most timeless films under the open sky while visiting New York City in July. On the roof of the Embassy Suites in Midtown, you’ll find lounge chairs and personal headphones to maximize comfort during your movie.

The hotel provides a full bar and restaurant, and you’ll also find a concessions stand with typical movie snacks. Arriving early and with your full party is paramount since the seats are first come first serve. Doors open an hour before the showing so there’s ample time for drinks and snacks too.

July in New York City is never boring thanks to the Rooftop Cinema Club, whether you’re on a date or with the fam. Just be sure to check the schedule well ahead of time, popular movies sell out quickly.

Or at the Seaport Cinema

Date: 2024 dates TBD
Address: 89 South Street, The Greens on The Rooftop at Pier 17, New York, NY 10038

The Seaport Cinema transforms Pier 17’s rooftop into one of the best spots where to watch outdoor movies in NYC. Food trucks provide snacks and drinks (both alcoholic and non-alcoholic) so you can enjoy your movie this July in NYC with a view. Doors open at 6 PM, and movies start at 7 PM.

Catching a flick at the Seaport Cinema is one of the most popular things to do in NYC in July because it’s one of the few places to watch an outdoor movie with chairs (no grass stains on jeans here, folks!). With that said, seating is limited so be sure to reserve tickets in advance.

Today Show Concert Series  
Things to do in NYC in June
Image Courtesy TODAY

Cheer on the Today Show Concert Series

Date: Check the calendar here
Website: Citi Concert Series
Address: 48th Street, between 5th & 6th Avenues, in New York City

The Today Show Concert Series is an array of free events that take place throughout July in New York City. You can expect to see A-list artists perform for free in the Rockefeller Plaza. 

Depending on how much time you’re spending in New York City in July you’ll have the chance to catch some big names. The only downfall is you have to arrive between 6:15 – 6:30 AM (don’t hit the snooze button!). However that’s a small price to pay for a free concert!

Keep in mind these are broadcasted events and if you’re close enough to the action you might be on TV. Guests are encouraged to make posters and to arrive bright and early, full of energy. That shouldn’t be hard to do since the sun rises bright & early in New York City in July!

The Vessel at Hudson yards
View of the Vessel at Hudson Yards, where the concerts will be taking place

Rock Out at a Hudson Yards Summer Concerts

Date: 2024 dates TBD

If all else fails, another great spot to catch a live performance is at the Hudson Yards Summer Concerts at The Wells Fargo Stage. I’m telling you, July in New York City is unmatched when it comes to entertainment!

Now you may not see global celebrities at the Hudson Yards Summer Concerts but you’ll still be getting a hell of a show. Every Wednesday from June 21st – August 9th at 6:00 PM the Public Square & Garden will host the free outdoor concert.

Concerts are also one of the best things to do in New York City in July because after the performances, a few restaurants and bars in The Shops & Restaurants at Hudson Yards will hold “After Hours” events with a live DJ and specials. There’s no reason to end the party when the performers leave!

Moving to New York City

Stargaze on the High Line

Date: Every Tuesday from sunset until 10PM, until October 31st, 2024

Thanks to a partnership between friends of the High Line and the Amateur Astronomers Association stargazing is free and available in the middle of Manhattan! No registration is needed and the telescoped are provided. The Amateur Astronomers Association will walk you through everything you need to know.

You’ll find the meeting point where the High Line intersects with 13th Street. Stargazing is one of the best things to do in New York City in July, especially if you have kids or are trying to take someone on a unique date.

If you need another reason as to why visiting the High Line is one of the best things to do in New York City in July let me help you. In the summer month the park brings in vendors that sell artwork, drinks and even ice cream!

Grand Banks waterfront restaurants NYC
Image Courtesy The New York Times

Make Reservations at Grand Banks

Date: Reservations start April 15th, 2024
Address: Park, Pier 25 Hudson River, New York, NY 10013

In the 18th and 19th centuries, oyster barges dotted NYC, fading over time. Grand Banks revives this tradition, offering sustainably harvested oysters on one of the city’s best waterfront restaurants. Closed in colder months, its summer reopening is eagerly awaited. 

Located on Pier 25 in Tribeca, Grand Banks earns acclaim from CNN Travel, The Observer, and New York Magazine. With so many eyes focused on Grand Banks, I’d be doing you a disservice if I didn’t let you know dining here is one of the best things to do in New York City in July. Consider this an inside scoop and make reservations now!

Fun Fact: The ship (technically it’s a schooner) is named the Sherman Zwicker and was hand-built in 1942. In fact, it’s the largest wooden vessel in New York City!

Smorgasburg in Marsha P. Johnson State Park in Williamsburg, Brooklyn

Spend the Evening Eating Your Weight in Food at Smorgasburg

Date: WTC: Every Friday | Williamsburg: Every Saturday | Prospect Park: Every Sunday
Address: Marsha P. Johnson State Park in Williamsburg, World Trade Center in the Financial District, and Prospect Park in Brooklyn

For foodies, a must-do in NYC in July is embracing the beauty of Smorgasburg, the largest weekly outdoor food market in the U.S., known as “The Woodstock of Eating.” With over 60 vendors across three neighborhoods—World Trade Center on Fridays, Williamsburg on Saturdays, and Prospect Park on Sundays—it’s a culinary delight. 

One of the best things to do in New York City in July is meet up with friends and jump from vendor to vendor trying all the delicious food. This is one of the most popular events in New York City in June, drawing 20,000 – 30,000 visitors every weekend!

Take Advantage of Free Kayaking on the East River

Date: All July
Address: 10 Montague St, Brooklyn, NY 11201

Who knew water activities were such a popular thing to do in New York City? I never even considered that they could be an option, I mean the place is called the Concrete Jungle, isn’t it? But thanks to the Brooklyn Bridge Park Boathouse July in New York City just got a little more wet!

During the summer months you’ll be able to Kayak in the East River for free with a reservation (there is an option to donate funds to keep the program running). There is the ability for kids to kayak with a guardian, as well as Kayak Polo for the more competitive crowd. I can think of few better things to do in July in New York City.

July Festivals in New York City

NYC Math Festival

Date: July 13th, 2024
Address: 28 Liberty St, New York, NY 10005

Back for its eighth year, the NYC Math Festival is one of the best events taking place this July in New York City. To make math fun MoMath (the National Museum of Mathematics) has put the event together!

There will be games, a gift shop and math exhibits the whole family can enjoy. Best of all, it’s completely free! No registration needed either, just bring your friends along for a great time. It’ll be taking place at Fosun Plaza at 28 Liberty Street in the Financial District from 10AM to 4PM.

SummerStage Festival

Date: 2024 dates TBD

SummerStage is a festival that takes over New York City starting in June. The flagship venue for their concerts is at Rumsey Playfield in Central Park but they also put on shows at other parks in all 5 boroughs. The free shows require no RSVP and are first come first serve, however they also put on benefit concerts that require a ticket.

SummerStage’s music varies in genre, so make sure to check the calendar to see who is performing before heading to the park. The event gets lively with people of all different generations and backgrounds. It’s a great way to spend your time if you’re looking for free things to do in New York City in July. 

Summer for the City at the Lincoln Center

Date: 2024 dates TBD
Address: Lincoln Center Plaza, New York, NY 10023

The Lincoln Center is New York City’s premier art institution, putting on plays, ballets, concerts and films all year round. This year they’re also hosting one of the best festivals in New York City in July: Summer for the City.

There will be hundreds of free events including dance classes and concerts. There’s also a plethora of more unique things to do, like The Wedding, where the Lincoln Center opens up its campus to couples looking to get married (watch out Vegas, we’re coming!).

Depending on the event tickets may or may not be required, just be sure to keep an eye on the calendar (or follow them online) to keep track of everything that’s happening!

Restaurant Week

Date: 2024 dates TBD

Foodies rejoice! Restaurants week is one of the best reasons for visiting New York City in July and it’s coming back in full force. Even better, it’s more of a month than just a week! During the event thousands of restaurants across the Big Apple put on their best dishes at a discounted price (often in a tasting menu format) knowing that folks will be trying to taste it all.

Visit The Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum for free

Date: July 26th, 2024
Website: Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum
Address: Pier 86, W 46th St, New York, NY 10036

Home to a remarkable collection of military vessels of the sea and sky, the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum in New York City is a must-see for any military enthusiast or history buff. Fortunately visiting is one of the best free things to do in New York City in July thanks to Free Fridays. 

During the event the Intrepid Museum extends its hours and is open, free of charge, from 5 to 9PM on the last Friday of each month, April through September. The event is especially one of the best things to do in New York City in July with kids. I was able to take my nephew to the museum last year who was wide-eyed during our entire visit!

New York City Poetry Festival

Date: July 13th & 14th, 2024
Website: New York City Poetry Festival
Address: Colonels Row, Governors Island

Poetry may not be as “mainstream” as it was when Shakespeare was around but its community of followers and creators is very much alive and well. If you’re a fan of poetry one of the best festivals in New York City in July is the New York City Poetry Festival.

The event takes place over two days on Governors Island and will feature some of the best poets in the country. The event is free but you must RSVP online. You also have the ability to purchase drinks ahead of time too or sign up as a member of the Poetry Society of New York.


Date: July 26th – 28th, 2024
Address: New York Marriott Marquis, 1535 Broadway, New York, NY 10036

Most of us have heard of ComicCon, but BroadwayCon is where you really want to be if you’re a theater geek (like me!). A convention for fans and by fans, BroadwayCon also features some of Broadway’s brightest minds.

There will be panels, workshops, meetups, and more making this a can’t-miss event in New York City in July. The festival runs over the weekend of July 21st to July 23rd and it is loaded! For tickets and a full schedule visit BroadwayCon’s website. You’ll also be able to see a list of all the participating Broadway stars, including Anthony Rapp, L Morgan Lee, and Justin Guarini.

Tips for Visiting NYC in July

  • Wear comfortable shoes: Visiting New York City in July means you’ll be outside exploring during the majority of your trip. The weather is too good to pass up on! Since you’ll be putting some serious miles on your shoes make sure to pack a pair that are comfortable and reliable.
  • Take it slow and stop for breaks: This isn’t a novel tip, but it’s very important. The heat and humidity during the summer in NYC has a way of sneaking up on folks. My advice? Take breaks in shady areas often and swing by for indoor activities whenever the opportunity presents itself.
  • Wear sunscreen: You know I’m a stickler for sunscreen! Here’s the only sunscreen I recommend. I’ve been using it exclusively for the past 8+ years and can’t recommend it enough. To me it’s a non-negotiable for folks visiting New York City in July.

July Weather in New York City

August averages: high 84° | low 69° | rains on average 8 days of the month

There’s no need to sugarcoat it, New York City in the July is hot! Most of the city is concrete and cement which (unfortunately) absorbs heat and creates what scientist call urban heat island effect.

To keep things short and sweet, urban heat island effect where an island’s temperature is up to 7 degrees higher than the surrounding area. In NYC it’s boosted by the tons of concrete that retain heat longer than greenery would.

Not to sound like a broken record but please hydrate, wear sunscreen and listen to your body. Visiting New York City in July should be a good memory, don’t push your luck!

Pros of visiting New York City in July

  • A lot of free events
  • Late sunsets
  • Plethora of outdoor activities (some free & some at night)

Cons of visiting New York City in July

  • The start of summer means tourist season/ crowds.
  • Prices of flights + hotels start to rise
  • Heat can grow to be too much
Summer in NYC

Best things to do in New York City in July (Post Summary)

  1. Celebrate the Fourth of July
  2. Catch the last Manhattanhenge of 2024
  3. Participate in BroadwayCon
  4. Observe the Thunderbird 44th Annual Powwow
  5. Partake in Summer on the Hudson
  6. Spend the evening bopping around a Night Market
  7. Catch an outdoor movie at the Rooftop Cinema Club Midtown
  8. Or at the Seaport Cinema
  9. Cheer on the Today Show Concert Series
  10. Rock out at a Hudson Yards Summer Concerts
  11. Stargaze on the High Line
  12. Make reservations at Grand Banks while you can
  13. Spend the evening eating your weight in food at Smorgasburg
  14. Free Kayaking on the East River
  15. NYC Math Festival
  16. SummerStage Festival
  17. Summer for the City at the Lincoln Center
  18. Restaurant Week
  19. Visit The Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum for free
  20. New York City Poetry Festival

Map of New York City July Activities

And there you have it folks, the best things to do when visiting New York City in July.

I hope you found the article useful, cheers!