Post Overview: Best things to do in New York City in July
July, you’re hot. I mean that both literally and figuratively. During July in New York City the door is kicked open on summer and there’s so many fun things to do; the hard part is choosing.
From Central Park to sunsets on the pier, your summer-time options are truly endless.
The city is alive, constantly humming both because of air-conditioners and lively chatter. 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.
Tips for Visiting NYC in July
July Weather in New York City
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!
Things to Do in New York City in July
Celebrate the Fourth of July
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.
Catch the last Manhattanhenge of 2023
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 to your spot early. Otherwise you’ll be fighting folks for an unobstructed view.
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.
Bring your kids to the Seaport Summer Bash
Held at the Seaport, an 1800’s fishing port and one of the most charming places in NYC, there will be LEGO building, (temporary) tattoos, and a maze made out of moving boxes. Best of all, attending is free! You just have to RSVP in advance to save your little one a spot.
And if the day wasn’t enticing enough, the Brooklyn Robot Foundry will be stopping by to help kids build robot sculptures out of recycled materials. Talk about fun!
The Seaport Summer Bash will run from 3-5PM so don’t miss your opportunity to enjoy one of the best family-friendly things to do in New York City in July.
Partake in the FIAF Bastille Day Celebrations
Akin to America’s Fourth of July, Bastille Day is a vibrant display of patriotism. The FIAF brings a small taste of the festivities in one of the best events in New York City in July.
On Madison Avenue between 59th and 63rd Street and on 60th Street between Fifth and Madison Avenues there will be a street fair all Francophiles will enjoy. If you’re visiting New York City in July be sure you visit the streets between 12-5PM and check out the booths full of French goodies (like food, accessories and beauty products).
Live music, wine tastings (tickets here) and arts and crafts ensure this is one of the best things to do in New York City in July for the whole family. Perusing the fair is free so even if you just window shop you’ll have a great time!
Get your book signed by Kevin Jonas
Kevin Jonas, world-famous superstar, will be in NYC with his talented wife on July 17 handing out signed copies of their new children’s book, There’s a Beach in my Bedroom.
Tickets are required for the event which will be held at 6PM at the Union Square branch of Barnes & Noble. It’s one of the best events taking place in New York City in July, especially for fans of the Jonas Brothers or those with kids.
Enjoy some Sips of Summer at Morton’s Steakhouse
The tailor-made cocktails have all been inspired by the prohibition era. With names like Golden Age Spritz, Bonnie & Clyde, and the Wiseguy it’ll be tempting not to try them all.
The menu unfortunately doesn’t feature any of their famous steaks (boo!) but is still hearty enough to satisfy a carnivorous tooth. The dishes are all small bites like sweet & sour meatballs, filet mignon finger sandwiches and house smoked salmon on crostini.
Tickets are required and selling fast. If you’re interested book yours ASAP so you don’t miss one of the best things to do in New York City in July. Sips of Summer starts at 6PM at their swanky 5th Avenue steakhouse.
Morton says that seating is provided but it “won’t be a sit-down dinner.” This could be both a positive and a negative, since it forces mingling and meeting new people.
Observe the Thunderbird 44th Annual Powwow
Dates: July 28 – July 30, 2023
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.
Address: 73-50 Little Neck Pkwy, Queens, NY 11004
Partake in Summer on the Hudson
Date: May through October, 2023
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: July 1st
- Silent Disco: July 1st
- Birding Walk: July 14th
- Latin Jazz: July 18th
- Sun Gazing: July 23rd
Spend the evening bopping around a Night Market
After moving to New York City, I quickly realized something… I love markets! I know it sounds so silly but never in my life have I ever had this kind of access.
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.
Living on the Upper West Side, I’m partial to the Uptown Night Market. Between April and November, on the second Thursday of each month I am blessed with this spectacle.
Everyone has heard of bar hopping, but have you ever heard of vendor hopping? That’s exactly where you can find me whenever the Uptown Night Market is up and running. This 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. You don’t need to travel the world thanks to the eclectic cuisine at these beloved NYC July events.
Catch an outdoor movie at the Rooftop Cinema Club Midtown
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. Half the time I don’t know whether to gawk at the sky or the film I paid to watch!
The hotel provides a full bar and restaurant, and you’ll also find a concessions stand with typical movie snacks. This fun New York City July activity is hard to replicate elsewhere.
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
Doors open at 6:30 PM, and movies start at 7:30 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. Or show up early to save your butt from falling asleep. If you can’t get to a chair quick enough, you can bring a foldable one from home.
Address: 89 South Street, The Greens on The Rooftop at Pier 17, New York, NY 10038
Cheer on the Today Show Concert Series
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!
Visiting New York City in July? Here are the Citi Concert Series’ performers this month:
- July 5th – TWICE
- July 14th – Brad Paisley
- July 21st – Dan + Shay
- July 28th – Renee Rapp
For more information on tickets and what to expect click here.
Rock out at a Hudson Yards Summer Concerts
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!
NYC July performances you can look forward to at Hudson Yards:
- July 5th – Domi and JD Beck
- July 12th – Vagabon
- July 19th – Flor
- July 26th – Gabriel Garzón-Montano
Stargaze on the High Line
The High Line is one of the most unique parks in New York City. Like a phoenix rising from the ashes, High Line Park was born from an eye-sore. The elevated tracks this NYC park was built on were originally used by freight trains delivering cargo to the city. A practice that became moot with the rise in trucking.
And one of the best things to do in New York City in July is to go stargazing at the beloved park. Yep! 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!
Make reservations at Grand Banks (while you can)
During the colder months, New Yorkers say goodbye to the delicious waterfront restaurant and count down the days until Grand Banks has its grand reopening. So if you find yourself visiting in the summer and are looking for things to do in New York City in July, I suggest making a beeline to this popular dining spot.
Located on Pier 25 in Tribeca, Grand Banks has caused massive waves and has gained the attention of all of New York City’s top dogs. Indeed, the waterfront restaurant has rave reviews from CNN Travel, The Observer and New York Magazine. Which only help draw in bigger crowds.
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!
Spend the evening eating your weight in food at Smorgasburg
If you consider yourself to be a foodie, even in the slightest, one of the best things to do in New York City in July is to welcome the return of Smorgasburg, also referred to as “The Woodstock of Eating.”
Smorgasburg is the largest weekly outdoor food market in the U.S! Vendors from all across the Big Apple pitch canopies and come together enabling you to try a variety of the city’s best cuisines all in one place.
The event is hosted in three NYC neighborhoods. On Fridays they set up shop outside the World Trade Center in Manhattan. Saturdays is the original (and most popular) location in Williamsburg Brooklyn and Sundays they’re in Prospect Park (also in Brooklyn). In Manhattan they’re open 11AM-7PM, in Brooklyn it’s 11AM-6PM.
With more than 60 vendors you’ll find a broad variety of eats. If you do it right you’ll have to be rolled home. Plus, the portions at Smorgasburg are usually on the smaller side, enabling you to try a plethora of options.
One of the best things to do in New York City in July is to meet up with friends and jump from vendor to vendor trying all the delicious food. As an added bonus, accessing the food-market is completely free. You’ll only pay if you get something to eat.
Fun fact: This is one of the most popular events in New York City in July, drawing 20,000 – 30,000 visitors every weekend!
Address: Marsha P. Johnson State Park in Williamsburg, World Trade Center in the Financial District and Prospect Park in Brooklyn
Take advantage of free kayaking on the East River
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.
August Festivals in New York City
Beer, Bourbon & BBQ Festival
Date: July 8, 2023
The Beer, Bourbon & BBQ Festival is on a national tour and this year will be one of the best events in New York City in July. By bringing my husband’s daily diet under one roof he sniffed this festival out like a bloodhound.
The festival has a few different admission packages including general, VIP and all-access. You’re essentially paying for when the festival will open its doors to you, with all access allowing you to be there from open to close.
The 13th annual Beer, Bourbon & BBQ festival will be taking place at Industry City in Brooklyn and tickets are already available! If you (or someone you love) loves beer & meat it’s a can’t miss event!
Address: 220 36th St, Brooklyn, NY 11232
NYC Math Festival
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’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: June 14 – August 12, 2023
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!
Address: Lincoln Center Plaza, New York, NY 10023
Date: July 24 – August 20, 2023
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.
Reservations open on July 6th so you’ll want to keep an eye on Restaurant Week’s website to snag one before they’re all gone!
Visit The Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum for free
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 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
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 21-23, 2023
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.
Address: New York Marriott Marquis, 1535 Broadway, New York, NY 10036