Post Overview: Best things to do in New York City in August
Visiting New York City in August is not for the faint of heart. In fact, many New Yorkers actually flee the city when August rolls around! But hey, I get it — sometimes August is the only month you can travel so you have to roll with the punches.
This post is dedicated to the people bold enough to step foot into the concrete jungle, regardless of the heat and humidity. Lucky for you August in NYC is chockfull of exciting events, activities and festivals, many of which will keep you cool.
There is no shortage of fun things to do in NYC in August, so in an effort to keep you out of the heat as best as we can we’ve rounded-up the can’t-miss events happening this summer.
Load up on sunscreen, start your days early and don’t you dare think about leaving the hotel without a water bottle in hand! Enough of the chit-chat, let’s jump right into the best events happening this August in New York City.
Tips for Visiting NYC in August
August Weather in New York City
There’s no need to sugarcoat it, New York City in August is hot! Most of the city is concrete and cement, which absorbs heat and creates what scientist call the urban heat island effect.
To keep things short and sweet, urban heat island effect is 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.
Now that’s not to say you can’t enjoy yourself when visiting NYC in August. Instead I encourage you to take the necessary precautions to not fall victim to the heat. Stay hydrated, wear your sunscreen and stop for breaks!
Things to Do in New York City in August
Sunset Salsa at Hudson River Park
Ever wanted to learn how to dance but had no idea where to begin? Well, I know just the spot if you’re seeking to get your heart racing and enjoy one of the greatest things to do in NYC in August.
Starting Thursday June 1st, Hudson River Park is turning Pier 76 into one big dance floor. Every Thursday until August folks are encouraged to step out of their comfort zone and try their hand at Salsa dancing. I know this may sound intimidating but once you get going it’s hard to stop.
Beginners lessons start at 6:30 PM that will have you loose and confident in no time. By the time the open dance portion (7:15 PM) rolls around, everyone is already grooving. If it makes you feel better, just remind yourself everyone is there for the same reason — to dance!
Expect a hodgepodge of locals, visitors, professionals and folks with two left feet. The instructor Talía Castro-Pozo is talented and friendly. It’s hard not to enjoy yourself when partaking in one of the best things to do in New York City in August.
Something to note: This is a free event. However Hudson River Park is not funded by the city so free events thrive off of donations. You can show your support by donating here.
Watch Hamlet at Shakespeare in the Park
If you’re visiting New York City in August make sure you don’t miss the last month of Shakespeare in the Park! The event is hosted by The Public Theater, an organization that has performed Shakespeare’s plays for over 60 years, for free!
You’ll find the plays being performed at the 1,800 seat Delacorte Theater in Central Park. For tickets you’ll have to arrive at the theater the day of the performance, but they’re a hot commodity. This year the featured play is the one and only Hamlet.
There’s some serious, professional level production value going into the performances. You’ll quickly understand why folks are so eager to get in line for tickets. Plus, the shows are enjoyable for audiences of all ages and interests.
Shakespeare in the Park is one of the most popular things to do in New York City in August so you’re going to want to show up early. Or you can always attempt to win digital-lottery tickets. Stand-by tickets are distributed at noon everyday there is a performance.
More info on how to get tickets, as well as what to expect can be found here.
Enjoy some soothing jazz on Pier 84
Attending the Hudson River Park’s Jazz at Pier 84 performance is among the greatest free things to do in New York City in August. This summer, on every Wednesday, local legends will serenade the crowd while they gaze over the picturesque Hudson River.
The event runs from 7 to 8:30 PM, making for a memorable evening. Bring a loved one, some snacks and a blanket to sit on the lawn and enjoy one of the best things to do in NYC this August.
Any of the plethora of events Bryant Park hosts
The park is constantly bustling with different activities and hosting multiple events throughout the entire month. There’s simply no shortage of things to do in NYC this August at Bryant Park. Don’t believe me? Check out their calendar.
Some events you can look forward to this August in NYC:
- Juggling class
- Portrait drawing classes
- Tai Chi
- Movie nights on the lawn
Take advantage of Summer Streets
One of the coolest things to do in New York City in August is to get outside and take advantage of the people-filled streets. Between the workshops, vendors and other programming there is something for everyone to partake in.
Here are the streets that will be closed to cars:
- Lafayette Street and Park Avenue between Brooklyn Bridge and East 109 Street
- East 109 Street between Park Avenue and 5th Avenue
- 5th Avenue between East 109 Street and Central Park North
- Central Park North between 5th Avenue and Adam Clayton Powell Jr Boulevard
- Adam Clayton Powell Jr Boulevard between Central Park North and West 125 Street
Celebrate International Beer Day
Luckily one of the best things to do in NYC this August is to go HAM on International Beer Day. Don’t worry since it’s a “holiday” it’s socially acceptable to start as early as you’d like. 😉
New York City doesn’t play second fiddle so the options of amazing breweries, local pubs and dive bars are endless.
Here is a round up of articles that will help you decide where to celebrate International Beer Day this August in NYC:
- 10 Thirst-Quenching Brooklyn Breweries Guaranteed to Impress
- 20 Buzz-Worthy Breweries in New York City (Local’s Guide)
- 12 Incredible Irish Pubs in New York City (You Won’t Want to Miss)
- 25 Spectacular Sports Bars in New York City (To Cheer on Your Favorite Team)
- 10 Memorable Manhattan Bars Everyone Should Visit
If you’re short on time and need a quicker round-up, here are a few great spots to grab beer in NYC.
- The Brooklyn Brewery | 79 N 11th St, Brooklyn, NY 11249
- The Pony Bar | 1444 1st Ave., New York, NY 10021
- The Jeffrey Craft Beer & Bites NYC | 311 E 60th St, New York, NY 10022
- Radegast Hall & Biergarten | 113 N 3rd St, Brooklyn, NY 11249
Catch an outdoor movie at Bryant Park
This summer season is the 30th anniversary of their famous free movies on the lawn at Bryant Park. You can expect flocks of New Yorkers from all five boroughs as well as tourists clamoring for a good spot. The entire field gets filled with cheery folks on picnic blankets patiently waiting for the sun to go down.
The lawn opens every Monday at 5PM and each film starts at 8PM. Food and beverage from Hester Street Fair is available for purchase, as well as beer, snacks and wine from Stout NYC. Just note that if you do choose to drink alcohol you have to do so in a designated area in the back of the lawn.
- August 7th – 48 Hours
- August 14th – Zoolander
- August 21st – Good Burger
Or 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 in New York City in August.
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. This fun New York City August 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. The summer in New York City is never boring thanks to the Rooftop Cinema Club.
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 August 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
Join the Today Show Concert Series
The Today Show Concert Series is an array of free events that take place throughout August in New York City. You can expect to see A-list artists perform for free in the Rockefeller Plaza.
Depending on when you’ll be visiting New York City this August, you’ll be able to catch some big performers. The only downfall is you have to arrive between 6:15 – 6:30 AM. But it’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.
Spending August in New York City? Here are the Citi Concert Series’ performers this month:
- August 11 – Kelsea Ballerini
- August 18 – Jon Batiste
- August 25- Becky G
For more information on tickets and what to expect click here.
Rock out at a Hudson Yards Summer Concerts
Now you may not get as big of performers 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.
What makes the concerts one of the best things to do in New York City in August is the fact that 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.
August performances in NYC you can look forward to:
- The 502’s: August 2nd
- Alexander 23: August 9th
Stargazing on the High Line
Would you believe me if I told you that New York City offers free stargazing opportunities? That’s all thanks to the helpful members of the Amateur Astronomers Association. As one of the best free things to do in NYC in August, trust me when I tell you — you don’t want to miss out on this.
Telescopes are provided and spaced throughout the High Line, a former elevated cargo line turned beloved New York City park. You don’t have to be Neil deGrasse Tyson to enjoy the beauty of our universe thanks this incredible New York City summer activity.
This is an excellent activity for both inexperienced and expert stargazers alike because the helpful members of the association are there to assist and answer any questions.
Bonus: 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 August let me help you. In the summer months the park brings in vendors that sell artwork, drinks and even ice cream. It’s a fun spot to bring the family to burn off some energy and to leave with a treat!
Make reservations at Grand Banks while you can
During the colder months, New Yorkers bid farewell 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 August, 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 the bigwigs in New York City. 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 August. 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 August 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).
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 August is meeting up with friends and jumping from vendor to vendor trying all the delicious food.
This is one of the most popular events in New York City in August, 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
Spend the morning at Governor’s Island
Only a 10 minute ferry ride from lower Manhattan, Governor’s Island is a relaxing reprieve from the nonstop pace of New York City in summer.
You will find history dating back to the Revolutionary War at the island making it a great spot for history buffs. You can walk around Fort Jay and Castle Williams which are both run by the National Park Service.
There will be some exciting events hosted at Governor’s Island this August in NYC. This summer you’ll find the Jazz Age Lawn Party, Urban Farm Tour and an ice cream social fun-run. Some of these events may require tickets however, info can be found here.
If at the end of the day relaxing is more your style I suggest you bring a book and hang out at Hammock Grove. It’s a dedicated space for an array of hammocks available for visitors to enjoy. August in NYC is a fantastic time to visit Governors Island, where you can spend the day exploring or relaxing.
Cheer on the Dominican Day Parade
The exact details have yet to be announced but normally the parade marches north on Sixth Avenue from around 38th Street to about 58th Street. I’ll update this article when the Dominican Day Parade’s website posts an update.
In the past more than 10,000 participants have helped made the parade a full on Latin party. There’s no reason to believe the parade held this August in New York City will be any less thrilling.
Free Kayaking on the Hudson
Kayaking on the Hudson River is a fantastic way to spend a day in New York City in August, regardless of your skill level. With a variety of locations offering both free and professional instruction, anyone can partake in this summer activity.
The best part? This NYC August activity is completely free! It’s good, clean fun that the whole family can be involved in. 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 during the New York City summer.
With so many available dates and times, it’s easy to add this summer activity to any NYC August itinerary. Check out the calendar here. Kayaking on the Hudson is simply a treat to experience!
Spend the evening bopping around a Night Market
Exploring a night market is one of the best things to do in New York City in August largely due to the never ending options of entertainment.
The amount of food, drinks, art and live performances right at your fingertips under the gorgeous summer skies? Insane! 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? That’s exactly where you can find me whenever the Uptown Night Market is up and running on the Upper West Side. This is one of the best things to do in New York City in August if you’re into trying a little bit of everything.
Enjoy authentic savory food or chilled sweet treats, catch whatever live performance is happening and soak in the the beauty that is night time in New York City.
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.
The Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum is considered one of the 10 best aviation museums in the world, reason alone to visit. Fortunately visiting is one of the best free things to in New York City in August 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.
More than 1 million visitors per year choose to visit this important New York City museum to explore the exciting collection and you get to do it for free! Expect to find authentic WWII fighter planes, aircraft carriers, a submarine used during the Cold War, a supersonic jet and the NASA space shuttle Enterprise.
The event is especially one of the best things to do in New York City in August with kids. I was able to take my nephew to the museum last year who was wide-eyed during our entire visit!
Attend the U.S. Open
Even casual sports fans have heard of the US Open. It’s the final tennis Grand Slam tournament of the year and has been hosted at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in New York since the 1970’s.
In 2022 the sum of all the prize money awarded was over $57 million, making it the largest pot in the Open’s history. If you have plans to visit NYC in August, don’t forget to grab tickets in advance for the US Open.
Tickets can be purchased through Ticketmaster and go live on June 5th. From the 34th St-Penn Station terminal you can take the LIRR for 25 minutes to the Tennis Center and enjoy the competition from August 28th to September 10th.
Few sporting events are as epic as the US Open, making it a great thing to do in New York City during August.
Address: Flushing Meadow – Corona Park, Flushing, NY 11368
Go on the hunt for the best ice cream in New York City
If this article has drilled anything into your head, let it be that New York City summers are hot.
Aside from the boring (but necessary) ways of cooling down like staying hydrated, there is another way to escape the heat for a brief moment. A flavorsome reprieve that some might go so far as to call a heavenly experience.
That’s right, I’m talking ice cream. One of the most delicious things to do in NYC in August is to hunt down the (ice) crème de la crème.
And trust me, you won’t struggle! Ice cream shops are sprinkled all over the city. Some are on wheels, located in malls and markets and others are good old-fashioned brick and mortar stores. Regardless of where you’re at, you’re bound to have something close by.
Here is a round up of some of the best ice cream spots in NYC to visit this August:
- Van Leeuwen Ice Cream
- Milk Bar
- L’Arte Del Gelato
- Ample Hills Creamery
- Caffè Panna
Have more time? Check out 15 Satisfying New York City Ice Cream Shops (No Need for Napkins Here Folks).
Enjoy rooftop bars while you can
That’s why rooftop bars make for a great summer activity when looking for things to do in NYC in August. Cocktails seem to go down easier, vibes seem to be higher and the sun setting over the city seems a little more magical.
In the land of skyscrapers and dreams, finding a decent rooftop bar in New York City won’t be too difficult. But if you need some guidance, here is a quick round up of some of the best rooftop bars to enjoy this August in NYC.
- Mr. Purple | 180 Orchard St 15th floor, New York, NY 10002
- Time Out Market | 55 Water St, Brooklyn, NY 11201
- Westlight | 111 N 12th St, Brooklyn, NY 11249
- Dear Irving | 55 Irving Pl, New York, NY 10003
- The Ready Rooftop | 112 E 11th St, New York, NY 10003
Need more suggestions on which rooftop bars are worth visiting in New York City in August? We are currently working on a roundup of the best. Until then check out 10 Tasty Lower East Side Rooftop Bars (You Won’t Want to Miss).
Plan a sunset picnic in the city
But I’m going to be honest with you, August in NYC is hot… too damn hot. So don’t make the mistake of planning a lunch in the park unless you’re trying to overheat.
Instead opt for an early breakfast in the park or an evening dinner. Find the shadiest bench or spot on the grass and park yourself with a delicious meal in hand and watch the sun go down.
This is one of the most affordable things to do in NYC in August since you can keep things simple. Now the question stands which park is the best?
If at all helpful, I’ve compiled a list of my personal favorite parks to sit and people-watch for hours.
- Central Park
- Bryant Park
- Domino Park
- Little Island
- Riverside Park
Need more suggestions? Check out 15 ICONIC New York City Parks You Can’t Afford to Miss.
Explore Coney Island
Coney Island’s famed amusement parks and beaches are hot commodities during New York City’s summer months. You can spend an entire day eating delicious food and riding some fun rides and still be itching to come back for more.
That’s why one of the most entertaining things to do in NYC this August is to gather all your friends and make way to Coney Island in Brooklyn.
This vibrant neighborhood holds a lot of history and has fun things to do for all ages. Peruse the boardwalk and see if you can win a prize playing a carnival game or ride the nearly 100 year old wooden roller coaster named the Cyclone. You’re never short of fun summer activities in this New York City neighborhood.
Catch a Yankees Game
Located in the Bronx, Yankee Stadium is accessible by subway and tickets can be found for as little as $10 depending on the game. With a whopping 162 games played every season, there’s a plethora of both weekday and weekend games to choose from if you’re looking for things to do in NYC this August.
There’s no excuse for not checking out a game this summer.
Whether you love them or hate them, the New York Yankees are icons of both American sports as well as NYC.
Making it to one of their games should be high on your list of things to do during your trip to NYC this August.
This year the Yankees are one of the best teams in Major League Baseball, meaning every team they play against is hoping to bring them down. The intensity of every game will have the crowd fully engaged making this one of the best things you can do this August in New York City.
Address: 1 E 161 St, Bronx, NY 10451
August Festivals in New York City
Spend the day enjoying BBQ and Blues at the Blues BBQ Festival
Hudson River Park hosts an annual BBQ & Blues event on Pier 76 where folks are welcome (and encouraged) to bring the entire family to one big lively BBQ under the sun.
The event starts at 1:00 PM and goes well into the evening. There will be food available for purchase, and the delicious smell in the air could bring even the strongest man to his knees.
This is a great, family- friendly event happening in NYC this August that you don’t want to miss out on.
The talent lineup is already out but the food details are yet to be up. Check for updates here.
Rock out at SummerStage Festival
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 things to do in New York City in August.
Partake in the Annual Hindu Lamp Festival
The Aarti ceremony is traditionally performed each morning and evening along India’s rivers, in order to convey gratitude to mother river, reflect on community, and remember loved ones.Brooklyn Bridge park
The ceremony’s goal is to unite the neighborhood in harmony and peace. Visitors are encouraged to paint palm leaf lamps and release them into the East River as a way to pay respect to loved ones.
The event is completely free and one of the most unique things to do in NYC this August.
Partake in Summer on the Hudson
Summer on the Hudson is an annual festival put on by NYC Parks in collaboration with the Riverside Park Conservancy. There are endless activities all summer long to partake in for both kids and adults alike so adding this to your NYC itinerary during August is a no-brainer.
The activities include things like movie showings, musical performances and Tai-Chi lessons. There’s a full PDF schedule available for you to survey the options and choose which you’d like to participate in. Luckily all the fun events that take place on the Hudson are free and easy to join.
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 as to that day’s activities. August in NYC has never been more eventful!
Some events to look forward to this August in New York City:
- Trivia: August 4th
- FlyNYC: August 19th
- Pier I Game Night: August 11th
- Star Gaze Saturdays: August 26th
- Shakespeare Workout: August 12th
- Silent Disco: August 5th
- Game Days: Tuesdays in August
Summer Restaurant Week
This is the perfect way to spend your August in NYC if you’re anything like me and can never settle for just one dish. Temptation gets the best of me and Restaurant Week is the ideal way to indulge.