There are pros and cons to visiting New York in the dead of summer. The cons include (obviously) the oppressive temperatures and the crowds of tourists. On the flip side the months of June, July and August are when most locals head out of town and visitors can save a few bucks taking advantage of summer travel deals, including these great Big Apple events that don’t cost a dime to attend:
Shakespeare in Central Park runs from June through September and is a great way to spend the evening with family and friends. What’s more, it is one of the few star-studded (think Kevin Kline and David Hyde Pierce) outdoor shows that won’t cost you a penny to attend. (Though the first-come first-served tickets can be nearly impossible to come by.)
Central Park SummerStage is also another popular free event. It features a mixed bag of concerts, films and readings amidst the splendor of New York’s largest green space from June through September.
I would also recommend attending the Bryant Park Film Festival. Bring your own blanket and head over to the park on a Monday between June and August to catch classic movies under the stars. If you love free movies consider taking in one of the city’s “sit-in” shows (an alternative to the classic drive-in movie). RiverFlicks shows movies at Hudson Piers, while the Brooklyn Bridge Park Summer Film Series screens classic films for free during July and August.
While you are in Brooklyn I would suggest checking out Celebrate Brooklyn!, which features live entertainment with fewer crowds and runs from June through September. The River to River Festival also takes place from June through September. The free event brings live music and dance downtown to the South Street Seaport, Battery Park and the World Financial Center. During the month of July you can also catch local bands and DJs at the Sunday Pool Parties at McCarren Pool in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. It too is absolutely free.
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