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Summer in the Big Apple: A Local’s Guide to the Best Eats, Events, and Adventures


Summer is upon us in the Big Apple, and the shining sun and warmer weather mean more outdoor activities, festivals, events, and adventures. New York is a city that never sleeps, hosting millions and millions of tourists every day, all year round. 

If you’re planning a New York summer vacation in the Big Apple and you’re already overwhelmed with what to eat, where to go, and what to do, worry no more! This Local’s guide covered you with the best eats events and adventures! 

Go for a Summer Concert 

The Big Apple may only sometimes be something of a musical, but during summer, it becomes full of live music concerts. There’s SummerStage, a city-wide event where they host free music concepts of different genres all summer long. There’s also Celebrate Brooklyn, another free music concert taking place in Prospect Park every year from the 7th of June through the 24th of August. However, some larger acts come with a token ticket fee. 

If you want a lifetime music experience at Central Park, make sure to check out NYC’s Philharmonic. The orchestra puts on a free show at Great Lawn, Central Park, for an evening of unique classical music experience. There are also a lot of other free music concerts in parks around NYC. 

If you’re looking for concert tickets for some of these larger acts, it’s wise to book early as they often sell out quickly.

Catch a Broadway Show 

If you’re a lover of theater dramatics, then your summer vacation in New York will only be complete with catching a Broadway Show. There are tens upon tens of Broadway theaters to choose from. Each features unique shows that truly are a feast for movie lovers. From cutting-edge productions to timeless classics, these shows are worth every penny!

Here’s a tip: to enjoy discounts on Broadway tickets, buy in advance, though there are also discounted same-day tickets, which you can find at Times Square and TKTS booths. Another tip? Seats up above tend to be cheaper than those closer to the front. 

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Join the Summer Parade Celebrations 

Another great way to enjoy your summer vacation in New York to the fullest is to get out on the streets and join the locals in summer’s annual street parades. The Puerto Rican Day Parade, taking place in June every year, is one of the best event places to go for summer vacation in NYC. The city’s Puerto Ricans gather along 5th Avenue, Manhattan, to showcase their pride and culture. 

Another great parade you shouldn’t miss is Coney Island’s Quirky Mermaid Parade! This is a celebration of the arrival of summer, where New Yorkers wear their best mermaid garments and march through the Boardwalk of Coney Island. It’s the longest parade dedicated to self-expression and art in the United States, led by King Neptune and Queen Mermaid annually. 

Explore the Diverse Culinary Scene 

For foodies, NYC is inarguably one of the fun places to go for summer vacation. The culinary diversity of New York is an adventure in itself. The city is a boiling pot of a wide range of diverse dishes, from mouth-watering street foods to international cuisines and gourmet experiences. Whether you want to try the classic New York delectable Pizza in Brooklyn, want to try out different international cuisines at spots like Little Italy or Chinatown, or have a luxurious meal experience at one of Manhattan’s upscale dining locations, NYC got your taste buds covered. 

Remember to have a bite of New York’s Classic cheesecake – it’s the best you’ll ever have! Also, make sure to taste mouth-watering detectables at the Smorgasburg, either in the World Trade Center, Prospect Park, or Williamsburg.

Have a Scenic View of the Empire State Building 

If you’re a tourist site freak, then your summer in New York is only complete with a visit to the Empire State Building. This iconic building is one of the tallest structures in New York. The scenic view from the 86th-floor observation deck is so amazing that it can take your breath away. Tickets for the observation deck are steep, going at 29 dollars each. However, you’ll get the justified view you need and take some jaw-dropping Instagram images. Also, the ticket comes with a multimedia tour that’s available in 8 different languages and guides you through the views and exhibits as well as the background history of the building. 

Here’s a tip: If you want to avoid crowds, have the best views, and take the best images, consider coming Monday through Wednesday in the early morning around 8:30 am or during lunch or dinner hours. 

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Unwind at Brooklyn’s Summer Parties 

Brooklyn is famous for its residential vibe! If you want to enjoy New York’s culinary diversity and Brooklyn’s unique neighborly vibe, be sure to take advantage of the Prospect Park Soiree. This annual event is a big, communal, open-air picnic dinner designed to give New Yorkers a chance to meet, mingle, and enjoy diverse dishes and fresh air under the shining evening stars. Take your favorite foods with you while you unwind in the live entertainment! The soiree is an event to dress fancy, so be prepared to show off your style! 2024’s Prospect Park’s Soiree will be held on the 24th of June, and tickets can be bought in advance. 

Explore the Cultural Diversity of New York 

New York City is a heartbeat of cultural diversity. Go explore vibrant communities like Little Italy and Chinatown, where you won’t only have a taste of diverse cuisines but also experience a rich blend of colorful cultures. Get lost in the historic stress of Harlem to have an insight into the African American culture and artistic sites of Brooklyn for iconic street art. Visit Ellis Island, the Tenement Museum, and the Statue of Liberty to gain insight into America’s immigrant history. If you’re a history enthusiast, check out NYC’s famous museums like the Museum of Modern Arts, the American Museum of Natural History, and the Metropolitan Museum of Arts.