With the wild weather of spring done, it’s on to the dog days summer with tons of sunshine and outdoor events. Here are the best things to do in NYC in July.
Art on the beach
Head to the Rockaways to view Infinity Room artist Yayoi Kusama’s latest project, which turns the Gateway National Recreation Area at Fort Tilden into Narcissus Garden. Funded by MoMA, the site-specific work is 1,500 mirrored stainless steel spheres that reflect all the facets of the former train garage and military base, drawing attention to the history that’s happened there and the ongoing recovery effort throughout the Rockaways after Hurricane Sandy. July 1-Sept. 3, Fri-Sun and holidays, noon-6 p.m.
Dance under the stars
Is there any event more romantic-sounding than Midsummer Night Swing? Come to Damrosch Park to dance under the stars during this three-week series with everything from free classes for beginners to ticketed performances by world-class dancers and musicians performing the best of Lindy hop, swing, mambo, salsa and more. Through July 14, $17-$170, midsummernightswing.org
Happy Independence Day, America!
New York City is home to the country’s largest fireworks show, not to mention the crazy tradition that is the Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest in Coney Island. Or perhaps you’d like to dance for eight hours on a Brooklyn rooftop and pause only to watch the fireworks? Whatever you decide to do, get out there and celebrate the Fourth of July.
Tap into a classic dance style
Did you know the art of tapping was born right here in New York? The American Tap Dance Foundation’s Tap City festival returns for its 18th season, so put on your dancing shoes (or watch international stars tap it out) on a Hudson River cruise with a live band, see what’s new in the tap world at the Rhythm in Motion concert at Symphony Space, and take part in a massive outdoor tap dance session in Times Square. July 7-13, free-$45, atdf.org
Celebrate the legacy of hip-hop
Now in its 13th year, the Brooklyn Hip-Hop Festival remains the city’s largest celebration of hip-hop culture and its positive impact with concerts, talks and exhibitions. This year’s Homecoming Concert headliners are Yasiin Bey (Mos Def) and Talib Kweli, with events including Hip-Hop Jeopardy and the Juice Hip-Hop Exhibit with dance battles, a sneaker exhibit and live art-making. July 9-14, $15-$199, bkhiphopfestival.com
Go see an outdoor movie
Now that the wild weather swings of June are done, it’s time to take your moviewatching outdoors. Hudson RiverFlicks returns to Hudson River Park with the thriller Get Out for the grown-ups (July 11) and Moana for the kids (July 13), Brooklyn Bridge Park’s always packed and always amazing Movies With a View opens with Desperately Seeking Susan (July 12), and Coney Island’s Flicks on the Beach will take us Back to the Future (July 23).
Sample Broadway’s big hit shows for free
Performers from the biggest shows on Broadway come out of their theaters and into the great outdoors of Midtown for Broadway in Bryant Park. The casts of Chicago, SpongeBob SquarePants, Stomp and Waitress kick off the free performance series, which run on Thursdays from 12:30-1:30 p.m. from July 12-Aug. 16.
Get inked at the city’s largest tattoo convention
Thinking about getting your first tattoo or looking for just the right artist to round out your collection? Meet some of the world’s best body artists at the Empire State Tattoo Expo presented by Inked Magazine. Get tattooed on-site by Inkmaster artists, shop vendors doing all kinds of body modification, watch burlesque and Coney Island Sideshow Circus performances and shop for original art you (for your walls). July 13-15, $30-$60, kids under 12 free, 1335 Ave. of the Americas, eventbrite.com
Viva la revolution!
Wine, cheese, cake — the French know how to party. Join in their Bastille Day celebrations at the Bastille Day on 60th Street block party (between Fifth and Lexington avenues). Don your beret and dance in the street to live music, sample the street fare of France, shop a new French Garden of products from Paris and beyond, cheer on the can-can dancers and wrap your night with a champagne & jazz party ($75) in the skyroom of event host French Institute Alliance Française. July 15, noon-5 p.m., free
Walk among the fishes
There’s no more blockbuster opening this summer than the New York Aquarium’s long-awaited Ocean Wonders: Sharks! The massive exhibit spans three stories of the Coney Island attraction, with 18 species of sharks and over 100 more residents including sea turtles and stingrays. And when you’ve explored the shipwreck and looked inside New York’s own Grand Canyon just offshore, head up to the rooftop observation deck to see all the natural beauty that surrounds us. Oh, and admission is half-price for the exhibit’s opening season!
Ladies and gentlemen, start your engines
The all-electric version of Formula 1, the Qatar Airways New York City E-Prix, returns to the Brooklyn Cruise Terminal on July 14-15 for the final race of its five-continent tour. More than 20,000 fans attended the sold-out race weekend, where they got to see the most intense yet oddly quiet (and smoke-free) race on the professional circuit, with tons of activities like driving your own virtual race car, getting behind the wheel of commercial electric vehicles and more in the Fan Village.
Shakespeare in the Park, Act II
The second Public Theater production on Central Park’s glorious outdoor Delacorte Stage is the uplifting musical version of Twelfth Night composed by Shaina Taub. The musical’s cast is made up of a handful of professional actors and hundreds of community members from across the five boroughs. The free Shakespeare in the Park performances begin July 17 and go through Aug. 19.
Step into a more ‘Wonderful World’
Queens salutes one of its most famous residents, legendary jazz man Louis Armstrong, with its fifth annual Wonderful World Festival. Take in a day of live performance headlined by Action Bronson and New Orleans brass ensemble The Soul Rebels, with activities lots of activities, food trucks and talks. July 21, 4-9 p.m., Flushing Meadows Corona Park
Eat more for less
The best time to try out new restaurants and discover the hidden gems right in your neighborhood is during NYC & Company’s NYC Restaurant Week, back for three weeks this summer on July 23-Aug. 17. Find prix-fixe menus at more than 350 restaurants, with reservations opening on July 9.
Art meets music at Panorama
Part music festival and part futuristic art fair, Panorama is like no other outdoor event. Created by the organizers of Coachella, Panorama’s headliners for 2018 include Janet Jackson, Gucci Mane, St. Vincent and Sza, and its interactive gallery The Lab returns with five mind-blowing installations. July 27-28, Randall’s Island Park, $125-$555