The Ultimate Guide to NYC in July

Whether you’re relaxing on one of the city’s beaches or partying atop a sexy rooftop bar, summer in the city is looking hot. Our theme of the month is “Get Outside!” and the majority of our recommendations for things to do in July take advantage of the peak summer season.

You may feel like a tourist for a few hours on a Central Park bike or NYC walking tour, but we say break out your fanny pack and live your best life now. If you’re staying in town for the 4th, Macy’s 4th of July Fireworks are on the East River this year between 24th and 41st Sts. On the west side, Jersey City will be displaying fireworks at Liberty State park, so set yourself up at a Manhattan city park along the Hudson for prime views.

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We’ll cover the music scene first, because it really comes to life in July and nothing says summer like fresh beats and festival vibes. Colombia Carnaval Summer Party at (le) Poisson Rouge is an all-night latin Carnaval dance party featuring DJ sets and live performances (July 3). The GMA Concert Series on Friday mornings in Central Park is in full swing, and this month’s lineup includes G-Eazy (July 6), Backstreet Boys (July 13), Camila Cabello (July 20) and Fallout Boy (July 27). Plus 90s indie band Radiohead have four shows at MSG (July 10-11, 13-14) and Britney Spears brings her “Piece of Me” concert to Radio City after a 4-year Vegas residency that concluded last January (July 23 and 24).

The Harlem Meer Performance Festival: Brown Rice Family (World Afro-Beat) is a must-see in Central Park (July 22) and Wu-Tang Clan’s RZA Live from the 36th Chamber of Shaolin returns to New York City for a special show. Going back to his earliest inspiration, kung fu, RZA’s audio visual concert experience includes the classic film scored live from beginning to end using Wu-Tang’s music. Catch it at Lincoln Center’s Damrosch Park (July 24).

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OZY Fest 2018  wants you to live at the intersection of music, food, art, culture, and stimulating conversation. With Chelsea Handler, Common, Laverne Cox, and more at this festival in Central Park at Rumsey Playfield, we say OK (July 21-22). Now in its third year, the Panorama Festival on Randall’s Island is a welcome addition to the NYC festival scene. This year’s lineup features Migos, The War on Drugs, Dua Lipa, The Weeknd, Janet Jackson (headlining!), SZA, The Killers, The xx,  David Byrne, Fleet Foxes and more. Panorama  also features The Lab, an interactive experience that combines tech, art and design (July 27-29).

City Parks’ Summer Stage is going strong in July with free concerts across all five boroughs. Highlights in Central Park include British pop duo Oh, Wonder (July 9) and world music sensation, Femi Kuti (July 29), And finally at the Rubin Museum in Chelsea, you can hear acoustic sounds from the Himalayas and South Asia at the foot of the museum’s beautiful spiral staircase, part of Spiral Music every Wednesday night.

When it comes to seasonal summer dining and drinking, head to the West Village’s Pearl Oyster Bar for a lobster roll and Corner Bistro for a mouth-watering burger. In July not one but two restaurant weeks are happening, starting with French Restaurant Week (July 2- July 15) and finishing with New York Restaurant Week  (July 23-Aug 17). July also happens to be National Ice Cream Month and the NYC Summer Ice Cream Blizzard at Grand Bazaar (100 W 77th St) is the perfect way to celebrate #NationalIceCreamDay itself (July 15). Manhattan is something of a gourmet ice cream mecca, from the LES’s Morgenstern’s and Soft Swerve to the opposite end of the island’s Mikey Likes It Ice Cream and Sugar Hill Creamery in Harlem.

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The city’s rooftop bar game is strong, and Gallow Green at the McKittrick Hotel in Chelsea is one of our favorite spots for a late-night cocktail. Check out Time Out NY’s list of the best rooftop bars for an extensive list we love.

Onto the arts, film and theater scenes, where things slow down a bit in the summer months but not entirely because it’s New York. The Met welcomes Diane Arbus: In The Beginning, featuring over 100 photographs by this influential and provocative artist who came to prominence in the late 20th century (July 12). Then check out the Afro Latino Film Festival (July 13-15) and a variety of outdoor screenings, including Friday the 13th on The Intrepid (July 13) and Le Boucher in Tompkins Square Park (July 6). The Public Theatre’s Shakespeare in the Park opens Twelfth Nightconceived by Kwame Kwei-Armah and Shaina Taub (July 17). With free admission (after waiting on a long line outside the Delacorte Theatre for same-day tickets), Shakespeare in the Park remains the best way to enjoy classical shows featuring top talent under the stars.

We’re already anticipating a few 90 degree days, so take it inside when you want not just great entertainment, but air conditioning. StoryFest: A Festival of Storytelling at People’s Improv Theatre (July 12-15) showcases bright and talented voices. Violetta & Her Sisters premieres at Cornelia Street Cafe, featuring Giuseppe Verdi’s “La Traviata,” Leoncavallo’s “La Boheme,” and more (July 26). We would be remiss not to mention The World Cup finals in our theater section, considering the drama of these games, so be sure to catch the finals at 11AM (July 15). With Germany already eliminated and Mexico taking the world by storm, tune in to see if The Simpsons got it right. Entering previews on Broadway is Getting The Band Back Together, one of only a few new musicals not adapting a film or catalogue of hits (July 18), and Pretty Woman: The Musical, an adaption of the hit movie with music and lyrics by 90s Canadian rocker, Bryan Adams. Don’t worry, the stage adaptation film is still set in the 90s…not the Summer of ‘69 (first preview July 20).

That’s enough indoors for now! Let’s go back outside for a sweet, summer night sail on The Schooner Adirondack, which leaves from Chelsea Piers, because life on the water can be felt without heading east. You can also take the Hornblower Ferry from the Wall Street area out to the Rockaways (aka the Montauk of Queens) or beautiful DUMBO/Brooklyn Bridge Park, which has a ton of fun events planned this month.

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Prefer to stay on dry land? Try Stargazing at Lincoln Center at The Fountain every Friday and Saturday night with AAA (Amateur Astronomers Association) and for another group outing for those who appreciate Earth’s natural wonders, check out Manhattanhenge plus a special lecture at American Museum of Natural History’s Hayden Planetarium with Astrophysicist Jackie Faherty (July 12).

Manhattan in July is also extraordinarily kid-friendly and we’ve got a few suggestions for the whole family. The Happy Go Lucky Pop Up Experience at SunnyHues in Soho has different interactive theme rooms designed to brighten your day (July 6-8) and to mark the 60th anniversary of the LEGO brick, the American Scandinavian foundation presents LEGO Bricks: A Celebration (ongoing all month). Every Thursday morning at 10:30am, Summer on the Hudson: Locomotive Lawn Live presents storytelling for kids. Head to New World Stages for Puffs the Play every Saturday if a Harry Potter comedy spoof is your thing, or for something more traditional, La Carousel’s Puppet Show in Bryant Park features puppets performing Fox FablesGoldilocks & The Three BearsThe Lion & The Mouse, and more (every Saturday)! 

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If all this talk of play and summertime fun makes you long for something more reminiscent of work, cue the Rihanna, Drake ‘Work’ – R3hab Remix and know we have your back, too. The Hustle Summit at Irving Plaza is a networking event across multiple industries, from fashion to finance, and entertainment to tech (July 20). So bring your new business cards but promise us you’ll at least go out for ice cream at nearby Van Leeuwen when you’re done. You know time flies when you’re having fun, so make sure you savor every moment.

Bye for now…and see you in August!

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