There are a gazilion FREE and cheap things to do in NYC any time of year, especially in summer, especially in July, including Midsummer Night Swing in Lincoln Center, the only Formula One style race in NYC, the annual Bastille Day street fair, and the annual Macy’s Fourth of July Fireworks Spectacular.
Our list is family-friendly and almost everything is FREE.
Get more NYC for less money with NYC on the Cheap.
Most of these events are outdoors, rain or shine, so let’s hope for shine.
Best NYC Events in July
Macy’s 4th of July fireworks returns to the East River for the fifth year in a row in 2019, with more than 3,000 shells and effects launched per minute.
New this year, fireworks will be set off from the Brooklyn Bridge and from barges between Pier 17 at the South Street Seaport and South Ferry.
Of course it’s FREE.
Of course it’s one of the best events of the entire year in New York City, so get there early to stake out a spot with the best view.
See our link for more information, including the best viewing spots.
There are dozens of FREE outdoor movies in NYC parks in all five boroughs, and there is something playing FREE every day through Labor Day. Take your pick.
- Movies this month include the original 1984 Ghostbusters, Bumblebee, Back to the Future, and the Hitchcock classic Rear Window
Films on the Green movies from France or with a French theme
Manhattanhenge is when the sun sets directly through the center of Manhattan cross streets, lighting both the north and south sides.
Your last chance to see it for 2019 is in mid-July.
You can be part of the serious photographers on the 42nd St. Overpass on the East Side, the cellphone crowd in Times Square, for FREE, or one of the the astronomy fans joining the astrophysicists at the American Museum of Natural History’s Hayden Planetarium at a special ticketed event.
The FIA Formula E Championship returns to NYC the weekend of July 13/14. It’s your only opportunity to see Formula One style cars race in NYC.
See teams including from Audi Sport, BMW Andretti, Nissan eDam, Venturi, Panasonic Jaguar, Virgin and Mahindra race for the season trophy.
Since these are all-electric vehicles, it’s also a glimpse at the future of zero-emission driving, because so much of what is learned on racetracks leads to our driveways.
Midsummer Night Swing 2019
The fabulous and fun annual three-week outdoor dance festival at Lincoln Center with live dance bands and FREE dance instruction, continues through mid-July, with a star-studded roster including big band swing, honky tonk, blues, salsa, funk, Motown, calypso, tango, Brazilian forro and a Saturday afternoon dance just for kids.
Midsummer Night Swing 2019 blockbuster Big Band sounds of the Harlem Renaissance Orchestra.
Click here for who else is playing, and ticket information.
After a couple of days to change redecorate Damrosch Park, there’s a three-week festival of FREE concerts, FREE dance performances, FREE theater and more FREE events throughout the Lincoln Center campus.
Lincoln Center Out of Doors is July 24 to August 11.
With more tan 50 events, we can’t list them all, but here are some highlights:
- Soul at the Center, featuring Legacy: Lalah Hathaway sings Donny Hathaway. Also on the bill for evening are The Illustrious Blacks.
- Wilco frontman Jeff Tweedy
- An exhilarating evening of dance with Bessie Award–winning jazz, tap, and swing wunderkind Caleb Teicher
- Screening of the Bob Fosse–directed concert film Liza with a “Z”
- The third installation of NPR Music’s popular series Turning the Tables Live: The Motherlode.
- Eight iconic female artists whose work shaped the path of popular music will be celebrated with performances from Rhiannon Giddens, Xiomara Laugart, Ledisi, Amina Claudine Myers, Cleo Reed, Valerie Simpson, Charenée Wade, and Lizz Wright
- An evening of stand-up comedy with Comedy Central’s Roy Wood Jr. & Guests
- desi:NOW a night featuring genre-bending creatives defining modern South Asian-American identity through the arts
- Singer songwriter and Americana stalwart Patty Griffin, joined by Yola, fresh off her Dan Auerbach–produced record, Walk Through Fire
FREE lunchtime entertainment returns to Lincoln Square for the 12th year, with a local musicians performing everything from jazz to Andean music to rock to opera.
The series is every Wednesday, rain or shine, July 3 to August 28, in Richard Tucker Park, Broadway at 66th St. One group plays at noon each Wednesday, another at 1pm, and there is bistro-style seating to sit and enjoy the music. In between performances, music lovers can stretch and relax with free and gentle restorative yoga sessions by instructors from the West Side Y—a great way to relax during lunch. Whole Foods Market will sponsor free product samples during each performance.
Here is the schedule for July. We’ll have the August schedule for you at the end of July.
July 3: Jazz- America’s music
Noon to 1pm- NYC Jazz Underground (straight ahead jazz)
1pm to 2pm – Robert Anderson Jazz Band, The Keepers of the BeBop Flame (jazz)
July 10: Brass Bands
Noon to 1pm – Dingonek Street Band
1pm to 2pm – The L Train Brass Band
July 17: Music of South America
Noon to 1pm – RAICES GROUP (Andean and Native music)
1pm to 2pm – Parada Vallenata (Columbian Vallenata music)
July 24: Rock ‘n’ Roll
Noon to 1pm – Jake Kulak & the Low Down (blues & rock trio)
1pm to 2pm -Felipe Pavani Band (rock standards)
July 31: Cajun and Gypsy
Noon to 1pm – The Catahoula Cajun Band (Cajun music)
1pm to 2pm – SisterMonk (gypsy, trance, percussion diva dance)
This FREE music and dance event returns with Friday night concerts in July and August by NYC artists, and the chance to dance to the music. Bring a blanket and a picnic and also enjoy cool breezes and the sunset.
Music is 7pm to 9pm, at Pier 45 at Christopher Street In Greenwich Village
- JULY 12 – Kevin Batchelor
- JULY 19 – Manhattan Samba
- JULY 26 – High & Mighty Brass Band
- AUGUST 2 – The Hum
- AUGUST 9 – Koku Gonza
- AUGUST 16 – Manhattan Samba
- AUGUST 23 – High & Mighty Brass Band
Enjoy introductory Argentine Tango lessons, music, and dancing in the open air.
Live music and dancers July 25. No class July 4.
- FREE on Thursdays in July, 6:30pm – 8:30pm
- Fishing Pier at 125th & Marginal St.