Your weekend plans begin here, with a couple of dozen FREE and cheap things to do this first official weekend of Summer, including Summer Solstice events, NYC Pride events, the annual Mermaid Parade in Coney Island and a special celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing.
There’s so much to see and do in NYC and never enough time to see and do it all.
The NYC on the Cheap motto is get more NYC for less money.
Let’s hope the weather cooperates with outdoor events, but if it doesn’t, here are some rainy day activities in NYC, besides re-arranging your sock drawer.
Unless otherwise noted, street fairs are 10am to 6pm.
Unless otherwise noted, all events are FREE.
Know before you go:
Summer Solstice Events
Celebrate the Peruvian festival of the sun, Inti Raymi, with a Native Sounds Downtown concert. Led by founder Andres Jimenez, Inkarayku blends traditional Quechua songs with the contemporary energy of New York City. The band’s unique approach to Andean folk music transcends cultural boundaries and shares the stage with other folk traditions of the Americas.
- 5pm at the National Museum of the American Indian in Lower Manhattan
Celebrate the Summer Solstice on June 21st with FREE live music on the plazas along Park Avenue from 39th to 54th Streets, 4-7pm.
Make Music New York
This annual event features hundreds of performances on street corners and in parks in all five boroughs. Simply too many to list here, but each and every one is FREE.
Download the PDF of all Make Music New York scheduled performances. Two stand-out events:
Twilight Chorus (for Humans)
World premiere of “Twilight Chorus (for Humans),” a new vocal work composed by Pete M. Wyer. Inspired by MIT Professor Shigeru Miyagawa’s theory that human speech evolved from birdsong, the score features slowed down transcripts of birdsong field recordings adapted for a choir of sixteen human voices disbursed about the campus until a final gathering.
- The evening features two separate twenty-minute performances beginning at 7:00 PM and 7:35 PM, and a short talk with Mr. Wyer and Professor Miyagawa in between.
- Audiences can begin lining up at 6:30pm
- At the Brooklyn Botanical Garden, 150 Eastern Parkway entrance to the BBG.
- Walk-ups are welcome. For advanced reservations please RSVP at: TwilightChorus@makemusicny.org.
On the Waterfront: American Music for Piano Duet a FREE concert highlighting American four-hand music played by young students and professional adult headliners.
- 4:30pm to 7:30pm at Hudson River Park, Pier I at 70th St.
Celebrate the summer solstice with New Inca Son. Acclaimed in the U.S. and abroad for more than 20 years, these performers present the music and dance of Andean culture.
- 2pm, also at the National Museum of the American Indian in Lower Manhattan
Sotheby’s New York
The world-famous auction house marks the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Uprising with BENT., a live auction and public exhibition celebrating the LGBTQ experience through a diverse and wide-ranging selection of art and artists, on public view.
Comprised of works spanning photographs, contemporary art, antique and rare books, prints and drawings, the exhibition features outstanding pieces dating from the 19th Century to today by both celebrated and lesser-known artists alike who made significant contributions to the representation of LGBTQ artists in the public sphere, including Andy Warhol, Catherine Opie, David Wojnarowicz, David Hockney, Francis Bacon, Gillian Wearing, Peter Hujar, Robert Mapplethorpe and Martin Wong, among others.
A portion of Sotheby’s buyer’s premium will be donated to The Center, providing programs for health, wellness and community connection for New York’s LGBTQ community.
- FREE, through Wed., June 26 at Sotheby’s in Rockefeller Center
Live 4 Love
“Live 4 Love” is a large, colorful installation created by two Australian artists to bring the story of the LGBTQIA+ community to life in a dynamic way. “Live 4 Love” is an inflatable structure that stands more than 20 feet tall and is covered with powerful symbols that represent freedom, inclusion, gender diversity, friendship, and adversity.
In the evenings, the installation is illuminated with internal LED lights and act as a large-scale lantern. Segments of the installation will be showcased during New York City’s Pride March on June 30.
- FREE, through Fri., June 28, in the Oculus in Lower Manhattan (between the Apple Store and Roberto Coin on the Main level )
NYC Pride Events
There are numerous events throughout the city the entire month of June. Click here for more information.
Things to do in NYC on Friday
Celebrate the 50th anniversary June 20, 1969 Apollo 11 landing on the moon with a special anniversary FREE screening of the film Apollo 11 on the flight deck of the Intrepid Space, Sea and Air Museum.
Things to do in NYC on Saturday
FAD stands for Fashion, Art and Design, and there are more than 60 local and regional artists, artisans and makers displaying their handmade items at City Point in Downtown Brooklyn.
NYCOTC Editor Evelyn Kanter will be there, too, talking about my new NYC guidebook, 100 Things to Do in NYC Before You Die, and autographing copies.
- 11am to 4pm at City Point
- FAD Market is also on Sunday, also 11am to 4pm at City Point
The little OPERA theatre of ny will present a FREE concert of scenes from American operas in collaboration with Bronx Opera and operamission. The concert will showcase the diversity of music and stories written for the opera stage by both native born and immigrant composers and librettists.
- 5pm Saturday in Nolan Park, in front of building 25. (Rain date: Sunday, June 23 at 4pm.)
- For complete visitor information, including an island map and ferry schedule visit: https://govisland.com/visit-the-island/ferry
The 5th annual Hudson River Park Games is a daylong celebration of the games we play including flag football, steal the bacon, dodgeball, volleyball and more. Join a team, bring your own team, watch yur favorite team. It’s all good fun.
- 9am to 2pm at Pier 40 at W. Houston St.
- 2pm to 5pm After-Party
It’s one of the best-dressed parades of the year, with sea-themed costumes including mer-maids and mer-men, and special guests Arlo Guthrie and Nora Guthrie. .
The 37th Annual Mermaid Parade begins at 10am at West 21st Street and Surf Avenue
* The Parade will roll east to West 10th Street
* At West 10th Street the Parade will turn south towards the boardwalk
* Cars and Motorized Floats continue down Surf Ave. passing W. 10th Street and exit the parade.
* At the Boardwalk, the marchers and push-pull floats will turn west and head towards West 17th St.
* At Steeplechase Plaza, the Parade will disband.
Things to do in NYC on Sunday
Learn to dance like a pro at these Salsa, Cha-Cha and Bachata lessons and group social dances led by master teachers from the Piel Canela Dance and Music School and featuring DJ Ray Colon.
It will help get you ready for Midsummer Night Swing, three weeks of dancing to live bands in Lincoln Center, which starts on June 25th.
- 6pm to 9:30pm at Hudson River Park, Pier I, at 70th St.
Need more things to do in NYC?
My new book is full of them. 100 Things to be exact.
100 Things to Do in New York City Before You Die is a great guide to discovering the quirky treasures of NYC, or re-discovering some of the most famous spots in the world.
Available online and in bookstores now.
NYC beaches are open for the season through Labor Day Weekend, with lifeguards, food kiosks and fun in the sun, sand and surf.
There are 14 miles of public beaches within the NYC boundaries.
Lifeguards are on duty 10am to 6pm daily, and for the third year in a row, free sunscreen is available at sunscreen stations similar to stations for hand sanitizer.
Here is our guide to the best beaches in Brooklyn, Queens and Staten Island you can get to by subway.