New York City has a full calendar of FREE and cheap events in July. Here are couple of dozen of the best FREE & cheap things to in NYC in July to help you enjoy NYC on the cheap.
We feature only events and activities for grown-ups and those who behave like grown-ups, and family-friendly things to do with kids, for NYC residents and for visitors to the greatest city on the planet. Nothing on NYCOTC is over $25, except for important charity fund-raisers to support NYC parks and gardens, or charities that support children with cancer, the homeless, or similar.
Outdoor events are rain or shine, so let’s hope for shine.
Street fairs and block parties
City of Water Day – This annual FREE# event celebrates the waterways around NYC with dozens of events, including along the Hudson River and on Governors Island. Get gratis access to a variety of vessels, including canoes, kayaks and rowboats, learn to fish, and more. Check the website for details of events.
Beat the heat at these FREE outdoor pools in Manhattan
Beat the heat at these FREE outdoor pools in Brooklyn, Queens, Bronx and Staten Island
Find sprinklers and spray showers in NYC parks to beat the heat
French Restaurant Week – The motto of this annual culinary event during Bastille Week is “Eat. Drink. Be French.” More than 40 participating French restaurants are offering three-course meals for $17.89 at lunch and $38 at dinner, including Dominique Bistro in the West Village. French Restaurant Week is through July 16 in New York City and the Tri-State Area, and there’s a Chicago version July 10-23.
NYC Restaurant Week – What started as a one-week lunch special 25 years ago has now stretched into a three-week, multi-course affair copied in cities around the world, from Albuquerque to Warsaw. This year’s event, July 24 to August 18, features more than 350 top NYC eateries dishing out three-course lunches for $29 and dinners for $42, far too many to list here. Reservations open closer to the start date. Keep your appetites ready – wel’ll be updating reservation information when we get it. In the meantime
- Where to eat in Times Square at local and family owned restaurants and avoid the national chains
- Where to eat in Union Square and Flatiron
- Best traditional Jewish delis for overstuffed sandwiches
Midsummer Night Swing – Dance to live bands under the stars in Lincoln Center through July 16th, when the annual event wraps up with a special program for kids in the afternoon and the Harlem Renaissance Orchestra in the evening.
Summergarden at MOMA – On Sundays in July, enjoy contemporary music concerts in the sculpture garden, FREE, no museum admission required. New Music for New York features classical and jazz musicians from The Julliard School and Jazz at Lincoln Center. Doors open at 7pm, concerts are a 8pm, and limited seating is first-come, first-served.
Live Under the Archway – FREE family-friendly concerts, dance performance and social dance lessons each Thursday through August on the Brooklyn side of the Manhattan Bridge
The Washington Square Music Festival, now in its 59th season, has events throughout the month.
Complete guide to outdoor movies in all five boroughs, by day of the week
HBO Summer Movie Festival in Bryant Park – All the movies on the schedule are set in NYC or, or feature NYC, like King Kong and Dirty Dancing, both the iconic originals, not the recent tacky and terrible remakes.
Movies Under the Stars program in NYC parks in all five boroughs feature movies for kids.
Midsummer Night Swing – Three weeks of dancing under the stars at Damrosch Park in Lincoln Center to live bands playing swing, Latin and more. These are ticketed events, but plenty of people hang out around the perimeter for free, to listen to the music and watch the dancing.
Tap Dance Month at the NYPL – See examples of the best samples of tap dancing on film and tape, on Mondays in July, starting July 10th, at the Library for the Performing Arts in Lincoln Center, including samples of the library’s own archival recordings. Screenings are at 6pm in the Third Floor Screening Room. Doors open at 5:30pm. Seating is first come first served.
Everybody Tango – Enjoy Argentine Tango, including a FREE introductory lesson by the instructors of Strictly Tango NYC. Lessons are 6:45pm and 7:45pm, dancing starts at 8:30. Each Thursday in July at the Fishing Pier at 125th St. and Marginal St. in Harlem.
Everybody Salsa – Free beginner salsa classes and dance parties every Wednesday evening to Aug. 30, on the pedestrian area called Plaza33, at 33rd St. and Broadway. Free lessons at 6:30pm, and free dancing to music spun by a live DJ, 7:15pm to 8:30m.
DeKalb Market – The city’s newest food hall is open in downtown Brooklyn with local food vendors, including an outpost of famed Katz’s Deli from the Lower East Side, across the East River. See what else is to eat here
Every Day in July
Hallett Nature Sanctuary – This almost-secret hideaway spot in Central Park is now open for the 2017 season. Unlike past years with extremely limited days and hours, the gates to this locked-off sanctuary will be open daily this year for the first time, from 10AM to 30 minutes before sunset, with the caveat that it is closed occasionally due to inclement conditions. Wear sturdy closed shoes for the uneven walkways, and bring a camera. No dogs, bikes or strollers permitted.
- SEE ALSO Description of Hallett Nature Sanctuary
- SEE ALSO 8 secrets of Central Park
- SEE ALSO Best spots in Central Park to have a picnic
Twice a Week in July
Birding Walks in Bryant Park – Some birds live here year-round. Others just visit on their way north for the summer. How many of the 100+ bird species found in Bryant Park can you find and identify?
Hester Street Fair – On the site of what was New York City’s largest pushcart market in the early 1900s, this street fair pays homage to it’s strong neighborhood roots by re-creating a bustling outdoor marketplace. There’s a different “theme” practically every weekend. Corner of Hester and Essex, take the F J M Z to Delancey or the F to East Broadway.
LIC Flea & Food continues to grow, with favorite vendors returning and some new ones, too. LIC Flea & Food is at 5-25 46th Avenue, Long Island City, at the corner of 5th Street and 46th Avenue, just one block behind the iconic Pepsi-Cola sign. It opens directly into the waterfront park with amazing Manhattan skyline views Easily accessible from the 7, G, E, and M trains, or via the East River Ferry. FREE admission.
Brooklyn’s Smorgasburg is in different locations each weekend day. This year, Saturday Smorgasburg remains at East River State Park in Williamsburg; Sunday Smorgsaburg remains at Prospect Park’s Breeze Hill.
Brooklyn’s Saturday Flea has been canceled until further notice. The Sunday Flea is at the DUMBO Archway under the Manhattan Bridge.