Summer is here and luckily in New York City there are many ways to enjoy the sun-filled season.
If you haven't already, now is the time to plan out your summer bucket list. We're here to help you prioritize.
Eat and drink on the water
Outdoor patios and rooftops have their charms, but there's nothing quite like dining by the water in the summer. If you're looking to grab the best seat in the house, consider our list of the best waterfront restaurants and bars. Some are even on boats! (Credit: Jason Burke)
Conduct an ice cream taste test
There's no shortage of ice cream in NYC, but some shops are truly a scoop above the rest. Whether it's an old-fashioned egg crème in Brooklyn or an exotic lychee-flavored cone in Chinatown that wins your vote, you need to narrow down your go-to spot before the prime frozen treat-eating months are through. Start with some of our favorites. (Credit: Evan Sung)
Get out on the river
There are plenty of opportunities to explore New York's waterways on kayaks or paddle boats for free, so there's really no excuse to miss out. Hit up the Downtown Boathouse, the Brooklyn Bridge Park Boathouse, the LIC Community Boathouse, Red Hook Boaters, or Kayak Staten Island. Or, check out our list of sports to do on the water, from horseback riding to pedal boating.(Credit: Brooklyn Bridge Park via Twitter)
Ride the Thunderbolt
We know you've been meaning to get to Coney Island, and if the beach, boardwalk, people-watching, classic summer eats (hot dogs, funnel cakes, Italian ices), Brooklyn Cyclones baseball and the aquarium aren't enough motivation, riding the new Thunderbolt roller coaster is a must. (Credit: Jeremy Bales)
Go to a music festival
There's no shortage of outdoor music this summer. Here are some festivals to check out.
Make Music New York festival
Now in its 10th year, this free outdoor festival will bring more than 1,200 live concerts to NYC parks and streets on June 21, from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Check the schedule at makemusicny.org.
Randall's Island gets another music festival this summer with Panorama, from July 22 to 24, featuring headliners Arcade Fire, Kendrick Lamar and LCD Soundsystem. Tickets start at $99. Go to panorama.nyc for details.
Full Moon Festival
The beach party-inspired Full Moon Festival, on Aug. 20 to 21, will bring a dozen music acts to Governors Island over the course of two days, including SBTRKT and Santigold. Tickets start at $65. Visit fullmoonfest.com for more information.
Ice Cube, TV on the Radio, Tyler the Creator, Janelle Monae and George Clinton are just some of the dozens of big acts playing this year's installment of the Afropunk Brooklyn on Aug. 27 and 28. The concerts will be held at Commodore Barry Park, Flushing Avenue and Navy Street, Fort Greene. Tickets start at $45. Click here for details.
Walk the Brooklyn Bridge at midnight
Ah, summer romance. Looking for a date that's seriously rom-com worthy? Go for a late-night stroll on the Brooklyn Bridge. You'll beat the heat and crowds of tourists that kill the experience during the day, and you may even find you're not as jaded by city life as you thought as you gaze in awe at the skyline lit up in all its glory. (And yes, there will be enough people around that you'll feel safe doing it.)
Want to really impress? Set the mood with a pre-walk dinner at one of these picturesque restaurants.(Credit: Getty Images / Henny Ray Abrams)
Buy something unique at a flea market
Fifth Avenue stores are glam and SoHo boutiques are trendy, but there's nothing cooler than spending a summer day browsing booths for one-of-a-kind purchases, and just happening to stumble upon the perfect piece of antique jewelry or wacky apartment décor.
From Brooklyn's Fort Greene Flea to the Lower East Side's Hester Street Fair, there are plenty to check out .
And if it's your stomach you prefer to shop for, we all know Smorgasburg can't be beat.(Credit: Getty Images / Emmanuel Dunand)
Eat lobster on City Island
A true hidden gem of the Bronx, City Island is only about a mile and a half long. But what this quaint summer spot lacks in size, it makes up for in fresh seafood -- especially lobster. Come hungry, because you'll have your fair share of restaurants to choose from. (Just cruise City Island Avenue, and you'll see what we mean.)
Afterward, walk it off along the waterfront, browse the local shops for antiques or learn more about this intriguing place at the City Island Nautical Museum. There is no better way to escape the city on a summer day without leaving the five boroughs.(Credit: City Island Nautical Museum via Facebook)
Roller skate your heart out
Take a trip down memory lane . . . on wheels. For a dose of nostalgia with your exercise, this retro activity can't be beat. Lakeside at Prospect Park or Pier 2 at Brooklyn Bridge Park are two outdoor skating rinks to check out. (Credit: iStock)
Find your zen outside
Outdoor yoga classes will be taking place all over the city this summer, from Bryant Park to Brooklyn Bridge Park. Some are even free. Here's a list of different classes to try. (Credit: Angelito Jusay)
Rock out at SummerStage
For music lovers across genres, free concerts in Central Park are a summertime tradition. See the schedule here.
If you're looking for more low-key entertainment, there's always Shakespeare in the Park. Read up on the secrets of the free shows before you go.(Credit: Michael Galpert via Flickr (CC BY-SA))
Take a daycation on Governors Island
Yes, we also hate the word "daycation." But that doesn't mean you shouldn't take one.
One of our favorite in-city destinations is Governors Island. Call in sick, hop on the ferry and find yourself in the newly completed park, featuring mini golf, ball fields, bikes, hammocks, beer, food and a spectacular view.
Check govisland.com for special events and exhibits.(Credit: Nina Ruggiero)
There's no better place to celebrate summer with breathtaking views of the city than on the water.
Hop aboard a boat with the Classic Harbor Line or Manhattan by Sail and prepare to feel a rush of calm come over you as you watch the mainland fade away in the distance, a salty breeze blowing through your hair.
There's everything from a burlesque sail and a champagne brunch to a lobster and craft beer tour.(Credit: Manhattan By Sail)
Get drunk (responsibly) on a rooftop
OK, maybe you've accomplished this one already. In fact, maybe you've done it more than once. (You overachiever, you.) But the truth remains that there are so many amazing rooftops in this city, you could spend every weekend at a different one and still not see them all. Every rooftop's vibe, view and cocktail menu is different, but they all come with that natural high caused by fresh air, city lights and the unbeatable feeling that you're on top of the world. Here are some of our favorites. (Credit: Loren Wohl)
Join the Bleacher Creatures
True Yankees fans know that Bleacher Creature status isn't simply bought, it's earned. But even if you can't devote yourself to every game, you can join in on a classic experience. Plus you'll be sure to eat well. Here are our Eats by Seat guides for Yankee Stadium and Citi Field. (Credit: Getty Images / Nick Laham)
Watch a movie outdoors
Cushy theater seats are sooo overrated. From piers to parks to rooftops, there's nothing like grabbing a blanket and watching a movie under the stars. There are still plenty of free flicks to catch all over town, from "Singin' in the Rain" to "Creed." Check out the lineup here. (Credit: Dan Nguyen via Flickr (CC BY-SA))
Visit your non-human friends
From the Bronx to Staten Island, NYC is full of amazing wildlife, and now is the time to visit the zoo nearest you, because winter hibernation will kick in before you know it (and we're not just talking about the animals).
Spend a summer day checking out the zoos' newest residents.(Credit: WCS / Julie Larsen Maher)
Go zip lining
It's not your typical NYC activity, but that's what makes zip lining in Queens even more thrilling. Save yourself a trip to the Poconos and head over to the Alley Pond Park Adventure Course, where you can strap on a harness and soar 100 yards through the sky and over a green, open field. Plus, here are some more outdoorsy adventures to try. (Credit: NYC Parks )
Play a team sport
OK, you may not have time for an entire season of weekday softball games. That doesn't mean you have to miss out! Zog Sports is hosting softball tournaments on July 30 and Aug. 20, and if you have more time, there are plenty of leagues you can join.
If you're looking for something even more casual, check meetup.com for like-minded athletes.
Or you can go old school and play some pickup basketball on one of the city's public courts.(Credit: Paul Brophy)
Go for a historical swim
The Parks Department's 55 outdoor pools are free -- and many are great pieces of NYC history. Eleven Olympic-size pools opened in the 1930s under Commissioner Robert Moses. And many are designated landmarks.
So take an opportunity to cool off while learning a bit about our city's past. Find the pool closest to your hot, stuffy apartment.(Credit: Getty Images / Mario Tama)
See a tennis match
New York City will become the center of the tennis world when it once again hosts the U.S. Open, which begins August 29. Make a day of it watching the best of the best compete, as well as exploring the activities and eats of the grounds. Check usopen.org for details. (Credit: Getty Images / Clive Brunskill)