10 free waterside events in Manhattan to enjoy this summer

July 9 re
A family rides gigantic fish at the Seaglass in Battery Park on July 8.
Photo by Dean Moses

Manhattan may not be tropical, but it is an island, surrounded by breathtaking water views, lighthouses, parks and more things that scream summer in the city. Check out this list of some exciting and free waterside events in Manhattan this summer, including concerts, festivals — including the famous River to River Festival — movies and more fun that is sure to keep you entertained all season long. 

10 Free Waterside events in Manhattan

Drums Along the Hudson: A Native American and Multicultural Celebration

WHEN: Sunday, June 2; 11 a.m.-6 p.m.

WHERE: Inwood Hill Park; 218 Street and Indian Road

WHAT: Enjoy a Native American and multicultural celebration featuring drummers and dancers from around the world, native arts and crafts, storytelling, an environmental tent and international foods. 

WANT TO GO? More information at drumsalongthehudson.org.

Lower Manhattan Cultural Council’s River to River Festival

WHEN: June 7-23; times vary.
WHERE: Lower Manhattan and Governors Island
WHAT: It’s time for this famous art festival, now in its 23rd year. Enjoy 13 projects of live art and performances, including music, storytelling and more  in public spaces throughout Lower Manhattan and Governors Island.
WANT TO GO? Check out the full list of events, including times and locations, at lmcc.net. 

Harlem Moves with Jose Limón Dance Company

WHEN: Fridays, June 21, July 19; Aug. 16; 6-7pm
WHERE: 125 and Marginal Streets
WHAT: The Limón Company dancers will teach the Limón technique accompanied by live music. Part of the Summer on the Hudson series.
WANT TO GO? More information at riversideparknyc.org. 

Swedish Midsummer Festival

WHEN: Friday, June 21; 5-9 p.m.
WHERE: Nelson A. Rockefeller Park; River Terrace and Murray Street
WHAT: Head to this annual celebration of the summer solstice. Enjoy a parade and music, and make a floral wreath.
WANT TO GO? More information at bpca.ny.gov.

Macy’s 4th of July Fireworks

WHEN: Thursday, July 4; 8 p.m.
WHERE: Along the Hudson River and live on NBC TV. Multiple viewing opportunities in Manhattan between W. 14 and W. 34 Streets.
WHAT: Celebrate Independence Day with Macy’s famous dazzling fireworks display. See an array of effects from barges positioned along the Hudson River.
WANT TO GO? More information at macys.com/fireworks.

Riverside Park Birding Club

WHEN: Last Saturday of every month through November; 8-9:30 a.m.
WHERE: Riverside Park; 116 Street and Riverside Drive
WHAT: Learn about the avian friends who share the city with us. Open to birders of all experience levels.
WANT TO GO? More information at nycgovparks.org.

Movies on the Waterfront

WHEN: Thursday nights Aug. 8, 15, 22 and 29; Seating opens at 6:30p.m. movies begin at dusk.
WHERE: Riverside Park; 145 Street and the Hudson River
WHAT: See a variety of movies. Aug 8: Hidden Figures; Aug. 15: Encanto; Aug. 22: Creed; Aug. 29: Audience choice.
WANT TO GO? More information at nycgovparks.org. 

Seaport Cinema Free Movies

WHEN: June 10, July 1 and Aug. 12; Doors open at 6:30 p.m.
WHERE: The Rooftop at Pier 17; 89 South St.
WHAT: Enjoy a variety of movies at the Seaport. June 10: Mamma Mia; July 1: Sing; Aug. 12: A Star is Born.
WANT TO GO? Dates are subject to change; additional dates may be released. 

Blues BBQ Festival

WHEN: Saturday, Aug. 10; 1-8 p.m.
WHERE: Hudson River Park; Pier 76
WHAT: Get ready for a big city barbecue. This annual summer event is a free, day-long music and food festival that features blues artists from around the county. Enjoy barbecue from around the city, games and more.
WANT TO GO? More information at hudsonriverpark.org. 

NYC Unicycle Festival

WHEN: Saturday-Sunday, Aug. 31-Sept 1; 12-5 p.m.
WHERE: Hudson River Park; Pier 76
WHAT: Curious about those one-wheeled cycles? Then this is the event for you. Presented by the Bindlestiff Family Cirkus, the quirky festival features one-wheeled riders and observers. Activities include learn-to-ride classes, unicycle basketball, performances, workshops and more.
WANT TO GO? More information at hudsonriverpark.org.