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Things to Do

Summer NYC bucket list: Festivals, water activities, outdoor music, more

Don't let the lethargy of summer heat keep you inside.

If you keep yourself busy, whether it's chilling by the pool, hitting an amusement park or kayaking in the East River, you'll get the most out of summer.

Here are our NYC musts for these steamy months:

Have fun in the city's wacky pop-ups

Whether themed around dreams, happiness, eggs or food,
Photo Credit: Shaye Weaver

Whether themed around dreams, happiness, eggs or food, there are quite a few pop-up exhibitions that promise to immerse you in out-of-this-world scenes until you literally forget it's hot outside. Check out The Dream Machine through July; Happy-Go-Lucky through July 8; The Egg House through June 27; and a number of food pop-ups.

Discover other city neighborhoods

While you probably live in a great neighborhood,
Photo Credit: Shaye Weaver

While you probably live in a great neighborhood, it's good to get out and learn more about the city -- the different cultures that inhabit it and the businesses that make them thrive. Check out our neighborhood guides to find out which might be your newest hangout, like Bay Ridge, Jackson Heights and others.

Go ice skating ... seriously

A new, state-of-the-art ice skating rink has opened
Photo Credit: The Trust for Governors Island

A new, state-of-the-art ice skating rink has opened on Governors Island. Mel's Rink, an 8,000-square-foot arena on the island's western promenade with views of the Statue of Liberty, is so slick it's like ice, according to the Trust of Governors Island. It will be open through Oct. 31, with free weekday morning skates between 10 a.m. and noon, and for those who can't make it until later, rentals are $20 per person until 5 p.m. on weekdays and until 6 p.m. on weekends.

See some Shakespeare

A number of enterprising troupes (usually full of
Photo Credit: Chris Montgomery

A number of enterprising troupes (usually full of young actors working in informal settings with limited production costs) perform Shakespeare and other classical theater during the summer months. These options are free and performed outdoors around the city, and some do not require tickets or even reservations. Here are some alternatives to Shakespeare in the Park, which typically requires standing in a long line for tickets.

Eat and drink on the water

The breeze coming off the East River will
Photo Credit: Jason Burke

The breeze coming off the East River will cool you down while you enjoy a drink or a meal. Some of our favorite bars and restaurants to watch the sun set include Grand Banks (Pier 25), The Frying Pan (Pier 66A) and Greenpoint's The Brooklyn Barge (3 Milton St.).

Get out on the river

Get up-close and personal with the city's waterways
Photo Credit: Brooklyn Bridge Park

Get up-close and personal with the city's waterways this season with a little kayaking. Hit up the Downtown Boathouse, the Brooklyn Bridge Park Boathouse, Red Hook Boaters or Kayak Staten Island to enjoy free kayaking programs. Each location offers water activities on a walk-in basis, so no need to make an appointment when you're in the mood to get out on the river.

Walk the Brooklyn Bridge at night

Summer nights let you finally enjoy some pretty
Photo Credit: Getty Images / Henny Ray Abrams

Summer nights let you finally enjoy some pretty spectacular nighttime city views without standing in the cold to see them. Avoid the onslaught of tourists and bikers during the day, and head to the Brooklyn Bridge for a late-night stroll, where you'll see the skyline lit up in all its glory.

Take your workout outside

Bryant Park, Central Park, the High Line and
Photo Credit: Angelito Jusay

Bryant Park, Central Park, the High Line and Socrates Sculpture Park all offer outdoor workout classes through the summer. They're free, which might help give you the motivation you need to pick up a new hobby, like fencing, tai chi or group yoga.

Buy something unique at a flea market

Spend the day outside and discover something you
Photo Credit: Grand Bazaar NYC

Spend the day outside and discover something you didn't even know you wanted. Expect to find one-of-a-kind jewelry, eclectic decor for your apartment, and some of the markets have food, too. Start with LIC Flea & Food or Manhattan's Grand Bazaar NYC, but there are plenty of spots to check out.

Enjoy a movie under the stars

For a chill evening, head to your piers,
Photo Credit: Etienne Frossard

For a chill evening, head to your piers, parks and rooftops with a blanket and watch a movie. From Coney Island to Randall's Island, there are plenty of options across the city.

Enjoy a scoop (or two) of ice cream

Ice cream in the city is almost as
Photo Credit: Sundaes and Cones

Ice cream in the city is almost as diverse as its residents. Aside from the Mister Softee trucks manning the street corners, there's plenty of oddball flavors to eat your way through this summer. Stop by some of our favorite ice cream shops, like East Village's Sundaes & Cones, Williamsburg's Davey's Ice Cream and DUMBO's Brooklyn Ice Cream Factory.

Hit up a ball game

Grab your friends and those bleachers tickets and
Photo Credit: Getty Images / Nick Laham

Grab your friends and those bleachers tickets and cheer on the Mets or Yankees with a beer in hand. And don't forget to check out our favorite eats at Yankee Stadium and Citi Field.

Drink on a rooftop

There are so many amazing rooftops in this
Photo Credit: Loren Wohl

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 from fresh air, city lights and the unbeatable feeling that you're on top of the world. Here are some of our favorites and some with pools.

Grab your bathing suit and head to the pool

While this isn't technically getting out of the
Photo Credit: NYC Parks

While this isn't technically getting out of the heat, going swimming is a good way to get your body moving in some (likely) cool water. Thankfully, the Parks Department's 56 outdoor pools are free. No matter your borough, there's a public pool nearby and if you want to get fancy, a lot of pools on rooftops too.

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