New York has a huge and varied schedule of free events that take place during the summer, so many in fact that it makes sense to do a bit of research before setting off for the Big Apple so that you know what the options are when you’re in town.
Many visitors to NYC like to do a bit of celebrity spotting and this can be built into a schedule with some of the summer concerts put on by major American television programmes. Both the Today Show and Good Morning America host celebrity packed events which are broadcast live across the country. This is, therefore, not only a chance to see your favourite celebrities perform but also a chance to get on TV yourself. However, because the shows are broadcast in the mornings it means that visitors will have to be up early, locals advise being there at six for a show that starts at seven if you want a good view.
If you prefer high culture to low there are two major events that are not to be missed. The annual Shakespeare in the park festival sees various plays by the Bard performed in Central Park, often with major actors in leading roles. It is probably too late now to get tickets to see Al Pacino as Shylock this summer but next summer is ready for early-bird booking. The New York Philharmonic Orchestra also puts on free concerts in New York’s parks. There are several locations across the city throughout the summer, check the website for a location or performance that suits you.
There are two summer film festivals to enjoy. The Bryant Park Movie Festival shows classic films at dusk most Mondays over the summer and is a great place for a romantic picnic revisiting or getting to know one of the great films of our times. There are also the Movies under the Stars events in Hudson Park. These screenings are divided into family films which are shown on Friday nights and more grown up films on Wednesdays. The grown up films tend to be of the blockbuster variety and so better for groups of friends rather than romantic dates, although the family films on the Fridays are highly recommended for everyone.
Lastly, throughout the summer months the Central Park SummerStage runs a diverse but packed schedule of events both in the park and in other locations around the city. These include comedy, films, dance and music and almost all of them are free, although some charge a nominal fee to cover the costs of the events and ensure it can run next year.
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