We think there’s no better season to explore New York than summer. When the weather heats up, there’s so much to enjoy – picnics in Central Park, outdoor movie screenings and countless rooftop bars.

Here’s our definitive list of how to spend summer in NYC…

Picnic in Central Park 

What could be better than picnicking with the city skyline in the background? Head to Union Square Greenmarket to pick up your supplies and then find your perfect spot in Central Park. It’s so big, you won’t find it hard to seek out a secluded area. And there are so many ways to get around too – try rollerblading, a bike ride, a horse drawn carriage, or even a boat ride across the lake. 

There are loads of shows, theatre performances, free fitness classes and events going on throughout summer. Check out the yearly calendar here.

Explore Uptown Route, Stop: The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Stargaze on the High Line

This former train track turned urban park is the trendy place to be in the city. And in summer, all the plants and shrubs are in full bloom making your stroll extra special. Walk the 1.45 miles from the Meatpacking district to Midtown, and relax on the numerous benches which offer views of the Hudson river. Every Tuesday until October, the High Line hosts stargazing nights where high-powered telescopes are scattered across the bridge to help you spot constellations.

Explore Uptown Route, Stop: Madison Square Garden

Movie nights by sunset 

New York is the setting for so many iconic films, and during summer, loads of them are screened in parks and gardens across the city. Head to the HBO Bryant Park Summer Film Festival – it’s free to enter and a different film is screened every night. If you get the chance to venture over to Coney Island, you can enjoy film screenings on the sand via a giant 40-foot inflatable screen.

Rooftop bars and beer gardens

There’s only one way to socialize in summer, and that’s at a beer garden or rooftop bar. New York lines up hundreds for you to choose from. There’s the Met Roof Garden Café & Martini Bar where you’ll get panoramic views over the city while sipping a Cosmo. And, the Standard Biergarten which is right under the canopy of The High Line. There’s even a rooftop vineyard in Brooklyn. Head to the Rooftop Reds urban vineyard and you can walk among the vines and taste wine straight from the source.

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For Rooftop Reds:
Explore Brooklyn Route, Stop: Barclays Centre

Watch Macy’s 4th of July fireworks

This sparkling spectacle is the biggest and best Independence Day fireworks display in the whole of the USA. Thousands of pyrotechnic effects are used to make it extra impressive and its set to a musical score. It’s not just about fireworks either. Previous events have lined up star-studded performances and local music groups to keep you thoroughly entertained.

Explore Uptown Route, Stop: Madison Square Garden

Take a trip to the beach

Summer is the perfect time to combine a beach and city break and discover some great urban swathes of sand. Brooklyn has its very own Brighton Beach where you can decamp for some sandcastle-building and paddling in the sea once you’ve ticked off the city’s famous sights. Or head to Coney Island where you can combine beach time with thrilling rollercoasters and rides at Luna Park.

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Grab those sunglasses and start planning your summer in NYC trip. If you want to check out the other top sights, in between sunbathing on the beach, get some inspiration for your itinerary here.