7 Actually Fun Things to Do in New York This Weekend
Salute America’s birthday with cherry pie and fireworks.
By Izzy Baskette / Thrillist
“It’s been a long and hot week here in New York City, and the 4th of July holiday weekend couldn’t have come any sooner. We’re now officially at the halfway point of the year, and on top of the full return of the Macy’s 4th of July Fireworks show, there are plenty of things to do around the city to help salute America’s birthday. Try Friesling at a new bar, order up cherry pie from a top bakery, or check out a Brazilian-inspired festival under a DUMBO archway—we’ve got your fun weekend plans with seven actually fun things to do, eat, and see in New York this weekend. And for more actually fun things to do, check out our podcast streaming below.”
Try the menu at this new Brooklyn cocktail destination
At newly opened Thief, industry veteran and drinks expert of over 25 years, John McNulty (Katana Kitten), takes inspiration from 80s-theme graffiti, art, and music. Touting itself as a contemporary neighborhood bar with a friendly dive atmosphere, signature drinks include the perfect-for-summer Friesling (yes, that’s frozen riesling!), in addition to a curated list of cocktails and a lengthy wine list. Snacks and bites include sandwiches, Bavarian pretzels, and vegan mini corn dogs.
Cost: Cocktails start at $12
Celebrate America’s birthday with slice of cherry pie
Friday, July 2 and Saturday, July 3
Say happy birthday to America and the holiday weekend with a classic cherry pie from Frenchette Bakery. Made with market cherries and an Emmer wheat butter crust, a slice of this is an ideal complement to your rooftop or park picnic. While they’re closed on the 4th, the dessert is available now for pre-order online and in-store pick-up for Friday, July 2, and Saturday, July 3. Local delivery is also available (within a 2-mile area).
Cost: $50 per pie
Get some fresh air at the city’s newest rooftop escape
Located atop the Renaissance Hotel in Chelsea is the new rooftop lounge, nightclub, and pool experience, Somewhere Nowhere NYC. Designed with a vibrant light display, bamboo scents, and booming sound system, you’re in for a whimsically debaucherous time. Reserve a table during this grand opening weekend for a day or night of live DJ sets and firework views.
Cost: Prices vary
Hop to a nearby island for unlimited brunch
Saturday, July 3 and Sunday, July 4, 11:30 am
A quick ferry ride to Governors Island will net you a bottomless brunch hosted by luxury glamping experts, Collective Governor’s Island. With stunning views of the city skyline and Statue of Liberty in the background, guests can pair their unlimited Bloody Marys or Champagne with entree choices like french toast and shrimp and grits, in addition to special a la carte items like a pancake platter with red and blue berries (and festive sparkles). If you’re still standing, afterwards, hang around for sunset cocktails and s’more over a campfire.
Cost: Starts at $30 per person
Check out live events under an archway in DUMBO
Located on Water Street under the Manhattan Bridge, the DUMBO Archway sports 45-foot high ceilings and is one of NYC’s few covered outdoor public spaces. In addition to hosting events, performances, and vendors throughout the year, this summer’s Daily Dose of Summer series runs until late August. On Friday and Saturday, check out Archway: Brasil Summerfest (purchase advance tickets here) featuring an all-female Afro-Brazilian drum ensemble, a São Paulo-native percussion master, and more. And on Sunday, Brooklyn Flea starts at 10 am.
Jam out to a local Dolly Parton cover band
Saturday, July 3, 7 pm
If it’s been a while since you last visited The Bell House, dust off the old rhinestone-studded outfit for a Brooklyn-based Dolly Parton cover band. Titled Doll Parts: Dolly Saves America! and performed by Doll Parts, a group of artists who joined forces in 2011 to honor Tennessee’s biggest icon, don’t expect karaoke-style renditions of Parton’s classic. Instead, band members Maggie Robinson Katz, Julia Sirna-Frest, and Shane Chapman pay homage to songs by harmonizing and through instrumentals.
Cost: $20 per person
Feel mesmerized at an immersive art experience
With the year we just had, we’re all about doing what’s necessary to disconnect from reality every so often—and if there are trippy disco ball lights involved, we love it even more. Starting this Friday and running until the end of July, Light Leaks is the city’s newest immersive art experience to debut (btw have you checked out the Van Gogh shows yet?). Created by artists Kyle McDonald and Jonas Jongejan and located at City Point, get flooded by lights and transported to a world of infinite space that’ll look even more cool on your ‘gram.
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Thrillist, a site with tons of food, drink, travel & entertainment info, introduces folks to the coolest things to do in NYC (and other places when you are traveling). I like to check them out regularly. You should, too.
If you are looking for some of the best info on food and drink, restaurants and eating in New York City, then you want to head to New York magazine’s Grub Street.
Right now you want to check out: The Return of Restaurants
“Make up for lost meals. No takeout, no pasta kits, just 66 of the best new (or newly relevant) places to eat.”
Edited by Rob Patronite and Robin Raisfeld, Photographs by Dina Litovsky
Here are 3 more of my faves:
Surrender to Carbs in Soho
Coco Pazzeria / 307 Spring St.
You see traces of far-west Spring Street’s past at the still-swinging Ear Inn and symbols of its future in the luxury apartment towers that have sprouted along Renwick and Greenwich Streets. Coco Pazzeria, with its raw bar and sparkling-wine list (liquor license pending), is the perfect pizzeria for this newly ritzy part of town, if the steady flow of neighbors stopping in for takeout orders is any indication. But thanks to the reputation of owner Pino Luongo and the presence of homegrown pizzaiolo Ciro Verdi, who can be seen slinging thin-crust pies and his trademark focaccia robiola at his oven in back, the restaurant also attracts couples on dates, travelers from other Zip Codes arriving on fancy folding bikes, and young families taking full advantage of the BYO policy (a must when your dining companions are an infant, a toddler, and a juvenile-delinquent tween). The menu extends to pastas and salads, but dough is the thing, fried into mini-calzones or formed into loaves for sandwiches, including a recent lobster-roll special. —R.P. & R.R.
Eat Greek Off the Beaten Path
Eléa / 217 W. 85th St.
This airy greek restaurant opened in 2018 on a rather unfavorable Upper West Side side street, facing a soon-to-be construction site, at a remove from the buzzier stretches of Amsterdam and Columbus Avenues. But when COVID hit, Eléa was one of the first places in the neighborhood to build a beautiful, greenery-draped outdoor seating area, complete with inviting flowers, twinkly lights, and copious heat lamps. The kitchen didn’t miss a beat, turning out zesty shareable small plates like fried-zucchini “chips” and sesame-crusted feta. Now, Eléa has blossomed into a local go-to for date nights and other special occasions — the kinds of dining excursions that feel more celebratory than ever. —Ellie Krupnick
Slurp Some Pho in a Brooklyn Backyard
Bolero / 177 Bedford Ave., Williamsburg
This Vietnamese restaurant smack in the middle of prime Bedford Avenue opened just before the pandemic and managed to soldier on throughout thanks to its backyard — small and slightly suburban-feeling with its wooden fence and strings of tiny lights. Pots of herbs grown on the restaurant’s farm in Pennsylvania line that yard; sometimes a cook will wander out and clip a fragrant betel leaf or a sprig of rice-paddy herb. It’s the ideal setting to enjoy chef Matt Le-Khac’s neo-traditional Vietnamese dishes, such as an unusual pho topped with coarsely ground beef and a vegetarian bun bo Hue chay made with mushrooms as opposed to the customary pig’s blood. —R.C.S.
Also see Eater New York’s interactive map that highlights
these 66 restaurants that deserve your attention.