Looking for the best things to do in NYC this weekend? Whether you’re the group planner searching for more things to do in NYC today, or you have no plans yet, here are some ideas to add to your list for this long summer weekend. Don’t miss Netflix’s “Queer Street” party at C’mon Everybody or another installment of Updating. You can also return to Shakespeare in the Park, which is back this week, and find free ice cream and free banana pudding from Magnolia Bakery on the streets. There’s much more to do this weekend—all you have to do is scroll down to plan yours!”
Things to do in NYC this weekend
These are my Top 10. Want more ?
Every summer, the Public Theater produces a beloved NYC democratic tradition and one of the best free things to do in NYC: Shakespeare in the Park, presented at the open-air Delacorte Theater in Central Park. There’s nothing quite like hearing the Bard’s immortal words performed outside in New York, with a backdrop of natural splendor and the Belvedere Castle looming in the background like the world’s most impressive set decoration. Shakespeare in the Park’s popularity means that tickets aren’t easy to come by—but if you persevere, you can get seats. Here’s our guide to navigating the system in 2021.
Restaurants Various locations, Hell’s Kitchen Until Jul 18 2021
Magnolia Bakery is celebrating its 25th Birthday by taking its delectable banana pudding to the streets via its banana pudding mobile across two weekends in July. At each location, Magnolia Bakery will be handing out cups of its banana pudding in a limited-edition birthday cup, designed by a local artist and inspired by NYC. Fans will also have the chance to enter to win banana pudding for a year just by scanning the QR code on the top of each banana pudding cup, following the brand on Instagram or entering at magnoliabakerysweeps.com.
Head to the following locations between 11:30am and 4pm to get yours:
Friday, July 9: Madison Square Park (Manhattan)
Magnolia Bakery’s Bleecker Street location will also have a special photo moment with Carrie Dragshaw for those who want to relive a classic New York City scene with cupcakes and banana pudding (between 3-5pm)
Saturday, July 10: McCarren Park (Brooklyn)
Sunday, July 11: 30th Avenue between 32nd and 33rd streets (Astoria)
Friday, July 16: Prospect Park (Brooklyn)
Saturday, July 17: Natural History Museum + High Line/Whitney (Manhattan)
Sunday, July 18: Gantry State Plaza (Queens)
Start your engines for MoMA’s newest exhibition, Automania. At first glance, cars might seem like mundane, carbon-emitting fixtures of contemporary life across much of the world. They’re woven into the fabric of American life — many towns and cities are nearly impossible to traverse without a vehicle. But as much as we take cars for granted, these marvels of machinery and human ingenuity emerged through some complicated socio-political and economic conditions. Featuring vintage cars from the earliest years of automobiles, Automania unpacks the complex relationship, and dependence, between us and cars. The two-part exhibition consists of galleries on view from July 4 through January 2, 2022, and a total of nine vintage cars dotting the museum’s first floor and Sculpture Garden until October 10. The exhibition pulls its name from a 1964 Oscar-nominated cartoon by the British animation team Halas and Batchelor (most famous for their adaptation of George Orwell’s Animal Farm). In a press release, the MoMa pitches the ambitious show as examining “the car as a modern industrial product, transportation innovator, and style icon, as well as the generator of fatalities, traffic-choked environments, and ecological disaster in the oil age.” And, at the end of the day, the younger ones are sure to be impressed by all the cool cars.
News Theater & Performance
The Metropolitan Opera will not resume live performances until September, but the beloved New York company continues to enchant opera fans around the world with free streams of past productions from its extensive archives. The lineup from July 5 through July 11 is devoted entirely to works by the German composer Richard Strauss, including Elektra, Salome, Ariadne auf Naxos and two different versions of Der Rosenkavalier. A majority of this week’s offerings were originally recorded in high definition for the Met’s Live in HD series. Each stream goes live on the Met’s website each night at 7:30pm EDT (12:30am BST) and remains available until 6:30pm EDT the next day. The operas can also be viewed through the Met Opera on Demand app on various devices. More information and a full schedule for Week 69 of the Met’s streaming program is here.
10. Free, all-day ice cream in Times Square
Grab some free ice cream if you’re in the Times Square area on Saturday and Sunday from 10am to 6pm. NumberStory.org, which is doing an “Unwrap Childhood Memories” campaign to raise awareness about Adverse Childhood Experiences and the tools to understand and heal from these stressful experiences, will be handing out the ice cream from a food truck between West 45th and West 46th streets.
Things to do
If you crave an escape from the city that won’t land you in debt, head to the ever-changing urban oasis of Governors Island, NY which combines park, adult playground and outdoor art space into a single lovely haven for adventure. One of the best things to do in summer is ride the ferry and visit the car-free attraction. And now, it’s open until 10pm on Fridays and Saturdays through Labor Day weekend so you don’t have to worry about jumping on the ferry before the sun sets!
The venue formerly known as Fat Cat has reemerged with a new name, new games, and custom ice cream. Cellar Dog (75 Christopher St.) is reviving the Fat Cat tradition of late-night basement gaming, with an updated concept for 2021. Opened by Backal Hospitality Group (BHG), Cellar Dog will remain a live music and game hall, making the most of the 9,000-square-foot underground space. Games include pool tables, ping pong, shuffleboard, foosball, checkers and chess, as well as antique and novelty arcade games including Pac Man and many more. Live jazz and additional entertainment will also be booked throughout the week.
Movies Village East Cinema, East Village Until Jul 18 2021
The Lower East Side Film Festival moved online for 2020, expanding viewership to a broader audience demographic, but is back in theaters this year with the option to screen programs from home. This year, do not miss an advanced screening of the first two episodes of MCCARTNEY 3,2,1—HULU’s six-episode music series event features intimate and revealing examinations of musical history from two living legends, Paul McCartney and producer Rick Rubin; a virtual screening of The Revolution Generation, a documentary featuring Michelle Rodriguez, Shailene Woodley, Bernie Sanders, Tulsi Gabbard, and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez; and an exclusive stand-up comedy show and film screening with special guest Tig Notaro at Caveat. Other films to look out for include documentaries, Killing Tony, Your Mother’s Comfort and Fearless. These films will be available online July 8-18, while live screenings for vaccinated film lovers will be July 8-12 at Village East Cinema. Check out the full schedule here.
Art City Point, Downtown Brooklyn Until Jul 31 2021
Light Leaks is an immersive art installation where visitors can escape into a seemingly infinite space created by patterns from millions of lights and a gigantic cluster of glistening disco balls. Thousand Deep and artists Kyle McDonald and Jonas Jongejan analyzed a few dozen photos of the space and predicted where each of the millions of pixels of projected light would shine after reflecting off the disco balls. They combined this data with a 3D model of the room to program immersive patterns with the reflections. “The result is a mesmerizing flood of lights that destabilize and reorganize a viewer’s perception of the space,” they say. The installation will also include disco-ball-inspired art by Kiichiro Adachi, Julia Walck, and Nick Oudsema. “To us, the disco ball represents values of celebration and expression. Through this event, we want to reinvigorate these values, and tell a story of emergence as cultural experiences come back to New York City,” says Carson Lee, co-founder & CEO of Thousand Deep. The “transformative” installation can be experienced July 2 – 31 in Downtown Brooklyn.
Things to do 718 Broadway, Midtown West Until Dec 31 2022
Immersive art exhibit Arcadia Earth has reopened after being closed due to the pandemic, and it looks better than ever! The exhibit aims to inspire visitors artistically and ethically, as it uses 15 rooms to spotlight the environmental challenges that our planet is facing (such as overfishing, food waste, and climate change). This exhibit will not only leave visitors in awe, but it will help support Oceanic Global, an organization devoted to raising awareness around our aquatic ecosystems. In addition, a tree will also be planted for every ticket sold, making it a perfect gift for your eco-conscious friends!
Friday, July 9
Double Dutch at Brooklyn Bridge Park: Love to jump rope? Learn to double dutch and up your fitness game by having fun at Brooklyn Bridge Park! Coach Kizzy Samuel-Parsons is there to guide you every step of the way so you can learn the ins and outs of street-style and competitive jump rope. Brooklyn Bridge Park Pier 2 Ping Pong Tables, 6 p.m., Free.
Screening of “Taming the Garden”: If you love documentaries, head to this screening of “Taming of the Garden.” The screening will kick off with an introduction from “The Rifleman” director Sierra Pettengill before heading into the screening. The Old American Can Factory, 232 Third St., Brooklyn. 8 p.m. $16.
Saturday, July 10
Bronx Night Market: The Bronx Night Market has been proudly serving the Bronx, Upper Manhattan and Westchester County for years. Come by and check out the 20+ vendors and support local businesses in your neighborhood while enjoying a plethora of family-friendly activities. 1 Fordham Plaza. 12 to 7 p.m. Free to enter.
…Praise: The Inevitable Fruit of Gratitude: Step to a new beat with this special dance performance. Dorrance Dance’s “…Praise: The Inevitable Fruit of Gratitude” is launching as a part of the Queens Theatre’s summer season of music, dance and art on their new outdoor stage. Flushing Meadows Corona Park, 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Free.
Queer Art Summerfest: As one of the first queer events to take place in July this year, Queer Art Summerfest is a marketplace and fundraiser for all to enjoy. Hosted by some of the leading performers in New York drag and nightlife, guests can peruse the marketplace of 30+ vendors and participate in raffles. Proceeds from the raffles will go to support GLITS Inc, which aims to create holistic solutions to the health and housing crises faced by LGBTQIA+ individuals, specifically trans sex workers. 3 Dollar Bill, 260 Meserole Street, Brooklyn. 2 to 8 p.m., Free.
Sunday, July 11
Open Studios Residency: Oyu Oro Afro-Cuban Experimental Dance Ensemble and Fogo Azul NYC will present original dance works as a part of Brooklyn Bridge Park’s Open Studios Residency this weekend. Be sure to come by to participate in interactive workshops following each group’s final showcase. Brooklyn Bridge Park Harbor View Lawn, 10 a.m., Free.
Galactic featuring Anjelika “Jelly” Joseph and special guest Mononeon: Enjoy a night of funk, R&B, and jazz with this one-of-a-kind Summerstage performance. The show comes as a part of the Blue Note Jazz Festival presented by Sony. Central Park’s Rumsey Playfield, Manhattan. doors open at 6 p.m., tickets start at $45.
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:
Eat All Your Chinese Vegetables
Fat Choy / 250 Broome St.
It’s one thing to offer a $335 meat-free menu for the one percent (see Eleven Madison Park 2.0). It’s another to charge $10 and under for veggie-centric Chinese food for everyone: the curious carnivores, the certified vegans, and the dedicated superfans like Deborah from the Upper West Side, who loves the food and the vibe so much she literally hiked down the West Side Highway from 88th Street to Broome and Orchard one recent Saturday afternoon just to tuck in to paper-boatloads of chewy rice rolls topped with gai lan and juicy bok choy showered with crispy fried garlic. We know she did this because Fat Choy is the kind of place where diners who have navigated the scrum of Lower East Side streeteries — bars, vegan-cupcake shops, more bars — start conversations with strangers to recommend dishes, offer bites, and generally share communal moments of vibrantly flavored, inventively conceived culinary bliss. —Rob Patronite and Robin Raisfeld
Sip a Sazerac in a Secret Garden
Villanelle / 15 E. 12th St.
This elegant Greenwich Village establishment has flown so far under the radar that many regulars (ourselves included) were afraid it would close forever when disaster struck. Miraculously, unlike with the still-shuttered Gotham Bar & Grill across the street, the opposite has happened. Owner Catherine Manning fitted the space out back with tables and little enclosed “garden rooms” that have become a hit during the outdoor-dining craze. The Sazeracs we enjoyed on a recent summery evening were exceptional, and you can also addle yourself with $9 cocktails during the new happy hour. The talented young chef Tyler Heckman (Ferris, Le Turtle) took over the kitchen last fall, and he’s slowly added the kind of variety and style to the aggressively seasonal menu (braised spring lamb on our visit, white-asparagus velouté, gnocchi with escargot) that threatens to turn this sleepy local favorite into a proper big-city dining destination. —Adam Platt
Sample the Latest Fusion Cuisine on New York’s Original Open Street
The Migrant Kitchen / 45 Stone St.
Long before 2020 brought alfresco eating to every corner of our city, Stone Street was a pedestrian paradise, and it still is, a cobblestoned car-free wonderland for outdoor pints, pizza, and mozzarella sticks. The Migrant Kitchen, which opened last fall, brings Middle Eastern–Latin fusion to this Fidi pub-grub zone. Owner Nasser Jaber, who operates out of the Dubliner bar’s kitchen, sends out sumac-butter-slicked fried-chicken-and-falafel waffles, mariquitas (fried plantain chips) nachos, and pastelon mahshi, a Dominican-style maduros-and-beef riff on the traditional Palestinian stuffed gourd. And since many office workers are still Zooming in from home, Stone Street feels distinctly chiller and less suits-y these days. —Ryan P. Sutton
Also see Eater New York’s interactive map that highlights
these 66 restaurants that deserve your attention.