There’s really nothing like a New York City summer. The energy, the fashion, and the seemingly indefinite number of concerts and parties, make New York a really fun place to be in the summer months. This can be a very expensive city to live in, but if you make just a tad bit of effort, you can find plenty of free or cheap things that you will really enjoy. I’m all about free and cheap stuff, so after the jump are some events that I have either been to myself in previous summers or stuff that I just think is really cool and will be checking out for the first time. All that said, I can not guarantee that you will enjoy any of these events. If you go to any of these things, tell me if you liked it!
Brooklyn Bodega’s 4th Annual Hip Hop Festival, July 11-12
I love Brooklyn Bodega! They put on quality hip hop events year round. Seriously, if an event has the BB stamp of approval, it’s more than likely gonna be a beast. I’ve been to two previous Brooklyn Bodega Hip Hop Festivals and I had a ball both times. If you love hip hop, go to this. Period. This year’s line up includes performances from KRS-One, DJ Premier, 88-Keys and a bunch of other folks. There’s a family day too that will include health screenings, games and other stuff in addition to the musical performances. Don’t forget about the afterparties though! There’s one on June 12th that Michigan folks (like myself) will not want to miss. Some events are free, some events have “suggested donations” and some actually cost money, so go to BB’s website to see what’s what.
7th Annual Historic Harlem Parks Film Festival, July 9-August 7
I’ve never been to the Historic Harlem Parks Film Festival, but it sounds really cool and I’m going to make an effort to go this year. Live music, dancing and independent film screenings will be featured at this festival. The films cover everything from hip hop to Marcus Garvey to Hurricane Katrina. In addition to soaking up all that free entertainment, you’ll also get to explore some Harlem parks, since all the festival events take place at various parks in Harlem. Nice! Good way to introduce folks to some of the more underutilized open spaces we have here in the city. Go to the website to find out exact times and locations and all that.
Central Park Summer Stage, June 13-August 17
Summer Stage is always full of great performances. They have all types of music and a pretty wide range of artists from underground to multi-platinum superstars, so you’re bound to find something you like. This year’s line-up includes Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings ( I LOVE Sharon Jones!), Janelle Monae, Santogold, Afrika Bambaataa, Hezekiah Walker and a whole bunch of other folks. It’s not just music either. There are also film screenings and book readings. Check out the website for details.
Shakespeare in the Park, July 22-August 31
I think the title of this event is pretty self explanatory. Get your Shakespeare on for free this summer! I love Shakespeare, so I always enjoy a good Shakespeare play…especially a free one. The trick with Shakespeare in the Park is that you have to wait in line the day of to get your free tickets. It’s worth it though. Check it out.
Cost: Free-“suggested admission fees
Yes, I am a nerd. I fully admit it. I enjoy going to museums, even in the summer. On those super hot days when it’s too hot to bake on the beach, an air-conditioned museum is the best. If you click above you’ll see a list of NYC museums that are free, have suggested admission fees or at least have special free days.