Save your pennies for fancy lattes because summer is all about free events. NYC outdoor concerts? Free. Festivals? Free. Parades? Free. These and so much more start this June, so get out there!
Get outside and kayak, surf, trail run, climb, or have an outdoor adventure. Outdoorfest offers all types of activities, from happy hours to guided runs, to a beach day in the Rockaways. With such a variety of events scheduled, some free and some paid, you’ll be able to find the perfect activity to fit your nature-loving interests (and your budget!)
Celebrate Brooklyn! Opening Night with Chaka Khan
Wednesday June 3, 8 PM
Prospect Park Bandshell
Even if you’re not totally familiar with Chaka Khan, you’ve definitely grooved to her show-stopping tunes at some point. The musical legend herself is opening Celebrate Brooklyn!, an outdoor lawn series with concerts all summer long. Don’t forget to check out the full summer schedule for some of NYC’s best shows of the season—starting with Khan.
The Red Hook Fest
June 4-5, 6 PM – 8 PM, June 6, 12 PM – 7 PM
If you’re looking for a huge, family-friendly, arts-inspired festival, then The Red Hook Fest is where you’ll want to be. On Thursday and Friday June 4-5, spend your evenings learning about the event organizers (Dance Theatre Etcetera) and all they’ve done for the community in their 20+ years; or enjoy their free Community Cookout and DJ Dance Party. But the real action starts on Saturday, with performances by world-class musicians, fun activities (like free kayak rides), and a Red Hook Trivia contest.
BINGO! Bryant Park
Thursday June 4, 7 PM – 9 PM
Not only will you get to play free Bingo, one of the most heart-stopping exciting-est games ever, but it’s hosted by comedic genius Tom Shillue with music by DJ Flip Bundlez in the beautiful Bryant Park. That’s four in a row! The only thing missing from a BINGO win is you.
Blue Note Jazz Festival: Meshell Ndegeocello, Roy Hargrove, & Gabriel Garzon-Montano
Saturday June 6, 3 PM
June is Blue Note Jazz Festival’s month, with hundreds of events city-wide featuring a diverse array of artists, like Natalie Cole and Savion Glover. But this free event, featuring three such different performers, is a big deal—especially with Grammy winner Roy Hargrove in the lineup.
Egg Rolls, Egg Cream, & Empanadas Festival
Sunday June 7, 12 PM – 4 PM
Museum at Eldridge Street
The LES has changed so much in the span of 100 years, from Jewish residents to the Chinese to the burgeoning Puerto Rican community. Celebrate this incredible diversity with Chinese opera, klezmer and salsa music, Yiddish, Mandarin and Spanish lessons, Hebrew and Chinese scribal art, Puerto Rican mask making, mah jongg and more. Of course there will be egg rolls, egg creams, and empanadas galore at this cross-cultural block party.
This is your chance to say, “I saw it first!” Head over to Williamsburg to find artists and thought leaders sharing, collaborating, and partying. While many Northside Fest require an entrance fee, there will be free events, like concerts by Luna, The Very Best w/ Heems and Against Me!; and the Northside Innovation Expo.
Museum Mile Festival
Tuesday June 9, 6 PM – 9 PM
5th Avenue between 82nd-105th Street
Free admission to participating museums like the Guggenheim and the Met, interspersed with street-side activities like sidewalk chalk, face painting, and music? That’s absolutely worth dealing with the crowds.
Pilates in the Park
Tuesdays, 6:30 PM – 7 PM
The Plaza at 66th Street
If you’re in a Tuesday slump, pilates in the park is the perfect cure to strengthen your muscles and give you a renewed sense of energy.
New York Philharmonic: Concerts in the Parks
Wednesday June 17, 8 PM
Hum along to the West Side Story suite played by the world-class New York Philharmonic in Central Park. For optimal listening, pack a picnic, a blanket, and a love of Bernstein, as well as Gershwin, Copland, and Sousa. After the show, sit back and enjoy a beautiful fireworks display to wrap up the night. The New York Philharmonic will be play shows all June long, so there’s more chances if you miss this one.
Bubble Battle 2015
Saturday June 13, 6 PM – 8 PM
Unholster your bubble guns (everyone has those, right?) and let millions of bubbles fly in the silliest, wackiest battle to take place since Newmindspace’s other major event: Pillow Fight NYC.
Armstrong’s Wonderful World
Saturday June 20, 12 PM – 8 PM
Flushing Meadows Corona Park
A day of food, fun, and of course, awesome music in honor of iconic trumpeter Louis Armstrong. This year, Main Stage acts include Ms. Lauryn Hill, Ozomatli, and New Orlean’s favorite Rebirth Brass Band. DJs will be spinning at the Queens Museum in a Backyard Bash reminiscent of Armstrong’s outdoor garden parties, all taking place in the neighborhood where Satchmo lived for almost 30 years.
Coney Island Mermaid Parade
Saturday June 20, 1 PM
There is no place like Coney Island, and this summertime celebration of aquatic mythology and honky-tonk seaside rituals packed with costumes, art, and performances is the epitome of the fun kitsch for which Coney Island is well-known. Besides, haven’t you been looking for an occasion to rock that new seashell bra?
Solstice in Times Square: Yoga
Sunday June 21, 9 AM – 7:30 PM
Grab your yoga mat to meditate, calm your senses, and practice yoga for free smack dab in the middle of one of the city’s most bustling spots. All levels of experience are welcome to attend. It’s a magical experience, trust us.
Make Music New York
Sunday June 21
Anyone can participate in Make Music New York, a city-wide festival in its ninth year. Musicians will flood the city’s public spaces with live music, classes, and concerts. Last year’s highlights include 90+ punk bands invading Staten Island and an anyone-can-play rendition of Berlioz’s Symphonie Funèbre. Head to Make Music Harlem for a special four-hour performance with musical and sculptural art.
Tuesday June 23, 8 AM – 9 AM
Braving the crowds for a TODAY Show taping may not be at the top of your to do list, but if you really want to see this incredible, tux-outfitted star perform, then join the throng.
Madison Square Park Oval Lawn Series: Chris Potter
Wednesday June 24, 7 PM – 8:30 PM
Madison Square Park
Catch world-renowned soloist, formidable bandleader, and talented saxophonist, Chris Potter in the first performance of the wildly popular Oval Lawn Series, featuring eclectic acts for free in the park all summer long.
NYC Pride March
Sunday June 28, 12 PM
Starts at 36th St. & Fifth Ave.
Whether you go for the neon hotpants, the rainbow fanfare, or just to support the LGBTQ community, head to 5th Avenue to watch the Pride March and support civil rights in NYC. If loud crowds and glitter aren’t your scene, Pride NYC will also be hosting Family Night, Rally, Dance on the Pier, and many other events to celebrate the LGBTQ community. There also plenty of activities in June for Pride, including this Babeland Pride Beer Garden, First Fridays: Gay Pride Edition at the Schomburg Center, a Wiki-Loves Pride Edit-a-thon, and the Gay Green-Wood Trolley Tour.
Shakespeare in the Park: The Tempest
Sam Waterston (Law & Order, Newsroom, you know this guy) returns in Shakespeare’s ethereal The Tempest, directed by Tony-award nominee, Michael Greif. Like all Shakespeare in the Park performances, it will be awesome and it will be free, so enter their online lottery or spend your day in line at Central Park to get your tickets.