New York City in June things are really starting to happen! The city is bustling with energy, the sun is shining, the temperature is warm but comfortable. It’s a perfect time of year to visit NYC and enjoy everything that the city has to offer – both indoors and out. There are hundreds of activities, festivals, concerts, and events to attend all packed within the 30 days of June. We’ve listed ten events we think you should check out. These are among the most loved events by New Yorkers and we love them more because they are all FREE!
OUR TOP PICK:
FREE. This family-friendly, two-day arts extravaganza is held on Governor’s Island every summer and draws thousands of participants. The goal of the Figment organizers is to prove that no matter who you are, where you’re from, or how old you are, we can all be artists. In the past, Figment has included such wacky activities as body painting, battle with foam weapons and play in wander in an interactive sculpture. Dancers, actors and performance artists will roam the island throughout the day, displaying their talents or inviting audience members to join in and become performers themselves. Even if you can’t get to Figment, Governor’s Island is a secret gem attraction in NYC. It’s like a trip to rural New York just a 5 minute ferry ride from Lower Manhattan! Check out this post on Things to do on Governor’s Island.
THE REST OF THE BEST:
Mermaid Parade June 18 at 1 p.m. Surf Avenue at Coney Island.
FREE. You know summer has arrived when thousands of Mermaids and aquatic themed floats and classic cars show up in Coney Island to parade down Surf Avenue. The tradition started in 1983- almost 30 years ago! It is one of the most popular June events with New Yorkers who can’t wait to dress up in glittery Mermaid and sea creature costumes. While the Parade is good for any age to attend, be warned that it can get VERY crowded, a little bit wild (in a fun way) and some paraders come semi-nude, dressed up with not much more than body glitter, swim suits, and sometimes not even much of that! Still, if you want to be an honorary New If a parade of fish isn’t for you, Coney Island can be explored at any time and we highly recommend that you do, if you want to experience this historic and fun part of New York City. Here is our guide of Things to do in Coney Island to help you enjoy your trip to world-famous boardwalk.
Gay Pride Parade June 25 at noon. Route at 36th Street and Fifth Avenue and ends in the West Village.
FREE. New York City celebrates Gay Pride each June with a full week of activities, parties and celebrations starting June 21 and culminating in the Gay Pride Parade on June 25. The Parade is a celebration of liberation for the LGBT community, but also to honor what many consider to be one of the foremost events in the history of lesbian and gay rights, the Stonewall Riots, which commenced early in the morning on June 28, 1969. For a schedule of the week events that take place all over the city, check the Gay Pride website.
Egg Rolls & Egg Creams and Empanada Festival June 19 12pm-4pm Museum at Eldridge Street, 12 Eldridge St at Canal St.
FREE. This year, the annual Egg Rolls and Egg Creams Festival has added a new element into this event that celebrates the great American melting pot – empanadas! The festival is a cross-cultural celebration of Jewish, Chinese, and Puerto Rican music, food, folk art and crafts. Activities include Yiddish lessons, classes in Chinese and Hebrew writing as well as performances by Chinese acrobats. This year you can expect some vibrant Latino music and culture thrown into the mix. The Lower East Side is a fascinating neighborhood with a long history of immigration and also food which is why we offer a Lower East Side Food Tour on Thursdays and Sundays. Here is also a guide to the neighborhood.
Museum Mile Festival June 14, 6pm-9pm Multiple locations along Fifth Ave. bet. 82nd and 105th Sets.
FREE. For three hours, a 23-block stretch of Fifth Avenue becomes a car-free promenade when eight of the city’s most prestigious museums and art institutions open their doors to the public free of charge. Among them are El Museo del Barrio, the Guggenheim, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum, the Jewish Museum, the National Academy Museum, Neue Galerie, and the Museum of the City of New York. In addition, the street is filled with musical performances, including string quartets and jazz ensembles, that lend a festive atmosphere as you walk from museum to museum. Keep in mind that some of these attractions are included in various tourist passes, such as City Pass, New York Pass and Explorer Pass. If you aren’t sure about getting a pass, see our post Which New York City tourist pass is right for you. Also, many of these museums have regularly scheduled free days or free hours, or are in fact free but ask for donation of a ‘suggested amount’. So if you can’t make it to all 8 museums in three hours, you can find out which have pay what you wish policies or free hours/days. Our post on Free Things to do in New York City has all the information on the museums in NYC that are free or have pay-what-you wish admission.
Make Music New York June 21 10am-10pm, various locations.
FREE. MMNY is a unique one day festival of 1,000+ free concerts in public spaces throughout the five boroughs of New York City. Performers are everywhere — on the streets, sidewalks, stoops, plazas, cemeteries, parks and gardens. MMNY is open to anyone who wants to take part so you can expect some really great musical performances and probably some questionable ones – but no doubt you will experience an incredible range of musical styles from hip hop to opera, Latin jazz to punk rock to unknown and innovative genres. Who knows? That’s part of the fun. The complete MMNY 2016 schedule will be posted in late May. To view last year’s schedule, click here. Music lovers, check out our tips on NYC street music and subway performances.
Red Hook Fest June 9-11, visit website for exact locations and schedule of events.
FREE. Join the close-knit, waterfront neighborhood of Red Hook for a three day celebration with food, music, and fun games and activities for kids. It’s small and family oriented and the diverse community of Red Hook will be out enjoying the lovely location, Louis J. Valentino, Jr. Park & Pier (a park worth going to even without a festival just for the amazing waterfront views). On Thursday there will be a happy hour from 6pm-8pm to kick off the festival. Friday evening is a Community Cookout with free food (first come, first-served) & a DJ Dance Party (6pm-8pm) and Saturday from 12pm-7pm offers mainstage performances & cultural activities. If you want to feel like a native New Yorker this is the Festival for you. And the nearby historic district of Red Hook is a fascinating neighborhood to explore.
Bushwick Block Party Troutman St and St. Nicholas Avenue, Bushwick in Brooklyn.
FREE. This event is much more than a small neighborhood ‘block party’. This is the ultimate gathering of all that Bushwick has to offer, from its world famous street and graffiti artists who will be painting live during the event, 3 stages with live musical performances, DJs playing the latest hipster sounds, a beer tent, merchant vendors, food trucks, and a Family/Kids Friendly Zone. As much fun as this party can get, it can be quite crowded – which lends a fun kind of free spirit to the day, but this may not be the place for those who don’t enjoy large crowds and innocent rowdiness. If this is your thing, you cannot find a better place than the Bushwick Block Party. If crowds aren’t your thing but great street art is, you can explore Bushwick’s renowned art scene and great eats and drinks, by joining us on our Graffiti and Street Art Tour or Self-guided Bushwick walking tour.
Renegade Craft Fair June 4, 11, 18, 25 11am-7pm, East River State Park 90 Kent Avenue in Williamsburg.
FREE. New York City is one of the most creative capitals of the world. There is absolutely no way to talk about craft fairs in the city without mentioning Renegade Brooklyn. The fair showcases hundreds of local artisans and fine craftspeople whose unique, cutting edge and innovative creations are for sale. The Renegade Fair has become such a popular event, that it has expanded to cities around the world such as San Francisco, London and Los Angeles. But Renegade Brooklyn was the first and still the best. The location is also a fun place to wander around and check out the art scene and also the amazing food scene. Why not join us on our Williamsburg Food Tour?
Puerto Rican Day Parade June 12, Rout is up Fifth Ave. starting at 44th St. up to 79th St.
FREE. This annual event is hands-down one of the liveliest, energetic parades in New York City, with a Puerto Rican population of over a million people. Puerto Rican culture is deeply embedded in New York City’s culture, and the local Puerto Ricans are proud of their heritage. This parade demonstrates that pride, and the parade attracts tens of thousands of marchers and of spectators every year and includes energetic musical performances, floats and a host of Puerto Rican celebrities. In the past, predominant leaders and celebrities of Puerto Rican heritage included Ricky Martin, Jennifer Lopez (J. Lo), Marc Anthony, Geraldo Rivera, Rosie Perez and many more.
Besides, these ten fab activities, June is also the month when many summer-long series launch, such as Shakespeare in the park, free outdoor film series, and free music festivals. So whether you come in June, July or August, there will be plenty of things to keep you busy. For a list of ongoing summer events, see our New York City Summer Guide.