NYC in July: 21 Best Things to Do & Outfits

During July, New York City offers many underrated and unusual activities to enjoy in addition to its world-class museums and iconic attractions.

This article covers:

  • 21 Top Things to Do in NYC in July
  • Outfit Tips for NYC in July

You will find the NYC July outfit tips at the end of this article.

We live in NYC, but it still took us days to put together a list of the must-do things, as well as some really unique and unusual activities for this month.

đź’ˇ Visiting later in earlier in June or later August? Read our other guides:

Make sure to read our insider tips for each tip:

1. See The Lion King Live on Broadway

This doesn’t seem like a great summer activity to you? Trust us, it is!

It’s a magical journey! The Lion King Broadway show brings the beloved Disney movie to life with stunning costumes, captivating music, and breathtaking puppetry that transport you and your family right into the heart of Africa’s vast landscapes.

Songs that get everyone singing along: With famous tunes like “Circle of Life” and “Hakuna Matata,” this show has music that will have the whole family humming and singing along, creating joyful memories together.

A tale of bravery and friendship: At its core, The Lion King is a story about the journey of Simba, a young lion finding his way back to his rightful place as king. It’s a story that teaches valuable lessons about courage, friendship, and responsibility, resonating with both kids and adults, making it a perfect family outing.

Tip: Bring a light jacket or sweater; otherwise, you will freeze with the air conditioning. Also, make sure to get your tickets in advance!

2. View the 4th of July Fireworks

The fireworks display that takes place in New York City on July 4th is considered to be one of the most important events in New York throughout the entire year. You should see the at least once in your lifetime.

Macy’s 4th of July fireworks in NYC is the largest Independence Day display which dazzles the shorelines of Manhattan, Queens, and Brooklyn with a breathtaking display of color, light, and sound.

Interesting facts about Macy’s 4th of July Fireworks:

  • A team of 50 pyrotechnicians is in charge
  • There are almost 2,000 launched shells per minute
  • A total of more than 60,000 shells are launched
  • There are 17 different firework patterns and 14 effects

The officially recommend viewing spot is: FDR Drive at East 23rd Street, East 34th Street, and East 42nd Street Fireworks Viewing

3. Go Roller Skating

  • Cost: $17-$23
  • Best Time: July (also great in June and August)
  • Google Maps Location: Wollman Rink

Enjoy some outdoor fun at one of NYC’s outdoor roller skating rinks in July. DiscOasis offers roller skating, music, dancing, and good vibes at Wollman Rink in Central Park. If you already have skates and want to go on your own, you can skate on the Central Park Loop circling the park for free.

Tip: Get evening tickets to beat the summer heat.

4. Visit a Rooftop Bar

NYC is known for its rooftop bars, and for good reason. There’s nothing quite like enjoying a drink with a stunning view of the city skyline. Whether you’re looking for a fancy cocktail bar or a more casual hangout spot, there’s a rooftop bar for every mood.

Insider Tip: The Rooftop at Pier 17 in the Seaport District is a great spot to catch some live music while enjoying a drink and a view of the Brooklyn Bridge. If you’re a music lover, check get tickets to one of the summer concerts on the Rooftop at Pier 17.

Visit Brooklyn Bridge Park

  • Cost: Free
  • Best Time: Great in July. Otherwise between May and October
  • Google Maps Location: Brooklyn Bridge Park

See the best Manhattan skyline views and the Brooklyn Bridge for free from Brooklyn Bridge Park in July. This waterfront park in Dumbo, Brooklyn, is just one stop from Manhattan on the subway and offers iconic views, lots of walking paths, restrooms, and snack options.

Tip: Go on a weekday morning to beat the crowds and get the best photos.

5. Take an Evening Cruise to See NYC Lit Up
  • Cost: $44 per person
  • Best Time: Excellent in July. Otherwise from May to September
  • Google Maps: Location

New York City comes to life at night in the summer, and you can see the whole city lit up on a nighttime cruise during July. Grab your travel partners and enjoy drinks on board as you snap shots of the city’s best nighttime views. We’ve gone on summertime evening cruises in NYC and love the brilliant sunset views of the skyline and the fun atmosphere.

Tip: Try Circle Line Harbor Lights Cruise Skip-the-Box-Office for an unforgettable boat tour to see NYC’s most iconic landmarks lit up at night, including the Statue of Liberty, Freedom Tower – One World Trade Center, the Empire State Building, and more.

6. Kayaking on the Hudson River

Paddling on the Hudson River offers an entirely different perspective of Manhattan. It’s a unique way to explore the city’s skyline, bridges, and waterside parks.

The best part? It’s completely free! NYC Parks hosts free kayaking events all summer in Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Staten Island. Check out Brooklyn Bridge Park Boathouse for the best city views from start to finish. The parks provide kayaks, paddles, and life jackets, and no prior experience is required.

Brooklyn Bridge Park is the most scenic location for kayaking! You’ll get incredible views – and photos – of the NYC skyline from the waterways and enjoy a fun summer workout. Just show up, sign a waiver, and hit the water.

Note: This tip is based on last year’s events but it should still apply.

Tip: Wear water-resistant clothing and bring a towel, sunscreen, and a change of clothes.

7. Explore the Abandoned City Hall Station

  • Cost: Free
  • Best Time: Sundays are generally the least crowded on the subway
  • Google Maps: Location

Did you know that New York City has an abandoned subway station that’s been closed to the public for over 70 years? The City Hall Station is a hidden gem that’s worth exploring. The station’s architecture is impressive, with vaulted tile ceilings, arched windows, and brass chandeliers.

It’s free to see it by taking the subway. You can only see the City Hall Station by taking the 6 train to its final stop and staying on the train as it makes its turnaround. When the train makes its last stop at the Brooklyn/Bridge City Hall Station, the conductor will say to exit the train.

If you duck down and stay on the train, you will pass through the abandoned subway station as the train turns around.

Tip: For a more in-depth tour of the abandoned station on foot, the NYC Transit Museum offers private tours to museum members. Tickets are $50 and sell out quickly. You can find out more here.

8. Take a Helicopter Tour of the City
  • Cost: $180 per seat to $329 per seat
  • Best Time: July is a perfect time. Otherwise every warm and mild month from May to October.
  • Google Maps: Manhattan Helicopters Location

Seeing the city from the sky is an unforgettable experience, and taking a helicopter tour is an excellent way to do it. You’ll get to see the city’s landmarks from a new perspective, including the Statue of Liberty, Central Park, and the Empire State Building. Try Manhatten Island Helicopter for breathtaking aerial views of the city. Book your tour in advance and before the end of your trip in case you need to reschedule due to weather conditions.

Tip: Bring a camera or your smartphone with enough free space to capture the views.

9. Visit SUMMIT One Vanderbilt
  • Cost: $39 for general tickets, $73 for VIP experience
  • Best Time: Early morning or one hour before sunset for the best views
  • Google Maps: SUMMIT ONE Vanderbilt Location

The SUMMIT One Vanderbilt is the newest observation deck in New York City, and it offers breathtaking views of the city skyline. The experience is immersive and takes you on a journey through experiential art and views of New York City. The multi-floor exhibits include 30,375 square feet of mirrors and mind-bending art by Kenzo Digital.

Tip: Visit during the late afternoon for the best lighting and views of the sunset.

10. Visit the Edge Observation Deck
  • Cost: $40-$58
  • Best Time: Mornings year-round
  • Google Maps: Edge Location

The Edge Observation Deck is the highest outdoor sky deck in the Western Hemisphere, and it offers unobstructed 360-degree views of the city. The experience is exhilarating, with a glass floor and angled glass walls that give the illusion of floating above the city. You can see all the iconic landmarks in NYC from the observation deck, including the Statue of Liberty and Central Park.

Tip: Visit in the morning hours to avoid the crowds and get a more intimate experience.

11. Watch a Movie Outdoors
  • Cost: Free
  • Best Time: June, July, and August evenings
  • Google Maps Location:

Bryant Park, McCarren Park, Intrepid Museum

There’s something special about watching a movie under the stars, and NYC has several outdoor movie screenings during the summer. Some of the most popular locations include Bryant Park in Midtown Manhattan, McCarren Park in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, and the Intrepid Museum on the West Side in Manhattan.

Note: Check for new movies for this year here:

Tip: Bring a blanket, snacks, and insect repellent.

12. Picnic in Central Park
  • Tip: Arrive early and go on a weekday to get a great spot.
  • Cost: Free
  • Best Time: Great in July. Otherwise from April to September
  • Google Maps: Location Central Park

Central Park is the heart of New York City and a perfect spot for a picnic. You can enjoy the park’s beautiful scenery, people-watch, and even catch some live music or theatre performances. The park’s Great Lawn is an ideal spot for a picnic, and there are several vendors selling food and drinks nearby. You can easily get to the Great Lawn by entering the park at the West 81st Street entrance across from the Museum of Natural History.

13. Visit the High Line

The High Line is a public park built on an abandoned elevated rail line on Manhattan’s west side. The park’s elevated walkway offers unique views of the city and features beautiful gardens, public art, and plenty of seating. End your High Line walk with a visit to historic Chelsea Market for window shopping or some tasty local eats.

14. Go on a Queens Food Tour
  • Cost: $95-$150, depending on the tour you choose
  • Best Time: April, May, June, July, August, September, October
  • Google Maps Location: Flushing

Queens is known for its diverse culinary scene, and taking a food tour is an excellent way to sample the best of it. Food tours will take you to some of the neighborhood’s hidden gems, where you can try everything from dumplings to Colombian empanadas.

Culinary Backstreet Walks offers delectable food tours covering different parts of Queens – you can pick your cuisine, with options including southeast Asia and Latin America.

Tip: Try the Flushing Food Tour for an inside look at NYC’s largest Chinatown.

15. Stargaze at the Hayden Planetarium
  • Cost: $16 per child, $22 for students and seniors, and $28 for non-resident adults
  • Best Time: Year-round
  • Google Maps: Hayden Planetarium Location

The Hayden Planetarium is one of the best places in the city to stargaze. The planetarium is located in the Museum of Natural History on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. The planetarium’s “Dark Universe” show takes you on a journey through the universe, and its Space Show presents the latest in space exploration.

Tip: Reserve your tickets in advance.

16. Visit the Empire State Building

The Empire State Building is an iconic New York City landmark and offers incredible views of the city from its observation deck. The building’s Art Deco architecture and history make it a must-visit attraction.

Tip: Purchase the VIP pass for a more exclusive experience, skip the lines, and gain access to additional exhibits.

17. Statue of Liberty
  • Cost: $12 – $25
  • Best Time: Great in July! Otherwise in the mornings from May to October
  • Google Maps: Statue of Liberty Location

The Statue of Liberty is a symbol of freedom and an essential part of New York City’s history. Visitors can take a ferry to Liberty Island and explore the statue’s pedestal, museum, and observation deck.

Tip: Reserved tickets go fast so book well in advance of your trip. General Admission tickets are the most widely available and include entry to both the Statue of Liberty Museum and the Ellis Island National Museum of Immigration.

18. Ellis Island Tour
  • Cost: $12 – $25
  • Best Time: Great during July in the mornings. Otherwise from May to October
  • Google Maps: Ellis Island Location

The Ellis Island Tour takes visitors on a journey through the history of immigration in the United States. The tour includes a visit to the Ellis Island National Museum of Immigration, where you can learn about the experiences of immigrants who came to America in the late 1800s and early 1900s.

Tip: Plan your Statue of Liberty tour to include a visit to Ellis Island. General Admission tickets include your ferry to see the Statue of Liberty and entry to both the Statue of Liberty Museum and the Ellis Island National Museum of Immigration.

19. Museum of Ice Cream

The Museum of Ice Cream is a fun and interactive experience that’s perfect for all ages. The museum features several rooms that celebrate ice cream and other sweets, with interactive exhibits and samples along the way. It’s the perfect place to capture colorful social media photos and videos for souvenirs of your trip.

Tip: Book tickets in advance, and bring a change of clothes as some of the exhibits are interactive and may get messy. Book a daytime ticket to save 30 percent off for visits before 12:30 pm.

20. NYC: Lower East Side Food Tastings and Culture Tour
  • Cost: $70-90
  • Best Time: Great in July. Otherwise between May and October
  • Google Maps Location: Lower East Side

Take a Lower East Side Food Tastings and Culture Tour to learn about the vibrant history and culture in downtown Manhattan’s Lower East Side. Taste quintessential New York pizza and learn about the eclectic mix of immigrants who settled in the area. The three-hour tour hits the diverse neighborhoods of Chinatown, Little Italy, and the Lower East Side.

Tip: Wear comfortable walking shoes and dress for the weather.

21. Coney Island
  • Cost: Free
  • Best Time: Excellent in July. Otherwise great from May to August
  • Google Maps: Coney Island Location

Coney Island is a uniquely Brooklyn place where you can stroll on the boardwalk, lounge on the beach, or enjoy some local eats from favorite spots like Nathan’s Famous Hot Dogs.

Tip: Ride the iconic Dino’s Wonder Wheel, a vintage ferris wheel that offers beautiful views of the boardwalk and beach from 150 feet in the air.


Outfits / What to Pack

For this month you should pack jeans, short-sleeved shirts or tank tops, a light jacket, shorts, and comfortable shoes. Additionally, lightweight summer clothes as the days a usually very hot. Bring a light jacket for evening outings when it gets windy and a little cooler at night.

đź’ˇ If you plan to go to clubs or theater events, bring some evening wear such as a nice pair of shoes, flats, heels, or low boots (not tennis shoes or open-toed sandals), a button-down shirt for men, and a dress or skirt for women.

July is a hot time of year in NYC, with hot and humid days and slightly cooler temperatures in the early mornings and at night.

It rains occasionally, so bring an umbrella or a poncho. It’s a good month to wear tank tops, shorts, and summer skirts and dresses.

For a complete guide on what to wear in the month of July in the city, see our article on What to Wear in New York City in July.


New York City is a walking city. Even if you take the subway, you will be walking and standing a lot so bring comfortable shoes.

Make sure you “break in” your sneakers and walk in them regularly for at least a week before your trip so you know they’re comfortable.

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