Fluent City Guide: Summer in NYC — For Free

One of the best parts of living in New York City is having all kinds of culture at your fingertips. The only thing that makes all that access even better? Getting to experience it outdoors — for free. Okay, maybe that’s two things. Here’s our guide to the best (and cheapest) summer culture in NYC.


For those of you thespians: head over to Shakespeare in the Park this summer to see “A Midsummer Night’s Dream”, and find out why “the course of true love never did run smooth.” Find showtimes here

More of a film buff than a theater junkie? We’ve got you. The NYC Parks and Rec department shows free movies in parks across the city all summer long. Grab a blanket, some popcorn, and check out this summer’s programming here

**MUSIC **

If you want to jam out to some familiar music and discover some new artists, head over to the Celebrate Brooklyn festival at Prospect Park Bandshell. There are some big headliners like Sylvan Esso and Fleet Foxes, but if you want to get down with some passive learningand get some language practice on the fly, make sure not to miss Mexican folk singer Lila Downs. Or, take some advice from Fluent City’s own Andrew Olshevski and go see Senegalese musician Youssou N’Dour. 


So you love music, but you need some space to really move to the beat. Head over to Dumbo for Live at the Archway, a summer music series where you can dance the night away. If you’re feeling overwhelmed by all the talent on the lineup, take some recommendations from us, and make sure to practice your salsa dancing with Ola Fresca and your flamenco skills with Espiritu Gitano. And that’s just the start. Full lineup here.


Nature, in New York City? Yeah, you heard us right. If you’ve never been to the Brooklyn Botanical Garden, this is your moment. All summer long, it’s free on Tuesdays and from 10am-12pm on Saturdays. Bring your camera and thank us later. 

Or, if you want to hit the open waters this summer, take the ferry over to Governor’s Island. They offer free kayak rentals at their boathouse all summer long. 


The Figment Project has set up an interactive art-based mini golf course on Governor’s Island, where you can hit the green free of charge and full of eye candy. If you’re curious as to what that looks like (we sure were,) browse through some of the winning designs for the holes here

Bon été! ¡Feliz verano! 快樂的夏天! Happy summer, from us to you.