What better way to experience a favorite singer or band than live in NYC? You’ll have a priceless memory, not just of the time you finally got to visit the Big Apple, but also of the time you spent at that awesome concert while you were there! You’ve likely heard of all the wonderful indoor concert venues in the city, including Radio City Music Hall, Lincoln Center, Madison Square Garden and Carnegie Hall, but did you know there are also outdoor summer concerts all over New York City in the warm-weather months? Here are some of them.
New York City Parks Free Summer Concerts
The city’s parks department sponsors a full schedule of summer concerts that are free and open to locals and visitors alike. Most of them take place at Bryant Park in midtown during lunchtime and feature assorted pianists playing a variety of different genres. Others include an early Independence Day celebration (June 28th) in the evening at Astoria Park Lawn in Queens and weekly Thursday evening “Summer in the Square” family-friendly concerts and lessons in Union Square Park, Manhattan.
Good Morning America Summer Concert Series
If you don’t mind getting up early, even when on vacation, then grab a coffee and head over to Rumsey Playfield in Central Park for the Good Morning America annual Summer Concert Series. Top-tier bands and singers play the park’s SummerStage every Friday morning from 7 a.m. to 9 a.m., May 15 to August 31, including Pitbull, The Chainsmokers and Alesso. The concerts are free, but you should get there when the park opens at 6 a.m. to score a good spot.
Today Citi Concert Series
Not to be outdone, the Today Show hosts its own summer concert series, sponsored by Citibank. The concerts take place outside the Today Show studios at NBC headquarters at Rockefeller Center. Take a look at the lineup, as most concerts take place on Fridays, but not all. Acts include Maroon 5, Keith Urban, Jason Mraz and Christina Aguilera. Today also broadcasts the concerts during its morning show, so get to Rockefeller Plaza at 49 Street by 6 a.m. to make the screening.
Lincoln Center Out of Doors
Lincoln Center plays host to a plethora of singers, orchestras, dance troupes and more during its Lincoln Center Out of Doors festival from July 24th to August 12th. Most of the free concerts take place in Damrosch Park on West 62nd Street; other venues include Hearst Plaza and Josie Robertson Plaza. Check the link for performances, as well as their time and place.
Jones Beach Theater
While it’s not in the city proper, if you’re looking for a summer day out, you can’t beat a trip to Jones Beach State Park out in Long Island. Enjoy the sand and surf during the day, and then stay for the well-known performers who play the Northwell Health at Jones Beach Theater — a 15,000-seat open arena. This year’s lineup includes the Dave Matthews Band, Kendrick Lamar, the Vans Warped Tour, Lindsey Stirling and Evanescence, and the Billboard Hot 100 Festival. There’s also a smaller venue at the Landing at Jones Beach, where groups like Huey Lewis & the News and cover bands jam on Thursday evenings.
Sistine Chapel Choir
Although this performance takes place indoors, it’s well worth mentioning because it’s the first time in its 1,500-year history that the Sistine Chapel Choir is coming to the United States. The choir will be making stops in eight US cities, including New York City for one night only — at Radio City Music Hall on July 7. Tickets are available through Ticketmaster only.
Amateur Night at the Apollo
If it’s your first time in NYC, you may want to head up to the famed Apollo Theater in Harlem to experience Amateur Night at the Apollo. Be part of this live experience, which takes place every Wednesday night at 7:30 p.m. Tickets range from $22 to $30 per person and are also available on Ticketmaster.