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New York in August Travel Guide: practical guide on things to do in the city

One of the favorite times for tourists to go to New York is the summer, why? New York in August is very active, there are hundreds of things to do, from going to a park to enjoy good music to attend sporting events, here I talk in depth about all this.

Luisa María Lugo

Luisa María Lugo

11 min read

New York in August Travel Guide: practical guide on things to do in the city

Before sunset in New York | ©Michael Discenza

Visiting New York is a great experience for anyone, because with so many people and so many tourists, there are so many things to do. The citizens always plan events that are held annually in different months. For example, New York in August presents a great opportunity to do things outdoors.

During that month, summer temperatures rise and everyone wants to cool off while having a good time. Because of this, many of the events are held in parks or other outdoor venues. This allows people to enjoy the surrounding environment to the fullest and get to know the more natural side of the city. In fact, for many, summer is the best time to visit New York.

For the above (and many other reasons) I dedicate this article to tell you all the activities it is possible to go to in The Big Apple during August.

1. Participate in one of the Summer on the Hudson activities

Yoga in Riverside Park| ©kaet1
Yoga in Riverside Park| ©kaet1

Throughout the summer people have the opportunity to attend Summer on the Hudson. This is a festival that features activities and performances of all kinds, some of which are:

  • Concerts.
  • Dance.
  • Dance parties with DJ music.
  • Movies under the stars.
  • Children's shows.
  • Pilates.
  • Karaoke.
  • Yoga.
  • Many more.

The location of the festival is Riverside Park, which runs from 59th Street to 153rd Street. Access is free and you do not need to register to attend the events, the only exception to this is if otherwise noted. Find more information on the Summer on the Hudson website.

Book a bike tour along the Hudson River

2. Get to know one of New York's most famous neighborhoods at Harlem Week

Some houses in the Harlem neighborhood in New York City| ©Rachel Martin
Some houses in the Harlem neighborhood in New York City| ©Rachel Martin

During one of the first two weeks of August, the citizens of New York's Harlem neighborhood organize a big event. The following activities take place:

  • Street fairs.
  • Performances.
  • Activities in which they show their way of living and having fun.

Harlem Week celebrates the cultural diversity and other characteristics of the iconic neighborhood. If you visit New York in August, close to the dates when this event takes place, attending is a great choice.

An event also for children

In case you are traveling to New York with children, this is a good place to go with them, there are special events planned for kids. What I recommend is that you go in cool clothes and enjoy the walking tour of the Harlem neighborhood. Even if you visit the city in another week in August, you have the opportunity to do tours in Harlem.

To learn more about Harlem Week and the dates you can attend, visit their website.

Book the best tours in Harlem

3. Have the most fun at the Jazz Age Lawn Party

Enjoying the Jazz Age Lawn Party| ©Paul Stein
Enjoying the Jazz Age Lawn Party| ©Paul Stein

The Jazz Age Lawn Party, what is it about and what can you expect from it? This party is planned for a few days between the first two weeks of August, it is one of the most anticipated events in The Big Apple, why?

It's inspired by the 1920s, so it's centered around the time when Prohibition existed. You still have the opportunity to drink alcohol, because it is legal, the experience you live in the Jazz Age Lawn Party is unique.

Don't think that the only thing to do at this festival is to drink, the organizers make sure that there are activities for everyone. The party also features performances and you will even see many people dressed in costumes typical of the 1920s in the United States.

How to get to the Jazz Age Lawn Party

The event is held on Governors Island, so you will have to take the ferry to disembark on the island and start having fun. As with the Metro, I have a guide prepared for the New York ferry.

The party has a website where the dates and planned activities are announced and if you are left wanting more after attending this event my advice is to check out this article on the best places to hear music in Harlem.

Book your tickets for the Jazz Series concerts in Harlem

4. Get acquainted with Asian culture at the Hong Kong Dragon Boat Festival

Hong Kong Dragon Boat Festival Competition| ©S Pakhrin
Hong Kong Dragon Boat Festival Competition| ©S Pakhrin

The Hong Kong Dragon Boat Festival starts in mid-August and is one of the activities that many people attend in New York in August. Admission is free and the aim is to raise awareness of Hong Kong culture. Boat competitions are the main attraction of the festival.

In addition to the sporting event, the following performancestake place in the annual activity:

  • Dance
  • Music
  • Martial arts

The annual event takes place in Flushing - Meadows Corona Park, which is located in northern Queens. When you attend you will find food stalls selling delicious Asian dishes. And if this experience appeals to you, feel free to visit this article on where to eat in Chinatown.

Book a tour of Soho, Little Italy and Chinatown

5. Tour New York without cars around in NYC Summer Streets

At the NYC Summer Streets| ©Travis Estell
At the NYC Summer Streets| ©Travis Estell

Can you imagine having the streets of The Big Apple free of cars, vans, cabs or public transportation? This is possible thanks to the NYC Summer Streets, in this original activity the streets are closed to vehicles on three Saturdays in August and New Yorkers and tourists are encouraged to make the most of them.

One of the things that most characterizes New York is the traffic, whenever we see movies set in the city, the streets are full of cars. It is normal to assume that the level of traffic increases when there are more tourists in the city and that is completely true.

Summer Streets has the following benefits:

  • It allows visitors to enjoy the city to the fullest.
  • The atmosphere is freed for a few hours from the pollution caused by the large number of vehicles in the city.

The streets that are free of vehicles are those between the Brooklyn Bridge and Central Park, more than 11 kilometers where you won't find any cars walking! It's definitely worth participating if you have the opportunity.

NYC Summer Streets Schedule

Traffic stops from 7 am to 1 pm, what do you do during that time? Citizens take the opportunity to play in the streets and even eat, anyone can ride a bike, walk and take advantage of all the free space.

A trick! During the days of this activity it will be even more comfortable to take a walking tour of New York, take advantage!

Book a tour of New York

6. Attend outdoor concerts with SummerStage

Summerstage completed| ©John Saeyong Ra
Summerstage completed| ©John Saeyong Ra

During the summer in New York it is customary to have many free concerts, one of them is the SummerStage. It starts in August and ends in early September, so there are a lot of shows that you have the opportunity to attend.

Although the main stage is in Central Park, exactly at Rumsey Playfield, there are performances in other New York parks. In addition to bands or soloists, there are dancers, actors for plays and even poets. It all makes this a great show available to everyone in New York.

SummerStage Location

As I mentioned before, this one takes place at Rumsey Playfield, how can you get there? The area is located just off 72nd Street, on the famous Fifth Avenue. Surely before attending you want to know who will be performing, get this information on the SummerStage website.

In case you want to do other things in Central Park while the show starts, in another article I will tell you what to see and do in this park.

Book a tour of Central Park

7. Famous Free Plays at Shakespeare in the Park

Bryant Park in summer| ©Istock
Bryant Park in summer| ©Istock

Shakespeare in the Park is one of the most anticipated events in the Big Apple, and it takes place in the summer, which obviously includes August. It features plays from well-known theaters, but what's so special about it? The tickets are free and the plays are staged in a wonderful location.

How much do you love New York? I'm sure if you're looking forward to your trip to the city, you've done a lot of research on the best venues. Have you already seen pictures of the Delacorte Theater or had the opportunity to attend? In case you have, I have no hesitation in saying that you were impressed.

It is at the Delacorte Theater that Shakespeare in the Park takes place, this one is outdoors. Tickets to the plays are handed out at the box office the same day you see them.

Shakespeare in the Park Schedule

Tickets to the plays are very popular in August, so the lines are long. So if you want to get one or more, keep in mind thatthe box office opens at 12 noon, but the lines start earlier.

If you want to make sure you get your free ticket, you are right to go at 9 or 10 am. On the Central Park website you will find the schedule and theme of the plays.

And if you like these shows, get ready to be blown away by the best Broadway musicals during your visit to New York.

Book tickets for Broadway musicals

8. Attend a thrilling baseball season matchup

Barclays Center entrance| ©Reading Tom
Barclays Center entrance| ©Reading Tom

August is one of the months when baseball games are held for teams from all over the United States. Many of the games are in New York, you can go see the Mets or the Yankees, which one is your favorite team?

Baseball season games are just like you see them on TV, so they are full of excitement, screaming fans and much more. At them it is possible to enjoy fast food, this is part of the experience. If you are a fan of this sport, this option is ideal for you and so is visiting the Brooklyn Nets stadium.

Buy Brooklyn Nets tickets

9. Quality Entertainment at Lincoln Center at Home: Restart Stages

Lincoln Center at Home entrance| ©Kate Glicksberg
Lincoln Center at Home entrance| ©Kate Glicksberg

During the summer, specifically the first two weeks of August, Lincoln Center hosts free performances. They are centered around music, dance and theater. Everything is done outdoors and the facility takes care to create a welcoming and safe environment for each attendee.

The performances are put on by different New York organizations, such as community arts venues and more. How can you purchase tickets? These are given out at the lottery, once you have them you head to Lincoln Center and find a perfect spot to watch each performance.

How and when to get to Lincoln Center at Home's Restart Stages

At the entrance you will see when the show is at Lincoln Center, do you want to make sure you find a good spot? In that case, I recommend you arrive a little early, as access to the area where the event is being held is on a first come, first served basis.

Lincoln Center is located between Amsterdam and Columbus Avenues, if you are taking the Metro around the city, how to get there? Ideally, take Line 1 to 66th Street Station. In case you still don't know how to use this type of transportation, here is a guide to the New York Subway.

To learn more about this event, I encourage you to visit the Lincoln Center website.

10. Visit the beaches of Coney Island and Boardwalk

Enjoying the beaches of Coney Island| ©Jana Markova
Enjoying the beaches of Coney Island| ©Jana Markova

The best season to go to New York's beaches is summer, in August the weather is perfect to enjoy the sun, water and sand. Coney Island and Boardwalk have more than 3 miles of beaches.

When you want to get away from the heat of the city, going to one of these beaches is the best option. There are boardwalks, amusement rides and much more. To get to these beaches you can take a cab, it is fast and affordable.

What is the temperature in New York during August?

Enjoying the Summer in New York| ©Robert Nyman
Enjoying the Summer in New York| ©Robert Nyman

August days are some of the hottest days of the New York summer. The minimum is 19°C (can occur in the evenings) and the maximum is 28°C, on very few occasions it has exceeded 30°C. The weather this month has the following characteristics:

  • It is hot and humid.
  • There are 7 to 10 rains.
  • On average, only 3 rains are significant.
  • The weather is hot most of the time, hence the citizens of La Gran Manzana prefer outdoor activities.

Are there many tourists in New York in August?

Tourists in Time Square| ©Andreas Komodromos
Tourists in Time Square| ©Andreas Komodromos

One of the biggest tourist influxes in New York is experienced in the month of August, so if you go during these dates, you will see a lot of tourists. However, don't worry about the hotels or restaurants, as places like these are used to serving a large number of people.

Although many citizens of the city choose to travel elsewhere in August, you won't get the feeling that the streets are empty. So you'll still have the opportunity to see the life of a New Yorker.

Do prices increase in New York in August?

Doing the math| ©Karolina Grabowska
Doing the math| ©Karolina Grabowska

It is true that in summer prices tend to increase in the city due to the influx of tourists. However, compared to July, August prices are lower, and as the end of the month approaches, prices will go down more and more.

Therefore, it will be possible to find good places to stay, restaurants, tickets and tours with reasonable prices.

What to bring on your trip to New York in August?

Packing| ©Craig Adderley
Packing| ©Craig Adderley

Packing your suitcase is an important moment, you have to make sure you bring what you need and what is appropriate. You don't want to bring clothes or items that you later discover you don't need. To avoid that, here are the most important things to pack for a trip to New York in August:

  • Comfortable, lightweight clothing and footwear.
  • Sun protection: sunglasses, hat and, most importantly, sunscreen.
  • Water bottle to carry water wherever you go.
  • Umbrella to protect you from the sun or, in case it rains.
  • Light jacket, due to the heat, inside some places, air conditioners have low temperatures.

What to do if it rains in New York or it's hotter than you can handle

The famous apartment of the Friends series| ©Hellotickets
The famous apartment of the Friends series| ©Hellotickets

The plans I'm about to name are ideal if it's too hot, the sun is too intense or it rains during your trip to The Big Apple:

  • Friends The Experience: New York exhibition where you see iconic places of the "Friends" series, from Monica and Rachel's apartment to Central Perk.
  • Visit some of New York 's best museums.
  • Visit the New York Public Library.
  • Spend hours in one of the coffee shops.
  • Buy tickets to a Broadway musical.