Skip to main content
Full Menu Close Menu
Your Well-being

Summertime fun

You Should Know
Central Park great lawn summer generic

“In summer, the song sings itself.” William Carlos Williams

The days are longer, the air is warm and inviting. We made it to summer! Whether you are traveling far from home or staying nearby, there are many delights to be had and many ways to enjoy the season.

Just don’t forget to slow down and take in the beauty all around, whether it’s watching the clouds move across the sky, enjoying the sight and scents of flowers and plants, taking a stroll through a park or feeling the sand beneath your feet and the power of the waves as you enjoy a dip in the ocean.

Studies show that being immersed in nature reduces stress levels and results in improved health and mental wellness. Listening to birdsong for just five minutes has been shown to lessen depression and anxiety. So be in the moment and tune in to the sights and sounds of the season.

Like a juicy tomato, summer is to be experienced. And many of its joys are simple and inexpensive. Fruits and vegetables taste better this time of year. There are fireflies, shooting stars and 4th of July fireworks to see. And the longer days lend themselves to more socializing and recreational activities — with so many choices, there’s something to suit everyone’s taste.

You can enjoy free and low-cost summer concerts throughout the city, at venues such as SummerStage, BRIC Celebrate Brooklyn!, the Harlem Meer Music Festival, River to River Festival, Summer on the Hudson, the Jazz Age Lawn Party on Governor’s Island and Lincoln Center’s Summer for the City Festival. Little Island offers free visual arts, music, dance and storytelling performances, there’s Shakespeare in the Park and many more possibilities. For a comprehensive listing of free music and dance performances at public parks throughout the city, visit the New York City Department of Parks & Recreation's web page.

Many museums offer a free night monthly, and some, such as the Metropolitan Museum, Brooklyn Museum, Museum of the City of New York and Staten Island Museum are pay what you wish for city residents; the Queens and Bronx Museums are always free. The Bushwick Collective showcases street art and has drawn some of the world’s best graffiti artists. Summer is also the time for film festivals, including the Tribeca and Bryant Park Film Festivals, Rooftop films and more.

Summer is also a great time for hikes in the woods or the city, long bike rides, team sports, free kayaking at the Manhattan Community Boathouse or Brooklyn Bridge Park Boathouse…or just lying in a hammock, enjoying a favorite summer read and feeling the breeze.

We can all aspire to Henry David Thoreau’s philosophy to, “Live in each season as it passes; breathe the air, drink the drink, taste the fruit and resign yourself to the influence of the earth.” Make this your time of year to slow down and feel the earth in all its bounty and abundance.