A lineup of unprecedented openings and annual events are making summer 2019 an especially attractive time to visit New York City. Coupled with perennial sports and recreational opportunities throughout the city — from baseball fever with the Mets and Yankees to outdoor activities in Coney Island, Governors Island and the Rockaways — June, July and August are a truly can’t-miss time in NYC. Maximize your travel by taking the JFK airport shuttle to your first preferred destination will be a plus factor. Take time to research the best place to stay and eat as well.
Here are 20 reasons why you should visit New York City this summer
1. TWA Hotel – Opening May 15 (John F. Kennedy Airport, Queens)
Luxury returns to JFK thanks to a 512-room hotel in the former TWA flight centre dedicated to the jet age. Among the six restaurants and eight bars, guests can explore “Connie” a 1958 Starline aeroplane repurposed as a retro cocktail lounge out on the tarmac.
2. Empire Outlets – Opening May 15 (St. George, Staten Island)
NYC’s first outlet shopping destination will launch just steps from the Staten Island ferry, with shops like Nike and Nordstrom Rack. Home to 100 retail and dining experiences, the outlets are perfect for summertime fun with the Staten Island Yankees ballpark right next door and great views of lower Manhattan available from all over the mall.
3. Statue of Liberty Museum – Opening May 16 (Liberty Island)
Liberty Island will offer more activity to visitors than ever when the Statue of Liberty Museum makes its highly anticipated debut in May. The interactive new home for the Statue’s original torch also includes an immersive education tour and unrivalled views of the statue, lower Manhattan, and the harbour.
4. The Highline Spur – Opening May (Hudson Yards, Manhattan)
A decade after the elevated park originally opened, the last remaining section of the original rail structure will open on the western end of The Highline as the Spur including a series of rotating art commissions of varying size and scale titled The Plinth.
5. Pride Celebrations – May 10-June 30 (NYC)
Pride celebrations will take place across the five boroughs culminating with the U.S. debut of WorldPride (June 24-30), with 50+ events over 5 days and nearly 4-5 million participants expected in total.
- Staten Island (May 10-18)
- Harlem (May 31-June 29)
- Queens (June 2)
- Brooklyn (June 8)
- The Bronx (June 23)
6. Fleet Week – May 22-28 (NYC)
Fleet Week provides visitors with the opportunity to celebrate Memorial Day with members of the Navy and Marines visiting NYC while on leave from duty. The week kicks off with a parade of naval ships and includes special events on the Intrepid Sea Air & Space Museum, ship tours, and sailor meet and greets.
7. World Science Festival – May 28- June 2 (NYC)
This week-long celebration of science features over 60 events that take science out of the lab and into the streets, parks, museums, and premier performing arts venues of New York City. Highlights include theatrical works dedicated to historic scientists like Albert Einstein, deep discussions with astronauts like Apollo 11’s Michael Collins, outdoor experiences like Stargazing in Brooklyn Bridge Park and more.
8. The Belmont Stakes – June 8 (Belmont Park, Queens)
In addition to the final leg of the thoroughbred Triple Crown horse races, the Belmont Stakes features a three-day festival with dozens of races, live music, and a food-truck village for visitors to enjoy.
9. Museum Mile Festival – June 11 (Upper East Side, Manhattan)
This June, some of the most prestigious museums in the world are throwing a block party on Manhattans Upper East Side, free for all to attend. From 6-9pm on June 11, El Museo del Barrio, Museum of the City of New York, Jewish Museum, Cooper Hewitt Museum, Guggenheim Museum, Neue Galerie, and The Met Fifth Avenue will welcome visitors to see their incredible collections for free with Fifth Avenue closed to vehicles.
10. SailGP – June 21-22 (Lower Manhattan)
The global sailboat racing series makes its only stop on the eastern half of the Americas on the official first day of summer. On the Lower Hudson River, the teams will reach speeds up to 60 mph, while fans onshore can experience the Race Village located at Brookfield Place.
11. Coney Island Mermaid Parade – June 22 (Coney Island, Brooklyn)
“King Neptune” and “Queen Mermaid” will lead a procession of mermaids and mermen in what is the largest parade in Brooklyn all year down Surf Ave and the boardwalk to the beach to officially open the ocean for swimming season.
12. Macy’s 4th of July Fireworks – July 4 (NYC)
The largest Fourth of July spectacular in the United States will light up the NYC skyline from the East River this year with the help of world-class performers and nearly 3 million spectators. While this year’s performers have yet to be announced, past celebrations have seen the likes of Beyonce, Jennifer Lopez, Justin Timberlake, and Katy Perry take the stage.
13. Nathans Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest – July 4 (Coney Island, Brooklyn)
The world’s most iconic hot dog stand will make Coney Island an epicentre for Independence Day festivities again with its 103rd hot dog eating contest. For a complete Fourth of July experience, fans should head down the boardwalk to the Brooklyn Cyclones game and post-game fireworks show that follows.
14. ABB FIA New York City E-Prix – July 13 (Red Hook, Brooklyn)
At the third annual New York City E-Prix, fully electric vehicles will reach speeds up to 140mph in front of Lower Manhattan’s skyline as FIA crowns a champion at the 2019 season finale. Off the track, fans can meet the drivers and experience the latest racing technology at the Allianz E-Village.
15. NYC Restaurant Week – July 22 – August 16 (NYC)
Through NYC & Company’s signature program, in partnership with Mastercard, nearly 400 restaurants across the five boroughs will again offer two-course prix-fixe lunches and brunches for $26 and three-course prix-fixe dinners for $42. In total, locals and visitors can try 30+ individual cuisines in more than 40 distinct neighbourhoods with participating restaurants.
16. Hong Kong Dragon Boat Festival – August 2-3 (Corona Park, Queens)
This August, 200 dragon boat teams will race on Meadow Lake in Flushing Meadows Corona Park in celebration of the fifth month on the lunar calendar. Onshore, traditional food, martial arts demonstrations, dance performances, Chinese crafts and children’s activities will complete the experience.
17. 2019 US Open Tennis Championships – August 26-September 8 (Flushing, Queens)
The top tennis players in the world will compete in the 51st US Open at the new USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center, where 600 million-dollar strategic transformations were completed last year. In addition to the grand slam tournament, fans can visit US Open Fan Week, including open practices with tennis stars, Queens Day and Arthur Ashe Kids Day celebrations.
18. Hudson Yards – Opened March 15 (Far West Manhattan)
2019 is the inaugural summer season for NYC’s newest neighbourhood. Visitors can enjoy the extended daylight views of the Hudson River by making a reservation to climb the Vessel or cool off inside the Shops and Restaurants at Hudson Yards where restaurants like Mercado Little Spain by Jose Andres and Kawi by David Chang are paired alongside stores like Neiman Marcus. Later this summer, the neighbourhood will also have a world class wellness destination in the first ever Equinox Hotel.
19. The Shed – Opened April 5 (Hudson Yards, Manhattan)
The dynamic new cultural hub in Hudson Yards made its much-anticipated debut just as warm weather returned this April with Steve McQueen’s Soundtrack of America (now closed). Continuing the first half of the inaugural season are exhibitions such as Tony Cokes and Oscar Murillo (June 19-August 25) Dragon Spring Phoenix Rise (June 22-July 27), and MAZE (July 23-August 17).
20. Bronx Zoo Dinosaur Safari – Opened April 19 (The Bronx)
The largest and most life-like Dinosaur ride in America will open in the Bronx Zoo this spring. 40 animatronic and life-sized dinosaurs will lurk in a two-acre wooded area within the park and educate visitors about the physical and behavioural adaptations of our prehistoric ancestors.