Phew! Summer is finally here! Time to drop your winter clothes at a Salvation Army, because of course that closet-sized apartment of yours doesn’t have its own closet. Who cares though? Because despite the brutal winter we just experienced and the insanely high rent you pay for your insanely tiny apartment, it’s summer and a look at your calendar reminds you why this is the best place in the world to spend it. In fact, looking at your calendar, you’re a little overwhelmed because there’s almost too much to do… Have no fear, your ultimate guide to summer is here, with something to do every day of the summer for cheap or free.
First up: June and July, the hopeful, exciting part of summer, before everyone is sick of the trash juice and running their air conditioners.
Saturday, June 21
The unofficial official start of summer in New York City, the Mermaid Parade has all the floats, costumed freaks and Coney Island weirdness you could possibly want. This is probably the only year you’ll see the mayor’s kids honored as King Neptune and Queen Mermaid, so you can catch some history, and since you’re gonna be down there anyway, you can ride the Cyclone and whatever other amusement rides catch your eye.
Sunday, June 22
Get a SummerStage double dip with an outdoor concert and movie screening! Head to Hebert von King Park and groove to “Whistle! A Tribute to Frankie Knuckles,” a curated DJ performance, followed by the first ever screening of the director’s cut of the documentary Hands to the Sky, about the outdoor house music scene.
Monday, June 23
Have you not started making cold brew coffee at home yet? It’s officially the first Monday of summer, so use our guide and start saving your money for summer essentials like Ripper’s cheeseburgers and Gowanus Yacht Club beers.
Tuesday, June 24
Just over the border in Long Island City, Socrates Sculpture Park is waiting for you to wander through it. Open every day of the year from 10am to sunset, it is free admission to this 15th ranked Sculpture Park in the world. Take the N train to Broadway and walk eight blocks west to 32-01 Vernon Blvd. to see some awesome and obscure massive pieces of art overlooking the East River.
Wednesday, June 25
Yeah, you’ve been saying you were going to learn how to actually play chess one of these days so you can get the courage up to take on the guys in the park. Well now’s your chance, with free lessons from chess master Zebedee Collins at Brooklyn Bridge Park from 6:30pm-8pm.
Thursday, June 26
Celebrate Brooklyn! I know, I know you live in Brooklyn, but you’re still not too hip to attend a free concert at the Prospect Park Bandshell. Hurry up though, the whole free (well, $3 donation, which you should definitely give) aspect of the shows means they fill up by showtime. Warpaint and Yellowbirds are the featured artists for tonight’s show at 7:30pm.
Friday, June 27
NYC has something for just about anyone to feel at home, and as a New Orleanian you better believe I’ll be at the first annual NOLAFunk crawfish boil on Governor’s Island, sucking heads and pinching tails. $39.50 gets you 2.5 pounds of crawfish to eat while you enjoy live performances from Rebirth Brass Band and a handful of other authentic NOLA bands. Sounds pricey, but hey, you’ll have saved all that dough doing all the other free things on this list so what the hell? As we say back home “Laissez les bon temps rouler.”
Saturday, June 28
Take a stroll along the Brooklyn Spirits Trail and learn about all the great distilleries that call Brooklyn home these days
Sunday, June 29
Ride your bike down to Fort Tilden to catch none other than Patti Smith kick off the Rockaway Arts Fest with a free concert.
Monday, June 30
It’s the last day you can get $1 frozen cocktails at Baby’s All Right (146 Broadway, Williamsburg) during happy hour, so say goodbye to the deal the best way you know how: by drinking $1 frozen cocktails.
Tuesday, July 1
Free events are awesome, but so is Beck! Getting into his SummerStage show in Central Park would cost you $59.50, but there’s another way. You can also just hear his first show of his 2014 summer tour by sitting on a blanket behind the Rumsey Playfield and sharing a bottle of wine with some friends. It’s not like you’re gonna miss any James Brown-like dance moves.
Wednesday, July 2
Take the A train to the last stop and check out Inwood Hill Park, open Wednesday to Sunday from 10am to 4pm. Indulge in some bird watching, check out the ancient caves, or do some self reflecting in the woods or by Manhattan’s only salt marsh.
Thursday, July 3
Put all that time you spend staring at the TV watching The Simpsons to use by winning Woo Hoo! Simpsons Trivia at Berry Park. Three rounds of Simpsons trivia and three classic Simpsons episodes, all in one place.
Friday, July 4
You don’t have to fake like you care about soccer to show your love for America; instead head out to Coney Island for the classic Nathan’s Hot Dog eating contest. Nothing will make you want a hot dog more than seeing grown men slam dogs by the dozen down their respective gullets! Just make sure you get back to a spot with a good view of the East River in time to see the Macy’s fireworks come back home where they belong.
Saturday, July 5
Williamsburg isn’t just for debauchery and lavish nights on the town, it’s also for gluttony in the light of day. Our proof? Smorgasburg at the East River State Park at (North 7th and Kent Avenue), from 11am-6pm, where you can catch over 100 vendors serving everything from lobster rolls to ramen burgers. Even though it’s Williamsburg and it’s fancy artisan food, you can still eat yourself into bliss for less than $20.
Sunday, July 6
Take a tour of the Brooklyn Brewery (North 11th Street and Berry Avenue) and enjoy a sample of a few locally brewed beers. Make it an all day drinking event: Their tasting room is open from noon until 6pm, with free tours from every half hour from 1pm until 4pm. Don’t forget your Beer Book!
Monday, July 7
It’s now officially hot enough for you to see the Reverend Vince Anderson and His Love Choir at Union Pool (484 Union Avenue) and sweat like you’re actually in an old-timey revival tent.
Tuesday, July 8
Do some self reflecting in the serene Wave Hill public garden. Fortunately, you won’t have to reflect on how much you paid to get in, because there’s free admission on Tuesdays from 9am – noon. Take the 1 Train to 242nd Street, where a free shuttle bus will meet you. Pack a picnic to enjoy in the scenic picnic area while you’re up there.
Wednesday, July 9
Free outdoor movie series SummerScreen kicks off at McCarren Park at 6:30pm by taking you Back to the Future. Beats the hell out of paying $14 to be crammed in a theatre on a beautiful summer night.
Thursday, July 10
Here we go, here we go, here we go: The Bouncing Souls are playing for free at the House of Vans (25 Franklin Street, Greenpoint).
Friday, July 11
Head to Bed-Stuy’s Herbert von King Park between noon and 5pm and go shopping at the Brooklyn Free Store (weather permitting). Bring something to donate and take what you want!
Saturday, July 12
Ride the NYC Beach Bus down to Rockaway, because it’s been like a WHOLE WEEK since you’ve been to the beach, the round trip costs just $12 and you get a free beer for your troubles. Just don’t be a jerk about the beer.
Sunday, July 13
Watch the World Cup final at any of these fine locations. Whether or not Team USA is still in it, you won’t have the chance to pretend to care about soccer this passionately for another 4 years, so take advantage while you can
Monday, July 14
Start your week with a swim in one of Brooklyn’s public pools.
Tuesday, July 15
Eat your lunch at Louis Valentino Jr. Pier and then stay there, because it’s time to see the Red Hook Flicks screening of Hustle and Flow, because even if you can’t relate to a pimp, you can relate to being broke as hell and trying to follow your dreams.
Wednesday, July 16
Getting drinks after work is nice, but getting a 5-cent cocktail like you can get at BFB Highline (55 Gansevoort Street) is even better than nice. It’s really, really nice.
Thursday, July 17
The Ohio Players invite you to ride a love roller coaster in Downtown Brooklyn at their free Summer@Metrotech show, and who are you to say no?
Friday, July 18
Root for the home team, the Brooklyn Cyclones of course, as they take on the Jamestown Jammers. Even better, tonight is a “Jersey Off the Back Raffle” night, so you could go home with a sweaty, game-worn souvenir.
Saturday, July 19
Deltron 3030, joined by Nomadic Massive, has raps from the future for you at the Prospect Park Bandshell as part of Celebrate Brooklyn, and all you need to do to hear them is show up.
Sunday, July 20
Guide yourself on a pub crawl of Brooklyn’s finest, dankest dive bars (R.I.P. Jackie’s Fifth Amendment).
Monday, July 21
Man, work is for chumps. Take a “sick day” and take the LIRR to beautiful Long Beach. You can get a round trip ticket, beach pass and a coupon you can use at a local business for $22.
Tuesday, July 22
Taco Tuesdays! Stuff your face on a self-guided taco tour of Sunset Park’s best tacos!
Wednesday, July 23
Get in shape while taking in a pretty view at Brooklyn Grange rooftop Pilates at the Navy Yard.
Thursday, July 24
Scurry over to McCarren Park in Williamsburg and take your pick in a game of kickball, volleyball, soccer, bocce, baseball, handball, or just about anything else you can do with friends and their balls, then retire to the Turkey’s Nest for some frozen margaritas (94 Bedford Avenue)..
Friday, July 25
Take a stroll in the Narrows Botanical Garden (Shore Road between 69th and 72nd Streets, Bay Ridge), one of New York’s biggest all-volunteer gardens before settling in to catch a classic piece of old New York: a free screening of the original Taking of Pelham 1, 2, 3
Saturday, July 26
Party-starting rock and roll DJ Jonathan Toubin will be spinning at Union Pool’s afternoon party, Summer Thunder, so do some rare daytime dancing.
Sunday, July 27
Feeling beaten down from last night’s wild dancing? Guide yourself on a Bloody Mary tour and see how many of the top 10 Brooklyn bloodies you can drink, for a head full of hair of the dog.
Monday, July 28
Spend an evening with the Morbid Anatomy Museum by hearing selections from their Morbid Anatomy Anthology at Books Beneath the Bridge in Brooklyn Bridge Park
Tuesday, July 29
Throw a dart at a map of Brooklyn’s dog runs and off-leash areas, then go play with some dogs at whichever one the dart lands on.
Wednesday, July 30
SummerScreen continues with a screening of Heathers. Just remember that teen suicide ISN’T cool, you guys.
Thursday, July 31
“Sure,” you’re thinking to yourself, “I’m having a good summer. But what I really want to do is hang out at a laundromat.” Well, you’re thinking that because you know about Sunshine Laundromat (860 Manhattan Avenue), Brooklyn’s only pinball/arcade laundromat that you’ve been meaning to pay your respects to. So ride your bike up to Greenpoint and do just that.
93 Days of Summer will continue in August!