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Things to Do in NYC: Basking in the Summertime in New York City

As Gershwin wrote, it’s “summertime, and the livin’ is easy.“Even though New York City’s hustle and bustle don’t take the summer off, you’ll find plenty of opportunities to lie back and relax as the best of the City’s indoor attractions meet you outside at the park.

Start off by resting easy during your USA Guided Tours NYC bus tour, sipping our complimentary water, and feeling the cool breeze in our air-conditioned buses. (You’ll know you picked the right tour as you pass people sweating on the red double-deckers.) Then, exchange the A/C for a sea breeze on our boat cruise around the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island. This award-winning NYC daytime bus tour is jam-packed, covering the best of Manhattan south of Central Park on foot, on wheels, and on the water.

After you “Discover NY” with us, it’s time to hit the nightlife . . . in the park. I mentioned Shakespeare in the Park in my last blog post, but did you know that Central Park is crammed with outdoor events all summer long? I love picnicking with friends on the Great Lawn when the New York Philharmonic Orchestra performs: the atmosphere’s spine-tingling as the music soars and the sun sets. This summer, the program features Dvořak’s New World Symphony, Bernstein’s West Side Story, and Gershwin. Did I mention it’s free?

If you’re visiting New York when the Philharmonic is in its usual residence at Lincoln Center, don’t worry! The Met offers free outdoor performances as well, and there are plenty of free rock, pop, and hip-hop concerts if you prefer modern beats.

Another wonderful, relaxing activity (an oxymoron, I know) is to rent a row boat for an hour at Central Park’s Loeb Boathouse. You don’t have to be an Olympic-level rower — just keep an eye out for other boats so that you don’t bump into each other. (And if you do, it’s actually a great way to meet people.) If you’d prefer not to take on even these minimal duties, then let a Central Park boatman take you and your companions around in a Venetian gondola. It’s a great way to pass the time until you join us for our “Big Apple in Lights” evening NYC bus tour!

Perhaps you want to take in a movie while you’re here. Why sit in a darkened theater when you can picnic and BYOB in the park and watch one of your favorite movies — or try one you’ve never seen before? There are outdoor screens all over the five boroughs to choose from, featuring movies as different as King Kong, Mean Girls, and The Muppet Movie on the marquee this summer.

One of the real relaxing joys of summer in New York City is the chance to dine al fresco, especially at the original Shake Shack in Madison Square Park. You’ll walk by it on our daytime tour, so ask your NYC bus tour guide to point it out for you — or just look for the lines!

While it’s true that many New Yorkers complain about the summer heat shimmering off the sidewalks, the weather is perfect for planning relaxing outdoor activities. Our award-winning daytime and evening NYC bus tours are a great way to visit the best NYC has to offer while staying cool: after all, it’s “summertime, and the livin’ is easy”!

Sara Murphy | USA Guided Tours NY Blog Contributor