Where to Find Outdoor Concerts This Summer in NYC

When the weather gets warm, the city spills outside to enjoy every moment of its hard-won good weather. In the next few months, you can take a trip to Coney Island or linger in Central Park to hear musical acts from Cardi B to Dead & Company to Morrissey. Here are some of the best places to listen to live music and boost your vitamin D at the same time in New York City.

Central Park SummerStage

George Clinton

George Clinton.

You can catch live music acts in Central Park all summer long at SummerStage—and most shows are absolutely free. This year the venue is getting upgraded to optimize this quintessential New York event series. George Clinton will perform with Parliament Funkadelic on June 4, Kurt Vile & The Violators will play with Dinosaur Junior on June 25, Tash Sultana on September 4, Guster on August 8, and the B52s on September 24. Other acts to be announced for the Central Park stage and the other venues participating in SummerStage. May-October. Various locations,

Naumburg Bandshell

Just west of SummerStage is the beautiful Naumburg Bandshell in the heart of Central Park. This historic venue hosts an equally historic series of classical concerts, going strong since 1905. Visit Naumburg for string quartets, chamber music, and many other concerts that are free for all. Terrace Dr. near West 72nd St., 212-501-7809,

The Governors Ball

Florence & The Machine

Florence + The Machine 

Probably the most popular music festival in the city, The Governors Ball starts off every summer with a fantastic slate of music acts. This year, headliners include Tyler, The Creator, Lil Wayne, Florence + The Machine, and The Strokes. There will also be pop-country from Kacey Musgraves, indie darlings Mitski and King Princess, R&B phenom SZA, and the rapper Nas. The festival takes place on Randalls Island just east of Harlem. May 31-June 2. Randall’s Island Park,

Pride Island

Grace Jones

Grace Jones.

This year’s NYC Pride has gone global with WorldPride, attracting visitors from all over for the fiftieth anniversary of the Stonewall Riots and the biggest Pride March ever. Pride Island, occurring the last weekend in June, is the music festival arm of Pride and happens on Pier 97 in Midtown. The June 29 headliner is legendary model/singer Grace Jones. Other acts include Teyana Taylor, Pabllo Vittar, Kim Petras, Amara La Negra, and DJs Johnny Dynell, Abel, and Morabito. For a free music event on Pride weekend, head to Times Square the evening on June 30 to hear Melissa Etheridge rock out at the Closing Ceremony. June 29-30. Pier 97 at West 59th St. & the West Side Highway,

BRIC Celebrate Brooklyn! Festival

Mac De Marco

Mac DeMarco.

Head to the Central Park of Brooklyn for a series of shows in Prospect Park this summer. Begun in 1979, this mix of free and ticketed concerts brings music, dance, and film to the Prospect Park Bandshell near Park Slope. Among the upcoming acts this summer are Patti LaBelle, The National, Father John Misty, Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit, and Mac DeMarco. Beginning June 4. 141 Prospect Park W., 718-683-5600,

Lincoln Center Out of Doors

Another free event series, Lincoln Center heads outside every summer. See world-class music and other performance over three weeks of the festival, typically held from the end of July to the beginning of August. Dates and performers have not yet been announced, but most will occur at Damrosch Park on the Lincoln Center campus in the Upper West Side. 60 Lincoln Center Plaza, 212-504-4115,

Forest Hills Stadium



Deep in Queens is one of the best outdoor music venues in the city: Forest Hills Stadium. From Simon & Garfunkel in 1966 up through today, you’ll find hit-makers here every summer. This year, get ready for Greta Van Fleet May 25, indie pop outfit Death Cab for Cutie on June 15, with Jenny Lewis opening. The Lumineers are playing a sold-out show on June 22, and Lynyrd Skynyrd comes July 14 with opening act Hank Williams, Jr. Other artists performing this summer include “Weird Al” Yankovic, Elvis Costello and Blondie, Sarah McLachlan, My Morning Jacket, Beck, Morrissey with Interpol, and Jethro Tull on September 14. 1 Tennis Pl., 888-929-7849,

The Rooftop at Pier 17



Now in its second season, the Rooftop at Pier 17, located in South Street Seaport, offers stunning views of the Brooklyn Bridge, Statue of Liberty, and the city skyline. Their summer series kicks off May 19-21 with Passion Pit. The rest off the summer lineup shines with performances by Billie Eilish, Ringo Starr and his All Star Band, a 40th anniversary performance by The Stray Cat Struts, Sheryl Crow, The Psychedelic Furs, comedienne Sarah Silverman, The Steve Miller Band, Squeeze, double bill Social Distortion/Flogging Molly, and more.

Warm Up at MoMA PS1


While the Museum of Modern Art gets a renovation this summer, head across the East River to MoMA PS1 for equally compelling art exhibits—plus some pretty rad music. Every summer the Warm Up festival invites music-lovers of all stripes to the museum courtyard for DJ’d dance parties and live entertainment. This summer’s line-up will be announced next month, but past guests have included Solange, Thom Yorke, and Cardi B. Get excited. 22-25 Jackson Ave., 212-708-9400,

Dead & Company at Citi Field

When it’s not hosting the New York Mets, Citi Field opens the stadium to other events in its Flushing, Queens location. Deadheads can delight in the upcoming concert Dead & Company, featuring extant members of the Grateful Dead, Mickey Hart, Bill Kreutzmann, and Bob Weir. They’ll be joined by John Mayer and Allman Brothers bassist Oteil Burbridge. Rock out for one night only with this superband Sunday, June 23. 120-01 Roosevelt Ave., 718-507-8499,

Elsewhere Rooftop

Anyone looking for more Brooklyn ways to get down should check out the rooftop space at Elsewhere. This large venue hosts live music throughout the summer and has a bar on the rooftop for general merriment whether there’s a show or not. It’s always a diverse line-up at Elsewhere, and this summer will be no different. Roy Ayers, Braxton Cook, Helado Negro, and Connan Mockasin are just of the few of many live acts scheduled for spring and summer 2019. 599 Johnson Ave.,

Ford Amphitheater at Coney Island Boardwalk

This 5,000-seater is a covered concert venue in the middle of Coney Island Boardwalk. After a day at Luna Park, the beach, and the New York Aquarium, there’s no better way to enjoy a summer evening. Coming up, The Ford Amphitheater will host rock band Coheed and Cambria, the Wu-Tang Clan in a hometown show, and the Greatest Day Ever! music fest and carnival. This event on July 13 and 14 will feature Carnage, Pusha T, and Zeds Dead performing. 3052 W. 21st St., 718-954-9933,

Socrates Sculpture Park

One of the best views of the Manhattan skyline can be found at Socrates Sculpture Park in Long Island City, Queens. Their annual music events include jazz performances and the Metropolitan Opera Recital, in which world-class singers from The Met sing al fresco and free of charge. The jazz series (also free!) will last throughout the summer, and Metropolitan Opera Recital is June 17. 32-01 Vernon Blvd., 718-956-1819,

MetLife Stadium

BTS K-pop

A short train ride from Manhattan is MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey, the home stadium of the New York Giants and Jets. This summer, K-pop sensation BTS will play at MetLife on their “Love Yourself: Speak Yourself” tour May 18-19. Local radio station Hot 97 will hold its annual Summer Jam on June 2, with Cardi B, Migos, Meek Mill, Tory Lanez, and more performing. The Rolling Stones were slated to perform in mid-June, but those dates have been postponed until Mick Jagger is back on his nimble feet. One MetLife Stadium Dr., 201-559-1500,

Want free advice on what to do and see in New York? Join our Facebook group Everything to Do NYC, a place for people to ask questions and get tips on how to make the most of the city.


About the Author

Merrill Lee Girardeau lives and writes in Brooklyn.

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