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Best 11 Events You Need to Catch in New York Before Summer 2021 Ends

The 11 best NYC events, exhibits and experiences that you need to catch in New York City before summer 2021 ends

Last call! Summer 2021 in NYC is winding down, and our correspondent Abbie Martin Greenbaum has curated a list of the 11 best events, exhibits and experiences that you need to catch in New York City before the season ends.

11 events, exhibits and experiences to catch in NYC before summer 2021 ends

Where did the time go? Though in many ways it feels like summer has just begun, we are now halfway through August, and the season will soon be drawing to a close.

The 11 best NYC events, exhibits and experiences that you need to catch in New York City before summer 2021 ends

The 11 best NYC events, exhibits and experiences that you need to catch in New York City before summer 2021 ends

But the fun doesn’t have to end yet – you still have more than a month to hit all of our favorite annual events, as well as a handful of special limited time engagements.

The 11 best NYC events, exhibits and experiences that you need to catch in New York City before summer 2021 ends

The 11 best NYC events, exhibits and experiences that you need to catch in New York City before summer 2021 ends

So while the sun is still shining, here is your Last Call: these are the eleven New York festivals, concerts, shows, events, experiences and exhibits you should try to catch – before they’re gone.

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Best 11 Events You Need to Catch in New York City Before Summer 2021 Ends

1. Restaurant Week

Though the annual event has kept its name, the rules have changed. Rather than a seven-day extravaganza, NYC’s restaurant week now lasts for an entire month – meaning there’s still time for a taste.

The 11 best NYC events, exhibits and experiences that you need to catch in New York City before summer 2021 ends

The 11 best NYC events, exhibits and experiences that you need to catch in New York City before summer 2021 ends. Restaurant Week.

Choose between lunch and dinner, inside and outside, takeout and in-person, at any of the 494 (!) participating restaurants. With menus for $21, $39, and $125, you’ll have an opportunity to try many of the city’s most delicious meals.

Until August 22.

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2. Get Back! The Dock Street Concerts

If you missed the beginning of the series, it’s not too late. Every Thursday at 7 pm, you can head to Brooklyn Bridge Park for a free concert from St. Ann’s Warehouse.

The 11 best NYC events, exhibits and experiences that you need to catch in New York City before summer 2021 ends. Get Back! The Dock Street Concerts.

They first launched the program last summer (on a rooftop), and have since reimagined it to suit an even wider audience.  There’s simply no substitute for the magic of live music, and we’re so grateful for the chance to enjoy artists like Vuyo Sotashe Quintet, Sunny Jain, and Saawee + J. Hoard. And with the backdrop of the waterfront? It doesn’t get any better than this.

Until August 26.

3. Structures for Life

Fancy a trip to Astoria? This is your last opportunity to visit the Niki de Saint Phalle exhibit at MoMA PS1. Known for her richly imaginative sculptures, the French-American artist used her work to engage political and social issues, imagining an alternative, feminist society through her pieces. She experimented with many different mediums, which this Queens exhibit seeks to highlight.

best Summer events NYC

The best events in NYC this Summer 2021: Structures for Life. Courtesy Photo.

Until September 6th.

4. Celebrate Brooklyn

Celebrate Brooklyn is one of our favorite concert series of the year, every year. And we are so happy to see it return! Head to the Prospect Park Bandshell anytime in the next month, and you can watch performances from artists like Busta Rhymes and Lil Kim, San Fermin, Glass Animals, D-Nice, and more. Prospect Park is always the place to be in summertime, and it’s even better with a five-star soundtrack.

best Summer events NYC

The best events in NYC this Summer 2021: Celebrate Brooklyn. Courtesy Photo.

Until September 18th.

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5. Merry Wives

Shakespeare in the Park is one of the best parts of every summer, and this season’s grand return – Jocelyn Bioh’s Merry Wives –  has received rave reviews. Bioh’s adaptation has moved The Merry Wives of Windsor to South Harlem, reimagining the story to star a community of West African immigrants.

The 11 best NYC events, exhibits and experiences that you need to catch in New York City before summer 2021 ends. Shakespeare in the Park.

As a result, the show is funny, warm, and a true New York tale – exactly what we wanted for our return to live theater. (And p.s, if you are interested in watching another production from Bioh and director Saheem Ali, make sure to catch Bioh’s new romantic comedy, Nollywood Dreams, beginning in October at the MCC Theater).

Until September 18.

6. Picnic Performances

We have so loved this summer’s Picnic Performances in Bryant Park. All shows begin at 7 pm on the Green, and include appearances by some of the world’s most talented artists.

The 11 best NYC events, exhibits and experiences that you need to catch in New York City before summer 2021 ends. Picnic performances in Bryant Park.

In the next month alone, you’ll be able to see performances from the Limón Dance Company, the Paul Taylor Dance Company, the New York City Opera, the Classical Theater of Harlem, the New York City Opera, and many others. We feel incredibly lucky to have access to such an outstanding range of performers – right in our own backyard. Make sure you don’t sleep on these remarkable and easy-to-catch shows.

Until September 20.

7. SummerStage

Much like Celebrate Brooklyn, SummerStage is one of our favorite annual traditions. These free Central Park concerts are a neon sign that the season has arrived, and without them, we’ve felt a little lost. This summer’s feast of talent includes Ani DiFranco, the Indigo Girls, Erica Campbell, Willie Jones III, Patti Smith, and many others. Make sure to take a look at the full lineup, and bring your vaccination card to the show.

The best events in NYC this Summer 2021: Summerstage. Courtesy Photo.

Until September 21.

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8. Movie Nights at Bryant Park

Though they got off to a late start this year, Bryant Park’s annual film series is about to be in full swing – and your Monday and Tuesday nights just got a whole lot more exciting.

The 11 best NYC events, exhibits and experiences that you need to catch in New York City before summer 2021 ends

The 11 best NYC events, exhibits and experiences that you need to catch in New York City before summer 2021 ends. Movie Night in Bryant Park.

Come as early as five pm to have drinks and dinner on the green, and then stick around till sundown to catch a movie outside. For those who have missed going to the theater, but don’t feel ready to venture inside, this might be your perfection solution. And they have picked some excellent titles to close out the season. This summer’s roster includes titles like Love & Basketball, Moonstruck, Uncut Gems, and Moulin Rouge!

Until September 28.

9. Your Silent Neighbor

Some of the year’s best art exhibits are wrapping up at the end of this season, and you don’t want to miss them. If you’re looking to stretch beyond your comfort zone, head to the New Museum to see Your Silent Neighbor, the first American survey exhibit from well-known Hong Kong artist Wong Ping. Wong is known for his highly original animations, all of which portray uncomfortable, boundary-breaking scenarios in bright, eye-catching colors.

The best events in NYC this Summer 2021: Your Silent Neighbor. Courtesy Photo.

Until October 3.

10. Dawoud Bey: An American Project

You have a little over a month to catch this outstanding exhibit at the Whitney Museum. The American Project includes Bey’s earliest portraits in Harlem, as well as his most recent series, which is a reimagining of the Underground Railroad. Bey is notable not only for his incredible photography, but for the way he treats his art an ethical practice – one in which he is working together with his subjects. He is known for the way his work has chronicled the history of communities, creating visual meditations on power and on race.

The best events in NYC this Summer 2021: Dawoud Bey: An American Project. Courtesy Photo.

Until October 3.

Best 11 Events You Need to Catch in New York Before Summer 2021 Ends

Summer 2021 is winding down, and here are 11 events, exhibits and experiences that you need to catch in New York City before the season ends.

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This article contains affiliate links to products independently selected by our editors. As an Amazon Associate, Dandelion Chandelier receives a commission for qualifying purchases made through these links. 

Abbie Martin Greenbaum grew up in New York City and currently lives in Brooklyn, where she drinks a lot of coffee and matches roommates together for a living. At Oberlin College, she studied English and Cinema, which are still two of her favorite things, along with dessert and musical theater. She believes in magic.

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