Free Summer Concerts in New York City

By: Lisa –

Last Updated: May 16, 2015

Great music is a summer essential, and NYC has plenty of it. These are free outdoor concerts and shows found throughout the city that take place all summer long. Grab a blanket, some snacks, and rock out this summer.


Some tips: Show up early; the concerts fill up quickly. Wear comfortable shoes; you’ll be standing a lot. Bring something to read; you’ll be waiting a lot. Bring some water; you’ll be sweating a lot. Have fun!


Summer Stage:

All summer long

City Parks Foundation provides this amazing series of concerts. Summer stage offers everything from classical to rap. There are shows in all five boroughs and they take place all summer long. Check out the calendar for dates and bands. Please note that only SOME concerts are free.


Naumburg Orchestral Series at the Central Park Bandshell:

Tuesdays from June 23 through August 4 at 7:30 p.m.

Location: Central Park just south of 72nd Street.

Want to class it up? Head out to the Central Park Bandshell for some classical music. Seating is first come first serve. Check out the schedule for more info.


Summer in the Square - Music in the Square

Every Thursday from June 18 through August 13 at 6pm

Free concerts in Union Square.

Check out Union Square’s website for a schedule of events. You can even sign up for their newsletter for the latest info.


Lincoln Center Out of Doors:

In the plaza at Lincoln Center July 22 through August 9.

Over 100 concerts from jazz and funk to gospel and R&B, you’ll find it all. New artists will be featured.



Madison Square Music - The Oval Lawn and Above Ground Series:

Wednesdays, June 24 through July 29 at 7 p.m.

The Oval Lawn series features nationally touring groups and eclectic genres, while the Above Ground Series features an array of NYC performers.


River to River Festival:

June 18 through June 28

Enjoy free outdoor music in Lower Manhattan at several locations. The 2015 season includes over 35 artists over 11 days.  A full schedule of concerts and locations can be found on their website. 


Met Opera in the Park - Summer Recital Series:

Various days June 15 through June 30

Get a taste of opera at one of these six free performances at parks across the five boroughs. Grab your friends, a blanket, and some snacks and settle in for an evening of free opera.


4Knots Music Festival:

July 11 from 1pm to 8pm

South Street Seaport at 89 South Street, Pier 16 & 17

Two stages featuring renowned and up-and-coming artists. Shows are suitable for all ages!


Celebrate Brooklyn!:

June 3 through August 12 at 7pm. 

Prospect Park Bandshell near 9th Street.

Come out and celebrate all that Brooklyn has to offer. This year's lineup includes Chaka Khan, The New Pornographers, Willie Nelson, and more! There are often several different performances each day. Please note that some of these events are free and others require tickets. Check the calendar on their website for exact dates and times.



July 9, July 23, and August 6

Gates open at 6 p.m.

Located on Pier 84 at 44th Street in Manhattan.

Three fun concerts!


Washington Square Music Festival:

Tuesdays June 16 through July 7 at 8pm

Located at the main stage in the center of the park.

Opera and jazz live and free in the park. Gotta love Washington Square.


GMA Summer Concert Series:

Fridays, May 22 through September 4

This is a great way to see some popular acts for free. Every Friday in the summer, Good Morning America hosts live performances in Central Park. Gates open at 6am (and yes, if you want to see, you better be there EARLY) and performances are usually between 7am and 9am. But note, each act only plays a few songs. Bring a book and some comfortable shoes. This usually involves a lot of standing around and waiting.


Take the 6 train to 68th and Lexington for the closest stop to the concert entrance. For more information, visit their website.


Today Show Concert Series:

Fridays, May 22 through September 4

Another great way to see some of today’s most popular acts. Most performances are on Fridays but check the site for the most up-to-date performance schedule. Fans are asked to arrive at 49th Street and Rockefeller Plaza no later than 6am (yep, another early one!) for best viewing. Again, each act will play only a few songs and there might be a lot of standing around and waiting, but hey, it’s free! And you might even be on TV!


Take the B,D,F,M train to Rockefeller Plaza. For more information, visit their website.





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