After months of donning layer upon layer, trudging through grey snow, and shivering on subway platforms, New Yorkers have a right to be excited about warm weather. Maybe that’s why summer brings on some of the city’s greatest traditions: tanning in Central Park, trips to Coney Island, and, of course, partying non-stop. From rooftops to backyards and public parks, summer in the city is the time to find a groove, grab a drink and get down, preferably outside.
With that in mind, here are some of the best summer parties in NYC:
For fans of: pop, hip-hop, crowds
The Governors Ball Music Festival, started in 2011, is the cornerstone of the city’s summer music festival scene. Set on sprawling Randall’s Island, the festival usually books some of the biggest names in pop music, and this year is no different. Headlining the event are Kanye West, The Killers and New York City’s own The Strokes. If you’re looking to catch the biggest acts, soak up some sun and enjoy the company of thousands of other festival-goers, this is your best bet.
For fans of: Governor’s Ball
If you can’t make it to Governor’s Ball, this might be your year, as a new music festival will debut on the summer docket. Also set on Governor’s Island, Panorama Music Festival might even be the hotter ticket in 2016, with the headlining slots occupied by Arcade Fire, Kendrick Lamar, and the newly reunited LCD Soundsystem. The festival itself probably won’t be too different an experience from Governor’s Ball, but passes come with a nice perk: free admission to the Queens Museum, which is running an exhibit on The Ramones.
June 11-12; Aug. 13-14
For fans of: Jazz, fancy cocktails, the Charleston
If modern music isn’t your thing, don’t worry, New York still has you covered. The beautiful Governor’s Island, once home to a Coast Guard base, now functions as a public park that, for two weekends in the summer, is transported back to the 1920s to host New York’s most retro summer party. Live jazz, dazzling costumes, antique cars and gramophones are just some of the attractions at this Gatsby-esque shindig.
MoMA PS1Saturday afternoons
For fans of: Dancing, modern art
If you’re looking to party in New York during the summer, you won’t have to wait until nightfall. For nearly two decades, MoMA PS1 (a Queens outpost of the Manhattan museum) has hosted Warm Up, a daytime dance party in its courtyard. Art installations vary from year to year, and each event (hosted on Saturday afternoons) features a lineup of eclectic and experimental DJs.
MoMA PS1. 22-25 Jackson Ave, Queens. 718.784.2084.
House of Vans
For fans of: Indie rock, hip-hop, skateboarding
Free live music is hard to top, and Vans House Parties provides this in a unique setting: its indoor skatepark in Greenpoint, Brooklyn. With the party spilling out into the courtyard (where you’ll often find a food truck and free beer), this is the place to rock out on Thursday nights in the summer. You’ll have to RSVP in advance, and lines can be long, but free is free, right?
House of Vans. 25 Franklin Street, Brooklyn.
The WellSunday Afternoons
For fans of: partying non-stop
One of New York’s hippest and most beloved weekly summer dance parties, Tiki Disco has been somewhat nomadic throughout its history, with hosts ranging from Rockaway Beach to venerated Bushwick pizza restaurant Roberta’s. This year’s see-and-be-seen series will take place at The Well, a beer garden in East Williamsburg, and should deliver the expected top-notch DJs, free-flowing booze, and good-looking crowd. Even with its Sunday afternoon timeslot, it’s always a buzzing time.
The Well. 272 Meserole Street, Brooklyn. 347.338.3612.