Free Outdoor Summer Events at “Summer on the Hudson” on the Upper West Side

  Last modified on April 26th, 2022

Summer on the Hudson is an annual outdoor celebration of music, dance, movies, special events, and children’s activities taking place from 59th to 153rd Street from May through September. There are plenty of different types of activities to enjoy on a date, solo, or with friends and family! There is no need to register in advance, so just show up, and take advantage of some of these terrific outdoor opportunities this year!

Movies Under The Stars

From July 10th to August 14th, there are weekly movies outside at Pier 1, which is located at 70th Street. They are shown every Wednesday at dusk (approximately 8:30pm). This year’s theme is “Song & Dance”, so there is a wide range of musical films like Duck Soup, from 1933, which is being shown on July 17th, to Pitch Perfect, filmed in 2012, which will be shown on August 14th, the final night of the series. These films will be open captioned, so come one, come all, and enjoy a night of musical movie entertainment!

Music and Dance

My favorite part of Summer on the Hudson is the Sunday night dance parties. Every Sunday in June from 6:00pm to 9:00pm, take a walk over to Pier 1 at 70th Street for an evening of music and dancing. If you’re a beginner, come at the beginning of the session for a free dance lesson led by professional instructors from the Piel Canela Dance & Music School. Or if you’re experienced, polish your Latin moves with some salsa, cha-cha, and bachata. Come with a partner or come alone and meet new friends! It’s a great way to get some exercise and enjoy the summer evenings.

For more Summer on the Hudson dancing fun, come to the far end of Pier 1 on Saturday, June 15th for the GlobeSonic Sound System Dance Party. DJs and drummers will keep the beat going from 2:30pm to 10:30pm so you can boogie down. And if live music is more your groove, come by Pier 1 on Sundays in July at 7:00pm. You can punk out to the bohemian sounds of Bella’s Bartok on July 7th or feel the beat of the Drums and Dance of India on July 14th. If you prefer a more experimental electronic sound, drop by on July 21st for Brooklyn’s own Vensaire or for world roots music, you can hear Brown Rice Family on July 28th.

Summer on the Hudson

Photo by Flickr User: Summer on the Hudson

If you’re away from the city during Summer on the Hudson, don’t despair. There are still some music and dance events for you to enjoy in September! One unique event that I’m looking forward to checking out this year is the Dance Safari, scheduled for September 21st and 22nd from 5:00 to 6:30pm. On this guided safari walk, participants will meet at the Eleanor Roosevelt Statue located at the 72nd Street entrance of Riverside Park South, and they will visit site specific dance pieces by a variety of choreographers.

Art in the Park

From 59th Street to 70th Street, you can visit the seven sculptures of Riverside Park South’s open-air gallery. These are viewable anytime during park hours between June 2013 to May 2014. Or you can attend the opening reception and meet the artists on June 13th at 2:00pm. There will also be a tour led by an artist at 11:00am on September 14th.

Summer on the Hudson

Photo By Kat Grant

Getting Fit

No gym membership? No problem! Come out to The Plaza at 66th Street and tone up with free weekly evening classes! On Wednesdays at 6:30pm, try yoga from June 5th to September 25th, and on Tuesdays at 6:30pm, take Pilates mat classes from June 4th to August 20th. For both of these classes, you can tone, strengthen, and stretch as you watch the beautiful sunsets over the Hudson. You should wear comfortable clothing and bring your own mat. If you’re more of a morning person, you might want to try 8:00am Tai Chi classes which are happening every Sunday from May 5th to August 25th in Mid Riverside Park at West 89th Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Monument Plaza. Silvana Pizzuti will lead you through this slow moving martial art that is appropriate for all ages and fitness levels.

Summer on the Hudson

Photo by Luke Swanson

Fun With The Kids

Summer on the Hudson has so many family-friendly events that anyone with kids will want to mark these on their calendars. Try the kite-making day on Saturday August 17th from 11:00am to 4:00pm at Pier 1 at 70th Street. Or the West Side County Fair between 66th and 72nd Streets on Sunday, September 8th from 1:00 to 6:00pm. This annual celebration, now in its 11th year, is not only fun, but also educational. It is a fall festival with rides, games, performers, reptile shows and plenty of children’s activities to raise awareness of green living. And don’t miss the 10th Annual Mamapalooza Outdoor Extravaganza on Sunday May 19th from 11:00am to 5pm at Pier 1 at 70th Street. With fitness demos beginning at 11:00am and music beginning at noon, this celebration of moms and their loved ones will be chock-full of family fun.

Summer on the Hudson

Photo by Luke Swanson

For the sporty little ones in your brood, introduce them to soccer and basketball on Wednesdays from July 24th to August 28th. At the 71st Street Soccer Field and Basketball Courts, your children who are age 5 and under can participate in Tots Soccer from 9:30am to 10:30am and Pee Wee Basketball from 10:30am to 11:30am

For the more theatrical kids, there is the Children’s Performance Series on Thursdays from July 11th to August 15th from 10:30am to 11:30am at Pier 1 at 70th Street. Geared for audiences up to age 7, these music and theater performances are different each week, with bubbly titles like “Rolie Polie Guacamole” (July 11th) and “Moey’s Music Party” (July 25th). And on August 15th, they will delight in watching the Puppeteers from the Swedish Cottage Marionette Theatre.

A few other helpful hints to maximize your enjoyment of Summer on the Hudson: If there is heavy rain, events will be cancelled, so check the weather and the website before you head out. Also, there are restrooms located at 70th, 72nd, 79th, and in the playgrounds at 83rd, 91st, and 97th Streets. There are many more free and wonderful activities and events taking place this summer at Summer on the Hudson. I really appreciate all these free activities that the City of New York Parks & Recreation make available to us. You might just spot me out there with a picnic and a movie, dancing the night away, or just taking in the spectacular sunsets over the water!

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