21 Things to Do This Fourth of July Weekend

by NYCgo.com Staff

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Baseball with a Seinfeld-ian twist. Hot dogs consumed in the dozens by a remorseless eatin' machine. Apple pie so old-fashioned it will take you back to 1776. Did we forget to mention Shakespeare, disco, fireworks, the beach and a predawn tour of Revolutionary War sites? Forgive us. We're so excited about the Fourth of July weekend in NYC that we're ready to put “Freedom '90” on autoplay and declare independence all over again. Read on for our picks of the best ways to celebrate 239 years of inalienable rights and self-evident truths.

July 2–4
Midsummer Night Swing at Damrosch Park 
Bring your boogie shoes for Thursday's disco night, and slip on leather sandals for Hawaiian swing on Friday; maybe moonwalking gliders for Saturday's Motown event? Whatever your footwear, you'll get a lesson and then dance the night away under the stars. Free

July 3
Coney Island Fireworks and Karaoke 
NYC's favorite beachside amusement district hosts fireworks each summer Friday. Warm up for tonight's pyrotechnics with free karaoke near the Wonder Wheel. Quick: what's the over-under on how many renditions of Katy Perry's “Firework” we'll hear? (We'd prefer X's “Fourth of July” or Lou Reed's “Coney Island Baby.”) Free

July 3
First Friday Outdoor Film Screening at Joyce Kilmer Park 
A live performance from Tuelo and Her Cousins and the musical stylings of DJ Asho will complement a showing of the South African comedy White Wedding (2009). Free

July 3
Lola Star's Dreamland Roller Disco at Lakeside 
Prospect Park's new roller-skating rink hosts a weekly roller disco night through summer and into fall. The theme for this iteration: Saturday Night Fever. It doesn't get more patriotic than that!

July 3 and 5
Shakespeare in the Park: The Tempest 
These are your last chances of the season to see The Tempest, starring Oscar nominee Sam Waterston (The Killing Fields, Law & Order) and directed by Tony nominee Michael Greif, staged in Central Park. Free

July 3–5
Yankees vs. Tampa Bay Rays at Yankee Stadium
The Yankees take on a division rival over the holiday weekend, with a night game on Friday—featuring a cap giveaway—and afternoon tilts on Saturday and Sunday. Come out for America's pastime, and see fan favorites like CC Sabathia and Brett Gardner take the field.

July 4
Fireworks Cruise on the Circle Line 
Want to avoid the crowds watching the sky light up but still see all the action? Take the Circle Line's special fireworks cruise, which sets sail early evening and includes a DJ, food and drinks.

July 4
Fort Wadsworth Celebration
Free tours of the fort and activities for the kids, like art projects and a scavenger hunt, make for a fun afternoon with the family. Bring a picnic, a blanket and stick around for fireworks at dusk. Free

July 4
Freedom Festival at the Intrepid Museum 
What do rapper-actress Queen Latifah, comedian Amy Schumer and country singer Will Hoge have in common? They'll all be at the Intrepid on the Fourth, entertaining the crowds and raising money for the museum and its Fallen Heroes Fund.

July 4
Independence Day Celebration at Historic Richmond Town 
Step back in time to celebrate the Fourth at one of the City's most significant historic locations—create pinwheels, watch pie-making demonstrations, churn and taste your own ice cream and listen to a dramatic reading of the Declaration of Independence.

July 4
Independence Day at Prospect Park
The Prospect Park Audubon Center puts on free, family-friendly events such as nature walks, animal encounters and crafts celebrating the bald eagle. For a small fee, kids can also enjoy a ride on the carousel and a trip back to colonial times at Lefferts Historic House. Free

July 4
Macy's Fourth of July Fireworks
It wouldn't be the Fourth of July in New York City without the annual Macy's fireworks show, down on the East River. The best viewing spots will be from Brooklyn Bridge Park and the Brooklyn Heights Promenade, and along the east side of Lower Manhattan; arrive early to secure your place. Free

July 4
Nathan's Famous Fourth of July Hot Dog Eating Contest
Can you eat 69 hot dogs in 10 minutes? Eight-time champ Joey Chestnut once did, though last year he only hit 61; he'll surely try his to best top it. Join the throngs to watch, and remember that this is a case where imitation is not the sincerest form of flattery. Free

July 4
Revolutionary War New York Nighttime Walking Tour 
Set your alarm earlier than usual for a rather unusual start to Independence Day. Meet at 3am at the Fraunces Tavern Museum, where George Washington gave a good-bye address to the Continental Army, and end around sunrise at Trinity Church, where Alexander Hamilton is among those laid to rest.  

July 4
Riis Park Beach Bazaar
Hitting the beach is a great way to enjoy the holiday, and the Rockaways have some of the best local stretches of sand, including the one at Jacob Riis Park. Instead of barbecuing, stop by the Riis Park Beach Bazaar for tasty summer treats at gourmet food stands and bars. DJs and bands play from 1pm on to provide a summer soundtrack. Free

July 4
Travis Parade 
Come experience the small-town patriotic vibe at this Staten Island parade, a tradition that dates back more than 100 years. Free

July 4
Warm-Up at MoMA PS1 
Celebrate America's birthday at MoMA PS1 in Queens. Every Saturday throughout the summer, the art museum holds a dance party in its courtyard; special guests at the July 4th edition include former Studio 54 DJ Nicky Siano (whose exploits were recently covered in The New York Times), along with Cut Copy and Bobbito Garcia. 

July 5
Brooklyn Cyclones Seinfeld Night II 
For a second year, the minor league baseball team will pay homage to the New Yorkiest sitcom of all time. Get a “Lil' Jerry bobble beak,” pose for a picture with Kenny Bania (or at least the actor who played him, Steve Hytner), dance like Elaine and generally make much ado about, well, nothing.

July 5
Chris Gethard at Union Hall 
Funnyman Chris Gethard performs a show he's calling “Career Suicide,” to the delight of Park Slope audiences. If you like to laugh, chances are you'll laugh a lot. If you don't like to laugh, you can enjoy Union Hall's fine bocce court. 

Through August 15
Over Here: WWI and the Fight for the American Mind
The notion of what it means to be an American was at issue in the lead-up to, and involvement in, the so-called war to end all wars. One hundred years later, the main branch of the New York Public Library displays a collection of ephemera that illustrates all sides of the debate. Free

Ongoing
Visit the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island
“It was 130 years ago today / Lady Liberty hit the New York Bay.” Or something like that: it was actually June 1885 when she arrived, but July 4 seems as good a time as any to see her up close, as well as to explore the new Peopling of America Center at Ellis Island.


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