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12 Things To Do in NYC When Everyone Is Out of Town

By Nicole Levy | July 1, 2016 9:46am
 While everyone else is away, relaxing on a beach somewhere, make the city your own.
While everyone else is away, relaxing on a beach somewhere, make the city your own.
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With a long summer weekend ahead of you, maybe you're starting to regret that you haven't made any plans to escape the city for a few days.

So what should you do with your time in the relatively empty Big Apple, instead of envying those friends of yours relaxing on a beach in Cape Cod or the Jersey Shore?

DNAinfo has a few ideas:

Take in some free outdoor shows

This Sunday, the city's largest free performing arts festival is hosting two acts: Go-Go band Trouble Funk at Herbert Von King park in Bed-Stuy, and Nigerian frontman King Sunny Adé in Central Park. We're pretty sure you won't have to fight for a good view or a chair.

You can also check out the South Street Seaport's "Festival of Independence," sponsored by Noisey, The Howard Hughes Corporation and Smorgasburg, which takes place over Sunday and Monday. Featured acts include Wild Nothing, MeLo-X and Lee Fields and The Expressions. On Monday, The Festival of Independence also includes a day of family-friendly musical performances on the Peck Slip Stage.

Bike through Manhattan without fearing for your life

With fewer cars on the road, rent a CitiBike near City Hall and follow a bike lane up Lafayette Street, onto 4th Avenue, around Union Square Park, onto Broadway, along Central Park West, and then up St. Nicholas Avenue.

► Try all the viral foods

Now's your chance to nab a Cronut at Dominique Ansel's bakery in SoHo, a rainbow bagel at The Bagel Store in Williamsburg, or a churro ice cream sandwich at Playa Betty's on the Upper West Side without sacrificing an entire day to the pursuit of culinary novelty. 

► Grab some ice cream at the Prospect Heights or Gowanus locations of Ample Hills Creamery 


Long line for yummy ice cream! #AmpleHillsCreamery #IceCream #BK #NY

A photo posted by Magz (@magnoliamercedes) on

You won't have to salivate over flavors like Snap, Mallow, Pop! and Salted Crack Caramel for an eternity before you order, and you can sample them at your leisure.

► Satisfy your craving for lox, pastrami, pizza or ramen at some of the city's most popular eateries

Our crystal ball says that the persistent lines outside Russ and Daughters and Katz's Delicatessen on the Lower East Side, Roberta's in Bushwick, Di Fara in Midwood, and Ippudo in Midtown will vanish this weekend. Indulge when there isn't a 90-minute wait standing between you and your heart's desire.


Famous Original pizza at Roberta's. Go to takeout, not sit down, if you don't want to wait 1+ hours.

A photo posted by Victoria (@vparkhere) on

Make a run to the Red Hook Ikea and redecorate your apartment

July and August are typically the furniture megastore's two busiest months, according to employees. So a summer weekend when the rest of the city is off sunbathing is the optimal time to stroll through Ikea's showrooms and nosh on some Swedish meatballs.

Take a day trip to Randalls Island when there's no live music 

There are plenty of things to do on Randall's Island on the 362 days of the year that aren't Governors Ball. Putt your way to victory on the island's miniature golf course and then celebrate with a cold brew at the beer garden.

► Spend a day wandering the grounds at Wave Hill

This 28-acre public garden and cultural center in the Bronx, with views of the Hudson River and Palisades in the Bronx, is usually closed on Mondays, but not on holidays like Fourth of July or Labor Day.

Walk the High Line without bumping into oncoming foot traffic

It's a narrow park by virtue of its origins as a railway, so the fewer bodies in it, the better, we say. And you won't have to walk around as many impromptu photo shoots, either.

high lineCredit: Flickr/joevare

Visit a museum without feeling claustrophobic

The MoMA, Whitney, Guggenheim, American Museum of Natural History and the Metropolitan Museum of Art on Fifth Avenue are all open Fridays through Mondays. Check out an exhibition without elbowing other visitors or peering at installations over their shoulders.

Nibble on every kind of artisanal food at the original Smorgasburg in Williamsburg

You won't have to navigate through the usual swarms of gourmet eaters to get your hands on a ramen burger, raindrop cake, or a Filipino spring roll. 

► Go shopping in SoHo

If pushy shoppers and messy clothing racks stress you out, now's your time to browse the shops on Broadway and update your wardrobe.