With summer in full swing, the city has come alive with endless amounts of concerts, festivals, and other special events. On one hand, we’re lucky to be in a city with a packed concert calendar, with something happening just about every day. On the other hand, New York City’s incredible list of entertainment options can make for some hard decision making. So, we’ve taken it upon ourselves to review every NYC concert venue’s summer lineup, and compile a list of must-sees. We tried to incorporate just about every music taste to make for a very vibrant summer. So, without further adieu, here are the 7 NYC Concert Venues with Must-See Summer Shows.
Sure, Central Park’s Summerstage has for a long time dominated the outdoor live music scene in NYC, but in my opinion, Prospect Park’s Celebrate Brooklyn! Concert Series is more than just a serious contender: they take the cake. With a vast line-up of both free and benefit concerts, Celebrate Brooklyn’s lineup is both diverse, family friendly, and adequately hipster. Where else can you see both the Punch Brothers and tUnE-yArDs for free? Certainly not in Manhattan. We suggest heading on over to Prospect Park this summer for a lineup that has us pretty stoked for outdoor live music. Make it a date, pack a picnic to enjoy before the show.
We’re very excited about MoMa’s Warm Up series, an outdoor experience dubbed with experimental music and live DJs that takes place every Saturday through September 5th. Not only does the PS1 Warm Up series promote emerging artists, but it combines multiple genres of music and art, making this series an incredibly entertaining cultural experience. Now, for it’s 18th year, MoMa PS1’s curated lineup includes Boyz Noise, Baauer, Tiga, and Bok Bok. The concert series takes place at the MoMa PS1 Courtyard, tickets selling for $18 in advance, and $20 the day of.
Must-See Shows at MoMa PS1: Lotic, Baauer, Boyz Noise, Sicko Mobb, Bok Bok
This classic New York City venue makes the list not only for their solid summer lineup, but also because of its undeniable architectural beauty. Radio City Music Hall is staple, and should make an appearance on everyone’s summer concert calendar at least once. With plenty of shows to choose from, we suggest Radio City’s two night event featuring Kelly Clarkson and famed a cappella-pop group, the Pentatonix. Later in the month, The Decemberists will be stopping by for their one and only NYC show this year, so we suggest getting tickets before the sacred venue is bought out to capacity.
4. Town Hall
Town Hall, my personal favorite indoor music venue in NYC, will be putting on two shows this summer that I consider must-sees. First, the folk breakout talent Laura Marling, who opened for Conor Oberst this past winter, and who simply blew me away. And second, the world-famous jazz pianist Chick Corea and guest Bela Fleck. Town Hall’s gorgeous interior and lineup of truly special events make it a highly frequented venue, not to mention their renown acoustics. For a break from the heat, and to see some incredible live talent, head on into Town Hall this summer. Need another reason to go? Shake Shack is just around the corner…
If you haven’t been already, Jones Beach Theater is what we consider one of the best venues in New York. The outdoor amphitheater sits on the bay in Wantagh, with the actual stage extending out into the water. After some major renovations following Hurricane Sandy’s destruction, Jones Beach has become a regular stop on some major touring acts, primarily rockstars. This summer at Jones Beach, the lineup ranges from old school, to new age rock. Daryl Hall and John Oates have been playing to sold-out crowds all summer, and their upcoming show at Jones Beach will surely rank as one of their favorites along the tour. This show, along with Rockstar Energy Mayhem Festival makes Jones Beach rank among the best of summer concert venues this year.
6. City Winery
For a more intimate live music experience, City Winery has music lovers and wine lovers alike raving about the place. The venue aims to combine a “cultural experience” with a “culinary experience”, providing both a well curated menu and commissioned acts to “pair well” with the cuisine. From the same people who brought us the Knitting Factory in Brooklyn, New York’s City Winery was created as the perfect Manhattan-esque space where people could gather and indulge their senses. So, besides the comfy digs, extensive wine menu, and high end grub, City Winery’s acts are indie, and equally top-notch. This summer, you can catch KT Tunstall and Stephen Stills from Crosby, Stills, and Nash. Oh, I almost forgot: free music every Tuesday until August 25th.
Sister venue to the NYC staple Bowery Ballroom, the Music Hall of Williamsburg features a very similar concert calendar, give or take a few names. But we suggest heading into Williamsburg versus the Lower East Side venue, if not just for a change of pace, then for the vibe and high quality acoustics. Music Hall of Williamsburg is known for hosting acts just before they take off into stardom. All too often it turns out that musicians who come through the Music Hall of Williamsburg are playing at Beacon Theater or Radio City just a year or two later. So, we suggest catching your favorite small time acts, such as Mac Demarco and Delta Rae at the Music Hall before their ticket prices soar past your budget.
For a more extensive look at what concerts are happening this summer in NYC, check out our Upcoming Concert Calendar.