Treat dad to a beer brunch on Father’s Day, or celebrate early with a massive barbecue catered by 15 of the nation’s best pit masters. Get a dose of art at the Museum Mile Festival, and a dose of wacky at the Mermaid Parade.
AFAR Local is our monthly insider guide to the best of what’s happening in cities around the U.S.
June 4 | Multicultural festival
Drums Along the Hudson
Rain or shine, head to Inwood Hill Park for the 15th annual Drums Along the Hudson. This Native American and multicultural festival will include Native American performances and Manhattan’s only open-air powwow; it also honors the diversity of New York City with Tibetan and West African performances. There will be crafts, storytelling, and international food, as well as a free bicycle valet for those who ride their bike to the event.
11:00 AM - 6:00 PM | Inwood Hill Park, 218th St. and Indian Rd., New York | Free | website
June 8 | Theater
Check out the star-studded, limited engagement Broadway premiere of Marvin’s Room, a family drama staged by the Roundabout Theatre Company that explores the complicated, often absurd, nature of familial relationships. A single mom and her son, estranged sisters and their ailing father, and a soap opera–obsessed aunt are just some of the multifaceted characters the play focuses on. Starring Janine Garofalo, Lili Taylor, and Celia Weston, previews begin June 8 and opening night is June 29. The show will run through the end of August.
American Airlines Theater, 227 W. 42nd St., New York | From $45 | website
June 10 - 11 | Food
Big Apple Barbecue Block Party
Every year at about this time the area around Madison Square Park is transformed from urban green space into a down-home pit master’s paradise. Now in its 15th year, the Big Apple Barbecue Block Party is free for folks to wander and enjoy live performances, samples, demonstrations, and more—but we dare you to resist the world-class barbecue that is being served by 15 of the country’s best chefs. Lines can be super long, so if you have the dough you might consider purchasing the fast pass for $150, which gets you on an express lane to smoked meat goodness and a $100 credit toward food and drink.
11:00 AM - 6:00 PM | Madison Square Park, 11 Madison Ave., New York | Free | website
June 11 | Music
George Clinton and Parliament Funkadelic
Free outdoor concerts are one of the many features that make summer in the city so great. Don’t miss the opportunity to see George Clinton—the grandaddy of funk—and Parliament Funkadelic live along with openers Main Source, Chloe x Halle, and DJ Marley Marl, hosted by Roxanne Shante. It’ll be a night of funk, hip-hop, and R&B that is sure to get you moving and grooving.
5:00 PM | Flushing Meadows-Corona Park, Grand Central Pkwy., Whitestone Exwy. bet. 111 St. & College Point Blvd., Park Dr. E., Queens | Free | website
June 13 | Art
Museum Mile Festival
An annual New York happening since 1978, the Museum Mile Festival invites New Yorkers and visitors to experience the great museums of Upper Manhattan as they open their doors free of charge. Whether you go to just one of the participating museums or try to see as many as possible, it’s a fun evening of art exploration. From El Museo del Barrio on 104th Street to the Metropolitan Museum of Art on 82nd Street, the festival includes seven participating museums as well as a range of entertainment and activities along the way.
6:00 PM - 9:00 PM | Fifth Ave. btw. 82nd and 105th Sts., New York | Free | website
June 17 | Outdoor event
Summer in the city would not be complete without the funky and festive Mermaid Parade at Coney Island, the country’s largest art parade. Whether you wish to show off a creative maritime- or mythology-themed costume or float or simply spectate, the parade—which has been going strong since 1983—is a bastion of New York’s creative soul. This year’s Queen Mermaid and King Neptune—the grand marshals who lead the parade right down to the water to signal the start of swimming season—will be none other than Deborah Harry and Chris Stein of the band Blondie.
1:00 PM | Coney Island, W. 21st St. and Surf Ave., New York | Free | website
June 14 - 18 | Dance
Alvin Ailey Dance Troupe
Don’t miss this short window to catch the famed Alvin Ailey dance troupe perform over four days at the David H. Koch Theater (home of the New York City Ballet). With a mix of world premiere choreographies and Ailey’s trademark Revelations (which will cap each performance), the dance compositions highlight choreographers from three countries who bring a diverse range of styles to the stage.
David H. Koch Theater, 20 Lincoln Center Plaza, New York | From $25 | website
June 18 | Father’s Day
Father’s Day Beer Brunch Cruise
Let’s face it: Dad probably doesn’t need another tie or golf ball paperweight. This year for Father’s Day, honor the father figure in your life with some quality time on a beer brunch cruise on the Hudson. The two-hour cruise comes complete with a brunch buffet, live jazz, and a keepsake beer mug that can be filled with unlimited beer or mimosas. Tourists and locals alike will get a kick out of sailing past such iconic NYC landmarks as the Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island, the Freedom Tower, and the Brooklyn Bridge. Kids under three are free.
12:00 PM | Pier 40, West St. and W. Houston, New York | From $85 | website
June 25 | Pride parade
NYC Pride March
The capstone event of NYC Pride Week, the March—known colloquially as the Gay Pride Parade—is one of the biggest, most anticipated happenings of the year in the city. Whether you are LGBTQ or an ally, there is no denying this is one fun event. The biggest pride celebration in the world, people come from all over to march and watch—no matter where you are, it’s sure to be a party. The march begins on 36th Street and heads all the way down Fifth Avenue, culminating on Christopher Street in Greenwich Village.
12:00 PM | Begins at 36th St. and Fifth Ave., New York | Free | website
July 4 | Book ahead: Independence Day
Fireworks at Brooklyn Grange Farm
Get the best view of the Fourth of July fireworks while enjoying farm-to-table food, live music, and drinks at one of the pioneering farms of the urban farm movement. A ticket gets you access to four food stations preparing cuisine from around the globe, live music, beer and wine all night, a dance party, and—of course—a front row seat to the fireworks, which will be right overhead. Should this one sell out or you want something more low-key, Grange Farm is also hosting an event at its Long Island City rooftop, with less dramatic views of the fireworks but equally exciting food and drink.
7:00 PM - 11:00 PM | Brooklyn Grange at the Brooklyn Navy Yard, Clinton Ave. & Flushing Ave., New York | From $130 | website
A native New Yorker, Katherine is a freelance food and travel writer who has eaten her way across the globe and is always on the lookout for her next great meal. She is an avid reader, insatiable traveler, sometimes photographer, and mom to an inquisitive toddler.