Home Travel 35 Summer Events You Don’t Want to Miss in New York State

35 Summer Events You Don’t Want to Miss in New York State

by Ohio Digital News

Credit: @clickforthekingdom on Instagram

Festivals, parades, and air shows, oh my! There’s so much to do in New York State this summer. Try delicious new foods, jam out to live music in beautiful outdoor amphitheaters, take a spin on midway rides, celebrate rich culture and community, watch hot air balloons take flight, and more, all season long. Mark your calendars. Here are some Empire State events you don’t want to miss! 

Originally published 05/02/2023

The red, white, and blue underbellies of the US Air Force Thunderbirds flying overhead at the Bethpage Air Show at Jones BeachCredit: @joegallart on Instagram

Make your way over to Jones Beach this Memorial Day Weekend for a show that’ll knock your socks off! 2024 marks the Airshow’s 20th Anniversary with a thrilling lineup that includes air performances from the United States Navy Blue Angels, United States Army Golden Knights, the 106th Air National Guard Rescue Wing, and more. Wantagh; May 25 – May 26 from 10am – 3pm. Admission is free. Parking costs $10.

Outdoor amphitheater lit up at nightCredit: @icantbelieveitsnotbrooklyn on Instagram

Enjoy gorgeous outdoor views while you watch an entertaining and enchanting lineup of performances. Watch Shakespeare’s War of the Roses through the lens of Queen Margaret in “By The Queen” (June-August), the world premiere of the Agatha Christie classic “The Murder of Roger Ackroyd,” (June-September), or the ice-cold, high-octane adaptation of Euripides’ play written in battle rap verse, “Medea: Re-Versed” (June-September). Garrison; June 11 – September 2. Prices vary by show and seat.

Americade Motorcycle Touring Rally

Start your engines and cruise through the scenic Adirondacks at the world’s largest multi-brand motorcycle touring rally! Admire the latest bikes and demos at trade shows, watch daring stunt shows, enjoy a delicious catered dinner boat cruise, and more right in Lake George. Lake George; May 29 – June 1. Day passes can be purchased at the event.

A crowd of people waving rainbow flags and holding a large rainbow banner at Pride Day in New York City

Join millions in celebrating LGBTQ+ Pride Month at events throughout New York State! NYC holds a plethora of Pride events including the annual Pride March on June 30 which commemorates the first gay rights march that honored the first anniversary of the 1969 Stonewall Uprising. Long Island’s Pride events on June 9 includes a day-long celebration with dancing, tons of vendors, exciting live performances, and food and drinks. Capital Pride returns June 9 with an exciting parade and festival in Washington Park! Click here for more Pride events throughout New York State.

Bethel WoodsCredit: @bethelwoodscenter on Instagram

It’s not summer without a concert at the site of the 1969 Woodstock Music and Arts Festival. Bethel Woods’ amphitheater is one of the best venues for live music in the Catskills! This summer’s concert series features chart-topping artists like Pat Benatar & Neil Giraldo, Hozier, Luke Bryan, Lynyrd Skynyrd & ZZ Top, and more! The amphitheater also hosts festivals including Hello Inclusion: A Festival of Possibilities (July 12)and Outlaw Music Festival (July 6). Bethel; now through – September 13. Prices vary by event.

A person holds up a sandwich made of grilled chicken on warm pita bread with lettuce, tomato and cucumbers.Credit: @syracusehalalgyro on Instagram

Kick off the summer in Syracuse’s Clinton Square for one of the Finger Lakes’ biggest food and music festivals! Watch over 25 bands including headliners ZBTB (Zac Brown Tribute Band) and Hanson play live on three stages and taste the delicious cuisine of Syracuse from over 75 vendors including the original Dinosaur Bar-B-Que. Did we mention it’s free? Syracuse; June 7 and 8 from 11AM – 10PM. Free admission. Samples are $2.

Boats line docks along the historic Erie Canal during the Fairport Canal Days event.Credit: @sprungphotography on Instagram

Set sail and celebrate 47 fun-filled years of Fairport Canal Days at one of the most popular arts festivals in New York State! With free admission, over 200 artisans, tons of fine food vendors, live music, and a Kids Zone for the little ones, there’s something for everyone! Fairport; May 31- June 2.

A crowd watches an artist perform at Summerstage NYCCredit: @summerstage on Instagram

A summer in NYC isn’t complete without an iconic SummerStage live performance! The festival lasts around four months and features a diverse lineup of free and ticketed performances throughout all five boroughs ranging from music to dance to theater. This year’s headliners include The Metropolitan Opera Summer Recital (June 18), a Juneteenth Celebration with Masego/Jordan Ward (June 19), Ethel Cain (June 27), Counting Crows (July 11), and more. Manhattan; June 13 – October 20. Prices vary by show.

Playbill being held up in front of the brightly lit outdoor stageCredit: @ladylamlam on Instagram

Complete your summer in New York City with a dramatic Shakespearean production! Usually held in Central Park’s Delacorte Theater, this year’s performances will be held at destinations throughout the five boroughs including Bryant Park, Wolfe’s Pond, Hudson Yards, Prospect Park, and more, plus you can stream current and past productions from home. Throughout its 45+ year history, Shakespeare in the Park has seen over five million visitors from around the world and performances from James Earl Jones, Meryl Streep, and Al Pacino! This summer’s performance is a bilingual adaptation of “The Comedy of Errors” directed by Rebecca Martínez.Manhattan, Queens, Brooklyn, Staten Island, and The Bronx; June 1 – June 29. Tickets are free but must be reserved online.

Tribeca Film Festival - Photo by Ruby TullPhoto by Ruby Tull

Watch groundbreaking storytelling and star-studded premieres unfold right before your eyes at one of the world’s most popular film festivals right in NYC! This year’s lineup features 103 feature films from 114 filmmakers across 48 countries, including “Diane von Furstenberg: Woman In Charge,” “Daddio” starring Dakota Johnson and Sean Penn, among others! Manhattan; June 5 – 16. Prices for passes vary by event.

International Boxing Hall of Fame

Celebrate boxing legends, honor the sport’s rich history, and enjoy a lineup of exciting events in boxing’s hometown at the International Boxing Hall of Fame Induction Weekend! The four-day celebration kicks off Thursday, June 6 at the museum grounds with the opening bell rings and features a 5K Fun Run, Boxing Autograph Card Show, and a Parade of Champions, ending the weekend with the Induction Ceremony. This year’s 2024 inductees include Ana Maria Torres, Ivan Calderon, Diego Corrales, Jane Couch, and more! Canastota; June 6 – 9. Ticket prices vary by event.

A diverse lineup of big-name and up-and-coming artists awaits at this summer staple of the Capital Region! With each week of the eight-week series embracing a different genre from folk rock to hip hop, there’s something for everyone to enjoy. Albany; concerts are Thursdays from June 6 – August 1 (excluding July 4) from 4:30pm – 8pm. Admission is free.

Food and Wine Festival - Photo Courtesy of Food and Wine FestivalPhoto Courtesy of Food and Wine Festival

Celebrate good food and beverage from vendors all over New York State, from the white sand shores of Long Island to the roaring waters of the Thousand Islands at the Great NY State Food & Wine Festival! Don’t miss out on this year’s delicious vendor lineup including Adirondack Winery, Saint Lawrence Spirits, Hazlitt 1852 Vineyards, Thousand Islands Winery, Nav’s Popcorn, and more. Clayton; June 7-9. Admission is $20 for adults (21+), $5 for children 13-20, and free for children under 12.

Man playing a light green guitar in a blue shirt and grey hat on stage at the NYS Blues FestivalCredit: @momma_phranque and @nysbluesfest on Instagram

Honor the history and roots of the blues genre at one of the largest free blues events in the Northeast! Catch talented headliners like Little Feat, The Record Company, and Shemekia Copeland, along with local and regional talent. Syracuse; June 13-15. Admission is free. Parking is $10 per car, $5 per motorcycle. 

A singer with a guitar faces the crowd at the SPAC outdoor theaterCredit: @claudesawyerphotography on Instagram

The summer isn’t complete without witnessing a live performance at SPAC (Saratoga Performing Arts Center). With this year’s lineup ranging from big-name performers like The Beach Boys, Styx & Foreigner, Pitbull, Tyler Childers, and Dave Matthews Band to the renowned New York City Ballet, Freihofer’s Saratoga Jazz Festival, and Philadelphia Orchestra, there’s something for everyone! Enjoy the music from the open area lawn or 5,000 covered seats. Saratoga; now through September 15. Ticket prices vary by event.

A woman doing yoga looking out at the Catskill MountainsCredit: @danielleetallman on Instagram

Head to Plattekill Mountain in Roxbury for a day filled with yoga and meditation for the whole family! More than 40 classes and workshops are scheduled throughout the festival with everything from aerial yoga to kids yoga to restorative yoga, each taught by instructors from all over the country. Plus, there will also be a food and vendor market. Roxbury, July 27, rain date July 28. General admission: $25, basic pass: $130, VIP pass: $155. 

Celebrate 53 years of art at the LARAC June Arts Festival! Stroll through one of the largest arts and crafts fairs in the state with more than 130 exhibitors and a variety of items from handmade jewelry and home items to fine art and textiles. With children’s activities and art demos for the kids, there’s fun for the whole family! Glens Falls; June 8, 10am-5pm, and June 9, 10am-4pm. Admission is free and open to the public.

Two women at the Juneteenth Festival

Don’t miss one of the largest Juneteenth celebrations in the country at Buffalo’s Juneteenth Festival! The 49th annual event honoring the abolition of slavery and preserving African-American heritage takes place at Martin Luther King Jr. Park and includes a parade, live entertainment, children’s activities, delicious food vendors, and more. Buffalo; June 15-16. Admission is free.

Head to the CGI Rochester International Jazz Festival for one of the coolest experiences in American Jazz! At this nine-day celebration featuring over 1,700 artists, you’ll hear music from all over the world at one of the 20 venues throughout downtown. Catch ticketed headliners like John Oates, Laufey, Taj Mahal, Lee Ritenour Band, and Samara Joy, or free headliner shows featuring Chistone “Kingfish” Ingram, Sheila E. and the E-Train, and more! Rochester; June 21-29. Prices vary by event. 

The Chautauqua Institution on surrounded by green grass and blue skiesCredit: @hasanelahi on Instagram

From chamber music to interfaith programs to kayak eco-tours, there’s always something new to experience at the Chautauqua Institution! Stop by for their wonderful annual summer ensemble; this year marks their 150th Anniversary, featuring nine themed weeks including performances from the Chautauqua Symphony Orchestra, the Houston Ballet, Alexander Gavrylyuk, and more. Chautauqua; June 22 – August 25. Ticket prices vary by event.

Audience watching a live production outside at the Park PlayhouseCredit: @skadadal on Instagram

Fill your summer with thrilling drama and exciting outdoor musicals and plays (for free!) at Park Playhouse! This year’s intriguing arrangement includes “The Marvelous Wonderettes” (June 18-July 14), Legally Blonde (July 17-August 11), and “Finding Nemo” (August 21-25). Albany; June 18 – August 25. Admission is free.

Fireworks in front of LEGOLAND NYC themed land at LEGOLANDPhoto Courtesy of LEGOLAND

Celebrate July 4th weekend at LEGOLAND® New York Resort’s Red, White & BOOM! event! Use 3D glasses to watch as colorful fireworks burst into LEGO bricks right before your eyes and be sure to check out other Bricktastic events all included with regular day admission. Goshen; July 4. One-day theme park admission is $54/person online and $94/person at the front gate.

Green, red, and gold fireworks bursting in the night skyCredit: @draft_n_snap on Instagram

Stroll through Downtown Riverhead while you enjoy live music, car shows, local craft beverages, outdoor dining, and more at Alive on 25 Street Festival! The festival takes place on two separate nights throughout the summer, kicking off July 5 with fireworks and followed by a laser light show on August 9. Riverhead; July 5 and August 9. Alive on 25 is from 5pm-9:30pm each day. Admission is free.

Knights on horses face each other as they prepare to showdownCredit: @sterlingfestival on Instagram

Merriment awaits at the 48th Annual Sterling Renaissance Festival! Prepare to be enchanted as you stroll through the Royal Marketplace, witness the Queen and her entourage touring the streets, experience plentiful culinary creations, and play authentic Elizabethan games. Sterling; Saturdays and Sundays from 10am – 7pm, July 6-August 18 rain or shine. Single-day general admission tickets start at $41.77 for adults and $26.27 for children 4 – 11.

A vibrant fireworks display at Macy's 4th of July Fireworks in New York CityCredit: @clickforthekingdom on Instagram

Experience one of the largest and most magical Fourth of July celebrations in the country at the Macy’s 48th Annual 4th of July Fireworks! Prepare to be amazed as beautiful bursts of color synchronize with the accompanying pop and patriotic music. Manhattan; July 4 at 8pm. See website for more information.

Glimmerglass Festival

Encounter some of the world’s greatest opera and musical theater this summer at the internationally acclaimed Glimmerglass Festival! Take in the view of Otsego Lake while you watch performances like “The Pirates of Penzance” (July 22 – August 19), “La Calisto” (July 23 – August 17), “Pagliacci” (July 27 – August 18), “Elizabeth Cree” (July 28 – 20), and more. Cooperstown; July 22 – August 20. Ticket prices vary by performance.

Taste of Buffalo

Attention foodies: mark your calendars for one of the country’s largest two-day food festivals happening this summer! Get a taste of some of Buffalo’s best restaurants, food trucks, wineries, and more. While you enjoy tasty Buffalonian bites, enjoy live entertainment throughout the festival and cooking demonstrations from the Culinary Stage. Buffalo; July 13, 11am-9pm – July 14, 11am-7pm. Admission is free. Food and beverages can be purchased with tickets. $6 for 10 tickets.

Fireworks light up the night sky at Oswego Harborfest

This once small local event is now one of the largest free festivals in the region, seeing around 75,000 visitors annually! With four fun-filled days complete with live entertainment, a wide variety of vendors, midway rides, a children’s parade, and fireworks, there’s something for the whole family. Oswego; July 25 – 28. Admission is free.

Images of Lucille Ball on two screens on the exterior of the National Comedy Center in JamestownCredit: National Comedy Center

Get ready to laugh at The National Comedy Center’s annual Lucille Ball Comedy Festival! Join visitors from across the nation at more than 50 events featuring 30 artists in Jamestown. This year’s headliners include the “roastmaster” Jeff Ross,“Nailed It!” host, Nicole Byer, and a third host, to be announced, one of the highest grossing stand-up comedians in 2024. These comedy legends join the festival’s history of renowned headliners like Trevor Noah, Jay Leno, John Mulaney, and Ellen DeGeneres, just to name a few. Jamestown; August 1-4. Ticket prices vary by event and go on sale to the public June 6 at noon.

Multicolored hot air balloons flying above head at Spiedie Fest in Binghamton on a partly cloudy summer dayCredit: @eggypan on Instagram

Join over 100,000 travelers from across the country as you watch 25 colorful hot air balloons take to the skies at the 40th Annual Spiedie Fest & Balloon Rally Expo! Rock out at three nights of live performances from Niko Moon, Chris Young, and Mitchell Tenpenny, and be sure to stop by the car and truck shows. Binghamton; August 2-4. One-day admission to the festival is $20. Tickets go on sale May 29. Prices for concerts and events vary. 

Neon lights from various midway rides glow at night at the Great New York State FairCredit: @dennis.inbliss on Instagram

Discover what makes New York State so great at the 13-day celebration of the Great New York State Fair! Join thousands of fairgoers and experience delicious food, exhilarating exhibits, adorable animals, midway rides, and big-name entertainment like Chubby Checker, Blue Oyster Cult, Joan Jett and the Blackhearts, and more! Syracuse; August 21 – September 2, 9am-11pm. Admission is $8 per person and free for 12 and under and 65+. Parking costs $12 per vehicle.

Travel back to the days of eight tracks and cassette tapes at Alexandria Bay’s free outdoor live entertainment weekend, Rockin’ the Bay! Enjoy a weekend filled with classic rock, classic cars, and more. Alexandria Bay; August 21 – 25. Entry is free. 

US Open - USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center

Experience the only Grand Slam tournament that takes place in America and the final major of the tennis calendar at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Queens this summer! Watch two weeks of the world’s best tennis player’s battle for titles like defending US Open singles champions Coco Gauff and Novak Djokovic. Queens; August 26 – September 8. Individual tickets go on sale to the public June 3. Prices vary by event.

A horse and jockey trots in front of the tent and Hampton Classic signCredit: @hamptonclassic on Instagram

End summer with one of the largest outdoor horse shows in the United States at the Hampton Classic! Watch 200+ separate competitions, including the coveted Hampton Classic Grand Prix, complete with top equestrians, national champion hunter competitors, and Olympic medalists. Spectators can also enjoy 80 onsite shops, international food options, kids activities, and Animal Adoption Day on Monday, August 26. Bridgehampton; August 25 – September 1. Daily admission is $20 per car, cash only. Grand Prix tickets go on sale August 1.

National Buffalo Wing FestivalCredit: Visit Buffalo Niagara

Attention wing lovers! Be sure to hit up the official Home of the Buffalo Wing this summer for the National Buffalo Wing Festival! Join over 50,000+ visitors as you sample over 100 styles of chicken wings from local, national, and international eateries. While you snack, check out other activities like the hot wing eating competition, celebrity-influencer “sauce-off,” bobbing for wings, and the United States Buffalo Wing Eating Championship. Buffalo; August 31, 12pm-9pm and September 1, 12pm-7pm. Admission is $20 per person per day (cash only) at the gate. Children under eight are free. Food tickets are an additional $13.80 per ten tickets.

Don’t forget to post photos of your New York adventures on TikTokInstagram and Twitter with #iSpyNY and tag us on Facebook!

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