Central Park

Central Park Events To Enjoy During Spring and Summer 2024

7 min read

Central Park is the heart of New York City’s spring and summer festivities. From Shakespeare in the Park to the New York Philharmonic, Central Park offers dozens of events that cater to women of every age and background. Whether you’re a young professional seeking a cultural escapade, a mother looking for family-friendly activities, or someone in between wanting to enjoy leisurely outdoor films, this guide will help you navigate through the best events Central Park has to offer throughout the spring and summer of 2024. Discover the park’s vibrant community through dance, music, and more—there’s something here for everyone to enjoy.

Shakespeare in the Park (GO PUBLIC!)

For 2024, Shakespeare in the Park will be different due to renovations at the Delacorte Theater, which will not reopen until the summer of 2025. Instead, the Public Theater is introducing “GO PUBLIC!”—a festival featuring free Shakespeare performances and other events across all five boroughs of New York City.

This festival includes a bilingual musical adaptation of “The Comedy of Errors,” which will tour various locations such as Bryant Park and Hudson Yards from May 28 to June 30. Additionally, there will be outdoor screenings of “Much Ado About Nothing” throughout the late June, July, and August period, along with other encore performances available for streaming at home

2024 Dates: May 28 to June 30, 2024

Learn More: https://publictheater.org/programs/shakespeare-in-the-park/

Central Park Conservancy Film Festival

The Central Park Conservancy Film Festival is a popular annual event that presents a series of free outdoor film screenings. This year, the festival will take place from August 22nd to August 27th. The screenings will begin at Marcus Garvey Park in Harlem from August 22nd to 23rd and will then move to Central Park from August 24th to 27th.

Films start at 8 PM each night, with DJ entertainment and food available for purchase starting at 6:30 PM. It’s recommended to bring a picnic blanket and enjoy the films, which are shown near Sheep Meadow in Central Park, and at the Amphitheatre in Marcus Garvey Park on a first-come, first-served basis. Note that glass bottles, chairs, video cameras, and alcoholic beverages are not permitted at the screenings, and the event is subject to weather conditions​.

Enjoy a Tuesday night date night in NY by attending the film festival this summer!

2024 Dates: August 22 to August 27, 2024

Learn More: https://www.centralpark.com/news/central-park-conservancy-film-festival-d2/


SummerStage in Central Park is one of New York City’s most celebrated free summer music festivals, showcasing a diverse range of performances including concerts, dance performances, and film screenings. The 2024 season runs from June through October, featuring both free and benefit concerts, which require a ticket purchase.

The festival kicks off on May 17 with a benefit concert by James Arthur, and it features an array of notable performances throughout the summer at Rumsey Playfield. Highlights include Andra Day on June 1 in association with the Blue Note Jazz Festival, the Metropolitan Opera Summer Recitals on various dates, and T-Pain’s Mansion in Wiscansin Tour on June 23. Other standout performances include Utopia Pride with Above & Beyond and Spencer Brown on June 28, and the Counting Crows on July 11.

While most events at SummerStage are free, benefit concerts will require tickets. These concerts support the City Parks Foundation’s free programming. For detailed scheduling and ticket information, you can visit the City Parks Foundation’s official SummerStage website here.

2024 Dates: May 17 to late October, 2024

Learn More: https://www.centralpark.com/things-to-do/concerts/summerstage-festival/

New York Philharmonic Concerts in the Parks

The New York Philharmonic Concerts in the Parks series is a beloved summertime tradition in New York City, offering free outdoor performances across the five boroughs. For 2024, the concerts are scheduled to take place from June 13 to June 18. These events often conclude with fireworks, adding to the festive atmosphere. The concerts will feature a variety of classical pieces under the direction of Jaap van Zweden, including works like Copland’s “Fanfare for the Common Man” and Beethoven’s Symphony No. 5​​.

For those looking forward to 2025, Gustavo Dudamel will conduct the New York Philharmonic for the first time in these park concerts, which promises to be a special series given his renowned conducting prowess.

Each concert begins at 8:00 PM, except for the indoor concert in Staten Island at the St. George Theatre, which starts at 4:00 PM. Locations include Van Cortlandt Park in the Bronx, the Great Lawn in Central Park, Cunningham Park in Queens, Prospect Park in Brooklyn, and the indoor venue in Staten Island.

2024 Dates: June 13 to June 18, 2024

Learn More: https://www.nyphil.org/

Central Park Challenge

As for the Central Park Challenge, it’s an event organized by the YAI Network that includes a series of activities such as a 5K run, a 3K walk, and children’s races. This event is designed to raise funds and awareness for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. The 2024 Central Park Challenge is set for June 1st.

2024 Dates: June 1, 2024

Learn More: https://give.yai.org/event/2024-yai-central-park-challenge/e527421

Good Morning America Summer Concert Series

The Good Morning America Summer Concert Series is an annual event hosted by ABC’s “Good Morning America” that features live performances from a diverse array of popular music artists. These concerts are typically held on Fridays from late spring to early fall at Rumsey Playfield in Central Park, New York City. The events are well-attended, not just by locals but also by visitors, as they offer a chance to see popular and emerging artists perform live in an iconic setting.

2024 Dates: TBD.

Learn More: https://www.centralpark.com/things-to-do/concerts/gma-summer-concert-series/

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Central Park Horse Show

The Central Park Horse Show is an exciting event that showcases top equestrian talents in the heart of New York City, Central Park. This event marks a significant return of Olympic caliber equestrian activities to New York City since the National Horse Show left Madison Square Garden in 2001, but it hasn’t returned after the pandemic. We can always hope! Check out the organization’s Instagram account for updated details.

2024 Dates: TBD.

Learn More: https://www.instagram.com/cphorseshow/

Harlem Meer Performance Festival

The Harlem Meer Performance Festival is a free, family-friendly series of music events held annually at the Charles A. Dana Discovery Center at the northeastern end of Central Park. The festival showcases multicultural and family-friendly music, dance, and entertainment, emphasizing community and cultural diversity.

For 2024, the Harlem Meer Performance Festival is scheduled to take place every Sunday from July 14th to August 18th, from 2:00 PM to 4:00 PM. This vibrant series is a fantastic way for visitors of all ages to enjoy live performances in a picturesque setting beside the Harlem Meer.

2024 Dates: August 14 to 18, 2024

Learn More: https://www.centralparknyc.org/activities/events/harlem-meer-performance-festival

Central Park Conservancy Walking Tours

Next on our list of things to add to your activities arsenal this year is tours of the park. The Central Park Conservancy offers a variety of walking tours that allow visitors to explore the rich history, diverse ecology, and beautiful landscapes of Central Park. These tours are available daily at 10:00 AM and 2:00 PM, providing an excellent opportunity to learn about the park from knowledgeable guides.

For 2024, you can expect these tours to cover a range of topics, from the park’s iconic landmarks to its lesser-known areas, ensuring there’s something new to discover whether you’re a first-time visitor or a seasoned park-goer. Each tour is thoughtfully designed to give a deep dive into the unique aspects of Central Park.

2024 Dates: Daily from 10 AM to 2 PM

Learn More: https://www.centralparknyc.org/official-central-park-tours

Hallett Nature Sanctuary and Birding Tours

The Hallett Nature Sanctuary and Birding Tours in Central Park offer a unique opportunity to explore one of the park’s less-trafficked areas. This four-acre woodland, located near the southeast corner of the park, was restored and reopened to the public in 2016 after decades of being closed off. The sanctuary provides a peaceful escape with rustic trails and stunning views of the surrounding Pond, making it an ideal spot for bird watching.

Birding tours in Central Park, including those at the Hallett Nature Sanctuary, are a great way to learn about the over 200 bird species that visit the park throughout the year. These tours are guided by experts who provide insights into the behavior and habitats of various bird species, making them educational for both novice and experienced bird watchers. The best times for birding are early mornings and late afternoons when birds are most active.

2024 Dates: Find tours throughout the summer.

Learn More: https://www.centralparknyc.org/locations/hallett-nature-sanctuary

Central Park Dance Skaters Association Events

The Central Park Dance Skaters Association (CPDSA) hosts lively roller-skating events with live DJs during the warmer months from April to October. These events are held most weekends, offering a unique, open-air skating experience in the heart of Central Park. Sessions generally run from 2:45 PM to 6:45 PM at the Skate Circle, located mid-park around 69th Street.

The CPDSA events are family-friendly and welcome skaters of all skill levels. It’s a great opportunity for both experienced skaters and newcomers to enjoy the music and atmosphere of roller dancing outdoors. Note that skating sessions are subject to cancellation during other park events, so it’s a good idea to check their schedule ahead of time.

2024 Dates: Throughout the Summer (next event is 4 May)

Learn More: https://cpdsa.org/events/

The Buried Brook by Kamala Sankaram Art Installation

For free art in the park, look no further than Kamala Sankaram’s new art installation on view until September. “The Buried Brook” is an augmented reality (AR) experience that traces the historical path of Tibbetts Brook within Van Cortlandt Park.

Users download a mobile application that guides them on a self-directed tour through the park and nearby streets via their smartphones or tablets. As participants navigate the area, they encounter digital elements that are superimposed on the real-world scenery through their device’s camera, enhancing their walk with an immersive augmented reality overlay. Tickets are not needed for this arts event, and it’s an ideal experience for kids in the city.

2024 Dates: October 29, 2023 to September 27, 2024

Learn More: https://www.nycgovparks.org/art

Which Events Will You Attend?

Central Park is alive with excitement and culture this spring and summer. Don’t miss out on these unforgettable experiences! Let us know in the comments below which Central Park events you enjoy.