Central Park Summerstage

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Even though there’s a chill in the air, the moon is hanging low, and the trees are bereft of their leaves, it’s never too soon to start thinking about summer nights.

A particularly satisfying way to spend a summer evening in New York City is to attend a performance at Central Park SummerStage. Summerstage is a summer-long music festival that hosts music-related events from May through September. The events are, for the most part, free to the public (some big name events charge in order to raise funds for SummerStage) and they feature a broad variety of musical entertainment.

Central Park SummerStage is located at Rumsey Playfield, a grassy venue situated near the park’s 69th Street entrance. Seating is first-come, first-served and doors open one hour before performances (90 minutes prior on weekends). If you don’t get in, we’ve found that the grassy area just outside the venue is nearly as enjoyable of an experience.

Central Park SummerStage is of one of only a few free outdoor, summer music events – check out our article on free Shakespeare in Central Park for other ideas. The arts venue features a full menu of snacks and food in addition to the entertainment itself. Vendors sell hot dogs, soft drinks, pizza, sandwiches, ice cream, wine and beer, and more at various food stands, giving you the opportunity to dine under the stars – and you’re encouraged to dance as well!

SummerStage does make some restrictions as to what you can bring with you: chairs, alcoholic beverages, coolers, photographic equipment and recording devices are not permitted. For a more complete list of such items and a schedule of events can be found here.

Bringing entertainment to Central Park each summer has been the festival’s mission since its founding in 1986. Central Park SummerStage recently began scheduling events outside of the park and you can now find them in each of the five New York boroughs.  The majority of them, though, still occur at Central Park.

So, whether your taste is jazz, soul, Broadway tunes, opera or folk music, Central Park SummerStage has you covered. We’ll see you there!

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