Free Outdoor Kids Music Concerts in NYC This Summer

Madison Square Kids, SummerStage Kids and Family Day, Summer in the Square, and More Outdoor NYC Concerts for Kids
The Pop Ups bring summertime music, dancing, and fun to Hudson RiverKids. Photo courtesy of the event

What's better than a spectacular, outdoor, family-friendly, FREE music performance? A whole series of free outdoor concerts for kids! We've already told you about the great concerts in June for NYC kids, and now we're rounding up all the free concerts in July and August, to keep the kids grooving all summer.

There are free concert series for kids in parks, playgrounds, piers and plazas across the five boroughs, so scroll, click, and set reminders with your favorites. With top family bands playing annual series like Madison Square Kids and SummerStage Family Workshops, you're sure to find something the whole family can shake a tail feather to. 

For even more free family fun, see our jam-packed Summer Guide and our roundup of 100 free things to do with kids in NYC this summer.


Family Day at Summer Stage brings the kids to the front row. Photo by Merissa Blitz for SummerStage
 

July

SummerStage Family Workshops — Citywide
SummerStage has developed a calendar of free pre-show workshops, ranging from beat boxing and hip hop to Latin percussion and DJ'ing. Though the lineup includes events for adults, there is a specific calendar for family-friendly entertainment. 

This schedule this year highlights family-friendly activities, including dance and drum workshops, and a very special opportunity to learn from the Alvin Ailey company’s own dance instructors. Sunday, July 15 is this year’s Family Day in Central Park, with a New Orleans-themed Mardi Gras Celebration featuring the legendary Rebirth Brass Band and other guests.

  • Funky Freestyle with Theresa Lavington Dance Workshop, July 6 
  • Alvin Ailey’s Revelations Celebration Dance Workshop, July 13 
  • The Lady Buckjumpers of New Orleans Dance Workshop, July 15
  • Funky Freestyle with Theresa Lavington Dance Workshop, July 20
  • Alvin Ailey’s Revelations Celebration Dance Workshop, July 27
  • Special Youth Matinee Featuring Kyle Abraham’s A.I.M., July 31

Staten Island Philharmonic Concert and Fireworks — Staten Island
July 4
Celebrate the 4th by being swept away by the remarkable sounds of the Staten Island Philharmonic Orchestra—all while watching a grand fireworks display.

Hot Summer Nights Outdoor Concert Series – Manhattan Beach
Performing at the Kingsborough Outdoor Bandshell, these evening performances are perfect family fun and—with a backup indoor space—are held rain or shine. Kids are welcome to get up and swing!

  • Boogie Woogie Independence Day with Duchess, July 7
  • Swing it Out with Professor Cunningham and His Old School, July 14
  • Louis Louis Louis with Jumaane Smith, July 21
  • Everything Old is New Again with Jason Prover's Sneak Thievery Orchestra, July 28


Head to JJ Byrne Park on Monday nights this summer for some adult-friendly kids music by Rolie Polie Guacamole. Photo courtesy of the band

Rolie Polie Guacamole's Summer Residency at JJ Byrne Park – Park Slope
This super popular band boasts a smart, adult-friendly style that includes catchy original tunes and favorite covers. The band holds an annual summer residency at this beloved playground on the grounds of the Old Stone House with shows almost every Monday through August 20.

SummerStage Family Day: Rebirth Brass Band/ Big Chief Monk Boudreaux — Central Park
July 15
SummerStage keeps the energy going strong by welcoming the Rebirth Brass Band. As seen on HBO’s Treme, the Grammy-winning Rebirth Brass Band is a true New Orleans institution. All ages should get ready to groove the day away.

Music in the Grove Series — Fort Greene, Brooklyn
Bring a blanket and start your day with some tunes, with a family-friendly performance in this Ft. Greene park every Wednesday at 10am. This year they've also added some Sunday concerts to the series.

Wednesday Concerts:

  • Flor Bromley, July 11
  • Mil’s Trills, July 18
  • Astrograss, July 25

Sunday Concerts:

  • Kotchgna Dance Company with special guests Cumbe Dance, July 15
  • Rolie Polie Guacamole, July 29

RELATED: Free Outdoor Movies for NYC Kids This Summer: Hundreds of Them! 


Get your groove on at Summer in the Square. Photo by Liz Ligon for Summer in the Square

Summer In The Square — Union Square
All summer long, every Thursday in Union Square, families are welcome to an array of free shows and entertainment geared toward children of all ages. Performances get the audience on their feet, with bands often interacting with the kids and getting them to sing and dance along.

  • Hop Along Andrew, July 5
  • Hot Peas N’ Butter, July 12
  • Story Pirates, July 19
  • Soul Science Lab, July 26


Kids can't resist dancing to bilingual rocker Mister G. Photo courtesy of the band

Hudson RiverKids — Tribeca & Chelsea 
With shows in two locations, Hudson RiverKids is not just a fun resource for free music but a great experience. The lineup for July includes Ramblin' Dan and the Pop-Ups, who use puppets and catchy tunes to make learning about science and math fun for kids.

Tribeca:

  • Mr. G, July 9
  • Ramblin' Dan, July 23
  • The Pop Ups, July 30

Chelsea:

  • Ramblin' Dan, July 26

RELATED: The Best Annual Family Festivals for NYC Kids


Head to Madison Square Park for a concert with Suzi Shelton. Photo by Meredith Zinner Photography

Madison Square Park Concert for Kids — Flatiron/Chelsea
Mad. Sq. Kids is the perfect weekly interactive sing-along music experience for kids. And the best part is that it’s in the heart of MSP, complete with gated playground, beautiful lawns, and Shake Shack. 

  • Suzi Shelton, July 11
  • Father Goose,  July 18
  • JoJo & the Pinecones, July 25

Summer on the Hudson: Children's Performance Series — Upper West Side
Although the NYC Parks' Summer on the Hudson Series hosts everything from yoga to tango, it's the Children's Performance Series we're looking forward to the most. This is perfect for younger kiddos 7 and under. Get out the sunscreen and hats, leave the stroller in stroller parking, and prepare for some fun times in the sun.

  • Moona Luna: Bilingual world music for multicultural kids, July 5 
  • Alastair Moock: Rowdy, rootsy, singin’ and dancin’ fun for the whole family, July 12 
  • Joanie Leeds and the Nightlights: Rock for kids that can make grown-ups laugh, July 19 
  • Shine and the Moonbeams: R&B and soul music for kids, July 26

NYC Parks Arts, Culture & Fun Series — Citywide
This eclectic series features star gazing from rooftops and parks, swing, salsa, and tango dance workshops, talks and workshops, and so much more. We've got our sights set on the kid-friendly concerts, including the upbeat fiddling of the City Stompers and the steady rhythm of the Taikoza Japanese Drummers.

August

Madison Square Park Concert for Kids — Flatiron/Chelsea
Mad. Sq. Kids wraps up the series with three awesome gigs including the Not-Its, who never fail to rock kids and families with their up-tempo albums. These live concerts give children their first "rock show" experience. 

  • August 1 – Justin Roberts
  • August 8 – Josh and the Jamtones
  • August 15 – The Not-Its!

RELATED: NYC's Best Playgrounds: 14 Parks Worthy of a Subway Schlep


The ever-popular Hopalong Andrew will get kids moving and grooving at Fort Greene Park's Music in the Grove. Photo courtesy of Fort Greene Conservancy

Music in the Grove Series: Baby in Tune, Hopalong Andrew, and Soul Science Lab — Fort Greene, Brooklyn
August will see your last three chances to enjoy a family-friendly performance at Fort Greene Park. So get that picnic packed and bring your little music-lovers to shows by Soul Science Lab on August 1, Hopalong Andrew on August 5, and Baby in Tune on August 8. 

Accordions Around The World — Bryant Park
Aug 15, 22, 29
Not just for polka fans! More than 75 accordionists will gather with other musicians to share music from around the world. Introduce children to instruments they may never have seen like the harmonium, a piano-like pump organ. It's bound to keep them entertained. And what better location than shady and family-friendly Bryant Park?

Hudson RiverKids — Tribeca & Chelsea 
The fun continues at Hudson RiverKids with tot-friendly Suzi Shelton, Latin Grammy winner Mister G, and more!

Tribeca:

  • Suzi Shelton, August 6
  • Joanie Leeds, August 13
  • Mike Messer, August 20
  • Penny Jones' Puppets, Aug 27

Chelsea:

  • The Pop Ups, August 2
  • Suzi Shelton, August 9
  • Joanie Leeds, August 16
  • Mike Messer, August 23
  • Penny Jones' Puppets, August 30


Kids will be jumping and dancing at Mike Messer and the After School Special's concert in Union Square. Photo courtesy of Summer in the Square

Summer In The Square — Union Square
August 9
August in Union Square wraps up with this final performance by Mike Messer and the After School Special as they bring their infectious energy to the stage.

September

Hudson RiverKids — Tribeca & Chelsea 
September 10 & 13
The sun will still be shining on the Hudson River, so don't miss The Bilingual Birdies as they close this concert series at both locations.

A version of this story was published in 2017; it has been updated for 2018.

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