Free Outdoor Kids Music Concert Series in NYC This Summer

Madison Square Kids, SummerStage Kids and Family Day, Summer in the Square, and More Outdoor NYC Concerts for Kids

While lots of New York City's fantastic seasonal events are kid appropriate, children hold a special place in their hearts for music. And what's better than not just one but a series of spectacular, outdoor, family-friendly and FREE music performances?

It's likely that your neighborhood parks, playgrounds, piers and plazas right around the corner have a kiddie-filled line-up throughout the summer, so scroll, click, and set reminders with your favorites. With top family bands playing annual series like Mad. Sq. Kids and SummerStage Family Workshops, you're sure to find something everyone can wiggle to from one week to the next. We've already told you about the great concerts playing in June for NYC kids, and now we're rounding up the rest of the summer with concerts in July and August to keep the kids grooving all summer!

For specific family concert picks, check out our roundups of the best performances, or you can find even more family fun in our jam-packed Summer Guide.

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 steps from choreographer Alvin Ailey’s world famous work, Revelations, directly from the 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 allowing yourself to be 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 an 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

Rolie Polie Guacamole's Summer Residency at JJ Byrne Park – Park Slope
This super popular duo 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. Whether seen on HBO’s Treme or at their legendary Tuesday night gig at The Maple Leaf, 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 days with some tunes. Every Wednesday at 10am there will be a family-friendly performance to enjoy. 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! 

Summer In The Square — Union Square
All summer long, every Thursday in Union Square, families are welcome to an array of entertainment. The concert series starting in June is unique and geared toward children of all ages. Performances get the audience on their feet, 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

Hudson RiverKids — Tribeca & Chelsea 
Taking place in 2 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

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 musical world for bicultural kids, July 5 
  • Alastair Moock / rowdy, rootsy, singin’ and dancin’ fun for the whole family, July 12 
  • Joanie Leeds and the Nightlights / rock band 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 happening 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 and live concerts that give children their first "rock show" experience. 

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

Music in the Grove Series: Baby in Tune, Hopalong Andrew, and Soul Science Lab — Fort Greene, Brooklyn
These will be the last three concerts 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.

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

Grammy winner, Mister G, has traveled the world but he’ll be at Hudson RiverKids in August.

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

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.

Top photo: Kids can't resist dancing to bilingual rocker Mister G. Photos courtesy of the bands.

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