Many people use the holiday weekend as the time to get out of the city, but if you've chosen to stay put, there is plenty to do in the five boroughs. Whether you're looking for entertainment outdoors in the summer sun or among a shadier venue, there are lots of ways to spice up your holiday weekend in the city. Check out our seven picks to stay entertained this weekend in NYC.
1. Marvel At Phil Haas's "Four Seasons" At the Botanical Garden
Take advantage of the summer weather and do something outdoors. Take a trip to the Bronx Botanical Gardens. Phil Haas, the film-director-turned sculptor has projected four, 15-foot-tall busts representing the four seasons. According to the Hollywood Reporter, "Haas’ sculptures look like they could have emerged in some magic way from the grounds of the gardens." The sculptures will be sure to give you pause. “I’ve never seen creatures quite like them,” said Mel Brooks after seeing the exhibition. "Four Seasons" is open this weekend and will remain open throughout the summer. See the exhibition for free with any garden pass.
2. Shop Til' You Drop At the Brooklyn Flea
Manhattan can get a bit stuffy, especially in the heat of summer, so a day retreat to Williamsburg, Brooklyn can provide you with the perfect escape. Hop on the ferry by Wall Street and take a relaxing ride across the River for just $4. The Brooklyn Flea, located in Fort Greene, will keep you entertained. Browse through antique jewelry, clothing accessories and everything in between. There's something for everyone and every budget. When you're tired of shopping, check out Smorgasburg, the food flea market, for a snack.
3. Visit the Statue of Liberty
The Statue of Liberty is reopening after renovations delayed by the striking of Hurricane Sandy, and the re-opening is just in time for July 4. Lady Liberty's crown, which has been closed to the public since 2011, is finally open once again. Since many New Yorkers will be leaving town for the holiday weekend, take advantage of shorter lines. According to Time Out New York, "the iconic statue now has new visitor-friendly touches like more wheelchair accessibility, an updated air-conditioning system and shallower steps." What better way to celebrate Independence Day?
4. Indulge in Some Free Ice Cream
Bye bye screaming for ice cream and hello tweeting for it. Ben and Jerry's Ice Cream is launching a new campaign, "follow the scoop truck." The favorite ice cream brand is trying out its new flavors and asking America for their votes. The campaign began in New York on July 1 and will be dishing out free scoops until August 2. So tweet to @BenJerrysTruck with the hashtag #OMGFreeBenJerrys for the opportunity to try out some free scoops of ice cream.
5. Find Graffiti Heaven At 5Pointz
Enjoy art and sunshine at the same time in Long Island City, Queens and the 5Pointz Aerosol Art Center. 5 points is said to be "the world’s premiere 'graffiti Mecca,' where aerosol artists from around the globe paint colorful pieces on the walls of a 200,000-square-foot factory building. The name symbolizes where the five boroughs of Manhattan combine into one and the space attracts the world's greatest graffiti artists. You can take a guided tour by curator and graffiti artist Meres One and even witness a live graffiti performance.
6. Chase Your Childhood at Coney Island
If you've convinced yourself that amusement parks are just for kids, think again. There's lots to do for people of all ages at the historic Coney Island, and it offers a great day escape from city life. You may have missed the annual July 4 Nathan's hot dog eating competition, but there are plenty of reasons to make the trip. Coney Island offers fireworks and laser shows throughout the holiday weekend. Go to Luna Park and ride the wonder wheel, or check out "Burlesque by the Beach" at night.
7. Check Out the African Arts Festival
This weekend is the 42nd annual International African Arts Festival, being held at Commodore Barry Park in Brooklyn. At the festival you can find concert series, storytelling, dance shows, drum ensembles, rides, and games to entertain the whole family. This year's theme is Ndunga or "Justifier/Justice from the Congo." If the sun is shining, the IAAF is the perfect way to get a taste of NYC culture while enjoying the summer sun.