Free Concerts in New York City

New York City is place with a thriving music scene. With so many venues, how does one go about determining where to go? If a musical performance was offered for free, surely that would tip the scales a certain way. But free music in New York City you ask? Can it be possible? It most definitely is.


While Central Park is known for a number of things, it’s beautiful greenery, long and winding bike paths, restaurants like Tavern-on-the-Green, it’s not necessarily thought of as a music venue. SummerStage was founded in 1986 with the purpose of enriching New Yorker’s lives (without them having to spend a dime). Many types of performers held stage in its inital season including opera singers and spoken word acts. In fact in 1989 the Spoken Word Series became an official series for the stage. Over the years some highly regarded musicians such as Patti Smith, Curtis Mayfield, and Joni Mitchell have played the stage in addition contemporary bands like Sonic Youth and The Killers.

As anyone who has ever been to Central Park knows, navigating it can be tricky. To find the SummerStage enter at 69th Street and 5th Avenue or 72nd Street and Central Park West and follow the signs to Rumsey Playfield.

Some of the remaining free performers are:
July 30, 3:00 – Lady Sovereign
August 4, 8:00 – Limon Dance Company
August 5, 3:00 – Gustavo Cerati, Calle 13, Mexican Institute of Sound
August 11, 8:00 – Urban Bush Women


The ABC morning show Good Morning America sponsors a free concert series every Friday morning during the summer at Bryant Park. This series always attracts some of the hottest acts in music. Head down to 42 Street and 6th Avenue if you don’t mind waking up early. Concerts begin at 7:00a.m.

Remaining Schedule:
August 4 – Pharrell and Kanye West
August 11 – Carrie Underwood
August 18 – Christina Aguilera
August 25 – Lionel Richie


Just like ABC, NBC has its own morning concert series. The Today concert series is also on Friday mornings, with additional occasional performances on other days. Located at Rockefeller Center, these performances begin at 7:00a.m so be sure to set an alarm clock.

Remaining Schedule:
August 1 – Five For Fighting
August 4 – Cyndi Lauper
August 11 – Chris Brown
August 17 – The Wiggles
August 18 – Brooks & Dunn
August 25 – John Mayer
September 1 – John Mayer
September 15 – Black Eyed Peas
September 29 – Janet Jackson


The South Street Seaport is home to a number of shops and restaraunts, but it also hosts free concerts from time to time as well. The shows at the Seaport generally feature under the radar acts that may break into the mainstream at any moment. If you are looking for something free and fun to do on a Friday night head down to the Seaport for some live music.

Partial Remaining Schedule:
August 4 – Hot Chip, Oppenheimer
August 11 – Josh Ritter
August 18 – The Box Tops featuring Alex Chilton, Tralala
August 25 – Ted Leo * The Pharmacists, DC Snipers, Tokyo Police Club (6pm)
September 1 – The Spinto Band, The Black Hollies, Uncle John, Whitelock (6pm)

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