SummerStage turns 25 this year, and like any true twentysomething it’s going all out to celebrate, as the Central Park summer staple expands to all five boroughs. See free shows from The xx, St. Vincent, Public Enemy and Jay Electronica, while others from Pavement, The Flaming Lips and Hot Chips will cost you.
June 1 through Aug. 29, various locations, 212-360-2756; Free.
Prospect Park proves it’s more than just a pretty space by housing one of the best summer concert series in the city. Slather on some sunscreen and go see Sonic Youth and Talk Normal July 31, The Roots July 11 or Kid Koala June 25, as well as an opening night kick-off concert by Norah Jones June 9.
June 9 through Aug. 8, Prospect Park Bandshell, ener park at 9th St. & Prospect Park West, Brooklyn, 718-855-7882; Free.
Madison Square Music
When you’re not in Madison Square Park filling up on burgers, try catching one of its free concerts. Offer to bring a blanket and let your friend stand in line for snacks before seeing soul singer Ruthie Foster, who opens up the park’s Oval Lawn Series June 16, or the David Bromberg Quartet July 14.
June 16 through Aug. 4, Madison Square Park, enter park at Madison Ave. & E. 26th St., www.madisonsquarepark.org; Free.
River To River Festival
From the must-see rock shows at Pier 17 to the early evening concert series at Rockefeller Park, a July 4 concert in Battery Park and the Bang On A Can Marathon, River to River is an exhaustive behemoth of Downtown summer music. Check the website for a full schedule.
June 22 through Aug. 11, various locations, 212-732-7678, www.rivertorivernyc.com; Free.
See more than the swells break at Pier 54 during Hudson River Park’s annual music series featuring indie rockers like series headliners Phosphorescent & Dawes July 8, The Antlers July 22 and Real Estate Aug. 12.
July 8 through Aug. 12, Hudson River Park, Perry & West Streets, 212-627-2020, www.riverrocksnyc.com; Free.
New York Philharmonic in the Parks
Starting July 13, city parks will be great places for something other than staring at sunbathers; something more classy like a free orchestra concert, including pieces from Tchaikovsky, Gershwin, Bernstein and Mozart, in Central, Cunningham and Prospect parks.
July 13 through 16, various locations, 212-875-5656, www.nyphil.org; Free.
Lincoln Center Out of Doors
It’s not officially summer until Lincoln Center Out of Doors opens, because this annual festival of live music is the touchstone telling us now it’s time to bust out the short shorts, sunglasses and zinc. Make sure to see, on July 31, “The Detroit Breakdown,” featuring The Gories, Dennis Coffey, Melvin Davis, Spyder Turner and more.
July 28 through Aug. 15, various locations, www.lincolncenter.org; Free.
Charlie Parker Jazz Festival
Head to Tompkins Square Park in the East Village and Marcus Garvey Park in Harlem to hear some of jazz’s biggest musicians perform for this two-day celebration of the music Parker held so close to his heart. The Frank Wess Quintet and Cedar Walton Quartet headline.
Aug. 29 & 30, Marcus Garvey Park, enter park at E. 120th St. & Madison Ave. and Tompkins Square Park, enter park at E. 8th St. & Ave. A; 3, Free.