Updated: July 30, 2021
Excited about meeting up with friends or family and looking for Covid-safe things to do in New York? Whether you can’t wait to cozy up to the bar at a trendy lounge or to see your favorite sports teams and bands play live, New York State’s Excelsior Pass—a quick, simple, and secure way to display your vaccination or COVID-19 test results—can be your golden ticket. Get back to the things you love worry-free at the participating venues below. While using the Excelsior Pass is optional, having the pass on your phone eliminates the need for those vaccinated at a location in New York State to carry around a CDC card or lab printout. Get your free pass today and start planning your perfect night out!
Call ahead and check websites and social media to make sure venues are open and to confirm the latest policies the business has in place. Some venues require that all event attendees be fully vaccinated and do not accept test results as an alternative. Advanced tickets or reservations may be required.
Take in That Long-Awaited Concert
Credit @maryrosenyc on Instagram
If you can’t wait to sing along with your favorite musical acts when they take to stages across the state, you’ll find some of the hottest tickets at NYC’s Madison Square Garden with a lineup that includes The Eagles (August 22 & 24), Dan + Shay (September 16), Enrique Iglesias and Ricky Martin (October 17), and Billy Joel (November 5 & on). You can also catch Michael Buble at the Nassau Coliseum (August 27) or Marc Anthony at Barclays Center (September 19). Enjoy great music (and great wine!) at City Winery locations in Manhattan and the Hudson Valley or, for a more indie scene, check out Elsewhere in Brooklyn. The storied Palace Theatre in Albany hosts an exciting lineup going into fall, starting with Michael Franti & Spearhead (August 21) and featuring Brian Wilson of the Beach Boys (October 12) and Joan Jett & the Blackhearts (November 20).
Enjoy a Night at the Theater
In New York City, Free Shakespeare in the Park (pictured) lights up Central Park with an energetic, hilarious rendition of Merry Wives (through September 20), and the Park Avenue Armory is putting on an adaptation of Ibsen’s Enemy of the People (June 30-August 8). This interactive experience invites audience members to vote at critical moments of the show and the results will determine how the story unfolds. The Broadway League announced that vaccination and masks will be required for all Broadway shows through the end of October. Most theaters are accepting the New York State Excelsior Pass as proof. The Metropolitan Opera at Lincoln Center launches its new season, featuring classics like Porgy and Bess and La Bohème on September 27 with a vaccine requirement for every seat in the house.
Fill up on Brews and Beats at the BriteVibes Festival at Brewery Ommegang
Credit @kristinesheriff on Instragram
If you love beer and music, head to Cooperstown, NY for the not-to-be-missed one-day BriteVibes festival (September 4) at the award-winning Brewery Ommegang. Festival-goers can sample beer from 30+ New York State breweries, shop artisan wares, nosh on delicious bites from popular food trucks, all while enjoying the musical stylings of acts like Delta Spirit, Los Blancos, and Big Kitty. Spend the night under the stars with a reservation for on-site camping being offered just for the festival!
Get in the Game at New York’s Great Stadiums
Cheer on the ladies of the New York Liberty WNBA team at Barclays Center in Brooklyn (July 3-September 17) from a vaxxed-only section. All non-vaccinated fans are required to present recent negative COVID-19 test results for admission.
Celebrate the Best in Independent Film
Courtesy of MoMa
Ditch the couch for a night out at the movies! The MoMA is reintroducing its series of thought-provoking independent films, including a tribute to the 20th anniversary of Magnolia Pictures (September 21-October 1), with screenings of acclaimed films such as John Lewis: Good Trouble, Melancholia, and Shoplifters.
Laugh Your Big Apple Off
Courtesy of @bkbybike on Instagram
Out of streaming comedy specials to watch? Visit the Comedy Cellar, Union Hall, or The Bell House to see the best comedians in the funny biz perform standup live. NYC’s iconic Radio City Music Hall plays host to the always hilarious Gabriel Iglesias (August 19) and Jim Gaffigan (September 22). Or stop by Caveat to discover up-and-coming talent and diverse shows that shine the spotlight on performers from underrepresented communities. A short Amtrak ride away, The Capital Repertory Theatre (aka theREP) in Albany hosts Hasan Minhaj (August 5-8).
Discover a New Favorite Restaurant or Lounge
Credit @enjoytroy on Instragram
Located under the Williamsburg Bridge in Brooklyn, Diner offers a unique spin on the NYC institution of the same name. Step inside the dining room and you’ll find yourself in a historic railcar. The menu features inspired takes on comforting favorites, like the country breakfast or popular fried chicken sandwich, and seasonal specials made with sustainably farmed ingredients from upstate New York and the surrounding region. In Troy, The Berlin adds a modern touch to classic Prohibition-style cocktails with takes like a lemongrass martini and maple-bacon Manhattan served in an elegant speakeasy-style lounge. Starting September 7, all Union Square Hospitality Group restaurants, including venerable classics like Gramercy Tavern and Union Square Cafe, will require all guests to provide proof of vaccination.
Dance the Night Away at an LGBTQ-Friendly Club or Bar
With one of the largest LGBTQ communities in the world and the important history of being at the forefront of the Equal Rights movement, NYC is home to a vibrant LGBTQ club and bar scene that provides a welcoming safe space to all. For those looking for a vax-only scene, you’ll find vibes that span the rainbow. Want to show off your moves or take in a cabaret-style show while rubbing shoulders with celebs? Come to actor Alan Cumming’s Club Cumming. Looking for a dive atmosphere with RuPaul’s Drag Race viewing parties and the self-professed “cheapest drinks you will find?” Then Rockbar will be your jam. Or would you rather shoot some pool and cheer on your favorite teams at an inclusive sports bar? Boxers NYC has you covered.