Credit: @icantbelieveitsnotbrooklyn on Instagram

Experience the colorful world of art beyond the traditional gallery walls. Discover the canvas that is New York State when you immerse yourself in outdoor sculpture parks, public art installations, and scenic performances set against the backdrop of picturesque landscapes. Celebrate creativity under the open sky, from the bustling streets of New York City to the tranquil beauty of parks in the Hudson Valley.

Stroll through Sculptures in Scenery
Art Omi

Credit: @amanda_tiberio on Instagram

Opt outside and immerse yourself in larger-than-life sculpture parks throughout New York State. No matter the season, stunning natural landscapes set the scene as you marvel at one-of-a-kind masterpieces. In the Hudson Valley you’ll find Art Omi, Storm King Art Center, and Opus 40. Art Omi is open year-round for strolling and bicycling across its 120 acres of fields and forest. Wander through 6.5 acres of hand-constructed terraces, ramps, and steps at Opus 40, an environmental bluestone sculpture built from an abandoned quarry, enveloped by 63 acres of meadows. Home to more than 100 contemporary sculptures from acclaimed visionaries of the 20th century, Storm King Art Center comprises 500 acres overlooking rolling hills, mountainscapes, and the Hudson River.

A photo of a three-legged sculpture balancing on a head at the Storm King Art Center
Credit: @rosie_bonamico on Instagram

One of America’s oldest and largest sculpture parks, Griffis Sculpture Park, features 250 structures of steel and other materials nestled in 450 acres of wooded wonderland. Walk along the East River or catch views of the Manhattan skyline when you stroll along Socrates Sculpture Park, once an abandoned landfill, now a five-acre contemporary art exhibition space. On Long Island, Parrish Art Museum fills 14 acres of grassy meadowland with the unique creations of esteemed sculptors. Discover even more sculpture parks across New York State to experience art in nature.

Marvel at Murals
Malcolm X painted on a mural panel for the Freedom Wall in Buffalo

Credit: @chopan585 on Instagram

The world is your canvas! Bold, thought-provoking illustrations that decorate buildings, fences, pillars, electrical boxes, parking garages, and more are proof of that. At the corner of Michigan Avenue and East Ferry Street in Buffalo, The Freedom Wall, features portraits of 28 notable civil rights leaders from America’s past and present.

Capital Walls
Credit: @jeanboileau on Instagram

Walk or cycle around Albany and check out the Capital Walls, a collection of 22 (and counting) captivating public works of art painted across various structures throughout the city. Pose for a picture alongside the 150-foot tribute mural “Welcome to Coney Island” in Brooklyn, highlighting imagery from Coney Island’s past and present. Also, hit the streets of Bushwick for a Brooklyn Street Art Tour, where you’ll explore over 25 multicolored murals decorating warehouses that line the popular neighborhood streets. 200,000 meticulously placed tiles make up large-scale mosaics in North Creek, depicting the native wildlife and landscape of the Adirondacks. Down the road in Glens Falls, you’ll find electrical boxes and Adirondack chairs disguised as colorful murals as you make your way through the Glens Falls Art Trail

Delight in Theatrical Tales
Park Playhouse

Credit: @skadadal on Instagram

Free, family-friendly theater can be enjoyed throughout the state in accessible, scenic outdoor settings. Pick a picture-perfect spot on the grass to enjoy star-quality performances under the stars. Step into a musical time machine and join "The Marvelous Wonderettes" on a nostalgic journey through the 1950’s and 1960’s at Park Playhouse, nestled in Albany’s beautiful Washington Park

Shakespeare in the park
Credit: @roshtoms on Instagram

 “To be, or not to be: that is the question” and the answer is that you need to be at these stellar showcases of Shakespeare. The Public Theater: Mobile Unit’s The Comedy of Errors takes over all five boroughs of New York City this summer with English and Spanish performances at venues including Bryant Park and Prospect Park. “Twelfth Night” lights the night in Congress Park in Saratoga Springs, presented by the Saratoga Shakespeare Company. The stage is set for “The Winter’s Tale” and “The Comedy of Errors” at Shakespeare in Delaware Park in Buffalo. And in Garrison, Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival presents By The Queen, while Catskill Mountain Shakespeare in Mount Tremper acts out Julius Caesar (ticket based).

Attend a Fresh-air Festival
People dance under a giant disco ball on the dance floor at an event for Lincoln Center's Summer for the City

Warm weather brings new life to art festivals in New York. Whether its visual arts, performing arts, or vendor arts, the vistas of the Empire state offer a festivity-filled backdrop for everyone. For a taste of outdoor summer fun, check out these headline events happening throughout New York State. And for even more events, take a peek at the full calendar.

SummerStage (June 1 - October 20, NYC)
LARAC June Arts Festival (June 8-9, Adirondacks)
Summer for the City (June 12 - August 10, NYC)
Porchfest (June 15, Central NY)
Hudson Valley International Festival of the Voice (June 28-30, Catskills)
Art Show on the Green (June 28-30 & August 16-18, Long Island)
Lockport Outdoor Arts & Crafts Festival (June 29-30, Greater Niagara)
Finger Lakes GrassRoots Festival (July 18-21, Finger Lakes)
Glimmerglass Festival (July 22-August 20, Central NY)
Black Arts & Cultural Festival (August 1-3, Capital-Saratoga)
Ithaca Artists Market (August 9, Finger Lakes)
Lewiston Art Festival (August 10-11, Greater Niagara)
Battery Dance Festival (August 11-17, NYC)
60th Annual Craft Festival (September 7-8, Central NY)
Cazenovia Art Trail (September 28-29, Central NY)

Move to Live Music
SPAC Concert - Photo Courtesy of Saratoga County Chamber of Commerce

Let your favorite musicians serenade you under the canopy of lush landscapes and the sights and sounds of summer. New York is chock-full of renowned amphitheaters and outdoor venues that draw in the biggest names in music. This summer Bonnie Raitt and Norah Jones will entertain thousands at ArtPark, while SPAC welcomes back Dave Matthews Band and Earth, Wind, and Fire. At Bethel Woods Center for the Arts you can groove to Hootie & The Blowfish and James Taylor.


Bob Dylan, Willie Nelson, and Santana will be rocking out at the Empower Amphitheater. CMAC is hosting country legends Carrie Underwood and Zac Brown Band, as Darien Lake Performing Arts Center brings back boy band charm with New Kids On The Block and Niall Horan. Cozy up on the lawn of Bearsville Theater and jam out to Guster and The Dirty Dozen Brass Band. Melodic tunes fill downtowns across New York State all summer long with free weekly festivals. Albany’s Alive at Five is back with concerts on Thursday evenings, June 6-August 1. Also in Albany is the Capital Concert Series every Wednesday, July 10-31. In Elmira, you can move and groove on Monday evenings, July 8-August 19. And what better place to enjoy free music than on the beach? Long Beach hosts a concert series Wednesday evenings, July 3-August 28.

Don't forget to post photos of your New York adventures on Instagram and Twitter with #iSpyNY and tag us on Facebook!