Summer Fun

Stroll Around These 4 Lovely Gardens With a Cocktail (Legally) in Your Hand

Your happy hour just got way happier—and much more fragrant.

Photos courtesy of New York Botanical Garden

Wave Hill, the 28-acre oasis along the Hudson River in the Bronx, is the latest blooming public ground to open up its gardens past daytime closing hours for twilight strolls, boozy dinner picnics, and live entertainment. So stop to smell the flowers—and sip the spiked strawberry basil lemonade—at these summertime idylls.

Summer Evenings at Wave Hill

This bucolic Bronx spot offers two opportunities to bask in the florid, humid night-in-the-garden air: Sunset Wednesdays (July 24–August 7) and Twilight in the Garden (Thursday, August 1–22). The former features live outdoor concerts—the lineup is heavy on world and Latin music—on the plush Great Lawn overlooking the Hudson at 7 p.m. The on-site café will be serving Mexican-inspired fare and mixing specialty cocktails each Wednesday…count us in for the watermelon Moscow Mules and the Afro-Dominican band Yasser Tejeda & Palotré on July 24! The Twilight in the Garden program will feature either immersive sound walks through the gardens with experimental musicians or nature explorations, including a moonlight stroll and a bat walk-and-talk. West 249th Street and Independence Avenue, Bronx 

Photo by Joshua Bright/Courtesy of Wave Hill Public Gardens

“Brazilian Modern” After Hours at New York Botanical Garden

NYBG’s new exhibition, “Brazilian Modern,” is a lush, tropical landscape inspired by the iconic Brazilian designer, artist, and naturalist Roberto Burle Marx. During the garden’s After Hours on June 29, July 13 and 27, and August 10, 6–8 p.m., you can sample caipirinhas (Brazil’s national drink) under palm fronds, snack on Brasilia skewers (mozzarella, pineapple, and quince paste), listen to live Brazilian guitar music, and pretend you are in Rio. 2900 Southern Boulevard, Bronx  

Photo courtesy of Caipirinhas/Facebook

Twilight Tuesdays at Brooklyn Botanic Garden

Every Tuesday through August 27, the garden stays open until 8:30 p.m. and features an eclectic mix of performances and experiences, plus seasonal cocktails. On July 2, catch Urban Bush Women perform excerpts from their resistance-focused Walking With ’Trane and Hair and Other Stories in the Rose Garden. On July 16, dancers from Eryc Taylor Dance present site-specific performances; wander through the grounds to spot them all. There’s a trumpet soloist on July 9; live bhangra on July 23; and a Silent Walk, in which you listen to music on provided headphones, on July 30. Yeah, your Tuesdays are booked. Entrances at 455 Flatbush Avenue and 990 Washington Avenue, Brooklyn

Photo by Shannel Resto/Courtesy of Brooklyn Botanic Gardens

Flower Power Parties at Queens Botanical Garden

After an afternoon at the New York Hall of Science, the Queens Zoo, or even the U.S. Open in August, end the day on a zen note at the charming gardens tucked behind them all. Each of the Flower Power Parties, on select Thursday evenings, celebrates a different bloom: On June 27, the flower of the hour is lavender; on July 18, it’s the lovely dahlia; August 8 features the exquisite orchid; and September 12 is all about the mighty lotus. Activities, music, cocktails, and food are themed accordingly. Besides the blossom-focused bashes, the garden stays open two hours later—until 8 p.m.—every Thursday through September 12. Feel free to sniff and admire all the flowers on those nights. 43-50 Main Street, Flushing

Welcome to summer! Here’s what else you should be doing this season.