Enjoy a wide variety of live performances that enliven the city every summer. Most popular is the annual New York City Ballet residency in July at the Saratoga Performing Arts Center, a semi-outdoor venue with an expansive lawn where you can have picnics during shows. Beyond dance, the venue is also hosting Opera Saratoga, the Philadelphia Orchestra, and big-name acts like the Dave Matthews Band and Phish this summer. Aside from SPAC, you can see famed Broadway performer Ben Vereen and Cuban jazz outfit Tiempo Libre as part of this year’s Saratoga Arts Fest (June 6–9), for which a $40 pass includes entry to most festival events as well as museums including the National Museum of Dance. Finally, there’s the Saratoga Shakespeare Company, which will perform The Merry Wives of Windsor July 16–28 for free in Congress Park.
Take advantage of the evening readings featuring authors like Claire Messud, Rick Moody, and Michael Ondaatje as part of the New York State Summer Writers Institute, hosted by Skidmore, July 1–26. All readings are free and open to the public, but they only take place during the week, which still gives you the opportunity to catch Joyce Carol Oates (Friday, July 12) and Phillip Lopate (Monday, July 8) during a long weekend trip.
Skip the underwhelming galleries on Broadway and Beekman Street and stick to the area’s two major art museums. For contemporary exhibitions, head to the Tang Teaching Museum ($5 admission) on the campus of Skidmore College. The angular building, designed by renowned architect Antoine Predock, houses four galleries that have recently featured the work of Yoko Ono and Nancy Grossman; the summer lineup includes a collection of work from female photographers who have resided at Yaddo, and TRANSFORMer, a collaborative sculpture that changes over time as viewers participate in its construction (both shows open June 8). With a 3,300-piece permanent collection including works by Seurat, Degas, Botticelli, El Greco, and others, The Hyde Collection ($8 admission) in nearby Glens Falls appeals to more traditional tastes; its summer exhibition features the work of Georgia O’Keeffe.