What's hot in NYC & Brooklyn?! And the best places to cool off ... with a cocktail al fresco!

New York City in the summer is a magical place. Markets, festivals, outdoor dining, parks, the waterfront, the energy! We could go on. Here are our picks for what’s hot:

Smorgasburg (Brooklyn) — “The Woodstock of eating” according to the New York Times. Smorgasburg is the largest weekly open-air food market in America with amazing eats from over 100 local vendors. Saturdays on the Williamsburg waterfront and Sundays in beautiful Prospect Park. Check out our recent article for 5 foods to try this year.

New York Botanical Garden (Bronx) — This summer’s special exhibit is CHIHULY (Saturday, April 22, 2017 – Sunday, October 29, 2017). Artworks by world-renowned artist Dale Chihuly are now on view. Breathtaking works of art that dazzle with color, light, and form—by day and night. On CHIHULY Nights, the exhibition is infused with a magical energy as the artworks are spectacularly illuminated. In the Visitor Center plaza, a rotating lineup of performing artists and musicians provides entertainment while you relax and enjoy shopping, food, and Avión Tequila cocktails available for purchase. Visit the website for schedule and tickets

Brooklyn Promenade — One-third of a mile long, it offers a vista of the Statue of Liberty, the Manhattan skyline and the majestic Brooklyn Bridge. Lined with flower beds, trees, benches and playgrounds, the promenade is a favorite destination for tourists, joggers, strollers, families and lovers. With plenty to eat (Luke’s Lobster, No. 7 Sub, Brooklyn Ice Cream Factory) and DUMBO just a few steps away, we can’t recommend this area enough. Walk over the Brooklyn Bridge and stay for sunset. We give you the scoop in our recent blog post

NEW! Take the ferry to Rockaways! SO much to do. We love the beach at Fort Tilden, Rockaway Taco, and Playland Motel for accommodations, drinks, games and food. Visit NYCGo for a comprehensive list of what to see and do.

Whitney Biennial (Manhattan) — The 2017 Biennial—the Whitney Museum’s signature event—takes place for the first time at the museum’s new Meatpacking District location. The invitational show presents the most influential contemporary art created in the United States over the preceding two years. The central themes of this year’s Biennial are the “formation of self and the individual’s place in a turbulent society.” The Whitney’s own Christopher Y. Lew and Mia Locks, the former assistant curator at MoMA PS1, selected the 63 participating artists. 

Be sure to cool off with a cocktail in Brooklyn. Here's our top 5 for this summer:

The Lot Radio (Williamsburg/Greenpoint) — 17 Nassau Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11222 b/t Banker St & Berry St. Great little outdoor cafe to hang with friends in warm weather. The Lot Radio Kiosk sells coffee and tea drinks and offers casual, rummage sale type furniture as seating. The cafe's curious name, The Lot Radio Kiosk, stems from the fact that the cafe is a front for a radio station! Adjacent to the tiny cafe is the DJ booth. There are speakers pumping fun jams into the backyard lounge area where people are hanging and drinking coffee.

Sunday in Brooklyn (Williamsburg) - From Thrillist: It just may be possible to spend an entire Sunday in Brooklyn at this three-story Williamsburg culinary complex housed in the former Isa space. From veterans of Eleven Madison Park, Catch, and Sadelle's, Sunday in Brooklyn combines a market, bar, coffeehouse, and sit-down restaurant into one all-day spot. Chef Jaime Young (Atera) helms the kitchen of the second-floor dining room, where the modern American menu follows a no-waste principle and focuses on smoked fish, fermented vegetables, and freshly baked bread. In the first-floor marketplace, you'll find many of the unconventional ingredients from the chef's pantry for sale.

Westlight at the William Vale Hotel Roof (Wythe Hotel is a close second) (Williamsburg) — can’t beat the views, crowd, music and of course, cocktails. There can be a line to go early or go with a group and call ahead for reservations.

The Brooklyn Barge (Greenpoint) — Uh, drinks on a barge in the East River and feeling like you can touch the Manhattan skyline. DUH! The Brooklyn Barge is a vibrant waterfront community with a restaurant and bar on a floating barge.

Lavender Lake 383 Carroll Street (Gowanus) — Lavender Lake has food, drinks and a huge back patio!

Brooklyn Crab 24 Reed St. (Red Hook) — Seafood, cornhole, table shuffleboard, and nine holes of mini-golf. Can be a wait to be prepared to drink and play games. Roof deck, street-level front bar, or backyard beer garden. The backyard also has a beer tent and Adirondack chairs in which to enjoy your beer on a summer day. On Mondays and Tuesdays, enjoy $1 oysters and $3 drafts of Narragansett.

If you want a super exhaustive list, check out Brokelyn’s run down.