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11 Family-Friendly Summer Arts Events in Westchester

Westchester is buzzing with exciting summer events that will get you outdoors and onto your next family adventure! We’ve rounded up 11 fun-packed summer events, Shakespeare in the Park performances, outdoor concerts and celebrations happening throughout Westchester, many of which are free. Be sure to check out our “Music in the Air” destination guide for more free and affordable (under $20) summer arts events in Westchester and sign up for our newsletters and consult our Event Calendar to stay informed of more great family events!

A NIGHT AT THE MOVIES 📽

1. “Movie Mondays” at Ridge Hill Shopping Center

Through August 6, Ridge Hill Shopping Center’s “Movie Mondays” invites families to enjoy films and fun under the stars. On Monday evenings, guests will enjoy pre-show activities, followed by a free screening of hit animated and live-action films including Paddington 2, Coco, Beauty and the Beast and Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle. The screenings will take place at Ridge Hill’s South Lawn. ridgehill.com

2. Italian Cinema Under the Stars

This July, Westchester Italian Cultural Center presents “Cinema Sotto Le Stelle,” a free outdoor Italian film festival held at the Depot Square in Tuckahoe. The festival will kick off on July 12 with La Prima Cosa Bella (The First Beautiful Thing), a comedy-drama about a strong mother raising her two children against all odds. A screening of Pranzo di Ferragosto (Mid-August Lunch) will be held on July 19. This comedy-drama follows a middle-aged man who looks after four elderly women during Italy’s biggest summer holiday. The festival will culminate with a presentation of Gianni e le donne (The Salt of Life) on July 26. In this comedy, a retired 60-year-old house husband becomes aware of the onset of late middle-age and ponders whether he is ready to give up on the idea of one last romantic adventure. wiccny.org

3. Jacob Burns Film Center’s “Summer Sounds” Film Series

Now through August 23, Jacob Burns Film Center (JBFC)’s “Summer Sounds” series presents an extensive slate of music films that bring a variety of legendary artists to the big screen. The series features intimate biopics, concert films and filmmaker Q&As as well as live musical performances. A selection of film offerings will highlight the eclectic music of Led Zeppelin (July 14), the Avett Brothers (July 17), Joe Crocker (July 18) Keith Richards (August 2) and Neil Young (August 11). In memory of Oscar Award-winning film director Jonathan Demme, JBFC will also present his film Stop Making Sense (July 31). On July 11 and 12, a showing of Rolling Stone: Stories from the Edge will chronicle the past 50 years of American music, politics and popular culture through the perspective of the iconic Rolling Stone magazine. A Q&A with filmmakers Alex Gibney and Blair Foster will follow. On July 30, guests will be able to sing-along to a new restored version of the Beatles’ 1968 classic film Yellow Submarine. In American Folk, folk musicians Amber Rubarth and Joe Purdy play two musicians who are stranded in California after 9/11 and decide to embark on a road trip to get back to New York (August 22). Following the screening, Rubarth will perform her original music at the JBFC. burnsfilmcenter.org

SHAKESPEARE IN THE PARK 🎭

4. LawnChair Theatre Performs The Tempest at Various Parks

LawnChair Theatre will bring free outdoor performances of Shakespeare’s The Tempest to various parks in Westchester County. Supported by the Rye Arts Center, this summer theatre program, directed by Julie Thaxter-Gourlay, tells the tale of Prospero, a deposed Duke of Milan who plots revenge against his foes on a remote island. Performances will be held on Thursdays through Sundays from July 19 through 28 at various local parks. lawnchairtheatre.org

5. Shakespeare in the Park (White Plains)

For the fifth year, the City of White Plains and ArtsWestchester present its White Plains summertime tradition of Shakespeare in the Park. The renowned Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival will perform Hamlet at Turnure Park on July 12. This classic drama tells the tale of revenge and consequence in a slightly-abridged 90-minute production. The free play aims to appeal to a younger audience by including music and contemporary dress in order to keep the plot relatable and engaging. artsw.org

*Honorable Mention: check out Hudson River Museum listing below for a performance of The Sea-Maids Music!*

MUSIC IN THE AIR ♫

6. Cross County Summer Fest

Guests to Cross County Shopping Center can bring chairs and blankets to The Green in the center of the mall for a free live music performance during select dates through August 10. Rubix Kube will bring 80s hits to The Green on July 19. Rakiem Walker Project, the house band from Harlem’s Red Rooster restaurant, brings down the house on August 10. crosscountycenter.com

7. Summer Sounds Concert Series

New Rochelle Council on the Arts presents its 11th annual Emil Paolucci Summer Sounds Concert Series through August 31. For nine consecutive Wednesdays, as well as five additional Friday nights, free live music will fill the band-shell in New Rochelle’s Hudson Park. Forever Ray, a Ray Charles tribute band will have guests singing in their seats (July 25) and Franco Morillo Band will bring Latin dance beats to the stage (August 8). The lineup also includes acapella (Blackout, 7/20), opera (New Rochelle Opera, 8/1) and more. newrochellearts.org

8. Untermyer PAC’s World Fest

Untermyer Performing Arts Council presents the 43rd season of its World Fest series. Every Saturday evening through September 1, guests can picnic on the Great Lawn Stage at Untermyer Park to enjoy a free performance from the season’s diverse lineup. The series brings a broad range of cultural offerings to Yonkers, from the symphonic music of the Yonkers Philharmonic (7/28) to a night of dance from Thalia Spanish Theatre and Mestizo Art Center (8/4). The schedule also explores Indian, West African and Brazilian cultures in addition to a world premiere from Connecticut Ballet. untermyer.org

9. Jazz Forum Arts’ Sunset Jazz at Lyndhurst

Jazz Forum Arts brings the swinging, be-bopping and soulful grooves of jazz to the historic grounds of Lyndhurst Mansion. The series consists of eight free concerts, each taking place on Thursday evenings throughout July and August. Guests will lounge on the sprawling Lyndhurst lawn at sunset, taking in the Afrobeat influences of Brighton Beat (7/12), hard-swinging vocals of Marianne Solivan Quartet (8/16) and more. The varied lineup closes with bassist and composer Brian Q. Torff and New Duke, an eight-piece band that performs Torff’s updated arrangements of Duke Ellington’s music (8/23). jazzforumarts.org

10. Hudson River Museum’s Summer Amphitheater Series

Hudson River Museum (HRM) launches its outdoor summer amphitheater series of free concerts on Friday and Saturday nights from July 6 through August 18. The performance schedule boasts music, including the female-fronted punk band American Pinup (7/27) and electric violinist Deni Bonet (8/10); theater, including Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival (The Sea-Maids Music on 8/18); and cultural offerings such as traditional Irish music and dance with Katie Linnane & Friends (7/13). HRM also opens its doors to guests who will enjoy free admission from 5-8pm and planetarium shows at 7pm, previous to the concert start-time of 8pm. hrm.org

11. Caramoor Center for Music and the Arts Presents Its 73rd Summer Season

It is a season of numbers at Caramoor Center for Music and the Arts: the 73rd summer season; new music from 22 living composers; performances on the Center’s expansive 90-acre grounds; live music and family activities through July 29. According to Caramoor’s Vice President of Artistic Programming and Executive Producer, Kathy Schumann: “Live music and [the Center’s] very special setting come together in such a unique way and elevate the concert experience.” An opera performance combines music with the serene environment in a site-specific production of Mozart’s “The Secret Gardener” in Caramoor’s Sunken Garden on July 13. In partnership with Jazz at Lincoln Center, a jazz festival on July 21 occupies almost the entirety of the Center’s grounds, featuring performances at various sites throughout the day, ending with headliner Dianne Reeves in the Venetian Theater. On July 12, young pianist Michael Brown will contribute a solo performance in honor of the centennial of Leonard Bernstein’s birth. Caramoor continues to develop its new Chamber Feast event, now returning for its second year on July 15. This year’s Chamber Feast performance features a full roster of alums from its Evnin Rising Stars program, which aims to nurture young talent. Grammy Award-winning Beninese singer-songwriter Angélique Kidjo will bring infectious energy, along with pride in her African roots, to the stage on July 28. The summer season is never only for adults. Family offerings include Dancing at Dusk, a series during which guests are exposed to music and dance traditions from around the globe. This year’s series includes an Irish hip-hop hybrid on July 18 and Afro-Brazilian program on July 25. caramoor.org

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