Love to bike ride but hate dodging cars? Head to Summer Streets NYC, a 3-weekend car-free (and fee-free) bike takeover of 7 miles of prime New York City real estate. It all happens August 1, 8 and 15, from 7am – 1pm.

Bike the Streets of NYC Safely

Bike the streets of Manhattan and survive!

Bike the streets of Manhattan. Photo by Judy Antell/ Vegetarian TravelingMom

The annual outdoor street celebration, Summer Streets, returns to New York City August 1, 8 and 15. The free festival started as a bicycle take over of car free streets, from the Brooklyn Bridge to Central Park. Now, it has grown to include a zipline, fitness classes, soccer clinics and a pop-up dog park.

Dog Days 

Much as my pooch would love to party with other pets, she can’t walk from Brooklyn to and from Manhattan, and only dogs in carriers can go on the subway. And no, driving part way would be senseless; with seven miles of Manhattan car-free, traffic in the entire city slows down.

summer streets

The Slide the City Water Slide, part of Summer Streets 2015. Credit: Summer Streets

But from 7am to 1pm on these three Saturdays, you can bike up and down Park Avenue without worrying about cabs sideswiping you, or buses overtaking the bike lanes. And you can stop and sample other activities, rent rollerblades for free, try Zumba or yoga classes, or fly across downtown on a 30-foot-high zipline.

There is also a giant water slide, called Slide the City, part of Vita Coco Beach at Foley Square. This is also free, but you have to preregister at Slide the City.

Summer Streets includes food samples from Whole Foods, giveaways of bike helmets, and self-glided walking tours. Rest stops along the way offer valet bike parking so you can stop and enjoy stage performances or a free snack.