July 4, 2016 marks the 240th year that America declared independence from the British Empire (and of course, 2016 marks “Brexit,” the year the United Kingdom voted to break free from the European Union). Every year in New York City, celebrations are marked with the Macy’s 4th of July Fireworks Show, backyard cookouts and beach trips. But if these yearly rituals don’t appeal to you, Untapped Cities has curated a list of ten off-the-beaten path ways to spend your July 4th holiday weekend in New York City.

1. Midsummer Night Swing at Lincoln Center

For 27 years, Lincoln Center has been hosting its Midsummer Night Swing event, which celebrates the spirit and energy of the 1920s and 1930s. On July 2nd, learn the West Coast Swing, taught by dance instructor John Festa, with musical accompaniment by the musical collective ‘The Black Rock Coalition.” After the lesson, dance the night away at the Silent Disco from 10 pm to 11:30 pm. Click on the links to learn how to purchase tickets and season passes. See the full schedule for the Midsummer Night Swing series here.

2. French Restaurant Week

From July 4th to the 17th, New York City will be host to French Restaurant Week. Dine at fine French restaurants around the city, most of which will be offering their food at three patriotic special prices: $17.89, $35.78 and $178.90. This year, Action Against Hunger International (ACF) is the official sponsor of French Restaurant Week, which aims to bring hunger relief to communities around the world. Participating restaurants include Jules Bistro, GLOO, Brasserie 8 1/2 and La Sirene. Reserve your spot at restaurants online on OpenTable.

3. HBO Bryant Park Summer Film Festival

Courtesy of Bryant Park, by Angelito Jusay Photography

Enjoy free movies all summer long in the great outdoors at the HBO Bryant Park Film Festival. On July 4, there will be a screening of the 1986 Tom Cruise classic “Top Gun.” The lawn opens at 5 pm to give guests time to lay out their blankets and chairs for picnicking, and the movie starts at around 8 or 9 pm. Note that all bags will be subject to inspection before entering the park. Click here for a full list of films being shown at Bryant Park this summer.

4. Tour and Wine Tasting at Rooftop Reds

Rooftop Reds-Brooklyn Navy Yard Vineyard-NYC

On July 2nd, Untapped Cities is hosting a Tour and Wine Tasting of Rooftop Reds, the world’s first rooftop vineyard. The tour is led by one of the Rooftop Reds’ founders, who will share his winemaking secrets, including the urban planter system that is used to sustain the vineyard. Enjoy the wine paired with an amazing view on the 14,800 square foot rooftop. As a bonus, all guests will get 20 percent off all Rooftop Reds wines. All participants must be 21 and older. Tickets for this event can be purchased below.

5. International African Arts Festival

July 4th is the last day of the International African Arts Festival at Brooklyn’s Commodore Barry Park. Enjoy performances by Wunmi, Sonia Sanchez and Uzalo and the Mighty Zulu Nation. The festival will end with a tribute to the “Queen of Soul” Aretha Franklin, performed by Ada Dyer and the A Band. For forty years, this arts festival has taken place in Brooklyn, celebrating a wide array of both traditional and contemporary African art. There will also be vendors selling handcrafted merchandise such as jewelry, furniture and sculptures, as well as an outdoor food court that will serve diverse options of savory African, Caribbean and Latin American cuisine. The suggested donation is $5 for adults and $2 for children. For more information, call 718-638-6700 or email [email protected].

6. Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest

Though the Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest isn’t too “off-the-beaten path,” this 44 year tradition is a sight to behold. This year, 2015 champion Matt Stonie is back to defend his title against heavy hitters such as Joey Chestnut, who is a world record holder in most hot dogs eaten. The event is at Coney Island on July 4th at 10am and is free to the public.

Before you go, brush up on your Nathan’s Famous history and secrets with our guide.

7. SummerStage at Central Park

From 3 to 7 pm, enjoy the free SummerStage at Central Park concert, hosted by the City Parks Foundation. The July 3rd performance at Rumsey Playfield features famous Nigerian artist King Sunny Adé, whose musical career has spanned 35 years. Following SummerStage, Adé will be touring 30 cities in the United States and Canada for the first time since 2009. Other acts performing at the concert are Orlando Julius and the Afro Soundz, who popularized Afro-pop beginning in the ’60s, and Philadelphia-based DJ Rich Medina. Doors to the show open at 2 pm.

8. Warm Up 2016

Outdoor music lovers have a plethora of concerts to attend in the summer. Now in its 19th year, Warm Up Saturdays continue on July 2 with performances by Theo Parrish, DJ STINGRAY, Lena Willikens and Kiki Kudo. In addition to the live music, concertgoers can enjoy the outdoor art installation by the Mexico City-based architecture firm Escobedo Soliz Studio, which won in the 17th annual Youth Architects Program (YAP). Doors to the event open at noon. Purchase advance tickets online for $22 or buy them at the door for $25.

9. New York Asian Film Festival

If foreign films are your thing, the New York Asian Film Festival (NYAFF) is the event for you. NYAFF is celebrating its 15th year and is screening a number of Asian films at the Walter Reade Theater at Film Society of Lincoln Center. On July 4th, the films being shown at the festival are:

  • 12 PM: ‘The Bodyguard’ AKA ‘My Beloved Bodyguard,’
  • 2:10 PM: ‘Weeds on Fire’
  • 4:15 PM: Trivasa
  • 6:30The Mobfathers
  • 9 PM: 10 Years

The festival is happening now through July 9th. Tickets can be purchased in person at the box office, by calling 212-875-5601, or by visiting filmlinc.org. See a full list of films here.

10. The Old Ball Game at the Met

What better way to celebrate America’s Independence than going to a Met exhibit about the country’s “favorite pastime?” The Metropolitan Museum of Art is hosting The Old Ball Game: New York Baseball, 1887-1977. The exhibit at Fifth Avenue features an extensive collection of baseball cards that illustrate the history of some of New York’s best teams and players, including Babe Ruth and Jackie Robinson. The earlier displays in the exhibition recall a time before the Yankees existed, when the Brooklyn Dodgers and New York Giants were the kings of baseball. The exhibit is included in the price of museum admission.

Bonus: Five Cents to Dreamland: A Trip to Coney Island at the New York Transit Museum

In 2016, there are a number of ways to get to Coney Island. But it wasn’t always that way. On July 2nd, the New York Transit Museum presents ‘Five Cents to Dreamland: A Trip to Coney Island.’ The exhibit explores the progression of transportation in relation to the history of Coney Island’s development. It is part of a three part series presented by the New York Transit Museum exploring how transportation contributed to the development of the city as a whole. ‘Five Cents to Dreamland’ is open from July 2nd to December 4, 2016. The exhibit is covered in the cost of museum admission.

Next, read Celebrating July 4th in NYC: Remembering the Stockbridge Indian Massacre in Van Cortlandt Park. Keep up with the author @jen_bagcal.