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NYC summer bucket list: What to do before it's too late

Remember all those big summer plans you made while hiding from yet another polar vortex inside your dark, frigid house a few months ago?
Well, you may feel like the sun has just begun to shine (we sure do), but believe it or not, June has come and gone.
There's still time to enjoy the season, but let's face it: The pressure is on to get through your NYC summer bucket list. We're here to help you prioritize.

Ride the Thunderbolt

We know you've been meaning to get to
Photo Credit: Jeremy Bales

We know you've been meaning to get to Coney Island, and if the beach, boardwalk, people-watching, classic summer eats (hot dogs, funnel cakes, Italian ices), Brooklyn Cyclones baseball and the aquarium aren't enough motivation, riding the new Thunderbolt roller coaster is a must.

Conduct an ice cream taste test

There's no shortage of ice cream in NYC,
Photo Credit: Evan Sung

There's no shortage of ice cream in NYC, but some shops are truly a scoop above the rest. Whether it's an old-fashioned egg crème in Brooklyn or an exotic lychee-flavored cone in Chinatown that wins your vote, you need to narrow down your go-to spot before the prime frozen treat-eating months are through. Start with some of our favorites.

Get out on the river

Get up-close and personal with the city's waterways
Photo Credit: Brooklyn Bridge Park

Get up-close and personal with the city's waterways this season with a little kayaking. Hit up the Downtown Boathouse, the Brooklyn Bridge Park Boathouse, Red Hook Boaters or Kayak Staten Island to enjoy free kayaking programs. Each location offers water activities on a walk-in basis, so no need to make an appointment when you're in the mood to get out on the river.

Walk the Brooklyn Bridge at night

Summer nights let you finally enjoy some pretty
Photo Credit: Getty Images / Henny Ray Abrams

Summer nights let you finally enjoy some pretty spectacular nighttime city views without standing in the cold to see them. Avoid the onslaught of tourists and bikers during the day, and head to the Brooklyn Bridge for a late-night stroll, where you'll see the skyline lit up in all its glory.

Buy something unique at a flea market

Fifth Avenue stores are glam and SoHo boutiques
Photo Credit: Getty Images / Emmanuel Dunand

Fifth Avenue stores are glam and SoHo boutiques are trendy, but there's nothing cooler than spending a summer day browsing booths for one-of-a-kind purchases, and just happening to stumble upon the perfect piece of antique jewelry or wacky apartment décor.

From Brooklyn's Fort Greene Flea to the Lower East Side's Hester Street Fair, there are plenty to check out .

And if it's your stomach you prefer to shop for, we all know Smorgasburg can't be beat.

Eat lobster on City Island

A true hidden gem of the Bronx, City
Photo Credit: City Island Nautical Museum via Facebook

A true hidden gem of the Bronx, City Island is only about a mile and a half long. But what this quaint summer spot lacks in size, it makes up for in fresh seafood -- especially lobster. Come hungry, because you'll have your fair share of restaurants to choose from. (Just cruise City Island Avenue, and you'll see what we mean.)

Afterward, walk it off along the waterfront, browse the local shops for antiques or learn more about this intriguing place at the City Island Nautical Museum. There is no better way to escape the city on a summer day without leaving the five boroughs.

Roller skate your heart out

Take a trip down memory lane . .
Photo Credit: iStock

Take a trip down memory lane . . . on wheels. For a dose of nostalgia with your exercise, this retro activity can't be beat. Lakeside at Prospect Park or Pier 2 at Brooklyn Bridge Park are two outdoor skating rinks to check out.

Take your workout outside

Bryant Park, Central Park, the High Line and
Photo Credit: Angelito Jusay

Bryant Park, Central Park, the High Line and Socrates Sculpture Park all offer outdoor workout classes through the summer. They're free, which might help give you the motivation you need to pick up a new hobby, like fencing, tai chi or group yoga.

Take a daycation on Governors Island

Yes, we also hate the word
Photo Credit: Nina Ruggiero

Yes, we also hate the word "daycation." But that doesn't mean you shouldn't take one.

One of our favorite in-city destinations is Governors Island. Call in sick, hop on the ferry and find yourself in the newly completed park, featuring mini golf, ball fields, bikes, hammocks, beer, food and a spectacular view.

Check govisland.com for special events and exhibits.

10. Catch World Cup fever

Whether you're a soccer fan or not, the
Photo Credit: Ribalta

Whether you're a soccer fan or not, the chance to jump on the bandwagon and get swept up by the infectious passion that the World Cup brings comes just once every four years.
Find the sport a bore? Meet the fans, enjoy the food and drink specials and soak in the revelry at a participating NYC bar or restaurant, and we bet you'll change your mind.
Here's where to watch, based on borough and team loyalty.

Drink on a rooftop

There are so many amazing rooftops in this
Photo Credit: Loren Wohl

There are so many amazing rooftops in this city, you could spend every weekend at a different one and still not see them all. Every rooftop's vibe, view and cocktail menu is different, but they all come with that natural high from fresh air, city lights and the unbeatable feeling that you're on top of the world. Here are some of our favorites.

Hit up a ball game

Grab your friends and those bleachers tickets and
Photo Credit: Getty Images / Nick Laham

Grab your friends and those bleachers tickets and cheer on the Mets or Yankees with a beer in hand. And don't forget to check out our favorite eats at Yankee Stadium and Citi Field.

Watch a movie outdoors

Cushy theater seats are sooo overrated. From piers
Photo Credit: Irwin Seow

Cushy theater seats are sooo overrated. From piers to parks to rooftops, there's nothing like grabbing a blanket and watching a movie under the stars. There are still plenty of free flicks to catch all over town, from "Singin' in the Rain" to "Creed." Check out the lineup here.

Go zip lining

It's not your typical NYC activity, but that's
Photo Credit: NYC Parks

It's not your typical NYC activity, but that's what makes zip lining in Queens even more thrilling. Save yourself a trip to the Poconos and head over to the Alley Pond Park Adventure Course, where you can strap on a harness and soar 100 yards through the sky and over a green, open field. Plus, here are some more outdoorsy adventures to try.

Play a team sport

OK, you may not have time for an
Photo Credit: Paul Brophy

OK, you may not have time for an entire season of weekday softball games. That doesn't mean you have to miss out! Zog Sports is hosting softball tournaments on Aug. 20, and if you have more time, there are plenty of leagues you can join.

If you're looking for something even more casual, check meetup.com for like-minded athletes.

Or you can go old school and play some pickup basketball on one of the city's public courts.

Rock out at SummerStage

For music lovers across genres, free concerts in
Photo Credit: <a target=new href="http://bit.ly/20vdaSY"> Michael Galpert via Flickr (CC BY-SA)</a>

For music lovers across genres, free concerts in Central Park are a summertime tradition. See the schedule here.

If you're looking for more low-key entertainment, there's always Shakespeare in the Park. Read up on the secrets of the free shows before you go.

Go for a historical swim

The Parks Department's 55 outdoor pools are free
Photo Credit: Getty Images / Mario Tama

The Parks Department's 55 outdoor pools are free -- and many are great pieces of NYC history. Eleven Olympic-size pools opened in the 1930s under Commissioner Robert Moses. And many are designated landmarks.

So take an opportunity to cool off while learning a bit about our city's past. Find the pool closest to your hot, stuffy apartment.

19. Go tanning, topless

What? This is a bucket list ... live
Photo Credit: <a href="http://bit.ly/1RqSEN0"target="_blank">Nev Brown via Flickr (CC BY-SA)</a>

What? This is a bucket list ... live a little.
Fort Tilden Beach in Queens, known for its, um, lax environment, finally reopened this summer after superstorm Sandy put it out of commission for the 2013 season, so chances are you could use the vitamin D. Plus, there's no better way to explore your inner hipster this season.

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