2021 FREE Summer Concerts, Shows, Lessons, and More in New York's Capital Region
Free Summer Programs in Albany, Schenectady, Troy, and beyond!
Did someone say free? See concerts, play sports, take in a show, all for free! Come & get 'em, And share this list with your friends!
This article is updated for 2021, which means it's shorter than usual. Activities that are either still unconfirmed or not happening this summer have been moved to the bottom of the article because, frankly, it bums us out to look at them, but it's handy as a reference just in case things change as the season progresses.
Free Concert Series
- Freedom Park in Scotia includes a wide variety of concerts and shows on various days.
- Performing Arts at the Common includes concerts on Sunday nights at 7 pm in Clifton Commons in Clifton Park.
- Music Haven Concert Series will be three Sunday nights in August.
- There are Free Concerts in Saratoga's Congress Park at 7 pm on Sundays in July and Tuesdays in August.
- The Town of Schodack usually has Free Concerts on Tuesdays at 6 pm June.
- Tuesday Nights in the Park at Cook Park in Colonie are on Tuesdays at 6:30 pm.
- The Town of Rotterdam offers Free Concerts at 6:30 pm on Wednesdays.
- Concerts in the Barn are usually on Wednesdays at 6:30 pm at Pruyn House in Colonie (so far we've only seen 2 in July for 2021).
- Alive at Five usually offers a variety of music on Thursdays at 5 pm in downtown Albany -- they have virtual options for 2021 plus a couple of select concerts.
- Jazz on Jay offers jazz on Thursdays at noon in downtown Schenectady starting on June 10, 2021. Click here for updates.
- Rock the Block concert series is on Thursday from 6:30-8:30 pm in Cohoes.
- Concerts in the Gazebo are in Niskayuna on Thursdays at 7 pm, confirmed for 2021.
- Concerts in the Park are at 6 pm on Thursdays in Ballston Spa, confirmed for 2021.
- Free Concerts at the Crossings are usually on Thursdays at 6 pm.
- There are free concerts at 6 pm in Troy Music Hall Courtyard on Fridays and Saturdays in late July and August.
- Riverlink Concerts in Amsterdam are on Saturdays at 7 pm.
- Family-friendly movies are shown in Wiswall Park in Ballston Spa on the first Friday of the month, confirmed for 2021.
- Bites Camera Action is a free family-friendly movie series on Friday nights in downtown Albany.
- The Palace offers "Summer in the City" free kid-friendly movies on Tuesdays in July & August at 1 pm (doors open at noon).
- They show free movies in the Capitol Park After Dark in West Capitol Park on Wednesdays at 8:30 pm (near Empire State Plaza).
- See recent family-favorite Movies Under the Stars on select Monday nights in Washington Park, Sage College, or the College of St. Rose.
- Will Kempe's Players are planning a "Rom-Com Summer" for 2021 with productions of "As You Like It" and "Much Ado About Nothing," but tour dates and details were still being finalized as of early May. Click their website for updates.
- At Park Playhouse in Washington Park, Albany, they'll be showing Ain't Misbehavin' and Matilda the Musical. (Paid and free tickets are available (pre-registration required to keep the numbers down.)
- Performing Arts Family Series are kid-friendly shows on Wednesday nights at 7 pm at Clifton Common.
- The Not So Common Players will present a South Pacific concert and a revival of the Marvelous Wondrettes at Clifton Common.
- June 5th through 12th is Downtown Schenectady Artsweek with a variety of activities.
- Juneteenth celebrates the end of slavery on Saturday, June 19, 2021 in Albany and Schenectady.
- Dad Fest in Washington Park is happening on Sunday, June 20, 2021.
Active Free Fun
- Kids Bowl Free offers 2 free games (check the link for participating bowling alleys and the days that free games are available).
- 15 Love offers free tennis lessons (they'll even supply the racquets!) at a variety of locations throughout Albany, Schenectady, and Troy. For 2021, you'll need to pre-register.
- Free Fitness Classes in Troy's Riverfront Park run on Sunday mornings from 9-10 am. These seem geared toward adults, but they're labeled family friendly.
- There are free Zumba classes on Mondays, free yoga classes on Tuesdays, and Bootcamp classes on Thursday at Empire State Plaza.
- The Boys & Girls Club of Schenectady runs drop-in programs for kids.
- A FREE Nature Bus stops throughout Albany on Saturdays and will take you to lovely nature destinations.
- The US Water Ski Show Team performs free shows next to Jumpin' Jacks most Tuesday nights June through August.
And Don't Forget . . .
- Your local library
- Hungry? Find free summer meals
- Take a hike
- Visit a new playground
- The New York State Museum has reopened as of July 2021!
Hopefully Back Soon!
The following programs normally happen, but they are either canceled or still uncomfirmed for 2021. You can click the link for more information and updates.
Free Concert Series - Either not happening or not yet confirmed with details for Summer 2021:
- Rockin' on the River are usually on Wednesday nights at 5 pm in Troy.
- Capital Concert Series usually includes reggae, rock, and rhythm & blues on Wednesday nights at 5 or 5:30 pm at Albany's Empire State Plaza.
- Glenville Thursdays in the Park usually include concerts or movies every Thursday at 7 pm in August.
Free Movies - not happening for 2021
- Bowtie Cinema in Schenectady and Bowtie Cinema at Wilton Mall usually both offer free kid-friendly movies on Tuesday and Wednesday mornings (and yes, Regal Cinemas offer movies for $1--almost free).
- Cohoes Music Hall shows free "Just for Kids" movies on Wednesdays at 1 pm.
- Proctors show family-friendly movies on Sundays at 10 am and 1:30 pm in July and August.
Free Theater - Either not happening or not yet confirmed with details for Summer 2021:
- You can usually see Shakespeare in Congress Park in Saratoga Springs. This summer they're presenting The Tempest and King Lear.
- There's sometimes free Shakespeare in Cook Park in Colonie in August.
Free Festivals - Either not happening or not yet confirmed with details for Summer 2021:
- Troy Riverfest -- they haven't yet updated information for 2021.
- Kids Day at the Plaza at Empire State Plaza -- they haven't yet updated information for 2021.
- Black Arts & Cultural Festival at Empire State Plaza -- they haven't yet updated information for 2021.
- New York State Food Festival at Empire State Plaza -- they haven't yet updated information for 2021.
Active Free Fun - Either not happening or not yet confirmed with details for Summer 2021:
- Many New York State Parks typically offer free swim lessons each year. Warning: these fill up quickly.
And Don't Forget . . . - Either not happening or not yet confirmed with details for Summer 2021:
- Stories and Art in Washington Park on Monday mornings and other free programs from WMHT -- they haven't yet updated information for 2021.
- GE Kids in Free Days -- no information available
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