New York City Your Best Tool for Learning English

Not only is the 4th of July one of the most meaningful holidays in the United States, but it’s also quite possibly one of the most celebrated. As this day honors America’s “birthday,” it’s also the day in which our country signed the Declaration of Independence in 1776. This is the day when everyone will be wearing red, white, and blue to honor our nation’s colors and emulate the American flag.

If you’re in New York City for this annual tradition, you’re in quite possibly the best place to experience this day of celebration. Not only is New York City the country’s most frequented tourist destination, but it holds tremendous significance to the American experience. With the Statue of Liberty symbolizing the founding fathers and the emotional memories of the September 11th attacks in 2001, New York City’s relationship with the 4th of July is one of the strongest and one of the most celebrated.

If you’re looking for something to do for this holiday or wondering about the best places to check out the fireworks, here’s a quick guide for you to make sure you see it all. Plus, if you’re adjusting to the English language, this day offers a tremendous level of embracing other cultures, so it’s a great time to get out there and mingle with everyone else!

4th of july

  1. Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest, Coney Island

Almost a 100-year-old tradition, this crazy and exciting event is a beloved tradition to New Yorkers. It’s just what you think it is: dozens of contestants from all over the world enter this contest with the hopes of becoming the next champion. It may sound a bit gross and unsettling, but it’s a super-fun event to attend and thousands show up each year to watch the contest in person. Because this event brings in people from all over the world, what better way to put your English skills to use and mingle with everyone?

  1. Revolutionary New York Walking Tour

This is the perfect opportunity to mix your English practice with learning more about the history of New York City. The tour takes you to various landmarks from the Revolutionary War, like the graves of Alexander Hamilton and General Richard Hamilton, as well as other locations that have connections to George Washington and Thomas Jefferson. While you’re gaining some American history knowledge, this is also the time to embrace your tour guide’s English by asking him questions, using your translator app to look up any confusing lingo, and follow along with your brochure.

  1. Visiting any of New York City’s Parks

Most people have off from work to honor the country’s birthday, so you’ll find that New York City is full of life and excitement this day. This is the perfect opportunity to pack a picnic basket, gather all your friends, and enjoy some time in the sun. You’ll find that LOTS of people have this same idea, so you’ll be surrounded by all kinds of people celebrating the same day—it’s definitely a unifying moment, so take advantage of all these people around you, and practice your English by striking a conversation. Maybe ask them about their favorite 4th of July memory, or simply ask them if they want to join you and your friends in Frisbee. It’s a day of great fun, so take advantage of it!

  1. Fireworks

Of course, you can’t have the 4th of July without a fireworks display! If you’re curious about finding the best spots to see the show, make sure you allow yourself enough time to reserve a spot anywhere along the East River in Manhattan, Queens, or Brooklyn. Luckily there are plenty of walkways along this river, so you’ll have plenty of options, but just keep in mind that thousands of people are doing the same thing, so give yourself plenty of time! The coolest part is that with today’s technology, the fireworks show is not synchronized with music, which only heightens the entertainment factor. Bring your friends, take photos, and don’t forget to say “Hi” to others around you—it’s the perfect opportunity to practice your polite English phrases and maybe even meet some people!

Category : New York

Part of the New York City experience is being outside and sight-seeing, walking everywhere as much as you can, and taking in the all the beauty the city has to offer. By the time mid-June rolls around, however, you’ll find that the heat starts to feel particularly heavy, and escaping the heat can be tricky, as the subways are stifling, exhaust from cars and buildings seem to make the sidewalks hotter, and of course, walking everywhere can make you sweat more than a car with air conditioning can.

For some great indoor activities that will get you out of the heat and away from the sun, New York City will quickly make you forget about these “dog days of summer” with some of the most classic and creative things to do. Plus, if you’re adjust to the English language, these activities will ensure you’ll get plenty of practice.

central park in summer

  1. Minus5, New York Hilton, Midtown

This is one of those spots that you probably only see on TV, but now, you can make it part of your reality! Made completely of ice, the entire space’s furniture and glasses and even bar is frozen. You’ll forget about that blinding heat the instant you step foot in this bar! Kept at a constant -5 degrees Celsius, this spot will surely cool you down—just don’t forget to bring your jacket for this experience, and be sure to bring your winter English phrases with you for a bizarre flashback! Just don’t order a coffee!

  1. Frames, 550 9th Avenue, Hell’s Kitchen

You can’t ever really go wrong with bowling, so if you’re looking for an activity to get out of the heat, check out this particularly awesome bowling alley—with neon lights that will remind you of the 70s and the leather couches that will keep you comfortable while waiting your turn, you’ll quickly forget about the rising temperatures outside. The fun music, cool drinks, and excellent graphics will keep you entertained for hours. You’ll also get familiar with some English phrases while playing, like “strike,” “spare,” and “turkey.”

  1. Chelsea Piers Sky Rink, Pier 61

You might think that ice skating is just a wintertime activity, but at the Chelsea Piers Sky Rink, you can cool off any time of the year. With skate rentals available, you can make a spur-of-the-moment decision to kill a few hours here. Who knew that ice skating in August was something you could do? You might learn a few tricks on the ice from your buddies, but you’ll also be able to pick up on a few new English phrases while you’re tearing up the ice, like “axel,” “loop,” and “jump.”

  1. Escape the Room, Multiple locations

This new activity is all the rage, and if you’ve never participated in this yet, surely some of your friends have done this. It’s a really creative way to kill some time, have some laughs with friends, exercise your brain, and of course, because this activity requires communication, your English communication skills will be put to the test, so be ready! With only a 60-minute window to “escape the room,” you and your friends will have to work together to solve the puzzles from hidden objects and planted clues.

  1. Hit the movie theatre

This might be an easy solution, but it’s always a great idea if the heat is just simply sucking your energy and you can’t take the summer sun any longer. Luckily, there’s not the slightest shortage in movie theaters in New York City, so the options are endless. Whether you’re looking for the latest summer blockbuster or a throwback indie film, you have hundreds of theaters to choose from. Movie theaters are always pumping the AC to cool you down and make your body feel comfortable and relaxed again. And of course, watching a movie and catching up on pop culture is the perfect chance to exercise your English skills. Maybe check out a film that’s willing to put on closed captioning for you so you can read along while you watch to further cement your vocabulary and enunciation. Some of the biggest movies come out in the summer, so you’re sure to find something that will keep you distracted from the blinding heat for a few hours!

Category : New York

As the days get longer and the sun seems to get stronger each week, you might find yourself itching to be by the water to help cool down the summertime heat. As you might imagine, being on the beach in New York City is tricky, but there are a few options if travel is limited or if you’re just looking for a quick fix to get your toes in the sand and a few waves to cool yourself down. Plus, if you’re adjusting to the English language, these destinations are great learning tools for you, as these locations are filled with hundreds of people every day, and the beaches have signage everywhere so you can read and hear English all around you. Dig out your swimsuit, pack your sunscreen, and get ready for some fun in the sun!

coney island

  1. Coney Island; West 37th Street to Ocean Parkway, Brooklyn

This spot is probably the most popular summertime destination for New Yorkers, as it’s easy to get to, has almost three miles of beach, and it also has the additional perk of a boardwalk, amusement rides, and courts to play volleyball, handball, or basketball. This would also be the best spot to practice your English, as there are dozens of shops and restaurants, it’s always filled with people, and because the sun generally puts people in social moods, it’s the perfect time and spot to meet some new people! Get ready for a fun day!

  1. Rockaway Beach; Beach 9th Street, Far Rockaway, to Beach 149th Street, Neponsit, Queens

This is another timeless favorite of New York City locals. This beach also has an impressive boardwalk, but the best part of this destination is that it’s the only beach in the city that allows surfing! Even if you don’t surf yourself, it’s still amazing to see surfers of all skill levels test out the waves. Rockaway also has plenty of concession options should you get hungry or thirsty. Practice your English surfing phrases (“Hang Ten”), and get ready for some great entertainment!

  1. Cedar Grove Beach; Ebbitts Street and Cedar Grove Avenue, Staten Island

If you have the capacity to travel a bit to get to Staten Island, Cedar Grove Beach will not let you down. While it’s much smaller and quieter than other beaches in the city, this location is the newest, so it’s still a bit of a secret. This means less people, which also means this beach is a bit more intimate and tranquil. If you’re looking for an escape from the hustle and bustle of the New York City grind, this is the best option for a peaceful getaway. Interacting with others is of course allowed, but because this location is much more removed, it’s the perfect spot to appreciate the quiet and practice your English with a book!

  1. South Beach; Lower New York Bay, from Fort Wadsworth to Miller Field, Midland Beach, Staten Island

Also located in Staten Island, South Beach is a New York City local favorite. This is one of the more activity-friendly beaches in the area—it has a scenic bike trail, offers kayaking, has tennis courts, and even allows fishing. If you’re looking for a bit more physical activity, South Beach is definitely your spot. This another great spot to mingle with locals and practice your English social skills, as you can make teams for tennis, recruit a stranger to go kayaking with you, or simply make small talk with other fishers.

  1. Orchard Beach and Promenade; Long Island Sound in Pelham Bay Park

This is the only public beach in the Bronx, and it’s quite legendary among the locals because of this and has been dubbed “The Riviera of New York” since the 1930s. Just over a mile long, Orchard Beach has a promenade, plenty of food and drink bars and carts, playgrounds and picnic areas for families, and over two dozen courts for volleyball, handball, and basketball. This beach also allows barbecuing, so be sure to pack all the necessities for hosting a killer outdoor meal—which is also a great way to mingle with other beach-goers. What better way to put your English skills to use?

Category : New York

With warmer weather, more free time, and a general better outlook towards each day, you’re definitely on the lookout for something to do, and since you’re in New York City, you can expect the best of the best. New York City hosts a wide range of music festivals during the summer months, and tons of musical icons and brand new artists fight to get their name on the lineup. It’s a great experience to be outside in the warm sun, listen to some of your favorites, and of course, it’s the perfect opportunity to meet new people, practice your English, and perfect your lyrics! So pack your sunscreen, bring plenty of cash for water to stay hydrated, and get ready for the ultimate musical experience!

  1. Panorama Music Festival, July 28th – 30th, New York City

Held at Randall’s Island Park, this year’s show is featuring almost 70 artists over the three-day musical extravaganza. With some talent that has been around for decades to brand new artists, this is one of New York City’s biggest musical celebrations. Because thousands attend this festival every year, you’ll be surrounded by lots of opportunities to practice your English AND get acquainted with some of the best talent in the industry today.

summer music festival in new york

  1. Elements Festival, August 12th – 13th, New York City

This is one of those festivals that is so much more about just music—it’s about the experience. In addition to the dozens of musical acts the festival hosts, it’s also modeled after the earth’s elements (earth, air, water, fire, fifth element). It has interactive art installations, aerial performances, rides, circus performances, and of course, incredible food and beverage vendors. If you’re looking for something a bit more interactive, this is your spot! And again, what better way to put your English skills to use?

  1. Billboard Hot 100 Festival, August 19th – 20th, Long Island, NY

While this festival is a bit of a trek beyond the city’s greater limits, it’s definitely worth the ride if you’re thinking about attending this one. While only about 30 artists are signed on for this year’s festival, the names are a bit bigger, so expect the show’s to be longer, more pyrotechnical, and you can definitely expect the crowds to be more amped up to see some of their favorites.

  1. Electric Zoo, September 1st – 3rd, New York City

Also held at Randall’s Island Park, this festival is still adding names to the lineup, so be sure to keep checking into the status of this festival to see if any of your favorites will be there. With dozens already signed on, this three-day musical extravaganza is one to get excited about. Many of the artists are household names, so if you want to brush up on their music and lyrics, look them up on Spotify, and get to know some popular English tunes and impress your friends by knowing all the words! This one is for sure a NYC favorite, so get excited!

  1. The Meadows Music Festival, September 15th – 17th, New York City

This festival is perhaps the biggest one of the season. Held at Citi Field in Queens, this three-day event features some of the biggest names in hip hop, rap, alternative rock, techno and house music, and pop. With names like Jay Z, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Weezer, and Gorillaz, you’re sure to find that some of your favorites will be there. Because this one is the biggest musical festival of the season, be sure to look into this one as early as possible, as it can quickly sell out!

For me, I find that sometimes I can’t make the festivals—whether it’s due to traveling, the time of the year, or even if I don’t have the funds to purchase the tickets, it’s always a bummer. But I’ve found what helps alleviate the sadness about not being able to go is that I’ll make playlists of all the artists at that festival, and I’ll jam out to it that weekend of the festival so it ALMOST feels like I’m there! Plus, this way, you won’t have to fight the crowds, wait in line for the porta-potties, and you’ll still hear all your favorite music!

Category : Stay in New York

One of my favorite times of the year is baseball season. I grew up in a family that was raised playing the sport, and I grew up decked out in Chicago Cubs gear—it was quite simply a way of life for us. Some of my favorite memories growing up are from the stadium watching my team play with my family and loved ones. Even after I moved away from Chicago, I’d keep my eye on their schedule and see if I could make their away games. In fact, when I was living in Philadelphia, I’d get a bunch of my Phillies fans together and take them to see them play the Cubs. It was the perfect situation for fans of two different teams, and we’d always end up having a blast.

One of the coolest parts of living in New York City is that we have some pretty iconic options when it comes to baseball. The sport itself is timeless and is considered an American pastime, so it’s the perfect opportunity to get adjusted to the New York City experience while you’re learning and practicing your English-speaking skills. If you’re ready for a taste of New York City as well as an iconic American experience, find your best baseball hat, bring some cash for a few hot dogs, and get ready for one of the coolest days ever! And don’t forget to pack your sunscreen!

yankees stadium

1. New York Yankees—Yankees Stadium, Bronx

Getting to Yankees Stadium is an easy shot up the 4 train (don’t forget to use your Google Maps!), so you don’t have to worry about parking or paying for a taxi or fighting traffic. I recommend getting there a bit early so you can have time to check out the gift shops, learn about all the iconic history behind the Yankees, and pick up some great snacks and maybe a beer or two. Luckily, Yankee Stadium is a timeless staple to the New York City experience, so the field gets a lot of other out-of-towners; it’s the perfect opportunity to practice your English with the vendors, other fans, and there’s plenty of memorabilia to read up on so you can become a Yankees expert! And to top it all off, you can then say that you’ve seen one of the most timeless baseball teams in the world—live! After the game, be sure to hit up one of the many surrounding restaurants in the area, themed around the Yankees and some of the team’s most famous players—there’s not a better way to cap off the day than a great meal and a cold beer, surrounded my hundreds of other Yankees fans. I’ll admit—it’s hard to live in New York City and NOT catch the Yankee fever! I’ll always be a Cubs fan at heart, but just don’t tell my family that I’m also a secret Yankees fan!

2. New York Mets—Citi Field, Queens

Getting to Citi Field is just as easy as getting to Yankee Stadium—it’s a straight ride via the 7 train, so again, you don’t have to stress about driving, parking, or fighting any kind of traffic. You can find tickets online, or if you’re feeling lucky, you can show up the day of the game and see what last-minute seats you can find. The great part about baseball season is that there are plenty of games throughout the season, so you have tons of options with timing and availability. The Mets are just as iconic as the Yankees, so it’s the perfect opportunity to check out all the memorabilia and learn about one of the most famous baseball teams in America. And again, it’s the perfect time to practice your English from all the surroundings at the stadium. You can learn some of the most famous baseball terms, practice the iconic Mets players’ names, and pick up on some of the colloquial phrases that baseball brings out in people (I’ll write about these in another article, so you can be sure to practice these before you hit the field!). Again, after the game, don’t forget to stick around and check out all the surrounding restaurants to learn even more about the iconic team and their legen

Category : NYC Today

One of my favorite parts of the warmer weather in New York City is simply being outside. It’s such a refreshing feeling to walk out of my apartment building and not get immediately slapped in the face with a blast of frigid, winter air. I love being able to feel the sun’s heat on my shoulders, I love the smell in the air from the flowers and blooming trees. Even the sound of children playing on the playgrounds has a more jovial ring to it. This time of the year, I’m always looking for things to do outside and ways to spend as much of my time outdoors as possible.

My first summer here, I discovered that many of the New York City parks host movie nights. They’ll put up giant projectors for the film, open their lawns for people to lay under the stars, and provide you with a relaxing and entertaining evening that you can’t find anywhere else. If you’re new to the English language, this is a great way to get some English practice in outside of the classroom. If you request it, the park will even put the closed captioning on the bottom of the screen so you can hear the English and read along, which will more thoroughly guide you through the experience of the movie. In one night, you can practice your English, enjoy a stunning New York City night under the stars, and see any of the dozens of American cinematic films New York City has to offer this summer.

1. Randall’s Island Park, Manhattan

I chose this one first because it’s one of my favorite spots in the city. A quick walk over the 103rd Street footbridge, this island is an awesome, tucked-away location, making it feel like a secret within the city. I tend to go here before heading to Central Park because it’s not as populated, and it’s right on the water of the East River. This season, Randall’s Island Park is celebrating its 25th anniversary, so they’re honoring this milestone by showing movies from 1992. Because it’s not as populated as other parks in the city, this is your best option when it comes to gathering a group of friends, packing a picnic basket with movie treats, blankets, and chairs. Socialize before the movie to brush up on your English social phrases, then during the movie, catch up on some cultural American classics on the giant projector.

2. Bryant Park, Manhattan

This is another one of my favorite spots to catch a movie at dusk. While this location is much more popular and tends to be more crowded, it’s still an awesome experience to know that you’re sharing the evening with hundreds of other New Yorkers looking to enjoy a warm night in New York City. The great part about this location is its proximity to the Hester Street Fair on the Fountain Terrace. This alleviates your need to pack food; pick up some great treats to snack on during the movie, and don’t forget to pack your blankets and maybe a sweatshirt for those cooler nights. With this spot being much more populated, this gives you the chance to mingle with other fellow New Yorkers and practice your English skills. With a movie showing every week, you definitely won’t run out of options!


3. Cedar Hill, Central Park, Manhattan

This spot is my next favorite just because it’s Central Park, and what’s not to love about this spot?! Located just off the East 79th Street entrance, the field is easy to find, and again, you’ll be amongst hundreds of other New Yorkers, so it’ll be a really cool experience if you’re looking for something to do on a beautiful day. The other amazing perk of these evenings is that the experiences are completely free, so there’s no need whatsoever to worry about entrance—just bring your friends, your snacks, and your blankets! These evenings also tend to be pretty populated, but again, it’s the perfect opportunity to mingle with fellow New Yorkers, and you’ll get the added bonus of brushing up on some of America’s favorite and most classic cinematic features!

If you’re located outside of Manhattan, there are also plenty of other fields and parks in Queens, the Bronx, and Brooklyn, so just do a quick Google search in your area, and you’re sure to find something in your neighborhood!

Category : New York

After enduring a long and cold winter in New York City, it can be so refreshing to have cooperative weather that doesn’t require three layers of clothing, hats and scarves, or even closed shoes. For me, turning my heat off and opening the windows in my apartment is the official launch of spring in New York City. While not every day is guaranteed to be beautiful, the first signs of spring or even early summer can be enough to completely change your mindset. I find myself taking the long way home, eating my lunch outside, and meeting friends for dinners way more often than I was in the colder months.

If you’re new to New York City and learning English, this is also one of the best times of the year to experience the thrills of the Big Apple. Restaurants open their sidewalks for outside dining, shops and salons keep their doors open to allow the fresh air in, and there are more street vendors out than any other time of the year. The warm weather tends to put everyone in good moods, it brings people out of the apartment buildings, and it encourages people to be social and spend time outdoors again. Since I’ve been living in Manhattan, I’ve been the most social during the warmer months because I was more excited to simply just be outside in the fresh air. As a result, this is the most ideal time for practicing your English with your friends and anyone else you interact with along the way.

1. 9/11 Memorial

September 11th was an international tragedy, and if you find yourself with a day off, I highly recommend visiting the outdoor memorial in Lower Manhattan. This stunning tribute to those we lost in the attacks will take your breath away, and it will immediately take you back to the very moment you found out about the event. The memorial is surrounded by incredible information regarding the attacks, the victims, and hope for the future—while the mood in this location tends to be quiet and respectful, it’s still a great way to practice your English-reading while simultaneously learning more about the attack’s impact. Pick up the informational brochures to practice your English reading, and be sure to ask the guides questions in English.

memorial tower in manhattan

2. The Cloisters

A part of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, this is a museum in Upper Manhattan with incredible medieval history and a stunning outdoor scenic location. While you’re walking the grounds on a beautiful spring day, you can take in the rich European history from this museum; if you can, make sure to visit the garden area of the experience. These spots have been designed to resemble the actual presentation of the medieval gardens, and expert historical horticulturists actually tend these gardens to truthfully resemble the real structure and dynamic of these buildings. As any museum has written information to guide you along, the Cloisters also does so you can again engage with your English vocabulary and put your learning to good use! Don’t forget to ask questions along the way and take in the beautiful outdoor scenery!

3. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Cantor Roof

If you plan on going to the Met at all this season, be sure to visit one particular part of the museum: this spring, the roof of the Met will be open for a customized art display, which will stunningly overlook Central Park. Celebrated as one of the best museums in the world, Cantor Roof always delivers the best of the best in terms of international displays. So while you’re here, you’ll not only learn about the international artist and the inspiration behind the artwork, but you’ll be doing so by consuming the content in English! You’ll be getting fresh air, practice with your English, AND exposure to international culture, all in one stop! Be sure to stick around afterwards to visit the Garden Café and Martini Bar, also on the roof. Overlooking Central Park, this will be the perfect way to cap off an informational and educational day.

Category : New York

If you’re looking for an incredibly fun activity now that the weather is warming up, I highly recommend checking out a baseball game. New York City has two major league baseball teams: the New York Yankees and the New York Mets. Both home fields are easy to get to, and if the weather is permitting, an afternoon home game can turn an average day into an amazing one.

Baseball is often referred to as America’s pastime. It’s a timeless sport in the United States, and both New York-based teams are treasured units in New York City. Fans of both the Yankees and the Mets take their teams very seriously and are loyal to their traditions. Before you hit either field, I’m prepping you on some phrases that you might overhear while you’re there. This way, you can practice these English phrases before you go, and you’ll know how to shout when your new home team scores a homerun!

1. “Play Ball!”

Right before the game starts, the whole field will salute during the National Anthem. During this song, everyone will stand facing the American flag, and the men will remove their hats and hold them against their hearts. At the end of the song, you’ll hear people shout, “Play Ball!” This phrase will signify the beginning of the game, and it riles everyone up for a great baseball game. It’ll kick-start the whole experience.

2. “It’s Outta Here!”

If a player hits a ball all the way out of the stadium, it’s considered a home run, and it’s one of the greatest plays in the sport. It’s a huge point of celebration, and you’ll hear many people shout this once the ball is declared as a homerun. It’s a great feeling when you’re shouting this with everyone else in the stadium.

3. Seventh Inning Stretch

This is another baseball tradition. The whole game lasts 9 innings, so in the middle of the 7th inning, the whole stadium will stand up for another song called, “Take Me Out to the Ball Game.” This song is meant to give the players a break during the game, and then it’s also a chance to stretch your legs, get some last minute snacks, or simply participate in a timeless tradition. Check out the song on YouTube and learn the words, so when you get to the stadium, you can sing along in unison with everyone else. It’s a really fun tradition!

people in the ballpark

4. Bases Loaded

When there are players on all bases, you’ll hear this phrase. This is a really big deal, since it means that if the next player at bat hits a home run, it means that all the players will get to run to home base, which then makes that play a Grand Slam. This doesn’t happen all that often, so if it happens while you’re there, you’re in for a great moment of celebration. It’s really exciting if you get to be a part of it!

5.“Foul Ball!”

If a player hits the ball out of bounds, it means it doesn’t count as a regular hit and the player can attempt to hit the ball again. This can also be a really exciting time, since if your seats are close enough to the field, you might have the chance to catch it and keep the ball! This is one of the coolest parts of going to a game—so make sure you bring a glove!

6.Extra Innings

If the game is a tie by the time of the ninth inning, that means the game will go into extra innings. Again, this isn’t super common, but if you find yourself at a game where this happens, it can also be really exciting just because it is so rare. It can turn into a serious nail-biter, so be prepared!


If a player misses a ball, it’s considered a strike. When this happens, you’ll hear the umpire behind the batter say the word strike just like this. It might sound a bit weird, but it’s another really neat tradition in the game of baseball. Once you hear it said this way, you might find that you won’t say it any differently that the umpire did.

Category : How to Learn