One of the most essential parts of planning a trip is figuring out the best time to visit the destination of your choice. Therefore, if you are heading to The Big Apple for a stay, the good news is that the best time to visit is pretty much anytime. In fact, the City has something for everyone year-round, and each of its four seasons are all gorgeous in their own special way.
On the other hand, there are incentives that can influence when you want to go there, such as cheaper plane & hotel rates, the type of weather you prefer and more. You don’t want to miss out on killer major events and venues you can’t find anywhere else, either. Keep in mind that you may find that NYC events look different than they did in previous years. There is still enough fun to go around, though.
In light of all that, we’ve put together this excellent overview to help you learn more about the best time to visit New York City, and the activities you can enjoy once you’re there.
What to Know Before You Plan Your Trip
A well-planned itinerary will take the stress out of your vacation, and it is easy to put together. Whether you’re planning to take a short business trip, or are planning to travel there without an end date in sight, the following steps will take you from brainstorming your beginning plans to finalizing the moment you step foot in Gotham.
- Estimate your travel budget: Start saving for your trip ASAP and figure out your travel budget. That can involve anything from identifying your big-ticket items to calculating expenses for accommodations, meals and transportation.
- Know the lay of the land: For the best experience, you should brush up on the culture, laws and other important things to know about a destination before you go.
- Research things to do (we help with that next): Things you want to do can sometimes determine where you stay. For starters, you can research the things to do in NYC that appeal to you. You can look at well-rated venues and events at online travel companies and travel blogs to get an idea.
- Book plane tickets and places to stay: Spontaneity can be wonderful, but it’s always a good idea to book plane tickets and accommodations well ahead of when you go. Sometimes this simply isn’t possible for business trips, but booking in advance typically helps get you the best prices and discounts. Get all the details about the hotel booking, including names, too.
- Get travel insurance: This type of insurance minimizes travel risk, helping you offset certain losses you incur. Surprisingly, there is even COVID-19 travel insurance being offered now that helps you guard against pandemic problems like medical expenses due to the coronavirus.
- Pack your suitcases, laptops, carry-ons, etc: Do this and any other last-minute prep right before you head out to make sure you don’t stress or forget something important. Remember, you’ll find that time will be especially precious once you head to the airport.
Best Season to Visit New York
Fall and spring are considered by tourists and locals as the best times to visit, and you can expect pleasant temperatures to reign in the months from April to June and September until November. However, the best times of year to visit New York City for warm weather activities are from mid-June to July and from early August to the end of September.
Peak Tourist Season
The peak tourism season in the city extends over two periods: In the summer from June to August, and then again in winter from November to December. Many international tourists flow to New York in the summer resulting in huge crowds and queues at all the wonderful attractions. Thanksgiving and Christmas also attract a lot of domestic tourists. The price of airfare skyrockets and the accommodations sell out quickly.
Low Tourist Season
Low tourist time in New York extends from January to March when winter has hold of the city. The cold weather also means lower hotel rates. The coldest months are January and February, and because of climate change, NYC has greater frequency of snow storms. Cold weather and snow doesn’t mean the city ever stops, though.
What to Expect Each Season in NYC
While most places have four seasons, Gotham literally has five when you add in the bustling holiday season. Keep in mind that weather in the four seasons can fluctuate, and that each of them have their own attractions and charms. You can read on to find out a little more about them.
New York in Spring
Spring is fresh and magnificent in New York, and the locals celebrate the winter thaw by doing things like shopping at the massive selection of street markets, playing chess at the park and dining alfresco.
New York in Summer
Sensational outdoor events abound in New York once the heat cranks up, and July and August are peak times to head to the beach or the pool to cool off. If you go to New York during this time, you’ll see that the city literally comes to life in summertime!
New York in Autumn
You can expect mild temperatures to dominate in the months from September until November. Early fall offers crisp breezes and bright, golden sunlight peeking through the trees and cityscapes. The fall foliage in NYC is to die for and fall festivals, packed with hundreds of events to choose from abound during this time.
New York in Winter
Winter in NYC is actually one of the most festive and exciting times to travel there. Winter begins at the end of November, and lasts until the end of March. Snow can fall anytime between November and into April, which can be a deterrent for some. For others, it’s a great time to bundle up and see what The Big Apple has to offer.
Bonus: Holiday Season
The empire state provides picture postcard views and an unrivaled winter experience, and the time around Thanksgiving and the weeks after is when it is best for people to experience the holidays.
Weather in New York Year Round
Throughout the year, the temperatures in New York typically vary from around 28°F to 85°F. Additionally, they hardly ever below 14°F or above 92°F.
When Is The Best Time To Visit New York City?
So, you may still be wondering when is the best time to visit New York City. The answer lies mainly with you, but to help you further, we’ve put together a month-by-month guide for what to expect when you go, including weather and seasonal events.
January in New York City
January is cold and cloudy. You can expect daytime temperatures to stay around 39 to 41°F and lows to be around 28 to 31°F during the month. Still, that doesn’t mean that you aren’t presented with a veritable laundry list of fun wintertime activities to do. From cozying up in a private rooftop igloo to experiencing wintry transformations of rooftop restaurants and bars, to ice-skating in one of the city’s parks, there are ample opportunities to have the time of your life. Afterward, you can treat yourself to a spa day to keep yourself warm.
February in New York City
In February, daytime temperatures stay around 40 to 45°F and lows to be around 28 to 32°F. New York has two bigger-than-life New Year’s celebrations. First, there is the New Year’s Eve celebration on Dec. 31, and the other is the colorful and exuberant celebration of Chinese New Year. This year rings in the year of the ox and can’t-be-missed activities at the venue include Chinatown’s Firecracker Ceremony, featuring plenty of loud, bursting firecrackers, and the Chinese New Year Parade that features martial arts performances, dragon dances, stunning outfits and delicious cuisine.
March in New York City
Things are starting to warm up to herald spring’s arrival on March 20. You can expect daytime temperatures to stay around 46 to 55°F and lows to be around 33 to 41°F in March. Residents are also emerging from their homes to take to the streets for the fun opportunities the warmer weather brings. March is also the Month of College Basketball, and watching teams like Syracuse, Cornell, Siena shoot the hoops is absolutely electrifying. For professional basketball fans, you can watch and cheer while the New York Knicks play the May Madison Square Garden games.
April in New York City
Spring continues, and temperatures continue to warm up more in April. The daytime temperatures will stay around 55 to 66°F and lows are around 41 to 51°F. Outdoor activities continue to attract, and now is prime time to walk the Highline and take in the arts and scenery or enjoy the fresh air and animals at the Bronx Zoo. You can enjoy times up high, too, and the Empire State Building, Top of the Rock and the Edge provide jaw dropping vantage points to see spring splendor and other cool sights from high above.
May in New York City
May is a perfect month to walk around NY, and people are out and about and enjoying things to do outside. The highs stay around 67 to 75°F. You’ll find people picnicking among the waterfronts or strolling among the trees and blooming tulips at one of New York City’s many beautiful parks. The month is also made for music lovers, and you can catch talented performers at indoor and outdoor concert venues. The Big Apple is surrounded on all sides by water, so taking a boat tour is an excellent way to get out there and enjoy pleasant breezes and fantastic views. Boat tours in May to try out include hot tub cruises, music cruises, dinner cruises and even cruise on the ferry if you are on a budget.
June in New York City
In June, daytime temperatures are still mild, with the highs ranging between 75°F and 82°F. June’s gorgeous weather makes it a perfect time to hit the stands and attend a Major League Baseball Game at one of the city’s stadiums. Located in the Bronx, Yankee Stadium has reopened after the pandemic, and now is a good time to go and see the NY Yankees play against the Rays on Lou Gehrig Day, June 2. For tickets and other information, you can go see the schedule on the Yankee’s interactive website.
July in New York City
Summer makes its presence known in July, where daytime temperatures can hit 84 to 85°F. The warm weather is ideal for frolicking at the beach and New York has some really nice beaches to choose from. The fun is also jumping at iconic Coney Island, which provides respite from the bustling, steaming city and an outlet for many summer and Fourth of July activities. July 24 –25 marks the 10th Anniversary of the New York City Poetry Festival, so poetry enthusiasts will want to mark that down on their calendar. Headliners in attendance for 2021 include notable poets Terrance Hayes, Paul Muldoon and Ariana Reines.
August in New York City
The mercury hits 84°F and goes down to around 80°F the last week of August. The month is pretty much smack-dab in the sultry dog days of summer, so the theme is relief from the sun with some shade. This year, be sure to check out the eye-catching new features on the recently renovated and covered Concert Grove Pavilion, which can be reserved for private parties, and the Endale Arch. Meanwhile, all indoor city pools have reopened in NYC and one to try out is Wall Street Bath & Spa. The establishment not only has a cold-plunge pool, but it also has a hot tub, a steam room, and several saunas.
September in New York City
Many New Yorkers will tell you that September has to be the most pleasant month of them all when it comes to sunny skies and low heat and humidity. September highs range from the low 80s at the beginning of the month to the low 70s toward the end. You can experience scenic boat tours by day or attend Broadway Theatre by night. The balmy weather also provides the perfect climate for biking in Central Park or across the Brooklyn Bridge. Fans of Italian culture and food can head to Little Italy in NYC for the Feast of San Gennaro, which runs for a little over a week in September.
October in New York City
Like September, October has some particularly gorgeous weather, and it’s great for a city trip. You can make an afternoon or evening of it with the Parade of Boats in at Pier 62 in Chelsea, NY Comic Con and spooky ghost tours that help celebrate Halloween. For a little bit of nostalgia, you can snag tickets and go and see Frankie Valli & the Four Seasons, who will perform at the George Theatre in Staten Island on October 22, 2021. The group will perform familiar classics such as “Sherry Baby,” “My Eyes Adored You” and “Grease.” Expect temperatures to start out with highs in the lower 70s which will drop about 10 degrees by the last of the month.
November in New York City
November signifies chillier temperatures and sweater weather as winter creeps up. Mornings are brisk and daytime temperatures range from 59°F Nov1 to 50°F by Nov. 30. While everyone acclimates to the season change, there are many fun indoors activities to do that make the most of the shorter days. For one, you can enrich your mind and learn a new skill by live streaming a Portuguese Custard Tart Baking Class. For a taste of some real sweets, though, you can head to ChikaLicious Dessert Bar in Manhattan to indulge in a decadent three-course dessert menu and fine wine pairing for the main course.
December in New York City
In December, daytime temperatures stay around 42 to 49°F and lows tend to be around 31 to 38°F. NYC neighborhoods are festooned with twinkling lights, glitter and other holiday decorations. Plenty of exciting venues are built around the holidays, one of them being the iconic production of The Nutcracker ballet. Also, nature lovers can warm up with the beautiful butterflies on exhibit inside the American Museum of Natural History or put on layers and traverse the beautiful exhibits outside in the city’s Botanical Gardens. Starting at the end of December you can also toast the holiday with wizard-styled drinks at the Steamy hollows pop up cafe.