New York City has something for everyone! This vibrant city has endless things to do and places to see any time of the year.
New York is the main character of famous TV shows, the home of art movements, an epicenter of music and theater, and a bucket list destination for nearly all wanderlusters.
When is the best time to visit New York City? That’s a complex question with an answer that changes based on your travel style and reasons for visiting. We have answers for every traveler type below.
We’ll cover the cheapest, the busiest, and the best time to visit New York City. We’ve also got you covered for planning exactly when to book your trip with a month-by-month breakdown of what to expect in New York.
Why You Should Visit New York City
New York City is one of those destinations that hardly needs to boast about the attention it deserves. Alicia Keys and Jay-Z did a pretty great job of highlighting why you should visit NYC, but we’ll add to their praises.
New York City has a long history of being a favored destination for world travelers. Staten Island is where many immigrants first stepped onto American soil and started their new lives.
This hub of immigration birthed unique styles and cultures that fused with American customs. Today, New York City and its surrounding neighborhoods still show off the unique personalities and heritage of its residents.
The art scene boomed in the Big Apple during the early 1900s. Ever since, New York City has been a must-visit place to see famous works of art in the many galleries and art museums throughout the city.
New York is the birthplace of more than a handful of musical genres. The New York music scene is world-renowned for hip-hop, punk rock, new wave, and more. Broadway Street has been famous for its theaters and live shows since the 1700s.
Broadway musicals and plays are a major attraction in New York for tourists.
If those aren’t enough reasons to visit New York, remember that this city also boasts Michelin-rated restaurants, world-renowned shopping, and stunning cityscapes. New York City is always alive with fun activities and things to do.
Still, there are times when New York is better to visit than others. Continue reading to learn more about the best time to visit New York City.
Overall Best Time to Visit New York City
The best time to visit New York City is during the fall. Head to the Big Apple between late August to early November for the city’s best weather and a stunning fall foliage display.
During the autumn, there is a beautiful energy in the city. On one hand, everyone takes advantage of the last sunny and warm days by spending time in parks and outdoor spaces.
On the other hand, as the weather cools, people begin to head to cozy places indoors. There’s nothing like the smell of the leaves on the cool autumn breeze and the colors that brighten the otherwise concrete city.
You’ll feel like you’re in a movie as you stroll through Central Park in the fall with a coffee or hot chocolate in hand. Of course, another best time to visit New York City is during December, when the city is decorated in bright lights and festive holiday colors.
The giant Christmas tree in Rockefeller Square is a bucket list dream for many travelers, but traveling during the holidays is costly. So keep that in mind to avoid getting sticker shock.
Cheapest Time to Visit New York City
The best time to visit New York City and find a good deal is during the winter (avoiding holidays). Head to New York between January and March for the best hotel rates and cheapest flights.
Most travelers visit New York City during the spring, summer, autumn, and holidays. There’s a window between Thanksgiving and Christmas, and New Year and Memorial Day, where hotel rates are at their lowest.
Least Busy Time to Visit New York City
Simply put, the least busy time to visit New York City is during the wintertime because there are fewer tourists. However, this comes with a big caveat: New York City is bustling with millions of people every day of the year.
The crowds can spread out between parks, patios, and indoor spaces when the weather is favorable. Plus, many local New Yorkers head out of the city in the summertime.
During the winter, everyone flocks indoors. So while there are fewer tourists in winter, locals and tourists are more likely to be in indoor places like museums, shopping centers, or theaters.
Worst Time to Visit New York City
There’s no bad time to visit NYC. However, locals will tell you that the worst time to visit New York City is in the summer. Summertime weather and time off from school bring thousands of tourists to the city.
At the same time, temperatures get swelteringly hot between June and August. Summertime in New York City means more crowds, busy subways, and higher hotel rates.
That said, summertime is one of the best times to visit New York for the vibrant nightlife. Another of the worst times to visit New York is when a major concert or event occurs in the city.
New York City by Month
Are you ready to start picking your travel dates? Now that you’ve narrowed down the best season to travel, learn more about what NYC is like each month of the year.
Keep in mind that New York City gets about seven to eight days of average rainfall every month of the year. Be sure to pack rainproof clothing alongside your other essentials no matter the month.
January in New York City is cold and snowy. Despite the harsh winter weather, after New Year’s Eve celebrations are over, January is a great month to visit NYC because hotel rates and flights become their cheapest.
If you’re traveling to New York City in January, expect temperatures below freezing. Be sure to pack lots of warm clothes for your trip because temperatures reach a low of 26 degrees Fahrenheit and a high of 39 degrees Fahrenheit during January.
New York City in February is similar to January. You’re likely to experience snow and temperatures below freezing. But, like January, February is a good time to visit New York for budget-friendly travel.
Expect highs of 43 degrees Fahrenheit and lows of 29 degrees Fahrenheit when traveling to New York City in February.
March marks the very first signs of spring in New York. You’re likely to have cold weather and some snow in March, but temperatures reach a high of 52 degrees Fahrenheit and a low of 36 degrees Fahrenheit.
Keep in mind that the spring break holidays are in March. You’re likely to pay more for hotels and flights if you travel during spring break.
April is one of the best times to visit New York City because spring is just beginning. New York City in April has a vibrant energy that you can feel in the air.
April is when locals finally start returning to outdoor spaces after the long winter months, though there still may be a few more snowy days yet. Expect highs of 64 degrees Fahrenheit and lows of 45 degrees Fahrenheit in New York in April.
May is when spring has truly sprung in New York. New York in the springtime is special because there is an appreciation for the city from tourists and locals that is contagious. The city warms up, and the snow is nearly all melted.
Hotel rates in May are well-priced compared to the high season in summer and the holidays. Expect highs of 72 degrees Fahrenheit and lows of 54 degrees Fahrenheit during May.
June is the start of the summer and the beginning of New York City’s high season for travel. Hotel rates and flights are more expensive in June than in previous months.
June is a popular time to visit New York because the weather is warm without being intensely hot.
You can enjoy both outdoor activities and indoor happenings in June. If you’re traveling to New York in June, expect highs of 80 degrees Fahrenheit and lows of 64 degrees Fahrenheit.
New York in July is intense. The summer sun reflects off the buildings and makes the city feel even hotter than it actually is. Be prepared with sunscreen and lots of water when you’re exploring Central Park or wandering the city streets of New York in July.
New York hotels and flights are more expensive in the summer than in other seasons, so keep this in mind as you budget for your trip. Expect highs of 84 degrees Fahrenheit and lows of 69 degrees Fahrenheit throughout the month of July.
August is very similar to July in New York. Expect higher than average hotel and flight rates and swelteringly hot weather when visiting New York in August. Temperatures in August reach highs of 84 degrees Fahrenheit and lows of 69 degrees Fahrenheit.
September is one of the best times to visit the Big Apple. Temperatures begin to drop to a comfortable level with highs of 76 degrees Fahrenheit and lows of 61 degrees Fahrenheit. In September, the leaves begin to change color, making for dramatic backdrops in all your travel photos.
According to locals, October is the best time to visit New York City. October is when summertime crowds are gone, the city streets are lined with yellow and red autumn leaves, and temperatures reach highs of 64 degrees Fahrenheit and lows of 50 degrees Fahrenheit.
November marks the beginning of wintertime in New York. Pack warm clothes because temperatures reach highs of 55 degrees Fahrenheit and lows of 42 degrees Fahrenheit throughout the month.
December is a special time to visit New York because the city is bright with decorations all month. Despite the cold weather, December brings people outside to glide on skating rinks or buy presents.
If you’re traveling to New York in December, expect highs of 44 degrees Fahrenheit and lows of 31 degrees Fahrenheit.
Things to Consider
- New York City is expensive. New York City brings business travelers and tourists to the city year-round. While you’re likely to get better rates during the winter months, hotels in NYC receive plenty of bookings all throughout the year, making discounts a bit harder to find.
- Get acquainted with the street names. New York City is pretty easy to navigate once you get the hang of things. Most of the street names are numbered, and the streets move up and down in numerical order, which helps to keep you oriented.
- Expect value directions. If you ask for directions, you’ll likely be pointed to the nearest intersection — for example, 5th Avenue and East 76th Street.
- Keep it moving. Stereotypes are no fun, but you will see a mean New Yorker if you stop in the middle of the sidewalk. If you do need to stop and check your map, get off to the side so that people can pass by as they hurry from one place to the next.
Frequently Asked Questions
Find the answers to your top questions about New York City below:
What are the top things to do in New York City?
Some of the best things to do in New York City include:
- Central Park
- The Statue of Liberty
- Rockefeller Center
- Times Square Ball Drop
- Broadway Shows
- Fifth Avenue Shopping
- Sports Games
New York is bursting with popular attractions and fun things to do. On top of things to do, there is lots of delicious food to eat in New York! This city is home to top-rated restaurants and hole-in-the-wall eateries with some of the best bagels and pizza you’ll ever try.
How long should I spend in New York?
Spend four days to one week in New York City. A long weekend in the city is a great way to see lots of top attractions and have time to appreciate them. Of course, the longer you have in NYC, the more you can do and enjoy. With more than one week in New York, consider exploring surrounding boroughs like Brooklyn, Queens, Staten Island, and the Bronx.
Where is the best place to stay in New York?
The best place to stay in New York is Manhattan. This New York borough is considered to be the heart of NYC, with most of the top attractions located in Manhattan. The best areas to stay in Manhattan are the Upper West Side, SoHo, the West Village, and the Upper East Side.
What is the best way to get around in New York?
New York is famous for its yellow taxi cabs. Hail a taxi down and get around the busy city for a pretty steep cost. Or do as the locals do. New York City has a subway system that is an affordable way to get around the city and take in the vibrancy of its citizens without sitting in traffic.
What is the population of New York?
New York State has a population of about 19.51 million people. On the other hand, New York City boasts a population of around 8.38 million people.
So, What’s the Best Time to Visit New York?
In the end, any time is a good time to visit NYC. Locals will tell you that the best time to visit New York City is when the autumn foliage changes and everyone begins to get excited for Christmas.
However, if you like the heat or are coming to New York for a specific event, then the best time to visit New York City is as soon as you can get your ticket!