Best Time to Visit New York City: An In-Depth Seasonal Guide

Wondering what is the best time to visit New York City? Let us lead you through the seasons in the Big Apple, the city that never sleeps!

It’s true what they say. There’s never a bad time to visit New York City! Many of the attractions are beautiful and open to the public year-round, like the historic Brooklyn Bridge and the always bustling Times Square.

So really, when you’re thinking about the best time to go to New York City, just picture what kind of trip you want. Are you up for lots of outdoor adventures? Or maybe you’re more into checking out indoor places when they’re not too crowded? Whatever you’re dreaming of, our guide has got you covered. Let’s figure out the perfect time for your NYC trip!

Spring in New York City

Weather Overview

New York City really comes to life in spring! Starting around the middle of March, it’s not as cold and windy, and it doesn’t rain too much–usually about 11 days in the whole month. Plus, it’s not too humid, so it’s a great time of year to start doing things outside.

In general, during spring in NYC, you’ll see flowers starting to bloom, feel some light breezes and a bit of rain, and the weather can be anywhere from a bit chilly to pretty warm. The months of March to June are the best months to visit New York City for a more comfortable temperature to spend outside.

Lilly pads on a pond next to a glass conservatory buildingMajor Events

NYC in Spring is buzzing with excitement, but two events that really stand out are St Patrick s Day and the Cherry Blossom Festival.

St. Patrick’s Day is celebrated annually on March 17th, and this holds true for New York City as well. New York City throws one of the world’s oldest and biggest parades for it. You’ll see lots of bands, bagpipers, and groups showing off their Irish heritage. It’s a lively, fun day filled with green outfits and of course cold brew!

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Then there’s the Cherry Blossom Festival, also known as Sakura Matsuri, over at the Brooklyn Botanical Gardens. This festival usually happens in late April or early May, coinciding with the peak bloom of the cherry blossoms. It of course celebrates Japanese culture, so you’ll find all sorts of cool stuff like traditional music and art.

Outdoor and Indoor Activities

Spring’s great weather is perfect for getting out and about in New York City. It’s cool enough to enjoy a stroll, but not too hot. You could take a walk through neighborhoods like Little Italy, Greenwich Village, Soho, and Chinatown with an expert guide who can show you the mix of cultures that make New York such a special place.

Or, why not plan a trip to see the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island? Spring weather makes for a comfortable ferry ride to these iconic landmarks.

And of course, don’t forget about Central Park! It’s absolutely beautiful in spring, full of blooming trees and flowers. A guided walking tour, like The Essential Central Park Tour, can help you see all the best spots and learn some interesting facts about this famous park.

daytime view of the statue of liberty with the nyc skyline in the backgroundTravel Advice

Spring is undoubtedly New York best time to visit for many. This is why popular tours, especially those related to outdoor attractions like the Statue of Liberty and Central Park, can fill up quickly in spring. Book in advance to secure your spot!

Additionally, spring in NYC can be unpredictable. Bring layers like light jackets, sweaters, and comfortable walking shoes. It can be cool in the mornings and evenings but warmer in the afternoons.

Summer in New York City

Weather Overview

Summer is the best time of the year to visit New York if you love warm, sunny days and enjoy being outside late thanks to the sun setting later. The average temperature usually stays around 70°F (22°C). However, during the day it can get up to 85°F (29°C), but at night it cools down to about 65°F (18°C). Be ready for some real heat towards the end of July, though. Sometimes it even shoots up to 100°F (35°C)!

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Despite the heat, summer is still and will probably always be the tourist peak season in New York. This means popular attractions are crowded. Regardless, many will agree this is the best time to catch free music shows, watch movies outside in parks, check out food fairs, and wander through street markets.

Looking up at the One World Trade Center - NYC, New York, USAMajor Events

Shakespeare in the Park is one of the most sought-after free events in New York City during summer. This happens every summer, starting from late May or early June, and goes on until around August. People love it because they put on these amazing Shakespeare plays in the open air, and the actors are top-notch. You get both new and famous actors performing–some really big names have been part of it! It’s all about bringing Shakespeare’s stories to life in a really cool, outdoor setting.

Then, there’s this fun summer event on Roosevelt Island called Roosevelt Island Day. The island community throws a big party with carnival rides, live music, and all kinds of food. City-wide beautification projects make the celebration stand out too. It’s a day where everyone comes together, enjoys the festivities, and celebrates the community spirit of Roosevelt Island.

Outdoor and Indoor Activities

Summer’s the best time to visit NYC if you’re into outdoor photography. On clear days, why not head up to the Edge NYC Observation Deck or the Top of the Rock? The views of the city are incredible, and there’s a higher chance of the clouds cooperating to not block those awesome skyline views.

Of course, you’ve got to hit Central Park. It’s buzzing with people enjoying the sun, hanging out with picnics, or just relaxing. If you want to see a lot of the park, we recommend renting a bike. An e-bike is even better if you’re planning to explore for a few hours.

For couples, it’s not a bad idea to book a Spirit of New York Signature Dinner Cruise. The cool breeze and the water are a welcome respite, plus super romantic and perfect for summer evenings!

And even though it’s outdoorsy stuff we’re talking about, don’t miss the 9/11 Memorial & Museum in summer. Especially around September 11th, they have special events to remember the 2001 attacks. It’s attended by families of the victims, survivors, first responders, city officials, and the public, and is often covered by media outlets worldwide.

Circle Line Sightseeing Cruises - NYC, New York, USA
Jet off on a sightseeing cruise in NYC this summer

Travel Advice

Our number one travel advice for summer visitors is to dress for the weather! Lightweight, breathable clothing is best. Try to schedule outdoor activities in the morning or late afternoon when it’s cooler. Midday can be quite hot, so that’s a good time for indoor attractions like museums. But don’t forget that summer thunderstorms can pop up unexpectedly. Carry a lightweight raincoat or umbrella just in case.

Fall in New York City

Weather Overview

When you’re thinking about when is the best time to visit New York, don’t overlook fall, especially October. It’s this sweet spot where you get days that are a mix of warm and a bit cool. Not a lot of rain either, plus the fall foliage in places like Central Park, along Park Avenue, or up in North Manhattan are just beautiful.

Fall temperature in NYC is usually around 75F (about 23C), then it drops to the low 50s (around 10C) at night. You can say goodbye to those hot, sticky summer days and expect comfier temperatures.

Wide shot looking over the edge observation deck with people milling about and manhattan in the backgroundMajor Events

Fall in NYC is packed with some really cool events, including Comic Con! It’s one of the biggest events for pop culture in the U.S. If you’re into comic books, sci-fi, and fantasy, this is the place to be. There are panel discussions, chances to get autographs, screenings, and a big area where artists and vendors show off their cool merch.

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Then there’s the Thanksgiving Day Parade, also known as Macy s Thanksgiving Day. Giant balloons float above the city, accompanied by top-notch marching bands, and other live performances. People from all over come to see it, and the streets are packed with crowds enjoying the festive vibe.

Let’s not forget the Feast of San Gennaro in Little Italy! This festival is all about Italian-American culture, with processions, parades, live music, and so much Italian food to try. Aside from celebrating the life of San Gennaro of Naples who was Bishop of Benevento, Italy, and was martyred in 305AD, locals and tourists love it because it’s like a big, lively street party.

Outdoor and Indoor Activities

When fall hits New York City, the seasonal Broadway shows start to light up the city’s theater district again. It’s the best month to visit New York to catch these shows earlier on. One of the stars of the season is the New York City’s The Nutcracker. It’s this amazing ballet about a girl who ends up in a magical world with toy soldiers and mice. The music by Tchaikovsky is stunning, and the dancing, costumes, and sets are the cherry on top.

As it gets colder and we edge closer to winter, you’ve got other great indoor things to do, like watching Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, a must-see for Potter fans. The story is about how Harry struggles with his past and how his son, Albus, copes with the burden of a family legacy he never wanted.

Of course, we can’t forget about catching a New York Yankees game. Fall can be super exciting, especially if the Yankees are in the playoffs. Witness your favorite team score and cheer with all the fans live at the Yankees Stadium!

Two new york yankees players jumping up and celebrating by hitting elbowsTravel Advice

Places like Central Park and the High Line are beautiful in the fall with their colorful leaves. It’s a perfect time for leisurely walks or bike rides, but please note that fall weather in NYC can vary. Bring a mix of light and warm clothing. A comfortable jacket for cooler days and evenings is a must! And if you’re in the city around Halloween, you may want to pack a costume! You’ll find many fun and spooky events around the city.

Winter in New York City

Weather Overview

So, what is the cheapest month to visit New York? You’re looking at winter, which includes December, January and February. The big reason it’s cheaper is because of the cold weather. During these months, it’s pretty much freezing in NYC and with the wind chill, it feels even colder.

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It’s common for the city to get several inches of snow in a day. Daylight hours are shorter too, which means less time for sightseeing in the daylight. All these things together–the cold, the snow, shorter days–make winter the least expensive time to visit.

christmas tree in rockefeller center
Rockefeller Christmas Tree/Anthony Quintani, flickr

Major Events

Rockefeller Center’s Christmas Tree Lighting kicks off the holiday season, usually in late November or early December. This iconic event features a massive, beautifully decorated Christmas tree, with live performances as sprinkles on top!

And of course, we have the New Year’s Eve in Times Square. Experiencing the famous ball drop, along with music, confetti, and the jubilant crowd, is a bucket list for many. The holiday season offers one of the best times to visit New York if you want to experience world-class festivities one after the other.

Outdoor and Indoor Activities

When it’s winter in New York City, and too chilly for long walks outside, it’s a great time to check out some of the city’s famous indoor attractions. Grab the opportunity to book Meet the Met: Metropolitan Museum of Art Tour, The Museum of Modern Art – MoMA, and the American Museum of Natural History to explore these places as if these places were all yours. You won’t be competing with the tourist crowd as much. You can take your time checking out everything!

red ornaments holiday decor in NYC
photo credit: Jon Tyson via Unsplash

Travel Advice

Snowy New York is beautiful, but it can lead to delays, especially with transport, like buses and trains running slower. Always check the schedule in advance and give yourself extra travel time. And with the weather being unpredictable, sometimes outdoor activities might not be possible. Have some indoor backup plans, like visiting museums or seeing a Broadway show.

A New York Vacation Package for All Seasons

Now that you know when is the best time to visit New York City based on your dream plans, you’re one step closer to bringing that Big Apple adventure to reality!

While you’re at it, check out Tripster’s New York Vacation Packages. They’re a great way to get everything you need in one go, and at a good deal too. You can get tickets to all sorts of attractions and pick a New York City hotel that suits your style. These packages are great for any season, so no matter when you decide to visit, you’re all set for a fantastic trip!

What Did We Miss?

Have anything to add to our guide? Leave us a comment below!

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Written by Nicole King

There are only two things that make Nicole really happy–books and travel! When her head’s not buried in a book, she’s most likely...

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