What is the best time to visit New York City?
The best time to visit New York City depends on your preferences for weather, events, and activities. Generally, the most popular times to visit are spring (April to June) and fall (September to November) when the weather is mild, and there are many cultural events and outdoor activities to enjoy.
Spring offers pleasant temperatures, ranging from the 50s to 70s Fahrenheit (10 to 21 Celsius), and the city comes alive with blossoming trees and flowers. Events like the Tribeca Film Festival and the Cherry Blossom Festival at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden take place during this time.
Fall is another great time to visit, with comfortable temperatures ranging from the 50s to 70s Fahrenheit (10 to 21 Celsius). The changing colors of the leaves in Central Park and the excitement of events like the New York Film Festival and the New York City Marathon make this season particularly appealing.
Winter (December to February) can be cold and snowy, but it’s also a magical time to visit, with holiday decorations, ice skating rinks, and the famous New Year’s Eve celebration in Times Square. Keep in mind that hotel prices can be higher during the holiday season.
Summer (June to August) in New York City can be hot and humid, with temperatures ranging from the 70s to 90s Fahrenheit (21 to 32 Celsius). However, it’s also a time for many outdoor events and activities like outdoor concerts, Shakespeare in the Park, and various food festivals. Expect more crowds at popular attractions during this time.
Weather: Spring (April to June) and fall (September to November) are the best times for mild weather, with temperatures ranging from the 50s to 70s Fahrenheit (10 to 21 Celsius). These seasons offer comfortable conditions for sightseeing and outdoor activities.
Sightseeing: Spring and fall are ideal for sightseeing, as the weather is pleasant and many of the city’s landmarks and attractions, such as Central Park, the High Line, and the Statue of Liberty, can be enjoyed in a comfortable climate. Summer (June to August) can be hot and humid, but offers longer days and more daylight for sightseeing.
Museums: New York City’s museums can be visited year-round, but winter (December to February) is a good time to explore them as the cold weather makes indoor activities more appealing. Additionally, winter months tend to be less crowded in museums compared to peak tourist seasons.
Shopping: New York City is a shopping paradise throughout the year. However, holiday shopping in November and December offers a festive atmosphere with holiday decorations and window displays. Post-holiday sales in January can also provide great deals.
Christmas: New York City is magical during the holiday season, which runs from late November through December. The city is adorned with holiday decorations, and you can enjoy iconic events such as the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree lighting, ice skating in Central Park or Bryant Park, and the Radio City Christmas Spectacular.
Avoiding Crowds: To avoid crowds, consider visiting New York City during the shoulder seasons (April to early June and September to November) when the weather is still pleasant but tourist numbers are lower. Winter can also be less crowded, but the holiday season (late November to December) typically sees an influx of tourists.
New York Travel Seasons
- High Season (June-August & November-December): Vacationing families and European travelers on extended holiday make the summer months one of the most popular times to visit New York. Many locals leave the city during this time, however, which means that it can feel less crowded even while tourism is high. The Thanksgiving-New Year holiday season is a huge draw for tourists, festivity is high and the city is at its most packed. During both of these busy tourism periods, expect airfare and hotel rates to be at their peak and availability to be low. Book well in advance. See Also: Where to Stay in NYC
- Shoulder Season (March-May & September-October): Though tourism isn’t quite peaking during these months, they are still incredibly popular times to visit New York. Mild weather makes the spring and fall seasons ideal for exploring the city on foot, whether to a backdrop of blooms and open-air markets in the springtime, or the changing colors of Central Park trees in the fall. High prices and low availability for both flights and hotels is to be expected.
- Low Season (January-Early March): New York City is at its quietest during these cold mid-winter months, when snow is common and temperatures hover between 1 and 4°C. Hotel occupancy rates dip below 90%, and restaurant reservations and theater tickets are easier to come by. The drop in temperature means a drop in both airfare and hotel rates, which makes this a great time to visit the city if you’re looking for a bargain and are not bothered by a little cold.
New York City Weather by Month
New York Temperature by Month (high in Celsius)
New York Rain by Month (mm)
- New York City Weather in January: January is New York’s coldest month. Temperatures range from -12°to 4°C, generally hovering around 3°C. Snow is likely around this time, quickly becoming slush on sidewalks and street corners – warm clothes and waterproof boots are a must. (Average Max Temperature: 3.1°C. Average Precipitation: 81mm.)
- New York City Weather in February: February remains cold, with the average daytime high creeping up to 4.2°C. Snow still common, and the days remain short: New York City sunset is around 5:30 in February. (Average Max Temperature: 4.2°C. Average Precipitation: 77mm.)
- New York City Weather in March: March is a bit of a mixed bag in New York City, feeling sometimes like winter and at other times spring-like. Cold and snow are still common, though less likely toward the end of March. You’ll want to pack warm clothes, but may be surprised by not needing them. (Average Max Temperature: 8.9°C. Average Precipitation: 91mm.)
- New York City Weather in April: Snow in April is rare in New York City, though still possible – especially around the beginning of the month. Any snow the city gets won’t last long, however. Average temperatures range from 7 to 18°C, spring rain showers are common, and flowers are up and blooming by the end of the month. (Average Max temperature: 14.6°C. Average Precipitation: 99mm.)
- New York City Weather in May: May is one of New York City’s loveliest months. The temperature ranges from 10-26°C, so it’s usually warm but not hot, and without the humidity that you’ll find during the summer months. Flowers are blooming, trees are leafing out, and it’s a wonderful time of year to explore the city’s many parks. (Average Max Temperature: 19.8°C. Average Precipitation: 96mm.)
- New York City Weather in June: June days grow warmer as summer approaches, though it’s usually not too hot or humid to comfortably enjoy being outdoors. Shorts and sandal season is in full swing, and the month’s long days (the sun sets around 8:30pm) are perfect for catching an outdoor concert or ballgame at Yankee Stadium – barring the occasional rainstorm. (Average Max Temperature: 25°C. Average Precipitation: 92mm.)
- New York City Weather in July: The hottest month of the year, expect temperatures to range from 21-35°C, with an average high of 28.2°C. The humidity is on the rise as well, especially as August nears, though ample shade from trees and tall buildings means it’s usually not so uncomfortable that you can’t enjoy a walk in the park or lunch or dinner in a sidewalk café. Expect quieter streets as locals have head for the cooler coast. (Average Max Temperature: 28.2°C. Average Precipitation: 97mm.)
- New York City Weather in August: Though July is NYC’s hottest month by temperature, August is the most humid. It is truly sticky in the city this month, with the climbing daytime humidity often bringing late afternoon and early evening thunderstorms – but don’t worry, they blow over quickly. Temperatures can be a full 10° hotter in the subways, so it’s a good idea to consider a taxi as you make your way from one air-conditioned attraction to the next. (Average Max Temperature: 27.7°C. Average Precipitation: 87mm.)
- New York City Weather in September: September is a flux month in New York, and the weather varies wildly as the city transitions from summer heat and humidity into crisp autumn. Temperatures range from 21-27°C until mid-month, with cooler air settling in as October approaches. Because summer’s humidity has gone, even September’s warmest days are perfect for outdoor activities and seeing the city on foot. (Average Max Temperature: 23.9°C. Average Precipitation: 84mm.)
- New York City Weather in October: Traditionally New York’s driest month of the year, October boasts mild to chilly temperatures and crisp autumn air. Temps range from 10-20°C, so it’s a good idea to pack a light jacket – though you might not need it. The changing fall leaves and comfortable temperature range lead many folks to consider this a perfect time to see New York. (Average Max Temperature 18.2°C. Average Precipitation: 73mm.)
- New York City Weather in November: Days are getting shorter, chillier, and rainier. A jacket is essential, and a hat and gloves are a good idea. It’s not unusual to see snow flurries by the end of the month, though accumulation is unlikely at this point. (Average Max Temperature: 12.1°C. Average Precipitation: 92mm.)
- New York City Weather in December: Winter arrives in New York, with cold temperatures, snow, and holiday crowds. Wind and temperatures can be bitingly cold. Days are short – expect the sun to set around 4:30pm mid-month – giving visitors ample time to view the city’s twinkling seasonal lights. (Average Max Temperature: 5.9°C. Average Precipitation: 87mm.)
New York City Events and Festivals
January in New York
- Winter Jazzfest NYC — Over 100 acts at 11 venues in and around Greenwich Village.
- Broadway Week — 2-for-1 tickets for over 20 of Broadway’s most popular shows.
- NYC Restaurant Week — Three-course dining deals for lunch and dinner at over 300 of the city’s best eateries.
February in New York
- Lunar New Year Festival/Parade and Firecracker Ceremony/Cultural Festival — Annual two-part Chinatown celebration of the Lunar New Year, featuring a street fair, fireworks, and a parade through the main streets of Chinatown and Little Italy.
- Westminster Kennel Club Show — The grand-daddy of dog shows, an all-breed competition held over two days at The Piers 92/94 and Madison Square Garden.
- New York Fashion Week — The fashion industry converges on Lincoln Center, where the best designers in the world show off their fall collections in a week of invitation-only exhibitions and parties.
March in New York
- St. Patrick’s Day Parade — Bands, bagpipers, and politicians march up Fifth Avenue past Saint Patrick’s Cathedral in this 250-year-old annual celebration of Irish heritage.
April in New York
- Easter Parade and Bonnet Festival — An unorganized Easter Sunday celebration of fancy hats and outlandish accessories. Fashionable and festive folk stroll Fifth Avenue from 49th to 57th, and the rest of us experience some great people-watching.
- Tribeca Film Festival — Celebration and judged competition of independent film, including panel discussions, a family festival street fair, and thousands of independent, documentary, and foreign film screenings across lower Manhattan.
May in New York
- Ninth Avenue International Food Festival — Ethnic cuisine, international music and dance, and more than a million hungry festival goers in Hell’s Kitchen between 42nd and 57th Streets.
- Washington Square Outdoor Art Exhibit — Hundreds of local and international artists and artisans hawk their wares at this massive sidewalk art fair over Memorial Day weekend.
- Fleet Week — The Hudson River Parade of Ships kicks off a week of musical performances, military demonstrations, and Memorial Day observances that celebrate the U.S. Navy, Marines, and Coast Guard.
June in New York
- Belmont Stakes — Annual thoroughbred horse race that is the third and final leg of the Triple Crown. Held in Belmont Park, about 14 miles east of Manhattan.
- Pride Festival and March — GLBT pride celebration and civil rights rally with floats, bands, dancing and celebratory parade from Fifth Avenue and 36th Street to the West Village. Ends in the ultimate bash on Hudson Street, from 14th Street to Abingdon Square.
- Shakespeare in the Park (June/July) — Tickets are free (2 per person), but you’ll have to line up at the box office before noon to score seats to these extremely popular Public Theater shows at the Delacorte Theater in Central Park.
July in New York
- Macy’s Fourth of July Fireworks — This spectacular display over the East River near the Brooklyn Bridge draws crowds of thousands each year, and is viewable from many locations in Manhattan, as well as Brooklyn and Queens.
- Bastille Day on 60th Street — Annual celebration of French food, culture, and entertainment, held the Sunday before July 14th. On 60th Street, between Lexington and 15th Avenues, on the Upper East Side.
- NYC Restaurant Week — Three-course dining deals for lunch ($25) and dinner ($38) at over 300 of the city’s best eateries.
- Lincoln Center Out of Doors Festival (July/August) — Three weeks of world-class music and dance performances, free and under the stars, in the plazas of Lincoln Center.
August in New York
- New York International Fringe Festival — 16-day long fringe theater and multi-arts festival: 1300 performances by over 200 multi-multinational companies at over 20 stages around Midtown Manhattan.
September in New York
- U.S. Open — American tennis pros compete in this two-week-long championship tournament held in Flushing Meadows, Queens.
- Electric Zoo Festival — Electronic Dance Music festival held over Labor Day weekend, featuring top international DJs and live acts from around the world. Takes place on Randall’s Island.
- Washington Square Outdoor Art Exhibit — Hundreds of local and international artists and artisans hawk their wares at this massive sidewalk art fair over Labor Day weekend.
- Broadway Week — 2-for-1 tickets for over 20 of Broadway’s most popular shows.
- New York Fall Fashion Week — The fashion industry converges on Lincoln Center, where the best designers in the world show off their spring collections in a week of invitation-only exhibitions and parties.
- New York Film Festival (September/October) — The Film Society of Lincoln Center’s annual fall celebration of cinema, showing critically acclaimed international works and Hollywood premiers at various Lincoln Center event halls.
October in New York
- Columbus Day Parade — New York’s yearly celebration of Italian-American heritage, with floats and bands traversing Fifth Avenue from 47th to 72nd Streets. Held the second Monday in October.
- Open House New York — A weekend-long architecture and design event, in which over 300 usually off-limit historic buildings and architecturally important sites are opened to the public for touring. Generally free, with some sites requiring advanced registration and a cover charge. Takes place across all five boroughs.
- Village Halloween Parade — Halloween night festival and parade, featuring floats, circus performers, musical acts, fantastic giant-sized puppets, and over two million annual spectators. Runs along 6th Avenue, from Spring to 16th streets in Greenwich Village.
November in New York
- New York City Marathon — The world’s largest and most popular marathon event. Over 50,000 runners from around the world wind their way through all five New York boroughs on the first Sunday in November.
- Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade — Over 3 million spectators line the streets as hundreds of floats, marching bands, dancers, celebrity performers, giant balloons, and of course Santa Claus usher in the holiday season along Central Park West and through the heart of Midtown Manhattan.
- Rockefeller Center Tree Lighting Ceremony — After a celebrity-studded holiday show and in front of thousands of spectators, Rockefeller Plaza’s iconic Christmas tree is set aglow. Held the Wednesday after Thanksgiving.
December in New York
- Ice Skating Rinks — The Rink at Rockefeller Center is the most iconic and has the longest lines. Wollman Rink in Central Park is the largest and has the best view. The rink at Bryant Park is free (with skate rental fee) and adjacent to the park’s festive holiday market.
- Holiday Window Displays — Department stores on and around Fifth Avenue get decked out for the holidays starting in mid-November, and stay dressed up through the New Year. Best seen after sundown for maximum festive effect.
- The Nutcracker — So many to choose from. Take your pick between the classic George Balanchine show put on by the New York City Ballet, Alexei Ratmansky’s contemporary American Ballet Theatre interpretation, or any of the other dozens of traditional and themed versions performed annually around the city.
- Radio City Christmas Spectacular — The Radio City Rockettes star in this ultimate and iconic holiday extravaganza, a New York City tradition since 1933. Shows from mid-November through New Year’s at Rockefeller Center’s Radio City Music Hall.
- New Year’s Eve at Times Square — Two performance stages and hourly fireworks displays entertain the reveling masses from 6pm until the famous ball drops at midnight. On Broadway, between 40th and 53rd Streets.
- New Year’s Eve Fireworks — Ooh and aah at the big display in Central Park (set off near Bethesda Fountain), or head east to Brooklyn’s Prospect Park to hang with the mellower crowd. Both spots have live music starting at 10pm, with fireworks welcoming the New Year at midnight.
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