New York, New York. The city that never sleeps. Backdrop to films as diverse as Breakfast at Tiffany’s and Home Alone 2, and the location of some of the United State’s most important sites – the Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island, Central Park, the Empire State building, Museum of Modern Art, and Times Square.
With the city’s famously rather snowy winters, when exactly is the best time to visit New York? Located on the northern reaches of America’s east coast, the best time to visit New York for you will depend not only on the weather, but also on accommodation prices – which can alter significantly throughout the year – and peak tourist season too. Here we guide you through New York month by month, and provide you with a list of top events to act as a starting point for your exploration of this incredible city.
The most popular time to visit New York is the summer. The weather, together with the long school vacations at this time of year in both North America and Europe, make it the ideal time for many families to visit. It can also be less crowded than you might expect too, since many native New Yorkers take the opportunity to leave the city during this time. However, as the tourist high season, you will face the highest accommodation costs of the year.
This is our INSIDER GUIDE for the best times to visit New York!
Another popular time to visit New York is in the run-up to Christmas. Incorporating Thanksgiving and the Black Friday shopping event at the end of November, this is also considered high season, and the city takes on a definite festive air.
Slotting in between these two high season periods are a couple of shoulder seasons, when the weather is still more than acceptable, but prices slightly reduced. Heading to New York either before the onset of summer, or between the end of summer and beginning of the festive period, can save you a substantial amount of cash without noticeably worse weather.
Is New York safe?
While nowhere in the world is 100% safe, as long as you use your common sense, you’ll likely be fine in New York.
Having said that, you should NEVER travel without proper travel insurance. We’ve tested all of the best travel insurance providers, and World Nomads is our favorite! Fill out the form below to get a quote for your trip to New York so you can keep yourself (and your belongings!) covered and safe 🙂
What are the best months to visit New York?
As with much of the United States, the best months to visit New York hover around the summer, with the best temperatures being found in June, July, and August. Humidity can be a bit of a problem in the height of summer, although the good weather exists beyond these three months to range from May right through to October. For example, September offers up an excellent combination of shoulder season pricing, sunny skies, and mild temperatures free of humidity.
During this time, you can also enjoy the changing of the leaves with fall, while the coming of new growth in spring is also a wonderful time to experience the city.
Read below for information about New York weather in January (Photo credit – tripsavvy)
New York weather in January
January is, without doubt, the coldest month of the year in New York. Average temperatures are a chilly 37°F (3°C), with highs just a couple of degrees up on this figure and lows of down to 10°F (-12°C). Snow is also a common occurrence, with precipitation across the month of 3.2 inches.
New York events in January
Set the new year swinging with this 10-day festival of all things jazz. One of the top jazz events in the United States, it welcomes more than 700 artists and a further 150 groups each year. The highlight for many is the music marathon that runs right through the night of the festival’s main weekend.
At the end of January, Broadway Week is your chance to get 2-for-1 tickets for the 20 most-popular shows on the famous theater street. Tickets are released just after the new year, and go quickly. You have been warned!
Running alongside Broadway Week is Restaurant Week, which offers the opportunity to dine in some of New York’s top restaurants at reduced prices. More than 300 different eateries create special three-course set price menus at both lunch and dinner, with bookings taken from the first week of the month.
Read below for information about New York weather in February (Photo credit – climate-data.org)
New York weather in February
The short daylight hours of February are also best defined as cold, with a temperature range which creates an average of 39°F (4°C). Snow is still more common than not, and the month of Valentine’s Day sees precipitation levels similar to that in January, averaging three inches.
New York events in February
Lunar New Year
New York’s Chinatown is the part of the city to head towards for celebrations of the Lunar – or Chinese – New Year. The festivities begin at lunchtime with a street party full of traditional decoration and seasonal foodstuffs, and continue well into the night alongside an impressive firework display.
New York Fashion Week
This edition of New York Fashion Week (there’s another in September) is one of the world’s major gatherings of the fashion industry, with the new season collections being shown on the catwalk for the benefits of buyers, media, and also the general public. Hang around the venues and you’ll probably catch sight of a few celebrities too.
Black History Month
Special events run through February to mark the contribution of the Afro-American community into building New York into the world-leading city it is today. Highlights include tours of historic Harlem, the Harlem Fine Arts Show, and trolley-bus tours to Green-Wood Cemetery, the final resting place of a number of notable black Americans.
Read below for information about New York weather in March (Photo credit – amny.com)
New York weather in March
March generally marks the beginning of spring in New York, with the second half of the month much warmer than the first couple of weeks. The temperatures you’re likely to experience jump considerably, reaching 48°F (9°C), while the amount of precipitation is pretty constant at 3.5 inches.
New York events in March
The Armory Art Show
Taking place over just three days at the beginning of March, the Armory Art Show is one of the most important contemporary art fairs of the year. Welcoming 198 galleries from more than 30 countries, this is a must for art aficionados keen to stay up to date with the going’s on in the art world.
St Patrick’s Day Parade
The oldest and largest of St Patrick’s Day Parades anywhere in the world, the very first took place back in 1762 – before America’s Declaration of Independence. Taking place on March 17th itself, it begins at 11am and takes in Fifth Avenue among other major New York thoroughfares.
The Macy’s Flower Show
Throughout March Macy’s Herald Square becomes an indoor park as a result of its annual flower show. A great excuse, if one should be needed, to head to one of New York’s top stores, the scent of new season flowers drifts through the departments along with huge numbers of blooms and vast amounts of greenery.
Read below for information about New York weather in April (Photo credit – climate-data.org)
New York weather in April
Temperatures take another positive leap upwards in April. The average temperatures for the month sit at around 59°F (15°C), with the full range running from 45°F (7°C) through to 64°F (18°C), making layers of clothing a must. There’s slightly more precipitation than in March, with almost four inches recorded, generally falling as frequent showers of rain rather than snow.
New York events in April
Easter Parade and Bonnet Festival
Though the exact date shifts with Easter each year, the Easter Parade and Bonnet Festival invariably takes place sometime in April. The parade closes off Fifth Avenue from 49th to 57th Streets, and is one of New York’s wackier festivals, with ridiculous forms of headgear the order of the day.
Tribeca Film Festival
Founded in part by Robert de Niro in 2002, Tribeca has rapidly become one of the foremost festivals for independent film around. Holding somewhere in the region of 1500 different film screenings each year, from documentary shorts to full-length films, the festival screens films and holds allied events right across the lower Manhattan area.
Read below for information about New York weather in May (Photo credit – new-york-city-travel-tips.com)
New York weather in May
The upward temperature trend continues into May, with thermometers not dropping below 50°F (10°C), recording average daily temperatures of 66°F (19°C), and shooting up to a very summery 79°F (26°C) too. Levels of rainfall are almost exactly the same as in April, though the days are noticeably longer than they were at the start of the year.
New York events in May
9th Avenue International Food Festival
This weekend event in the middle of May sees the major thoroughfare of 9th Avenue lined with pop-up street food stalls. As an international food fair, you can expect cuisine with a global flair, from Mexican tacos to soups from South East Asia. Its free to attend, although you’ll need to pay for any dishes you opt for.
Washington Square Outdoor Art Exhibition
The artist’s equivalent of the 9th Avenue food festival, this cultural event is approaching its 90th Welcoming everyone from local residents with a talent for the arts to full-time international artists who head to New York especially for the event, there’s a little bit of everything, from traditional landscapes to modern mosaics.
A United States tradition dating back more than 100 years, Fleet Week sees ships of the US Navy on active duty call in at major coastal cities. In May, it’s the turn of New York. Visitors are able to join tours of the ships in question, and enjoy other events including military parades and air displays.
Read below for information about New York weather in June (Photo credit – new-york-city-travel-tips.com)
New York weather in June
June is generally lovely and warm without being overly humid. Check the thermometer and you’ll find temperatures heading as far north as 77°F (25°C) and never dropping to a level that could be considered chilly. Rainfall remains constant from the previous months, at around 3.5 inches, though it now tends to fall as heavier showers.
New York events in June
New York Pride
Home to the Stonewall Inn, a bar raided by police resulting in the gay rights movement, it’s no surprise New York Pride is one of the country’s largest. The Pride Parade of floats heads down Fifth Avenue, while in total there are more than 30 different events that celebrate LGBT+ culture, not least the closing ceremony in Times Square which attracts major acts to its stage – including Kylie Minogue.
Shakespeare in the Park
Making the most of June and July’s fine New York weather, Shakespeare in the Park takes place in the Delacorte Theater in Central Park. Performances are completely free to attend (maximum two/person), though you’ll have to join the box office queue at noon on the day to secure a place.
Held in Randalls Island Park, Governors Ball has very little to do with politics and a hell of a lot to do with urban music, being one of the city’s most important summer music festivals. The line-up is a long one, with past performers including The Strokes, Florence +The Machine, and Tyler, the Creator among others.
Read below for information about New York weather in July (Photo credit – packforcity.com)
New York weather in July
July is New York’s hottest month, and also boasts the longest day of the year, with daylight hours extending more than 14 hours. Temperatures have a range between 70 and 95°F (21 to 35°C), averaging highs of 82°F (28°C). Levels of precipitation hold steady, although humidity becomes an increasing problem as the month draws to an end.
New York events in July
America’s birthday is commemorated in New York with the annual Macy’s Fourth of July Fireworks Display. Not to be missed, the display launches from the banks of the East River close to the iconic Brooklyn Bridge, and can be watched from various points in Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Queens.
Out of Doors Festival
Headquartered at the Lincoln Center, the Out of Doors Festival is a program of al fresco summer concerts scheduled to run from the latter half of July through to the beginning of August. It offers a large range of performances, from family-friendly fun and poetry recitals to various genres of music and dance.
Read below for information about New York weather in August (Photo credit – TripSavvy)
New York weather in August
August is the stickiest month of the year, with humidity at its highest – somewhere around the 70% mark. It builds throughout the day, often leading to a short thunderstorm in the evening. The month’s average temperature highs reach 82°F (28°C), with the amount of rainfall actually slightly lower than in previous months, at 3.5 inches.
New York events in August
New York Fridge
The tag-line ‘indie, united’ gives a sense of what the New York Fringe is all about for anyone who has never attended before. With performances at six venues in two of New York’s five boroughs, there’s plenty of opportunity to attend a night or two, whether it’s music, comedy, or dance that is your preferred entertainment.
Fancy New York without the traffic? Then be sure to visit during Summer Streets, which sees several miles of road closed off to vehicular traffic and handed over to pedestrians. Various city tours are offered, alongside fitness classes and arts workshops, while for the most adventurous there are also pop-up climbing walls and ziplines to test yourself on.
New York’s Flushing Meadows hosts the US Open tennis championships, one of just four grand slam tournaments that take place each year. As a result, it regularly attracts the sport’s top ten players, as well as a slew of celebrity supporters, and street food vendors and live musicians in and around the grounds too.
Read below for information about New York weather in September (Photo credit – blog.headout.com)
New York weather in September
Like March, September sees a mixed bag when it comes to weather in New York. The city can continue to experience hot and humid summer weather, but also conditions more akin to fall in the city. Temperatures fall to an average of 73°F (23°C), with the lowest figures now around 70°F (21°C) and highs of 81°F (27°C).
New York events in September
West Indian Day Parade
Taking place on the Labor Day federal holiday at the beginning of the month, the West Indian Day Parade is perhaps New York’s most colorful celebration of summer. Taking its lead from Caribbean carnival season, there are steel bands, dancers, and fantastic costumes on show to crowds that regular number two million people.
New York Film Festival
With screenings at the Lincoln Center from the end of September through to the middle of October, the New York Film Festival is a non-competitive movie festival focused on 25 features (the so-called ‘Main Slate’), around which the rest of the schedule develops to incorporate movie shorts, documentaries, and Q&A sessions.
Read below for information about New York weather in October (Photo credit – nytimes.com)
New York weather in October
The driest month of the year – but not by much, with precipitation levels changing little across the year – October generally experiences just under three inches of rain. Temperatures continue their downward trajectory, offering figures of anywhere from 50-68°F (10-20°C), and highs averaging 64°F (18°C). There’s also still a good 11 hours of daylight.
New York events in October
Spanning two weeks from the end of September and the beginning of October, the premise around the Bavarian-origin Oktoberfest is a simple one – to enjoy the fruits of the summer farming season be that through steins of beer, mustard-covered bratwurst, or a fistful of doughy pretzel. You can take part in venues right across all five of New York’s boroughs.
Open House New York
Running over one of the middle weekends in October, Open House in an international movement that sees usually closed organizations and establishments open their doors to the general public. Its your chance to see parts of the city that are normally entirely off limits, and free to attend!
New York’s Halloween Parade has been a part of the city’s calendar for almost 50 years. Welcoming big hitters including the governor and mayor, it all kicks off at 7pm on Halloween night, with puppets, bands, dancers, and an incredible array of costumes.
Read below for information about New York weather in November (Photo credit – climate-data.org)
New York weather in November
November is the month in New York when its usual to see fall turn to winter. Not only do the days continue to get shorter, but temperatures drop further, and precipitation levels jump up to 3.6 inches – as both rain and snow. Temperature wise, the average you’ll experience is 54°F (12°C), so you’re going to need some warm clothing.
New York events in November
New York City Marathon
When the Big Apple does something, it certainly doesn’t do them by halves, and the New York City Marathon is the largest mass-participation running event on Earth. Join the 50,000 amateur and professional athletes that hit the roads of the city’s five boroughs for 26.2 miles on the first Sunday of November.
Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade
Starting out on the western side of Central Park and ending at Macy’s Herald Square, three million people take to the streets to watch the parade of entertainers, floats, giant balloons, and celebrities (including an appearance by Santa Claus) pass through the center of midtown Manhattan.
Read below for information about New York weather in December (Photo credit – nydailynews.com)
New York weather in December
With winter in full swing in December, temperatures are really struggling, and average only 43°F (6°C). There’s also often a bitingly cold wind to deal with, and precipitation that hits 3.5 inches. That said, the attractively snowy streets and festive lighting somehow makes the city feel warmer than it is.
New York events in December
Christmas Tree Lighting at the Rockefeller Center
The Christmas tree at the heart of Rockefeller Plaza is switched on for the first time in early December, and then is lit everyday from early morning until late evening through to the end of the festive season in January. More than just a simple tree lighting, this is a glitzy show that sees people lining the surrounding area in anticipation.
New Year’s Eve
Television stations around the globe look to New York when it comes to New Year’s Eve celebrations. Those in Times Square include hourly fireworks from 6pm onwards, together with two stages, while midnight fireworks can be found at Central Park’s Bethesda Fountain and Prospect Park in Brooklyn.
What is the best time to visit New York weather wise?
New York is a welcoming city weather wise from May through to the end of September. This period not only includes the high summer months of June, July, and August, but also the periods before and after. This five-month period offers the best weather in the year, when it comes to temperatures (rainfall is pretty much constant in volume throughout the year).
However, if you’re in need of a little Christmas cheer, then heading to the Big Apple for the festive season – including both Thanksgiving and Christmas – is not a bad idea either, though you’ll have to be prepared for snow as well as Christmas lights.
Final thoughts on the best time to visit New York
As a city that famously never sleeps, there is no bad time to visit New York. The city has an incredible array of events right throughout the year, with those in the warmer months often taking advantage of the better weather to bask in the sunshine out of doors. Whatever your interests, you’re therefore bound to find something to entertain you whatever the time of year!
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Emma Johnson lives to travel! Born in Washington D.C., Emma is a hotel connoisseur and a staff writer at Hotel Jules. An army brat, Emma got the travel bug early and has never been able to stop. Now, she has proudly visited 70+ countries and plans to visit every country in the world! Passionate about her ukelele (obviously) and her family, Emma eventually wants to retire in Thailand and write a book about all of her travel experiences.