Statue of Libtery, New York
shutterupeire/Shutterstock.com

Best Time to Visit New York City - Full Month by Month Guide

Published by Pat Dorri on January 25 2024

New York is one of the world's most iconic cities – with its instantly recognizable views, world-famous museums and galleries, colorful neighborhoods, countless events, and the beautiful open spaces of Central Park. With so many sights and things to do, it is important to know the best time to visit NYC.

The best time to visit New York is from April to May or September to November. The weather is perfect for exploring Manhattan on foot or walking through Central Park, and there are plenty of events and festivals. It's also not as expensive as the peak summer months.

Whether you want to deep-dive into the city's impressive museums, hit the fabulous foodie scene, or immerse yourself in an unforgettable Broadway experience, keep on reading to find out more about what makes each season in New York so special and to help decide when to take your trip.

When should you go to New York City?

An overlook of the best times to visit NYC
Best time forWhen to visit
Good weatherSpring and fall
SightseeingSpring and fall
Saving moneyJanuary
RestaurantsAll year
FamiliesSpring break
Concerts and live musicEarly summer
Avoiding crowdsJanuary and February
ShoppingAll year
MuseumsJanuary and February
NeighborhoodsAll year
Events and festivalsAll year

New York is a popular destination all year round, and you'll find plenty to enjoy whatever time of year you visit. The major attractions remain accessible, with dozens of festivals and other events, meaning that you can look out for new experiences even if you've visited the city before.

The seasonal weather changes and the busy peak season can make for a very different experience throughout the year. The city is cheaper and less crowded in January and February, and you can take advantage of 2-for-1 tickets to some attractions and shows, too. Many visitors prefer to wait for warmer spring days, though, when you can spend more time outside.

Fall is a popular time to visit as the weather stays relatively warm through October, and you can combine visits to city attractions with walks through Central Park in its stunning seasonal foliage.

From Thanksgiving to New Year, visitors flock to NYC's festive parades and events. The city is packed full of festive decorations, and you might also get lucky and catch Central Park in the snow for the ultimate in seasonal charm.

It's also a really popular destination during the summer vacation – this is more because it's a convenient time to travel than anything else – unless you want to see a specific seasonal event, then there's no particular reason to visit in the hot, humid NYC summer.

New York City, USA with an aerial view of Manhattan skyline at sunset.
New York is a fascinating city with so much to do and when to visit it is an important consideration during your planning.
dibrova/Shutterstock.com

When to visit New York City - Summary

  • Best Time for Good Weather: Spring and fall see the best weather for exploring the city. Both seasons are mild, so it's no problem to spend time outdoors - although rain is possible throughout the year - and you can often enjoy bright spring blossoms or glorious fall colors under a beautiful blue sky. In contrast, the city can feel very hot in summer, amplified by the intense humidity New York is famous for. It often snows in NYC between December and February, and low temperatures mean you'll have to wrap up warm, so this won't be everyone's preferred time to visit.

  • Best Time for Saving Money: If you're willing to brave the wintery weather, you can save money on a January trip. Thanks to NYC Must-See Week and NYC Broadway Week, you can get 2-for-1 tickets to top attractions and shows. NYC Restaurant Week also takes place in January, so you can enjoy fixed-price menus at some of the city's top establishments. Hotels and flights are often at their cheapest in January, too. If the cold puts you off, Broadway Week returns for a second run in September!

  • Best Time for Restaurants: NYC Restaurant Week in January cuts the cost of touring some of the city's top establishments, so it's a great time to visit if you don't mind wrapping up warm. Later in the year, there's also the International Food Festival in May, which takes place on Ninth Street, the Big Apple BBQ Party at Madison Square Park in June, and a big Oktoberfest celebration. Don't worry if you can't make it to the city for any of the main foodie events - there's never really a bad time of year to indulge in New York's culinary scene, and any time between April and October, you can also head across to Brooklyn to visit Smorgasburg, the huge weekly open-air food market.

Beautiful colorful spring flowers with the famous Gapstow Bridge in the distance
If you are looking to visit New York City with your family during spring break, then you will get to see Central Park at its best with beautiful blossoms, and you can visit the Central Park Zoo afterwards!
Nature's Charm/Shutterstock.com
  • Best Time for Families and Kids: If you're on spring break in April, then NYC is a great destination, as the weather should be good enough to spend time outside. The spring flowers in Central Park will be blooming, so head there to run off some energy and check out Central Park Zoo. The holiday season in November and December can also be a fabulous time for families to visit. Book a trip to Santaland at Macy's, where you might be lucky enough to get a slot to meet Santa himself. As we've mentioned, summer gets extremely hot, so it's not the ideal time to bring young children to New York, but you can enjoy the 4th of July fireworks or fit in a day trip to the beach at Coney Island or Jersey Shore - perfect if you need a break from quieter indoor attractions.

  • Best Time for Concerts and Live Music: In early summer, you can enjoy a huge range of outdoor concerts, including a free series by the New York Philharmonic in June, plus Shakespeare in the Park. There's a varied program of events at Summer at Lincoln Center in July, plus Broadway in Bryant Park performances. Highlights at other times of year include military bands and other live events at the Intrepid Museum during May's Fleet Week, with the Charlie Parker Jazz Festival taking place in August.

  • Best time to Avoid Crowds: January and February are the quietest times to visit the city. If you'd prefer to get the best combination of weather and crowds, then early May or November might be better. They're still popular times to visit the city, but just outside the main visitor peaks.

Best time to visit New York City

One of the great things about New York is that you can shape your visit to suit you and your travel companions. Whether you're in the city to shop, sightsee, or check out some of the world's coolest bars, there's something for everyone in NYC.

Best time to visit New York City for shopping

NYC is legendary for its department stores and boutiques, so whenever you visit, you can shop until you drop. On certain days in August, Summer Streets sees closures on Park Avenue, making it easier to enjoy this shopping mecca on foot.

For a different experience, seasonal farmers markets spring up across the city in October, including New York Botanical Gardens (Wednesdays) and the organic rooftop farm at Brooklyn Grange (Sundays).

Flagship store on busy crossroads in New York, with a big red and white sign that reads
New York is one of the best cities to visit if you are looking for some retail therapy and Macy's hosts several famous events throughout the year.
NYC Russ/Shutterstock.com

Shopping in New York's huge department stores can be a spectacular experience in the run-up to Christmas. Macy's Herald Square puts on an unforgettable display, including beautifully dressed windows and the lavish Santaland.

Wrap up your day with a trip to Bryant Park Winter Village, where you'll find more than 100 kiosks showcasing small makers and boutique brands, followed by a spin on the iconic ice rink in Bryant Park.

Roll forward a few weeks, and many of the major department stores have huge sales as they head into the new year. Led by the big stores, big sales usually run at other points in the year, aligning with major holidays, including Memorial Day weekend (late May), Independence Day (4th July), Labor Day (early September), and of course Thanksgiving and Black Friday.

Best time to visit New York City for museums

New York is home to some of the world's best museums, with extensive and varied collections that you can often explore on an informative guided tour if you want to learn a little more about what you're seeing.

The downside to this is that they can often be very crowded since New York residents, tourists, and school groups all visit in high numbers. With fewer people visiting the city in January and February, the museums are usually a little quieter, and they're a great way to escape the cold.

Several museums also participate in January's NYC Must See Week, including MoMA and the Solomon R Guggenheim Museum - check online for details of 2-for-1 tickets.

For another chance to visit for free, head to the Upper East Side Museums in June for the Museum Mile Festival. For one night only, Fifth Avenue museums, including the Met, the Jewish Museum, the Smithsonian Design Museum, and the Africa Center, open up for free.

It's only a short event, so you won't be able to see any of the museums in depth, but with live music and other entertainment in the surrounding streets, it's an interesting way to get a taste of some of the world's best museums.

Come September, when the summer vacation period ends, many museums, galleries, and theaters launch new exhibitions, events, and shows after Labor Day. If you want to be the first to see new displays or catch the informative events that often accompany the opening weeks of an exhibition, then this is a great time to schedule your trip.

The facade of the famous museum in New York City on a sunny day without people
New York City's world-famous museums are great to visit year-round but if you visit in January during NYC Must See Week, you will catch some great 2-for-1 deals.
Spiroview Inc/Shutterstock.com

Best time to visit New York City to explore its neighborhoods?

Manhattan is famous for its diverse neighborhoods, which include Midtown, the Upper East Side, Upper West Side, Hell's Kitchen, Greenwich Village, the Meatpacking District, and Chelsea. Plus, there are some great places to explore in Brooklyn, Queens, and the Bronx.

NYC is a great place to explore on foot - you can really feel the differences between the neighborhoods this way - so we'd suggest visiting during spring and fall when the weather is best for spending time outdoors.

Throughout the year, events take place that let you experience a neighborhood at its best, and these are also great times to visit. In June, you can see the Coney Island Mermaid Parade - a really unique celebration - or catch the annual Pride March at the end of the month.

You'll also find a host of linked events taking place across Greenwich Village. Later in the summer, Harlem Week is a 10-day event in August that includes live music and varied events to celebrate the neighborhood's multicultural community.

Little Italy is a must-see in September, when San Gennaro Festival brings elaborate parades, live music, foodie celebrations and even a meatball eating contest.

Head back to Greenwich Village at Halloween for the biggest Halloween parade in the world. Come in costume, and you can join in – no registration is (currently) required.

Best time to visit New York City for events and festivals?

New York City is famous for its parades and multicultural events – with so many taking place throughout the year, you have a good chance of being able to see one during your trip.

The festival year kicks off in late January or February with Lunar New Year. Events take place across Chinatown and the spectacular parade runs between Mott Street and Manhattan Bridge.

You can also see colorful parades if you're visiting over St Patrick's Day in March or Easter, when a parade of beautiful bonnets heads along 5th Avenue towards Central Park.

The city's large Mexican population celebrates Cinco de Mayo in style in May. There are celebrations across the city, but one of the main events is the parade, which runs near the northern end of Central Park.

If you're in the city over the Memorial Day holiday at the end of the month, head to Flushing, Queens, for the largest Memorial Day celebrations.

Held in Brooklyn in September, there's a huge celebration of Caribbean culture to coincide with Labor Day, which includes the famous West Indian Day Parade. And, of course, to round up the year, you have the huge Macy's Thanksgiving Parade, which is always a major event in the city.

There are several arts festivals throughout the year for a culture fix during your trip. Some of the biggest are the Tribeca Film Festival in April, the Queens World Film Festival in June, and September's Brooklyn Book Festival.

Best time to visit New York City for sightseeing?

We've already mentioned the hot-and-cold New York climate, which can really impact your sightseeing experience. For most people, a trip to New York will be packed full of unforgettable experiences despite the season, so it's often a case of packing for the time of year.

Tourist boat near the Statue of Liberty on a sunny day with some clouds
If you'd like to see the famous landmarks of New York from a different perspective, then late spring and early fall are great times for a sightseeing boat trip.
Sergii Figurnyi/Shutterstock.com

Even so, you can enjoy some parts of the city more easily at certain times of the year. Central Park is stunning in the spring and fall, when you can enjoy long, relaxed walks, stop to watch a street performer in the sunshine, and enjoy iconic views of the city and its famous green space.

To appreciate the Manhattan skyline at its best, an evening boat trip is an amazing addition to a city break, but visit in late spring or early fall so that the temperatures stay pleasant even after sunset.

Worst time to visit New York City

As you've already discovered, July and August are hot, humid and crowded, plus you'll run the gauntlet of sudden summer rain storms.

Since it's such a popular destination for families during the school vacation, hotel rates, and flight prices are even higher than at other times of the year. You're likely to pay a premium if you opt to stay in one of the few hotels, especially if you are after one with a pool.

We'd recommend taking a trip at other times of the year if you have the option, but if you do find yourself heading to the Big Apple in the hot summer months, you'll still be able to enjoy all of the city's main attractions. Just make sure you add in extra stops to cool down and stay hydrated.

New York travel seasons

Yellow cabs driving through New York's Times Square with advertising billboards and bright lights all around.
You will find Times Square even crowded if you are visiting during summer, which is the peak season for tourists.
Luciano Mortula - LGM/Shutterstock.com

High Season for Tourists

Summer is peak season in New York, but although there are plenty of festivals and events to enjoy, it's not necessarily the best time to visit the city if you have other options.

The heat and humidity can get in the way of enjoying the city at its best; many of the attractions are very crowded, and hotel prices are at their highest.

Shoulder Seasons

Shoulder seasons are spring and fall, which, in our view, are the best seasons to visit NYC. Temperatures in April and May, and from September to November, are perfect for exploring the city. Plus, crowds are lower, and there are sometimes better prices on hotels.

Low Season

Low season is January and February, mainly due to the colder weather and the fact that all the fabulous holiday displays have just closed down for another year.

It's the cheapest time to visit the city, and you'll still have a great time, but you'll be able to enjoy more of the city's outdoor attractions at other times of year.

Weather in New York City across the year

Average monthly temperature and rainfall for New York

Average temperature highs and precipitation
Data sourced from US NOAA and Google Climate Data
MonthTemperatureRainfallSnowfall
January26/39 °F
3.8 inches
8.4 inches
February29/43 °F
3.3 inches
9.2 inches
March36/52 °F
4.4 inches
4.1 inches
April45/64 °F
4.3 inches
0.5 inches
May54/72 °F
4.4 inches
-
June64/80 °F
4.3 inches
-
July68/84 °F
4.6 inches
-
August69/84 °F
4.5 inches
-
September61/76 °F
4.4 inches
-
October50/64 °F
4.2 inches
-
November42/55 °F
4.1 inches
0.5 inches
December31/44 °F
4.2 inches
3.9 inches

New York City weather by month

  • New York City weather in January: January is the coldest month of the year, with temperatures dropping as low as 26 degrees Fahrenheit. There are an average of 4 snowy days throughout the month, with over 8 inches of snow expected. It's down to luck whether it's heavy enough to turn the city into an Insta-friendly winter wonderland. The average high temperature is a chilly 39 degrees Fahrenheit so pack accordingly.
  • New York City weather in February: February sees the least rainfall, on average, but makes up for that by being the snowiest month in NYC. Heavy snowstorms are possible, and if you're not used to these conditions, it's important to check for local advisories. Even if it doesn't snow, February is cold, with average lows of 29 degrees. In fact, it's possible for temperatures to drop much lower throughout the winter – so check the forecast before you travel in case you need to pack extra layers for a super-cold snap.
  • New York City weather in March: The temperature starts to rise in March, with average highs up to 52 degrees Fahrenheit and average lows now hovering just above freezing. There's still a small chance of snow, but you're much more likely to encounter rain. Between March and December, average rainfall sits consistently between 4.1 and 4.6 inches.
  • New York City weather in April: Although there's still a very slim chance of snow if you catch a late cold spell, April is usually a much warmer month. The average high temperature is 64 degrees, but if you're lucky, it can peak at around 10 degrees higher still. The nights will still feel much cooler, so pack accordingly.
  • New York City weather in May: May is usually one of the best times to visit NYC for the weather. The average temperature is a very pleasant 72 degrees, which you can often enjoy under a clear blue sky. It's still a little unpredictable – there are often cooler days and, as summer approaches, higher temperatures are possible too.
  • New York City weather in June: By June, the NYC summer will be starting to take hold. The temperature sits around 80 degrees Fahrenheit but can feel much warmer when you factor in the warming effect of being in such a built-up environment. Thunderstorms are possible, but so are cooler periods when the temperature drops.
People having picnics and sitting on the grass with the skyscrapers of NYC in the background on a summer day
If you visit New York during the summer months, you will find the Central Park a very popular place to have a picnic, the perfect way to spend a leisurely.
Gregory James Van Raalte/Shutterstock.com
  • New York City weather in July: July is hot and humid in NYC, with temperatures often exceeding 90 degrees. If a heatwave is going to hit, it's most likely to be in July, so be prepared for several days of non-stop sweltering weather. Across the month, there's an average total rainfall of 4.6 inches, but the daily rainfall is very small – it's the chance of a sudden and heavy thunderstorm, which increases the average!
  • New York City weather in August: The average August temperature remains around 84 degrees, which can still feel very uncomfortable. Fortunately, the chances of a heatwave are lower in August compared to July. Night-time temperatures stay high, which can make it difficult to sleep if you're staying in accommodation without air conditioning.
  • New York City weather in September: As fall approaches, temperatures decrease during September. The average daytime high is 76 degrees Fahrenheit, but this will be closer to 70 degrees by the end of the month, and summer thunderstorms evolve into a few days of persistent rain. Night time temperatures will be much more comfortable by the end of September.
  • New York City weather in October: With an average daytime temperature of 64 degrees, October can be a very pleasant time to visit New York. The evenings are cooler, as you might expect, but rarely fall below 50 degrees. There's a much higher chance of rain getting in the way of your plans, and with the falling temperatures, rainy days will feel much cooler at this time of year.
  • New York City weather in November: Daytime highs of 55 degrees Fahrenheit mean you can often enjoy time outdoors all through November. There's a very low chance of snow, although early wintery spells can make the temperatures drop much lower.
  • New York City weather in December: The weather in December is variable so it's best to plan for some indoor activities during your stay. Some days will be bright and mild, with temperatures occasionally reaching well beyond the average high of 44 degrees. There's also a chance that you'll end up visiting during an early cold spell - temperatures can fall below 32 degrees Fahrenheit, particularly later in the month, and there's the first significant chance of snow.

New York City events and things to do by month

January in New York City

  • Holiday Train Show at New York Botanical Garden: This enchanting show features model trains navigating through a miniature landscape of over 175 New York landmarks, all made from natural materials like bark and leaves.
  • Winter Jazzfest: A musical extravaganza that showcases a wide array of jazz talents, this festival spans multiple venues and features both established jazz icons and emerging artists.

February in New York City

  • Broadway Week: Occurring twice a year, this event offers theater enthusiasts two-for-one ticket deals to some of the most famous Broadway shows, making high-quality theater more accessible.
  • New York Fashion Week: Also happening biannually, this prestigious event in the fashion world brings together designers, models, and fashion enthusiasts to showcase the latest trends and collections.

March in New York City

  • St Patrick's Day Parade: This vibrant parade celebrates Irish culture and heritage, featuring marching bands, dancers, and floats, and attracts millions of spectators each year.
St Patrick's Day Parade participants, dressed in green traditional clothes, man holding up a puppet
You will see the famous Fifth Avenue covered in green during the famous St Patrick's Day Parade in March.
Stuart Monk/Shutterstock.com

April in New York City

  • Tribeca Film Festival: Renowned for its diverse film programming, this festival celebrates independent filmmaking and features screenings, panel discussions, and artist talks.

May in New York City

  • Ninth Avenue International Food Festival: A culinary delight, this festival offers a taste of international cuisines from local restaurants along Ninth Avenue, along with music and entertainment.
  • Bronx Week: This week-long celebration highlights the culture, history, and community spirit of the Bronx, featuring concerts, parades, and various community events.

June in New York City

  • Museum Mile Festival: This cultural festival offers free access to some of the world's most prestigious museums along Fifth Avenue for an evening of art, music, and entertainment.
  • NYC Pride Month: A month-long celebration of LGBTQ+ pride, featuring parades, parties, and educational events, culminating in the famous Pride March.
  • Queens World Film Festival: Celebrating independent filmmaking, this festival showcases a diverse range of films and filmmakers from around the globe.

July in New York City

  • The Giglio Feast: A traditional Italian festival featuring religious processions, live music, and a variety of food, celebrated in honor of Saint Paulinus.
  • Macy's Fourth of July Fireworks: One of the nation's largest Independence Day fireworks displays, set against the backdrop of the New York City skyline.
  • US Open Tennis Championships: A major event in the tennis world, attracting top players from around the globe to compete in one of the sport's most prestigious tournaments.
Six fireworks in red, blue and white during Macy's Fourth of July Fireworks
Don't miss out on Macy's Fourth of July Fireworks; it is a spectacular event that paints the skies in red, blue, and white on Independence Day.
DLe/Shutterstock.com

August in New York City

  • Harlem Week: A celebration of Harlem's rich culture and history, featuring music performances, art exhibitions, and educational events.
  • Lincoln Center Summer Festival: An arts festival showcasing a variety of performances, including music, dance, and theater in the heart of New York City.

September in New York City

  • Feast of San Gennaro: An 11-day street fair celebrating Italian-American culture, featuring religious processions, food vendors, and live music.
  • New York Fashion Week: The second occurrence of this world-renowned fashion event, showcasing the latest collections from top designers.
  • Brooklyn Americana Music Festival: A festival dedicated to Americana music, featuring local and national artists performing folk, country, blues, and roots music.
  • Broadway Week: The second occurrence of this biannual event, offering two-for-one ticket deals for Broadway shows.

October in New York City

  • New York Comic Con: A major pop culture convention that draws fans of comics, movies, and TV shows, featuring panels, exhibits, and celebrity appearances.
Fans dress up as their favorite movie characters at New York Comic Con at the Javits Center in Manhattan.
If you'd like to dress up as your favorite movie character, make sure to get a ticket for New York Comic Con, which takes place in October.
Adam McCullough/Shutterstock.com

November in New York City

  • Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree Lighting: A celebrated holiday tradition marking the start of the Christmas season with the lighting of a massive, beautifully decorated tree.
  • Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade: An iconic holiday event featuring giant balloons, floats, marching bands, and performances, celebrated on Thanksgiving Day.
  • New York Marathon: One of the world's largest marathons, this event takes runners through all five boroughs of New York City.

December in New York City