The Big Apple – home to a skyline of towering buildings, streets with a smorgasbord of cultures, and subways that tell a million tales. This is the city that never sleeps, with a pulsating energy so contagious that once you’ve experienced it, you won’t want to leave!

From the electric buzz of Times Square and the cultural kaleidoscope of Broadway to the historical echoes of Central Park, the tangible energy of Wall Street, and the powerful stance of the Statue of Liberty.

New York is more than just a city – it’s a way of life that demands to be explored, to be embraced, and of course, to be celebrated!

If you’re looking for a relaxing trip to decompress from that highly-demanding office job, then New York might not be the best option for you.

The city eats, sleeps, and breathes energy, dreams, and ambition – it really is the epitome of the America Dream. It can be crowded, stuffy, and intrusive, but that doesn’t deter from its charm.

This guide has been compiled as a one-stop-shop – a place where you can come to get all the information you need for planning a trip to New York. So, if that’s what you’re looking for, then you’ve come to the right place. From weather and attractions to the most affordable time to visit – it’s all here.

So, let’s not waste time and jump right in! Behold – I give you the ultimate guide to the best time to visit New York!

Nic and Shorty in a busy Times Square, New York, USA
Concrete jungle – where dreams are made?
Image: Nic Hilditch-Short

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Best Time To Visit New York – April to June and September to early November

Best Time to Go to Central Park – Spring and fall

Best Time to Go to The Statue of Liberty – Weekday mornings in spring or fall

Best Time to Go Times Square – peak times during the week (Monday to Friday)

Best Time for Sightseeing – April to June, September to early November

Cheapest Time to Visit New York – the winter months (January, February, and March)

When is the Best Time to Visit New York?

Right, let’s get something straight – backpacking New York City is a diverse experience filled with endless activities and sights to explore throughout the year – there’s not really a “bad time” to visit, per se.

The best time to visit New York really depends on what you’re looking to get out of your trip.

Heck, if you’re after sunny and warm weather, then don’t visit in the winter. The inverse is true if you’re after that winter charm with snow-covered buildings, parks, and streets – don’t go visiting in the summer.

New York experiences some pretty distinct tourism seasons every year, and let’s face it – it’s a pretty busy city in general. However, the tourism high season runs from late May through to early September, and then again from November through into December.

The low season runs from January, early in the new year through until March. Then there are the shoulder seasons that fall somewhere in between all of that – April through mid-May and September through October.

A subway train in NYC speeding through Astor place metro station. New York, USA. Long shutter speed photography.
A scene you can smell, hear, and feel…
Image: Nic Hilditch-Short

If you’re looking for the quietest time, then the best time to visit New York is mid-winter and late spring. January and February, and again in late March through to late April are generally your slighter quieter periods.

During this period, you’ll also stumble upon reasonably priced places to stay in New York, too, and as a bonus, it’s the perfect time to experience the city as the locals do. You might need to pack an extra jumper as the temperatures can be a little low for those who aren’t used to it.

If you’re looking to take advantage of optimal weather in New York, then the best time to travel is usually in the fall. There are some great outdoor activities on offer and there is a certain buzz in the air.

Restaurants and bars also have some fun and cozy events on the go so it’s almost a bit-of-everything time. While summer is great for those who love the heat, it can be somewhat uncomfortable for many as it gets HOT!

The cheapest time to visit New York (I’m talking to the budget travelers out there and those who love a good deal) is in mid to late winter. But more on that later on!

Steam from the subway is vented out in Lower Manhattan, NYC, New York, USA
NYC is great any time of year, but it offers different experiences.
Image: Nic Hilditch-Short

Lastly, if you’re into festivals and events, New York pretty much has things going on all year round. It all depends on whether you’re going to plan your trip around a specific event or it happens to fall within your intended travel dates.

The Tribeca Film Festival takes place each June while the New York Film Festival occurs every fall. Springtime has a certain excitement in the air with both the Sakura Matsuri Brooklyn Cherry Blossom Festival and the Food Network New York City Wine & Food Festival taking place.

Finally, summertime is the season for all things outdoors, especially concerts like SummerStage which offers a whole lot of free concerts in Central Park – how epic!?

Cheapest Time to Visit New York

Are you a budget-conscious traveler? Do you love a good deal? If you answered ‘yes’ to either of these questions then this section will be of interest to you.

The cheapest time to visit New York is mid to late winter – the months of January through to March.

Let’s cut to the chase here – New York City has been known for some pretty steep prices, so expect it. It is what it is. It’s a massively popular travel destination so don’t get a trembling bottom lip if things work out expensive – you’re in the same boat as everyone else. However, there are always good ways to travel cheaply in expensive countries.

a person holding united states dollars
Hold onto those bills!
Photo: @amandaadraper

During the mid to late winter months, you’re going to be able to get the best and cheapest rates. New York City’s got cheap hostels where you can crash for less, plus lower airfares, accommodation rates, and even Broadway tickets – it’s the perfect time to visit the city for budget-conscious travelers.

However, winter isn’t for everyone – I know this. Luckily for you, if you love the warmth, and by warmth, I mean extreme heat, then there happens to be another option.

Late summertime is also slightly cheaper thanks to locals taking a hiatus from the heat. What does this mean for you as a heat-loving tourist? Breathing space and lower rates! There’s also plenty of space to walk thanks to fewer locals (and tourists) out and about, all hiding from the dreaded sun.

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When to Visit New York – Weather by Month

Ok, do you want even MORE info? Here I present you with a DETAILED, fabulous, month-by-month guide of what is going on in New York City including weather, events, tourists and more! Don’t say I don’t treat you well.

Nic walking across the Brooklyn Bridge, New York, USA
Summer in NYC is shorts and t-shirt weather for sure.
Image: Nic Hilditch-Short

January in New York

  • Average Max. Temperature: 6°C, 43°F
  • Rainfall: 10 days

January in New York is something special – and there’s nothing quite like it. Along with February, it is the snowiest month in the city with an average snowfall of around 7 inches a month!

The snow is falling, there’s a buzz in the air, and the streets are bustling, it’s picturesque. New York is really an EPIC Instagram destination during this time of the year.

There’s also plenty to do with a huge array of winter attractions on offer as well as many cultural amenities. Imagine doing a spot of ice skating a stone’s throw from Times Square. Imagine no more! The Rink at Rockefeller Center awaits!

If that hasn’t caught your attention already, then this will. From mid-January, you can score some sweet deals on both accommodation and airfares along with unmissable experiences. I’d say that’s a win-win-win situation!

February in New York

  • Average Max. Temperature: 7°C, 45°F
  • Rainfall: 9 days

February in New York gets cold – very cold! So, if you’re planning on traveling to the city, then make sure you pack right – I’m talking gloves, jacket, beanie, and thermal underwear.

You can expect maximum average daily temperatures of around 7°C or 45°F, but that dip substantially overnight and into the negatives! February is also traditionally the driest month of the year with around 9 days of rainfall, on average.

Like January, you can also expect lower accommodation and flight prices as it’s generally a slightly quieter time of the year for tourists. Did someone say fewer tourists? Sign me up!

The Chinese Lunar New Year also alternates falling in January or February, so check whether or not it falls within the intended dates of travel – it really is a spectacle!

FYI – the 2024 Chinese Lunar New Year is on the 10th of February, so pop that in the ol’ diary!

March in New York

  • Average Max. Temperature: 9°C, 48°F
  • Rainfall: 12 days

The weather in New York during March can be quite unpredictable – you can expect cold temperatures and snowstorms to catch you off guard!

Having said this, if you’re used to the cold or don’t mind potentially chilly weather and snow, then it might be the best time to visit New York for you.

That seems like a bold statement, right? Well, do you fancy the sound of uncrowded museums, cheaper Broadway shows, and lower hotel and other accommodation rates? Thought so!

The NYC St. Patrick’s Day Parade also takes place in March, which is one more reason to visit. It’s a fun day out with around two million spectators coming to watch as the procession travels down Fifth Avenue.

Looking down a wide street in Lower Manhattan, NYC, New York, USA
NYC looks good whatever the weather.
Image: Nic Hilditch-Short

April in New York

  • Average Max. Temperature: 16°C, 61°F
  • Rainfall: 15 days

At some point during your trip planning process you’ll find yourself asking the most important question – when should I visit New York?

Well, April is considered to be almost the best time to go to New York, with some of the best weather for exploring. It’s not too hot, it’s not too cold – some might say it’s just right. It makes walking around the city way more bearable as you discover all that New York has to offer.

It also gives to time to stroll around without sweating like a pig and to discover some hidden gems in New York on your own, be it a burrito stand, coffee shop, or take away pizza slice!

It’s also one of the best times to visit New York for smaller crowds, which is highly attractive for some travelers!

May in New York

  • Average Max. Temperature: 20°C, 68°F
  • Rainfall: 15 days

May is the ideal month to discover the neighborhoods of New York and the streets within them.

It’s also one of the best months to visit from a weather perspective – spring is in fullswing during May and the temperatures are pretty mild still. The days aren’t too hot and the evenings aren’t too cold which is perfect for discovering the city’s charm.

And if you’re planning a weekend gateway in New York, February is the time to go! The city tends to mellow out a bit as locals head for nearby beaches to soak up some sun tend to clear out a bit as the locals enjoy flocking to nearby beaches.

The weather during May also lends itself to having a delectable brunch outside on the porch or at a local eatery, complete with pastries and a cheeky Mimosa. Shut up and take my money!

June in New York

  • Average Max. Temperature: 27°C, 81°F
  • Rainfall: 13 days

The weather in New York during the month of June is pleasant, warm, and hellishly inviting! The days are warm and long (the sun only sets around 9 pm!) and the nights are moderate, hovering around 18°C/65°F – bliss!

While things really start to heat up from June, it’s really the last chance to take advantage before the weather gets unbearably hot.

You can also catch the time just before school holidays as well as sunshine for days – winning. But the best part of it all is the Museum Mile Festival – a block party that takes place at Upper East Side.

During the festival, there is live music and street performances on the go and the museum offers free admission. Time to explore your cultural side and get busy living!

Nic on a subway train in NYC, New York, USA
Thank fuck this subway has air con.
Image: Nic Hilditch-Short

July in New York

  • Average Max. Temperature: 29°C, 84°F
  • Rainfall: 13 days

Now, this can either be good news or bad news, depending on how you see it but July is one of the best times to visit New York.

However, with that comes crowds and to make matters worse, it’s also school holidays. But that’s not the worst of your problems – the humidity is a real killer!

But if you don’t mind the crowd or the humidity, then it will probably be an ideal time for you to visit. Hotel and other accommodation prices also tend to remain steady which is a bit of a relief.

July is also the perfect time for outdoor activities – think concerts in the park, festivals, outdoor movie nights, and even kayaking. So, pack yourself a picnic, a delicious bottle of vino, and hit the parks!

August in New York

  • Average Max. Temperature: 28°C, 82°F
  • Rainfall: 12 days

August brings some relief from the heat as the temperatures tend to cool off a bit in the evenings – but the dreaded humidity sticks around unfortunately.

There’s still plenty of sunshine during the month and you can expect in the region of 19 to 21 days of sunshine. Again, with all that sunshine and warm weather, outdoor activities are the order of the month and there are plenty of film and music festivals as well as multiple concerts on the go.

The Bryant Park Movie Nights and the Central Park Film Festival both happen during the month and draw in the crowds, eager to be a part.

There are also some pretty big sporting events on the go during August like Major League Baseball and the Australian Open Tennis Tournament so get your baseball cap dusted off and get ready to support!

September in New York

  • Average Max. Temperature: 24°C, 75°F
  • Rainfall: 10 days

September in New York marks the official start of fall and the temperatures finally begin to, well, fall!

It is considered to be one of the best times to go to New York as the weather is beautifully comfortable and not too hot or humid – relief! The leaves also begin to change color, moving away from their lush, green hues to a more reddish-brown.

It’s really a beautiful time of year. There also tend to be fewer tourists about as it also marks the start of the shoulder season in the city. If you’re not into crowds and hot weather then this may well be the best time to visit New York – you’re welcome!

Warren Place Mews New York
NYC in the snow is cold but a treat in itself.
Photo: Jim. Henderson (WikiCommons)

October in New York

  • Average Max. Temperature: 18°C, 64°F
  • Rainfall: 10 days

I might be putting myself in the firing line a bit here with what I’m about to say next. Wish me luck! October, in my humble opinion, is the best time to go to New York – there you go, I said it!

Tourist levels drop off and prices tend to decrease too, making everything just that much more affordable. Lower prices, more money to spend on nicer things – simple!

The weather also cools down substantially and that dreaded humidity starts to drift away, so it’s the perfect time to be outside, walking around and exploring New York. Comfortable days that you can get away with wearing a t-shirt and slightly cooler nights that aren’t so clawingly sticky equate to pure bliss!

November in New York

  • Average Max. Temperature: 12°C, 54°F
  • Rainfall: 12 days

November in New York is the best of both worlds – the weather is perfect for both indoor and outdoor activities.

While the daytime temperatures drop substantially and the nights are colder, you will probably be able to escape snowfall as winter isn’t in full-swing just yet. But always be prepared – you never know if there’s a rogue flurry just around the corner.

November also means Black Friday, so shopaholics, get ready for a deal.

Thanksgiving also takes place towards the end of the month after which the Christmas spirit in New York starts and it begins to look a lot like, well, Christmas!

December in New York

  • Average Max. Temperature: 13°C, 55°F
  • Rainfall: 12 days

New York is one of the best places to explore in December and you know exactly why!

Christmas is very much in the air during December and there are so many fun things on the go. From ice skating and holiday markets to incredible lighting displays and of course, the Radio City Christmas Spectacular.

As you would’ve guessed with ice skating on the cards, December gets cold. So, if you’re planning on visiting the city, then make sure to pack warm!

Best Time to Visit New York by Place

You know WHEN to head to New York, but now we are going to get into geographical specifics!

Best Time to Go to Times Square

Right, so what makes Times Square so epic?

There is always something going on in Times Square.
Image: Nic Hilditch-Short

Well for starters, it’s one of the world’s busiest pedestrian areas, so if you’re not a fan of crowded places, then I wouldn’t recommend visiting!

It’s also a major center of the world’s entertainment industry and the hub of the Broadway Theater District – no big deal, right?

When it comes to the best time to visit Times Square, it depends on what you’re after.

If you want to get the place all to yourself, then go early in the morning or late at night to avoid all the tourists and office workers. But let’s be real – that’s not really what it’s about.

Times Square epitomizes New York and its real hustle-and-bustle feel – the busyness that is associated with the city that never sleeps.

Having said this, the best time to see Times Square should be when it’s busy. When it’s heaving and hoards upon hoards people are making their daily commute to work. That’s when you get the real essence of this incredible place in New York.

Best Time to Go to The Statue of Liberty

The Statue of Liberty on Liberty Island in New York Harbor is an icon of the city – the unofficial ambassador of New York.

The copper statue was a gift from the people of France, designed by sculptor Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi and built by none other than Gustave Eiffel. The statue was built for two reasons – to honor America’s 100 years of independence as well as to honor their friendship with France.

The Statue of Liberty with the sunsetting in the background
Please, miss, I need a wee.
Image: Nic Hilditch-Short

Right, now with all that information to take on board, let’s get down to the nitty-gritty – when is the best time to visit the Statue of Liberty? Glad you asked! First thing in the morning, during the week (Tuesday to Thursday), in the spring or fall.

Was that more or less specific enough? This is the best time to go through for the shortest lines and the most comfortable weather.

Outside of these times, expect it to be pretty busy and in summer, prepare to get your sweat on! However, if you do find yourself visiting in summer, make sure to go early – the first ferry leaves at 8:30 am so try to get onto it!

Best Time to Go to Central Park

You absolutely can’t miss out on the majestic Central Park on your US journey. It is regarded as a masterpiece in landscape architecture and has influenced the development of other urban parks both in the US and worldwide.

Designed by Calvert Vaux and Frederick Law Olmsted, the park has a plethora of attractions. From green meadows, water features, bridges, and gardens to classical architecture, educational facilities, and music and performance centers, the park has it all.

Spring and fall are largely regarded as some of the best times to visit Central Park as the weather is the most attractive during these times. Not too hot and not too cold – just perfect!

The fall is particularly beautiful as the leaves begin to change color and the reddish-brown hues create a wonderful contrast for those Insta pics.

Sunset is also a great time for those Kodak views but be prepared to share the view with every man and his dog – it’s busy! That being said, no time is a bad time to visit. There are events on the go throughout the year and something fun for everyone.

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Best Time to visit New York for Parties and Festivals

There are almost as many parties and festivals in New York as there are bagel options in the city – yes, that’s a shedload! The city of soaring skyscrapers and bustling burrows is an undisputed cultural, arts, and music hub not only in the US but throughout the world too.

A shop window in Bruges, Belgium full of traditional christmas decorations.
Like Kevin, getting lost in NYC.
Image: Nic Hilditch-Short

During the summer months, from June to September, there are a whole host of parties, outdoor events, and festivals in the US to get you sticky and satisfied.

Here are some of the top parties and festivals in New York:

  • Tribeca Film Festival

The Tribeca Film Festival is no small deal – period. The festival is an eclectic mix of industry giants and small independents – and everything in between.

It’s a journey through the world of film that takes place every year in Manhattan and aims to showcase new talent as well as boundary-pushing greats. Be sure to check it out if you happen to be in New York during the summer months!

  • Fourth Of July Fireworks

The visually stimulating fireworks display takes place, well, on the 4th of July! The fireworks light up the New York skyline in celebration of America’s independence (formally known as Independence Day) and can be seen throughout the city. So, pick your spot, pack a picnic, and get comfy!

  • New Year’s Eve In Times Square

Times Square is one of the best places to spend New Year’s Eve – along with millions of others in the surrounding areas.

The iconic ball drop is the main event. A ball descends down a specially designed flagpole and marks the start of the new year when it reaches the bottom. The conclusion is welcomed with a sky of confetti and fireworks to start the new year with a bang!

  • Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade

Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade is one of the most important dates in New York, which has taken place for nearly 100 years.

On Thanksgiving Day itself, Macy’s department store chain puts on a parade of gigantic balloons of well-known characters. The balloons are complimented by marching bands, celebrity performances, and incredible floats that epitomize the spirit of New York.

Don’t Forget Your New York Travel Insurance

I’m sure you’ve heard of the horror story that is health care in the USA. That’s just one reason why good travel insurance is essential before you head on your trip to New York.

ALWAYS sort out your backpacker insurance before your trip. There’s plenty to choose from in that department, but a good place to start is Safety Wing.

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SafetyWing is cheap, easy, and admin-free: just sign up lickety-split so you can get back to it!

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FAQ About The Best Time To Visit New York

Remember, no question is a stupid question – and chances are many other people have the same one but are too scared to ask. Here are a few of the frequently asked questions when it comes to the best time to visit New York.

Final Thoughts on The Best Time To Visit New York

While times to visit are better for some, they may be worse for others – it all comes down to personal preference.

At the end of the day, it doesn’t really matter when you decide to visit New York because you are guaranteed to have an epic time. The city is full of incredible sights, sounds, and smells, and is bound to delight your senses.

The best time to go to New York is NOW! There’s no time like the present, so book that flight and get exploring! A whole world of experiences awaits!

Nic looking out over te view of NYC from the Top of The Roxk, New York, USA
I can’t get enough of this city!
Image: Nic Hilditch-Short
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