When to go to New York
New York weather
While spring and fall are simply delightful in the city, New York weather doesn’t do half measures at other times of the year. Plummeting temperatures can blanket the streets in snow during Winter and, in the humid Summer months, you’d be wise to join the local migration to the beaches of Long Island and the Hamptons. To travel during your ideal temperatures, see our recommendations below.
Spring is a beautiful time to visit Manhattan. The summer humidity hasn’t quite arrived, and Central Park is picturesque: imagine these lungs of the city, overwhelming the traffic fumes by breathing out a much more pleasing aroma of pollen and cherry blossom. Spots like Lilac Walk, Azalea Walk and the Shakespeare Garden are perfect for whiling away a springtime afternoon.
New York Botanical Garden’s Orchid Show: admire thousands of blooming orchids at this two-month floral extravaganza from the end of February to mid-April.
Tribeca Film Festival: fond cinephiles will love this annual 12-day festival, boasting celebrity speakers like Tom Hanks and Robert De Niro, not to mention under-the-radar premieres and preview screenings. The event is held in April, but make sure you book your tickets well in advance via tribecafilm.com.
If you love to get outside, summer in New York is for you. You can feel the warmth while rowing on the lake in Central Park, at one of the city’s nearby beaches, or at one of the abundant free festivals. And it’s the perfect excuse to eat as much ice cream as you can manage too: grab a made-from-scratch cone at Davey’s Ice Cream in East Village.
Shakespeare in the Park: every summer, the Delacorte Theatre in Central Park plays host to Shakespeare’s best works. Theatre fanatics can enter a lottery to get tickets online, or queue up at the theatre on the day of the performance to try and get free tickets – the box office opens at midday but be sure to get there early!
Blue Note Jazz Festival: for the entirety of June, you can hear the soothing sounds of some of the best jazz on the planet at this annual festival. Choose from over 100 events across 10 venues.
New York restaurant week: the summer edition of this popular foodie event is a great way to dine at some of the city’s best restaurants for a fixed (and often lower) price.
With a brown, yellow and red patchwork of crisp fall leaves combined with mild temperatures, autumn is a fantastic time to visit New York City. The city emits a golden glow, a stark contrast against clear blue skies, promising perfect conditions for pulling on comfy shoes, a light jacket and sightseeing on foot.
Halloween: from haunted houses to costumes to parades, New York commits to Halloween. Explore haunted spots like the Merchant’s House Museum and Washington Square Park, watch the Village parade and even don a scary outfit yourself.
The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade: an annual celebration of the landing of the Mayflower – think floats, balloons and turkey aplenty.
Snow, frost, icy rain: winters in New York are undoubtedly cold. But while (many) more layers are required to visit, it’s also a magical time of year. The city has an ethereal feel to it and, if you go in December when pre-Christmas festivities are in full swing, you’ll be dazzled by unending fairy lights and winter markets that could almost be mistaken as Nordic. Bear the January chill and beat the blues with a bit of retail therapy too: this is the month when stores are known for slashing prices by up to 50%.
The Rink at Rockefeller Center: pull on your skates and dance on the ice beneath Rockefeller and its huge Christmas tree – it’s a truly romantic spot.
Beer, Bourbon and BBQ Festival: if you’re struggling to fight the chill, warm up at this annual January event, which hosts 60 types of beer, 40 bourbons and a whole lotta barbecued food.