When is the best time to visit New York City?

Times Square

Often referred to as the “city that never sleeps”, there’s not really a bad time to visit New York with an action-packed calendar that will leave you with plenty of options for things to do whenever you come. However the nature of your trip will depend greatly on when you come with some significant seasonal shifts in a city with hot summers but cold winters. Prices also fluctuate between the different periods. Below we’ll look at some of the main factors when it comes to deciding on the best time to visit New York.

Table of Contents

The Best Time to visit New York

What is the best time to visit New York weather wise?

New York is a city of significant and often sudden seasonal shifts. There is something to be said for visiting in all four seasons but much will depend on your tolerance for heat and cold. The city is arguably at its most beautiful in the winter months when the snow falls, particularly during the Christmas period and the weeks leading up to it when festive lights illuminate the city. However if you can’t handle the cold, it’s best to steer well clear of the winter when sub-zero temperatures are common.

New York Climate

MonthAverage High (°C)Average Low (°C)

The above figures tell a tale of hot summers and cold winters, as are fairly typical on the North American continent. The swings aren’t quite as extreme in New York as in some inland areas of the United States due to its coastal location on the Atlantic.

However summers still get hot and noticeably humid. Visit in July and August and you will certainly feel the sticky, New York heat which can make sightseeing and getting around a little bit unpleasant. Air-conditioning will be your best friend in this period. May, June and September are the months that could be seen as the best time to visit New York if you want warm weather but not overbearing heat.

New York skyline

In terms of rainfall, there is actually remarkably little variation across the year when you look at the number of wet days or total rainfall. In every month there are between 9 and 12 wet days on average, although this doesn’t necessarily mean the whole day will be a washout with short showers common. It shouldn’t be a major factor in terms of deciding when to visit New York. 

As for snowfall, January and February experience the most snow, averaging 22 and 25 cm in total respectively. There are also regularly snowy days in December and March, and occasionally in November and April. However New York is not blanket covered in snow throughout the winter as some visitors imagine. 

Despite some of the snowy, festive films set in the city, New York only experiences a white Christmas once every six years on average. However even if you miss the snow, Central Park’s Ice Rink is open from late Fall into early Spring and still offers the winter wonderland feel. This is arguably the best time to visit Central Park.

What is the best month to go to New York for events and things to do?

Most of New York’s main attractions and sights are year-round destinations. The likes of Times Square, Central Park, Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty can easily be visited at any point in the year. Likewise Broadway shows and musicals continue throughout the year so it doesn’t really matter when you come for that, unless there’s a specific show you want to catch.

However there are some events and festivals which only take place at certain times and might make for a nice addition to your trip. Likewise if you want to catch a sports game in NYC, you’ll need to be aware of when the seasons take place for each of the major American sports.

10 of the best New York Events & Festivals

Lunar New Year (Chinatown)February
St. Patrick’s Day ParadeMarch
Tribeca Film FestivalJune
River to River FestivalJune
NYC Pride ParadeJune
Bryant Park Film FestivalJune – August
Macy’s Fireworks And Thanksgiving Day ParadeJuly
Harlem WeekAugust
Village Halloween ParadeOctober
Times Square New Year’s Eve CountdownDecember

This is just a tiny selection to give you a taste of some of the events and festivals which take place in the Big Apple every year. You can find some more inspiration here. Dates are as they were in 2022 and should be the same every year in most cases.

New York Sports Calendar

 TeamsRegular Season
Major League BaseballNew York Yankees, New York MetsApril to October
American Football (NFL)New York Giants, New York JetsSeptember to January
Basketball (NBA)New York Knicks, Brooklyn NetsOctober to April
Ice Hockey (NHL)New York Rangers, New York Islands, New Jersey DevilsOctober to June
Soccer (MLS)New York Red Bulls, New York CityMarch to October
Tennis (US Open)August

New York and New Jersey has an action-packed sporting calendar and no matter when you come, there will almost certainly be a game to catch. However if there’s a particular sport or team you want to see, you will need to be a bit more selective.

In terms of baseball, basketball and hockey, there are very congested seasons with each team playing 82 regular season matches in the NHL and NBA while MLB features a whopping 162-game season. Given New York has at least two teams in each of the major professional sports, you should easily be able to catch one of them playing at home if you come during the baseball, basketball or hockey seasons.

Yankee Stadium

American football is a bit different with the NFL regular season seeing each team play only 17 games meaning they will at most only have 9 home games. Both the Giants and Jets play at MetLife Stadium across the Hudson River in New Jersey so they are usually at home on alternative weekends meaning you should be able to catch an NFL game if you are in town between September and January.

Soccer is still something of a poor relation when compared to the “American” sports but Major League Soccer is growing in popularity and again you will usually find either New York City or Red Bulls are at home during weekends while the season is on (typically March to October, although it does vary slightly from year to year).

The biggest annual sports event in New York is the US Open, one of tennis’ four majors. It takes place at Flushing Meadows in Queens and features all of the biggest names in men’s and women’s tennis with the tournament lasting two weeks every August.

What are the cheapest and most expensive times to visit New York?

The cheapest months to go to New York City are January, February and March. The opening three months of the year are by some distance the least popular with visitors, both domestic and international. That’s partly due to the cold weather and also lack of holidays during that period.

Once Christmas and New Year is out the way, accommodation frees up and prices drop significantly with similar trends when it comes to travel in and out of the city. This is the best time to fly to New York if you’re looking for the best prices. Fares should stay relatively low until the Easter period which obviously does differ from year to year. However it is worth noting that even during the cheaper, low season, New York remains an expensive destination by just about all global standards with some of the highest travel costs in the US.

New York at night

From April onwards, the city heats up and prices rise almost as quickly as the temperature. When it comes to the most expensive time to visit New York, the picture is slightly more complicated though. There are significant spikes around holiday periods, particularly the weeks leading up to Christmas and the festive period itself with Times Square a hugely popular New Year destination. From Thanksgiving (the 4th Thursday in November) onwards, you will certainly struggle to find cheap flights or accommodation until the start of the following year.

The other peak season for New York is the summer. July and August are particularly busy as this is the time when many families are able to take holidays and NYC receives hordes of European visitors so you can expect to pay a lot for transatlantic flights and will struggle to find affordable accommodation in the city.

June can also be busy so perhaps May or September might be viewed as the best month to go to New York if you’re looking for warm weather but a slightly cheaper trip than would be possible in July or August, or during the festive season.

This post on the best time to visit New York was published in August 2022.

When is the best time to visit New York City?

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