January in New York City: Weather, What to Pack, and What to See

It's a great time for foodies and bargain hunters who don't mind the cold

Winter in New York City
Denis Tangney, Jr./Getty Images

As the throngs of holiday revelers leave New York City after the New Year's Eve hoopla, savvy travelers can finally find a bargain on airfares and hotels, not to mention have an easier time getting dinner reservations and theater tickets. Foodie tourists can align their trips to the Big Apple with Winter Restaurant Week to get discounts on some of the city's trendiest eateries. January is also a great time to take advantage of the great post-holiday sales at New York City's many stores.

January in New York

New York Weather in January

January is typically the coldest month of the year in New York City. The towering skyscrapers block any sliver of sun and create a wind tunnel that can make frigid temperatures feel even colder. On the streets, you'll get a taste of New Yorkers' true toughness—braving the cold in floor-length parkas, snow boots, and more—which is something only winter tourists get to see.

The average high for New York City in January is 39 degrees Fahrenheit (4 degrees Celsius) and the average low is 27 degrees Fahrenheit (-3 degrees Celsius). It rains, on average, eight days of the month.

What to Pack

  • Waterproof boots or galoshes are essential for keeping your feet warm and dry during this very cold time in New York City. Make sure they are waterproof, not merely water repellant, as you will probably be stepping in plenty of sidewalk puddles during your trip.
  • Dress in layers. Stores, subways, and attractions will generally be warm, but it is nearly impossible to visit New York City without spending time outside, so you'll want to ensure you're prepared to walk around. Unless you hire a private driver, you'll be walking to the subway or standing on the corner hailing a cab, completely exposed to whatever unpleasant weather the city is experiencing.
  • Be sure to pack a warm coat, hats, earmuffs, scarves, and gloves or mittens.

January Events in New York City

  • Central Park Winter Jam: Winter Jam is a free winter sports festival for all ages that's held in Central Park at the end of the month. Snow is brought in from nearby Gore Mountain to create a winter wonderland. There will be live ice carving, an ice sculpture garden, ski lessons, a sledding hill, and more.
  • New York City Restaurant Week: Dine at some of New York City's best restaurants for cheap during New York City Restaurant Week, held January 21 to February 9, 2020. It is recommended to make reservations before heading to the restaurants.

January Travel Tips

  • The third weekend in January is a three-day weekend for many Americans, and that Monday is a federal holiday to commemorate Martin Luther King Jr. This means that many businesses may be closed, but typically restaurants and other tourist attractions remain open.
  • Daylight hours are fairly short during the winter with the sun typically rising just after 7 a.m. and setting as early as 4:45 p.m.