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

4th of July fireworks in Manhattan
4th of July fireworks in Manhattan. Getty Images/tobntno

Although many New Yorkers may escape the city during the heat of July, visitors don't have to worry about being lonely or having lots of things closed—it's actually a very popular time to visit New York City. Many people come to enjoy all the fun, free events that define summer in Manhattan. 

On the Fourth of July if you do not have plans for the beach or a family picnic, then you might want to consider finding an ideal spot to watch the spectacular Macy's fireworks. It is a truly special holiday to experience in person and can be seen from many different places in the city. Also, many people enjoy experiencing New York City's summer restaurant week in July.

July Weather

July tends to be the hottest and wettest month of the year. The average temperature high is 85 F and the low is 70 F. Subways and streets can be quite uncomfortable in the heat.

It's pretty impressive how oppressive the heat can feel in New York City. You can thank the humidity. July is one of the muggiest months of the year. Perspiration just doesn't want to evaporate off your skin, if it did, your body would cool down easier. The "concrete jungle" does a great job of holding in the heat. Summer nights are known to be pretty steamy. 

What to Pack

  • Summer clothes: sundresses, shorts, light-weight shirts
  • It frequently rains, pack an umbrella
  • It might not be the beach, but the sun's rays can get you. Bring sun protection like hats, sunglasses, and sunscreen.
  • A light sweater or waterproof jacket (for keeping warm in the air-conditioned museums, stores, and Broadway shows)
  • Closed-toe shoes, comfortable for walking and water-resistant, if possible
  • A picnic blanket is great if you want to check out some of the free concerts and movies or just people-watch in Central Park with a picnic.

July Events in New York City

As long as you don't mind the heat, July is a great time in New York City with lots to see and do. Here are a few annual events that happen throughout the month:

  • Macy's Fourth of July FireworksThis 30-minute free show shifts locations some years. Usually, it's on the East River, but some years it may be along the Hudson River. No matter the location, it's always a crowd pleaser.
  • New York City Restaurant WeekTwice a year, summer and winter, some of the top New York restaurants lower their prices, create special menus, and invite you to dinner for a fraction of the cost.
  • SummerStage: Central Park and other parks throughout New York City host top-tier musicians from hip-hop, jam bands, world music, and more.
  • HBO/Bryant Park Film FestivalThis HBO-sponsored series has been screening movies in Bryant Park for more than 20 years. Arrive early to claim a spot on the lawn. It opens at 5 p.m. on Mondays. Be prepared to get up and shimmy for the traditional preshow dance.
  • Shakespeare in the Park: Every year, the Public Theater hosts a free Shakespeare in the Park production. The play changes each year. To get free tickets you have to enter a public digital lottery. 
  • New York Philharmonic Concerts in the Park: Some years the New York Philharmonic performs in June, other years, it's July. If you are fortunate to be in town when they are playing in the park, don't miss it.
  • Midsummer Night Swing: Get out and dance the night away in Lincoln Center. Get your swing on, whip out a jive. Move that booty and join one of the biggest swing dance parties under the stars.
  • New York MLB Season: One of the biggest baseball rivalries around is the New York Mets and the New York Yankees. If you can score tickets to a "subway series," a game when the two match up, you can cut the tension with a knife in the host stadium.
  • Women's Liberty Season (WNBA): Women's pro basketball is fast and fierce. The New York Liberty occasionally play at Madison Square Garden when the busy venue is free between all the huge headlining musical concerts.

July Travel Tips

  • Make sure you stay well hydrated. Travel with a water bottle wherever you go. Fill it with ice at your hotel at the beginning of the day and if it's the insulated type, you'll be able to enjoy cold water all day long. There are water fountains in most city parks. Also, be cautious about drinking too much alcohol when it's hot, it can be dehydrating.
  • If it's not too hot, it can be the perfect time of year for New York's many walking tours.
  • There are many summer concerts and outdoor film festivals to see (most are free).

To learn more about if you want to visit New York City in the summer, check out our guide on the best time to visit.