New York City is a year-round destination for travelers—mostly because there's always something to do in the Big Apple, no matter when you visit. However, the weather can vary drastically by season, so knowing what to expect and what to pack can go a long way in making sure you enjoy your vacation to New York any time of year.
While the best and mildest temperatures occur in September, October, May and June, vacations during the snowy winter or blistering summer provide exciting opportunities to experience New York City in different ways. Whether you want to watch a brilliant firework display for New Year's Eve or the Fourth of July, the weather can drastically affect what you'll need to bring on your trip.
Although you may not think of New York City as an outdoor destination, you should expect to spend a good portion of your visit outside, usually walking. This means you will need to pack for all types of weather, even if the forecast predicts mild, sunny skies. Additionally, New York City is pretty wet year-round, so no matter what time of year you visit, you'll likely need to pack weather-proof gear—rain boots in the warmer months and insulated boots in the winter.
Fast Climate Facts
- Hottest Month: July, 77 degrees Fahrenheit (25 degrees Celsius)
- Coldest Month: January, 31.5 degrees Fahrenheit (-0.3 degrees Celsius)
- Wettest Month: May, 4.5 inches
- Windiest Month: February, average daily wind speed of 10.3 miles per hour
- Best Month for Swimming: August, sea temperature of 73 F (22.7 C)
Spring in New York City
Late Spring is one of the best times to visit the city; however, April and May are two of the rainiest months of the year, both of which typically have around 15 rainy days and accumulate over four inches of precipitation each. Meanwhile, temperatures rise steadily from an average low of 31 degrees Fahrenheit (-0.5 degrees Celsius) in mid-March to an average high of 68 F (20 C) in May.
If you're visiting for spring break in March or early April, you may still experience some winter-like conditions—including light snowfall and freezing temperatures earlier in the season. You'll also find prices for hotels and airfare are more expensive during America's spring break as many school groups and families visit the city during their extended holiday.
What to pack: Since it's the wettest season in the city, a raincoat and rain boots are necessary this time of year, but you'll want to avoid umbrellas as wind gusts can render most umbrellas rather useless. You may also want to bring a variety of warm and cool-weather clothing you can layer to match the sporadic forecast this time of year. Bring pants and long-sleeved shirts, but you can probably leave your shorts and tank tops at home for most of the season.
Summer in New York City
Tourists love coming to New York City in the summertime, which can be quite hot and uncomfortable, particularly in the crowded subways. While June weather is still relatively mild and dry, with an average temperature of 71 degrees Fahrenheit (21.6 degrees Celsius), July and August both experience average highs in the lower 80s (upper 20s Celsius).
To make matters worse, the concrete of the city traps the heat and winds die down in the summer, which makes it feel even hotter than it is, and humidity levels can get rather high in the later part of the season. Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to cool down like swimming at Coney Island or catching a Broadway show near Times Square.
What to pack: Shorts, tank tops, and breathable fabrics are a must this time of year, but you'll want to avoid wearing open-toed sandals while walking, so bring a pair of comfortable shoes for getting around the city. If you plan on visiting shops, museums, or other indoor attractions, you may want to bring an extra layer like a pullover; you'll also need nice attire if you plan to attend a show or go to an upscale restaurant.
Fall in New York City
Temperatures start to drop early in September, but you likely won't see cold weather until some time around the end of October, making fall one of the best seasons to visit New York City (in terms of the weather). Throughout the season, monthly highs fall from 75 degrees Fahrenheit (23.8 degrees Celsius) in September to 54 F (12.2 C) in November, while the average lows drop from 61 to 41 F (16.1 to 5 C).
October and November are also two of the driest months of the year (as well as February) and the best time to see the fall foliage in Central Park; however, wind speeds tend to pick back in the late fall, rising from a daily average of 7.2 miles per hour in September to 9.4 miles per hour in November.
What to pack: The later in the season you're visiting, the more clothing you should bring with you to keep you warm while walking around the city. While you can still get away with shorts and tank tops in early September, you'll definitely want to bring long pants, sweaters, and even a light jacket by mid-November—especially if you're visiting from a warmer climate.
Winter in New York City
Blame it on the excitement of the winter months during Christmas and New Year's Eve, but visitors flock to the city each holiday season. Unfortunately, temperatures drop constantly throughout December and often stay below freezing for most of January and February when snowfall can total more than three inches. Winter also means more intense winds gusting between the buildings of New York City—the average daily wind speed stays above 10 miles per hour most of the season.
What to pack: You will need plenty of warm clothing including a waterproof winter coat, long pants, sweaters, and perhaps even thermal undergarments, especially in the later part of the season. Don't forget to pack toasty boots or shoes as well as a pair of SmartWool socks to keep your feet warm and dry, too.
With the exception of January, February, September, and October, you can expect some amount of precipitation for almost half of the month most of the year in New York City. However, winter brings freezing snowfall and late spring often sees periods of warm, torrential rainfall.
|Average Monthly Temperature, Rainfall, and Daylight Hours|
|Month||Avg. Temp.||Rainfall||Daylight Hours|
|January||32 F||3.3 inches||6 hours|
|February||33 F||3.2 inches||6 hours|
|March||42 F||3.8 inches||7 hours|
|April||52 F||4.1 inches||8 hours|
|May||61 F||4.5 inches||9 hours|
|June||71 F||3.6 inches||11 hours|
|July||77 F||4.2 inches||11 hours|
|August||75 F||4.0 inches||10 hours|
|September||68 F||4.0 inches||9 hours|
|October||57 F||3.1 inches||7 hours|
|November||48 F||4.0 inches||6 hours|
|December||36 F||3.6 inches||6 hours|