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

Long line at the free Santigold & Diplo show at Central Park Summerstage
Roman Königshofer / Flickr / CC BY-ND 2.0

While tourists flock to the city for the last month of summer vacation, many residents of New York City flee to the cooler coastline or country escapes during August, making it an interesting time to visit.

While the weather can be rather hot and oppressively humid for most of the month, many of the city's free summer music events and festivals take place in early August, with celebrations winding down as the month progresses.

If you've got the time to visit New York City in August this year, there are still plenty of great activities, multicultural celebrations, free events, and summer fun to experience while you're in town—just make sure to pack light to beat the heat.

New York City Weather in August

August can be quite hot and humid, though it's a bit cooler and drier than July, especially later in the month. Although the average high for the month is 83 degrees Fahrenheit, temperatures can reach upwards of 95 F. Still, you can expect an average low of 64 F overnight, especially toward the end of the month.

Humidity and rain become a major factor in August travel planning, especially as the temperatures drop later in the month. With an average humidity of 54 percent (mildly humid) and levels rarely falling below 35 percent humidity (comfortable), you can expect to really feel the wet heat this month. Additionally, rainfall is expected on at least 11 days of the month, meaning you will likely encounter a quick shower on at least one day of your trip.

What to Pack

If you're visiting earlier in the month when temperatures are at their hottest, you'll want to pack light, comfortable clothing and shoes that are breathable. However, you should also be prepared for chillier evenings later in the month and rain throughout August. As a result, you should pack:

  • Shorts, T-shirts, tank tops, linen pants, sundresses, and loose clothing in general
  • An umbrella and raincoat
  • A light sweater or waterproof jacket (for keeping warm in the air-conditioned museums and stores—or after sunset if you're used to warmer nights)
  • Closed toe shoes, comfortable for walking (water-resistant, if possible)
  • A picnic blanket (great for checking out free concerts and movies)

August Events in New York City

While there are no official holidays in August, there are still plenty of free and ticketed events, festivals, and celebrations happening across the city this month. From film showcases like the Central Park and Bryant Park Film Festivals to theatrical performances like Shakespeare in the Park, you're sure to find something to do on your trip to NYC in August.

  • Harlem Week: Actually a month long, this annual celebration of the community is themed "Women Transforming Our World: Past, Present, and Future," and runs from July 29 through August 25, 2018.
  • HBO/Bryant Park Film Festival: The film showcase in Bryant Park all summer long screens favorite flicks including "The Wiz" on August 6, "Thelma & Louise" on August 13, and "The Terminator" on August 20, 2018.
  • Major League Baseball and WNBA Basketball: The New York Yankees and the New York Mets play baseball in August while the New York Liberty women's basketball team wraps up its season throughout the month.
  • Central Park SummerStage: A full month of free concerts in Central Park (as well as other SummerStage events in different boroughs) includes Family Night on August 15.
  • Central Park Film Festival: This week-long series of evening film screenings takes place from August 14 through 17, 2018, and features films like "The Muppets Take Manhattan," "Hair," "Crooklyn," and "Dr. Strangelove Or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb."
  • Shakespeare in the Park: The Public Theater presents Shakespeare plays annually at the Delacorte Theater in Central Park, with an adaptation of "Twelfth Night" by Public Works running from July 17 to August 19, 2018.

    August Travel Tips

    • If it's too hot for a walking tour, check out some of New York City's bus tours.
    • There are many summer concerts and outdoor film festivals to see (most of which are free).
    • Subways and streets can be uncomfortable in the heat, and the concrete that makes up so much of New York City's infrastructure retains a lot of heat that can make it feel even hotter than it actually is.
    • The heat and humidity can also cause a lot of unpleasant odors to linger in the air, so NYC can turn into a rather smelly place on hot days.
    • You should drink plenty of water as it's easy to get dehydrated when it's really hot and you're out exploring the concrete jungle.
    • If you want to go to any of the movies or free concerts in New York City parks, bring a blanket and pack a picnic dinner. There are often blankets for sale and dinners you can order nearby.
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