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 New York City for the last month of summer vacation, many residents flee to the cooler coastline or take country escapes during August, so the city feels less crowded. Just make sure to pack light to beat the rather hot and oppressively humid weather for most of the month.

If you visit New York City in August, you will find plenty of great activities, multicultural celebrations, free events, and summer fun while you're in town, including Shakespeare in the Park, Harlem Week, and Bryant Park Movie Nights.

Some events have been canceled or altered for 2020, so check event websites or below for details.

New York City Weather in August

August can be quite hot and humid. The average high for the month is 83 degrees Fahrenheit (28 degrees Celsius), although temperatures can reach upward of 95 degrees Fahrenheit (35 degrees Celsius). Evenings cool off, with an average low of 68 degrees Fahrenheit (20 degrees Celsius).

When planning travel to New York City in August, prepare for the possibility of humidity and rain. With an average humidity of 66 percent, you can expect to really feel the wet heat this month. Additionally, rainfall is expected on at least 9.5 days of the month, meaning you might 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, it is helpful to pack light, breathable clothing and comfortable closed-toe shoes, which are water-resistant if possible. Bring items like shorts, T-shirts, tank tops, linen pants, sundresses, and loose clothing in general. However, you should also be prepared for chillier evenings later in the month and rain throughout August, so it is a good idea to bring an umbrella and raincoat. Don't forget a light sweater or waterproof jacket for keeping warm in the air-conditioned museums and stores—or after sunset. In addition, pack a picnic blanket for checking out free concerts and movies, and a water bottle to stay hydrated as you sweat.

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. From cinematic showcases such as the Central Park Conservancy Film Festival and Bryant Park Movie Nights to theatrical performances like Shakespeare in the Park, you're sure to find something to do on your trip to New York City in August.

  • Harlem Week: This annual celebration of the history, culture, and strength of the Harlem community will be held virtually in 2020 and runs from August 16 to 23. The festival theme this year is "Movement of the People." Typically the event includes seminars, music, food, sports, and more.
  • Bryant Park Movie Nights: Whether the 2020 event will take place is undecided as of mid-July, so check the website for updates. Bryant Park's film showcase all summer screens favorite flicks at sunset time, with food and wine for sale.
  • Major League Baseball and WNBA Basketball: The New York Yankees and the New York Mets play baseball in August but no fans are allowed to attend games in 2020, while the New York Liberty women's basketball team plays games elsewhere throughout the month.
  • Central Park Conservancy Film Festival: These free evening film screenings take place at Sheep Meadow from August 11 through 14, 2020. The event is weather permitting.
  • Hong Kong Dragon Boat Festival: This event is canceled for 2020. Each year people gather in Flushing Meadows Park for a free parade and dragon boat races, global artists, traditional Asian folk arts and crafts demos, and more.
  • Shakespeare in the Park: Events have been canceled for 2020. Since 1954, The Public Theater has presented Shakespeare plays annually at the Delacorte Theater in Central Park.

August Travel Tips

  • If it's too hot for a walking tour, check out some of New York City's bus tours.
  • Take advantage of the many summer concerts and outdoor film festivals, most of which are free. If you attend these events in New York City parks, bring a blanket and a picnic dinner, though there are often blankets for sale and dinners you can order nearby.
  • Drink plenty of water, as it's easy to get dehydrated when it's really hot and you're out exploring the concrete jungle.
  • Flights and accommodations are typically at lower prices this month. Also, since locals often go out of town on August weekends, it is usually easier to get reservations at some of the city's best restaurants.