Picnics in summer or magical, snowy strolls in winter? New York has so much to offer visitors throughout the year, but which season is the best? Whether you love the hustle and bustle of Broadway or the tranquility of a museum, the Big Apple has something for every traveler that graces its streets.
It’s better to visit New York in early summer when the weather is good, and there are plenty of deals on hotels, flights, and food. There are fewer tourists at the start of the year, with plenty of activities and sights available. November to December is beautiful as the city prepares for Christmas.
Are you ready to start planning your New York adventure? This article will explain everything you need to know about New York in the summer and winter.
Visiting New York in Summer vs. Winter
New York offers very different experiences to travelers throughout the four seasons. The weather fluctuates to the extreme, and there are multiple festivals, discount weeks, and unique attractions depending on the time of year. Choosing to visit in the summer or winter depends on what you’d like to see, feel, and do.
Reasons To Visit New York in Summer
New York is a hive of activity in the summer, which is between June and August. Boat tours and outdoor concerts are popular with tourists at this time of year, and the longer days and warm evenings make summer the perfect time to visit New York.
Some of the main reasons you should visit New York in the summer include the following:
- Warm weather
- Many outdoor attractions to enjoy
- Breathtaking sunsets
- Longer days to pack activities into
Outdoor spaces are open for business, including the Rooftop Cinema Club, which showcases cinema classics while visitors sip on cocktails. The summer sunshine and warm temperatures are also perfect for drinking in the New York skyline without the risk of frostbite.
Things To See and Do
There are so many activities to enjoy in New York while the temperatures are high and the sun is shining. Travelers on a budget can grab a coffee and explore the many outdoor landscapes New York has to offer.
Many venues in NYC offer entry without an admission fee, including the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), which has free admission on Friday afternoons.
Coney Island Fireworks
Visitors can experience a dazzling firework display in Luna Park every Friday night from June 23rd until August 25th. You can also spend some time inside New York’s largest playground before you finish the evening with a spectacular (free) firework show.
Picnic in Central Park
Central Park is glorious in the summer sun. Pack your favorite New York delights and head to one of the popular picnic spots in New York’s most famous park. There are several romantic spots to eat, including Belvedere Castle and Shakespeare Garden.
If your hands are full with the kids, you can order a picnic basket packed with cured meats and cheeses.
Kayaking on the East River
Slap on the sunscreen and head down to the river for a laid-back paddle. Several options are available for tourists who want to enjoy New York City from the water. Holiday-makers can book beginner and intermediate lessons with a kayak company or volunteer to clean up the river for a free open-water tour.
Summer in New York can be hot and humid, and it’s wise to book accommodation with air conditioning if you want to visit during the summer months. The hottest month is July, with temperatures reaching 77 degrees Fahrenheit (25 degrees Celsius).
People visiting New York can enjoy the summer climate by staying hydrated, wearing comfortable clothing, and applying sunscreen.
Reasons to Visit New York in Winter
Although summer is usually the first choice for a vacation, winter is also an incredibly magical time to visit New York. The consistent cold weather also means accommodation and attractions tend to be cheaper, and the festive markets, holiday-themed window displays, and frost-covered landscapes are all excellent reasons to visit over the winter period.
Things To Do and See
During the winter season, New York turns on her festive charm with twinkling lights and indulgent food offerings. With a steamy cup of hot chocolate, you’ll feel like you’ve stepped into a Christmas movie. Visitors can warm up and enjoy the frosty streets of a New York winter wonderland.
Rockefeller Christmas Tree
Nothing says Christmas like a giant tree covered in colorful lights. The tree stays up from 30th November until the second week of January and is decorated with 50,000 LED lights. Visitors can bask in the warm glow of the Christmas lights from 5.30 pm every evening.
Ice Skating in Bryant Park
Bryant Park is an essential part of a New York Winter itinerary with free skate shows and free admission to the ice skating rink. Tourists can rent high-quality skates and glide across 17,000 square feet of ice before heading to the holiday shops, eateries, and kiosks.
See a Broadway Show
Escape the wintery weather and cozy up indoors at a popular Broadway show. See some of the longest-running musicals in theatre history or go behind the curtain at the Museum of Broadway. Some theatres offer up to 50% discount on show tickets during the winter months, so you can cuddle up with a loved one and indulge your love of the arts.
Invest in a warm winter jacket if you want to visit New York in the colder months. Temperatures in New York can fall below freezing in December, January, and February. The cold season lasts from December to March, with temperatures reaching as low as 32 degrees Fahrenheit (0 degrees Celsius).
You’ll have a fantastic time visiting New York, whether you stay in summer or winter. The beautiful spectrum of colors and varied temperatures will provide the perfect backdrop for your city break.
Important things to remember before you book your trip are:
- Spring is the best time for low prices and minimal crowds.
- Parties and events are more frequent in summer.
- Temperatures are highest in July and August.
- Grayline New York: Why You Should Visit New York in Summer
- Time Out: Bryan Park Winter Village
- Hand Luggage Only: 15 Best Free Things Visiting New York City
- NYC Go: Brooklyn Coney Island
- New York Simply: 20 Epic Summer Activities in New York City
- Travel Triangle: Summer in New York