Best Time to Visit NYC Pros & Cons of Each Season | Better Together Here
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Best Time to Visit NYC? Pros & Cons of Each Season

Trying to decide the best time to visit NYC is tough because it’s subjective! You could ask 100 travelers or New Yorkers when they think the best time is, and you’ll get dozens of different answers.

In this article, we’ll break down three questions to ask so that you can decide what time is best for your specific situation and desires.

Plus, we’ll give some pros and cons to each season, our opinion for the best time to visit New York, and, importantly, the worst time to visit NYC!

Note: This article was written by a real live human being, not artificial intelligence. ๐Ÿฅธ

Best Time to Visit NYC Podcast Episode

Want to hear more podcasts like this? Head here.

How to Choose the Best Time to Visit NYC for YOUR Situation

Choosing the best time to visit New York City comes down to your preferences, travel style, and how much you care about avoiding crowds.

So, to help you make that decision, there are three questions you must ask yourself before deciding on a season, month, or holiday to visit the Big Apple.

Here are three questions to ask to know when to visit NYC:

  1. What activities do you care about most (sports, holiday events, etc.)?
  2. How much is weather a factor for your style of travel/vacationing?
  3. How much do crowds bother you?

Consider each carefully as you read our breakdown of each season below. ๐Ÿ‘‡

Visiting NYC in the Spring: Pros & Cons

central park is beautiful in springtime in new york |b

Flowers, showers, and plenty of activities make spring in New York City an amazing experience.

Plus, if you’re into sports, you can catch an NBA, NHL, and even MLB game all in one trip!

Pros of Spring in NYC

Here are some of the best reasons to visit NYC in the spring:

  • Blossoms, blooms, and great temperatures
  • The city has a feeling of waking up and coming out of the winter slumber
  • More events and activities start back up around this time, especially outdoor activities
  • Plenty of professional sports leagues are happening
spring time flowers in new york city | Better Together Here

Cons of Spring in NYC

While we LOVE spring in New York, here are some cons of spring in NYC:

  • Lots of rain and general volatility in the weather; plan on it being rainy, at least for some part of your trip
  • Spring Breaks around the country and world often create awful crowds and poor tourist behavior in peak spots in NYC
  • NBA & NHL can be over and/or more expensive since it’s playoffs or close to the playoffs

Overall, we think spring is an amazing time to visit New York! Just plan and pack for rain, volatile temperatures, and some crowds if you’re heading to tourist-heavy spots.

Maximize your time in NYC by demystifying the art of navigating the subway, taxis, walking, and biking around the Big Apple!

Free Guide to Getting Around NYC ๐Ÿ—ฝ

Visiting NYC in the Summer: Pros & Cons

There’s a reason so many songs, poems, and movies reference summer in New York; it’s like nothing else!

With endless activities, scorching heat, and a surprising amount of beach areas, you cannot beat summer in NYC.

Pros of Summer in NYC

couple at gov ball festival during the summer in nyc | Better Together Here

Here are some of the reasons to visit NYC in the summer:

  • SO many concerts, festivals, and activities hit their stride in the summer, including plenty of free concerts in the parks
  • Outdoor dining, rooftop bars, getting out on the water… all things outdoors hit their peak
  • Way more free activities than you’d find in other seasons, including free kayaking, tours, etc.
  • Warm summer evenings and more daylight give you extended opportunities to explore the city
  • Slightly fewer tourists during July-August specifically, as people often try to avoid the heat of NYC
  • Warmer weather lends itself to riding bikes, walking, etc., and not having to rely as much on the subway or taxis/ride-shares

Cons of Summer in NYC

Alright, it’s not all glorious. Here are some cons of visiting NYC in the summer:

  • It’s hot and sticky, NYC gets very, very humid, and it gets 10x worse down in Subway stations
  • The smell… All that human and dog piss hits differently when it’s 90 degrees with 75% humidity
  • The only sports league happening is the MLB, but tickets are cheap and it’s a fun activity
  • June is often the wettest month of the year in NYC, so still plan on rain

Overall, you can’t go wrong visiting NYC in the summer.

summertime activity in new york | Better Together Here

If you’re into concerts, events, and outdoor activities, the summer is a perfect time to come explore New York!

This Episode’s You’ll Have to Check It Out Segment: Myzel’s Chocolate in Midtown

myzel's chocolate nyc storefront | Better Together Here

Myzel’s Chocolate is a specialty chocolate, candy, and licorice store in Midtown Manhattan. This small, local shop has friendly staff and is filled to the wall with sweets!

They boast over 100 styles of licorice, plenty of homemade cookies and snacks, and themed treats for all the different holidays. It’s the perfect place to get a tasty treat or a unique gift for a friend or colleague.

interior of myzel's chocolate in midtown nyc | Better Together Here

Our recommendation is to tell the store employee what you generally want to try and how much you want to spend, and then let them build a custom bag for you!

variety of licorice from myzel's chocolate in manhattan | Better Together Here

Check out Myzel’s Chocolates here.

Visiting NYC in the Fall/Autumn: Pros & Cons

dog running in the fall leaves in central park | Better Together Here

Nothing beats an autumn afternoon stroll through Central Park to take in the changing colors and spectacular views.

If you care about sports, fall is the best time to visit NYC!

Pros of Fall/Autumn in NYC

Here are some of the best reasons to visit NYC in the fall:

  • Fall provides so many opportunities for sporting events, including sports bars: NFL, College Football, NBA, NHL, MLB, and MLS are all in full swing
  • The foliage in the parks is breathtaking
  • The weather has started to cool down but isn’t cold yet
  • Generally cheaper to travel compared to peak tourist season (November-December)
  • You can experience the NYC Marathon, Macy’s Day Parade, holiday decor before it’s extremely crowded

We love the fall in New York! It’s a great time to visit and get cooler weather before the peak crowds show up.

bethesda fountain during autumn | Better Together Here

Cons of Fall/Autumn in NYC

Here are a few reasons you might not want to visit NYC in the fall:

  • You’re likely to get a lot of rain, but that happens most seasons… NYC is the 9th wettest city in the US!
  • Major crowds and road closures for the NYC Marathon (first Sunday of November) & Macy’s Day Parade (Thanksgiving)

NYC in the fall is a great time to visit and arguably the best for foliage and the nature options the city has to offer.

Plus, so many sporting events!

Maximize your time in NYC by demystifying the art of navigating the subway, taxis, walking, and biking around the Big Apple!

Free Guide to Getting Around NYC ๐Ÿ—ฝ

Visiting NYC in the Winter: Pros & Cons

central park and gapstow bridge in the winter | Better Together Here

While the idea of freshly fallen snow on the urban landscape is enticing, it is starting to happen less frequently. We’ve visited and lived in NYC for 7-8 years now, and the amount of snowfall each year has been minimal!

But, you cannot beat the ambiance and buzz of the holidays in NYC!

Pros of Winter in NYC

Here are reasons to visit NYC in the winter:

  • The holiday decor and festivities in NYC are unparalleled: Rockefeller Center, unique decor in bars and restaurants, window decor on 5th Ave, Bryant Park market, all the lights, etc.
  • It is cheaper and much less crowded if you come in January & February… Arguably, the cheapest time to stay and explore NYC is the week after New Year’s Eve
  • Pretty views and ambiance if you get snow

Cons of Winter in NYC

  • The weather is cold, gray, rainy & snowy; plan on being cold
  • Mid-December – New Year is extremely crowded to the point of feeling hectic in some areas
  • Outdoor activities are a challenge, and minimal

While you may be hoping for snow-covered parks and city streets, you often get gray, wet, and gloomy weather without the snow. Like below. ๐Ÿ‘‡

new york winters are often gray and cold | Better Together Here

We’ll cover more on this in the next section, but the holidays in New York are hectic!

But here’s a pro tip… โคต๏ธ

Best Time to Visit NYC for Christmas

If you do want to visit NYC to experience all the Christmas decor, storefronts, and major sights, try to come before Christmas.

The best time to experience the NYC holiday decor and ambiance is right after Thanksgiving until about the 2nd-ish week of December.

If you come anytime between December 18 to January 2, you will encounter unbelievably large and hectic crowds.

Most of the main holiday decor and festivities start right after Thanksgiving, so you can still catch them if you come in late November or early December.

The Worst Time to Visit NYC: Around the Winter Holidays through the New Year

christmas tree at rockefeller center | Better Together Here

To further our point from above, and in our humble opinion, the worst time to visit New York City is from around December 18 to January 2!

With so many families on holiday breaks, the crowds are often unbearable.

If you care greatly about being in the city for Christmas or surrounding holidays, we get it. But you’ll likely have a better experience in the weeks before Christmas.

Most decor and festivities go up right after Thanksgiving.

And don’t even get us started on New Year’s Eve in NYC.

It sounds fun, and sure, seeing the ball drop is iconic… but the crowds are awful!

We would never visit NYC between December 20 to January 2. Period.

Best Time to Visit NYC Recap

bryant park offers free activities that are perfect for dates | Better Together Here

No matter when you visit, you’ll absolutely love your time in New York City!

Each season has unique benefits and drawbacks, so ask yourself these three questions before deciding when to visit NYC.

  1. What activities do you care about most (sports, holiday events, etc.)?
  2. How much is weather a factor for your style of travel/vacationing?
  3. How much do crowds bother you?

In our opinion, there is no “best” time to visit NYC, but we truly love the spring and the fall!

Before you go, be sure to download the free NYC Navigation Guide to learn the best ways to get to/from the New York airports, how to navigate the subway, and how to explore NYC confidently! Get it here!

Maximize your time in NYC by demystifying the art of navigating the subway, taxis, walking, and biking around the Big Apple!

Free Guide to Getting Around NYC ๐Ÿ—ฝ

*This post may contain affiliate links, so we may earn a small commission when you make a purchase through links on our site at no additional cost to you.

As long-time lovers of New York City we made the plunge to move across the country to NYC in early 2021... with our 3 dogs at the time (RIP Buddy). We consider ourself experts in exploring new restaurants, finding the best-rated bars, and activities actually worth doing. Plus, my Google Maps organizational skills are 2nd to none. ๐Ÿ˜œ

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