What should I pack for a trip to New York City?

Answers from Our Experts (11)

Deciding what to pack for New York City can be tough — it is the fashion capital of the world, after all. But don’t let that intimidate you. Well, not too much anyway. Instead, focus on being prepared for extreme weather (humid summers and freezing winters) and a lot of walking. Even though the subway is efficient and generally reliable, you will find yourself walking a lot because there is so much to see and do on every block.

As for fashion, you can bring a few stylish outfits — or shop for new ones — or you can always fall back on all black. In Manhattan, wearing all black is always in fashion.

Jordan Lawson

When traveling to New York City, you have to pack smart. There are two main factors to any bag that you'll need to consider — shoes and the weather.

It's New York, so you'll want to have fashionable footwear, but you have to be practical and pack something that keeps with your style that won't leave you hobbling after walking around the city for an hour.

Then you need to consider what time of year it is going to be. Going for a summer trip? Pack comfortable and light clothing that will keep you cool — the subway gets might hot when you're waiting (not to mention the pavement). Heading to the Big Apple in the winter? You'll want layers, so if you get hot walking around you can take something off and then quickly put it back on after a big gust of frigid wind chases you down an avenue. And for winter and fall, take a mix between the two and check the weather before you start packing.

When packing for your trip to New York City, the must-have items are comfortable walking shoes to explore the city by foot, cocktail attire to live it up and experience New York’s exciting nightlife, designer sunglasses, a camera and journal to record all of your adventures and, of course, an appetite and curiosity.

If you are coming to New York City during the high season, expect to attend galas and other formal events or dinners. Bring elegant clothes for these events, but for the day-to-day walking that you will have to do, bring sturdy, all-weather apparel that will serve you well whether you are hurtling among the crowds in Times Square or coming back from a late dinner near your hotel in the cold of a December night. Pay special attention to the shoes you bring, as you will depend on them for a lot of the walking.

When packing for your trip to New York City, here are the must-have items:

1. Comfortable walking shoes to explore the city by foot
2. Cocktail attire to live it up and experience New York’s exciting nightlife
3. Designer sunglasses
4. A camera and journal to record all of your adventures
5. And of course, an appetite and curiosity!

It is essential that you pack your most comfortable shoes as you will be pounding the pavement. A perfect little black dress and a sport jacket or suit with a tie for a man will get you into all the restaurants, clubs, etc. And if your forget anything, it can be purchased here.

Pack these things for your trip to New York City:

Your spirit of adventure

The child within you

Your passion for excitement

Your taste for great food

Your love for the arts

Your romance for life

I almost forgot - some clothes and great walking shoes!

Carol Cain

All the above answers are spot on!

Comfortable shoes, and an outfit to go to a nice restaurant or evening event. It also depends on where you will spend most of your time while in the city. If you are looking to spend time walking through parks and museums, then going to bars at night - casual, but nice, is appropriate. If you forget something at home, fear not! NYC has tons of shopping (Check out my recommendations on best shopping spots in NYC)! Thus, I always recommend to pack light, but bring a big bag - the shopping here is great!

Note: NYC's sophisticated yet casual look is one that works well in most scenerios. Be aware that you can easily spend hours touring the city by foot, or walking around museums, and find yourself wanting to walk into a bistro for dinner. When starting your day, just remember that going back to the hotel to change might not be an option, so dress with that in mind.


Linnea Covington

Fashion is king in New York City, but so is comfort. After all, NYC is a walking town. So how do you pack for this mixed bag of style? The first step is choosing layers, that way, you can adjust for the heavy air conditioning, humidity, and make an outfit nightlife or fine dining ready.

For women, I suggest plenty of casual dresses that you can spruce up with the addition of a bauble, scarf, belt, or wrap. Bring comfortable, but stylish shoes like kitten heels, ballet flats, or those heels you know you can run down the street in. Of course, you can do what other women do and stuff a pair of slip-on-shoes or flip flops in your bag in case you need a comfort change.

For men it’s pretty simple too; just get a pair of nice, cool slacks, a button up shirt, and carry a sports coat or summer blazer with you. Stuff a tie in your pocket in case you go to a really nice restaurant, otherwise, paired with a good pair of casual business shoes, you can look sleek in any setting.

It’s also important to bring a bag or purse that you can wear on the shoulder, as you will not want to be clutching a purse while trying to navigate subways, cabs, or just walking down the street. Plus, if you do one of my favorite activities in NYC, shopping, you will need hands to carry your goods. Also pack an umbrella, preferably one that fits in your handbag as you never know when it might rain; and when it does, it tends to pour.

Michael Romei
  • Michael Romei

  • Chef Concierge, The Waldorf Towers New York

  • New York City, New York

New York City is a bit more formal than most other areas of the US.  I would suggest business attire if appropriate and some very good walking shoes.   I would also suggest paying attention to the weather forecast in order to guide your packing needs as Winter vs. Summer weather would require very different packing choices.   We are also a shopping mecca; meaning you can virtually buy anything here so if you happen to forget some of your favorite items the chances are you they are readily available here.

Jessica Colley

When packing for a trip to New York City, keep one thing in mind: blending in with locals. This will enhance your experience and open doors, so leave those sneakers at home (unless you plan on jogging). Comfortable walking shoes (with a stylish touch) are essential; you won’t want your aching feet to stop you from exploring New York.

Perhaps most important is a sizable handbag that comfortably sits on the shoulder or across the body. Inside you will want to pack an umbrella, a stylish scarf to bring any outfit to life, and a change of shoes. New Yorkers love their chic footwear, but when it’s time to stroll home, we often depend on a pair of ballet flats or sandals. The addition of heels and a scarf will bring you from day to night very easily.

Also, think before you pack. Plan on spending most of your time uptown? Classic, refined pieces will do. Thinking about exploring downtown? Feel free to leave the jewelry home and pack more fun pieces. Lay everything out before throwing it in your bag—packing in a single color palette where all items match will ensure you have an outfit for any situation.

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