When is the best time to visit New York City?

Answers from Our Experts (27)

There really is no best time to visit New York City. Visitors fill New York in pretty equal measure year-round — to the tune of more than 48 million in 2010. Winters can be cold but there usually isn’t much snow and there’s nothing like ice skating in Central Park. The city is usually very crowded during the holiday season with people coming to shop and see the big tree in Rockefeller Center. There’s nothing like Central Park during autumn or spring, and summer is a good time to visit if you want to see the city when it’s less crowded (and don’t mind the humidity).You’ll find the streets a little quieter on summer weekends, when locals do their best to escape to the beaches and mountains.

Natalie Wearstler

It's true what they say — there's no wrong time to visit New York City. With that said, there are certain times of year that are more convenient or comfortable than others. My personal favorite time to visit the city is during spring. Winters in New York City can be brutal, but once flowers start blooming and temperatures start to rise, a palpable energy fills the air. It's the best time to hit the rooftop bars, stroll through Central Park or simply take a walk through Manhattan or Brooklyn.

Of course, there are many other times to visit that are equally magical. The holiday season, with all its twinkling lights and good cheer, is a wonderful time to visit New York. Summer brings a certain carefree attitude to the city, and with it comes a full calendar of only-in-New-York events like Shakespeare in the Park. The richness of colors seen at the cusp of autumn is simply indescribable. 

My advice? Be wise in choosing when to visit, but know that there are no wrong choices. If you're a Southerner like me, be prepared for a shock if you visit during the winter. But if you're the kind of person who can appreciate the city for all that it is, no matter the weather, any time is the right time.

Jordan Lawson

While you really can't go wrong with the other three seasons, I consider spring as the best time to visit New York City. Prepare for a vibrant burst of energy once the city comes out of the winter hibernation.

Central Park on a spring day can't be missed. Hop on a bike, strap on some roller skates, take a jog and expend some of your pent up energy. And be sure to soak up some rays on the lawn at gigantic and gorgeous Sheep's Meadow. This urban oasis is the perfect place to take a nap on the lawn or toss around a Frisbee.

If you're on the Upper West Side, take a leisurely walk alongside the Hudson and dine alfresco at The West 79th Street Boat Basin Café. This on-the-water spot offers a cool sea breeze and American eats that are perfect after a riverside jaunt.

The best time for New York City is the high season, which includes the cultural season, beginning with the Opera at the Metropolitan Opera House toward the last week of September. Every new show is in full swing, the new restaurants are all open, the clubs are packed and the fun is alive throughout the city.

The best time to visit New York is anytime! The city comes alive while embracing all four seasons:

Winter offers the holiday lights, the Christmas tree in Rockefeller Center accompanied with a cup of hot cocoa while watching the skaters in the rink. There’s also the holiday window displays on 5th Avenue and a visit to Santa Land on the 8th floor of Macy’s department store

Fall offers taking in the beauty of nature while driving up the Hudson and enjoying the foliage. Also, the park-view suites at Trump International Hotel & Tower New York provide the best views for the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.

Spring offers the great rates when staying at the Trump International Hotel & Tower and being awaken from our hibernation of layers of clothing. Ladies, this is the time for shopping with one of our personal shoppers.

Summer offers a cool refreshing cruise along the Hudson and East River and celebrating the 4th of July. Summer concerts in Central Park are not to be missed.

Anytime of the year works in New York. The spring and fall are our favorite times of the year, when culture is "in season." One can find all the culture – such as the ballet, opera and symphony – featuring opening nights galore.

Although most people would consider the winter holiday season as the pinnacle of the tourist season in New York City, the summer is also becoming more popular as people discover the city’s outdoor charms. 

  • David Burke

  • Chef, Restaurateur, Entrepreneur

  • New York, US

I think the fall — October — is my favorite time of year in New York. It’s just starting to get cold; people are back in the city from the summer. The season changes; we’re getting into heartier menus; you’ve got Halloween, then Thanksgiving. Christmas is fun, but it’s just too crazy.

The best day in New York is marathon day. It’s that whole November season, before the madness of Christmas and after the September holidays. I think in October and November New York is just magic, and I think that whole period in early November around the New York marathon is the perfect weather and New York puts on its best face. It’s the best day in New York.

Anytime. However, the ultimate times are catching the spring blossoms on the trees in May, and catching the leaves change in late October. The truly best is being in the city over the Christmas holidays.

Spring and fall. There’s such a great vibe in the city, and everything’s blossoming. It’s getting green again, it’s getting warm, but it’s not sticky humid.

Everyone says it’s between spring and fall. I prefer spring. There’s about a three- to four-week window when spring and fall would overlap as far as there not being too extreme of a temperature — whether it be too cold or too hot — low humidity, low wind. I like that slight bit of warmth that you get with spring. That’s not to say it’s not enjoyable for me to finally put on a scarf or a pair of pants. For me, I think spring is my preferred time of year here in New York.

The best time of year to visit New York City would have to be Christmastime. Once they light up the tree, it feels like the whole Christmas season begins. You can go window-shopping and you can enjoy all the boutiques and stores. They compete as to who’s the best — Bergdorf Goodman, Saks, Tiffany’s, FAO Schwartz for the kids. That’s why I love the Christmas season. 

Autumn in New York is magical. I love when the city really starts to get cool and the summer humidity is gone. We have warm days and cool nights, and there’s not so much rain. The city takes on a magical glow. The sunlight is beautiful and casts the city in such a glow. I think that’s when so much is happening. Theater season begins, opera season begins, and new restaurants and bars are opening. Spring is when things come new, but I think that autumn in New York is when it grows.

The seasons are a little blurred so to speak, but I’m really cool with August through November because you can buy tomatoes and squash at the same time. You can have an heirloom tomato salad and then you can make roasted squash soup and get the best — kind of straddle the two seasons. I’m really partial to that time of year.

Photo for Laurent Tourondel

Holiday season when it snows.

I like the fall, early autumn. It's crisp, the light is beautiful and everybody's kind of back to business. It's a good time to get things done.

Fall and spring is too obvious. I'm a winter person. I love the extreme weather during the winter in New York. Snow is completely magical the first hour that it falls. I used to have a house in Venice in Italy and my favorite time of the year is winter because nobody is there. The humidity gets into your bones. It's very grim but it has this romance and decadence. That comes with the territory and it doesn't smell either. Since then I sort of fell in love with winter. For me it's like the Mark Halprin book Winter's Tale.

My favorite time of year bounces between spring and fall, but I think I like fall a little better. It’s just starting to get chilly. It’s not cold, but it’s not hot anymore. People are still out and about having brunch and walking around in shorts and maybe a sweatshirt. I just think the temperature is perfect for taking a walk around and seeing all the great things that New York has to offer. I live in Alphabet City — I’ve lived here for 16 years now — and I love fall in this neighborhood because everybody’s out having cocktails on the deck or at outdoor restaurants. And as the trees start to change color, New York is a pretty amazing place.

For me, 100 percent September. I don’t like the cold, but I know some people like to come during the holidays in December to see the tree in Rock Center and all of the holiday lights on Park Avenue. But in September, the weather is perfect.

September. It's beautiful. There's something special about September.

I do love fall, but for me, Christmas in New York is the most magical time of year. I tell all my relatives to come at Christmastime. I don’t think anyone does it better than New York in terms of making the city beautiful no matter where you are. Everyone does it right — from the stores to the windows — you just get a feeling of the holidays. And all the great parties and openings are happening. New restaurants are happening. Shows are going on. It’s just an exciting time of year.

Photo for Michael White

Spring and fall. It’s when the city is vivacious. It’s a buzzing metropolis. It never sleeps. That’s a great thing about New York City — you can do anything you want at anytime during the night. You can go to a bookstore in the middle of the night, you can go to a 24-hour grocery store. There’s just so much to do. Going to the zoo in Central Park, that’s awesome — especially on a date.

I love going walking in spring or late summer. Early fall is magic. If you stay around the city in late summer, people are so excited. People are coming back slowly from vacation. It’s like, “Whoa, let’s go.” Then somewhere around two weeks after Labor Day and the Jewish holidays, this city is just taking off. It goes straight into the holidays, and that’s that. Nothing beats it.

Carol Cain

My favorite times in NYC are during April, May and early June, when the weather is not too hot, not too cold and events are happening everywhere as the warmer weather starts to settle in. Farmers markets and street fairs are in full swing, as are parades and festivals, and free events at the parks. When the weather is in a state of bloom, we New Yorkers feel as if we too are coming alive, especially after months of gray skies, snow, and chilly weather.

However, I also really enjoy Fall in the city. October and early November are glorious with the changing foliage, and photographers just can’t get enough of the colors found along tree lined streets and parks. It is still nice enough for long strolls, though night seems to start to come sooner and evenings can seem a bit colder.

Late November and December are cold, but most New Yorkers don’t notice because we are too caught up in the holiday spirit, which is everywhere!  The city streets seem to have a special festive buzz, the stores are adorned and lit with gifts and special displays, and everyone is in good spirits, making bearing the cold during the holidays a bit more worth it.

Jessica Colley

New York City offers the prime experiences of each season. There is the snowy wonderland feel of winter, the blooming picnic season of spring, and the steamy rooftop season of summer.

In my opinion, the best time to visit New York City is fall. These crisp days—when the air conditioners are turned off and the doors are thrown open at sidewalk cafes—are what New Yorkers wait for all summer long. In addition to comfortable temperatures for exploring the city on foot, it’s a spectacularly beautiful season with the change of colors in Central Park and the shift of produce in farmers markets.

While summer can sometimes have a draining effect, fall is an invigorating time to visit. With such ideal conditions, you might see and do more during your visit.

Michael Romei
  • Michael Romei

  • Chef Concierge, The Waldorf Towers New York

  • New York City, New York

The Festive Season from mid November through the beginining of January when the city is ablaze with decorations, color, excitement, and the height of the culture in special concerts, music, dance, etc.  From the famous Christmas Spectacular at Radio City Music Hall to The Nutcracker Ballet and our world famous New Year's Eve celebration; this period is the most magical of all!!

Member Answers
  • Erik Seide,
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