When to Go
There is no wrong time to visit New York City, but your experience will vary depending on when you make your trip. New York in the winter is so special that many families visit every year, and spring in the city can be as beautiful as it is in Paris. Summer is an endless street fair, and fall is a season of marathons and fashion.
From ample snowfall to sizzling summer heat, New York is a city with very distinct seasons and a wide range of temperatures. You can expect summer temperatures in the eighties, but factor in high humidity in July and August. September and October are perfect walking months, with a range of temperatures from the low fifties into the mid-seventies.
Temperatures drop below the mid-fifties from November to March; below-freezing temperatures and snow are not uncommon in the winter months, and the wind chill makes it feel even colder. The city thaws out by April and May, which are pleasant and mild months with temperatures in the fifties, sixties, and seventies.
The chilly temperatures of January and February may dissuade some travelers, but the hotel rates are lower during those two months, and there is always plenty to see and do. If there's snow, major streets are cleared immediately, the subway is unaffected, and the city's lights sparkle even brighter.
New York sees an average of 40 inches of rain annually, with no particular rainy season. Annual snowfall is often around 20 to 25 inches, but the city has been known to get significantly more or less — for instance, nearly 50 inches of snow fell in the winters of both 2003 and 2004, yet there were no heavy storms until well into 2007.
Good snowstorms wreak havoc on arrivals and departures, but if one hits New York in the middle of your stay, venture out to Central Park to play in the winter wonderland.
The Holiday Season
December is a joyous time in New York, with the glow of the huge tree at Rockefeller Center, the annual Radio City Christmas Spectacular, and the traditional performance of The Nutcracker, not to mention the incredible department store windows. The festivities end with the world-famous New Year's Eve party in Times Square.
This is the peak tourist season, with high-priced hotel rooms that fill up fast. Following the holidays, tourism slumps a bit, which makes it easier to get great Broadway tickets or reservations at the best restaurants.
You may be thrilled at the deals that you find at Internet discounters like Travelocity or Expedia, but don't stop just yet. The hotels themselves will often match what you find and possibly offer other packages and promotions.
Spring and Fall
Spring and fall may be the best times to visit the city if your schedule permits. You still have the opportunity to enjoy most activities in the buffer months, and there are many festivals and special city events. Hotel rates are somewhere in between their highest and lowest points and tend to fluctuate from year to year.