Millions of people travel to New York yearly to experience its fame and energy, It’s true that the city never sleeps. from its breathtaking skyline, world-famous museums, varied food, and limitless entertainment choices. However, there are a few months when it’s considered the worst time to visit New York City.
Worst Time to Visit New York
Summertime in New York City is unbearable for tourists. It is quite hot and humid, and the city may get very busy with tourists. Temperatures throughout the summer (June–August) are often above 80°F and humid. Besides, the winter months (December – February) are also the worst time to visit New York because it is the holiday season as well as peak winters making it quite difficult to enjoy different types of outdoor activities.
Because of the increased demand from visitors, businesses often raise prices and lengthen wait times throughout the summer and extreme winters. Consider postponing your trip to New York until you like mingling with people.
Why is Summer the Worst Time to Visit New York?
Here are some of the main reasons why summer is the worst season to visit New York City:
- Heat: Temperatures in the summer in New York City may reach dangerously high levels of heat and humidity. It might be really unpleasant if you are not acclimated to the heat and humidity.
- Crowd: Tourists flock to New York City from all over the globe. The summer months saw an influx of extra visitors to the city. Summer is not the greatest season to visit New York if you want to escape the crowds.
- The Prices: Due to heightened demand, lodging costs, including hotel rates, tend to rise in the warmer months. Therefore, the summer is not the greatest time to visit New York if you are trying to save costs.
- Fewer Events: Many of New York City’s most visited venues and events are closed during the summer months. This means that the summer is not the greatest season to visit New York if you are seeking activities.
- Difficult to get around: The heat and humidity make riding public transit or going for a stroll a miserable experience. You may have problems getting a taxi if you are attempting to beat the heat. Therefore, the summer is not the greatest time to visit New York if you are seeking convenience in transportation.
Precautions to take while Visiting New York in Summer
Here are some suggestions for enjoying a summer trip to New York:
- Remain Hydrated: Taking in sufficient fluids, particularly if you plan on doing a lot of walking, is crucial. The air in New York may become dry, so it is a good idea to always have a water bottle on you.
- Be Appropriately Attired: In the warm weather, loose, lightweight garments are your best friend. While it may be tempting to wear as little as possible, dressing for the weather can ensure your comfort.
Find a Cool Place to Chill Down: The prevalence of climate-controlled structures around the city is a major perk of life in New York. If you find yourself becoming too hot, it is a good idea to visit a shop, museum, or restaurant.
- Keep out of the Midday Sun: If at all possible, schedule outside activities at times when the sun is less intense. This entails staying inside between the hours of 10 am and 4 pm.
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Other Worst Times to Visit New York
There can be several other times when it is considered the worst time to visit New York.
The Crowded Months
While New York City is a popular tourist destination throughout the year, there are periods of the year when the city is busier than usual. May through September is New York City’s largest tourist season, with June, July, and August being the busiest of all. As a result, there may be long lines to visit attractions and increased expenses for lodging and entertainment.
The summer season sees a large influx of visitors for several reasons, including school vacations. The summer break from school is a popular time for families to take a trip, which also happens to be New York City’s busiest season. The city also holds many noteworthy events throughout the summer, including the Pride Parade and the US Open, all of which have the potential to increase the city’s tourist count.
Large numbers of people gather to see the Fourth of July fireworks show over the East River, which may make navigating the city challenging. Despite national average gas prices above the $5 mark, studies revealed that in 2022, 42 million individuals traveled by automobile during the July 4 weekend, setting a new car-travel volume record for this time.
Many of New York City’s most popular attractions also attract large crowds of people during the city’s busiest times of year. Here are some well-known places you may want to avoid visiting at their peak times:
- Times Square is a renowned tourist site, but during peak times, the sheer volume of people may be daunting. Go early in the morning or late at night to avoid the crowds and view the lights and advertising.
- The Statue of Liberty is a popular tourist destination, so plan ahead if you want to visit during busy times. If you want to escape the crowds, try to plan your visit during the early morning or late afternoon.
- Lines may be lengthy at the Empire State Building at busy times, but the sights are well worth the wait. The best times to visit without crowds are first thing in the morning or late at night.
- Central Park is a stunning urban retreat, yet it is swarmed by tourists in the summer. If you want to avoid the crowds, try going first thing in the morning or throughout the week.
If you want to escape the crowds, visiting New York City during school vacations is not a good idea. Planning ahead for lodging and activities is essential for a successful trip during the busy tourist season, as is being patient when waiting in line. It is also possible to avoid the peak of the tourist season by going in the off-peak times of late spring or early autumn.
It is important to know that times such as Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Eve can be incredibly crowded in New York. The streets and popular attractions are filled with tourists, which may lead to long queues, difficulty finding accommodations, and higher prices as well.
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The Winter Months
During the winter months of December to February, New York City is at its most costly. As a result of the high demand from travelers throughout the winter, lodging costs tend to rise. The typical cost of a night’s lodging in the Big Apple is $165. A hotel room in New York City for a couple staying in a double-occupancy room is $331 per night.
During the winter months in New York (December to February), the temperatures can be quite cold, with average highs ranging from 39°F (4°C) in January to 43°F (6°C) in February. Low temperatures can drop below freezing, with averages ranging from 26°F (-3°C) in January to 32°F (0°C) in February. This chilly weather, combined with occasional snowstorms, can make outdoor exploration less enjoyable for some visitors.
Additionally, the holiday season attracts large crowds, resulting in higher hotel prices and increased tourist activity.
The best way to save money during the costly winter months is to make use of public transit, visit free attractions like Central Park, the High Line, and the Brooklyn Bridge, and go to free events.
When is the Worst Time to Visit New York: According to Other Tourists?
Umar Ali, editor-in-chief of Hopdes recently visited the US. He shared his experience visiting New York in the Summer season, “The hot, humid weather is the one downside of my recent trip to New York. The queues to see the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island were really lengthy as we strolled through the financial sector. There was reportedly a two-hour wait to board the vessel”.
Bilal Ahmed, our senior editor, said, ” When possible, I try to avoid the summer. It becomes quite hot and sticky, and one of my favorite things to do in New York City is to roam about aimlessly. Some areas, such as the metro platforms, may become rather warm. Not anything I remember smelling strongly. Because I tend to perspire excessively, I always find myself on the shaded side of the street. I have been known to enjoy the fresh air on a street corner.”
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Month-by-Month Analysis: Worst Month to Visit New York
New York is pleasant during some months and not others. Here is an analysis of each month to help you avoid the worst time to visit New York.
- Temperatures: Average high of 39°F (4°C) and average low of 26°F (-3°C).
- Weather: Cold with occasional snowfall and chilly winds.
- Activities: Ice skating at the Rockefeller Center, visiting museums (such as the Metropolitan Museum of Art), indoor shopping, and Broadway shows.
- Special Events: Winter Jazzfest, New York Boat Show.
- Crowd Level: Relatively low, except during the New Year’s celebrations and Martin Luther King Jr. Day weekend.
- Temperatures: Average high of 42°F (6°C) and average low of 28°F (-2°C).
- Weather: Cold with occasional snow showers.
- Activities: Celebrating Valentine’s Day, visiting art galleries, exploring indoor attractions like the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), indoor sports events.
- Special Events: Lunar New Year Parade, New York Fashion Week.
- Crowd Level: Moderate, especially around Valentine’s Day and during Fashion Week.
- Temperatures: Average high of 50°F (10°C) and average low of 35°F (2°C).
- Weather: Transitioning to spring, with occasional rain showers.
- Activities: Exploring Central Park, visiting the Empire State Building, St. Patrick’s Day Parade, and shopping on Fifth Avenue.
- Special Events: St. Patrick’s Day Parade, Macy’s Flower Show.
- Crowd Level: Increasing as spring approaches, especially during St. Patrick’s Day celebrations.
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- Temperatures: Average high of 61°F (16°C) and average low of 45°F (7°C).
- Weather: Mild temperatures with occasional rain.
- Activities: Cherry blossom viewing in Central Park, visiting the High Line, exploring the neighborhoods like Greenwich Village and SoHo, and attending baseball games.
- Special Events: Tribeca Film Festival, Easter Parade, and Bonnet Festival.
- Crowd Level: Increasing as the weather improves, with more tourists and locals enjoying outdoor activities.
- Temperatures: Average high of 70°F (21°C) and average low of 54°F (12°C).
- Weather: Pleasant with increasing sunshine and occasional showers.
- Activities: Exploring botanical gardens, visiting the Statue of Liberty, rooftop dining, and attending outdoor concerts.
- Special Events: Fleet Week, Memorial Day Parade, New York City Ballet Spring Season.
- Crowd Level: High, especially during Memorial Day weekend and events like Fleet Week.
- Temperatures: Average high of 79°F (26°C) and average low of 64°F (18°C).
- Weather: Warm and humid with occasional thunderstorms.
- Activities: Sightseeing cruises, outdoor dining, exploring Coney Island, attending music festivals.
- Special Events: Pride Month events, Governors Ball Music Festival.
- Crowd Level: High, particularly during Pride Month celebrations and music festivals.
- Temperatures: Average high of 84°F (29°C) and average low of 70°F (21°C).
- Weather: Hot and humid with occasional thunderstorms.
- Activities: Watching fireworks on Independence Day, visiting beaches (e.g., Rockaway Beach), and outdoor activities in Central Park.
- Special Events: Macy’s Fourth of July Fireworks, New York City Restaurant Week.
- Crowd Level: High, especially around Independence Day celebrations and during the summer vacation season.
- Temperatures: Average high of 83°F (28°C) and average low of 69°F (20°C).
- Weather: Hot and humid with occasional thunderstorms.
- Activities: Exploring outdoor markets (e.g., Smorgasburg), visiting museums, and attending outdoor concerts and theater performances.
- Special Events: U.S. Open Tennis Championship, Summer Streets.
- Crowd Level: High, particularly during the U.S. Open and on weekends when outdoor events are held.
- Temperatures: Average high of 75°F (24°C) and average low of 61°F (16°C).
- Weather: Mild temperatures with decreasing humidity.
- Activities: Exploring Central Park during fall foliage, attending Broadway shows, visiting the Brooklyn Bridge and DUMBO neighborhood.
- Special Events: New York Fashion Week, West Indian American Day Carnival.
- Crowd Level: Moderate, with a mix of tourists and locals enjoying the pleasant weather.
- Temperatures: Average high of 64°F (18°C) and average low of 50°F (10°C).
- Weather: Cool temperatures with occasional rain.
- Activities: Visiting pumpkin patches, exploring haunted houses, attending fall festivals, and taking scenic drives to see fall foliage.
- Special Events: Halloween Parade in Greenwich Village, New York Comic Con.
- Crowd Level: Moderate, with increased visitors during Halloween events and the New York Comic Con.
- Temperatures: Average high of 53°F (12°C) and average low of 41°F (5°C).
- Weather: Cool temperatures with occasional rain and snowflakes towards the end of the month.
- Activities: Ice skating at Bryant Park, visiting the 9/11 Memorial and Museum, Thanksgiving shopping, and attending off-Broadway shows.
- Special Events: Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, New York City Marathon.
- Crowd Level: Moderate, except for the Thanksgiving Day Parade, which attracts large crowds.
- Temperatures: Average high of 43°F (6°C) and average low of 32°F (0°C).
- Weather: Cold with occasional snowfall, festive atmosphere.
- Activities: Holiday shopping, ice skating at Central Park or Bryant Park, visiting holiday markets, and attending holiday concerts.
- Special Events: Christmas Tree Lighting at Rockefeller Center, New Year’s Eve in Times Square.
- Crowd Level: High, particularly during the holiday season and New Year’s Eve celebrations.
Also, check out our other “When to Visit” guides for other cities!
New York, the city that never sleeps, is definitely one of the most worthwhile places to visit in the US. However, choosing the right time to visit this city is also essentially important if you want to make your trip a worthy one. Fortunately, using our detailed guide, you will be able to evaluate the worst times to visit New York as well as the best time to visit New York based on the month-by-month analysis. Have a great trip!
Worst Time to Visit New York- FAQs
The worst time to visit New York City depends on individual preferences. However, some periods to consider avoiding include the winter months (December to February) due to cold temperatures, occasional snowstorms, and higher tourist activity during the holiday season.
The best times to visit New York City are during the spring (April to June) and fall (September to November) when the weather is mild and pleasant. These seasons offer comfortable temperatures for exploring the city and fewer crowds compared to the peak summer and holiday seasons.
New York City has an extensive public transportation system, including subways and buses, which are efficient and affordable. Taxis and rideshare services like Uber and Lyft are also readily available. Walking is a popular option for exploring certain areas.