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Best time to visit New York City

Gotham's got something for everyone all year long.

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While some prefer warm afternoons strolling through Central Park, others might favor romantic winter nights skating on the Rink at Rockefeller Center. Before scheduling your next trip to NYC, consider which festivals, attractions and atmosphere fit your inner city slicker.

Best time of year to visit New York City

Peak season

The winter holidays are some of the busiest times in NYC — and for good reason. The city lights up, Christmas tree vendors line the sidewalks and festive vibes furnish the air. Share good cheer with tourists and locals alike, but keep in mind most museums are closed on Thanksgiving and Christmas.

Plane tickets are more expensive over the holidays, and you’ll have to deal with crowds — especially if you plan to visit Bryant Park’s Christmas Village. Average lows in December range from 38 to 31° F, so pack winter wear.

Off-season

To avoid swarms of people, plan a visit late April to June or September to early November. Mild weather and less tourist traffic mean you can go sight-seeing without crazy lines, and enjoy a cool breeze while you’re at it.

But the cheapest time to visit NYC is in January and February. Airlines tend to reduce fares since less people travel at this time. And hotel occupancy dips to nearly 90%, which means you’ll find better deals.

Besides, snow-covered skyscrapers are sights worth seeing if you don’t mind bunding up.

Winter’s also ideal for visiting museums and galleries because the lines are shorter. Meaning, there won’t be as many heads blocking your view of Monet’s The Water Lily Pond if you’re wandering the Met.

Remember that crowds in NYC accumulate near tourist attractions. So if you stay in neighborhoods frequented by locals, you’ll find quieter spots no matter the season.

Events and attractions

Some of New York City’s most-happening moments occur in summer and late December.

Expect outdoor festivals, street fairs and art events June through August. And don’t miss Shakespeare in the Park, the Governors Ball and Macy’s Fourth of July Fireworks, bookended by New York Fashion Week in September.

Just after Thanksgiving, the Rockefeller Christmas Tree is hoisted sky-high and decked with lights where it remains well into the first week of January. In December, you’ll find ice skating in Bryant Park or Rockefeller Center

If you’re into eye candy, walk along Fifth Avenue to see some of the most elaborate store window displays. Finally, celebrate New Year’s Eve in Times Square with a million other spectators.

Bottom line

While the best time to visit New York City may depend on what you’d like to see and do, the Big Apple offers thrills year-round. So if you’re ready to pound the pavement in the city where dreams are made, compare flights now to find the best deal.

FAQs about the best time to visit New York City

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