When is the best time to visit New York? Easy Answer: Much like Paris, we’d argue there really is no bad time to visit the Big Apple.
From the bustling crowds and bright lights during the holidays to a crisp autumn stroll through Central Park, New York has something to offer no matter what time of year you come.
That said, it’s still important for budget travelers to think about timing before you lock down the dates on your calendar.
Visiting New York on a budget:
When is the best time to visit New York?
We take a look at all four seasons to present the pros and cons of each, so you can help decide what might be the best season for you. We even provide a few hotel recommendations along the way to make the most of your New York City visit.
Summer: Hot temperatures and free events
Summer in New York City can be a bit of a challenge depending on your tolerance of prices and humidity. Hotel rates can soar as high as the temperatures as millions of visitors come to the Big Apple on their summer vacation. However, it’s a wonderful time of year to get out on the water to see the Statue of Liberty from Battery Park or sit on the top level of a double-decker bus tour. Many locals also head out of the city, so sometimes neighborhoods can feel quieter than normal.
One of the best reasons for budget travelers to come during summer is all of the free events. Almost every night of the week, you can find concerts, movie screenings, and festivals taking place in all five boroughs. The summer kicks off with the Pride Parade and the fun doesn’t let up until Labor Day with the West Indian Day Parade. You can catch a free concert at Summerstage or show at Shakespeare in the Park. Head to the waterfront to watch a fabulous fireworks show on July 4th.
Fall: Perfect weather
As much as we love summer, fall is when New York hits its peak. Much like the brilliant foliage in Central Park, this time of year is a sight to behold. The theater and music scene really heats up (especially around Times Square and the Theater District) with a new crop of Broadway shows, museum exhibits, and concerts. And then there’s the weather. With the humidity of summer giving way to comfortable temperatures (think jeans and a sweater), you won’t have to worry about walking around drenched in sweat. If you can find a good hotel price in September or October, book it right away!
Winter: Colder but cheaper
Brrrrr… don’t even think about visiting New York in the winter unless you don’t mind wearing a puffy jacket most of the time. On the plus side, Cheapos may want to come in January or February when prices at hotels are at their lowest. Hotels that might cost $250 in the peak season can fall to $100 or less. And with fewer visitors, the streets and attractions are a lot quieter. If you get cold, there are many cozy places to hunker down for a great meal or a warm drink, like at these Irish pubs.
The weeks leading up to Christmas and New Year’s are extremely popular, but for good reason, because the lights and energy of the city are hard to resist. If you can score a deal on a hotel room, you can brave the crowds to see the Rockefeller Center tree and famous holiday windows along Fifth Avenue for an unforgettable holiday experience.
Spring: Early bird catches the worm
Watching New Yorkers emerge from their winter cocoons is a highlight of the spring season. At the first sign of warm weather, people head to lovely green spaces like Washington Square Park or grab a table at an outdoor cafe to soak in the sun. The weather can be unpredictable — cold and rainy one day and beautiful the next — so just come prepared with an umbrella in hand.
Seeing the greenery starting to bloom on The High Line is a lovely way to spend an afternoon. Head to the Bronx for the Yankees or Queens for the Mets to catch an early season baseball game when tickets are easier to get (and cheaper). Finding a good price on a hotel is easier in early spring before rates start creeping up as May and June approaches.
Dates to watch out for
Before you start planning your trip, make sure you are aware that there are certain times of year when it is almost impossible to find a good deal on a hotel. The holiday season is always busy and expensive in New York, especially on New Year’s Eve. But we have found decent prices for hotels over Thanksgiving and Christmas in the past. You should also keep an eye on the calendar for big events like Fashion Week, Tribeca Film Festival, and the US Open when rates can go through the roof. Check the NYC Official Guide website for a list of all annual events.
When do you love to visit New York City?
If you have a specific strategy to save money or just love visiting during a certain season, share your thoughts and ideas in the comments below.
Source: Euro Cheapo