Best Time to Visit New York City


When Not to Visit

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New York may never sleep, but it does change with the seasons. In summer, Central Park draws visitors like an oversize green magnet to paddle-boat, Rollerblade, and fly kites. By August, Wall Street quiets down, and the city’s deepest lodging discounts are found at hotels in the financial district. Summer heat waves do happen, though, and subway stations should be avoided during the hottest days. In winter, New York City gets fully decked out. Case in point: the elaborately decorated clothing-shop windows at department stores like Saks and Bergdorf Goodman on Fifth Avenue. Join the fun at one of the many public ice-skating rinks. At Bryant Park, people skate against the backdrop of the Chrysler and Empire State buildings. But dress warmly: Manhattan’s skyscrapers create corridors of wind that can be bitterly cold. It’s best to take breaks indoors at one of the city’s many world-class museums, such as the Metropolitan Museum of Art, or one of the galleries lining West 26th and other Chelsea streets.

When crisp autumn leaves fall in Central Park, so do tourist numbers. Yet fall brings the fewest average days of rain here, making it the best season to explore the city’s attractions on foot. Typically, lines are shorter, and the weather is pleasant for the ten-minute ferry ride to the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island from Battery Park. Ditto for window-shopping in the West Village or paying your respects at the memorial site of the World Trade Center towers.

Come springtime, hotels usually offer discounts of up to 20 percent off summer peak rates. The weather is generally pleasant, too. In April, for instance, two out of every three days are dry on average. Linger for a while at sidewalk cafés in Times Square, Lincoln Center, and Herald Square (next to the Macy’s flagship store); on the stretch of Broadway near Columbia University in Harlem; and along the elevated High Line park. Pick a spot to rest outdoors, and let the city’s never-ending vibration buzz around you.