When to Go

Summer or winter, rain or shine, theres always great stuff going on in New York City, so theres no real "best" time to go.

If youre planning a visit with specific interests in mind, certain times of year may be better than others. Culture hounds might come in fall, winter, and early spring, when the theater and performing-arts seasons predictably reach their heights. During summer, many of the top cultural institutions, especially Lincoln Center, offer free (or nearly free) and alfresco entertainment. Those who want to see the biggest hits on Broadway usually have the best luck getting tickets in the theaters slower months of January and February.
Gourmands might find it easier to get the best tables during July and August, when New Yorkers escape the citys muggy air for weekends in places like the Hamptons. If you prefer to walk every city block to take in the sights, spring and fall prove best for the mildest and most pleasant weather.
New York is a non-stop holiday party from early December through the start of the new year. Celebrations of the season abound in festive holiday windows and events like the lighting of the Rockefeller Center tree and the Radio City Christmas Spectacular - not to mention those terrific seasonal sales that take over the city, making New York a holiday shopping bonanza. However, keep in mind that hotel prices go sky high (more on that below), and the crowds are almost intolerable. If youd rather have more of the city to yourself - better chances at restaurant reservations and Broadway show tickets, as well as easier access to museums and other attractions - choose another time of year to visit.


If money is your biggest concern, you might want to visit in winter, between the first of the year and early April. Sure, the weather can suck, but hotels are suffering from the post-holiday blues, and rooms often go for a relative song. In the winter of 99, you could even get a room at the Waldorf-Astoria for as little as $189 on select nights, and the truly comfortable Comfort Inn Midtown had rooms for as low as $79.

Spring and fall are the busiest, and most expensive, seasons after holiday time. Dont expect hotels to be handing you deals, but you may be able to negotiate a decent rate.
New Yorks spit-shined image means that the city is drawing more families these days, and they usually visit in the summer. Still, the prospect of heat and humidity keeps some people away, making June, July, and the first half of August a generally cheaper time to visit than later in the year, and good hotel deals are often available.

At Christmas, all bets are off - expect to pay top dollar for everything. But Thanksgiving can be a great time to come, believe it or not: Business travelers have gone home for the holiday, and the holiday shoppers havent yet arrived. Its a little-known secret that most hotels away from the Thanksgiving Day Parade route have empty rooms sitting, and theyre usually willing to make great deals to fill them.