Destinations USA

Should You Visit New York In Winter?

NYC Skyline

New York, an iconic world city and a ‘must visit’ destination for any traveller. With its stunning skyline, Fifth Avenue shopping, the theatres of Broadway and Times Square, Central Park and of course, the fantastic array of food and drink. All the clichés are true, from the moment you get off the plane it’s like stepping onto a film set. You are greeted with the sights and sounds from the TV shows and films of your youth,  exciting, hectic but all strangely familiar.

In the words of Judy Garland…

“I Love New York In June January, How About You?”

Most cities tend to suit a season, Miami and LA need the sun, others like London and New York seem more comfortable in the cooler seasons of autumn and spring. But what about winter, especially the cold post Christmas months of January and February?

We visited New York in January and yes, it was cold, very cold.  As low as  -11 °C, so make sure to pack your Gregory Porter hat! However, as you can see we also had brilliant blue skies and sun.

Central Park NYC

A beautiful but very cold morning in Central Park, New York

Let’s just get all the bad stuff out of the way first.

NYC In Winter – The Bad Stuff

As already mentioned it can get very cold, especially if the infamous ‘Arctic Blast’ hits the city. Combined with the wind rushing down the streets, the chill can make it feel like your ears are burning off. Hence the need for the Gregory Porter hat, alternatively get your best earmuffs out (if there such a thing as ‘best earmuffs‘)

Possible snow and travel disruptions. There’ s always the chance of flight delays and cancellations due to the weather but unlike the UK the whole city does not grind to a halt. We had a snow storm during our visit, all the shops and restaurants remained open, the main roads were cleared and unfortunately for the local kids, schools did not close.

Basically that’s the bad stuff which is easily outweighed by all the positives.

Snowy NYC Street

Blue skies gone, here comes another snow storm

NYC In Winter – The Good Stuff

There are less tourists (apart from us!), the queues are shorter and flight and hotels prices can be lower.

Flights are generally cheaper although don’t expect empty planes (airlines seem to have got passenger numbers down to a fine art, we rarely see many empty seats). We flew out with Virgin Atlantic on a Saturday afternoon and arrived at a fairly empty Newark Liberty Airport. Unfortunately the US border control appear to have only one member of staff willing to work Saturday evenings.

New York hotels are not cheap and have very high occupancy rates for most of the year however the ‘off season‘ is January and February. We stayed in The Pearl Hotel, a great little hotel and only a short walk from Times Square. At the time of writing, the current price per night is £200 more in December than the room price for January.

Snow in Times Square

A snowy romantic evening in Times Square

Less tourists also means it’s easier to get tickets to many of the Broadway shows. If you want cheap same day tickets then the official TKTS discount booth in Times Square has shorter queues than usual. A good option if you can tolerate standing in the cold.

Top of the Rock

The view towards Central Park from the ‘Top of the Rock’- The Rockefeller Center

Finally one of the best reasons to visit New York in January is that it can be beautifully romantic especially if there’s a dusting of snow. Walking through Central Park on a sunny, crisp winters morning with the cinematic Manhattan skyline as a backdrop is a wonderful experience.

What Else To Do – Events In January & February
  • Shopping on Fifth Ave (This is sale time when shops clear their shelves, however it may not be as cheap as previous years due to the recent devaluation of the pound!)
  • Ice Skating In Central Park
  • NYC Restaurant Week
  • NYC Jazz Festival
  • Broadway Discount Week
  • Museums and Galleries (Much quieter than the rest of the year)

Have you been to New York in January or February? What are your hints, tips and recommendations?
Should You Visit New York In Winter

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  • Lindsey Paris
    October 14, 2016 at 2:10 pm

    I’ll be the dissenting opinion! 🙂 I lived up north in the tri-state area for 11 years, so I feel like I paid my winter dues and I won’t ever do it again! 🙂

    • Mr and Mrs W
      October 14, 2016 at 4:59 pm

      11 years, OK we will let you off this one
      We are from South Wales and don’t really get very very cold winters, just grey and wet! (80 rain days in a row last winter) so the snow was a bit of a novelty for us.

  • Stacie @ Divine Lifestyle
    October 14, 2016 at 4:57 pm

    NYC is most beautiful in the winter, in my opinion. I love to stroll through Central Park while the snow is falling. Gorgesou.

  • Crystal
    October 14, 2016 at 9:14 pm

    I was in New York for News Years Eve once, and it was actually surprisingly warm that day. If you are prepared for the cold, the city is just lovely that time of year.

  • Liz Mays
    October 14, 2016 at 11:24 pm

    I’ve never done NYC in winter so this is helpful. I think I’d consider it! It’s nice that it could be a little less busy.

  • Monica
    October 15, 2016 at 12:14 am

    So many parts of the city are so lovely in the winter and the holiday decorations make everything feel so festive!

  • Pam
    October 15, 2016 at 1:05 am

    I love visiting NYC. I went in the winter last year. It was cold but I had a great time.

  • Theresa
    October 15, 2016 at 4:45 am

    I’ve done Chicago in winter and it was COLD! I am not sure I could do NY, but the lure of the cheaper tickets and hotel rooms just might lure me in some day!

  • Jocelyn Cañasa Brown
    October 15, 2016 at 5:42 am

    Absolutely. I would love to see the ball drop and the big Christmas tree lit up. It would be so magical.

  • Toni |
    October 15, 2016 at 12:29 pm

    Sometimes visiting tourists spots during off season means a lot of advantages. This post makes me want to visit NYC during winter!

  • Melissa @ The Staten Island family
    October 15, 2016 at 1:56 pm

    I’m a born and bred never left NYC girl-for the past 43 years- and I can attest to the fact that visiting NYC in winter is one of the most magical experiences you can have- so JUST DO IT!

  • Kita Bryant
    October 15, 2016 at 7:36 pm

    I have a friend who lived in New York. She loved the winter because she lived in the mountains but it made work very difficult. It’s much better suited as a place you VISIT during the winter haha

  • Ann Bacciaglia
    October 15, 2016 at 11:40 pm

    I love New York during all the seasons. Winter is nice because of less tourists for sure. I would love to move there someday.

  • Reesa Lewandowski
    October 17, 2016 at 12:28 am

    I visit NYC often in the winter. I will never forget back in my younger days coming out of a club in the wee hours of the morning and finding it snowing. It was silent out, which was so rare to hear in NYC!

    • Mr and Mrs W
      October 17, 2016 at 8:06 pm

      I know what you mean, it had a completely different atmosphere in the snow, quieter and a bit surreal.

  • Brianne
    October 17, 2016 at 3:11 am

    I love this post so much especially since I live in NYC. Every season of course has its moments, but it’s a pretty amazing place to visit no matter what time of year!

    • Mr and Mrs W
      October 17, 2016 at 8:04 pm

      Yes, New York is one of the great world cities.

  • Chavonne H
    October 17, 2016 at 6:06 am

    I’ve been to New York a few times but not in the winter months, it does look beautiful with the snow on the ground but I can imagine it’s super cold, we used to live in new jersey about 30 minutes from NYC. That’s good to know that the flights are cheaper. I enjoyed going to Planet Hollywood and walking around the city when I visited there.

  • Kiwi
    October 18, 2016 at 5:09 am

    Im originally from NY and I just came from NYC a few weeks ago because I actually try to avoid the cold! Its sooooo cold! But holidays in New York is beautiful Thanksgiving, Christmas and NYE is amazing!

  • Lisa Joy Thompson
    October 18, 2016 at 9:12 pm

    I love New York City in the winter! There’s something about taking a carriage ride through central park with the snow falling that is just awesome!!!

    • Mr and Mrs W
      October 19, 2016 at 11:52 am

      That’s sound really romantic.