What to Pack for a Trip to NYC: NYC Packing List by Season (2023)
Last Updated on July 25, 2023 by Dana Berez
NYC Packing List by Season
Have no idea what to pack for a trip to NYC? I have you covered in this NYC Packing List by Season with my personal tips and recommendations as a New Yorker.
New York weather can be unpredictable at best. Think out of the ordinary warm sunny days in February, followed by snow the next day. So when packing for a trip to NYC it’s best to come prepared for whatever the weather throws at you.
Here is my NYC packing list by season including my top recommendations that will leave you ready for a trip to NYC! And don’t forget to get your FREE NYC Packing Checklist below to help keep you organized!
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Things to Know Before You Pack
Before I get into the list of what to pack per season in NYC, here are some general things to know about packing for New York City.
NYC has four real seasons: cold winters, temperate weather in the spring and fall, and humid hot summers- July & August being the most humid.
In winter, it’s essential to layer up and have a coat that can withstand freezing weather. This popular coat from Amazon can be spotted all over NYC and is perfect for the cold temps.
So, you’ll definitely want to pack different items for the season to be the most comfortable. I have this covered below in this post!
Tip #1: When you’re packing, check the weather. Even though you may be visiting in Winter, the temperatures can hover in the 40’s & even get to the ’60s!
You absolutely must pack a pair of comfortable shoes. You’ll be walking so much that it’s essential for comfort. I like to recommend white sneakers, that way they can match all of your outfits.
I love these Adidas White Sneakers (under $60!) These are my go-to sneaker for walking long distances that go with every outfit.
You may or may not be surprised that in NYC, anything goes! There are no set dress codes when touring around the city.
As a local, I find that the majority of people usually wear neutral colors, and minimal outfits- but nothing too dressed up!
An example outfit for daytime for women would be a pair of jeans, a plain-colored top, a plain jacket, and white sneakers. In fact, I have examples of outfits per season below to help you plan your outfits and things to wear.
However, some high-end restaurants and nightclubs might enforce a dress code– more formal wear for women and men (long pants), but the majority of places don’t have set rules.
What to Pack in NYC in Summer
What kind of weather to expect during Summer in NYC? Get ready for some hot and humid days during the summer. On average the weather hovers from 80 to 90+ degrees from June through August.
Pack breathable items that you can sweat through- especially if you are planning on taking the subway. There is no A/C waiting on the platform, and you’ll feel the heat!
During the day, I’d pack casual clothing that is breathable and lightweight. Denim shorts, a casual top, and sneakers or a casual dress would work great for sightseeing during the day.
At night, you can opt for a more dressy look, but remember it’s still hot and humid. A flowy dress would work perfectly for the evening!
A casual plain t-shirt is perfect for hot summer days in NYC. Look for shirts made with breathable cotton. These T-Shirts from Amazon are made with cotton, modal, and elastane for a stretchy yet comfortable shirt you can wear all day long.
A classic staple for a summer NYC wardrobe, denim shorts go with nearly every top and they are comfortable to wear all day.
Because the weather can get very hot and sticky in summer in NYC, this loose-fit romper would be a comfortable option to wear during the day sightseeing.
Dresses are a great item to pack for NYC during the summer. They are easy to pack and look great day to night, plus are breathable.
Plus you won’t have to worry about finding a matching bottom or top, that’s why I love wearing dresses while traveling.
This casual summer dress can work great for daytime and evenings. It’s made out of comfortable stretchy t-shirt material and has a tie at the waist that hides any stomach insecurities. It has a dressy look to it, but it feels so comfortable.
Packing breathable bottoms like flowy skirts, and lightweight bottoms like white linen pants, or shorts work for hot summer days.
Read next: Best Jean Shorts for Thick Thighs
Read next: Best White Linen Pants for Women in 2022
Again, I love packing my comfortable white sneakers for walking around all day long. For the evening, a nice sandal gives a dressy look. I would avoid too high heels because you’re going to be doing even more walking.
What to Pack for NYC in Fall
Shop the image: 1. Striped Sweater (similar)/ 2. Checkered Jacket (similar) / 3. Jeans / 4. Leather Backpack / 5. Bootie Heel / 6. White Sneaker / 7. Fall Jacket (similar)/ 8. Black Dress / 9. Handbag / 10. Black Bootie Heels
Meet the latest hybrid of a Jacket and a shirt: the Shacket. During fall you’re still going to need to bring a coat, however, it doesn’t have to be as heavy as a winter coat.
This latest trend works perfectly because it can add some color to your look, and add warmth without being too hot!
Rather than packing a jacket, fall in NYC can be on the warmer side. This cardigan can act as a coat when it’s colder, but you can easily take it off if the sun comes out.
Sweaters are a must for a fall trip to NYC. Keep your sweaters more lightweight in case of any warm fall days. Plus a thinner sweater won’t take up too much room in your suitcase.
Just like Spring and winter, I recommend bringing casual jeans and one dark wash pair of jeans to dress up at night.
I also love these Spanx Faux leather leggings for a night in New York. They are extremely warm, plus these pants look exactly like leather but for a much lower price!
P.S. Spanx has given my readers 10% off their Spanx purchase plus free shippings and returns. Use code DANAXSPANX at checkout!
During the fall, you can pull off wearing dresses without being too cold. I also love wearing a sweater dress with over-the-knee boots on a fall day in the city!
This sweater dress from Lulu’s is my ultimate favorite. It’s not too bulky and has a cute low-cut back. Plus, it’s under $60!
You’re going to need to pack at least one winter shoe that you don’t care if it gets wet from snow or the rain. Another fall/winter essential is an over-the-knee boot.
My favorite is The Lowland from Stuart Weitzman. While one of my priciest purchases… ever, I wear them almost every day in fall/ winter for the past three years!
Another favorite is this bootie from Franco Sarto. While they have a small heel, they are so so comfortable!
What to Pack for NYC in Winter
What weather to expect in Winter? During winter you’ll find the coldest temperatures. It’s best to pack a heavy coat to withstand the wind, waterproof shoes, and warm accessories like hats & gloves.
Turtlenecks are my favorite because they add extra warmth. You can also back a thermal undershirt for extremely cold days. I like the long sleeve heat-tech thermals. They are extra thin and provide extra heat!
During winter, you’ll want to bring some durable boots you can wear while walking around. Because of unexpected snow or rain, ideally, you’d want to bring a waterproof boot.
During the evening, a casual bootie heel looks great and your feet will stay warm!
Hats: A cute winter hat is essential for winter. I love adding in a beret, or a cute chunky winter hat!
Scarves: Scarves are a great way to add color to your outfits without taking up much room in your suitcase
Stockings: Planning on wearing a dress in winter? I’d pack some stockings to partially block the cold!
What to Pack for NYC in Spring
What kind of weather to expect during Spring in NYC? The weather during spring can vary. The average temperatures during the spring months can range from 40’s degrees to the low 70s. Plus you’ll find some rainy weather- so a travel umbrella is helpful!
During Spring, packing a light jacket is essential. During the early spring months, a lighter wool coat will work just as the weather is still heating up.
Dresses & Jumpsuits
I love packing dresses and rompers because they fit inside your suitcase so well, and they constitute a whole outfit. You won’t have to worry about matching which is a huge plus. For sightseeing, I would pack a few casual dresses. Also, plan on bringing a little black dress for night plans like dinner or a Broadway play!
The weather is still heating up during Spring, so plan on bringing layers. Pack some long sleeve options and short sleeve tops.
On any trip to NYC plan on bringing one pair of light-colored jeans, and one pair of black jeans. I love how versatile jeans are. You can wear them touring around the day, and then dress them up for dinner.
Bringing comfortable shoes to NYC is a must with all the walking around you’ll be doing. For spring I would plan on bringing comfortable sneakers, flats, and a dressier sandal.
I love packing a large tote bag when touring NYC.
You can keep your packing list pretty simple with the basics and change up your look through accessories. I love packing a stylish hat to dress up my looks, as well as lightweight scarves. Adding in some bright-colored earrings can change your look without taking up room in your suitcase.
NYC Packing Essentials
Whenever you plan to visit New York City, be sure to pack these essential items below.
Large Bag: Bringing a larger bag is a must for NYC. You’ll end up carrying all of your essentials around with you like a water bottle, some snacks, a camera, etc. You might want to consider bringing a backpack!
Having a large bag will be helpful so you can keep your hands free.
Portable Charger: Your phone will thank you for this one. Chances are you’ll be using your phone a lot for photos, looking up directions, etc. Having a portable charger will save you after your phone hits ‘low battery’.
Packing Cubes: This is one of my latest favorite travel essentials. Usually, they are sold in a set like this kind, but I take the smallest size and use it for my wallet for cards, cash, lipstick, keys, and any other small items in one place.
Trust me when you are searching for a tiny metro card or lip balm you’ll be glad all your small things are in one place.
And they double as packing cubes for your clothes.
Travel Size Umbrella: I would opt to bring your own small umbrella just in case it rains, otherwise you’ll be overspending from the street vendors for an emergency umbrella that will break after 10 minutes.
Foldable Water Bottle: Foldable water bottles are lightweight and take up less space than a regular water bottle. Plus, tap water in NYC is safe & delicious to drink.
Hand Sanitizer: Because it’s New York
NYC Packing Tips
Size Down Your Suitcase:
I’ve been in a few hotels in NYC throughout the years, and what they say is true: they’re not big!
Sometimes they are so tight, you can’t have more than one suitcase open without stepping on it.
That’s why I recommend bringing a carry-on-sized bag rather than a large checked-size bag for your items. (I know it’s hard ladies, but I believe in you!)
I’ve been traveling with this Travel Pro Maxlite suitcase for a while and it’s held up from all my trips! Plus it’s the preferred suitcase from flight attendants.
To even pack more clothing, you can bring this travel backpack that’s made for extra clothing storage and plane essentials. Plus it fits in the seat in front of you on the airplane.
Capsule your Wardrobe
Bring clothing items and shoes that work well with each other. If you’re thinking of bringing one pair of shoes that ONLY go with one of your outfits, it’s best to leave them at home.
I prefer to bring neutral shoes and accessories so they can match all of my outfits. Therefore I’ll be packing less.
Also, it’s okay to wear your jeans more than once during your trip! (Psst .. no one will know)
My NYC Packing Formula
Break down what you plan on doing in NYC, you can easily formulate how many outfits to bring.
It’s likely that you’ll be sightseeing during the day- which means packing a casual sightseeing look.
Then at night, you’ll probably change into a dressier outfit for dinner or a show. Sometimes, however, you won’t have time to go back to your hotel to change, so you don’t need to pack as many dressier looks.
This formula can look like this:
- 2 Days in NYC = 2 Casual Looks + 1 Dressier Look
- 3 Days in NYC= 3 Casual Looks + 2 Dressier Looks
- 5 Days in NYC = 5 Casual Looks + 3 Dressier Looks
In Case you Forget Something:
Don’t sweat it! NYC has stores on every corner for all your needs so you don’t have to worry about forgetting something. But if you do here are my favorite stores to get your essentials.
Makeup: If you forget your favorite lipstick, don’t worry! You’ll find makeup stores like Sephora, Ulta Beauty, and MAC Cosmetics nearly in every major neighborhood in NYC.
Plus, you can always request to get your makeup done for special nights out like Broadway at MAC, or Sephora, or you can have GlamSquad come to your hotel room.
Toiletries: You can find convenience stores like CVS, and Duane Reade (New York’s Walgreens) nearly on every corner.
What Not to Pack for NYC
If you’re spending a few days in NYC, you don’t need to bring your full-size bath & beauty products.
First, this will take up a very sacred space in your suitcase, and it will weigh a ton. Save that space and weight for items you buy in New York.
Plus, hotels in New York don’t come with a ton of space. Your full-size products will take up too much space.
Most hotels have Shampoo, Conditioner & Body Wash for you, so packing your own is optional.
For your other products, I recommend getting small travel-size containers to depot your favorite products. This will have you so much space in your suitcase!
Before you go, check out these helpful NYC posts for your trip:
Food & Beverage:
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