NYC Winter Outfits: What to Wear in New York City for Winter
Last Updated on November 20, 2023 by Dana Berez
NYC Winter Outfits
Headed to New York and have no idea what to wear in New York in Winter? Don’t worry, this post has you covered on all the details on what to wear in New York in December, January, February, and all winter long that is both stylish and actually warm!
As a local New Yorker who has endured over 12 years of New York City Winters through the holiday season, I have experienced all kinds of New York Weather.
Which is why I know exactly what items you need to pack and wear during your NYC winter trip.
Trust me, you don’t want to be freezing or too hot when touring around the city in the colder weather.
In this post, I’ll give you some great ideas for New York winter outfits, and I’ll go over a New York packing list for winter so you won’t forget any of the winter essentials.
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How Cold Does New York Get in Winter
So what does a New York Winter actually feel like?
This may surprise you (in a good way!) but the temperature in New York during winter can range anywhere from 25F to 45F.
That being said, from living in New York, I find that on average it’s warmer than what you would expect. Imagine a cold breeze, but the warmth from the sun.
I had my parents visit in December, and it was a nice comfortable 45F the entire trip!
But don’t get me wrong, there will be cold weather fronts here and there. The wind chill on a windier day will make it feel like it is colder than the temperature is as well. Plus NYC is notorious for wind chills from all the tall buildings.
Before your trip, check the weather and look out for rain or snow – which will require you to pack a few extra things like a packable umbrella.
How Often Does It Snow in New York
Speaking of snow, how often does it snow in New York? Unfortunately, it does not snow as much as it rains in New York. So if you’re in New York during the snow, consider yourself lucky!
So depending on where you are coming from and what you are used to, New York winters are cold, but not unbearable.
Plus retail stores love to blast the heat (T.J. Maxx I’m looking at you), so once inside any store, you’ll be dying to take your coat off.
Remember you’ll be outside most of the time, so it’s best to add warm layers layer to stay cozy.
What to wear in New York in Winter?
No matter when you visit in Winter, there are some general items you need to wear when coming to New York.
Adding thermal base layers is key for extra warmth and keeping your body temperature regulated.
A heavy warm Winter coat is a non-negotiable for a trip to New York City. Bring a coat with pockets and perhaps a hood that can go with many different outfits, and that looks and feels great for daytime touring and evening activities.
You’re going to be doing a LOT of walking in New York so a comfortable pair of boots is ideal. You can wear white sneakers, but I’d only suggest those when the temperatures aren’t too cold or wet.
Winter accessories like a warm hat, gloves, and scarf finish off your outfit and are essential for keeping you warm.
Don’t forget a pair of darker pants or trousers and a nice sweater and blazer for a chic evening out look.
This was just the basics for what to wear in New York. Later in this post, I go into way more detail on the exact items & inspiration for NYC Winter Outfits.
New York Winter Outfits
If you are a visual person like myself, here are some ideas for Winter Outfits that are cute and stylish, yet will keep you warm!
NYC Winter Dinner Outfits
Faux Fur Coat
NYC Winter Packing List
Now that you have some ideas for some NYC winter outfits, let’s get into the nitty-gritty of what you should actually pack and wear during winter in New York.
Visiting New York? Read my NYC Packing list by season to get more packing ideas.
Thermal Base Layers
I’ve done a lot of research on how to stay warm when touring outside all day long, and the one thing I’ve learned is the importance of layers.
Merino Wool is the most effective material at keeping your body dry and warm during the winter months due to its natural insulating properties. It’s moisture-wicking and provides temperature regulation- meaning you’re not going to feel sticky or sweaty under your clothing, but you’ll be at the optional temperature.
Basically- Don’t depend on just your winter coat to do all the work for you. Your thermal layers will help keep you warm when you are touring outside all day long!
If you are on a budget you can also opt for a synthetic blend of poly/nylon that will provide some moisture-wicking and warmth to your base layer.
Favorite Base Layers:
A good warm winter coat is a non-negotiable item to bring to New York during the winter time.
Now there are plenty of styles of winter coats you can pack to New York, and to be honest, any winter coat is acceptable.
That being said, I would leave overly athletic, and thin jackets that won’t provide as much warmth as a heavier warm coat would, at home.
- Remember, your coat is the most bulky item to pack, and it’s the one thing you’ll be wearing all day every day on your trip. You will be wearing it while exploring Central Park and shopping along 5th Avenue.
So be sure you bring one that’s comfortable to wear all day and one that can work for sightseeing during the day and look dressy in the evening.
Winter Coats I recommend:
Is a wool coat warm enough for Winter in New York?
A wool coat is warm enough for winter in New York if you add warm thermal base layers underneath and your winter accessories. Ideally, a 100% wool coat will give you the most warmth, but anything over 60% wool will do the job.
Keep in mind that if it snows or rains, a parka will be a better option than a wool coat because a parka is water-resistant.
Comfortable Waterproof Boots
A pair of comfortable shoes is a MUST for a trip to New York. You’ll be walking thousands of steps a day, running up and down subway stations, and doing a lot of standing.
For winter I would recommend bringing at least one pair of boots. Now this could be flat boots, Chelsea boots, or a stylish winter snow boot. These generally are weather and rainproof, making them warm and comfortable to wear for long periods of time.
Now add some rain or snow to that mix, and you’ll be in need of a pair of comfortable waterproof shoes or waterproof boots.
Also, if you happen to visit when it is raining or the snow is melting into dirty slush. You will avoid stepping into puddles and having your feet soaking wet!
While they are bulky, a great way to bring them on your trip is to wear them on the airplane.
Sam Edelman has stylish waterproof boots that fit right in with the New York City style.
Now if you have some room in your suitcase you can bring a pair of sneakers as an additional shoe to wear for sightseeing.
Can you wear sneakers in NYC winter?
Sneakers are definitely comfortable and appropriate for the winter season in New York. Keep in mind that the cold days your ankles will feel the chill. Opt for wool socks to keep your feet warm.
You have no idea how many times I’d leave the house in thin ankle socks and my legs would be freezing! A nice pair of socks is so helpful on your NYC vacation.
Because the weather can be so dramatic, opt for a dark pair of jeans. That way if it rains you won’t see any spots or marks on your pants.
Plus a dark pair of jeans goes with literally everything, and no one will know if you wore them twice on your trip.
Faux Leather Pants
Another great stylish pant option is faux leather pants. These are great to dress up in evening outfits without wearing a skirt or dress. Plus that added shine gives an overall stylish look.
P.S. The best faux leather pants that I’ve tried just fit like a glove, look chic, and just like real leather pants. They run slightly small in my opinion, but a great option for New York.
When packing sweaters, I would keep in mind the thickness of the sweater. Remember that it’s all about lots of layers, and that chunky sweater just may be too hot. Opt for a thinner style.
A good idea is a turtleneck sweater because it covers your neck for extra warmth.
One of my favorite thinner, yet warm sweaters is actually from Amazon! This v-neck long-sleeved Amazon sweater is great as a layering piece and is made with great materials.
Fleece Lined Leggings
One of the latest viral trends are these fleece-lined leggings from Amazon.
They look just like real tights, yet they are super thick and fleece-lined keeping your legs warm if you decide to wear a dress or skirt during winter.
A winter scarf is essential to keep your neck warm, plus it’s a fun way to add some fun color and pattern to your outfit.
Looking for your next favorite scarf? I love this chunky knit style from Amazon. It’s super cozy and warm for cooler days.
Another winter season essential to wear in New York is a great pair of gloves. You can bring any kind of glove, but I like to at least match somehow with my jacket.
And if you like to be on your phone often bring a fingerless glove so you can access your phone easier.
The last winter accessory you need to bring is a warm hat. This will keep you warm when you are outside all day long, and will make you last outside in the cold much longer!
This best-selling winter hat style on Amazon has over 32K positive ratings and would work perfectly on a trip to New York.
Plus if you luck out with warmer weather, you can just wear this beanie and a warm sweater and you’ll still be warm throughout the day.
If you ever struggled to keep your purse on your shoulder with all your winter accessories and slippery coat like me, a cross-body bag is a much better option- especially for winter.
A crossbody bag will not move around as much as a shoulder or tote bag and you’ll have your hands free for sightseeing… and shopping.
Plus a crossbody bag is ideal for travel because your belongings are right in front of you- which is harder for any pickpockets to target you. (Not saying there is a pickpocket problem in New York, but you can never be too cautious)
What other Essentials to Pack for Winter in New York?
Electric Hand warmers
My hands are the first thing to get cold when walking outside in NYC in winter. I never thought to use traditional hand warmers because I would always be waiting for the “best” time to use them.
So meet my latest obsession: electric hand warmers! These hand warmers are reusable via a quick charge for long-lasting warmth throughout the day. Now I am never waiting for the “perfect moment” to use them, I just turn them on when I get cold.
Plus they aren’t too big or heavy, so they are not annoying to carry around with you all day long around the sights like Times Square, or Rockefeller Center.
While I recommend looking at the weather before your trip to NYC, sometimes a random rain shower will pass by. I would pack a small umbrella for those just-in-case moments!
It’s sniffles weather. From being outside in the cold all day long, it’s essential to bring a small pack of tissues for runny noses.
I like to bring a small bottle of lotion when walking around just because the air in New York is dry, and your hands will thank you for it!
Moisturizing Lip Balm
And of course, some moisturizing lip balm is perfect for keeping in your purse.
Packing for a trip to New York should be fun and exciting. Remember to stick to your basics and bring plenty of warm layers.
At the end of the day, your Winter Coat is the item most people will see, so be sure to bring one you love that keeps you warm.
Don’t forget your thermal layers, wool socks, electric hand warmers, and all your favorite winter accessories.
While you’ll be touring outside during most of your trip, remember that retail stores love blasting the heat. So inside you’ll get toasty warm.
At night, you can keep it simple by wearing mostly dark colors, and you’ll blend right in as a New Yorker.
I hope you found this post helpful on finding New York Winter Outfits and knowing exactly what to wear in New York in Winter.
Heading to New York? These posts will help you plan your trip to New York:
Plus I have helpful travel essentials lists to keep you organized on the go.
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