This following post helps you know what to pack for New York. See all of our packing lists here. Also, this post may contain affiliate links; see our disclosure here.
New York City is one of the best cities in the world and a popular stop for those visiting the United States. But between Times Square, Grand Central Station and Central Park, you’ll typically find these places overrun with tourists during most of the year.
That’s why it’s a good idea to visit during the winter, apart from New Year’s Eve.
Not only are rates much lower for accommodation, but you also won’t have to wait in line for as many attractions. Your odds of catching last minute tickets to a Broadway show are greater as well! There’s also the beauty of the city under snow and experiences like ice skating at Rockefeller Center or Bryant Park.
As someone who frequently travels to the Empire State during January and February, I am here to share with you what to pack for New York in winter. If you’re flying on a budget carrier like Frontier, JetBlue or Spirit, as I usually do, pack as light as possible. It is doable, even when traveling to a cold destination!
Packing for New York City in winter isn’t that different from traveling anywhere cold. But temperatures can vary highly depending on the year and which month during winter, so be prepared for anything. When it comes to what to wear in New York in winter, layering is key!
2 pairs of pants– This might include jeans and a pair of black pants.
2 pairs of stockings or leggings– They give you the option to layer underneath your pants for added warmth or wear with a dress or skirt.
Base layers– Your warmest layers might include a sweater or long sleeved shirt with a tank top underneath.
Coat– I typically bring a water resistant pea coat from J. Crew that goes down past my knees, but you also see people wearing full length down coats. Just make sure it’s warm enough!
Waterproof layer– Also bring something to wear on top that can be waterproof in case of rain.
Undergarments and socks– Depending on your trip, 5-7 pairs of underwear should be fine. I usually pack 2 bras as well. Don’t forget warm socks, at least 2 pair! I recommend Smartwool.
Gloves, hat and scarf– I also bring two of each of these to go with different outfits.
Purse– If you’re carrying leather, make sure it’s been treated so it doesn’t get water stains. And something zippered is best to keep away pickpockets.
When it comes to shoes for New York in winter, you want shoes that are both comfortable and warm.
1 pair of waterproof boots– In case of snow, you’ll want a pair of boots that will keep out the snow. You can also treat a normal pair of boots or shoes with products to make it water resistant.
1 pair of walking shoes– If it’s not wet, you can wear a pair of athletic shoes for your long walks around the city.
1 pair of nice shoes– If you’re going out to a nice dinner or a show, pack one pair of nice shoes like flats.
Shampoo, Conditioner and soap– Most hotels will have this, so you might not need to bring your own.
Toothbrush and toothpaste
Medications– Bring your prescription in case you need it refilled while you’re gone.
Smartphone– It’s especially useful for downloading New York travel apps for ordering an Uber and using a Subway map.
Books or E-reader– Download some classics about the city like A Tree Grows in Brooklyn or The Great Gatsby.
Chargers and adapters
Hand warmers– I always pack these for winter destinations to slide in my gloves or pockets to keep me warm.
Water bottle– Skip the bottled water and fill it up at your hotel.
Mug– If you’ll be drinking a number of warm beverages, it might be nice to bring your own mug.
Book a Viator Tour for Your Trip to New York in Winter
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If you like your hot beverages on the go, I recommend getting a good travel mug – or, better, yet, an insulated Klean Kanteen with a coffee lid (forgot the actual name for this lid, it basically converts your water bottle into a travel mug). I have a 20 fl.oz. insulated Klean Kanteen that I use all the time!
I am SO glad I read this and the post about packing light for cold weather! I just got back from a weekend trip to New York (forecast was 37-51F with rain and clouds). I was so glad I dressed in layers on the rainy day I went to the Met Museum, because their heat was broken in some areas, and it was so warm that I ended up putting my merino pullover in my purse and just walking around in a (pretty) camisole with a cardigan tied around my shoulders. (I’m from Texas, so three sweaters and a raincoat were perfect for a day that went no higher than 45F). I don’t think I would have been able to see everything I did if I hadn’t been able to take off my sweater.
Hi, I have a trip going to Mexico next November, 2018 wanting to know what to wear to airport in winter . Any suggestions?
Liz Miller says
Excellent advice. Layers, extra chargers, warm socks, and comfortable shoes are a must! I would add a set of workout clothes to do the iconic run through Centeal Park. NYC is like a drug… Gotta go back for more!
Thanks! I’m from the south and have never really seen snow. This helps me pack for NY ☺. The water proofing spray sounds like lifesaver!