Travel Fashion Girl

What to Wear in New York: Vacation Tips for all the Seasons

North America Packing Lists , Packing Lists , Travel Packing Lists

what-to-wear-in-new-york

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Planning a trip to the Big Apple?  New Yorkers stick to a chic, sophisticated style that can take them from day to night.  Follow their lead on what to wear in New York City throughout the year!

What to Wear in New York City

Written by: Renée Olson

Table Of Contents

New York City: the Big Apple, the City that Never Sleeps! New York is a hot destination for travelers all over the world and a city we all love. There’s great food, cool new spots around every corner, and so much to see and do no matter what you’re interested in.

This is one of the most versatile metropolises in the world, so naturally, potential activity combinations on a given day are limitless; you could cycle across the Williamsburg bridge, captain a boat in Central Park, pose with taxidermy elks in the Natural History Museum, and go hoarse at Mamma Mia on Broadway. And then there’s the coffees, cocktails, brunches, diners, and all the other urban wonderland clichés that make New York New York.

what-to-wear-in-new-york

Some of TFG editor’s favorite cold weather essentials:  Thermals  |  Blondo ankle boots

What Should I Wear in New York?

The most important factors in planning and packing for New York are the activities you’ll be doing on your trip AND the weather.

Always, always, always check the weather forecast before your trip. Once you’ve researched the weather, you can focus on creating a  travel capsule wardrobe , which should easily fit in a carryon suitcase with the help of  packing cubes  to compress your clothing.

what-to-wear-in-new-york

What to Wear in New York: Essentials

While we’ll be sharing seasonal outfit ideas below, there are a few essentials you’ll want to bring to New York regardless of when you visit.

Beyond these items shared below, you may need other essentials, depending on how you like to travel. This might include technology accessories, like chargers and a camera, and toiletries and styling tools.

Here’s our tips on comfortable walking shoes for travel !

what-to-wear-in-new-york

Blondo Villa Waterproof Ankle Bootie

Comfort should be a top priority when it comes to footwear. The average New Yorker walks anywhere from 2 to 5 miles daily, and if you’re doing your job as a tourist dutifully, you’ll be hitting twice that. Keeping your feet happy is essential!

Find out why the Travel Fashion Girl readers and I love this comfortable boot for travel !

what-to-wear-in-new-york

Best Ballet Flats For Travel: Hush Puppies

Of course, it can be tempting to prepare for the glamour of Manhattan panoramic nightlife with 7-inch heels, but we recommend bringing flats, which are more comfortable and packable than heels (or bringing a pair of foldable ballet flats in your bag).

what-to-wear-in-new-york

Most Comfortable Walking Shoes: Go Walk 4 Pursuit Sneakers

Choose classic leather boots with a slight heel, flats with a great shape, or fashionable sneakers . Skip brand new shoes or shoes that are too tight, uncomfortable, or have been known to give blisters. In general, many New Yorkers skip wearing sandals.

These are the best waterproof leather boots recommended by our readers!

what-to-wear-in-new-york

Rebecca Minkoff Julian Backpack

Since you’ll be out and about all day long, you’ll need a great day bag that can take you from Brooklyn to Uptown and back again. They key is choosing a bag with great structure and style, not necessarily an expensive price tag.

Neutral colors work great, especially black, which won’t show dirt as easily. This can be a leather tote or even a chic backpack, but just make sure it matches your outfits and has plenty of room. At TFG, we are huge fans of the Rebecca Minkoff Julian backpack . You can see our  full review here .

Take a look at these other cute backpacks for city travel !

new york tourist clothes

Day to Night Accessories

You may not have time to go back to your hotel to change, but that’s okay. New Yorkers often head straight to happy hour from the office, so follow their lead.

Stash a statement necklace or earrings in your bag so you can be ready for dinner in a flash. Add a bold lip on your way to the restaurant for instant glam. When your outfits are simple and stylish, you’ll be ready for anything.

Find out how to pack necklaces with these simple tips !

new york tourist clothes

Oversized Polarized Sunglasses

Sunglasses are the perfect way to add some mystery to your New York outfit, even if you aren’t visiting in the sunny summer.

Even if rooftop lounging and skyline lamenting are not activities that appeal to you, you will at some stage take your cynical self from a subway station to your destination. These commutes can be 20 minutes of walking in blinding brightness.

Our vote always goes to sunglasses with polarization. Find out why!

what-to-wear-in-new-york

Jacket  |  Blouse | Jeans | Necklace | Watch | Sunglasses |  Bag |  Shoes

What to Wear in New York in Spring

A lightweight jacket will save the day in spring when temperatures can be uncertain. Choose structured dresses and tops to celebrate winter’s end. Open-toed wedges are comfortable for walking and will instantly add polish to any outfit.

Here are more tips on what to pack for New York in spring !

new york tourist clothes

Sunglasses |  Top | Shorts | Belt | Lip Balm  | Earrings | Hat | Bag |  Sandals

What to Wear in New York in Summer

Many New Yorkers escape to the beach in the summer, leaving the city extremely laid back. The temperature spikes in July with an average of 76°F / 25°C, but this can fluctuate and decrease at night, so you’ll need to be prepared if you’re out all day. That said, it can get very hot and humid in the city in the summer, and sometimes it stays hot into the night.

On top, think cropped camis, deep V halters, and blouses. Pair them with equally cool and comfy maxi skirts, culottes, and light denims. Playsuits and jumpsuits can be great, but avoid tight body cons of any design, as it’s icky to get sticky when you’re on the go for hours.

Easy denim with gorgeous sandals and a breezy top will be your uniform. Add dresses or skirts to the mix to keep cool.

Mid-summer Manhattanites are AC-crazy. This is the case for pretty much everywhere indoors, but is particularly pertinent when you’re spending the day in and out of multiple freezing shops.

A light outer layer is essential; I opt for thin trench coats as they are equally cost/heat/trend effective, but a crew neck sweater or hoodie will do the job.

Take a look a the  best sandals for travel this summer!

new york tourist clothes

Jacket | T-shirt  |  Jeans | Lipstick | Scarf | Bag | Hat | Boots

What to Wear in New York in Fall

Fall fashion is a favorite in New York. Chic booties, dark denim, and a blanket scarf or cape will keep you warm. Pair dresses with tights for mild weather. Add other accessories like a wide brim hat or leather jacket for added interest.

These are the best ankle boots for fall! 

new york tourist clothes

Coat  |  Sweater | Scarf |  Pants | Bag |  Thermal |  Gloves | Beanie | Boots

What to Wear in New York in Winter

Baby, it’s cold outside! Walking from place to place can be brutal. Choose a neutral colored coat in a classic silhouette. A trench coat with a cinched waist will pair well with anything.

A scarf, gloves , and knit hat will keep you warm and accessorized. Dress in layers using wool, chunky knits, and even tights under jeans on a particularly chilly day. We love these thermals to help us stay warm no matter what!

Learn more about how to stay warm when traveling in winter !

what-to-wear-in-new-york

Compass Rose Packing Cubes

How to Pack Your Clothes

Packing cubes  will change the way you travel. You can use them for your personal items and keep your belongings organized for your journey. We’ve designed our own brand of slim cubes with a unique color and numbering system, so it’s easy to remember where you’ve packed everything, including your jacket!

Watch the packing tutorial here or on our  YouTube Channel !

We put together a  five-part YouTube series  showing the different methods to use packing cubes for travel. If you use  this  specific packing strategy, packing cubes can also compress your belongings. This is the secret to traveling carry-on only!

what-to-wear-in-new-york

Shopping in New York

It’s not a secret that New York is considered one of the world’s best shopping destinations. The famous city line towers over you as you wander in awe about how a real Carrie Bradshaw felt when she stepped into the swanky city of Manhattan or how Gossip Girl’s Blair managed to buy all of her heart’s desire.

The Upper East Side is the place to go to for many designer fashion stores; this is the place where you can find the most elegant department stores for fashion and home goods.Renowned names such as Vera Wang has her flagship store located in the area, as well as other prominent designers in the city.

Like a contemporary fairy land to fashion and shopping enthusiasts, New York is the home to many iconic stores such as Macys, Bloomingdales, and every girl’s favorite, Tiffany & Co. This is also the place to find other equally popular malls such as Saks 5 th Avenue and Bergdorf Goodman.

what-to-wear-in-new-york

Accommodations in New York

We love  Airbnb for accommodation in New York. Sign up here  for a free $40 credit!

I prefer to book “the entire home” instead of opting for shared accommodation on Airbnb. Aside from safety, I also like to feel like I’m living in the destination. It’s a small taste of local life plus you get more amenities than you would at a hotel such as a kitchen and washing machine.

Read these  Airbnb tips  for more info!

If you prefer the convenience and comfort of a hotel room, I like using both  Agoda.com  and  Hotels.com . Tip: Hotels.com gives you a free night for every ten nights you book!

For hostels, we recommend  Hostelworld  and  Hostelbookers . Always read the reviews before booking to get the best idea if the hostel is right for you. Some are quiet and family friendly while others are known for their party atmosphere.

Not sure about staying at a hostel?  Read this.

New York City is one of the world’s fashion capitals! If you’re ever in doubt, stick to the classics. You’ll be fashionable and beautiful in any season.

What are your style tips on what to wear in New York?

For more North America packing tips, please read:

  • What to Pack for Chicago
  • What to Pack for the Florida Keys
  • What to Wear in Las Vegas
  • What to Wear in California

Suggested travel resources:

  • Lonely Planet USA (Country Guide)
  • Lonely Planet New York City (Travel Guide)

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We hope you liked this post on what to wear in New York City. Please share with your friends on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest. Thanks for reading!

Author Bio:  Renée Olson is a freelance producer who spends her free time traveling with her husband, Matt. She loves great coffee, wine, and anywhere with a sandy beach. Follow her travel adventures on her blog, Avec Amour , on Instagram , or Twitter .

29 Comments

Jeniffer Smith

Very helpful post. You really answer all my questions! Thx!

Alex

So happy this helped Jenniffer! Have an amazing time on your travels!

Blair

Hi! We are headed to NYC for Thanksgiving this year with our three kids, ages 9 and below. Which bag would you suggest as I know it will be extremely crowded and I want a balance of not too much bulk navigating through the crowds (we are going to the Macy’s parade), safety and being able to throw in smaller items for kids if needed. I have really enjoyed your site so much and have been agonizing over whether to get a backpack or crossbody. Help! Thanks. 🙂

Hi Blair, thank you for reaching out. How exciting!!! You might find this article interesting for tips to help you decide what is the best bag for your trip: https://www.travelfashiongirl.com/travel-day-bag/ If you are worried about safety, then you might prefer one of these anti-theft options: https://www.travelfashiongirl.com/top-5-anti-theft-travel-bags-for-women-best-sellers/ I would also highly recommend that you join TFG’s free facebook community and post your question there: https://www.facebook.com/groups/travelfashiongirls/ Its a fabulous group of helpful female travelers that have the best advice and recommendations to share and I am show one our amazing readers would be able to help. Hope this helps. Have the most amazing time in NYC and happy thanksgiving to you and your family! ?

Thank you so much for your quick reply! I will check out the articles and just requested to join the group!

Al Cain

We are heading there from UK the 3rd week in September after a trip to Maine and NH. Hand luggage only. Do you have a cross-over list to suggest. Seems hot there now but unsure how it will be by the time we arrive? Thank you ?

Hi Al, you may find our 10 step guide to packing for a trip with mixed weather: https://www.travelfashiongirl.com/10-step-guide-to-packing-for-different-climates/ You may also find this video helpful for tips how you could pack for a trip with hot and cold weather: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2Qy8gyVZP_E I would also highly suggest that you join our TFG facebook group and post your question there: https://www.facebook.com/groups/travelfashiongirls/ Hope this helps. Have an amazing trip! ?

Hey Alex Thanks so much for the information..much appreciated ?

Andrea

Thanks so much for this article! I live in Western Mass so things are a little less fashionable here. Going to NYC today (Mid-May) for a fancy work dinner and conference the next day, so am going for the all-black capsule idea with a flower-embroidered black cocktail dress (w/black cardigan) for dinner, then black blouse, leggings and a nice scarf (same cardigan) for the conference. I really appreciate the ideas!! Black patent strappy flats for both outfits.

Hi Andrea, so pleased you found this article helpful for tips for your packing! Your outfits sounds fantastic! Have an awesome time! ?

Sheri

HI this is exactly what I am packing for my trip to New York in February the only thing is the boots if it’s snows while I’m there I’m afraid my feet will get cold do you have any suggestions for warm boots and still look chic . Thank you

Hi Sheri, that is fantastic to hear!! So pleased you found the article helpful! Have a look at this post for some options for waterproof boots for perfect for traveling in the winter: https://www.travelfashiongirl.com/womens-waterproof-leather-boots/ Hope you find some you like! Have an awesome trip to New York!! 🙂

Donna

On our way Thursday for 4 days to take in a couple Concerts, some great food and our fav night spots. My first trip was 30 yrs ago. Never gets old. This was helpful. I usually over pack. First trip…heels and blisters. Learned my lesson.

Hi Donna, so pleased you found the article helpful! Hope you have an incredible trip and enjoy your concerts!! 🙂

Valerie Burgess-Rostek

I love you blog posts. Your shoe recommendations are amazing. I plan on purchasing some for my upcoming trip to nyc. Thanks so much.

Maeve Butler

good article – as a longtime NYer, just adding a tip or two. Our summers have been arriving a little later these past few years – rainy, chilly days persist into late May – but when summer does arrive, it’s very hot and sticky. Rather than the 76 F average cited, be prepared for days above 90 F. As for shopping, go downtown – Soho for high fashion, Nolita, the East Village and Williamsburg for emerging designers and NY hipster style.

Hi Maeve, thank you for your comment, so happy you enjoyed the article!! Thank you for sharing your tips for what to pack for NY, always fantastic to hear from a reader who lives there!! 🙂

Angela

Perfect, this was exactly what I was looking for. I’m trying to not over pack but still be ready for a full day and into the evening before having to go back to our room. I’m excited to check it all out for my 40th coming up 🙂 Thanks!

Hi Angela, thank you so much for your comment, so glad you found the article helpful! Have a fantastic trip to New York and an amazing 40th birthday! 🙂

Robin

Some great suggestions. I visit NYC almost Every year, but different seasons. Thank you!

Hi Robin, thank you so much for your feedback, glad it was useful! 🙂

Cheryl

This is a great article we would like to go here before Christmas!!

alex

Thanks Cheryl!

Valerie - Trusted Travel Girl

These are very trendy outfits! I love them! Thanks for this post!

Thanks Valerie!

Patricia

Hi Alex! Great tips that I can apply for my trip to USA in Oct-Nov! Thanks.

Travel Fashion Girl

Glad you found it useful! Have an awesome time 🙂

Judy

I’m planning a 2 week holiday in NY from mid April 2020. I am getting conflicting reports from friends about the weather and April is not a good time to go to NY. Consequently my issue is what to wear? I live in the tropics in Far North Queensland Australia where it is usually warm -hot all year round.

Hi Judy, in NY April is the beginning of Spring, so I would totally recommend packing a lightweight jacket which you can layer over your clothes if the temperatures drop. I would suggest that you research what the weather can be like at that time of year based on previous years weather forecast and then you could start to plan your packing. You may find TFG’s signature packing lists for ideas for a capsule wardrobe and how many clothing items you should pack useful so that you are not packing lots of clothes and shoes and then no wearing them: https://www.travelfashiongirl.com/functional-and-fashion-packing-list/ The key to rewearing clothes is to choose things you really love to wear at home and choosing very different but versatile items that can mix and match so you can create a variety of outfits. I would highly recommend that you join our TFG facebook group and post your question there about what to wear for New York: https://www.facebook.com/groups/travelfashiongirls/ Its a fabulous community of helpful female travelers that have the best advice and recommendations to share. Hope this helps. Have an awesome trip!

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new york tourist clothes

Asher & Lyric Travel & Family Journalism

27 Top NYC Packing List Items for 2024 + What to Wear & NOT to Bring

New York City

New York City receives over 60 million tourists every year, with each finding themselves in a full-on sensory and cultural experience! The Big Apple is one of the most amazing cities in the world, but it can also be a bit chaotic, strange, and unpredictable.

That’s why I created this New York City packing list with essentials like what to bring, what to wear in NYC , what NOT to take, and some FAQs for your trip. Make sure you bring a healthy dose of patience with you, and you’ll inevitably come home saying, “I ♥ NYC!”

New York cityscape

What to Pack for New York – 27 Essentials

1. neck wallet.

Outsmart the big city pickpockets with a discreet neck wallet. The last time my friend and I were in New York City, she had her wallet stolen out of her purse while we were walking down a crowded street. It’s better not to keep your valuables in easy-to-reach places like purses, backpacks, or pockets and instead use a neck wallet. I’m able to fit my phone, bank cards, cash, and room key in this one and it still wears discreetly under my shirt or as a satchel purse.

Neck Wallet

View on Amazon.com ➜

2. Stylish Raincoat

Fashion and style are pretty important in New York! So much so that you’ll probably feel uncomfortable in super casual clothing and outerwear. It’s precisely for occasions and trips like this that I keep a stylish raincoat around. I’ve used mine in Paris, London, NYC, and several other places where good taste and style are noticed. This coat is nice-looking and does a good job of keeping me warm and dry without overheating me.

Stylish Raincoat

3. Virtual Private Network (VPN)

Free Wifi is great! Unfortunately, it comes with a substantial risk to your personal and financial information. Hackers like to “camp” in these unsecured networks to prey on unprotected users (trust me, we had this experience in Paris and will NEVER risk it again), so do everything you can to avoid falling victim to their schemes. We use NordVPN for our security and browsing safety, as well as to unlock censored websites. For a very affordable price and incredible ease of use, a VPN is a total no-brainer.

Virtual Private Network (VPN)

View options at NordVPN ➜

4. Stylish Daybag

You’ll probably want to opt for a nicer-looking daybag instead of your average dirty backpack. It’s always a good idea in fashionable cities like NYC, and it will help you feel like you fit in more, which is always ideal when traveling – nobody likes to stick out like a sore thumb!

Stylish Daybag

5. Packing Cubes

Packing cubes are a pretty universal obsession for frequent travelers, and for very good reason. They make organization an absolute breeze, compressing your items into neat cubes while at the same time compartmentalizing each type of clothing. So, for example, all of your t-shirts, pants, or essentials can be separated into individual cubes.

Available on  HeroTravelSupply.com  with an exclusive 15% discount using the coupon code  “HERO” .

packing cubes

Or view on Amazon.com ➜

6. Travel Insurance for New York

It’s not fun to think about your awesome vacation being plagued by some sort of problem, but it’s even less fun to have to deal with those problems without travel insurance. Medical trouble, emergency trips home, reservation cancellations, and damage or theft could all be covered under a good plan like those offered by Faye Insurance . We prefer Faye for their prices, customer service, and a great reputation for coverage and assistance to travelers, and add-ons like ‘ cancel for any reason .’

Travel Insurance for New York

Get a quote in less than 60 seconds with Faye ➜

7. Lipstick-Sized Charger

Having a portable charger with you can save you a ton of hassle. In a place like NYC, you don’t want to have to hoof it or pay for a cab back to your accommodations just to charge your devices if you can avoid it. This portable charger can fully recharge your devices if they run out or juice. You can recharge them on the go with your standard USB charger cables! I never travel without mine.

Lipstick-Sized Charger

8. Gorgeous Outfit

The city that never sleeps is a place where you will want to dress up, at least a couple of times. Bring some fabulous outfits that make you feel like a million bucks! You’ll get a huge boost in confidence and energy when you feel great, and that always makes the night more fun. This jumpsuit is absolutely gorgeous and flattering on almost anyone.

Gorgeous Outfit

9. Quick-Dry Travel Towel

I can’t even count the number of times a travel towel has saved the day on a trip. I never pack my bag without two of these microfiber towels. They are extremely compact yet super-absorbent. In New York City, you’ll find them extremely useful when you need to dry off, wipe away sweat, cover a dirty seat on the subway, or anything else that needs rescuing! They dry 10x faster than cotton and are light as a feather.

HERO Travel Towel - Blue

10. Filtered Water Bottle

Water in NYC is actually world-renowned for its drinkability, though the taste may not be the same as that of your hometown. Either way, I always recommend a bottle with a built-in filter, just to make the water taste better than it would straight out of the tap. Plus, you’ll save a ton of money instead of buying plastic bottles each day.

Filtered Water Bottle

11. Pea Coat

In the chillier months in New York, you will absolutely need a warm coat. Wearing a pea coat is elegant and upscale, helping you to not stick out as a tourist (always good to look like you “belong” while traveling), and it will keep you warm and even protect you if it starts misting or raining lightly, which is common in some months on the East Coast.

Pea Coat

12. Windproof Travel Umbrella

A travel umbrella is a must for any trip to the City of Dreams. The weather in the city can turn on a dime and you don’t want to get caught outside in the rain unprepared. You’ll be doing a lot of walking between public transit routes and there is so much to see outside. With the right umbrella, not even the weather can rain on your parade. This one feels extremely well-made and better than any flimsy, over-priced umbrella you’ll find last minute in a gift shop.

Windproof Travel Umbrella

13. Comfortable Flats

Sneakers are not great in NYC – they will make you stick out like a sore thumb. My wife goes for cute flats when visiting fashionable places. These are absolute class, very comfortable to walk in, and her feet feel good all day.

Comfortable Flats

14. Discounted Tickets on NYC Attractions

Get Your Guide is our trusted booking service for top-notch excursions. If you’re a first-time visitor to New York, the City Explorer Pass is a great way to save money since it gains you access to the top 90 attractions in the city.

You may want to see Niagara Falls or the Empire State Building , but if you’re looking for the more authentic NYC experience (like we were), get away from the tourist traps and book things like a concert in Brooklyn, an immersive art tour in Greenwich Village, a free Shakespearean play in Central Park, and end the night watching the sunset from Vanderbilt Summit . There are also awesome day trips to Washington D.C. and the Hamptons .

Discounted Tickets on NYC Attractions

See all New York City attractions at GetYourGuide.com ➜

15. Waterproof Pocket Blanket

For picnics in Central Park or beachy days near Coney Island, a waterproof pocket blanket is a smart addition to your packing list. This one is super compact so you won’t feel like you’re lugging along a giant, fluffy blanket. Water doesn’t seep through, so you don’t have to worry about ruining your clothes. If you plan to spend time outdoors, it’s a worthy investment.

Waterproof Pocket Blanket

16. Fashionable Tote

There may be times when a daybag won’t cut it, or you need an extra bag to carry your shopping haul. This large tote is cute, handy, and a splendid fashion accessory. My wife often uses this as a carry-on bag since it’s roomier than a standard satchel and can still abide by the airplane carry-on rules. Step up your bag fashion game – it’s necessary in a place like NYC.

Fashionable Tote

17. Pepper Spray

New York City has a positive reputation for many things, but unfortunately, petty crime is not one of them. Although it’s unlikely that you’ll have any real trouble if you take basic precautions, it’s best not to risk it. This pepper spray is an easy and affordable way to keep yourself extra protected – just having it nearby will help you feel a little more at ease.

Pepper Spray

18. Cashmere Poncho

Ponchos never seem to go out of style. It’s probably because they’re universally chic and can be worn with all sorts of outfits, both casual and dressy. This cashmere one is especially nice because it’s incredibly soft and can be packed compactly and brought on daily outings.

Cardigan-Poncho-Cape-Elegant-Sweater

19. TSA-Approved Luggage Locks

Don’t neglect to attach these to your suitcase. We’ve had items stolen out of our bags, so now we always attach these TSA-approved luggage locks on all of our bags, purses, lockers, etc. It has a four-digit code which is more secure than most locks, plus you can remember a birth year or date more easily, so you’ll never forget it.

luggage locks

20. Rolling Suitcase

Picture yourself toting around a suitcase that doesn’t have wheels while you’re en route to your accommodations or going back to the airport. It’s about as un-fun as it seems! I always use a rolling suitcase with a good handle so that I can navigate any situation, whether it be upward flat with no elevator or extra-long city blocks in NYC. This one has a hard outer shell that protects it from less-than-careful baggage handling .

Rolling Suitcase

21. Cooling Towels

If you’ve never seen The City during summertime, then let me tell you, it gets HOT! Something I’ve found that really helps me when exploring hot places is a self-cooling towel. It gets 20-30 degrees colder than the air temperature as soon as you get it wet and stays chilly for up to an hour. I like to drape it around my neck to keep cool and protect my skin from the sun.

towel pink

22. Hanging Toiletry Bag

Some hotels and boutique resorts in NYC can lack storage, square footage, or countertop space. Bringing a hanging toiletry bag is a thoughtful precaution because it hooks on any door or pole, creating a built-in shelving system. It unfolds to expose 4 giant pockets to hold your skincare, haircare, first-aid kit, and personal hygiene products, helping you to maintain your routine ( as well as your sanity! ) even if there is no place to put your stuff.

Hanging Toiletry Bag

23. Deodorant Wipes

I remember a quote from a movie that describes New York with the word “ soot ,” and it’s pretty accurate. The city is absolutely beautiful and such a fun place to explore, but the combination of winds in the city along with vehicle exhaust, dirt, and dust can leave you feeling seriously grimy! I carry these deodorant wipes with me so that I can clean up on the fly if I need to or if I simply can’t deal with the grime. They’re gentle and safe on sensitive skin and have a light fragrance.

Deodorant Wipes

24. Universal Travel Adapter

If you are visiting New York City from outside of North America, then you’ll likely need a power adapter to use and charge your electronics. Even if you are a U.S. citizen, I always recommend travelers buy a universal adapter from the get-go. This one is unique because you can charge multiple devices simultaneously thanks to the two built-in USB ports. You’ll be able to use it in NYC and almost anywhere else you go in the world.

Adapter Plug Ports

25. Insulated Winter Gloves

In the peak of winter and autumn, New York gets cold – literally freezing in fact! So bringing a pair of insulated gloves is not a bad idea. This set is a little pricey, but they’re such high quality with water-resistant material that makes them last longer than many cheap textiles. We add hand and foot warmers as a way to preserve the heat for 10+ hours.

Insulated Winter Gloves

26. “Just in Case” Bag

Let’s be real… some NYC souvenirs can be super tacky. But this is also the home of couture shopping, top-notch dining and cuisine, and a plethora of handmade artistry goods that you’ll want to bring back with you. Use this “just in case” bag for those inevitable purchases where you decorate your house and finish Christmas shopping for loved ones. Pro tip: This bag counts as your personal item on the return flight home.

“Just in Case” Bag

27. Polarized Sunglasses

Sunglasses are an essential part of the Manhattan dress code. Between the black concrete jungle and the higher UV index, the local rays are more powerful. A pair of sunglasses will help you explore the city for longer and protect your eyes. These are by Kate Spade with the New York collection, perfectly sophisticated, polarized, and coated in a UV light filter – they were made for the city.

Polarized Sunglasses

Other New York City Packing List Items Not to Forget

  • Luggage locks
  • Mini hairbrush
  • Sunglasses case
  • TSA-approved plastic bag
  • RFID blocking wallet
  • Loofah glove
  • Nail clippers
  • First-Aid kit
  • Kindle cover
  • Selfie stick
  • Flash drive
  • Stain remover wipes
  • Travel pillow
  • Travel backpack
  • Toiletry bag

What Should I Wear in New York?

New York is a progressive and diverse place where you never know what you’ll see – so in that sense, you can wear almost anything. But if you don’t want to stick out as a tourist, opt for dark jeans and black or solid-color staple clothing items, and dress a bit nicer than you might at home.

NYC-What-to-Wear

Packing for the Seasons in New York

Spring – march, april, and may.

Be sure to bring a rain jacket and umbrella because rain is frequent – but you’ll still need sunscreen and sunglasses for the many sunny days. Temperatures average between 50°F and 70°F (10°C and 21°C), starting around 50°F average in March and rising about 10°F on average each month.

Summer – June, July, and August

Choose clothes made from breathable, lightweight fabrics to stay comfortable in the hot, humid weather, and bring a water bottle to help you stay hydrated.

NYC-Brooklyn-Bridge-PIcnis

Autumn – September, October, and November

Pack your sweaters and a light coat , and be prepared to dress in layers because the temperatures will be starting to drop, though snow is unlikely. Temperatures average between 55°F and 75°F (13°C and 24°C), starting around 75°F in September and dropping about 10°F on average per month.

Winter – December, January, and February

Be sure to bring a warm coat , warm but fashionable boots , gloves , and a hat because the temperatures frequently drop below freezing and you’ll most likely encounter snow.

NYC-Winter

What NOT to Take to New York

1. don’t pack heavy books.

You may want to get some reading done on your flight to New York, but physical books will really start to weigh you down. Fortunately, a  Kindle  takes up less space (and weighs less) than a single book.

2. DON’T BRING too many clothes

Most people tend to bring too many clothes when they travel and then only end up wearing half of them. Be choosy about what to bring, and you’ll end up with a much lighter bag.

3. DON’T TAKE a bath towel

Any hotel you stay at in New York will most likely have a towel, but if you do want to bring your own, opt for a  quick-drying travel towel  instead of the regular kind. They’re much lighter weight and take up almost no space.

4. DON’T PACK unnecessary valuables

You’ll probably want to bring some electronics to use during your trip and some nicer jewelry to wear on nights out, but leave anything you won’t actually use at home. There’s always a chance that things could get lost or stolen while traveling, and there’s no reason to risk it.

5. DON’T TAKE overly-casual clothes

Compared to the rest of the U.S., New York is a relatively formal place. If you want to blend in with the locals and avoid sticking out as an unwary tourist, dress up a bit.

6. DON’T BRING uncomfortable shoes

You’ll be doing a lot of walking during your trip, so make sure you bring comfortable shoes. Otherwise, your feet will be killing you the whole time, and it could end up ruining your trip.

FAQs about Traveling to New York City – NYC

1. what is the best time of year to visit new york.

What is the best time of year to visit New York?

Due to the frigid, snowy winters and the hot, humid summers, the best months for visiting New York, weather-wise, are April, May, September, and October. But if you can brave the cold, prices for everything from hotels to Broadway tickets drop in January and February, and the city is much less crowded. And while prices are still high in December, there’s nothing quite like Christmas in New York.

At the other end of the spectrum, the city comes alive in the summer, despite the heat and humidity. Prices are high then, but it’s also a season of free concerts, movie screenings, outdoor activities, and more.

2. What is the best neighborhood to stay in?

What is the best neighborhood to stay in?

The best area to stay in during your trip to New York depends on your interests – and your budget. There are far too many interesting neighborhoods in New York to list, but these are a few to get you started. In Manhattan, art lovers will be delighted by all the galleries in Chelsea, while Chinatown is the best bet if cheap, tasty food is your top priority.

The bohemian past of Greenwich Village is still evident today, and Harlem is more vibrant than ever. And of course, Midtown is home to most of the things that make you think of New York. Or, if you prefer to stay in one of the other boroughs, you’ll have plenty more amazing neighborhoods to choose from.

3. How can I take public transportation?

Public transportation is easily the cheapest and most convenient way to get around New York, but the system is so extensive, it can be confusing for visitors.

The city’s subways are color-coded by line and identified by number or letter, while buses are identified by a route number following a letter that denotes the borough.

Apps like MyTransit NYC will make using the buses and subways much easier.

4. Where can I go to avoid the crowds in New York?

New York has some of the country’s most famous tourist attractions – and they draw some of the biggest crowds. If you want to avoid the crowds, skip the city’s biggest sites, namely Times Square, the Statue of Liberty, the Empire State Building, and the Met. If you can, visit during the off-season (like in January or February), and plan to spend time outside Manhattan.

5. How can I save money in New York?

How can I save money in New York?

New York is one of the most expensive cities in the U.S., making it hard to travel there on a shoestring. Still, there are plenty of ways to cut costs while you’re visiting. If you don’t mind sharing a room with strangers, New York is one of the few cities in the country with hostels, which is probably the cheapest option if you’re traveling alone. Otherwise, consider using a home-sharing service, which can be significantly cheaper than hotels.

For saving money on food, skip the five-star restaurants and any place that caters to tourists, and eat instead where the locals eat. New York’s abundance of hole-in-the-wall spots have some of the best food and at reasonable prices. Don’t forget you can always pick up groceries at a supermarket for some of your meals, which will save you a bundle.

When it comes to seeing the sights, check to see if any of the attractions you want to visit have reduced-admission hours, or if it makes sense to get a city pass. Don’t forget about things like Groupon and LivingSocial, which have literally thousands of deals in the area. There are also lots of free walking tours and free events you can attend in New York, especially during summer. And simply strolling through the city, which might be the best way to experience it, costs nothing.

6. What should I know about seeing a Broadway show?

What should I know about seeing a Broadway show?

Tickets to Broadway shows can be incredibly expensive and often sell out far in advance – but there are many ways to find discounted and last-minute seats, so don’t give up. Traditionally, people seeking cheaper tickets have gone in-person to a TKTS Booth, which usually has most tickets available at 50 percent off. Of course, now you can buy tickets online, and TodayTix and NY Tix both sell them at a discount. You can also find discount codes online at BroadwayBox or Broadway Insider. Some shows sell a limited number of day-of tickets at steep discounts as well – but the only way to get them is to be at the box office when it opens.

Once you’ve got your tickets secured, double-check the time of the show (curtain times can be all over the place on Broadway), and plan to arrive at least 20 minutes early. Make sure you know how to get to the theater and allow enough time after dinner or other pre-show plans. After the show, you might be able to meet some of the performers in person and have them sign your Playbill – just ask an usher where to go.

7. What are the best museums in New York?

What are the best museums in New York?

New York has over 100 museums, so you’ll have to be choosy when deciding which ones to visit. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, better known as The Met, is one of the largest and most-visited art museums in the world, housing nearly two million works. The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum is as well known for its iconic architecture and unique layout as it is for the artwork, mostly Impressionist and modern, on display there. The Museum of Modern Art is one of the world’s leading modern art museums, even if many visitors question whether some of its works really constitute “art.”

If art isn’t really your thing, the American Museum of Natural History has exhibits covering virtually all periods of known human and animal history, as well as a planetarium and an IMAX theater. The Museum of the City of New York aims to celebrate the city and preserve its heritage, housing objects representing the city’s culture and illustrating its history. The New-York Historical Society also contains artifacts from throughout New York’s history, and it’s home to the Center for Women’s History, the country’s first initiative of its kind. Finally, the Tenement Museum is located in a former apartment building in the Lower East Side and tells the stories of the immigrants who once lived there.

8. What are the top foods to try in New York?

What are the top foods to try in New York?

New York is so diverse and such a cultural hotspot, it’s a food lover’s paradise. Some of the foods the city is most known for come from its Jewish community, including pastrami sandwiches on rye and the go-to breakfast of bagels with lox. Of course, since New York was home to the country’s first pizzeria, New York-style pizza is another must-eat, distinguished by its thin, hand-tossed crust. For a sweeter choice, the iconic options are New York cheesecake or a cronut – or authentic Italian cannoli!

9. What are the best walking tours?

What are the best walking tours?

There are dozens of walking tours available in New York, covering all five boroughs. Both Free Tours By Foot and New Europe Tours run several tours per day in Manhattan and elsewhere, all offered on a pay-what-you-wish basis. The Grand Central Partnership’s tours of the Grand Central neighborhood (including the train station) are free and led by historians, and the Central Park Conservancy runs several different tours in and around Central Park, some of which are free.

Big Onion Walking Tours is another popular company; their tours cost $25, and each one is themed around architecture, culture, food, or history. Lastly, Foods of NY runs food tours in Chinatown, Greenwich Village, and elsewhere, most of which are $54.

10. Which New York City pass is the most useful?

There are numerous city passes available in New York, and each one works slightly differently and offers its own list of attractions. To choose the best one for your trip, decide which attractions you want to visit first, so you can be sure to get a pass that includes them. Some also include line-skipping privileges, use of a hop-on/hop-off bus, and other perks. Before you choose your pass, consider which extras you’ll actually use and what they’re worth to you.

The FreeStyle Pass from CitySights NY starts at $129 and includes admission to any three of the attractions on their list. For $122, CityPASS gets you entrance to six attractions, but there are some restrictions – for example, if you choose to visit the 9/11 Memorial & Museum, you cannot also use your CityPASS at the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum. The New York Explorer Pass starts at $84 for three attractions, and can be used at any of the 74 spots on their list. Unlike most passes, it’s valid for 30 days after the first visit.

There are also two unlimited passes – the New York Pass and the New York Sightseeing Pass – both of which are available as 1-, 2-, 3-, 5-, or 7-day passes. The prices are almost the same, but the list of attractions differs slightly, so check what’s included on each one.

new york tourist clothes

What to wear in NYC by month: A packing guide for each season!

August 21, 2020 | stefanie dimartino.

new york tourist clothes

Traveling to New York soon and unsure what to pack? Don’t worry! This is your one-stop guide to what to wear in New York City each month and season. Watch my video below to see the clothing recommendations for men and women and a packing list customized for the time of year (and subscribe). Overall, remember to bring comfortable walking shoes (please no running shoes – that’s how we can tell you’re a tourist)!

Visiting when it is cold?

If you don’t have a coat, consider renting one! I recommend using Rent The Runway for a wide selection of coats to rent so that you don’t need to buy one. Use code RTRSFUNK for 40% off the first two months of the 8 & 16 item memberships. Happy travels!

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WHICH BAG TO PACK?

You’re going to be moving around a lot in the city and it is easier to carry a comfortable bag with you rather than go back to your hotel room frequently. There are two bags I recommend:

Nomad Lane Bento Bag

The Bento Bag is the ultimate travel companion for flights and business travelers. It can be used as a weekender, personal item bag or an everyday bag. Here are some of the cool features it has.

Use code FUNK to save $10.

  • Opens down the middle like a suitcase
  • Fits under most standard US airline seats
  • Has a padded laptop sleeve that fits up to 16″ laptops
  • Has a trolley sleeve that slips over the handle of roller luggage
  • Includes a stretchy water bottle loop inside
  • Offers a TSA-approved easy access charging port for devices
  • Comes with a detachable shoulder strap, clear toiletry pouch, tech organizer & 2 Shoe bags

High Spirit Anti-Theft Bag

Pickpocketing is a global issue and occasionally (not often) happens in NYC. The High Spirit anti-theft bag has secret compartments in the bag to protect your most valuable items. In addition to being useful, it is also very stylish and comfortable! This is a great bag for those traveling to NYC on a vacation.

Use code SARAHFUNKY to save 20%.

new york tourist clothes

DECEMBER THROUGH JANUARY

Average Temperatures: 44 to 27°F / 6 to -2°C

Weather conditions: Very dry (bring extra moisturizer for your skin)

Clothing: Having a very warm winter jacket is essential. I recommend a heavy-down jacket like the one from Triple F.A.T. Goose. They have great winter coats for men and women. Underneath wear a long sleeve shirt or sweater with long pants and high boots. It can snow this time of year so if your boots are waterproof that is ideal! Triple F.A.T. Goose coats are waterproof in addition to being warm. I highly recommend it!

If you don’t have a coat, consider renting one! I recommend using Rent The Runway for a wide selection of coats to rent so that you don’t need to buy one. Use code RTRSFUNK for 40% off the first two months of the 8 & 16 item memberships.

If you get cold easily, I recommend wearing thermals. Watch my winter clothing guide for insider tips on how to stay cozy! Alternatively, if you want to take a break from the cold, then head inside to one of the many NYC attractions! You can see availability for those attractions by clicking here .

Packing List:

  • Women’s Triple F.A.T. Goose Coat
  • Men’s Triple F.A.T. Goose Coat
  • Women’s Leather Boots
  • Men’s Clark’s Boots
  • Sweater or long sleeve shirt

Notes: January is the coldest month, but also when the least amount of tourists visit so everything is cheaper. December is very crowded and expensive because everyone comes for the holiday season.

new york tourist clothes

Average Temperatures: 50 to 35°F/ 10 to 1°C

Clothing: It isn’t necessary to have a heavy down jacket in March so I recommend a lighter jacket. Layering is still important. Wear long sleeves or a sweater with long pants and boots.

  • Women’s Wool or Pea Coat
  • Men’s Wool or Trench Coat

new york tourist clothes

Average Temperatures : 62 to 45°F/ 16 to 7°C

Weather Conditions: Rain is common

Clothing: The saying goes “April showers bring May flowers”! Expect rain frequently in April. I recommend bringing an umbrella or rain jacket and wearing a sweater or long sleeve shirt with long pants and waterproof boots. Rain boots are not essential. New Yorkers will really only wear them when it is raining, other than that it is difficult to walk around a lot in between rain showers.

  • Women’s Rain Jacket
  • Men’s Rain Jacket
  • Waterproof boots
  • Long sleeve shirt or sweater

new york tourist clothes

Average temperatures: 72 to 54°F/ 22 to 12°C

Weather conditions: Rain is common.

Clothing: May is all about layering because during the day you likely can wear a t-shirt but at night it can get chilly. It is good to bring a light jacket with you. I prefer a jean jacket.

Shoes: By far the most comfortable shoes I’ve ever worn are Rothy’s . I can go for days in these shoes and my feet don’t hurt. They are literally the only footwear that I can walk miles in without having any issue. Highly recommended!

  • Women’s light jacket
  • Men’s light jacket
  • Long Maxi dress
  • Short sleeve shirt
  • Sneakers or sandals

Notes: May is when all of the flowers bloom. It is a great time to explore Central Park or go to the NY Botanical Gardens.

new york tourist clothes

Average Temperatures: 80 to 64°F/ 27 to 18°C

Weather conditions: Humid

Clothing: In June you can wear short sleeves, shorts, or a tank top. However, I recommend always having a light jacket for the evening if you are the type of person that gets cold easily (like me). I wear pants and a short-sleeve shirt or a dress on most days.

If you’d rather have sandals this time of year, the Sanuk is my go-to if I’m going to be walking a lot. It is made out of yoga mats and is EXTREMELY comfortable. It’s also pretty cute and comes in a variety of colors!

Packing list:

  • Short sleeves
  • Light jacket for the evening

new york tourist clothes

JULY TO AUGUST

Average Temperatures: 85 to 68°F/ 30 to 20°C

Weather conditions: Very humid

Clothing: The humidity during July and August is so thick that it feels like you could cut it with a knife. Therefore, I recommend just wearing very light clothing. No need to bring a jacket for the evenings.

  • Short sleeve shirts/tank tops

new york tourist clothes

Average Temperatures: 76 to 61°F/ 24 to 16°C

Weather conditions: Breezy, comfortable – My favorite time of year!

Clothing: September is the best weather in my opinion because it isn’t humid and the temperature is comfortable. I normally wear long pants, a short-sleeve shirt, and have a jacket for the evenings.

new york tourist clothes

Average Temperatures: 65 to 50°F/ 18 to 10°C

Clothing: October is great for layering and showing off those beautiful jewel toned clothing for autumn. I recommend bringing long pants, a sweater or long sleeves, and a moderately warm jacket for the evenings.

  • Women’s jacket
  • Men’s jacket
  • Women’s boots

new york tourist clothes

Average Temperatures: 54 to 42°F/ 12 to 5°C

Clothing: November requires layer as well but I recommend a leather jacket or pea coat . Wear a sweater, long sleeve shirt, or pants.

new york tourist clothes

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  • Packing Lists

What to Wear in New York: Packing List

Published May 25, 2023

Written by:

new york tourist clothes

Shawn Forno

If you want to learn about budget travel, minimalist carry on packing, or how to travel (and even live and...

Fred Perrotta

Fred Perrotta

Co-founder, tortuga.

Fred Perrotta is the co-founder and CEO of Tortuga. His first backpacking trip to Europe inspired him to start the...

new york tourist clothes

The Tortuga Promise

At Tortuga, our mission is to make travel easier. Our advice and recommendations are based on years of travel experience. We only recommend products that we use on our own travels.

Table of Contents

When you think of New York City you probably picture towering Manhattan skyscrapers, streets jammed with yellow cabs, chic rooftop cocktail bars packed with glamorous hipsters, and of course, the hordes of tourists in Times Square.

New York City is big, busy, and bustling, which is why so many tourists come to visit. But the last thing you want to do is look like you don’t belong.

Tourists don’t know how to walk on our sidewalks, cross our streets, or ride the subway, so New Yorkers can be gruff with people that obviously look like they’re from out of town.

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I’ve lived in New York City for more than 10 years, bartending in painfully hip speakeasies in Williamsburg and rubbing elbows with millionaire VCs at Midtown happy hours. And if I’ve learned anything about New York, it’s this—if you want to experience the “real” New York, you have to dress like a New Yorker.

We can’t all have the Gossip Girl wardrobe, but you can still look more Upper East Side than tourist. You just need a bit of creativity and a few additions to your New York packing list . And if you realize you’ve made a fashion faux pas, you’re right in the heart of some of the hippest stores in the world. You’ll be fine.

So, to help get you started, here are some of my hard-earned style tips and general packing rules. After reading this article, you’ll know what to wear in New York in any season without looking like a complete tourist.

How to Dress in New York

Nyc style tip #1: new yorkers really do wear black.

It’s true. New Yorkers really do wear more black and dark colors than people in most other major cities. And the reason is simple: Black clothing is functional and hip.

Year in and year out, season after season, black clothing just looks good. Dark tones pair well with just about everything from fitted jeans to high heels and work for nearly every social situation. In fact, the color black has been Fashion Institute of Technology-approved as an unofficial fashion palette for New Yorkers since the 70s . (FYI: FIT is kind of a big deal).

The good news for you is that black travels well. Darker colors hide stains (which is another reason we New Yorkers love it) and can handle sweat, snow, salt, and whatever that sticky stuff is that you just sat in on the subway (trust me, it’s not worth figuring out what it is). 

If you have the budget for a few quality neutral black and dark grey pieces, they can be the core of a great travel capsule wardrobe , making it easy to pack for any trip, including NYC.

Honestly, I love bright colors—mustard-colored pants and coral t-shirts are my jam—but even I’ve embraced the effortless style and simplicity of a nice fitting pair of black jeans . They go with everything and work for just about any situation, which is the whole point. 

In New York, you never know if your happy hour will turn into a rooftop party, after-hours museum gallery visit, or dive bar crawl. And you should always dress like you’re ready for New York’s best moments. Stack your wardrobe with a few black or grey merino wool t-shirts and a dark-colored pair of travel pants —making sure that they actually fit you well—and you’ll be ready for (almost) anything the city can throw at you.

new york tourist clothes

NYC Style Tip #2: Wear a Pop of Color

Ok. Yes, while it’s true that many New Yorkers slowly weed color out of their closet, that’s not to say we don’t know how to get weird. It’s the fashion capital of the world, give us some credit. 

The secret to dressing like a real New Yorker is taste. Adding just a dash of color to your outfit—a nice silk scarf, bright-colored sneakers, or a tropical-themed belt—will create a conversation starter in crowded bars or even on the train. 

Accent pieces and accessories go further than full-blown outfits, so keep it as minimal as you can to make your favorite items stand out even more.

That being said, neighborhoods like Williamsburg, Long Island City, Greenpoint, Red Hook, and Bushwick are almost comically colorful. Don’t be afraid to rock those palm tree culottes or neon fanny pack , you beautiful weirdo. Just own it if you do.

new york tourist clothes

NYC Style Tip #3: It’s All About Your Shoes

New Yorkers walk a lot, and when you visit the city you’ll be walking a lot too. And that’s a good thing because walking the streets of Brooklyn and Manhattan is the best way to actually get a feel for the city. Plus, you’ll save a ton of money not taking cabs or the subway.

The thing about walking in New York is that while it’s important that you wear a comfortable pair of shoes , it’s probably even more important that you wear a stylish pair of shoes. Or at least pack a good pair of kicks. Welcome to New Yorker priorities, folks.

This can mean different things depending on what kind of nightlife/social life you’re into, but the rules span pretty much every scene in New York. If you’re wearing old, scuffed, faded hiking boots or “gym” shoes, you might as well wear a neon sign that says tourist .

If you’re actually trying to go out to some of the nicer bars and clubs, especially in Manhattan, you might not get in if you look like a doof. 

Stylish sneakers that you can actually wear out at night are the way to go, because, like I mentioned earlier, you don’t want to have to go home to change after a few hours of sightseeing. Some of the best things in New York happen on the spur of the moment, and navigating the subway just to change your busted kicks takes a lot longer than you think.

Allbirds’ Wool Runners for men or women are a decent compromise between stylish and comfy, as are a nice pair of Toms if you’re feeling laid back (and the weather is warm).

Ladies, pretty much every woman in New York is wearing a pair of Rothys slip-on flats , so toss a pair in your bag (or just wear ’em), and you’ll be good to go. 

For winter, a nice pair of chukka boots might be the coolest thing you can wear that will also keep your feet warm and dry in the weather.

Do you, but whatever shoes you wear, make sure that you choose them on purpose, not just because they’re comfortable shoes. We’ll notice.

NYC Style Tip #4: Layers are Key

Layers are always a good idea for travel, but that’s especially true in New York City, regardless of the season. The average tourist will encounter radical temperature swings from either blistering (or freezing) subway cars to scalding (or freezing) city streets, and warm (or freezing) bars and museums. 

You could get whiplash dressing for all the microclimates in NYC. 

The stylish solution is to wear a few layers. That way, when you work up a sweat hiking around Midtown, you can just take off your top layer (probably a light sweatshirt or long sleeve shirt) and you’re still good to go with your dark t-shirt. 

The same goes for the reverse. When you get chilly on the subway or a weirdly cold art gallery, it’s nice to know you can just put a light layer back on instead of a bulky coat. New Yorkers love textured layers. Cable knit sweaters. Soft, merino wool t-shirts. Drapey blouses over tank tops. Keep your packing list modular and you’ll be fashionably ready for all the wild swings this city can have all year round.

new york tourist clothes

NYC Style Tip #5: Bring a Day Bag

New York is one of the few major cities I’ve been to where it’s not weird to carry a backpack. Seriously, nearly everyone in New York is rocking some kind of designer roll-top camera bag, workout duffle bag, or straight-up daypack full of all the stuff they’ll need after work. 

Almost nobody “quickly” goes home to change for happy hour or grab what they’re wearing for a night out. They’re too busy working late then sprinting to a spin class to head all the way back to Queens for a different pair of pants.

You’ll see billion-dollar hedge fund managers with the same sling bag as hipster bike messengers. That’s great news for tourists since it means you can carry your map, water bottle , and extra layers without looking like a tourist. The key is to bring a small daypack that you can roll into your larger carry on bag . And don’t forget to take your backpack off when you get on the subway. You’re better than that.

What to Wear in New York City in Autumn

Autumn in New York is my absolute favorite time of year. Piles of musty gold and red leaves in the park. Crisp air as you weave your way through the crowded concrete slabs and bustling city streets. It’s just the best time of year, and the most fashionable.

New Yorkers have a lot of fall accessories and stylish looks. Don’t show up in your old cotton hoodie. The key to a stylish fall look in NYC is a killer lightweight coat or jacket, a textured sweater, and good shoes. Oh, and a good hat. 

Your outerwear is your A-game during fall and winter, so if you want to get those likes on the ‘gram as you pose in Central Park, pay attention.

Bring a roll-top wool beanie to fit in with the cool kids, but also to keep you warm. I like to add a pop of color with a bright red or yellow hat, but you do you. 

As for bottoms, keep it simple. A nice pair of travel pants like Bluffworks chinos or Outlier Slim Dungarees ) are stylish yet understated for a great all-day look. Ladies, black jeans or leggings will blend right in.

Oversized coats are still fashionable but don’t overdo them. It’s not going to snow on you (probably), so you can leave the puffy coat at home. 

Wear that cool leather jacket or shirt jacket and add a chunky sweater or merino long sleeve so you don’t get cold on blustery days. Wool layers travel well (aka they don’t get wrinkled), so you can easily pack a few wool long sleeve shirts in a carry on and look sharp without ironing anything. Most New Yorkers also wear a scarf in the fall and winter, so up your style game with something cozy and cool, and don’t forget to stay warm and dry with a pair of chukka boots.

new york tourist clothes

What to Wear in New York City in Winter

When it gets really cold, usually from late December-early March, it’s time to bring out the big guns. Pack a really good jacket or coat and don’t worry about looking cool. This is one case where New Yorkers won’t judge you for it. 

Pro tip: if you want to dress like a New Yorker in winter, the real time to shine is when you get inside.

Plan to shed your outer layers when you step inside of any NYC bar or restaurant like the beautiful butterfly you are. Dump your big bulky coat in the corner and show off your chic sophisticated style with a monochromatic outfit of dark yet well-fitted pieces. Tailored black jeans are always a solid idea, as well-fitted flannel shirts and statement sweaters.

In winter, your main goal is to stay warm outside but look cool once you step inside. The secret of dressing like a New Yorker is knowing how to make an entrance.

new york tourist clothes

What to Wear in New York City in Spring

Spring is a tough season to pack for in New York City. No, really. It’s a pain. You can get a very nice, warm spring day then watch the temperature plummet into a drizzly mess the next morning. The only way to really prepare a stylish packing list for spring is to expect the worst. 

That being said, spring style tends to be a lot lighter in New York—almost alarmingly so. People are usually so excited that winter is over that they wear shorts and a t-shirt the second it looks nice outside (even when it’s still in the low 50s). Don’t fall into that trap.

Obviously, pack one pair of shorts in case you hit that random sunny day, but lightweight fitted pants are still the way to go in spring. Roll your pants up if it gets sunny, and make sure you bring a lighter version of the layers I recommended for fall. A wool hat goes a long way, as well as merino shirts, light sweaters, and even flannel.

I wear my Edgevale shirt jacket pretty much all the time from February to May. The pockets are awesome for stashing gloves and a hat, and it looks good inside and outside my favorite Williamsburg dive bars. When you visit New York in spring, bring a nice light, waterproof jacket for cold, windy, wet days, but remember to add some quality merino layers underneath. These are clutch. They look great and keep you sane while you shrug off the occasional rainstorm or sub-50 degree chill.

new york tourist clothes

What to Wear in New York City in Summer

Ah, summer in New York City. Humid, muggy, sweaty, and just plain wonderful. Hopefully, you’ll spend most of your time outside either in the park or walking the city streets. And that means losing some layers and showing some skin.

Shorts are completely acceptable in New York City—if they look cool. Cut-off jean shorts (aka “jorts”) still rule the Brooklyn borough and fitted, hybrid shorts are more than acceptable for rooftop pool parties. Make sure you pack some lightweight pants though since shorts aren’t a great look at night.

Bluffworks travel chinos are the ultimate city look for warm days since they’re still light and look great with a few cuffs around the ankle.

Tank tops are also still super in for day or evening wear. Seriously, unless there’s a specific dress code (and who’d want to go somewhere with a dress code?) you can always wear a tank top in NYC. Just get one that fits.

Ladies, skirts, sundresses, or your favorite travel dress will be just fine. Aim for something simple that moves seamlessly from day to night with the addition of an accessory or two. 

Other than that, the only rule for summer in New York is simple: don’t wear sandals. New Yorkers don’t wear sandals, even when it’s hot, for one very good reason: New York is gross. If you wear sandals your feet will be covered in grime, muck, and grit. 

Seriously. Sandals are nasty. Stay cool with a lightweight pair of sneakers instead.

 Oh, and always bring a swimsuit. Coney Island is awesome.

What to Wear in NYC

Packing for New York isn’t that hard. Fill your travel backpack with good neutral, dark merino wool t-shirts or henley shirts and a few pairs of comfy, fitted travel pants. Then add a pop of color with a flannel shirt, wool hat, scarf, or another accessory.

  • Layers Are Essential: Pack enough lightweight clothing to layer and change as the temperature (or situation) shifts
  • Accessories Are Key: One of two little touches—like a stylish hat, scarf, watch, or belt can elevate any look
  • Shoes Matter: New Yorkers walk a lot, but we still care about our shoe style; don’t bring your busted gym shoes to the streets of Manhattan 
  • Fit is Everything: You can get away with a lot of weird looks as long as your clothing fits well

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40L: Max International Carry On

If you want to learn about budget travel, minimalist carry on packing, or how to travel (and even live and work) in dozens of countries all over the world, Shawn is your guy. Shawn is not a New York Times bestselling travel author, but he is a full-time freelance blogger, copywriter, and content manager and is also a published photographer. He likes to rock climb, trek, surf, ride his bike, and read a bunch of sci-fi books.

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How to Dress Like a New Yorker and Not Like a Tourist, According to a Local Fashion Writer

Forget "Sex and the City."

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Travel + Leisure / Tyler Roeland

As a fashion editor who’s lived in New York City for 18 years (originally I'm a proud Jersey girl), I know this city’s style in and out. I’ve pulled looks for glossy magazines, styled models and celebrities, and written all about the latest trends. And just in case you couldn’t tell from my quick stride and fast-paced lifestyle, my black attire is a dead giveaway that I’m a New Yorker through and through — yes, it’s true that we wear lots of black. What can I say, it’s the secret to effortless looks that can take us from the office to drinks or errands to brunch.

Since I’m always on the pulse of what’s happening in the New York fashion scene, I get asked a lot: What do New Yorkers actually wear these days? If you want to learn how to blend in with the locals and not stick out like a tourist, you’re in the right place, because I know as much about the latest bag shape (the ultra-mini) as much as I do about the latest must-see Broadway show ( Shucked ). 

If you’re planning a trip to New York or just want to emulate city style on your next vacation (or at home), here are 15 New York styles I always wear from just $13. Whether you’re headed to dinner, the theater, walking around a museum, or just grabbing a cocktail, closet staples like the perfect leather jacket and my go-to ultimate sundress will have you fitting right in.

Travel + Leisure / Gab Porcaro

Reebok Lifestyle Classic Leather Sneakers

New Yorkers love to walk. We choose it over mass transit to get to work, meet up with friends, or head over a bridge to another borough; walking is our main form of cardio. And despite what you may have seen on TV (I’m looking at you, Sex and the City ) New Yorkers aren’t walking around in stilettos. This makes comfortable yet stylish sneakers a must-own. The good news is there is always some form of sneaker trending to make it easy. 

All white with a retro look, this Reebok sneaker fits right in with the dad sneaker style that’s “in” at the moment. They're also super versatile. I've worn them with dresses, crop flare jeans, and leggings to head to Solidcore Pilates. One of the best parts about New York style is that you can keep things casual, as long as the look isn’t sloppy, so you can take these from walking all day straight to an early evening glass of wine at a wine bar. 

To buy: zappos.com , $76 

Fahsyee Women's Leather Jacket

To get the effortless New York cool girl vibe, you must own a leather (or faux-leather) jacket — a piece that can read edgy rocker or sophisticated hipster. From a concert in Brooklyn to an Upper East Side bistro, it will take you anywhere and keep you warm on chilly nights. While mine has been in my wardrobe for years and has proven to be a worthy investment, you don’t need to spend big bucks. This number one best-selling faux-leather jacket from Amazon is beloved because of its quality. One positive review says it’s, “so soft and subtle and feels like real leather.” With a black tank, black jeans, and black or white shoes; anyone can blend in as a New Yorker.

To buy: amazon.com , $48

Splendid Gwendolyn Tiered Maxi Dress

Come spring and summer, New Yorkers get outside for picnics, brunching outdoors, or their morning commutes. So I always add a breathable, flowy maxi dress to my outfit rotation to stay fashionable yet comfy in the city heat. This pretty white tiered style is my new addition. Yes, black dresses are a must (see below), but we New Yorkers like to play with shape and color and femininity with dresses. 

The versatile Splendid maxi dress works for everything from bridal showers to the office to picnics in Central Park’s Sheep Meadow. On ultra-hot days, the billowing skirt will keep the air flow and on chilly nights, a denim or leather jacket will layer on beautifully to have dinner streetside. It also seamlessly pairs with white low-top sneakers, sandals, wedges, or heels. For a similar and less expensive option, this $45 eyelet white maxi dress at Amazon is equally pretty and ready for summer picnics. 

To buy: nordstrom.com , $228

Lululemon Everywhere Belt Bag

Ever since the return of the belt bag a few years back, I have been wearing the athleisure staple across my body every day. Not only is it super convenient, but it also helps relieve back pain and allows for a more minimal, easy-to-carry purse. It also keeps my hands free if I need to schlep multiple bags home after a stop at Trader Joe's. 

Lululemon’s Everywhere belt bag is beloved for its sleekness, water-repellent material, and interior and exterior pockets. It's such a popular and highly sought-after belt bag, the black version sells out often. (But luckily, it’s still in stock right now.) I love that the black bag always matches my look, taking me everywhere from Barry’s class in the morning to a concert over a bomber jacket at night. When warm weather hits, I sometimes switch to an ultra-colorful style, like this hip pack from the Cotopaxi x Hoka collaboration, to get a fresh, fun look.

To buy: lululemon.com , $38 

Birdies The Kiwi Sandal 

Here’s a style secret for you: New Yorkers love to keep a spare pair of sandals or flats in their bag to spruce up their outfits; they simply wear comfy sneakers to commute and then swap their shoes once at their destination. When the temperature heats up, I opt for a stylish flat sandal like Birdies’ new buckle-front Kiwi Sandals . Known for their comfy styles, this brand is even loved by celebrities (Meghan Markle has been spotted in the brand). But what I particularly love about these slides is how sleek and lightweight they are. They easily slip into my bag for the office to change into post commute or to have on hand if heels get too much. I also know they will be awesome to pack for vacation since they will take up little to no space in my luggage and work with dresses, shorts, and any beach look. (And note: If you prefer a closed-toe flat, Birdie's suede loafers are a comfy go-to option). 

To buy: birdies.com , $130

Patagonia Fleetwith Romper

Jumpsuits and rompers are one-and-done pieces that keep your look streamlined and minimal and make getting dressed a dream. While it might seem odd, I often turn to outdoor brands like Patagonia for my city uniform. Why? Clothes made for hiking and adventure tend to be super functional, comfy, and filled with technical elements. A piece crafted in a moisture-wicking fabric can be as convenient for humid city days as it is for a long hike. 

In this Patagonia jumpsuit , I know I will arrive in Queens for a Greek dinner with my sister and friends looking polished and refined, even though I just walked 15 blocks and was squashed in a hot and crowded subway. This style, with a skin-revealing criss-cross back, goes from daytime barbecue on a friend's roof in Brooklyn, paired with my favorite Superga platforms , to dinner for a friend's birthday on the Upper East Side, with the addition of a gold belt, and a swap for bright sandals. For a similar option that is a bit more fashion-forward, I recommend this black jumpsuit from Amazon .

To buy: rei.com , $129

Mejuri Tube Medium Hoops

We New Yorkers lead busy lives. I mean, why live in the city if you aren't going to take advantage of the restaurants, bars, walks, shows, etc? I am always thinking of ways to simplify routines and my look so I can transition from plan to plan with ease. After getting two more piercings on my ear a few years ago, I enacted the golden rule of New York: Keep. It. Simple. and decided to wear only gold huggie earrings. Not only are they simple yet stylish, but they are also more comfortable to work out in and sleep on than post-studs. And seriously, less is more here.

I always turn to Mejuri for jewelry options that are approachable in price and style. Their simple small hoops are always exactly what I am looking for, as are their twisted rings and personal necklaces. Since I have five piercings on my left ear, I also supplement with more affordable earring options from Amazon, like these yellow-plated huggies . For special occasions, or when I feel like making a statement earring, I swap out the pair for these Alexis Bittar crystal twisted hoops . I find this New York-based designer to make the best modern pieces to mix in with your more personal ones.

To buy: mejuri.com , $58

Everlane Organic Cotton Box-Cut Tee

We all know the beauty of a well-made tee. It's a closet and capsule wardrobe staple that works with a suit for an interview or denim shorts and sandals for an outdoor barbecue. But not all t-shirts are created equal, and I have struggled to find options that complement my body and are not too tight. My favorite tee is the Sno Cone from AYR , a New York-based label. Their tees are my go-to because they hang flatteringly on my body and are made from the softest cotton (Oprah is a fan too). They're a splurge, so I usually wait to buy a new one before a big trip, so I have a fresh tee in all my pictures. 

But equally loved by New Yorkers are Everlane ’s excellent, more wallet-friendly T-shirts (this Organic Cotton Box-Cut Tee is highly rated) as well as classics from Madewell . I also love Aday’s silky tees because their wrinkle-free fabric is great for running around the city and perfect for travel.  

To buy: everlane.com , $35

Madewell Linen Blend Oversized Shirt

Timeless pieces with a twist are classic New York style, and an oversized button-down shirt is a prime example that embraces the menswear trend with a more relaxed feel. I own and love this style from Levi’s and am eager to try this button-down shirt from Amazon with a similar vibe. I am also drawn to this style from Madewell since it has a very summery feel. Crafted with an eco-friendly linen blend, I know this will look crisp and feel good when the summer humidity starts. You can pair this with any bottom; wide-leg jeans, loose shorts, mini skirt, or even wear it as a beach cover-up on vacation.

To buy : madewell.com , $88 

Open Edit Oversize Linen Blend Blazer

Another menswear piece that is a year-round staple is the oversized blazer. New Yorkers’ blazers get a lot of use since they’re equally office appropriate and ready for a night out, depending on what you wear underneath. I am eyeing this oversized linen navy blazer from Nordstrom to add to my spring-summer rotation. Its lightweight linen blend won't cause me to overheat on my commute but will save me from getting chilly while sitting in an air-conditioned office, restaurant, or subway train. The long length offers more coverage, a must for sitting on subway seats with shorter skirts or shorts, and it creates a flattering line. To change your look, try wearing it “editor style” by draping it over your shoulders without putting your arms through the holes. 

To take the look one step further, you can even add a matching short. (I’m not sure if I am a two-piece suit person, but matching sets are heavily trending in the city.) Or for another variation, try a playful color like pink — yes, New Yorkers are swapping neutrals for pink blazers like this Abercrombie linen style thanks to the Barbiecore trend sweeping the city in anticipation of the Barbie movie coming out this summer. 

To buy: nordstrom.com , $79

Béis Sport Duffle 

Living in the city, I’m always on the go. Between fitness classes, freelance jobs, and after-work plans, I rarely carry just a single bag for all my things, and when I do, I constantly feel like I forgot something. While I have a collection of bags and totes to support my lifestyle, there's currently one bag I have been embracing more than others, the Béis sport duffle . The bag has a spacious interior with zipper pockets that help me keep organized. It can fit my laptop, sweaty activewear, water bottle, Nike cycling shoes , and more. The sports duffel is currently my travel bag of choice as well. A slip pocket in the back unzips to be a trolley sleeve that sits comfortably on top of my roller carry-on luggage. It’s also the perfect size to fit under the airplane seat and hold all my flight essentials like books, water bottles, and electronics. For anyone visiting New York City, this will be a handy bag to carry any souvenirs while shopping.

To buy: beistravel.com , $88 

Vuori Performance Jogger

Elevated casual is one way I would describe my everyday style, and even the most stylish New Yorkers embrace athleisure, too. A top piece that is always in the mix is refined sweatpants, and the pair I most frequently pull from the drawer is Vuori's Performance Jogger . Not only are they the softest pants I own, but they are also comfortable yet put-together. They can take me from a Solidcore Pilates class to the post office; plus, the joggers look equally cute with my running sneakers as they do with my favorite Birkenstocks . They are also fabulous to sleep in and are always my go-to pair to pack for vacation pajamas since they are also cute and cozy with coverage if you are traveling with friends or family — and bonus: they fold up very thin in your suitcase.

To buy: vuoriclothing.com , $94

Spanx Flare Jeans 

While I, and other New Yorkers, embraced skinny jeans for years, they’re long gone from the city’s streets. These days, you see wider leg shapes reminiscent of the ’90s or further back. Flare jeans, for example, are heavily embraced. Recently, while walking down Park Avenue en route to an office where I am freelancing, a man passed me and yelled, “What is this, 1969? Are you heading to Woodstock?” That’s a very New York moment — strangers love to share what they think — but the wide-leg jean look I was rocking is everywhere. Spanx has an excellent dark wash flare jean option with hidden shaping technology; I love that this look is super flattering. It is also a zipper-fly style with stretch, so I can comfortably wear it to walk to work, sit all day, and head to happy hour.

To buy: spanx.com , $148

Zenni Cat-Eye Sunglasses

After my wallet, phone, and keys, sunglasses are the fourth essential in my bag when I leave the house. Sunglasses are needed year around in the city to keep the sun's glare out of your eyes. Skyscrapers might shade some rays, but they can also reflect them. Shades are also useful for staying incognito from an old coworker or a horrible first date that you would rather avoid. Because although this city is super populated, it becomes small quickly. While I tend to gravitate toward timeless styles like classic aviators or giant oversized shades , I am trying to embrace trendier styles this season. I gravitated towards this cat-eyed style since they felt super summer, with the transparent frames and pink and blue lenses. I also love that the affordable price point allows me to do something out of my comfort zone.

To buy: zennioptical.com , $13

Weaczzy Easy Summer Short Sleeve Casual Dresses V-Neck Dress

Little black dresses are far from a secret, but they really do become heavy hitters in the spring and summer in New York. Not only do they help us stick to our all-black aesthetic, but their versatility is vast. You can easily dress up a black dress with heels and a leather jacket or down with sneakers and a jean jacket for Saturday brunch with friends. Any black dress with a streamlined silhouette will have you fitting right in, whether in the Williamsbourgh or the West Village. For an affordable, easy-to-wear option, check out this black dress from Amazon. One five-star review stated, "This dress is very flattering on my body. It hugs my bust, which I love but gently flares out... I feel very feminine and comfortable in this dress." 

To buy: amazon.com , $31

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What to wear in New York City by a native New Yorker: A New York City Packing List for all seasons

August 1, 2018 by Karen Turner 46 Comments

If you’re planning a trip to New York City, you might be trying to figure out what to pack for New York City.  I’m a native New Yorker, so hopefully I can help you figure out what to wear in New York City.  Keep reading for tips on what to bring to new York City, what NOT to pack for New York City, and a New York City packing list for every season.

  • 0.0.1 Before you figure out what to wear in New York… some insider tips about what to pack for NYC
  • 0.1 What to pack for New York ​no matter the season
  • 0.2 What to wear in New York City in winter for 1 week
  • 0.3.0.1 A light jacket
  • 0.3.0.2 Comfortable shoes
  • 0.3.0.3 Shorts or a skirt
  • 0.3.0.4 Dresses for feminine ladies
  • 0.3.0.5 A towel or blanket
  • 0.3.0.6 A refillable water bottle
  • 0.3.0.7 A nicer dress for going out
  • 0.3.0.8 Sunglasses
  • 0.3.0.9 Strong deodorant
  • 0.4 What to wear in New York City in fall or spring
  • 0.5 What to wear in New York City in fall or spring
  • 1.1 In case you forget to pack something for New York…
  • 1.2 Have you been to New York City? Anything you wish that you packed? 
  • 1.3 Want more insider New Yorker tips?

Before you figure out what to wear in New York… some insider tips about what to pack for NYC

new york tourist clothes

You’ll be walking a lot more than you would at home, so bring a good pair of sneakers , boots , or flats that you can walk miles in.  Heels, as lovely as they are, are a mistake unless you’re used to wearing them regularly for hours.

People wear a lot of black. There’s nothing wrong with other colors, but the stereotype is just a little true.  That said, feel free to wear whatever you want.  Fashion in New York is famous for a reason, so enjoy it.

new york tourist clothes

We have some of the best shopping in the United States, so if you conveniently forget to bring something, I promise that you’ll be able to find it here!

New York has real seasons, so it’s NYC is cold in winter, ridiculously humid in summer, and kind of perfect in September/April.  As a result, I recommend checking carefully what the weather is in New York City when you’ll be here.  (Don’t worry, you’ll find this out here!)

You don’t need a special outfit everyday, so definitely look up the idea of a capsule wardrobe if you want to minimize packing for New York City (e.g. everything can be mixed/matched/reworn).

new york tourist clothes

If you have plans to go out in New York, you’ll want to wear a nice dress or a nice suit as people get dressed up to go out at nicer bars and/or clubs. You may get rejected at the entrance if you’re not dressed sharp enough. (This is the one time where heels can be an asset!)

There’s no single dress code in New York City. You can dress however you like, whether you want to go classic chic, punk, or girly.  Street harassment is an issue for women in New York City, but don’t let this deter you from wearing what you want.

Pickpocketing is not really a thing in New York, but don’t leave your valuables unattended unless you want someone to take them.  In general, I usually bring my backpack/purse with me if I go to the bathroom although I’ve definitely asked people to watch my stuff for a moment. I swear we’re good people at heart.

Similarly, if someone wants to rob you, you will  know, so be aware of where you are as New York has violent crime (including muggings), although tourists are not typically the target.  In general, if you’re held up, don’t fight back.

However, I want to mention: New York is generally safe, but you need to use common sense.  A money-belt won’t do much as I’ve never met anyone who was pickpocketed, so don’t waste your money on one.

Met rooftop in NYC . Read what to pack for New York City in summer with a New York City packing list by a New Yorker & what to wear in New York in summer

What to pack for New York  ​no matter the season

new york tourist clothes

Your camera and its charger. A good DSLR makes a huge difference for taking good photos although phones are catching up steadily! (If you forget it, there’s plenty of places to buy a camera or a charger too.)

I use the Nikon D3300 , which I’ve had for some years now. It’s one of the better low-end DSLRs and I absolutely love the photo quality.  If you’re more into photos, consider purchasing camera with a wide angle lens.

new york tourist clothes

An umbrella . It’s best not to get caught in the rain, so bring your own umbrella with you, so you don’t end up buying ugly plastic ponchos like many tourists do.  Luckily, there are typically many awnings to duck underneath!

Plug & Converter. If you’re coming from anywhere but North America or Japan, you need the right plug for the US .  In America, we use the two pronged American outlet, however if you’re bringing heavy-duty hardware (like your laptop or hair straightener), it’s good to have a converter to ensure that you don’t fry your electronics.

I recently bought a new adapter for my travels (as many of my electronics are European at this point) and I love having two USB ports for my phone and other electronics to charge simultaneously with my computer.

Phone charger and a battery bank for your phone.  You’re probably planning to be sharing videos/photos and using your phone for google maps.  Don’t forget your charger as using data, location data, and finding wifi can burn through your phone battery.

Medicines. Getting replacements for your drugs might be a bit tricky without a doctor’s note, so pack your medicines carefully!  Doctors in the United States, especially New York, are significantly more expensive than elsewhere, so make sure you pack what you need.

Toiletries. There’s a RiteAid or Walgreen’s basically everywhere, so don’t worry if you forget something, but prices in New York are higher than most cities in the United States.

A guidebook to New York City is a good idea. I always depend on the Lonely Planet guides although for New York, consider getting a book that also shows you the less touristy side to New York. (If you want to save money, you can read my insider tips for New York City for free!)

Your pajamas of course.  

Socks and underwear. (I just love these Japanese inspired socks !)  In general, a pair per day is a good general idea although one spare is good in case your shoes get wet.

A folding reusable bag. You seriously never know when you’ll need to carry a new souvenir, your lunch, or something back to your hotel. Instead of collecting plastic bags, bring your  reusable folding bag !

Times Square in winter. Get your free New York City packing list written by a New Yorker with what to wear in New York City in winter & what to pack for NYC.

What to wear in New York City in winter for 1 week

I’ll assume here that you’re figuring what to pack for New York in December, which is when New York fills up for the most magical time of the year. ( Click for tips for the holiday season in NYC !) This is a packing list for a week in New York City during winter.

Quick summary of what to pack for winter in New York City:

  • Winter jacket
  • 1-2 pairs of pants
  • One formal outfit for going out
  • Long-sleeve shirts
  • One sweater
  • Electronics

December in New York is cold. The temperature in New York in December is around 4 degrees Celsius or 39 degrees Fahrenheit.

There can be snow in late November, December, and January, however most days will not be snowing. Still, you want to dress warmly as the wind chill can make it feel colder than it is!

new york tourist clothes

You’ll need to pack a warm jacket for winter in New York City. It gets cold and you should dress appropriately. Ever since we got back from Iceland, I’ve been low-key obsessed with my 3-in-1 jacket since it allows you to unzip it into a normal sweatshirt once you’re indoors.

In general,  a good wool peacoat is fine as long as you layer up properly with at least 1-2 layers underneath. I usually swear a sweater and a t-shirt underneath my peacoats, which work well enough for winter!

1-2 pairs of jeans or pants that keep you toasty! You don’t need to wear snow pants as the snow is mostly out of the way (besides the dirty snow next to the curb).

(New York is good at taking care of the snow most of the time.)  I’m not that prone to getting cold, however, a lined pair of jeans might be good if you’re not used to the snow.

new york tourist clothes

I recommend bringing a good pair of thermal tights if you’re intent on wearing a dress or skirt .  As mentioned before, it’s not that cold and you should be fine wearing a dress if you wear thermal tights.

A good hat.   You’ll be outside walking a lot and it’s good to be warm. I find a fleece-lined hat extra toasty.  If you forget your hat, there’s plenty of places to buy a new one!

A scarf . The wind-chill can be a bit much, so it feels good to hide your neck/face in a cozy scarf!  I really love having a circle scarf as I find that it’s more comfortable to wear it and it’s harder to lose…

new york tourist clothes

Riding boots or comfy booties for the ladies. Given how much you’ll be walking and how one step into a dirty snow pile can leave your sneakers soaking wet, I recommend packing some higher boots (or just knee high boots) as they allow you to layer up with some warm socks.  Recently, over the knee boots have become a trend and I imagine that this is perfect for winter in New York!

If you’re prone to getting cold, you can tuck your jeans into them, and you don’t need to worry about stepping in the wrong puddle. My opinion is that riding boots or booties make so many outfits chic without trying.

For men, an ankle boot works well as it’s both comfy and practical.

One nice formal outfit and nicer pair of shoes for a formal dinner out (or going out to a nicer club/bar). For women, a black cocktail dress is always a safe bet. If you’re not really someone who dresses up much, there are plenty of bars and cafes that don’t have a dress code.

Many of New York’s most exclusive clubs and nightclubs have a stricter dress code where what you wear does make a different on whether you’ll get in.  I personally prefer beer bars and I often wear a winter dress with long-sleeves or a sweater on top of one of my thicker dresses with tights.

new york tourist clothes

5 long-sleeve shirts  to wear underneath your clothes.  I’m a huge fan of layering and I find that a basic cotton long-sleeve shirt is a great basic. You don’t need anything crazy, so I typically buy mine in bulk. I also find that they look great tucked into jeans or a nice skirt.

1 sweater that can be used for layering.  I generally prefer sweaters that button as it makes it easier to wear without being so warm, especially if you have a day where you’re going inside and outside.

new york tourist clothes

Gloves that allow you to use your phone .  When it’s cold out, there’s something so nice about not needing to take off your phone to check something on your phone. 

Photo of girl on New York City subway. Read what not to do on the New York City subway with NYC subway etiquette for tourists visiting New York City.

What to wear in New York City in summer for one week

Quick summary of what to pack for summer in New York City:

  • Light jacket
  • Comfy airy shoes (sandals/flats)
  • For women: 1-2 shorts/skirts
  • For women : 2 dresses.
  • 3+ shirts. (You don’t realize how sweaty you’ll get!)
  • One formal outfit 
  • Towel if you plan to picnic.
  • Refillable water bottle
  • Deodorant 

In the summer, most places keep the AC turned up as the humidity in New York is brutal, so if you get cold easily, you’ll want to pack an extra layer to wear in New York City in the summer….indoors.

A light jacket

I recommend packing a zip-up hoodie or a very light zipped jacket for New York City in summer.  I usually wear a fake-leather jacket on cooler days myself as I feel cool in it.  A light sweater also works!

Comfortable shoes

new york tourist clothes

Comfy shoes are a necessity. Due to the heat and horrible humidity, you’ll want to bring comfy sandals , something open-toed, or flats if you’re not a fan of sandals. If you wear sneakers with socks, you’ll be melting. Break in your shoes first.

Shorts or a skirt

new york tourist clothes

1-2 pairs of shorts or skirts t hat match multiple outfits It’s going to be very hot in New York City in summer, so if you’re wondering what to wear in New York City in summer, be sure to pack at least one pair of shorts.

I find a basic black pair of shorts is an easy/chic item for pack for New York City summers although a breezy A-line skirt also looks chic while keeping you cool.

Dresses for feminine ladies

new york tourist clothes

Ladies: 2 cute dresses . There’s nothing like the humidity in New York in summer and my favorite remedy is to pack a basic cute comfy dress (or three).

The humidity makes you really want to have a breeze, which is why I prefer a loose floral dress that looks good all day/night or a chic vintage inspired dress to wear for summer in New York City. You’d be surprised how colorfully people dress in summer.

A towel or blanket

A towel or picnic blanket or sheet (or borrow one from your hotel). One of the best things to do in New York City summer is to go picnicking in Central Park. Bring something to sit on, maybe bring a wine opener (put it in your suitcase), and enjoy Central Park in summer.

A refillable water bottle

A refillable water bottle . You’ll be drinking a lot of water because New York City in summer is HOT and it’s better for the environment to not keep buying plastic bottles. The tap water in New York is fine, so fill it up from the tap before you leave the house. The water foundations are fine.

A nicer dress for going out

new york tourist clothes

A nice formal outfit for going out. For ladies, a cute outfit or a chic cocktail dress should do the trick. Rooftop bars are the thing in summer and many expect you to dress up properly to go there at night. Maybe some espadrilles to go with it.

new york tourist clothes

Sunglasses since it will be sunny and you want to be able to see!

Strong deodorant

A strong deodorant.  Don’t underestimate the humidity and the heat.  Although air conditioning is good inside… you’ll be thankful for it when you’re riding a crowded subway (which is air conditioned).

What to wear in New York City in fall or spring

Depending on WHEN in fall you’re visiting, I consider spring/fall in New York City to be fairly similar for packing.  Check the weather as it might be colder than you expect.

Quick summary of what to pack for spring or fall in New York City for one week.

  • Peacoat/Light jacket
  • Comfy shoes (Boots)
  • 1-2 dresses.
  • 3+ shirts (mix of long-sleeve and short-sleeve depending on weather).
  • 1-2 pairs of Jeans
  • Hat, scarf, and gloves depending on weather (at minimum a hat).

I have jackets for every season. My fall and spring jacket for New York City is a medium weight wool peacoat  that I can fit a sweater underneath for winter. Although some people would wear a peacoat year-round, I typically save my peacoat for fall from October onwards or before April.

You can always wear an open peacoat in September or April (shoulder season) if you’re concerned about packing too many clothes for New York.  I sometimes find that this can be  too warm.

new york tourist clothes

When it’s less chilly, I often wear a light jacket around New York City (sometimes a light bomber style jacket or a cloth jacket that zippers ). I’m not that prone to getting cold, but this works well for March/April shoulder season in New York City.

1-2 pairs of jeans. Luckily, jeans don’t get too dirty after one day of wear and they’re perfect for when there’s a slight chill in the air, but you want a jacket.  You don’t need to plan to pack a lot for spring in New York City.

A mix of short-sleeve and long-sleeve t-shirts.  New York City is colder towards the end of fall and early spring than a lot of people realize.   I recommend bringing maybe 2 of each depending on how cold you get and the weather then.  You can always layer with a sweater underneath your jacket.

new york tourist clothes

A hat, a light scarf, and gloves depending on how chilly it will be. A hat is always a good idea to pack for fall in New York as the wind chill can get to you.

Sweater or cardigan to put on indoors if you get cold. Although it’s not that cold outside, I usually wear sleeveless/short-sleeve things underneath my jackets, so I always try to bring a cardigan or sweater with me.

It’s also nice for those surprisingly warm days where you don’t want to wear your peacoat, but it’s not warm enough to only wear your t-shirt. Consider packing one light sweater for New York City if you’re bringing only a heavier peacoat with you.

1-2 long-sleeve dresses for a nice night out or just a comfy sightseeing outfit layered with tights and boots.

Riding boots or booties . I find boots both warm and practical to wear in spring or fall in New York City. Just make sure that you break them in before you go.

new york tourist clothes

A nice formal outfit for going out in New York. For ladies, a fashionable outfit or a chic cocktail dress should do the trick. Rooftop bars are big year-round. Maybe pair it with heeled booties and tights.

What not to pack for New York City

All your books.  New York has some fantastic bookstores with  new books  for  used book  prices.

Your entire wardrobe.  A lot of people, including myself, do this thing where they plan one outfit for every single day–and one even for a random occasion (when you get invited to Beyonce’s birthday party).

99% of the time you’ll never use these random articles of clothing that you brought with you to New York City  because , so pack light and plan to buy some awesome stuff in New York City.  

Everything that you don’t pack for New York means more clothes that you get to buy on sale. I’d even recommend on buying a second suitcase if you plan on shopping a lot.

A backpack.  It’s a bit annoying getting on the crowded subway with a backpack when you’re banging into people with your backpack.  Please make sure you’re not taking up a seat with it either.

Your drone. Drones are 100% banned in NYC and unless you want to meet New York’s Finest, leave it at home.

All your makeup.  MAC as well as Sephora exists, so you can even head there before a night out for sampling some new products (or just picking up a new lipstick).  Similarly, many women’s department stores ( think Macy’s, Bloomingdale’s, Sak’s Fifth Avenue ) offer a free makeover although there will be sales pressure at the end.

In case you forget to pack something for New York…

  • Toiletries/Basic Electronics : RiteAid or Walgreen’s
  • Clothing/Shoes : Macy’s, Century21, UNIQLO,  TJMaxx, Bloomingdale’s (high-end)
  • Camera Gear : B&H Photo.

Have you been to New York City? Anything you wish that you packed? 

Want more insider new yorker tips.

  • The Perfect 5 day Itinerary for New York City
  • Tips for New York for the Holidays
  • New York City on a Budget

Wondering what to wear in New York City? Read a local's multi-season packing list with what to pack for New York City & what NOT to bring. #NYC #travel

About Karen Turner

New Yorker–born and raised. Currently living in the Hague, the Netherlands after stints in Paris and Amsterdam. Lover of travel, adventure, nature, city, dresses, and cats.

Reader Interactions

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August 24, 2018 at 5:05 pm

You really answer all my questions! Thx!

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October 24, 2018 at 6:11 pm

I’m going to NY in January and your blog posts have been so great. Thank you for sharing!

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March 1, 2019 at 10:22 pm

What about Mid-March? I’m seriously confused on what to pack! Do I still consider it winter? Or more fall-like?

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March 4, 2019 at 1:37 pm

Hi Mandy, It’s been pretty cold lately. I’d plan on temperatures in the 20s-40s range, so plan for winter weather. Maybe, you’ll see some snow!

Best, Karen

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March 16, 2019 at 9:35 am

Been to NYC 3Xs in last year and I’ve referenced this each time. By my third trip, I say, you are spot on! (mid-oct and mid-mar felt the same) It’ll be my go to now Good general packing tips too! Be fun to develop this info into an infographic and or graph. Thank you for putting this together. It’s fab info seamed into a thoughtful read 🙂

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March 20, 2019 at 4:07 am

Hi it’s going to be my very first time going to New York in the beginning of April should I follow the winter or fall/spring outfit tips as I live in Texas I’m not really sure what to expect up there

March 20, 2019 at 11:40 am

Hi Rubi, I’d plan for a bit warmer if you’re not used to the cold! It’s been a bit cold in New York recently.

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March 21, 2019 at 1:31 pm

Love your post. We’re coming from tropical Australia in May. I’m thinking it will be similar to our winter but it will be NY spring. Not sure whether to pack spring colours but with jeans and boots? Any suggestions? Thanks Suzy

March 21, 2019 at 2:48 pm

Hi Suzy, May is already usually getting a bit into summer, so you might want to consider having some flats with jeans and whatever spring colors of your choice along with a jacket/sweater. It’s New York, so wear what colors you wish, but maybe bring a pair of warmer shoes in case you end up cold as it can drop at night. Have a great trip. 🙂 Best, Karen

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April 12, 2019 at 6:50 am

Thank you so much! My family is going to NYC this summer on June 11-19

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April 15, 2019 at 2:01 am

What should I pack for April for goi g out to roof top bars. Do you think jeans heels and a cute top. Do I need a few dresses too? Are boots still in season to wear?

April 15, 2019 at 1:04 pm

It’s been pretty cold actually! Boots should be fine with jeans, but you can definitely do tights with a dress. Enjoy!

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April 19, 2019 at 3:16 pm

Hi I’m heading to New York in October from Australia and was wondering what the temperature generally is? I have read and has helped but just need to know about the temperature. Thanks Fee

April 19, 2019 at 6:24 pm

Hi Fee, you can expect the weather between 18° and 10° Celsius in New York in October!

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April 23, 2019 at 3:36 pm

I went to New York April 14th to the 18th. It was a short time but I loved it. I am so glad that I found your website. It really helped me with my packing and the site seeing from the map.

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May 1, 2019 at 3:26 pm

I love your post!!! So helpful! One question tho… I’m coming this first weekend in may and the weather says rain. Should I wear my boots or tennis shoes? it says 50% of rain

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May 7, 2019 at 3:32 am

Hi, I’ll be going to NYC, then Philly, Toronto Boston end of May to early June. Is it more towards summer? Or still be rather chilly? What jacket/coat do i need? Long trench coat would be too much i assume? Sandals? Thanks a lot

May 7, 2019 at 12:54 pm

Hi Lia, I’d bring a light jacket to put on in the evenings, but a pair of closed pair shoes should be fine. So far this summer has been a bit chilly, but it should warm up towards the time you are visiting. Hope that helps! Toronto might be a bit colder than the East coast as a FYI.

Hope that helps, Karen

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June 1, 2019 at 3:24 pm

Hi, is the weather in June pretty humid as you said? I’ll be traveling there the weekend of June 14th. Also any tips on some good roof top bars?

June 2, 2019 at 3:31 pm

Yep! It’s pretty humid although it might not be as hot. You’ll have to check the weather right before you go. I haven’t written yet about them, but I loved Pod39. Really nice relaxed atmosphere!

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June 4, 2019 at 8:45 am

Hi, I will be staying in New York for two months, July and August, do you have any recommendations what is necessary to bring for longer stay? I’m coming from Europe, never been to the USA before! Thank you and have a great day!

June 4, 2019 at 11:43 am

Hi Nikola, Plan for mostly summer outfits with some layers for when it’s not as nice out. It will be pretty hot, hopefully, but it’s good to have a light jacket and jeans for days for night time or slightly colder days where there’s rain. Hope that helps and enjoy! You can definitely do some of that shopping in NYC as well and I’ll be posting a shopping guide this month to my favorite shops.

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June 23, 2019 at 2:52 pm

Hi, I’m going to New York along with my retired parents and two siblings in August. Do you think it’ll be too hot and humid for my parents (who are on their mid 60s) to walk around NY?

June 24, 2019 at 12:31 pm

Hi Karen, It will be hot, but there are lots of places to sit and relax in A/C. Just take it easy and plan for lots of stops. Most buses and subways are air conditioned if you don’t want to walk everywhere. 🙂

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July 13, 2019 at 1:20 pm

Hi! Great blog! I will be going to NYC September 20 to 28. It’s my first to go at that time of the year. Is that already considered fall? I’m from the tropics and worried about getting cold, but don’t want to overpack as well!

July 17, 2019 at 12:24 am

Hi Tina, That is such a great time to visit NYC! You might be a bit cold, but you can always buy a better jacket on sale in NYC! I just wrote about the best places to shop in NYC, so find that article and bookmark it for your visit. Hope you enjoy the changing leaves. 🙂

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August 30, 2019 at 11:35 pm

Hi I just want to say that this post has helped me more than any other I have read!! So thank you! I am from Mississippi and will be traveling to Niagara Falls, Cape Cod, and New York City and have been stressing about what to wear.. What would you say would be best to wear for the beginning of September (1st – 12th)? Is it long pants weather there right now?

Thank you, Rachael

September 2, 2019 at 12:40 pm

It’s been warm, so even a dress should work well. 🙂

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September 14, 2019 at 2:57 pm

Hi! I’m headed to Manhattan September 27th, it’s kind the end of summer beginning of fall for my birthday. I’m coming from Chicago, would you say it’s pretty similar? Also, any tips on things to do?! I wanna live like a New Yorker for 5 days Hahaha

September 24, 2019 at 4:45 pm

I’d say so. Check out my new posts about unusual things to do in NYC and the neighborhoods. Leaving Manhattan helps. 😉

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September 23, 2019 at 7:39 pm

Hi, I’m going to N.Y.C for 3 days then Boston for 2 days and lastly Washington D.C for 2 days. My school is taking us in March for spring break and because the trip is a lot of money I need to know how much money i should bring and how to bring it. Sorry if this doesn’t make sense. 🙂

September 24, 2019 at 4:39 pm

Hi Aria, It really depends on what you’re doing and what is covered in the trip. There’s plenty of ATMs around NYC if you have a debit card. (I don’t usually recommend carrying a lot of cash around.) I’d plan on at least $50 per day for food/attractions at minimum. I’d check with your school about what costs you are responsible for. Have a great trip!

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October 15, 2019 at 3:27 am

Thanks for the Tip about bringing a reusable bag for buying food, etc. to take back to your Hotel room!!!

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October 18, 2019 at 5:34 pm

Your article is very helpful – thanks for taking the time to write it. Would like to ask your advice: I’m travelling to NYC in mid-November for a week. Being from the tropics, I’ve not experienced snow before and am not used to temperate climates. What’s the temperature like in mid-November? Would a fleece jacket with layering beneath and normal jeans generally be sufficient? Apologies for the rookie questions, but I worry about underpacking. Thanks for your time! 🙂 By the way, it will be my first time in NYC, and from what I have been reading, it is a truly unique place!

October 21, 2019 at 11:04 am

Hi Cathy, I think that a fleece jacket with layering should be okay, but you can always get a jacket in NYC if that doesn’t cut it. Hopefully, it won’t be too bad in November and you’ll have a great trip!

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November 17, 2019 at 2:37 pm

Hi Karen! Planning on visiting the city first week of December. Noticed that the weather may be around 50°-55°. I usually feel a bit cold, but don’t want to over do it when dressing. Can you please tell what would be best to wear while walking the streets of NY during that time? Thank you.

November 18, 2019 at 9:30 am

Hi Liz, I tend to prefer to wear a light sweater with a slightly thicker jacket over it. Also, jeans! I find that works well enough as you can open up your jacket or even take it off if you’re feeling warm!

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March 15, 2021 at 7:03 am

Hi ! I will be going to New York from Miami on May 1. I am unsure of what would be best to take ? since I know there is a lot of walking involve.

I was planning on taking dresses two pairs of jeans or leggings and some blouses

Shoe wise I was thinking Sandals Adidas shoes & a pair of high heels

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September 20, 2021 at 9:42 am

Hi! I have been reading your insights on what to pack right around September but wanted to ask since I didn’t see much on what to wear! I’ll be in New York in a couple days September 22-29. Do New Yorkers generally wear fall clothes right around this time of year so no more summer clothes like shorts, skirts, dresses, etc. I was hoping to find out and really pack what I would need! Thank you so much and can’t wait to visit

March 17, 2022 at 9:57 pm

Yep fall clothes are great, but depends how warm September is!

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November 7, 2021 at 7:12 am

Thanks for sharing these tips. I found these tips very helpful.

November 15, 2021 at 7:42 am

Thank you for sharing your blog, seems to be useful information can’t wait to dig deep!

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April 8, 2022 at 1:14 pm

Thank you a lot for taking the time for you to share such a good information. They’re really helpful!

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July 30, 2022 at 6:52 am

Hello. My name is Elaine and I’m planning a trip to New York for my bucket lust. I do want to go in late winter/early /spring. Thank you for your advice of what to bring to wear.

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February 4, 2023 at 8:13 am

Very informative post! This blog information was very helpful, your blog is recommended. Keep it up.

February 4, 2023 at 8:28 am

Hello, all this information was very helpful. Thank you very much! Keep posting such kind of info on your blog. I’m really impressed by it.

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What to Wear to New York City in the Summer

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  • May 24, 2023

We hope you enjoy our site and the products we recommend! Just to let you know, Outfits for Travel may be compensated in exchange for featured placement of certain sponsored products and services, and/or collect a small share of sales from the links on this page. This content uses referral/affiliate links. Read our disclosure policy for more info.

Seasonal Guide: The 10 pieces you need to pack for a trip to New York City in the summer

What to pack for new york city in the summer.

What to Wear to New York City in the Summer

We designed our 10-piece packing guide to help you decide what to wear to New York City in the summer. To do this effectively, we chose 10 stylish items to fit into a capsule travel wardrobe. And our New York City summer packing list has got you covered with some of the season’s most amazing trends – think fabulous florals , monochromatic elements and super chic sandals . All of which combine to create fabulous looks for taking on “The Big Apple.” Check out these on-trend items in our 10-piece packing list below for your NYC packing needs!

What to Do in New York City in the Summer

While visiting New York City in the summer, take advantage of the warmer weather and consider attending the Tribeca Film Festival or Celebrate Brooklyn Festival .  If you are visiting over the 4 th of July, don’t miss the awe-inspiring Macy’s 4 th of July fireworks display . And be sure to take advantage of the exquisite food scene in NYC where you can dine at Michelin-starred restaurants like Buvette or Jungsik .

New York City Summer Weather

Prepare for high humidity and hot temperatures when you visit New York City in the late summer. However, we have you covered with our recommended items that consist of lightweight fabrics like cotton and linen. Average high temperatures for New York City in the summer can range from the mid-70s to the low-80s, with very high humidity that can make the days feel MUCH hotter. Summer low temperature averages in New York City range from the low-to-upper-60s. Pack a straw hat and comfortable sneakers for exploring the city. Add a chic dress and crossbody bag to the mix to dress your look up for a dinner out. Below we have included a detailed monthly list of the the average high and low temperatures for New York City in the summer.

  • High 77

This average weather list was adapted from a  Best Times to Visit New York City article by U.S. News & World Report.

Below we feature 10 lightweight pieces to help you create on-trend, stylish and comfortable travel outfits for summer travel to NYC.

WHAT TO WEAR TO NEW YORK CITY IN THE SUMMER

Nyc summer packing guide, the 10 pieces you need to pack for a trip to new york city in the summer.

Grey Dress | Straw Hat | Midi Skirt | Black Sandals | White Shorts | Floral Top | White Sneakers | Black Crossbody | White Top | Sunglasses

When choosing what to wear to New York City in the summer, breathable fabrics and loose-fitting items are very important to stay comfortable. It is a bustling city with delicious eats and spectacular sights. Summer is a popular time to visit New York City. However, the temperatures can be quite hot. So whether you’re packing outfits for New York in June, July or August, remember us when you begin to pack, and use our New York City packing list for your summer trip to NYC!

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  • May 22, 2022

The NYC Travel Capsule: 20 Fashion Essentials to Pack for an A+ Wardrobe

When it comes to preparing for tropical or beachside trips, the packing process is on the easier side of the spectrum. All you really need are swimsuits, lightweight separates, and a few fun accessories, and you're ready to go. When it comes to packing for the city, however, it can be a bit more of a challenge, especially in a place like New York that has so many different elements to take into consideration. 

As someone who was born in New York, I've learned exactly what staple items are necessary to look put-together while preparing you for anything. I've not only taken notes from fellow fashionable New Yorkers, but I have also learned from every experience. Below, I've rounded up the 20 staples that you should prioritize while packing for a stay in the city. From long walks in your favorite park to a reservation at the new hot spot, the items in this packing list will guarantee an A+ wardrobe.

new york tourist clothes

Visiting NYC requires quite a bit of walking, so comfy sneakers are a must. With the rise of athleisure and sportswear in fashion, a pair of sneakers will blend seamlessly into any outfit.

Nike Blazer Low '77 Jumbo Sneaker

Many New Yorkers don't like to wear open-toed sandals in the city, so closed shoes like mules are usually the go-to. They're on-trend and comfortable and will still make any outfit look elevated.

Sam Edelman Linnie Flat Mules

There's nothing worse than when it randomly rains in the city and you're very much unprepared in the shoe department. Year-round, flat, chunky boots are my city savior. 

Zara Flat Knee High Boots

Trench coats are the perfect option for transitional weather, and NYC weather can drastically change in a heartbeat, so it's always important to have a light coat in your suitcase, even in the summer.

Free People Rae Duster

Not only does a leather jacket look incredibly cool, but it's also the perfect jacket to keep on deck when you don't want to pack something heavy in the cold. You can pair it over sweats, a dress, jeans—the options are endless.

Mango Leather Biker Jacket

It's impossible to walk down the SoHo streets and not see at least three girls wearing a relaxed blazer. It's chic, comfy, and elevated. What more do you want?

H&M Double-Breasted Jacket

It's always important to pack your basics for any trip, especially in New York. You can be walking through a breeze one day and then face the heat of the subway, so having underlayers is important.

Reformation Oceane Knit Tank

Wear it on the flight, throw it over jeans, or tie it over your shoulder. Comfy knitwear is a necessity when packing. 

H&M H&M+ Boxy-Style Cardigan

Whether you're on a beach vacation or making it to the city, a button-down must be on deck. I love layering it over a T-shirt and relaxed trousers.

Topshop Stripe Cotton Seersucker Button-Up Shirt

Second-skin tops started as a trend in New York, but they have completely become a cool-girl staple.

Reformation Muse Tee

As a jeans hoarder, I always find it hard to pick which pair to pack. I've learned that you can never go wrong with a straight-leg pair, as it works with most items compared to other denim silhouettes.

H&M Mom Loose Fit Jeans

Yes, miniskirts are trending, but it's still the staple the NYC fashion set has been relying on recently. Sometimes, jeans and trousers can get a little repetitive, so it's nice to change it up with some skirt action.

Open Edit A-Line Miniskirt

The past few years have been a relaxed-trouser renaissance, and they're not just for the office anymore. Every NYC fashion person owns a pair, so you know what to get if you want to blend in.

Zara Wide Leg Pants

Cargo pants are another "trendy" item that has simply become an NYC staple. It's a great addition to have if you're looking to exude that casual-yet-cool vibe.

Urban Outfitters Myla Linen Cargo Pant

Dresses & Sets:

Zara Draped Poplin Dress

I love a good prairie-dress moment, especially how New Yorkers style theirs. They're usually paired with cowboy boots or sneakers, making it different than the more cottagecore-esque look you might see in a city like L.A.

Staud Sophie Dress

Wherever you're going, a matching set is a must. You can wear it together or coordinate each piece separately. It's like packing three different outfits in one.

FP Beach Callie Sweater Set

I love a slip dress because of how versatile it is. Throw your comfy knit on top for the daytime and wear it as is for dinner. This dress has got you covered for any occasion.

Zara Chain Strap Satin Effect Slip Dress

Accessories

Zara Woven Shopper Bag

Tiny bags may be cute for the 'gram, but when you're trudging around New York, a big bag to carry all your essentials is a priority. Luckily with the style being on-trend for 2022, there are a lot of options on the market.

Marc Jacobs Traveler Tote Bag

Protect yourself from the sunlight in style.

Urban Outfitters Sabrina Rectangle Sunglasses

Pack a few staple jewelry pieces and you'll get wear out of them every day of your trip.

Missoma Squiggle Earrings

Next,  The 2022 Vacation Capsule Wardrobe: 9 Essentials You Should Always Pack

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Girl With The Passport

What to Wear in New York City: An NYC Packing List (with SECRET tips from a local)

By: Author girlwiththepassport

Posted on Last updated: October 2, 2023

Categories New York City

Not sure what to wear in New York City and desperately searching for the perfect NYC packing list?

Makes sense to me since as a local New Yorker, I can tell you with the utmost assurance that the weather in NYC is manic at best (so always check the weather prior to your New York City trip since it can change rapidly from day to day)

New York City is one of those rare and magical places where you can literally wear just about anything and no one will even look twice.

No, really.

You could walk around in a giant Teletubby suit and people would assume that you’re just a lost, costumed character from Times Square.

Yeah, we’re used to the incredibly weird and totally embrace it. So do the same when creating your very own New York City packing list.

Because let’s be honest:

Where else in the world would you find a no pants day on the subway?

That’s why:

It can be difficult, at best, to create a perfect, NYC packing list if you’re not from the area.

Because seriously:

It can be hard to figure out what constitutes chic, fashion-forward, NYC attire that will help you look and feel like a confident local; a local who desperately avoids eye contact while confidently, and briskly, walking down the street (hint, hint, do this and you will look even MORE like a local). 

Now, I’ll gonna be brutally honest here:

You definitely won’t find me on any New York City Fashion Week catwalk any time soon.

As a native New Yorker who has lived here for well over twenty years, I can show you what to wear in NYC so that you can blend in with the locals.

And lesson number one?

Leave the scrunchy at home. No respectable NYer wears a scrunchie. And if they do, it’s to a SoulCycle Class, while carrying an organic, antioxidant-rich, Kombucha Tea.

Bot more lessons to come on what to wear in New York City my young Jedi of awesome.

So for now:

Just sit back, relax, take off that I heart NY shirt, and grab an authentic, NYC bagel with a smear of cream cheese to satiate your hunger as we swan dive into this local’s guide on what to wear in NYC.

Since I am incapable of making it rain money, there’s a high chance that this post may contain affiliate links. Please see my  disclosure  for more information. As an Amazon Associate, I earn a small commission from qualifying purchases.

1.  PINCNEL Women’s Backpack and Purse

new york tourist clothes

First things first:

Obviously, you’re gonna need a super sleek, stylish, and totally practical day bag to hold all of your crap while you’re schlepping through NYC on the subway (cabs are way too expensive and there’s a ton of traffic so buses can take forever).

And this PINCNEL Women’s Backpack totally checks all those boxes.

And added bonus? It’s in black and NYers LOVE black since it’s slimming, matches everything, and helps you blend in so that rookie thieves don’t mess with you.

But what really makes this one of the best carry on bags for women is the fact that this bag comes in six different colors, has a unique, waterproof/antitheft design (nylon is fused with leather to create a fabric that can withstand slashing), and is big enough to hold a 10″ MacBook, among other things!

Pretty sweet right?

A bag that’s big enough to hold all of your day trip essentials, but not so big that you’ll develop back problems and turn into Quasimodo.

This backpack is even designed with a fantastic back zipper, that accesses the main compartment and rests up against your back while you use it.

Say goodbye to theft-related anxiety and hello to serenity since there’s no way that anyone could open the zipper and steal all your belongings while you’re walking around.

There are also two adjustable shoulder straps, one detachable crossbody strap (use this in museums that don’t allow backpacks), and a slew of interior and exterior pockets to keep you uber-organized while looking like a super snazzy NYer.

And all this for just $26!!! Crazy right?

Trust me, no way are you gonna find a backpack this cheap and this awesome while in NYC.

#justsayin’

***Overall, NYC is a pretty safe city. I’ve lived here for well over twenty years and have never had a problem with pickpockets or muggers. So, while you don’t need to go out and buy an assortment of crazy anti-theft devices, like a money belt, do use common sense and try to avoid parts of the city that look a bit sketchy.***

2. Dark Skinny Jeans

          View this post on Instagram                   When you’re visiting a city, it’s important to feel comfortable and stylish. #travel #travelstyle #travelinstyle #travelnow #holiday #firstclass #travelclothes #travelwear #comfortable A post shared by AVIATOR (@aviatorusa) on Apr 5, 2019 at 8:12am PDT

Like the rest of the world, we in NYC love a good pair of booty poppin’ skinny jeans.

No NYC packing list would be complete without an uber cute pair of dark skinny jeans.

And in fairness:

No booty pop is needed but they do need to make your butt look cute and make you feel as though you’re wearing the most comfortable pair of sweat pants EVER.

And you’re gonna need a BOATload of comfort after eating all the delicious bagels and pizza that NYC has to offer.

Because if nothing else, NYC knows how to do food right.

That’s why I live and die by these Aviator travel jeans!

Not only are they the most comfortable pair of jeans that I’ve ever worn. but they’re true to size, make you look/feel amazing, and have five insanely large pockets, with zippers, that can fit even your behemoth passport.

But the cherry on top of this sundae of awesome?

These jeans are incredibly well made and will probably last longer than any cockroach on the planet since they’re durable, flexible, and breathable (the heavens open up as a choir of angels sing and rejoice).

Personally:

I go with a dark wash, or black, pair jeans since I think they look a little chicer, but you can’t really go wrong with any of the clothes on Aviator’s site.

The only teeny tiny drawback?

These jeans are $110 a pair. I know, pretty pricey.

These pants are so well made that buying a single pair of these jeans is way cheaper than purchasing jeans of lesser quality every two months. 

If you go to their website, you can sign up for their email list, and get an extra 15% off!

That’s a $16.50 discount that you can use towards buying another pair for your  London packing list  (insert winky emoji here)!

I know not everyone can afford a $110 pair of jeans. If this sounds like you then check out these Levi’s Gold Label Jeans.

I wore these before I got my Aviator’s and think they’re a viable alternative since they look nice, are true to size, have a comfy elastic waistband (it’s also a control top waist that holds in your muffin top and makes you look a solid 5 pounds lighter), and cost just $25 a pair.

Perfect for any ladies out there who are on a budget but still wanna look and feel GOOD.

3. Fashionable Black Leggings

new york tourist clothes

Anyone who reads my blog knows of my incredible fondness for black leggings.

What’s not to love? They’re comfortable AF, easy to pack, versatile, cheap, and are just an all-around, essential piece of clothing that every woman should pack when traveling to NYC.

Why you may wonder?

Well, you want to be comfortable since you’ll be walking around a lot, especially if you plan on doing any hiking in or near New York City .

You’ll also want to pack a TON of layers since the weather in NYC can change dramatically from one day to the next.

That’s why, leggings are key when packing for NYC.

Just pair them with a nice chunky knit sweater, scarf, and cool pair of boots (no heels, you’ll kill your feet) for a casual look, or dress them up with a nice sequence dress and a glam pair of ballet flats.

Boom, you’re done! Super easy and super comfy.

However, not just any pair of leggings will do. They need to be durable enough not to rip every time you wear them, but they also can’t make you look like you just walked out of a CrossFit class meant for Olympic champions.

Haha, me, do CrossFit? Talk about a JOKE!

Anyway, I love these American Apparel leggings because not only are they uber comfy (even after you wash them and they shrink a bit), but they come up over my stomach and prevent me from sporting a wicked awful muffin top of DOOM!

They cost just $20 and come in colors that I legit, didn’t even know existed. 

So , definitely try these leggings out and let me know what you think.

4. Timberland Boots

new york tourist clothes

I like to be as transparent with my readers as humanly possible.

I’ll be the first one to admit that I haven’t actually worn a pair of Timberlands since I spent my summers working at a stable…in ye olde middle school.

Yeah, it’s been awhile.

However, It would be remiss of me not to mention Timberlands on this NYC packing list since almost every NYer on the planet owns, loves, and worships all that is Timberland.

I’d lose what little NYC street cred I have left if Timberlands didn’t make this list.

Personally though:

I still see them as construction boots and would never wear them outside of a stable.

But, clearly I’m in the minority.

And I do know from personal experience that they are comfortable, durable, and basically the unofficial uniform of New York City.

Which makes sense since the streets of New York City are filthy, making it imperative for everyone to own a quality pair of work boots that will keep their feet warm and dry when the wrath of the polar vortex rains down upon New York City.

Timberlands tend to hold up MUCH better than UGGS in the rain/snow, and come in a variety of different colors and styles that will suit just about anyone.

They now make Timberlands in high heels and colors like pale pink. Need I say more?

I’ve heard that Tims do run a little big so I definitely get a half size smaller than you normally do. 

They’ll still be comfortable but easy to wear with a pair of heavy socks. 

These boots are pretty versatile. So, you can easily wear them with the laces done up, or only half way up, with the tongue sticking out (and they won’t slip out because of the boot’s high ankle).

They also look wicked good with a pair of skinny jeans tucked into the boot or with your socks coming out of the boot and over your skinny jeans (they look awesome with leggings too). 

Definitely a fantastic pair of boots that will make you look and feel like a REAL New Yorker.

5. Official New York Yankees Hat

You're not a real New Yorker if you've never bought or owned this iconic, New York Yankees hat.

While I don’t wear a Yankee hat on the reg. (I wear a slightly more polished sunhat instead):

I have owned, worn, and loved one of these hats for a time.

I can absolutely confirm that yes, these hats are amazing and yes, they really are beloved by most NYers all across the city, minus the Mets fans (FYI: NYers refer to NYC as “the city”).

Sorry, but I consider the Yankees more of New York’s team since they’re more internationally known. Guess we can thank Jay-Z for making the Yankee hat an actual “fashion trend”.

And while there are a ton of different Yankees hats out there, this is the only official, Yankees hat that locals will wear, making this a perfect New York City gift idea for any New York lovers out there.

If you REALLY wanna look like a local and wear this hat correctly, then you CANNOT bend the brim and you must keep the sticker on.

Do this and New Yorkers will accept you as one of their own.

But seriously:

I’ve had one for years (not that I really wear it anymore) and it’s comfortable, stylish, durable, and even comes in a variety of colors.

Buying this hat online  is WAY cheaper than buying them at Yankee Stadium.

Feel free to get your NYC swagger on with an official Yankees hat like this.

6. Waterproof Boots

new york tourist clothes

If you’re not in the mood to rock construction worker chic Tims throughout your entire vacay, then you’ll definitely need a pair of boots that are stylish, comfortable, and waterproof since NYC has been getting a lot of rain lately.

And waterproof is a must since you don’t want to get caught in one of those black hole size mud puddles that NYC is infamous for.

My pick for the perfect NYC boot is the UGG Simmens ! Seriously one of the most comfortable and stylish walking shoes that I’ve ever had the pleasure of wearing.

Not only are they cute AF, and mad comfortable to BOOT (get it), but they are waterproof and come with an awesome zipper that helps you quickly and easily remove them at airport security.

They have a wool insole to help keep your feet warm and a rubber sole bottom for added traction.

They’re perfect for almost any season in New York City, except maybe summer when it’s disgustingly hot and humid.

If you’re looking for a pair of boots that can withstand the wear and tear of NYC, but that will still look fab in the process, then these are the boots for you.

My precious…I mean, these boots run a small so I consider ordering a half size larger than you normally do.

7. Raincoat

Since it rains a lot in London (DUH), everyone must have a rain jacket on their London packing list.

Definitely check the weather before you leave for NYC because if it says no rain, then obviously there’s no need to pack a raincoat.

This is NYC, so I pinkie promise that you’ll be able to find anything and everything that you could EVER possibly want here.

If there is some sort of freak, Sharknado level crazy storm, just grab a cheap, plastic poncho from a street vendor and call it a day.

They’re like $5 and you can just throw it out when you’re done with it.

If it looks like a tsunami of rain is about to descend upon New York City, or if you visit during spring (March-May), then definitely pack a flattering raincoat that will keep you warm and dry.

And my fave?

The  Cole Haan packable raincoat!  Not only does it neatly and easily fold up into your suitcase, but it also has a removable hood (I love this because I think raincoats always look so much sleeker without a hood) and a charming belt, that when used, gives it a more customizable, feminine fit. P

I also love that the fabric is durable, comfortable, waterproof, and heavy enough to be worn throughout the spring and fall (just wear a sweater underneath during the fall so that you don’t get cold).

This jacket does run a bit small, especially in the back and arms, so try and order a size or two up if you think you might want to buy this jacket.

8.  Lipstick-Sized Portable Charger

new york tourist clothes

Raise your hand if you carry electronics with you on vacation?

(This girl’s hand shoots straight up and almost pokes someone’s eye out)

Yup, just like the rest of my self-indulgent generation, I too am a tech-dependent Millennial who would probably fall down a well or get eaten by a rogue shark if I didn’t have my GPS with me at all times.

It’s beyond imperative that I keep my phone fully charged and ready to go 24/7.

If the battery on my phone actually does die, it’s like a Defcon 5 national emergency.

But Never Fear:

That’s where this pint-sized portable of wonder charger comes in.

Feel free to oh and ah at all (kidding).

So take a deep calming breath, namaste it up, and chillax because this gadget will recharge multiple devices and save you a trip back to your hotel.

The best part though?

This charger is so small that it easily fits inside your makeup bag, leaving space for super important things like that Harry Potter wand that you just HAD to buy

I get it. The Muggle struggle is real (if you hate Harry Potter just ignore this).

9. Electronics with an International Adaptor

new york tourist clothes

Since appliances in the United States run on 110v of electricity and electrical outlets are shaped differently than the rest of the world, anyone living outside of North America (and most of you are not) will need a dual adaptor and current converter when using electronics in New York City.

Don’t get me wrong:

Most laptops, cellphones, and cameras should be totally fine, but many hair dryers, curling irons, and hair straighteners won’t be since they don’t support multiple voltages.

Just to be certain though:

Double check the tag on any appliances and make sure that it explicitly states that the appliance is dual voltage. If it does then you can safely use it in the US without a currency converter.

Obviously, you’ll want to bring your smartphone too, if it isn’t already permanently attached to your hand.

Try and purchase  a sim card  for your unlocked phone prior to your visit so that you don’t get hit with a ton of data overages while using the internet to navigate the not so mean streets of NYC.

Don’t forget to pack a decent pair of headphones, which is the socially acceptable way to ignore people who try and talk to you. Three cheers for social isolation!

I love a good pair of noise-canceling headphones since they drown out all the ambient noise and let me watch my movie/listen to my music in peace.

But any pair of headphones will do. It just depends on your budget. 

Some other electronics that you might want to pack include a tablet with a keyboard, a lightweight laptop, and an e-reader, like a  Kindle . 

Just make sure that you choose wisely and don’t overpack!

10. Camera Gear

new york tourist clothes

While I wouldn’t exactly call NYC picturesque (just look at the garbage heaps and the rats the size of cats), there are a ton of beautiful parks and iconic landmarks that you’ill want to take pictures of.

Unless you want to draw everything by hand, you’ll clearly need camera gear of some sort to commemorate your trip.

I’m not a huge fan of selfie sticks (aka Millennial wands of self-indulgence) since I feel like a total tool when I use them.

As a die-hard solo traveler, with no Instagram husband to speak of, I suck it up, force my eyelids open even before the sun dares come up, and drag one of my favorite travel tripods around with me wherever I go. 

It’s 110% as un-fun as it sounds, but totally worth it once you get a bunch of amazing pictures that make you feel like a slight Instagram baller.

If you still want to use a selfie stick, that’s totally cool. No judgment here. I just don’t like it for me.

Just know that in most major cities, a selfie stick is the hallmark of a naive and unsuspecting tourist.

And speaking of tourist (terrible segway I know):

There are a few other photography essentials that you might want to add to your NYC packing list.

You know, things like spare batteries, spare memory cards, any type of lens you may need, a UV filter, and a great camera bag to store all this expensive gear.

My personal fave just happens to be any of the amazing bags over at GATTA.since they are the highest quality and most stylish camera bags that I’ve everowned.

They’re a bit on the pricey side, but totally worth the investment in my humble opinion.

Because trust me:

I’ve had camera bags break on me, mid-trip and it’s never fun and always anxiety inducing since you’re constantly wondering if today is the day when your camera will finally be destroyed.

new york tourist clothes

I happen to love the Rosewood Camille (above) and the Chloe Noir (smaller, chic, and black).

Both of these camera bags are stylish on the outside, with a fabulous, felt like interior and an adjustable divider that creates a customizable fit to cushion your camera and help protect it from damage.

PSST: Pack extra Ziploc bags to put your wet clothes in or to keep your electronics dry.

11. Collapsible Water Bottle (This item will save you a ton of money on bottled water while visiting NYC)

new york tourist clothes

A collapsible water bottle will never be the sexiest or most exciting item on any travel packing list.

When you visit New York City and begin to realize that a single bottle of water can cost upwards of $3, this reusable water bottle starts to get a whole lot sexier.

Not only does it help you save money on drinks, but it also protects the environment by reducing your overall plastic consumption.

Added bonus?

Ultra-left wing hippies will also stop throwing titanic levels of shade your way as you guzzle down your filthy, mass-produced, environment destroying diet coke (all a joke since I LOVE diet coke).

But why buy THIS water bottle?

Well, it’s a nifty,  collapsible water bottle  that will take up little to no space in your bag when you’re not using it to carry water.

No more bulky water bottles that seem to take up way too much room in your bag.

Just deflate this water bottle, roll it up, and, BAM, you now have a ton of space for other, nifty travel essentials.

Just take the handle strap, pass it under the rolled up water bottle, and then hook the strap to the plastic ring that attaches the strap to the water bottle

And that’s it. Poof, you are now an NYC packing pro.

12. Stylish Walking Shoes

new york tourist clothes

Since New York City is the largest city in the United States, and the ninth largest city in the world (thanks Google), clearly you’ll need to do some walking, even if you take the subway everywhere.

Comfortable but stylish, walking shoes are the key to any outfit when figuring out what to wear in NYC.

And if you do get new shoes, be sure to break them in BEFORE, and not during your trip to New York City.

Because honestly:

I don’t know too many people who go around saying, “Oh gee, I just love blisters and watching my heels bleed from the discomfort of my shoes,”

That’s why: 

You need to treat yo’self and check out the  Steve Madden Women’s Gills Fashion Shoe .

Truthfully though:

I was a bit nervous about buying these shoes since I didn’t think I would like them.

I had previously purchased a pair of  quilted, Steve Madden slip-on sneakers , and they were exactly what I wanted.

They were stylish, comfortable like traditional sneakers, and really easy to slip on and off, which was perfect for the sirport.

Except for one tiny problem…they gave me horrible blisters until I broke them in.

When I finally got these shoes, I wasn’t 100% certain that they would be comfortable.

I diligently researched these shoes before I bought them and ordered a size larger than normal as a preemptive strike against any potential blisters; something that probably wasn’t entirely necessary since the heel has extra padding and is also a bit rounded to prevent blisters.

I’m delighted to report that these shoes are comfortable, last a LONG time, look good with almost any outfit (just be sure to buy a neutral color shoe ) and are easy to put on and take off.

My love for all things Steve Madden has been fully restored! HOORAY!

***Remember to put on no-show socks if you wear these to the airport. Because nobody wants to step on the airport floor in their bare feet. That’s just gross.***

new york tourist clothes

13. Faux Leather Jacket (The perfect addition to any NYC Packing List)

new york tourist clothes

I definitely wouldn’t wear this jacket in the dead of winter when the polar vortex is in town and there’s three feet of snow on the ground.

If you’re looking for a fashionable jacket that will keep you warm and toasty on a cool spring day, then this  Lock and Love Quilted Faux Leather Jacket  is where it’s at. 

Not only does this tailored, faux leather jacket make you look super chic, but it’s also incredibly durable, and made with high-quality stitching that makes it last for what feels like forever.

It’s also black, which is great since New Yorkers will forever love the slimming beauty and power of this magnificent color.

FYI though:

I’m a vegetarian. So, I won’t be wearing real animal products any time soon, which is yet another reason why I adore this imitation leather jacket.

The faux leather used to make this jacket is incredibly high-quality, which is why it actually looks and feels like real leather, and not like a glorified potato sack.

It also comes in pretty much any color you can dream up which is always a bonus.

Be forewarned though:

This company does not do returns. Therefore, if you purchase this jacket, carefully read the reviews and select the size that’s best for you

This jacket is meant to be a form-fitting jacket, but not so form-fitting that you faint due to a lack of oxygen.

I would order a jacket that is two sizes larger than your normal size since it’s better to have a jacket that is too big than too small.

14. Chunky Knit Sweater

new york tourist clothes

Chunky knit sweaters are another one of my not-so-low-key clothing obsessions.

They are even more awesome if you’re traveling to New York City during the summer.

Why, you may rightly wonder, since NYC is disgustingly hot and humid from June through August?

While it may be hot outside, inside of every building in NYC, the AC will be cranked up to sub-Artic temperatures.

Fail to pack something warm during the summer and you’ll spend your entire trip to NYC feeling like you’re about to freeze to death.

And let’s be honest:

If you’re gonna pack something warm to wear anyway, might as well make it something that’s WAY nicer than that grody old sweatshirt of yours with the unintentional thumb holes.

A chunky knit sweater is just a great go-to travel item if the weather suddenly changes and you need something to keep you warm.

You could even MacGyver it up and use your chunky knit sweater as a blanket or a pillow during a long flight.

I love this  sweater from MEROKEETY  since it’s soft, comfy, and drapes over you nicely and not in a living room curtain kind of way (but it doesn’t have any closures which is kind of annoying). 

It fits well, falls just above the knee, has deep pockets for added storage, and a flattering v neck that will make you feel like you’re the reincarnation of Jennifer Aniston.

The stitching is a bit odd and gives it an almost terry cloth look which I am not a fan of.

It also isn’t made for frigid weather.

Therefore, don’t go out in the middle of the winter wearing this, and only this, you know, like one of Jack’s French girls (Get the Titanic reference? No? Right…awkward).

15. Little Black Dress 

new york tourist clothes

When trying to figure out what to wear in New York City:

A women’s travel dresse is always an ABSOLUTE must!

Not only are they easy to pack, but they always make you look and feel AMAZING (like you tried to look good without actually doing anything).

This dress happens to be a  Boatneck Sleeveless Vintage Tea Dress  from one of my favorite designers on Amazon, Grace Karin.

I love their dresses (I have a dress with a short sleeve black top and a white bottom with lemons that I get a ton of compliments on) since they’re high-quality, last forever, true to size, come in any pattern/color imaginable, are reasonably priced at $30 a dress, and hide any bodily imperfections with the help of a pair of   Spanx .

This dress is made of some mystery, magic material that is wrinkle resistant, which is essential for me since I don’t think I’ve ever used an iron in my life.

Just a truly timeless look that might even make someone like Grace Kelly go a bit weak in the knees.

Also, a fantastic piece if you’re planning a fab night out in NYC and want to dress up a bit for a Broadway show (FYI: You can dress up for a Broadway show if you like but you definitely don’t have to. No joke, you could literally wear sweatpants and no one would care. Also, before you purchase Broadway tickets, find out how to get them for half price! )

16. Tide to Go

new york tourist clothes

Since I am a total, un-hot travel mess:

Tide to Go is a total MUST since I’m always spilling something all over myself.

While I can’t save myself from acute spillage of the least attractive kind, I can do a little incognito damage control by whipping out this little cleaning wand of wonder to dab away any evidence of my incredibly un-dainty ways.

I’m a glorified walking disaster, but that doesn’t mean I wanna look like a bag lady while walking down the ever-posh streets of Manhattan.

That’s why I stick with this little miracle and pray for deliverance from my accident-prone ways.

And while we’re at it, add some Advil to your NYC packing list too.

There’s nothing worse than having a pounding headache from a debaucherous night before, with no relief in sight (except maybe a $10, mini-bottle of Advil that you’ll find at the airport).

17. Travel Insurance

Travel insurance is probably THE single most boring thing on the planet to talk about…except when you have a medical emergency and it saves you from a lifetime of debt to a foreign country.

In that instant:

We all want to profess our undying love for travel insurance and tell ignorant travelers about the beauty, wonder, and awe of this modern day mircale.

Or maybe that’s just me.

Hey, all I know is that when the proverbial doo doo (only pretend I said something far more severe) hits the fan, I never regret my decision to play it safe and purchase awesome travel insurance.

But I’ve been there.

I too have been tempted to save a few dollars (or yen, pounds, pesos, euros, etc.) by skipping the travel insurance.

As you get old, wise, and infirmed, you, and your dwindling bank account, quickly see the error of your ways.

So moral of this parent size lecture?

Always get travel insurance, even if it’s not from the company I recommend (COUGH… WORLD NOMADS TRAVEL INSURANCE  IS THE BEST). 

Why, you may wonder?

Well, as a veritable maven of travel mishaps, I’m the type of person who would trip over an escaped tiger and plummet down the side of a cliff, and end up in a full body cast, after a leisurely stroll through the woods. 

And while you probably aren’t an accident-prone disaster like me, you also probably aren’t a psychic who can predict exactly when you’ll need travel insurance.

That’s why you just need to suck it up, put your big girl panties on, and add travel insurance to your NYC packing list.

But what is the best travel insurance out there?

Personally, I LOVE World Nomads Travel Insurance! 

Not only do they cover you in almost any country that you might want to travel to, (besides SUPER offbeat places like Pakistan), but they also give you an amazing level of coverage, make it super easy to customize your plan, and even let you extend/change your policy while you’re still traveling,

Amazing no? 

But, out of the buffet of options available to you, how do you know what plan to get?

Easy! 

If all your gear is worth less than $1000, purchase the basic plan.

If you’re a travel blogger like me and carry a camera, laptop, tablet, and phone, all of which cost well over a $1000, then the explorer plan is the way to go since it will reimburse you for any gear that is lost or stolen (both offer emergency medical coverage of up to $100,000).

So, my fearless travel fam:

Go forth, buy travel insurance, and be the awesome traveler that I know you are.

18. Inflatable Neck Pillow

new york tourist clothes

I HATE sleeping on planes. It is literally the worst thing ever. 

I sit there, wide awake, plagued by a perpetual case of insomnia while everyone else is in a blissful slumber, quietly dreaming about our final destination. 

The only thing that makes the entire ordeal even slightly bareable is a neck pillow.

And my pillow of choice is the  inflatable daydreamer neck pillow.

Not only does it give me the neck support that I need to sleep on a plane, but it’s also easy to pack since it occupies a fraction of the space that a normal neck pillow does.

I just deflate it, roll it up, place it in my carry on, and marvel at the space I have for all of my other carry on essentials .

It even has a velvety soft exterior and a built-in air pump for easy inflation.

This little sleep-inducing marvel will help you get the rest you need while taking up minimal real estate in your carry on.

19.  Toiletries

new york tourist clothes

Discussing the finer points of toiletry packing doesn’t exactly make me tingle all over and want to frolic around in jubilee.

I also don’t want to have rats swooning at my feet because I smell like a trash heap while strolling through the streets of NYC.

We should probably discuss toiletries, at least briefly, so that you don’t forget anything ultra-important, like a toothbrush. 

But let’s be real:

You’ll need the same essentials that you would for any other trip around the globe.

Things like a brush, shampoo, conditioner, body wash, toothbrush, toothpaste, floss, deodorant, moisturiser, contact lens solution (if you wear contacts), medication, and any makeup or sanitary products that you can dream up.

If you do have a momentary memory lapse and forget something uber-important, no need for a post-apocalyptic meltdown since NYC has anything you could ever want.

In terms of toiletry bags, I usually just throw all my stuff in a ziplock bag and call it a day since I’m not super glam.

I recently decided to try and be a bit more organized and discovered this fantastic toiletry bag.

Not only does it come with a durable hanging hook that makes everything 10,000 times easier to find, but it also has a sturdy zipper, a breathable mesh pouch, a sturdy handle, and is big enough to hold almost every toiletry imaginable. 

It only costs $16 which is pretty perfect since no one wants to spend a year’s salary on a bag that will only ever sit inside their bathroom or luggage.

***Remember to pack sunscreen in the summer and chapstick in the winter so that your lips don’t shrivel up like the Sahara desert.***

20. A Nice Top

new york tourist clothes

The good thing about NYC is that you can wear pretty much anything and it’s totally okay.

Walk around with a bright, purple mohawk and no one will even look twice.

Rock a huge backpack, an I love NY shirt, white velcro sneakers, and a straw hat, all while carrying a selfie-stick and we’ll all know that you’re a tourist.

Dress to fit the vibe of NYC which is gritty, fast, and exciting. That’s why, I would rock something slightly edgy.

You don’t have to wear anything that has nipple holes and requires pasties, but something with a little extra spark that is still neutral enough to be worn with a jacket or a colorful scarf.

That’s why I love this top.

The unique design of the shoulder gives it a little extra something, but it’s also neutral enough to be worn with some awesome jewelry or a retro-chic jacket.

It’s super soft and loose enough to hide all of your wobbly bits, which I for one am a huge fan of.

And I mean really:

This shirt only costs a whopping $9, so how can you go wrong?

21. The Perfect Carry On Bag to Put Everything in!

Cabin Max makes one of my favorite carry on bags for women.

I have now had this bag for well over three years:

And besides some minor wear and tear, it’s still in great condition.

Not only is it 100% fully functional, but this bag has also survived my recent foray into digital nomad life for the past three months.

This really is the ONLY piece of luggage that I travel with, besides my day bag. So, you can just imagine how much  this bag has gone through.

What really makes this bag so special is the fact that not only is it light weight, durable (no holes in my bag yet), and made of water-resistant material, but it also has an awesome 44 L capacity, with 21″X 14″ X 9″ dimenions that meet the maximum carry on bag allowance for any IATA (International Air Transport Association) flight.

Truly the perfect bag for anyone who needs a place to store all of the items on their NYC packing list.

And if you’re looking for better backpack organization (a task that truly is impossible at best):

This bag has got you covered since there are three main zippered compartments, and two internal zippered compartments, that make the perfect place to store precious valuables like your wallet, keys, electronics, etc.

***If you want to be infinitely more organized than I can EVER hope to be, you can also add some packing cubes to your NYC packing list. I don’t think they’re essential but they do help keep your bag organized while you’re traveling.***

And all for just $44.95! Talk about B-A-N-A-N-A-S!

This bag also comes in a variety of colors and patterns that will appeal to even the quirkiest of travelers (and yes, I am 100% refering to myself).

One word of caution though:

Before purchasing this bag on Amazon, please note that not all the bags listed are actually the same size.

Yeah, some are actually bigger than others. That’s why:

If you are planning to do carry on only travel only to NYC, then definitely opt for the larger of the two bags.

***HOUSTON, WE HAVE A PROBLEM! Because while this guide on what to wear in NYC may be super useful, there are also a few things that you do NOT want topack for your trip to NYC. You know things like heavy books (that’s what your kindle is for), everything you own, an I Love NY T-Shirt, a drone (they’re basically banned throughout NYC), super uncomfortable shoes (trust me, you’ll be doing more walking than you EVER thought possible), and anything uber-valuable that might get lost, stolen or damaged.***

22. A Scarf (Pack a light scarf for the summer and a heavy scarf for the winter)

new york tourist clothes

Scarves are probably one of the best travel clothes for women EVER! I mean:

Not only are they small and incredibly easy to pack, but they keep you cool in the sun and warm on a chilly day.

They can give your outfit that perfect pop of color or add a bit of modesty if you’re entering a church like St. Patrick’s Cathedral.

And added bonus?

They never EVER make you feel fat!

If only all clothes were as delightfully wonderful as scarves.

And unlike hats:

Scarves don’t blow away in the wind, are easy to carry, and won’t get ruined if they get squished inside your bag. 

And this scarf? Yeah, it’s kind of sort of special.

Not only is it incredibly light-weight (well ventilated in the summer and warm in the winter), and available in a ton of fantastic colors, but it’s also elegant and long enough to be worn as a scarf, sarong, or headwrap; making this scarf a true carry on essential for any minimalist packer who doesn’t want to overpack! 

***PSST: If you’re not sure what to pack for New York City in the winter, then deifinitely check out this durable, heavy, and super warm, winter scarf for women . It’s a total steal at $20 and it’s super chic too! Also, if you’re NYC during the winter, don’t forget a nice pair of gloves (these gloves are doublely awesome because you can text in them too!), and a warm hat too!***

23. Sunglasses (Perfect for the WINTER and SUMMER)

new york tourist clothes

Whether you’re visiting New York City during the winter or summer: No New York City packing list would be complete without a chic pair of sunglasses to help you channel your inner Audrey Hepburn from Breakfast at Tiffany’s.

Because I don’t know about you but:

Nothing makes me look like a self-important, wannabe celebrity faster than a nifty pair of retro, polarized, black sunglasses.

I’m joking though because sunglasses really are the best.

Not only do they protect my light eyes from harmful UV rays, but they also make me look infinitely cooler than I actually am.

Aside from their amazing protective capabilities, sunglasses also expertly hide the luggage-size bags under my eyes that are the  not-so-lovely reminants of a night of debaucherous fun at one of NYC’s many epic, rooftop bars .

24. Shorts or a Skirt for the Summer

new york tourist clothes

While I do love a nice skirt ( this one is particulialry amazing since I’ve gotten about a million compliments on it): I tend to forget that I’m a lady and inadvertantly sit with my legs wide open at the most awkward of time. WHOOPS.

When deciding what to wear in New York City for the summer, I usually prefer a nice pair of shorts to a skirt any day.

And there really is nothing more classic, and comfortable, than a nice pair of Levi jean shorts.

Not only are they the perfect length:

But they also come in a variety of washes that are sure to satisfy a bunch of different personal styles.

 Added bonus?

They even come with this uber-comfortable, elastic waistband that makes them incredibly comfortable to wear, even after an impromptu, self-guided food tour through NYC .

Because yes, these shorts really are pajama level comfortable.

Plus, they’re even better than your typical jeggings since they have a built-in, control top waist that makes any potential muffin tops a thing of the past.

Hip hip hooray!

And unlike normal jeans, these shorts have a medium rise that sucks in your pouch but still gives you enough room to move around comfortably. 

And while they are incredibly strecthy:

They’re also made of a real, jean material and not some cheap AF jegging that everyone knows is fake.

Just an overall great pair of comfortable travel shorts that will cost you a mere $20!

Because let’s keep in NYC level real, who doesn’t love saving money?

25. A Microfiber Towel

new york tourist clothes

Who doesn’t want to picnic it up in one of NYC’s many fantastic green spaces?

Not only is it a great way to save money, but it’s also a fantastic way to experience NYC just like a local.

No one wants to worry about grass stains all over their butt after enjoying a nice picnic lunch in NYC’s immortal Central Park.

And that’s where this handy, microfiber towel comes in.

Not only is this towel enormous, but the microfiber practically dries instantly.

If you’re a super fancy person who books a hotel in NYC with a pool (or if you end up staying at a hostel that charges you to rent a towel), then you can easily use this towel to dry yourself off and still pack it up while its damp since you don;t have to worry about a thin layer of mold forming along the exterior.

Because yes, this towel really does dry THAT quickly!

It also comes with this super nifty, breathable storage bag that makes packing this towel in your carry on a total breeze.

26. A Travel First Aid Kit

new york tourist clothes

You know how mom and dad always INSIST that you buy travel insurance, even though you never actually use it?

And you know how it can be tempting to save money by NOT buying travel insurance?

A first aid kit is kind of the same thing. Sure, it isn’t the sexiest thing on this list, but it’s super helpful when you are… trapped down a well (where’s Lassie)!

Just Kidding!

It’s infinitely more likely that you’ll get a blister or scrap your knee while biking through Central Park.

So, we’re  not talking Grey’s Anatomy level serious stuff here.

But a travel must have none the less because even though you probably won’t use your first aid kit, it’s still nice to have it if whoops, you accidently cut yourself while shaving.

Give this super nifty, super compact  first aid kit a try since I love it and use it on all my trips.

What to Wear in NYC: Winter Packing List

The winter season in New York City is cold, with daily highs of 44 degrees (on a good day) and lows of 25 degrees, between the months of December and February.

Also be aware of the fact that:

NYC can be quite wet during this time of year, with eight days out of every month typically receiving rain or snow.

That is only a guideline. Do yourself a favor and ALWAYS check the weather forecast before you arrive.

Not only can the weather be warmer than you think (one Christmas it was 70!), but you also don’t want to pack knee-high snow boots if you don’t have to; which is exactly what you’ll need on a snowy day in NYC since the slush puddles here are MASSIVE.

  • Heavy Down Jacket that is waterproof (lighter winter jacket if it’s not frigid)
  • High Snow Boots (or waterproof boots if the weather is dry)
  • Comfortable and Fashionable Slip-on-Sneakers (1)
  • Dark Jeans (1)
  • Cardigan (1)
  • Stylish Sweater Dress (1)
  • Fashionable Leggings (2)
  • Long Sleeve Shirts (4)
  • Underwear (7)
  • Comfortable Sleep Clothes (1)
  • Hat (1) Gloves (1) and Scarf (1) (NYC is known to be windy and cold in the winter.
  • Camera Gear
  • Electronics

What to Wear in NYC: Fall Packing List

Fall is a beautiful time to visit New York City.

Not only are the summer crowds gone and the hotel prices cheaper, but the weather is less hot and humid, making it easier to walk around the city.

Additionally:

Once the cool, crisp air rolls in, leaves all over the city begin to change and develop exquisite, vibrant colors that are a wonder to see.

If you’re planning to visit NYC during the fall season, between the months of September and November, expect daily highs of 65 degrees and daily lows of 42 degrees, with sometimes cold and blustery days.

You may also encounter some rain, or snow, since it typically rains seven days out of every month.

  • Raincoat (1) or a Heavy Jacket (1) if the forecast calls for cold weather
  • Scarf, hat, and gloves (1 of each) if the weather looks cold
  • Ankle Boots (1) or snowboots (1) if snow is in the forecast
  • Fashionable Slip-on-Sneakers (1)
  • Stylish Dress (1)
  • Long Sleeve Shirts (2)
  • Short Sleeve Shirts (2)

What to Wear in NYC: Spring Packing List

Unless you’re an allergy sufferer, spring is a fantastic time to visit NYC.

Not only are all of the flowers in bloom, but between March and May, temperatures are gradually warming up.

Expect longer days with average highs of 65 degrees and average lows of 40 degrees.

Also add vibrant, floral patterns to neutral clothing to better fit the overall aesthetic of the season.

  • Fashionavle Leggings (2)
  • Raincoat (1) or umbrella (1) or Jacket (1)
  • Comfortable Ballet Flats (1)

What to Wear in NYC: Summer Packing List

One word: Air-conditioning.

Travel to New York City during the summer and air-conditioning will be your new best friend since NYC is notoriously hot, humid, and disgusting throughout the summer.

Throw in huge crowds and high, peak-season prices and you’ll understand why summer is my least favorite time of year to visit NYC.

Pack light clothing, in colors that repel the sun (like white), as well as sunscreen and a sunhat since average highs are 85 degrees and average lows, are 68 degrees between the months of June and August.

***Also pack a heavy sweatshirt or sweater since every indoor space in NYC cranks up the AC to temperatures that are beyond frigid.***

  • Sleeveless Shirts (2)
  • Summer Dresses (2)
  • Long Skirts (2)
  • Sunglasses (1)
  • Light Rain Jacket (1)
  • Heavy sweatshirt or sweater (1)
  • Comfortable Sandals with a back (1)
  • Swimsuit (if you plan to visit the beach)

PRINT OUT YOUR FREE NYC PACKING LIST RIGHT NOW!

Don't forget a thing and print a free guide on what to wear in New York City!

Huzah! You made it to the end! 

I don’t know whether to laugh, cry, or squeeze the life out of you (from pure joy) since you made it to the end of my epic post on what to wear in new york city, but regardless of my inability to ever be concise, i hope you now understand exactly what to wear in nyc if you want to be both stylish and comfortable., a nd if   you’re even slightly intrigued by this guide on what to pack for nyc, then pin this now and read it again later.

Not sure what to wear on your next trip to New York City? Then check out this ultimate packing list for NYC, filled with essential packing tips and tricks, from a local, that you'll need to help you create NYC outfits that are perfect for every season. #NYCOutfits #NYCTravel #RNYCGuide #NYCOutfits #NYCPackingGuide

Soumya Gayatri

Wednesday 16th of October 2019

This NYC packing list is so helpful. While traveling I often wonder what to take and what not to. Having a destination-specific list is just so wonderful. I would love to get one of those camera bags. And that Tide to go thing is wonderful. Will pack them next time

Excellent read! Informative with a great sense of humor! Loved reading, kept me interested!

girlwiththepassport

Oh so happy to hear that! Thank you so much for reading!

Tuesday 15th of October 2019

What a great list! Love all the suggestions. Also, I need that off-the-shoulder shirt.

so glad to hear and totally agree!

Retha the Roaming Nanny

I didn’t think of some of the things on this list. I’ll probably get that bag, love the dual function as a backpack and purse. And thanks for the packing list!

Thanks so much and so glad you found it helpful. I love that aspect of the bag too! If only it were a smidge bigger!

Mary Meenan

Clothing in NYC is mostly black

So true! New Yorkers love their black!

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Where to Go Shopping in NYC: Our 20 Picks

By Andrea Whittle

Where to Go Shopping in NYC

In an era when pretty much anything can be two-day-shipped to your house and high streets in major cities around the world are lined with a lot of the same storefronts, the point of shopping IRL seems increasingly moot. But once in a while, you walk into a store that feels like a genuine discovery, where browsing the shelves and racks stocked with things you can’t find anywhere else is an activity in itself. Beyond the Zara-fied scrums of Soho and 5th Avenue, New York City is still filled with these kinds of places—in fact, we could go on forever listing hundreds of niche shops, from a showroom that specializes in animal skulls to an emporium devoted entirely to high-end buttons. But here, we tried to distill it down to an array of stores that have a distinctively New York identity, where you’ll find exciting clothes, gifts and decor by independent designers (plus a few wild cards, like an old school Upper East Side pharmacy and a beloved Tribeca party store). Here, our take on the best shopping in New York City.

ABC Carpet  Home

ABC Carpet & Home Arrow

ABC Carpet & Home is first and foremost a furniture showroom and rug store. But the shop also stocks original decor and accessories from around the world, hippie-chic fine jewelry, and luxury bath and beauty products with a wellness bent. Unless you're looking to furnish your home, stick to the main floor, where you'll find a trove of jewelry, candles, tabletop wares, objets d'art, and apothecary items. Bed linens, bath towels, and throw pillows upholstered in fringed velvet and intricate embroidery are on the basement level. And if you get hungry, three onsite restaurants, Abc Kitchen, Abc Cocina, and Abcv, all from by Jean-Georges Vongerichten, are destinations in themselves.

Bird Brooklyn

Bird, a cozy, multi-brand women's boutique beloved by trendy Brooklyn moms, is known for its cheerful selection of goods from indie designers. You'll find the latest bags and ready-to-wear from Mansur Gavriel, block-heeled boots and sandals, whatever this year's trendy statement coat is, pleated separates by Issey Miyake, and lots of flowy, printed dresses from No.6 and Rachel Comey. Don't miss the delicately painted and gilded ceramic cups and bowls by Suzanne Sullivan.

New York City Shopping Roman and Williams Guild

Roman and Williams Guild Arrow

Roman and Williams Guild, a furniture showroom, café, florist, and home decor shop in one, is the first retail outpost from architecture firm Roman and Williams (the team behind oft-instagrammed restaurant and hotel interiors like Le Coucou and the Freehand). Basically, if you've ever eaten or spent the night in one of the firm's spaces and thought to yourself, "I'd like my house to be more like this," this is the store for you. If you stop in, take a moment to run your hands over the sheepskins draped over the display beds in the back, and to smell the in-house scented candles.

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Zitomer Arrow

Zitomer is the ultimate version of a uniquely Manhattan phenomenon: The fancy, retro pharmacy where you can get your prescriptions filled but also easily drop $600 on velvet headbands. This wacky three-story storefront on Madison Avenue is a microcosm of everything that's simultaneously appealing and vexatious about the Upper East Side. You'll find lots of old-school hair accessories, fancy European toothpaste, an extensive lineup of bath and body products from Molton Brown and Kiehl's, decorative compact mirrors, and zip pouches that say things like "But First, Xanax."

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New York City Shopping Artists and Fleas

Artists & Fleas Arrow

Artists & Fleas permanent set up in Soho (there is also a weekends-only marketplace in Williamsburg) is a great place to pick up souvenirs made by local artisans. The booths are run by young entrepreneurial types selling original, relatively inexpensive jewelry, decor, or Brooklyn-y souvenirs, like cheeky, screen-printed T-shirts or soy-wax candles. There's also a solid vintage selection, with permanent booths like Thriftwares selling on-trend bags and out-there dresses.

New York City Shopping No. 6

No. 6 Arrow

If you were asked to describe the platonic ideal of an indie designer boutique, you'd get pretty close to No.6. Racks filled with drapey, delicately ruched, and patterned clothes rub elbows with pots of meandering ivy in a white-walled room filled with natural light. Alongside a house line, the shop stocks clothes and accessories from other like-minded designers: raffia tote bags by Karakoram and swingy printed dresses by Atelier Delphine. But No.6 is best known for its wooden-heeled clogs, which have become a calling card for certain Brooklyn creatives.

New York City Shopping Coming Soon

Coming Soon Arrow

In a world where contemporary high-end homeware stores range from aggressively minimalist to downright somber, Coming Soon, a Lower East Side shop, is a jam-packed, Technicolor breath of fresh air. You could walk in, close your eyes, spin around and point, and you'd land on a perfectly original gift every time. It's fresh, cheeky, and cheerful, with a lot of stuff you didn't even know you needed, but once you've seen it, you absolutely have to have.

John Derian Company Arrow

John Derian Company, an East Village home decor brand, is a maximalist fantasyland filled with delightful, strange, wonderful things, from cake-shaped candles and plush velvet turtles to 19th-century French market baskets. The block feels like a mini fiefdom of shops, with the original store, a furniture showroom, and a dry goods shop. Alongside Derian's own charming decoupage paperweights and decorative dishes, the main store stocks marbled ceramics and incense by Astier de Villatte, kooky Italian candles shaped like frosted layer cakes or wheels of cheese, and matchboxes too pretty to keep hidden in a drawer.

New York City Shopping Opening Ceremony

Opening Ceremony Arrow

Opening Ceremony has been one of the city's most consistent arbiters of cool since it opened in 2002. Stocked with clothes and accessories that are colorful, often funky, occasionally over-the-top, and edgy—but never self-serious—it's partially responsible for the transformation of Howard Street into a Murderers' Row of indie designer boutiques; in fact, some people jokingly refer to the area as "Clout Alley." In short: it's the epitome of Downtown cool. (P.S. Make sure to check out the basement—that's where all the shoes and sale merch live.)

New York City Shopping Warm

As its name suggests, Warm stocks clothes made for hot weather, books and decor meant to cozy with at home, and products and candles that smell like a day at the beach. The overall vibe is summery and downright celebratory, a riot of bright colors, punchy patterns, and plush textures. You'll find flowy, bohemian resort wear that reads as California fancy; on the racks, jeans by Re/Done hang next to cashmere wrap cardigans by Ryan Roche and maxi dresses by Raquel Allegra. On the tables, smudge sticks share space with Wary Meyers candles.

New York City Shopping EAT Gifts

E.A.T. Gifts Arrow

At E.A.T. Gifts, a quirky gift and party-supplies store, you'll find stylish greeting cards, miniature dachshund figurines, pillows shaped like sushi rolls, and lots of novelty mugs, cosmetic pouches, and stationery. A good portion of the shop gets changed around depending on the upcoming holiday—they're particularly good around Valentine's Day, when you can pick up hand-packed sacks of tinfoil-wrapped chocolate hearts, or Christmas, when they stock delicate German glass ornaments and beautiful wrapping paper. Make sure you look up and down: Shelves are stocked floor-to-ceiling with a dizzying variety of stuff.

Maryam Nassir Zadeh Arrow

There are plenty of painfully hip, but ultimately mediocre, boutiques on the Lower East Side. This is not one of them. The overall vibe at Maryam Nassir Zadeh is meditative, studied, and genuinely cool. Just perusing the racks of the airy shop on Norfolk street yields some genuine fashion revelations, ones gleaned from Zadeh's own elegantly spare collection and other, lesser-known designers like Prisca Vera and Bless. Don't leave without trying on the ballet flats.

Clothing in Dover Street Market New York

Dover Street Market New York Arrow

Dover Street is more than just a luxury department store; it’s a fashion-meets-art exhibition space. Featured designers configure their own display areas, allowing the shopper to interact with the clothes in a holistic manner that takes you inside the designer’s world—as opposed to just picking through dresses hanging on a metal rack. Also don’t miss the ground-floor café, Rose Bakery.

New York City Shopping Totokaelo

Totokaelo Arrow

Originally based in Seattle, Totokaelo brought its unique approach to multi-brand retail to Soho in 2015. Somewhere between indie boutique and designer department store, the shop stocks clothing, accessories, and home decor with a distinctively modern, highbrow point of view. Dresses by Zero + Maria Cornejo and Collina Strada share space with Noguchi lamps and ceramics, which look like they came straight out of a Morandi painting. The whole place, in fact, feels like an art gallery. Don't leave without admiring the avant garde shoe collection.

New York City Shopping Housing Works

Housing Works Soho Thrift Shop Arrow

The Soho location of Housing Works, a beloved local thrift chainlet (there are other outposts Uptown, in Chelsea, and in Park Slope) is where you have the best chance of finding real bargain treasure. Like any thrift store, there's plenty of stuff that ranges from just OK to downright junky, but the shop is also known as a dumping ground for local fashionistas who are trying to make space in their closets. So you just might find a pair of good-as-new Maryam Nassir Zadeh mules, or a faux fur teddy coat. Remember: Take your time, and don't be disappointed if you don't find anything on your first visit.

Balloon Saloon

Balloon Saloon Arrow

If you're walking down West Broadway, the array of gigantic pool floats—shaped like doughnuts, stacks of dollar bills, slices of pizza, and emojis—hanging from the awning make the aptly named Balloon Saloon impossible to miss. But the balloons are just the beginning. Inside, the shop is stocked floor-to-ceiling with gifts, fun toys, and wildly original party supplies, including ladybug-shaped piñatas, candy cigarettes, Groucho Marx glasses, jokey picture books, Spiderman toys, raffia party hats, and silly birthday cards.

Blue Tree Arrow

Blue Tree is wonderfully impossible to categorize. Calling it a gift shop would cheapen it, but that's sort of the function it serves for the neighborhood—a place to buy thoughtful, unique presents that you really won't find anywhere else. In front, cases filled with obscure, decadent jewelry line the walls. Toward the back, you'll find everything from whisper-thin cashmere shawls, fig-scented Sicilian soaps, cheeky novelty socks, hourglasses filled with neon sand, luxurious flannel PJs, and notebooks wrapped in marbled paper.

New York City Shopping Rachel Comey

Rachel Comey Arrow

Slightly hidden from the Soho fray on an unassuming stretch of Crosby Street, the Rachel Comey boutique feels like an oasis. Comey's clothing is thoughtful and feminine but never prissy, beautifully cut, and texturally sumptuous. And the store itself is stunning: pebbled concrete floors, low-slung leather seating, and fitting rooms that look like they belong in a Milanese palazzo—a Milanese palazzo that got a particularly good mid-century renovation. If you're looking for a show-stopping party look, you've come to the right place.

New York City Shopping Bergdorf Goodman

Bergdorf Goodman Arrow

Of all the famous New York City department stores, Bergdorf Goodman is arguably the most iconic. And unlike some of its peers, it delivers on the promise of serious luxury and old-school glamour. You may not discover any cutting-edge young designers here, but you'll get a kick out of the whole experience: Bags and jewelry are displayed like works of art, the beauty department is a treasure trove of scent and color, and some would describe a visit to the shoe salon as a quasi-religious experience. It's not entirely Manolos and Oscar de la Renta cocktail dresses though (but mostly it is), lower-priced contemporary collections, like Ganni and Etoile Isabel Marant, on the fifth floor

New York City Shopping Amarcord Vintage Fashion

Amarcord Vintage Fashion Arrow

Amarcord Vintage Fashion is one of the city's best vintage stores, with a selection that skews more toward high-end designers than it does thrifty treasures. The shop has a sleek, curated vibe, with racks organized vaguely by color and bags and jewelry on display in the back. This store is all about iconic stuff from big names: classic printed Pucci scarves, prim Gucci duffels from the Tom Ford era, and modish '60s Balenciaga accessories. After you've browsed the racks, make an appointment at the shop's nearby archive and showroom if you're a serious vintage hunter,.

The Ritz-Carlton New York, NoMad

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How to Pack & What to Wear in New York in Summer (NYC Summer Packing List)

In Guides , New York , See & Do by Sarah B July 28, 2023 Leave a Comment

Wondering what to wear in New York in summer? We got you. You’ve been planning for months — researching all of the best things to do in NYC during the summer , famous NYC foods to try , and fun-filled outdoor activities to fill your next trip to the Big Apple.

But even after you’ve bought your flight, stalked Resy night and day to snag that table at Carbone, and nabbed tickets to a Broadway show — one task remains packing. If you’re anything like me when I travel, you’ve left your New York summer packing list to the last minute, and are stressing over what to wear so that you don’t look like a tourist. 

The good news? As someone who has lived here for the better part of the last two decades, I can tell you firsthand: anything goes. New Yorkers wear anything and everything. Despite what you might have heard elsewhere , there is no such thing as looking like a tourist — unless, of course, you’re unprepared for the weather (or are blocking the sidewalk).

That’s where we come in –– we’re breaking down what to wear in NYC in summer so that you can feel prepared for any weather, activity, and occasion. Read on to organize your suitcase with ease and leave the hard decisions — like where to find the best New York pizza — for when you get here! Happy trails! 

Disclaimer: This post contains commissionable links.

New York’s Average Summer Weather

people buying ice cream from the ice cream truck at Domino Park in Brooklyn

While New York is still a place where you can experience all four seasons, summer has recently extended its stay from mid-May to as late as early October.

That said if you’re wondering what to put on your packing list for NYC in summer, the month of your trip matters.

If you’re headed to the city in May or June, the weather is likely to be warm (between 65-80ish degrees Fahrenheit) but midler than say, July/August, when walking around town is generally — I won’t sugarcoat it — a sweaty experience (between 70-95ish degrees Fahrenheit). September is also usually pretty warm, though generally less humid and breezier than the peak of summer (between 70-80ish degrees Fahrenheit). 

The best advice for what to wear in New York in summer is to be prepared with light (!) layers. While it’s unlikely you’ll need a really heavy sweatshirt (save for a rainy day in May or June), you’ll want to pack a few items that you can throw on while traversing between the effects of our urban heat island and the joy of indoor air conditioning. 

On a micro-level, plan your NYC packing list for summer to account for the neighborhoods you’ll be visiting. Midtown is full of tall skyscrapers that lock in the summer heat, while a stroll through the shaded trails of Central Park or by the Hudson River will feel noticeably cooler.

For this reason, your best bet is to have a few easily portable layers to take you from one activity to the next! 

New York Packing List for Summer

The go-tos for what to wear in nyc in summer.

couple-in-Times-Square-in-summer-in-NYC

Now, assuming that you’ve packed your own pajamas, undergarments, and toiletries (please choose your own adventure here!!) it’s time to break down what to wear in New York in summer . 

One thing I’ve learned about living in New York is that you are often out all day — if you’re hoping to see a lot of the city, it’s likely that you’ll be away from your hotel for at least half of the day.

Your New York packing list for summer should include clothes that can easily take you between brunch, a museum, a park stroll, a rooftop happy hour, and a Broadway show. 

My ten cents? The secret to your New York summer packing list is monochromatic, breathable sets — think cotton or linen pants/top sets , shorts and button-up shirts , or one-piece rompers and jumpsuits .

For a more casual New York City itinerary , bodysuits or t-shirts and jean shorts work well, while you may want to throw in a comfortable midi- or maxi-dress if you’re headed to something slightly more formal later on.

A bonus tip on the t-shirt front — a fun way to commemorate your trip and rock some New Yorker style is to buy some merch from your favorite local business. There are dozens of famous delis, bakeries, and bookshops ready and waiting! Not to mention we have some awesome vintage and thrift stores in NYC .

The good news about deciding what to wear in NYC in summer is that in general, New York is a more casual place in the warmer months — it’s simply too warm to be super gussied up. Unless you’re dining at a restaurant that demands suit jackets, it’s very likely that a day-to-night ensemble will work.

If you are making a pit stop to change before going out at night and want to wear a dress, the most used item in my NYC packing list for summer is the humble slip dress .

Dress it up with some jewelry or a comfortable block heel, or keep it casual with sneakers or flat sandals. If you prefer a pant look, try a wide-leg linen trouser or shorts with a crop tank or t-shirt!

The last step of your go-to look should be adding a light summer layer — while my jean jacket gets a ton of use between May and October, a light linen or cotton blazer , oversized button-up, or (very) lightweight sweater to throw on in air conditioning or if there is (hopefully) a light breeze at night. 

What To Wear When It’s Really, Really Hot in NYC 

view of Empire State Building from Domino Park in Williamsburg in the summer

“It’s ten-thousand degrees, and I don’t want to wear real clothes!” you cry. I hear you. While it’s fun to plan a few lewks in your packing list for NYC in summer, the reality is that there is a chance that you’ll be visiting the city when it feels a little bit like walking through a frying pan.

If you’re stressing out over your New York packing list for summer on the surface of the sun, we have the solution: chic activewear.

And by chic, I really mean whatever activewear you want to rock — when summer hits its peak here, New Yorkers are all united by the fact that we walk and take the subway and need to stay as cool as possible. And all of a sudden, we are all athletes! Ha. 

Personally, the invention of exercise dresses with built-in shorts has changed my life, but your New York summer packing list should include the activewear you like best — a great way to look put together in activewear is to rock a matching activewear set or the frequently- sported track short and a white t-shirt combination.

But in the end, I don’t want to be too prescriptive here — your New York packing list for summer should keep you feeling comfortable and confident above all else — it’s too hot to feel like you’re wearing something you’d never don otherwise. 

If things get really, really, really hot, you also have the option of checking out the city’s beaches . Throw a swimsuit in your suitcase for any impromptu trips to Coney Island or the Rockaways, and keep an eye out for sharks…

New York Summer Packing Accessories 

woman-sitting-on-a-bench-in-Brooklyn-looking-at-the-Manhattan-Bridge-in-NYC

If you’re wondering what to wear in NYC in summer, your accessories game is perhaps the most important of all.

First and foremost, let’s talk shoes — your NYC packing list for summer should always, always include sneakers. Sneakers are the lifeblood of New York City summers! We’re a city that never sleeps because we are walking around — a lot.

Sneaker culture is very strong in NYC, and while you can certainly take this opportunity to rock your most prized limited-edition Nike, any sneaker — from “Dad shoes”  to classic white Keds — will work for your packing list for NYC in summer along with any of the most comfortable walking shoes for travel . You’ll be on your feet more than you can imagine.

While you could likely get away with only packing a sneaker (save for dining somewhere super fancy!), you may also want to bring a few additional options. Sandals with straps are a great choice for walking around, because frankly, you don’t want your foot to slip out of a flip-flop and meet the not-exactly-clean sidewalks of the Big Apple.

If you want to dress things up, a loafer or a block heel work well, though I wouldn’t recommend wearing them if you’ll be out all day.

If the weather is a little cooler and you’re wondering what to wear in New York in summer that isn’t a sneaker, sandal, or loafer, a fun option is to try a combat boot to add a little edge to your look — however, they will take up a lot of room in your suitcase, so I’d advise not bringing them unless it looks temperate enough to wear them a few times! 

Your New York summer packing list should also include at least one hat — if you’re going to be out all day, you’ll want a little bit of built-in shade!

A baseball hat is not only an easy, timeless accessory, but it won’t take up a ton of space in your suitcase (after all, I’ve already advised you to bring lots of layers… which you’ll need room for). If baseball hats aren’t your thing, an easily foldable or packable sun hat works too!

Your packing list for NYC in summer should also include at least one set of sunglasses — though if you forget them, there are quite a few places to snag a new pair! 

While we’re at it, if you’re wondering what to wear in New York in summer, sunscreen should be at the top of your list. Even though you’re not (necessarily) sitting on the beach, walking around all day will certainly expose you to plenty of UV rays.

I’d recommend bringing some travel-sized spray or liquid sunscreen to apply at the beginning of the day and a handy sunscreen stick for reapplication. 

When it comes to bags, your New York summer packing list should include a few options. For day-to-night itineraries in more casual settings, a lightweight backpack is an excellent way to have everything you need for the day without sacrificing your shoulder to the cause.

If you are out for a shorter amount of time, a tote bag works well, too — New Yorkers love their tote bags, and there’s always the opportunity to pick up some merch from your favorite business, restaurant, or cultural institution! 

If you’re out for a shorter period of time or walking long distances and want to pack light, it’s helpful to stay hands-free by putting a crossbody purse or a crossbody belt bag on your NYC packing list for summer. Believe me, you don’t want to walk across the Brooklyn Bridge with a giant purse. 

When it comes to rain jackets and umbrellas, summer weather in New York can change quickly — I don’t recommend bringing anything too hefty on your NYC packing list for summer, but a small travel umbrella and a lightweight, foldable rain shell are great to keep in your bag if there’s any chance of rain. 

Given the heat, you’ll want to stay properly hydrated — and though you can certainly purchase water bottles out in the world, you will save money if you carry a water bottle .

After all, New York City tap water is some of the best in the country and many public institutions have water fountains! If you don’t want to haul a large reusable bottle around all day, a collapsible water bottle is a good option to stay cool and travel light. 

If there’s one accessory I’d recommend on your NYC packing list for summer above all else — it’s a portable phone charger . When you’re out all day, taking photos, and videos, and using GPS maps to navigate the city, your battery will drain fast.

Whether it’s a plug-in brick or a magnetic case attachment , a portable phone charger will save you time (you don’t want to waste precious vacation hours sitting by an outlet somewhere) and money (those portable chargers at souvenir shops are always overpriced!). 

Whether you have every minute planned or your only plan is to wander the grid, I hope that this list is a helpful starter for what to wear in New York in summer.

And regardless of whether you follow it to T, use some of it, or scoff, “that’s not what I want to wear at all”, I support you — after all, the most important part of dressing like a New Yorker is being yourself! 

Your NYC Summer Packing Checklist:

  • Linen Shorts
  • Linen Button-Up Shirts
  • Linen Trouser
  • Jean shorts
  • Jumpsuit/romper
  • Jean Jacket
  • Lightweight Sweater 
  • Button-Up Shirt 
  • Linen Blazer 
  • Exercise dress
  • Activewear sets 
  • Track shorts 
  • Sandals with straps
  • Block heel (optional)
  • Loafer (optional)
  • Combat boot (optional)
  • Baseball hat or sun hat
  • Cross-body purse
  • Cross-body belt bag
  • Small travel umbrella
  • Foldable Rain Shell/ Rain Jacket
  • Water Bottle 
  • Portable phone charger 

About Guest Author

Sarah Beling is a playwright, New Yorker, and passionate food enthusiast who is always looking for her next meal. You can find her in an NYC park, enjoying a chopped cheese sandwich and reading about NYC’s best new places to eat.

Enjoyed this guide for what to wear in New York in summer? Bookmark for later!

PSST…while you’re here. Do you need help planning your New York City trip? Check out a few of our helpful guides!

  • Best things to do in New York City
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NYC Packing List: Everything You Need to Bring to the Big Apple

Man setting a blue checked shirt into a suitcase that has a hat and assortment of other clothes and belongings

To combat being asked this question over and over again, I’ve devised the perfect NYC packing list. From the essentials to activity-specific belongings, use my list to gather everything you need for your trip to the Big Apple.

Growing up in Western Connecticut, I was fortunate to spend much of my childhood exploring New York City, which was only a short train ride away. As such, I’ve become the “ NYC expert ” among my friends who live in other states. Without fail, the first thing they always ask is “ What should I pack? ”

Begin With the Basics

Every reliable NYC packing list starts with a solid foundation: your clothes and toiletries .

However, before you begin organizing outfits for your trip, check the weather forecast . Since the North experiences the extremes of all four seasons, I recommend bringing layered clothing. A spring trip to NYC could mean anything from a sudden snow flurry to a sunny day in the mid-80s.

Related Post: The Most Festive Things to Do in New York City for Christmas

On the other end of the spectrum, if you plan to visit during the Christmas season , bring a warm coat, mittens, a hat, and a scarf—it’ll be super cold!

To build the perfect packing list for your vacation, start with these basic clothing items:

  • Undergarments
  • Layered Outfits
  • Comfortable Walking Shoes
  • T-Shirts/Blouses
  • Sweater or Sweatshirts
  • Jacket, appropriate for the season

Of course, personal toiletries are essential for all travel plans. If you should forget an item, call down to the front desk of your hotel for assistance.

Related Post: 3 Days in New York City This Fall

Or, go to one of the hundreds of Duane Reade convenience stores on virtually every block in NYC.

  • Toothbrush and Toothpaste
  • Eyewear Necessities
  • Hair Conditioner
  • Shaving Cream
  • Hairbrush/Comb
  • Hair Products
  • Personal Medicines
  • Moisturizer

Miscellaneous Travel Items

While clothing and toiletries are crucial for every NYC packing list, packing these miscellaneous items is your call.

Related Post: How to Visit New York City on a Budget

Many travelers find these items to be handy but they are not required packing.

  • Camera Batteries and/or Charger
  • Cell Phone Charger
  • Laptop and Charger
  • Hand Sanitizer
  • Book/Magazines
  • Neck Pillow
  • Printed Hotel Reservations
  • Printed Tour/Activity/Attraction Tickets
  • Travel Itinerary and Map

After you’ve packed the basics, it’s time to double-check that you have everything you need for your NYC vacation itinerary.

Packing Per Activity

Telling you that there is so much to do and see in New York City is the understatement of the year. Every time I visit I discover somewhere or something new.

Related Post: 45 Unbelievable Facts About New York City

First-time visitors tend to do these four activities:

Explore and Tour NYC

Get tickets to a broadway show, stroll through nyc museums, experience nyc’s outdoor adventures.

To craft your NYC packing list, select your activity from the list above.

In my opinion, one of the best ways to experience NYC is by walking around the five boroughs . Put on a pair of comfortable walking shoes, grab your camera, and explore!

Related Post: A Tourist’s Guide to Exploring the 5 Boroughs of NYC

Of course, for those less familiar with the Subway system and the city itself, there are hundreds of tours to help you get acquainted with NYC.

If you plan on touring NYC, bring along these items:

  • Comfortable Shoes
  • Weather Appropriate, Layered Attire
  • Light Jacket
  • Purse/Backpack
  • Extra Batteries/Charger
  • Refillable Water Bottle
  • Valid ID/Driver’s License
  • Map or GPS App
  • Loaded Metro Card

Should you choose to discover the beauty of the city on your own, make sure you have a thorough understanding of how to get around NYC .

Related Post: Your Must-Have Guide to Getting Around NYC

Taxis aren’t always the best method of transportation!

Close up photo of Elphaba from WICKED The Musical on Broadway in NYC, New York, USA

If you visit NYC, you have to see a Broadway show. Even if you’re not into musical theater, today’s lineup of shows includes something for everyone.

Related Post: Where to Eat Before a Broadway Show: 10 Places to Go

And, the excuse of expensive tickets is no longer valid. There are plenty of ways to find affordable Broadway show tickets.

Once you’ve selected your perfect show and secured tickets, make sure you pack the following:

  • Appropriate Attire
  • Printed Tickets
  • Purse/Wallet

A common misconception is that audience members must dress to the nines when seeing a Broadway show. While this is no longer the standard, you should look nice.

Related Post: NYC After Dark: The Top Things to Do in NYC at Night

I always recommend that audience members dress as though they are going to a nice restaurant. You don’t need to be fancy, just presentable.

Also, it is important to note what is not allowed inside NYC theaters.

The majority of theaters do not allow the use of cameras inside their theater and during performances for copyright and safety reasons. If you want a picture to commemorate your Broadway experience, take pictures of the marquee and stage ( if permitted ) before the show. Then, stand by the stage door after the show to grab a selfie with the cast!

Related Post: Using the NYC Subway Doesn’t Have to Be Scary

Remember that outside food and beverages are prohibited in all theaters. If you’re hungry, head over to the concessions stand before the show or during intermission.

From the Metropolitan Museum of Art to the American Museum of Natural History, NYC is home to a wide array of renowned museums. There is no limit to what you could learn while roaming the halls of these hallowed museums.

For a memorable museum experience, remember to add these items to your NYC packing list:

  • Weather Appropriate Attire
  • Printed Museum Tickets
  • Camera Batteries or Charger
  • Cell Phone and Charger

To ensure the safety of all guests, NYC museums may prohibit certain items from entering, such as selfie sticks. Before you embark on your day of museum hopping, double-check the rules and restrictions each museum may have.

Skated at Wollman Rink in NYC, New York

Although NYC may be a concrete jungle, tourists can still explore the great outdoors while visiting the city.

Related Post: How to Spend a Day in New York City with Kids

You can find everything from bike tours to amusement parks to jet skiing and kayaking in New York City.

Should you choose to add an outdoor adventure to your itinerary, bring these belongings with you:

  • Comfortable and Activity Appropriate Attire
  • Picnic Blanket

Your chosen activity operator may provide you with details about what to bring for your adventure. If so, refer to these suggestions when compiling your NYC packing list.

Related Post: Insider’s Guide to the Best Movie Tours

Create Your Own NYC Packing List

Once you’ve packed the essentials and accounted for your New York City travel plans, you’re all set to explore!

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Macy's Herald Square

Macy’s, established in 1858, is the Great American Department Store—an iconic retailing brand over 740 stores operating coast-to-coast and online. Macy's offers a first-class selection of top fashion brands including Ralph Lauren, Calvin Klein, Clinique, Estée Lauder & Levi’s®. In addition to shoes and clothing, Macy's has a wide variety of housewares, gifts and furniture in select stores.

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What’s Really Behind the ‘Mob Wife Aesthetic’?

A TikTok trend that’s about more than French manicures and furs, the look focuses on conspicuous signifiers of wealth earned outside the rule of law.

A man in a suit sits with his arm around the waist of a woman in a black dress. They are in a nightclub with four glasses of champagne on the table in front of them.

By Callie Holtermann

It’s not every day that Francis Ford Coppola deigns to weigh in on a TikTok trend.

But he made an exception for the so-called mob wife aesthetic — a louche amalgamation of fur coats, leather and leopard prints that are being presented on the platform as a kind of mafiosa cosplay.

In a recent Instagram post , Mr. Coppola, the director of “The Godfather,” compared the style to that of Connie Corleone, a character from the film portrayed by his sister, Talia Shire: “a sultry, delightful Italian princess.”

Hundreds of videos on the app show young women with no apparent marital relationship to organized crime trying on their own approximations of the look, which usually involve heavy jewelry and heavier eyeliner.

TikTok churns out a new reigning “aesthetic” every few months, and they vary widely in their real-world influence on offscreen dress. So what is actually powering this newly popular glamorization of outlaw-adjacent women?

@thesweetpaisana How to dress like a mob wife (in the style of how to dress like you’re from the lower east side) yes this is satire (kind of) use this sound to show me your mob wife style! #mobwife #mobwives #italiangirl #italianamerican #italianamericansbelike #fashiontiktok #mobwifewinter #fyp ♬ Mob Wife Energy Activate - The Sweet Paisana

What is the ‘mob wife aesthetic’?

The most basic version involves throwing a fur coat — real or faux — over an all-black outfit. But according to its proponents, the look is nothing without the attitude to go with it. Careful students of the mob wife oeuvre add red nails and lipstick, a high-volume hairdo and sunglasses big enough to function as a kind of windshield.

“It’s expressive, it’s bold, it’s unapologetic,” said Sarah Arcuri, 29, who lives in New Jersey and calls herself the “Mob Wife Aesthetic CEO” on TikTok. She has been dressing that way since high school, she said, inspired by the flashily dressed women in her Italian American family as well as the reality shows “Mob Wives” and “The Real Housewives of New Jersey.”

Ms. Arcuri has been posting about the mob wife look since 2022, but interest in the trend did not surge until the beginning of this month. Its fans coalesced around a snippet of audio posted by Kayla Trivieri that has since been used as the soundtrack to more than 2,000 other videos.

Uh, give me some examples.

TikTokers are mostly reaching for examples of fictional mob wives (and girlfriends) like Carmela Soprano, Edie Falco’s character on the HBO series “The Sopranos.” Users on the app are lip-syncing to scenes of her arguments with Tony Soprano (James Gandolfini) and circulating images of Ms. Falco with French tips and big hair. Others point to her “Sopranos” co-star Drea de Matteo, playing Adriana La Cerva, and Lorraine Bracco’s character in “Goodfellas,” Karen Hill.

Where is this coming from?

Speaking of “The Sopranos,” plenty of users on the app believe that the trend was planted by HBO to coincide with its extensive promotion efforts for the 25th anniversary of the show’s debut. In a statement, Jason Mulderig, a spokesman for HBO, called the trend “a testament to ‘The Sopranos’ and its enduring impact on culture” — but did not cop to creating it.

Ms. Arcuri and others see TikTok’s preoccupation with mob wives as a reaction to the minimalist perfection sometimes advanced on visual social media platforms. Last year there was a “clean girl aesthetic” (think: beige pullovers, tidy updos) and “ stealth wealth ,” which prioritized subtle signifiers of wealth.

Sorry, but, is this real?

Typically, TikTok’s “aesthetic” trends go something like this: Identify a long-established style (wealthy older women wearing cardigans, for example) and give it a catchy new label ( Coastal Grandmothers! ). In this case, there are plenty of people who dress in the style captured by “The Sopranos” 25 years ago — some of whom are speaking up about their look being repackaged into a “trend.” It remains to be seen how many people outside that demographic will start dressing this way because they happened to see it on TikTok.

Is there deeper meaning?

Like the clean girl and stealth wealth aesthetics, the mob wife look focuses on conspicuous signifiers of wealth, but this time it’s of those usually associated with the nouveau riche. And specifically those whose wealth was earned outside the rule of law.

In most popular depictions, from “The Sopranos” to Lil’ Kim , even when she’s powerful herself, the mob wife is an accessory to a more powerful man — her sex appeal, beauty and style reflect his power back to him. What the mob wife knows or doesn’t know about her own situation creates her dramatic appeal: Is she clueless, holding no actual power in the illicit realm of her husband? Or is she savvy, looking away while enjoying his money? Regardless, in exchange for her silence, she gets to go shopping.

“In order to be in that lifestyle, as we’ve seen from movies and shows, you have to have a certain toughness to you,” Ms. Arcuri said. “They can wear what they want and get away with it.”

Someone must be complaining about this.

Ms. Arcuri said she disagreed with critics who say the trend glamorizes an association with organized crime. And for every influencer currently ordering a fur coat, other TikTok users are saying that these trends increasingly feel manufactured and meaningless. “There is a little bit of aesthetic fatigue on social media,” she added. “Every little microtrend is labeled.”

Each of those labels functions as an opportunity for influencers, brands and, yes, media outlets to hop on a trend and direct it to their own ends. Those seeking to get mob wife look may have to pay for it: A box of “mystery” items of secondhand mob wife apparel is already for sale on Poshmark for nearly $200.

Callie Holtermann reports on style and pop culture for The Times. More about Callie Holtermann

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Mom, best-selling author’s simple laundry system combats the never-ending piles of dirty clothes.

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“Tell me you’re middle-aged without telling me you’re middle-aged,” Sally Hepworth begins her now-viral Instagram post.

She’s speaking about her revolutionary new laundry system, something that has both surprised her – “I have never been particularly good at domestic chores” – and her followers, who can’t seem to work out if they love it or hate it. 

Despite its polarising response, the  New York Times  bestselling author and mom-of-three swears by the simple approach to tackle the never-ending piles of dirty clothes in her household.

“It’s not fancy,” she admits, as it just requires regular laundry baskets .

But its simplicity is the very thing that makes it so easy for her kids to get involved – alleviating the stress of an otherwise overwhelming and thankless task. 

The simple laundry system that will reduce your mental load

Hepworth shared the divisive  photo  to her account, which showed five baskets lined up outside her laundry. 

Basically, each basket is labeled with the name of each family member, meaning everyone is responsible for their own laundry, from putting it in their basket to taking it back.

There is also a large navy basket on the left, the purpose of which will be explained soon…

Sally Hepworth pictured with her kids

“Here is my system,” she explains.

“1) I wash any clothes that arrive in the laundry. I do not collect clothes from bedroom floors or dirty clothes baskets, and I do not shout at the kids to bring me laundry. If they don’t put it in the laundry I don’t wash it.

2) I drop the clean laundry in the large blue basket pictured.

3) Everyone has their own basket with their name written on it in Sharpie. (Towels, tea towels and sheets have a separate basket, not pictured.) When a child requires clothes, they sift through the blue basket, find what is theirs, put it on, or (ideally) they fill their basket, take it upstairs, and bring it back down empty. The end.”

She then added a few notes, anticipating the many thousands of questions she would receive.

Five labeled laundry baskets lined up on wooden floor

  • They don’t fold anything. I don’t care.
  • The girls have drawers with stickers on them – undies, T-shirts, socks etc., so it’s easy for them to toss things in the right place, and then find them later.
  • If they have no clean clothes, they have to wear dirty ones. It’s not ideal but I’m a fan of natural consequences.
  • They’ve stopped asking me where stuff is. If they are looking for their blue T-shirt, they know it is on their floor or in the communal basket. If it’s not, their guess is as good as mine.
  • My friend Emily is having a panic attack right now at the thought of running her household like I run mine. (Emily never met a hospital corner she didn’t like).

Sally Hepworth

“This is genius”

The post has been liked nearly 2,000 times on Instagram and 53K times on Facebook.

And in the 12K+ comments, people praised the approach as a “genius” way to instill responsibility in kids.  

“Can I tell you how much joy this gave me? I’m a strong believer in natural consequences as well,” one wrote.

Another shared, “This is genius. My rule is if it’s on the floor, it doesn’t get washed. It must be in a laundry basket or hamper. Sports uniforms must be brought directly to the laundry room to get washed ASAP or else there’s no guarantee it’ll be clean for the next practice/game.”

And then this fan added, “Great system! Ours was similar — if they want it washed it’s their responsibility to get it to the laundry room for me to wash, or wash it on their own. Each folded their own stuff. I don’t mind doing laundry but I’m not hunting for it.”

However, a few parents said that the system could allow kids a shortcut to tidying their rooms. 

“Beware the child who cleans their room by placing all clothes regardless of clean or dirty in the laundry as a quick way of cleaning up. Also, they need to know that if you have worn an item that is not dirty, smelly or underwear it’s okay to wear it again!” one cautioned.

“Seems to overcomplicate a process rather than simplify it,” another said.

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Sally Hepworth pictured with her kids

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The Strategist Haul: What the Editors Bought in January

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If you follow our monthly feature “ Your Shopping Cart ,” you know we have some eerily good intel on what you all are buying, so we felt it was only fair that, as Strategist editors, we would turn the tables and highlight all the things we’ve been buying for ourselves. As you’ll notice, it’s both a blessing and a curse to be on staff at the Strategist; we’re picky, but sometimes we just have to get on with it. (It’s online-shopping expertise meets IRL needs.) Below, what we bought in January.

Emma Wartzman, kitchen and dining writer

Dieux Forever Eye Mask

I’ve been following Charlotte Palermino on Instagram for years and have learned so much about skin care from her. The products in her line, Dieux, have intrigued me for a while, but for some reason I never bought them — until a couple weeks ago, when I took the plunge on the reusable eye mask (which is on our Strategist Beauty 100 list ). I’ve been using it ever since and can truly feel the difference in absorption versus when I put on just my eye cream (the RoC one I use is also on that list, in case you’re curious). A very good $25 spent.

Danielapi Rib Piping Beanie

My mom’s birthday is in early January, and I gifted her this luxe — and very cute — cashmere beanie from one of her (and my) favorite shops in Los Angeles, Lost & Found. She picked it out (that’s usually how we do presents), and I can confirm that even without the element of surprise, it was a good buy: She says it’s soft as can be and warm (yes, L.A. gets cold at night in the winter) without being too heavy. It comes in other colors , too.

Ashley Wolfgang, newsletter editor

Baggu Medium Nylon Crescent Bag

This month, I finally caved and bought the Baggu Crescent Bag that I’ve been lusting over for over a year. I absolutely love it (but any purse that’s big enough to fit a hardcover book will always have my heart). Best of all? If you wander into an IRL Baggu store, you might still be able to snag a limited-edition Sandy Liang collab Crescent Bag, like I did.

Girlfriend Collective Compressive Pocket Leggings

I can never resist a Girlfriend Collective sale and bought a new pair of my favorite leggings in black. (I’m a huge matching-colored-set girl and somehow already owned every color but this neutral.) The Compressive Pocket Legging truly is my favorite to run in, and as someone who is quite short (I’m four-foot-eleven), the 23 ¾ inch inseam is PERFECT.

Jen Trolio, senior editor

Slippery Racer Happy Snowball Maker

I ordered this scissors-like chunk of plastic on a whim, and it brought my whole family so much delight during the recent stretch of cold weather that granted my kids multiple days off school. As long as you have decent packing snow to work with, you can make a whole pile of perfectly spherical snowballs in minutes, à la Buddy the Elf . My only regret is that I didn’t go for the three-pack .

Pocket Coffee Ferrero Piece Packs

I also went hard on Pocket Coffee and bought in bulk to get the best price per piece. I gave my brother two packs for his January birthday — he’s a personal trainer and loves them as a pre-workout treat-slash-boost. I’ll be gifting two more packs to my husband for Valentine’s Day . What happens to the final two packs is still TBD, but maybe (probably) they’ll just be for me.

Mondo Llama Create-Your-Own Valentine's Day Paper Character Platter Kit

Finally, I bought two of these DIY kits for my daughters — each one has enough supplies for ten cards. They were so excited to make valentines that they got right to work. The kits are totally sticker-based, so you don’t even have to get out the glue, and both girls made a stack of legitimately cute cards for all their school friends. They’re a nice departure from the licensed-character valentines we usually buy, and I think this is probably the earliest we’ve ever been done with the annual “sign a card for every classmate” project.

Rachael Griffiths, writer

Purifide Post Breakout Serum

Anyone following my acne saga will be pleased to hear I have (knock on wood) got new breakouts under control. Now, I’ve turned my attention to healing the scars from previous breakouts. I spotted this serum and liked the fact that it contained bakuchiol, a natural alternative to retinol (which I can’t use with my acne medication). It also claimed it could help brighten my overall complexion — and in the few weeks I’ve been using it, it has. I definitely notice my scars are lighter, smaller in appearance, and seem to be healing at a much quicker rate than before.

I’m With Sexy Baby Tee

I’m not sure love at first sight exists, but when my eyes fell on this particular baby tee, the urge for us to be together was overwhelming. I practically collect slogan baby tees (they have their own dedicated slot within my teeny-tiny London closet), and this one has taken pride of place at the top of the pile. It ticks all the boxes: fitted but not suffocating, and just opaque enough — which is perhaps ironic, given the slogan.

Brenley Goertzen, junior writer

Evob S-Shaped Hooks

My boyfriend and I share a very small closet in our bedroom, so I like to maximize my side by using these S-shaped hooks to hang up my pants that have belt loops. This is probably the fourth time I’ve repurchased this 20-pack; they make it so much easier to see what’s clean and ready to be worn. All you have to do is fold a pair of jeans in half and thread the hook through two loops and then hang them up. I also use them to hang purses and tote bags in our coat closet, and they even work for chunky statement necklaces and scarves.

Éterne Esme Maxi Cover Up

I also copped this gauzy cover-up skirt during 260 Sample Sale’s online Éterne sale (I’m leaving for a warm vacation and can’t resist a bargain). I got the brown shade, which is no longer available, but you can still buy the maxi sarong in black at SSense.

Winnie Yang, senior editor

Brio World Labyrinth with Extra Boards

We came across a delightful toy store when we were in Rome, and my 8-year-old was immediately drawn to this wooden labyrinth on display there. I made a mental note to get it for her birthday earlier this month, and she’s been playing with it in the weeks since we gave it to her.

Keens Women's Jasper Suede Sneakers

I’ve been looking for an everyday sneaker to replace the Vans I finally tossed and was influenced by fellow editor Simone, who I believe has these in the Silver Mink (I got the Cathay Spice/Orion Blue). As someone with wider feet and bunions, I like that the laces go all the way to the toes, for maximum adjustability.

Liza Corsillo, senior writer

Ikea Blasverk Table Lamp

My apartment does not have excellent lighting . And while I finally found a good solution for the hideous boob lights in the living room and the kitchen, my bedroom/WFH office, which gets plunged into darkness every day at 4:30 p.m., was still a problem — until I bought this lemon-yellow lamp from Ikea. It costs $18 and has a happy energy about it, so I didn’t spend much time thinking about the purchase. I’ve been pleasantly surprised by the warm glow it gives off and how easy it was to put together. It also doesn’t take up much space, so I can continue to cover my working space with 10,000 half-empty glasses and mugs.

Brodo Organic Chicken Bone Broth

When I first came home from the hospital with my son, fellow Strategist writer Lauren Ro gave me a postpartum care package that included a big tub of frozen Brodo bone broth. It was so delicious and cozy that I finished the whole thing in under a week. Now, a year later, I finally got around to buying more for myself. And because this box of six individually packaged eight-ounce pouches isn’t frozen, it’s much easier to use at a moment’s notice. I recently used it as a base for carrot soup, but I also enjoy drinking it hot out of a mug on cold mornings.

Jenna Milliner-Waddell, associate editor

Topicals Slick Salve Glossy Lip Balm

This is as great as everyone says it is. Never have I gone to sleep with any lip balm , gloss, mask, or even Vaseline and woke up with my lips still tacky and shiny, until now. It’s a bit sticky and sometimes too shiny for my liking, but I’m using it more as a treatment to heal my cracked lips. I’ve basically had a permanent divet in my lower lip due to extreme dryness for years, which only puffs up for an hour or two right after applying product, but with each use of the Slick Salve, I’m noticing it less and less.

Skims Cotton Jersey Cheeky Tanga

I caught the tail end of the last Skims sale, so I was only able to grab a few discounted items. Luckily, I had a gift card, which I decided to put toward a few of these. I’m trying to switch all my underwear over to cotton, and so far, I’ve found these to be very comfortable. They don’t ride up at all.

Ambar Pardilla, writer

Byredo Eyeshadow Palette

I have wanted Byredo’s mussel-shaped palette for over half a year now, even though I’m not usually one for eye shadow . I got it in the “ metal boots in the snow ” palette, with a very glittery silver and an iridescent green called “ground frost.” Each color is buildable and blendable (and there’s no need for a brush ). Really, the palette is a good way to play with different colors — all of them already go well together, so you can’t go wrong.

Hilary Reid, senior editor

J.Crew Cotton Turtleneck Sweater

I’ve been into J.Crew’s recent ’90s-catalogue-era-looking styles, and the black cotton turtleneck sweater I picked up this month feels straight out of a coastal scene from 1998. The knit is a sufficiently chunky weight for this winter’s weird weather, and the boxy, slightly longer cut is, dare I say, Toteme-esque.

Draper of Glastonbury Shearling Slippers

These were a birthday gift to myself, which I bought at Peress , a very fun slippers /lingerie/cashmere-socks store on the Upper East Side. They’re incredibly warm, and I find the low wedge heel kind of charming — I mean, there’s no reason why a practical shearling slipper needs to have a wedge, but why not?

Jeremy Rellosa, writer

Vintage Barbour Bedale Jacket

I’d been on the hunt for a vintage Bedale that was slightly worn — and this month, I finally found one online. It came perfectly worn-in and fit just right over my shoulders. I’ve used it a surprising amount this month here in New York, which has been cold and wet, but as someone who runs hot year-round, it’s a great outer layer , especially over a sweater. (Next month, I’m looking forward to rewaxing it!)

Candlefolk Hygge Candle

I received this candle as a gift for Christmas, and I liked it so much that I burned through it by the first week of January and had to restock. It has notes of cypress and mandarin that give off a warm, comforting, “hygge”-ish aroma. It’s the candle I’ll be burning in my apartment this winter.

The Strategist is designed to surface the most useful, expert recommendations for things to buy across the vast e-commerce landscape. Some of our latest conquests include the best acne treatments , rolling luggage , pillows for side sleepers , natural anxiety remedies , and bath towels . We update links when possible, but note that deals can expire and all prices are subject to change.

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