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New York City

NYC in January, good idea?

Update: I've booked my plain ticket! Thanks for your answers.


I'm planning a trip for January and I'm thinking of going to New York City. I've heard that it's really cold that time of the year and when there's snow, there's a lot of it. Has anyone been in New York in January, or once with such a lot amount of snow? Is it still fun to be there? I'm going there to explore the city vibe and the high lights you find in the books and to see one or more musicals. I will be traveling alone, so it's important for me to be able to reach the hostel when there is snow.  

Maybe it's important to know that I will go on a holiday in January, so if it won't be NYC, it will be another destination and I'll probably skip NYC for a couple of years.  


Thanks in advance!  



10 Answers

top answer by
Lola from Ireland

Hi, I lived in NYC for ten years. Don't skip it! It's a fabulous city even with snow. The weather is different every year so can't be spot on. I feel like February was colder but that could be just me :)

Don't forget to check a few sites not on books. High Line Park is a great park build on an old railroad track that ran in the city. It's up above ground so great views even in the cold weather. Visit the New York City Library in Bryant Park. It's gorgeous inside and you will enjoy wondering around. The Cloisters is a nice park which has a museum of medieval art. It's a bit further uptown but take a day and go. My favorite art is found at The Frick Collection. It's inside an old mansion and has beautiful pieces. At Chinatown New York, you will feel like you went to another place. Experience the shops and have a bite :) On a nice sunny day take the subway to Coney Island and walk the boardwalk. It's a classic NYC spot. DUMBO is a good spot to go shopping and for food. The location is very unique since part of it underneath the Manhattan Bridge. The Noguchi Museum in Queens is very nice and has a beautiful Japanese garden. Jackson Heights, NY is an interesting neighborhood that shows how NYC is a melting pot of cultures. Here you will find latino and south asian communities so you will feel like you traveled to another part of the world. Experience different cultures, shop and taste the flavor. The East Village and Lower East Side are great neighborhoods to wonder around...look for street art and take pictures. The Chelsea Market architecture is very interesting...check out the well inside. Little stands and shops make for an enjoyable experience.

I could go on but these are a few ideas! Have a great time :)

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. High Line Park (attraction)
  2. New York City Library (attraction)
  3. The Cloisters (attraction)
  4. The Frick Collection (attraction)
  5. Chinatown New York (neighborhood)
  6. Coney Island (attraction)
  7. DUMBO (attraction)
  8. The Noguchi Museum (attraction)
  9. Jackson Heights, NY (attraction)
  10. East Village (neighborhood)
  11. Lower East Side (attraction)
  12. Chelsea Market (attraction)
3 thanks

answered by
Jeff from Brooklyn, New York

It is difficult to predict snow storms in NYC.  For several years, we had almost no snow, and when it did fall, it quickly melted.

However so far this year the weather is warmer than usual.  Meteorologists have said this will be the case this year -- warmer than usual -- because the large Pacific El Nino is changing the weather pattern, and the entire NorthEast will be warmer and less snowy.

Whether you believe that or not, I encourage you to come.  Even if it does snow, unless it's a record blizzard, you will be able to do whatever you'd like, the subways will be running, taxis will be driving, etc.  

Plus in the rare event we do have a blizzard, you will find the city takes on a party atmosphere.  

So please come, and enjoy!!

1 thanks

answered by
Michelle from New York City

Hi Kim! Yes, in general we have a decent amount of snow in January, however it's very rare that there is so much snow that it prevents anyone from having fun. Maybe a foot or two, never as much as upstate. There are rare freak snow storms that pile it on, but it melts quickly because the city itself produces so much heat! If you're not driving, it's not a big deal. Just invest in some good waterproof snow boots and keep an eye on the weather. Also, it's worth noting that walking around the city while it's snowing is so magical, there are almost no words. :)

Have a blast! 

1 thanks

answered by
Scott from San Francisco

NYC is the greatest city on earth for a good reason, so go.  There's only one time of year I'd recommend avoiding and that's the peak of summer.  You can dress warm in the winter, but there's nothing to be done about the oppressive August heat and humidity - it's like walking out into a giant hot wet sponge.  So before leaving check the weather, pack warm clothes and boots if you need to, and have a great time.  The amount of snow just depends upon your luck and shouldn't be a deterrent.  Sometimes there's a lot of snow, and sometimes it's clear.  One thing to prepare for is wind, the buildings can create some fierce biting-cold wind tunnels, so bring appropriate clothes and you'll have a great time.  

1 thanks

answered first by
mikael from Saint Petersburg (Florida)

i have always found january to be the coldest month in New York City, the amount of snow depends on the year but this is new york and short of a major blizzard nothing slows new york down.

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. New York City (city)
1 thanks

answered by
Supun from Carson (California)

I was in NYC a couple years ago for a week during February. It does get pretty cold, but luckily we didn't have any big snow storms. We stayed at the Comfort Inn Midtown West. We only used it to sleep as we were out and about most of the days and nights. Even in the cold nights (I'm from California) I was amazed that so many people were out late and in a friendly mood in Hell's Kitchen--which is now an artsy/foodie area. It's also just a 15min walk for Times Square

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Comfort Inn Midtown West (hotel)
  2. Hell's Kitchen (attraction)
  3. Times Square (attraction)

answered by
Barbara from Cambridge (Massachusetts)

January has a promotion called Hotel Week, a number of hotels offer rooms for $100/night which is extremely cheap. You may enjoy it over a Hostel and you get to chose a good location. Look into getting a City Pass which offers most tourist attractions at a discount price. Depending on the weather, you can plan activities indoors if it is cold and snowy or go ice skating at Rockerfellow Center and walk around the neighborhoods on good days, i.e. Washington Square, art galleries in Chelsea etc. A hat,scarf, and gloves are a must. Have a great trip

answered by
Sean from Hudson Valley

Hi Kim.

The answer to your question is, it depends.  I've seen many years where there has been little, or no snow at all.  Then again, I've see the city paralized be snow.  In the past few years, however, there has been more snow in the Mid Atlantic (D.C., northern Virgina, ect.) than there has been in New York.  The problem is, when it does snow they've got nowhere to put it.  So, you may not see snow hor blocks, only to suddenly be confronted with a mound of snow the size of a small house.

Either way, snow isn't the real problem.  What you need to look out for are icy spot on sidewalks.  Wear good, warm shoes, and watch your step.

The other problem is the wind.  New York isn't called the concrete canyon for nothing.  When the wind comes whipping between buildings it feels as if itcan could right through you.  So, although it's wise to dress warmly, you're better advised to dress as to block the wind.

answered by
Polly from Washington, DC

It can be bitterly cold, but January is a good time to visit because it's cheaper and there are fewer crowds. It's also a great month to spend time eating and going to museums and shows. Would not really recommend the High Line, Coney Island, or trudging across Central Park at this time of year, unless it's magically in the 50s, which happens on occasion - the end of January 2012 was balmy!

If it does snow, it gets cleared off the roads and sidewalks in Manhattan pretty quickly. (It was much easier living in Brooklyn during the winter than in my rural hometown.) A blizzard can slow things down, but for the most part, everything stays open anyway. My parents had to switch from taking the bus to taking the train to New York during a blizzard in 2010, but still got to see the show they had tickets for!

answered by
Nars from Boston

You may get lucky with little or no snow during your trip. I've been to NYC in Jan with no snow at all. Of course, if you are able to visit during other seasons, you can do lot more comfortably like taking long strolls in Central Park or window shop for hours on the 5th Ave. In all, New York City is an amazing city in all seasons.

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