New York Packing List (Winter Edition): What to Wear in New York in Winter

My first trip ever to New York City was in the winter. I had just finished my college applications and was going to New York with my dad to check out New York University (which I’d later end up attending) and Columbia University (which, LOL that I ever thought I could get in).

There are a few things I remember from that trip: staying in the world’s tiniest hotel room that my dad confided still cost a whopping $300 a night, being awed at the Columbia campus, and oh yea, the bitter f#(*ing cold. 

Growing up in California, I had no idea what to wear in New York in winter. I became obsessed with pea coats I saw on style blogs (because I was convinced that upon moving to NYC, I’d somehow become a fashion maven, even though nothing style-related ever came to me even remotely naturally back in California) and bought one to prepare for my trip.

Two years later, I’d relegate my Gossip Girl-esque pea coats to a garbage bag in the back of my closet and give them to Goodwill, having finally accepted that the only appropriate answer to “what should I wear in New York in winter?” is: everything (and then add a layer).

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Jokes aside, packing for New York in winter isn’t hard at all if you’re used to cold weather. If you come from a place where snow is both mesmerizing and terrifying, like I did growing up in California, you might need a little help.

After nine years of surviving brutal New York winters, I’ve prepared this New York packing list (winter edition) to help you get through the most ‘magical time of the year’ in the Big Apple.

Clothing That Should Be On Your New York Winter Packing List

There’s no need to buy an entirely new wardrobe to pack for a winter trip to New York, especially if you come from a place that already has harsh winters. This list may seem silly for people who live in, say, the Midwest or Canada. I’ve written this from the perspective of a Californian who was super taken aback by how cold New York winters could be.

I’ve outlined a few of my favorite NYC winter product necessities below, in case you are in need of cold weather clothing recommendations. If you already have all the cold weather gear you need, feel free to skip below, where you’ll find a more general New York packing list for winter.

Best Outerwear for New York in Winter

I told you my peacoat anecdote that started off this article for a reason: leave your cute jackets at home unless you check the weather right beforehand and are convinced you’ll be warm enough. Winter in New York varies greatly — I’ve seen December temperatures as high as 60°F / 16°C, and I’ve biked to work through polar vortexes in January as low as 2°F / -17°C. Climate change means that winter in New York – already capricious to being with – is volatile. So my biggest tip is to pack for the worst but hope for the best.

Realistically, a more average temperature range to help you with packing for New York in the winter months is around 32°F / 0°C, perhaps a few degrees warmer or colder.

I have two jackets that I recommend for New York winters: one thicker parka-style down jacket and one thin down jacket for layering.

My life in New York improved dramatically when I finally indulged in a proper winter jacket. I’m obsessed with this North Face parka and, while it’s pricy, it will last you a lifetime. North Face quite literally has a lifetime guarantee, which I tested when my zipper came unstitched after two years of heavy use, wearing it every day including when I was biking to work in the winter. North Face promptly fixed it up and sent it back as good as new.

I also use a small down jacket from UNIQLO – the Ultralight Down. (You can buy a knock-off version here). For me, it’s good for temperatures around  40°F / 5 °C and up. I also layer it underneath my North Face down parka on extremely cold winter days, or if I want to get away with wearing a cute coat that isn’t exactly winter-approved, like my leather jacket, I’ll wear it as a layer between my sweater and my cute jacket.

Best Shoes for New York Winters

Some people are really into snow boots and wear them all winter. Personally, I don’t really find snow boots necessary for New York. Yes, we get a few major snow storms in the winter, but they are few and far between. I find that having a proper pair of leather boots that are waterproof and have decent traction is perfectly fine for navigating New York sidewalks in the winter. I’ve occasionally used my Hunter rain boots on snowy winter days and while they are not the warmest, when they’re paired with some decent wool socks they do the trick as well.

I first bought a pair of Blondo waterproof leather boots in 2008… which means I’m celebrating my 10-year anniversary with them this year. (Is this my longest relationship?) I’ve only had to get them resoled once, which set me back about $60, but for a pair of shoes that I’m completely obsessed with and wear all the time, it was 100% worth it. It’s no wonder it made the cut for my favorite travel shoes.

It’s been literally a decade since I bought these boots, so I’m sure the original version I bought is no longer available, but these look exactly like the ones I have.  Even all these years later, they still make my list of favorite travel shoes!

Be sure to pair your winter boots with proper wool socks. No matter how insulated your shoe is, it won’t do much good if you are wearing thin, crappy cotton socks (another thing that took me several years to learn… why do I suck at winter so badly? Oh yeah, California). I invested in these Smartwool socks after much hemming and hawing about the price and I’m so glad I did. You don’t need that many pairs because you can actually re-wear them a few times before they get smelly because wool is so odor-absorbent and magical.

Accessories for New York in Winter

This is really what makes or breaks whatever you decide to wear in New York. As long as you have a hat, gloves, and scarf, you can almost get away with wearing whatever you want. (And with the right jacket, you kind of can).

In terms of a hat, I recommend wearing a tightly-knit hat that fits firmly on your head, covering your ears completely. Bonus points if it is lined with fleece! I lose my hats constantly so I go through several each winter, but I do recommend a beanie-style knit hat kind of like this one.

When it comes to gloves, you’re going to want something that is touchscreen compatible and warm, but you don’t need something waterproof or crazy high-tech. I recommend a simple pair of gloves like these ones. You’ll have your hands in your pockets most of the time anyway!

For scarves, I recommend the biggest, most wrappable scarf you can find. If you can tolerate wool (I can’t, except for socks, because of my ultra-sensitive skin), then get the wooliest monstrosity you can find. I tend to go for something huge, chunky, and made of acrylic which is easier on my skin. I prefer an infinity style knit scarf for winter that I can wear super tight around my neck to keep in as much warmth as possible.

Now, I’m going to let you in on my #1 secret weapon when it comes to what to wear in New York in winter… fleece lined leggings. These leggings are magic when it comes to surviving the New York winter. Again, if you can tolerate wool, you’ll probably be even warmer with something like these merino wool leggings. But since I can’t, I substitute fleece-lined leggings like these ones. On a cold day, I typically wear them underneath a pair of jeans and I am toasty warm all day long. I prefer the ones without feet because they sag less during the day.

I think that’s pretty much it in terms of accessories. If you get cold really easily, you may want to throw in some thermal tops to wear as a base layer as well. 32 Degrees (my preference) and UNIQLO make good ones.

Clothes to Wear in New York in Winter

If you’ve followed my advice up to this point — parka, fleece-lined leggings, all the winter accessories — you can actually get away with wearing pretty much whatever you want with them. I tend to choose a lot of sweater dresses because I am lazy when I travel and don’t like to pack a lot of different things that I have to mix and match. But you can also just wear jeans and sweaters on your trip so long as you have the appropriate winter accessories, shoes, and outerwear.

One big misconception about New York is that we wear all black all the time. While certainly you won’t look out of place in all black, New Yorkers also integrate a lot of color into their wardrobes, especially with their accessories, so don’t be afraid to wear whatever colors you normally would back home.

Here’s my basic New York packing list, winter edition (enough for 1 week):

What Else Should Be On Your Winter in New York Packing List?

Once you’ve figured out what to wear in New York in winter, I’ve got a few more things you should add to your NYC packing list. Some are NYC-specific but most are related to how you’d normally travel, anyway. New York has basically everything you need, so don’t be worried if you forget anything. There is a pharmacy on virtually every city block that will have everything you need. Just pop into a Duane Reade, Walgreen’s, CVS, Rite Aid… and you’ll be well-sorted (though you’ll pay a bit for the convenience).


  • Lip balm: Your lips will get more chapped in New York than you ever thought possible… going from the windy cold streets to the super-heated interiors will do a number on your lips. Be sure to bring a good quality lip balm with you – I love this Aquaphor.
  • High-quality moisturizer: For the same reason as above – New York winters will do a number on your skin. I use Shiseido moisturizer on my face most of the winter.
  • Sunscreen: Don’t discount the need for sunscreen even in the winter! New York is quite sunny in the winter (and cloudy days actually require SPF, too!) despite the cold so make sure you protect your skin. I use this fancy Japanese Biore sunscreen for my face as my skin is quite sensitive and acne-prone and this is really gentle on my skin
  • Hand sanitizer: New York is a dirty city – the subway in particular is a germ war zone. I recommend traveling with hand sanitizer for when you can’t get to a bathroom quickly and touch something questionable (which is basically any surface in the city). I carry a mini bottle of Purell like this one.
  • Kleenex
  • Everyday make-up
  • Basics like shampoo, body wash, etc.
  • Deodorant (please)
  • Prescription medicine, if you need it


  • High-powered portable battery pack: Your phone battery will get run down very quickly on a cold winter day in New York, so be sure to pack a portable battery charger like an Anker battery pack (this is what I swear by as a blogger who needs fully charged electronics at all times!)
  • Camera: I personally use a Sony A6000 mirrorless camera, which is the perfect travel camera for producing professional-quality photos without taking up much space or weighing too much. I have several lenses for it but most people will be fine with the kit lens. Be sure to pack several extra batteries as well, for the same reason as above (winter weather = zapped electronics)
  • Adaptor, if visiting internationally: If you are visiting from Europe or somewhere that uses different outlets than U.S. plugs, you’ll want an international adaptor for sure.
  • Phone and charger
  • Laptop or tablet and charger
  • Kindle, if you use one
  • Noise-canceling headphones, if you have them: For the subway, trust me.


  • Reusable water bottle: New York tap water is excellent quality. Save money and the environment with a reusable metal water bottle. Pretty much any café or restaurant will be happy to refill yours (I’ve never been turned down).
  • Reusable bags: The plastic bag ban is currently being battled in New York City, but please step ahead of the curve and bring your own reusable tote bags anyway.
  • Whatever else you’d normally pack for a week away from home!

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  1. This is an excellent list! I am a Floridian traveling to NY for a week in the winter and have NO clue what or how to pack for it. Thank you for all the great suggestions!

    1. No problem Jennifer! Coming from a warm state I had the same problem… hopefully, you learned from my mistakes and pack warmer than I did (or hopefully you get some freak nice weather — the weather in NYC is so unpredictable lately!). Have a blast! I have a few other NYC articles that may come in handy for your trip so feel free to browse around!

    2. Sorry don’t know how to get on to the comments page but could you tell me please, a girlfriend and I are going to New York for Christmas and New Year 2020 and what do we do with all the layers when we go into a shop or a restaurant! I really feel the cold but also feel that I would melt once in a heated place

  2. Thank you so much for taking the time to do this. I’m from Louisiana and my hubby and I will be taking our very first (long awaited for me) trip to the City in Dec. And look at you using Amazon. Love it!

    1. You’re welcome! I love Amazon – I miss it so much now that I live abroad and always go on a huge Amazon binge every time I’m back in the States. Have a great trip to New York! I have a bunch of posts on how to plan for New York including a super in-depth itinerary so feel free to look around!

  3. Thanks Allison, I will be going to NYC from sunny Australia so I had NO idea what to pack! This list is a life saver. Would be good to know what to wear when you go out in NYC at night? Like restaurants etc? Heeled boots? What type of jackets etc as I don’t want to wear a parka or down jacket everywhere!

    1. Hi Dee! I know the feeling! Heeled boots would be a great choice if it is cold but not icy. Otherwise, I’d opt for sleek, flat riding boots (similar to the Blondo ones I have above – they work really well for night as well as day. As for night, I typically do wear a parka everywhere and then just check it. But if you want, you could do a thin down jacket liner like a UNIQLO packable down jacket underneath a leather jacket, or that same down liner underneath a wool peacoat. I prefer the down jacket though as I love being warm!

  4. This information was so useful! I’ll ne traveling to New York in December and I’d rather be safe than sorry. I saw that the fleece leggings that you have posted are only 1 size. How well do they fit? Again thank you for your recommendations:)

    1. Hi Kimberly! Those aren’t the exact fleece leggings that I used (I bought ones from my old work at Anthropologie but they stopped selling those I think and now that I live in Europe I just buy whatever I can find now that Amazon isn’t as convenient as it was back in the States). I would guess they fit like a medium but I don’t have personal experience with those. TBH any fleece lined legging will do the trick so if you’re not sure on sizing I’d just pick another similar pair 🙂 Hope that helps!

      1. I m going in February I am going to a play and for a nice Valentines dinner. Suggestions for dressing up for dinner?

  5. THANK YOU for this post! I’m traveling to New York from Singapore in January. The coldest place I’ve been to is Southern Germany where it’s 2-4dC, so I’ve been nervous about what to pack for New York. You’re a lifesaver!

    1. So glad it was helpful! I can’t think of any winter more drastically different to NYC than Singapore, haha! And I thought it was tough coming from California. So glad this could come in handy for you!

    2. Hey! I am from Singapore too and I am going to NYC in late dec/early jan! So what did you end up packing in the end? Do you mind sharing? Thank you.

  6. Thank you so much for the list! I had no clue on what to wear during my 3-weeks visit to New York in December but now I feel reassured! My only worry is about shoes though. When it comes to Men’s boots, what would you recommend? Are Timberlands good enough?

    1. I think Timberlands would be perfectly fine. I’d buy some waterproofing spray if they aren’t already waterproof (have never used them so I’m not sure tbh) to ensure the snow/salt/ice won’t ruin them.

  7. This is awesome!! super helpful!! I’m hoping that floridas wet, humid, 52 degree cold will give me the upper hand on new yorks 32… we’ll see!

    1. It definitely will – wet and cold is way worse than just cold (though NYC can be soooo windy so be sure to bring hat/scarf combo to keep your head warm!) – you got this 🙂 It doesn’t get that bad until it’s around 20 or below.

  8. So glad I found this thank you Alison. We are going to NY for New Year and first week of Jan and coming from FL we don’t tolerate cold well. I love the fact you have the links. My amazon cart is full lol. Thanks again.

  9. Hi Allison!
    This list is a lifesaver! I’m going to NYC in January and I’m also coming from California (it’s been pretty warm lately). I was wondering if you think a regular sherpa/poly lined Parka would be fine, with a North Face or similar fleece jacket plus sweater layers underneath would be fine? I don’t have any down Parkas, heh.
    Thank you again for this post!!

    1. I think that would be fine, it’s all about layers, really! I would maybe add a thin down jacket lining like the one I listed – I got one at Uniqlo for $60 and it’s been super useful for the last few years of travel (I roll it up super tiny and can fit in a small outer pocket of my backpack – it rolls up to about the size of a small grapefruit. There are knockoff versions on Amazon that I listed that are closer to $20-25 if you don’t think you’ll need a parka. January is traditionally the coldest month in NYC so I’d add one more layer especially since down or imitation down liners are quite affordable. And if it does get freakishly cold for some reason you are in the shopping capital of the world 😛

  10. I am so happy I came across your list of recommendations! I am getting excited for my first trip to NYC!!! I am going in January;). Can’t wait!!!
    Thank you!

  11. This is the most comprehensive and practical guide I’ve seen – and I’ve looked all over. I’ll be in New York over Christmas and New-Year, it’ll be the coldest place I’ve ever traveled to, being a South African used to dry and warm highveld winters. What’s indoor situations like? As in how many layers stay on when you’re in a museum or mall?

    1. Thank you! I’m glad it was helpful! Unfortunately, indoors is totally in the opposite direction. A lot of buildings have old steam heat, which is unpredictable and usually way too hot. I used to work in a school with steam heat and no lie, I’d wear a sleeveless dress with my leggings, sweaters, boots and parkas just so I wouldn’t boil in my classroom 😛 So, I recommend really warm outer layers and then you can remove the biggest one when you’re indoors, rather than many thin, sort-of-warm layers. Museums almost always have a coat check, too, and it’s usually free or included in your ticket.

  12. I’m a Californian too and will go to NY for the first time ever this December. I have had no idea what should I prepare for my trip until I found your post. Many thanks for your advice and your list of suggestions.

  13. Hi Allison I am visiting NY next month and wondered about dressing up for restaurants. What is the dress code should I pack something smart for going out to dinner? Or would my daytime casuals be ok? We aren’t going to be going anywhere too swanky! I am now off to find some fleece lined leggings! Great blog.

    1. Casual daywear is definitely fine unless you’re eating at the absolute fanciest restaurants, so I wouldn’t worry about it if you’ll be eating at casual or mid-range places. And even if you do go somewhere fancy as a splurge, a simple dress and fleece leggings with boots would be perfectly fine for women, and for men, the dress code is usually no jeans, no sneakers, and sometimes a jacket. But again that only really applies for the insanely fancy places. And yes, enjoy those fleece lined leggings! They are a game-changer 🙂 Have a great trip!

  14. My family and I are traveling to NYC (our very first visit) for Christmas this year. We are from Houston, Texas where if the weather gets to 40 degrees they close the schools, LOL. My winter wardrobe consists of 1 Northface jacket, a pair of Uggs and a couple of sweaters. We have been really nervous about what to wear in New York and your article helped answer all of our questions! Thank you!

  15. Wow, this was so useful. My daughter and I will be travelling from sunny Cape Town on the 13th December to New York. I now have a clear idea of what to pack. Thank you so much –

  16. Loved your article and list! We are in New Orleans and definitely don’t know how to dress for NYC winter. We’re purchasing several of the items you listed and I think we’ll make it through without freezing. Thank you!

  17. Hi Allison,, I’m not travelling to America, I’m headed to South Korea in January and I couldn’t find ANY helpful posts in regard to snow and what to wear until I came across this, so thank you !! Just a question about footwear ; I am prepared to fork out some cash for waterproof boots, I’m just curious as to whether sneaker shoes will be okay for days without snow or ice ??? I’m completely foreign to the concept of really, really cold temperature as I live in Melbourne, Australia, so I would appreciate the help !!!
    Thanks !!

    1. I’ve heard that NYC and Seoul are super similar in terms of winter weather so this post should actually do you pretty well! TBH I really wouldn’t wear sneakers in winter – you want something that covers a decent bit of your calf and gives you more warmth. If it’s warmer than 0 maybe you can get away with sneakers if you have thick socks and jeans but I think you’re better off with a decent pair of boots. Leather is great for adding warmth which is why I don’t really recommend rubber waterproof boots. I wore Hunter rain boots a couple times in winter and my feet always got cold!

  18. This is perfect! I wonder how much this changes for late March? My daughter and I (from Arizona – where 70 is chilly) will be there for her Spring break then & I am trying to decide if we need a parka and down jacket, or just the down jacket.

    1. Hmm odds are good that you’d just need your smaller down jacket, not anything so heavy as a parka, but it’s hard to know this far in advance. If you think you’ll do other winter travel in the future it may be a worthwhile investment but if you think you’ll just do this one trip then I’d say save some money and just go with a thin down jacket. If it gets really cold you can always pop into a store and do some shopping 🙂

  19. I’m going to arrive NYC for vacation at the beginning of February, and coming from a tropical country this information is really useful. are february days as cold and january? :O it’s my first winter experience

    1. Hi Rebeca! Generally, February is just as cold as January. In nearly 10 years in NYC I only had one February that felt a good deal warmer than January. January is typically the coldest month but February is usually never far behind! I’d follow this list for February and it should apply. Definitely get a some warm layers if you’re not used to the cold as it’ll improve it a lot! Growing up in California we had warm days and cold nights in winter, and it was a shock to get used to NYC – coming from a tropical place would be even crazier I imagine! Good luck and enjoy your trip to NYC 🙂 It’s beautiful in winter, even if it’s cold!

  20. what a fabulous list & blog thank you! we are visiting NYC for the 1st time 12/27 to 12/31/2018 from CA and need all the help I can get

  21. Hello! My family and I are moving to Niagara Falls in January. I was born in Louisiana and currently live in Mississippi. We hardly experience winter. Here I thought I would just wing it! People have told me to just buy winter clothes when we arrive.
    But it will be too late! I have 5 children. We now officially have “nothing to wear”. Thank you for the information!!!

    1. You can definitely buy some clothes before January! Amazon has two day shipping for most of its clothes if you can’t find anything in a store nearby you in Mississippi. Good luck with your move!

  22. Hello Allison, read your list for clothes after goggleling ‘clothes for NYC in February’ we coming for a 4 day break from the UK, any tips for the male species, whilst i understand the need for layers not sure what to buy any help, thanks

    1. Hi Bob! Ugh, I’ve been meaning to update this post with men’s recommendations – thanks for the reminder! I would say long johns (preferably merino wool if you don’t find it itchy, if not UNIQLO has some fantastic heat tech leggings that are not itchy) under a standard pair of pants or jeans. Wool socks (I like Smartwool, pricy but a great investment as you can wear them a few days in a row without any adverse smells since wool is naturally microbial). For thermal underlayers on top I like 32 Degrees and UNIQLO heat tech as well. Pair that with a thick sweater, preferably wool. You can also wear a button-up shirt under a sweater for an extra layer. For shoes, some sort of waterproof boot would be great. Maybe one pair of smart dress shoes if you are planning on doing any fine dining. If you do fine dining, bring a blazer/men’s jacket similar to a blazer, as well as non-jean pants. Some have a pretty strict dress code for men. Finally a scarf, hat, and gloves (any kind do – the thicker the scarf the better though). Oh and as for outlayers, pick something like a down jacket or a long wool coat with a down liner (linked in post) under it. That should do it!

  23. Coming across this has been my lifesaver. Coming from a country with the equator, even California was cold for me so I have dreaded the trip to New York in the winter but now I have no option. I’m now in Texas but was told buying a jacket here would be misleading coz winters are different. I contemplated buying everything in New York but your links have been super helpful. Now time to go amazon shopping.

    Thanks for Sharing!

    1. Hi Joy, I’m so happy to hear that. As a Californian, I get how California can actually be way colder than people expect (I grew up in one of the parts where it gets quite cool and even freezes in winter, though no snow for us!). I definitely think it’s better to shop online first then in New York – you don’t really want to waste your whole trip looking for the perfect thing and you may end up tempted to buy something that’s warm but you don’t like just to save time. Better to get what you know you’ll like before you get there in my opinion! Happy the links were helpful. Have a fantastic trip! I miss New York!

  24. Hi Allison, thank you for such a comprehensive list. Regarding footwear, would you recommend non-slip shoes (like for working in restaurants) for walking outdoors? I’m from L.A. and have to go to NYC in late January/eatly February. I have boots similar to Blondo ones, the brand is däv. I also need shoes that I can keep on indoors.

    1. Yes, non slip would be great – anything with decent traction. Just googled those shoes and they seem quite similar, are they warm? I’d pick up a few extra pairs of wool socks if they’re not the warmest boots, that should help with the cold 🙂

  25. Thank you for writing this blog. I’ve been to New York in the Summer, but now I am about to go in March, and I read that it is still cold there in March, and I’m from Florida. So, I will be taking your advice, because I had no idea how to plan for packing before reading this blog.

    1. You’re welcome Beverly! Yes, March is usually definitely pretty cold, especially near the beginning of the month, so I’d definitely bring some layers and a warm jacket and shoes! Glad it helped!

  26. Hi, thankyou for all the tips, going in October this year, and I’m not sure if the weather will be as bad as it is in December? Please let me know soon

    1. Beginning of October likely not, end of October anyone’s guess! The end of October is famously messy in NYC… we’ve had everything from hurricanes to blizzards on Halloween. I’d bring a packable down jacket, hat, scarf, and the fleece lined leggings (linked in post) and a warm jacket and if it gets crazy just use that as an excuse to shop in NYC 🙂

      1. Hi, this list is fab, so thank you. But the North Face Parka link doesnt take me to where I think it should on Amazon. Is there any chance you could post a photo of a similar looking one please, just so I’m looking along the right lines? Thanks in advance!

  27. Thank you so much for spelling this out in such great detail. My daughter and I are heading to New York in March and your detailed list really helps. I am from California as well, were kids wear shorts year round. It is showing that the temperature is going to be in the upper 40 and lows 50 while we are there, so not to bad. Do you think we still need to bring everything on your winter list of items? So looking forward to this trip as this will be my first time in New York City.


    1. Hi Dianna! I’m glad you’ll be experiencing some nice weather! I’d say you can skip the parka and just bring a lighter jacket. I’d bring some fleece leggings for the nights which will probably get cold.

  28. I will be moving to New York for college next fall. I am from a country with subtropical climate. I know nothing about how to dress in this kind of cold. This list with the amazon links helps infinitely. Thanks a lot!

  29. great suggestion about winter travel packing .i will want to pack biker jacket for this winter travel

  30. How comfortable are the boots you mentioned? I’m also from Southern California and I am visiting New York during the week of New Years Eve this year. I would love to walk around and not get my feet sore or wet.

    1. Definitely comfortable. I wore them almost every day of winter for 5 years of teaching kids with autism who I often had to literally run after – if they can handle that, they can handle just about everything 🙂

  31. Such a great article! We are travelling from Argentina for Christmas hollydays, our winters are very soft. I have a water repelent coat with fur inside. Do you think it will be enough, or should I buy the kind of parka that you recomend?

    1. Hi Agustina! Sounds like you’re going to have a blast – enjoy!! I’d recommend getting the smaller light down jacket that you can insert inside underneath your coat just in case it gets really cold. The December temperatures really vary, so it’s best to be prepared 🙂

  32. I am taking my first solo trip to NYC to see the ball drop for New Years. Your explanation and your list on what to wear is really helpful!

  33. Dear Allison,
    Thanks ever so much for this informative and on point travel guide. My family and I will be travelling to the US from a hot and humid South Africa and these guides are certainly going to be super useful. We have a few days in LA, then Vegas and finally end off with a week in New York in January.

    1. You’re welcome Yasmin! Definitely a different climate than South Africa – especially at that time of year! LA and Vegas will be a lot warmer than NYC but you’ll still want to pack properly for New York 🙂

  34. Thank you for this detailed article! I’m coming to New York in January from Belize, where we start wearing sweaters when temps are in the 70s (because that is kinda cold for us) and I had no idea how to prepare for a New York Winter! I’m heading there for a business trip and will purchase almost everything on your list beforehand and have it shipped to me! Thanks again!

    1. You’re welcome! I’ve been to Belize several times so I can imagine what a shock to the system it’ll be for you!! Hopefully this list will keep you nice and warm. Enjoy your trip!

  35. This is so helpful!!! I’m traveling to New York from Austin, Texas. So you can imagine how clueless I’ve been trying to plan. Thank you!

  36. Hi Allison!
    I’ll be traveling to NYC from the north of Mexico in New Year’s Eve. This is really helpful.
    I wasn’t sure about the metal bottle but I will definetely pack it.
    Thanks a lot!

  37. This was a great read, thank you. I will copy your list for my packing. I am from Christchurch, New Zealand coming to America mid/end of January (leaving the heat of our summer, eek)! I am beyond excited to be coming to New York, we will be there for 3 days. Does the city have many days where it is shut down due to snow in January?

    1. Hi Mandy, happy to hear you’ll be enjoying NYC soon! No, the city almost never shuts down — even in tons of snow, almost everything will be running as normal, with the exception of some of the open-air train lines if there is super super heavy snow.

  38. Hello Allison,
    This list was literally a life saver on the trip we took from India to US for 2 weeks end of December
    I ticked off things multiple times against your detailed checklist and that helped keep us cozy and comfortable even at as low as – 10 degrees Celsius.
    I would also recommend adding chaufferetts or warmers to be added to the list to quickly get any frost bites in control

  39. Hi, Allison – thank you for your post! This has been incredibly helpful as I will be celebrating my 30th birthday in NYC at the end of February (Miami, FL native). I heard February has some of the coldest temps in NYC in comparison to December and January – with a possibility of snow. Did you find that to be true as well? Would these tips still hold true? Also, NYC any other tips for being chic in NYC during the winter?

    1. February is the most confusing month of the year. January is usually the coldest overall, but February tends to have the most snowstorms and also the most sunny days. It’s been everywhere from -5F to 60F on a February day which I know doesn’t help at all. Just prepare for the worst! I suggest waterproof leather boots, a warm sweater dress, and a sleek but warm parka (I like North Face), plus really nice accessories since that is mostly what you’ll be seeing. A lovely matching hat and scarf really pull an outfit together!

  40. This is such a great list!! As an Australian visiting NYC for the first time, it’s difficult for me to even comprehend how cold it will be. I will follow this list and buying guide to the letter! Thank you so much. xx

  41. This was really helpful, thank you! I am travelling to NYC for a week in about two days, but I don’t have nearly enough jeans or sweater dresses to last me that long. I have one sweater dress and two pairs of jeans. What other outfit suggestions do you have that will keep me warm?

  42. Are thermal jeans too hot to wear for first week of December? Does it rain in December? Don’t know whether to take warm overcoat or a rain proof parka instead. I’m only taking hang luggage and can’t fit much in.

    1. In my past experience in NYC… you’d want thermals for the first week of December. It does rain in December, but you may also get snow. The weather is a lot more unpredictable lately due to climate change. I’d suggest a warm but rainproof overcoat and plenty of layers.

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