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September is a wonderful time to visit New York City. As the summer crowds dwindle and children return to school again, a traveler coming to New York City can find good deals on hotels and food. It’s easier to book dinner reservations. Not to mention, more opportunities to explore the best attractions with fewer hassles, such as long lines and sold out tickets, especially if you decide to visit mid-week.
However, deciding what to pack for New York in September isn’t always an easy task either.
September’s weather isn’t exactly consistent, which makes deciding what to wear a pain in the neck. For example, unlike summer, which consists of never-ending humid, sticky days and thunderstorms, September tends to be more of a “mixed bag.”
Not even kidding, in my apartment, I store short and long sleeve options in my bedroom dresser, so I’m always prepared.
Ultimately, some years we have cooler and crisp weather, whereas other years, September feels like Summer Round 3.
So what’s a traveler to do? Don’t worry. I’m here to help you.
Tips for New York in September
However, before I dive into what to pack for New York in September, I wanted to touch on a few basic tips about what to expect in the city during this month.
Like I said, summer is over and the tourist season winds down (until Christmas, that is) in New York City. Is it even worth visiting that time of year? Will it be too quiet (ha, never!)?
Should I Visit New York in September?
Like any other time of year, visiting NYC in September has both pros and cons. I talk a lot about the best time to visit New York on this blog, and at the end of the day, the decision is ultimately yours to make.
To tell you the truth, September is usually when I start visiting New York City again after a long summer. Summer is just way too hot for me. September’s warmth is nothing compared to July and August’s thick and choking humidity.
If you have a clear September day, you will definitely have a great time walking around Manhattan and the other Boroughs. New York has plenty of festivals in full-swing too, so always check Time Out and Secret New York for more information about events. For example, the Brooklyn Book Festival is one of my favorite events that usually happens in September.
All in all, I think September is a great time to come to New York.
What Should I Budget for My Trip?
September isn’t as expensive as other peak periods in New York, particularly the holiday season. Seriously, save your money if you want to visit New York in December, haha.
In short, you will want to set aside a decent amount of money for visiting New York City since it’s an expensive city, but at the same time, you’ll be able to snag some deals too.
If you’re on a super tight budget, then I suggest visiting New York in the middle of the week to score the lowest prices on hotels and attractions, such as Broadway Shows. Fridays and Saturdays will also cost the most money, especially if you’re visiting for a festival such as Feast of San Gennaro in Little Italy.
Save money. New York City isn’t cheap, after all. But, at the same time, don’t worry about saving every single penny either.
What to Pack for New York in September
Whew! What that all said and done, let’s dive deeper into our packing list, shall we? I broke this guide for what to pack for New York in September into two separate parts. The first part is all about travel essentials, whereas the second half of this guide focuses on clothing.
Essentials for Packing for NYC in September
Moisturizer with SPF
New York in September still brings sunny and warm days, especially in the first half of the month. It’s not as if summer vanishes overnight and cool autumn weather magically appears (I wish). So it’s important to protect your skin.
The sun is still strong in New York in September. If you’re sightseeing outside between 10 am and 2 pm, then I highly recommend applying sunscreen to all exposed skin. Nothing will kill a New York City vacation quite like flaking, bright red sunburn. Love your skin, folks!
Compact Mirrorless Camera
I absolutely love my smart phone, but I’m a photographer at heart. My personal favorite camera is the Sony Alpha Mirrorless, which takes fantastic and high-quality shots, but is compact too. I like that I don’t feel too weighed down by this camera, making it an ideal option for exploring the New York City streets.
Portable Cell Phone Chargers
When deciding what to pack for New York in September, don’t forget to take care of your electronic devices, so you can easily use them throughout the day.
Personally, I never forget to bring a portable cell phone charger when I visit New York. I am constantly using my own phone to take pictures and video, research nearby restaurants and bars, and to regain my sense of direction.
For a city of its size, New York City is pretty safe. Regardless, I always insist on buying travel insurance for any vacation, especially if you’re coming from overseas. You don’t want unexpected cancellations or illness to put a dent in your wallet. I’ve always used World Nomads insurance for my travels and have never been disappointed!
NYC Travel Guide
New York is the biggest city in the United States. There is so, so, so much to see and do in New York City that it doesn’t matter if you come in September or any other month.
A good guidebook for New York will help you plan your days. What restaurants do you want to try? What are the must-sees? What neighborhoods are interesting to explore? A guidebook will answer all of these questions and more!
I love Lonely Planet’s city guides. You can buy a physical copy or download a .pdf and just keep the chapters that you need for your trip.
What to Wear in New York in September
Is there summer weather in the forecast for your upcoming vacation in New York? Then embrace it!
While some residents (like yours truly) are hoping for fall weather, there’s no point in feeling uncomfortable by wearing sweaters and scarves on a bright, sunny afternoon. Bring one or two sundresses that you can wear at both a museum and out to dinner.
And if the temperature drops at night? Don’t worry. A cosy shawl will take care of you!
In addition to dresses, don’t forget to pack some tee-shirts for casual sightseeing in New York. I personally like plain cotton tee-shirts that are comfortable and pair well with anything. Bring a few short sleeved shirt, as well as a long sleeved shirt if chillier weather is in the forecast.
On cooler September days, I personally suggest wearing sneakers for your sightseeing. I know you want to look cute in Manhattan, but trust me. You will walk a lot. On average, I walk over 20,000 steps whenever I visit New York on a day trip. You don’t want blisters on your trip. Ouch.
Don’t skimp on your sneakers either. I love Merrell sneakers for their high-quality and durability. I’ve worn the same shoes for years. When it comes to what to pack for New York in September, good footwear is an absolute necessity.
Comfortable Open-Toed Shoes
But what is summer lingers far into September? What then? If hot weather is in the forecast, then I would opt for comfortable open-toed shoes that can still handle long walks. Again, opt for Merrell or another high-quality brand to keep those feet feeling great.
Short Black Leggings
I’m a sucker for leggings on my travels. Leggings are comfortable and perfect to wear on the plane. However, you don’t want to wear long and tight leggings to New York in September, because otherwise, you’ll be waaaay too hot, especially when walking all over the city. Instead I suggest opting for shorter leggings that are more practical for this time of year.
Stylish Day Backpack
I personally like wearing light and small backpacks in New York City. Carrying a purse all day isn’t very practical unless you’re bringing a crossbody bag.
I absolutely love Tumi backpacks. They are lightweight and trendy. Not to mention, they last forever.
Last but not least, you will want to protect your eyes on those hot and sunny September afternoons in NYC. Wear some funky sunglasses as you sightsee around the city. I promise you won’t regret it!
I hope you enjoyed reading all about what to pack for New York in September! As always, use your best judgement. Packing skills improve with practice, after all!