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NYC in January, is weather really bad?

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NYC in January, is weather really bad?


We are travelling to the East coast of the USA in Jan. This is the only time we are able to travel as it will be a 5 week holiday and our Jan holidays are the longest (so kids don't miss too much school). Is it crazy travelling to NYC in the winter? Will we still be able to do all the touristy things? Is it too cold to be out and about?

Sorry if this is a stupid question but we want to be able to see the city, not be stuck in our hotel room because of bad weather.

Thanks so much :)

Melbourne, Australia
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1. Re: NYC in January, is weather really bad?

We've been to NYC for the Christmas - New Year for the last two years, and we also went in 2008-9.

Yes you'll be able to do the touristy things. They're all open ...just check the days of the week things are CLOSED. I found that just having a list of things to do, and not a strict itinerary, helps with being flexible - then you can go to to the Brooklyn Bridge on a sunny day (5 degrees celcius) and keep the Museum of Natural History for a wet, very cold day (less than zero).

Last year was particularly cold. When we were there they had a 'polar vortex' on Tuesday January 7 (it went down to minus 8 degrees celcius). But worse was the massive storm on the previous Thursday. It was scary walking around with the footpaths being covered in water that was icing over, gutters full of slushy snow and black ice.

It was fine the first week we were there (incredibly it was 21 degrees on the first Sunday!). But in the last two weeks (up to Jan 8) I was happy if it only got down to zero celcius. I was well prepared with clothes, coat and footwear...but it's hard work. But millions of people live in that climate across the whole Northern Hemisphere, so it is manageable.

I love going to NYC at that time of year IF I go for the Christmas cheer before most of that finishes by Epiphany - Jan 6.

I would NOT go just in January. It's great in so many ways but you'll be missing the FANTASTIC stuff.

I'd leave Sydney on Friday Dec 19 - last day of school and get to NYC as your first stop.

(I've been to LA, San Francisco, Lake Tahoe, Grand Canyon, Yosemite National Park over a month in the USA in January 1987 and I would NEVER do that again - even tho' Tahoe and Yosemite were amazing).


Edited: 22 July 2014, 09:06
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2. Re: NYC in January, is weather really bad?

Thanks for your great reply. We wont be able to leave till after Christmas. At the moment our itinerary is 2 nights LA (to break up the long flight), 5 nights in New York, 5 nights in Washington DC, 12-14 nights in Orlando and 8 nights in Hawaii on the way home. I was looking at arriving in New York on the 26th Dec but have found accommodation to be very expensive around New Years Eve, so am now looking at arriving on the 1st Jan (possibly doing DC first) as its nearly half the price.

Thanks again!

Edited: 22 July 2014, 10:18
Boston, MA
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3. Re: NYC in January, is weather really bad?

If you want to be in NY for Christmas, then go for it!! Then hop a train or bus to Boston for NYE. Boston has a great NYE celebration called "First Night" but it just started in the late 1970s and is not famous like Times Square so hotels are reasonable. Or go to DC early.

I think 12-14 days in Orlando is way too much. I would even consider going to Boston for New Years and back to NY for a couple of days and then onto DC.

Happy Planning!!

Brooklyn, NY
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4. Re: NYC in January, is weather really bad?

The weather is how the weather is in Jan.

Nothing shuts down. Nothing stops. Tourists are out and about.

The only reason that you would be stuck in your hotel room is if you come in Jan and bring only Summer clothing.

New York, NY
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5. Re: NYC in January, is weather really bad?

well, we do sometimes get blizzards. I would stay in, but you don't have to as the subway will almost always be running.

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6. Re: NYC in January, is weather really bad?

Flights are sometimes delayed or cancelled because of winter storms in the eastern US. That could potentially iimpact your travel to NYC or Orlando.

How about some beach time in Florida instead of all that time in Orlando. Crescent Beach in Sarasota is on the Gulf of Mexico is gorgeous white powdered sugar sand. Its a lovely upscale laid back area.

Edited: 22 July 2014, 13:19
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7. Re: NYC in January, is weather really bad?

12-14 nights in Orlando - what are you planning to do there for that long?


New York City
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8. Re: NYC in January, is weather really bad?

It isnt that bad, if a Blizzard comes they clean the streets fairly quickly and the next day things are back to normal.

It can be a bit messy when the snow melts as there are puddles at the curbs.

New York City, New...
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9. Re: NYC in January, is weather really bad?

NYC is magical at Christmas, not so much in January. But, if you can't arrive before Christmas, then I think you're right not to come until New Year's Day or after. It's super expensive and there's nothing exciting or truly special going on for New Year's Eve outside of the Times Square ball drop, and the reality of that experience is pretty nightmarish.

As the others have said, things don't generally shut down and as long as you're properly clothed you should be able to do all the usual museums, sights, and attractions. And NYC in January is cheap (relatively). :)

Washington, DC will also be cold; the other cities on your itinerary should be mild to warm.

Have you been to LA before? If not, will staying 2 nights really be long enough to do and see the things that interest you there?

I wouldn't stay more than a week in Orlando, if that. You might want to consider adding a few more nights to your stay in Hawaii - and get off of Oahu; I'd say go to the Big Island or Kauai.

Have a great trip!

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10. Re: NYC in January, is weather really bad?

Poppa's question was mine 12-14 nights in Orlando--that is way too much. Even with all the parks, there is a limit to how much time you can spend at them. I would take a few of those nights and add them to NYC. You are going to be very upset when you realize that after 5 nights here you haven't even scratched the surface of things to do and see.