What to Pack for New York in the Spring
Updated: Apr 9
Destination: New York City
Time of Year: Spring (March, April, May)
Average Temperatures: 51° F to 71° F
Typical Weather: Mild but unpredictable, rain likely
Picnics on the Great Lawn in Central Park, outdoor cocktails at sidewalk cafés in Greenwich Village, fresh blooms lining the Flower District in Chelsea, evenings under the lights at Yankee Stadium—spring is truly the best time of year to visit New York City.
After a long, cold winter, New York comes alive on the first warm day of spring, and the energy is palpable. The excitement can be fleeting, however—the weather still tends to fluctuate until summer humidity hits in mid-May, and temperatures can change drastically from one day to the next.
What to Wear in New York City — Spring Packing List
The secret to coming prepared for spring New York weather? Layers. The speed at which you can go from freezing on a park bench to sweating on the subway is staggering. This season is all about transition, and it can be temperamental, but just one gorgeous day will have you falling in love with the city in a way that hits different this time of year. Just make sure to play it cool—no one likes an overzealous tourist in NYC. Don't worry, as former New York City residents, we're here to help make you look and feel like a local.
New York street style rule No. 1: Always wear sunglasses—the darker the better. See our favorites here.
Comfortable Sneakers and Booties
You will walk more than you ever knew you were capable of on a trip to NYC, and your feet will ache. Go for comfortable, minimalist sneakers—we love an effortless white leather pair—and sleek ankle boots with a bit of support and stretch, like these black leather Chelsea boots from Loeffler Randall, which will take you from an afternoon of shopping in SoHo to an evening at a dark, moody wine bar with ease.
All those stereotypes about New Yorkers dressing in black? They're true. Don't be afraid to add a pop of color to some of your spring outfits, of course, but when it comes to leggings, black is your best bet. Our favorite travel leggings of all time are from Beyond Yoga.
A leather moto jacket is a New York staple, and it tends to be just the right weight for spring weather. It's one of those instant outfit upgrades: it has the power to add attitude to a sundress and style to an oversized tee and leggings. This washed style from Madewell is a classic you'll pack for years to come.
Raincoat or Windbreaker
In the spring, a light sweater is your best friend. You can pair one with jeans, leggings, or throw it over a dress on one of those days when the sun is in and out. Everlane's Organic Cotton Crewneck sweater is described as "layerable and laid back," which is exactly what you need. Grab one in a few different colors, we won't tell.
You'll want to pack your favorite T-shirt to layer under your sweater or leather jacket, or to wear on its own, depending on weather, and you can't go wrong with Outdoor Voices' Everyday Shortsleeve in black. Reviewers call OV's T-shirts the "best tees in the game" for style, fit, comfort, and quality, and we couldn't agree more.
If you're lucky enough to catch some sun, there's no better feeling than running around the city in a cute dress on a warm day. Pick one that's structured but relaxed; one that will take you from day to night, even if it gets chilly; and one with a fun print.
Jumpsuits and Matching Sets
A New Yorker will pair a baseball hat with any outfit, casual or dressy—and there's nothing more New York (and universally fashionable) than a Yankees hat.
Backpack and Crossbody Bag
For long days of walking around, a small backpack is a comfortable way to carry what you need. Go for a mini black leather version and it'll never ruin your outfit. For the subway, a crossbody bag with a zipper is a safe way to go.