New York, the city, other than Disneyland which yes technically isn’t a city, where wildest dreams come true. You’ve pined over the bright lights of New York for years, through the television, photographs plastered over the interest, interviews with your favourite celebs. Everyone seems to have a connection with the big apple. And now here you are, stood in Times Square dodging tourists left right and centre. Wandering through Central Park, looking around in awe of everyone and everything you see before your eyes. Or is that just me? I wrote this little passage on my iPhone notes over two years ago when my feet first set foot in New York. Visiting for the first time was magical. We had decided to visit New York in July 2017 and I had no idea how I would feel, my expectations were set so high.
So many travellers will big up the idea of New York in their minds only to be disappointed when they arrive. I personally find this so hard to believe. After 4 full days in New York, I know we only scratched the surface of things to do. I don’t think a single wave of disappointment hit me during my time in the city. I fell hook line and sinker within minutes. My ideal time of year to visit New York would be in winter and of course for the holidays. Visiting NYC at Christmas just seems like something out of this world entirely, an experience that I will tick off my bucket list one day.
Because of budget and work commitments, it just wasn’t possible to visit NYC at Christmas in 2017 so instead, we visited New York in July and what a perfect time of year it turned out to be. In this blog, I’m sharing why I think you should visit New York in July.
July in New York City – Why Would You Visit in Peak Season?
July in New York is classed as one of the peak seasons for tourism. It makes sense, the weather is beautiful and kids are on school holidays thus making it a perfect time for a family trip to NYC. I don’t personally have kids so I usually avoid any school holidays like the plague, school holidays usually means the prices for travel skyrocket! But when I started researching into visiting New York in July I was pleasantly surprised. The prices for hotels and flights appeared somewhat 100-300 GBP cheaper than in June or September. After a lot of researching, I discovered a recurring pattern as to a why visit a to New York in July was appearing to be cheaper, it had something to do with the dates that I was looking at booking.
As I punched dates here there and everywhere into Sky Scanner and booking.com I noted that the first week in July was cheaper than any other week. Shocked was an understatement because I thought this would be the most expensive week due to Independence Day. The Fourth of July holds monumental celebrations across the United States of America. As a public holiday and one of the most popular holiday dates in the calendar, I couldn’t believe that the first week of July was coming out cheapest. I’m still not entirely sure but we ended up booking the flights and accommodation all in for just 1700 GBP for 2 people.
On our arrival to New York City, I quizzed the hotel concierge who said that prices do tend to drop around the 4th of July because a lot of people flee the city. New York wants tourists and people to be celebrating in the city on the 4th of July but so many locals head home to their families or just flee to the countryside. This may not be a particular ‘rule’ when it comes to securing a budget trip to New York City but looking at the first week is definitely worth looking at when deciding to visit New York in July.
Spending the 4th of July in New York City
The highlight of deciding to visit New York in July was experiencing Independence Day. For those who don’t know, the 4th of July celebrates the United States of America regaining its Independence back from the United Kingdom. The holiday is celebrated widely across the country with festivals, firework displays, family gatherings etc happening on the 4th.
What does that mean if you’re a tourist on the 4th of July?
Visiting New York City on the 4th of July was nothing but awesome for us tourists. We actually arrived on the 3rd and I couldn’t believe how quiet the streets were. I’d imagined people literally bumping into each other on the sidewalk, pushing and shoving on board the subway and locals on a mission to get to the office fully equipped with a brown paper bag for lunch. Not to mention all of the tourists just stopping dead in the middle of the road or pavement to take a photograph. But as we arrived and began wandering around the streets of New York on the 3rd of July it was so quiet! It almost felt like we shouldn’t be there type of quiet.
For us it was perfect, we spent our first day in New York exploring Grand Central Station, relaxing and drinking cocktails in Bryant Park and taking it all in at Times Square. Of course, we were surrounded by other tourists and locals but there was no one in any sort of rush. If you visit New York in July take advantage of the run-up to Independence Day because like I mentioned above a lot of New Yorkers flee the city!
How to Spend the 4th of July in New York City
New York City is full of activities in New York to celebrate the 4th of July from festivals, concerts, events at the popular bars and restaurants and of course Macy’s Firework display. For us budget travellers we were only ever going to watch the fireworks and what an experience it was! I urge anyone who is considering visiting NewYork in July to be there for the 4th, it’s just sensational. Make sure to book well in advance if events, shows or festivals are more your things because they will get booked up fast. To keep up to date with what’s going on the 4th of July take a look at these websites:
How to See Macy’s Fireworks in New York City on the 4th of July
The 4th of July firework display in New York is nothing short of spectacular. The department store Macy’s have hosted and put together this display for so many years. In fact this year, in 2019, Macy’s celebrates its 43rd year. The firework show is free for all to attend and is located along the river. The fireworks are set off from boats from Brooklyn Bridge and all the way down on the lower East River. This event is well planned out by Macy’s and secured by the New York Police Department but some planning on your behalf will be required. Macy’s will release the viewing points for the extravaganza a couple of weeks prior to the 4th. From there you can see what time you need to be at the entrance point.
When we watched the 4th of July fireworks in New York we had to arrive at the entry point at 1 pm. The fireworks don’t start until 9:00 pm so you’re in for a long wait. In July the weather in New York is awesome and very hot so make sure you take plenty of water. The website says you can only take one small bag and one bottle of water per person. I’m not sure if this has changed over the last few years but despite limiting our food and water we were surrounded by locals with huge bags filled full of goodies. You’ll find the website with all the T&C’s online but it may be worth calling to check exactly what type of bag/how much food and drink you’re allowed through the entrance point. Safe to say we were starving and thirsty by the time the fireworks lit up the river.
Despite our hungry and thirsty selves, the fireworks were one million per cent worth it. I think the only display that I’ve seen top it was in Epcot Disneyland. Americans just know how to put on a great show! Overall the event is set up really well. I felt extremely safe after going through an airport scanner on the street! Be prepared for a long walk home though as millions of people make their way back through Manhattan!
Weather in New York in July
The question on most people’s lips is, what is the weather like in New York in July? Well, when you visit New York in July I’ll tell you thing, you have to like the sunshine! Yes, the sun will be blazing in NYC in July and it’s wonderful. Imagine strolling around Central Park sun belting on your cheeks or better yet, whilst you picnic in Bryant Park! The sunny weather makes New York so special, you can see everything and unlike Christmas, no chance of your flight being cancelled because of snow!
I’ll admit I was nervous about walking around New York in the heat but it didn’t really bother us. We kept hydrated and bought some epic handheld fans off amazon which were great for using during walks and down on the subway platform! The only time New York I felt stifling hot was down on the subway platform other than that it wasn’t too humid at all. The average temperature for New York in July is 20-19 degrees Celsius.
Things to do When you Visit New York in July
New York I imagine is fantastic all year round and all of the main attractions will be open and ready for you to immerse yourself in. But here some of the Things you can do when you visit the big apple in July:
- 4th of July Fireworks
- 4th of July Hot Dog Eating Contest – Coney Island
- Or at least have a Hot Dog on National Hot Dog Day 23rd of July!
- Bryant Park Film Festival
- Picnic in Central Park
- Walk the Brooklyn Bridge
- Have a cocktail on the roof at Bar 65 and look down on Manhattan
- Cycle the Brooklyn Bridge
- Visit the Statue of Liberty
- Shakespeare in the Park – Central Park
- Lincoln Center Festival
- See a Broadway show – we saw The Lion King!
Just to name a few! New York has so many events in July it’s hard to name them all but whatever you do, even if it’s just the touristy stuff, you’ll have an amazing time.
Transport in New York City in July
Getting around New York City will differ depending on the time of year. In winter you may not want to walk thousands of steps each day because of the nail-biting temperature but in July the weather is perfect for walking around. Take a pair of comfy shoes and comfy clothes too – we spent our days in dresses, shorts and t-shirts. We honestly walked around most days but we did catch the subway if it was too hot, which was only occasionally.
We didn’t get it that often do there wasn’t a need for us to buy a subway pass but you can find more about those at this website to find out what the best deal for you is! If you really don’t want to walk in the heat the subway will be the fastest and cheapest way to get around.
New York will is no doubt going to blow your mind whatever time of year you visit so just make sure you go! Have you been to New York? If you have I would love to know your favourite month to travel to NYC and why! Let me know in the comments below! If you enjoyed this post and know anyone who is looking to go to New York soon then please share this post with them!
Happy and Healthy Travels,