Brrrrrr! Here in NYC we’re going through our second polar vortex. What does that mean? The unscientific explanation is that it’s really cold! Lower temperatures combined with a wind chill can make it feel like it’s only 6F (-14C) with night temperatures dropping below zero at times. We’ve also had quite a bit more snow than we’ve had in a while. The last couple winters have been mild; we’ve been lucky. This winter is packing a punch though and there’s still a good two months of potential snowy weather left to go. We thought maybe you might like some tips if you’re visiting during this especially chilly season:
The Forecast: Check the weather before you leave. It can hard to predict NYC weather in advance but looking at the 5 day forecast before you leave should give you a fairly good overview of what you might encounter. Maybe you’ll get lucky and we’ll have some mild weather! It’s better to check though since it will effect what you pack to bring with you. Which brings me to…
Your Suitcase: Once you have a general idea of what the weather is going to be then you’re ready to pack essentials. Be prepared. You don’t want to have to buy a whole new wardrobe once you’re here. It’s expensive and there’s plenty of other great ways to spend your money in NYC. You’re going to spend more time outdoors than you think you will. Manhattan is a walking city and while the subway is a great way to get around, once you’re above ground you’ll have to battle the elements. Here’s what I would pack for a winter trip:
– Warm coat: Peacoats are fashionable but not always practical for frigid temperatures. If you notice the weather is predicted to be below 40F (4C) then try to bring an insulated coat. If you have a ski jacket, bring it. If you don’t have a super warm coat then bring the warmest you have and plan wear layers underneath.
– Warm sweaters/thermals: Layering is the single best way to stay warm in bitter cold temperatures. Wear more than you think you’ll need, you can always take a layer or two off if you get too toasty.
– Winter accessories: Hat, scarf, gloves – in that order. You’ll be surprised how much warmer you’ll feel with a nice warm hat on your head. Scarves are great to keep cold winds from penetrating the warmth of your coat. I rarely wear gloves because my insulated coat provides a lot of warmth when my hands are in the pockets but you’ll want to have some if it’s super cold out. These items can be purchased fairly cheaply in the city if you can’t pack them. Visit TJ Max, Ricky’s, Macy’s, Strawberries, H&M, and Century 21 for fairly inexpensive accessories.
– Warm long socks: I know that sounds silly but you’ll thank me. In super frigid temps I wear thermal tights under my pants but long wool socks are a staple of my winter wardrobe. If you have a warm coat and hat on then you’ve got your upper body cover. Warm socks help insure that you’re nice and toasty from the knee down which leaves only a bit of your upper thigh without extra layering. Bring an extra pair with you each day in case you encounter slushy puddles or rain. There’s nothing worse than wet socks.
– Good walking shoes: Sneakers are usually perfect so it’s a good idea to bring them. Waterproof shoes or snow boots are ideal since you might need to trek around in rain or slush puddles from snow. There’s no need to buy them though if you don’t already have them. Double up on your socks with sneakers and you should be good to go!
Don’t pack: Umbrellas. Once it starts raining vendors appear from every cranny of the city to try and sell them. Might as well buy a cheap one here and gift it to the city when you depart. They’re not made to last very long anyway so for $5 you can buy one here and save some space in your suitcase for souvenirs.
Keep Warm: Nothing warms you up quite like a good cup of hot chocolate or coffee. Fortunately, there are TONS of cafes in the city and more Dunkin Donuts and Starbucks than should be allowed. Stop in and grab a nice cup of Joe to go. It’ll warm your hands and heart!