What to Pack for a New York City Trip

NYC being the world’s cultural center, will surprise you with its aesthetics at every corner. 

You’ll find various clothing styles and lifestyles in New York City. 

Then what should you be bringing along? How can you fit and feel like a New Yorker, at the same time also stand out in your own way? 

In this article, we’ll take you through everything you will need in your ultimate packing list for New York City. 

The Essentials You Can Not Miss

new york essentials
Image: NYC.gov

Wherever you go, there are certain items that you should always carry with you. These items are the essentials of any traveler’s backpack. 

When thinking about what to pack for New York City, make sure you have these items on the list:

  • Documents: Passport, ID/ driver’s license are essential documents you should carry. Some attractions or venues might require identity proof.
  • Cash: If you are on an international trip, ensure your debit/credit card is accepted overseas. Carrying some cash in hand would be helpful during exploration. 
  • Medication: It is safe to carry medications for common ailments and allergies. 

In addition, we have curated a list of the essentials you will carry wherever you go in the city:

  • Large carry bag
  • Portable charger
  • Zip wallet
  • Luggage locks
  • Small size umbrella
  • Foldable water bottle
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Camera with its charger
  • Two-prong adapter and converter
  • Phone charger and battery bank
  • Medicines and first-aid kit
  • Toiletries 
  • Folding reusable bag
  • Printed hotel reservations 
  • Printed tour/attraction/activity tickets
  • Travel itinerary along with map

Clothing You Will Need in New York City

new york clothing
Image: NYC.gov

New York is undeniably the fashion capital. 

From hosting one of the largest fashion events to being the headquarters of many global brands, NYC leads the world. 

Hence, you can find all styles, from classic and minimalistic to chic and punk. 

You don’t have to overthink your clothing choices here. Because of their progressive culture, you can wear practically anything here. 

What Are Some Must-Have Items You Must Carry To NYC

New York City experiences a wide range of seasons. You’ll find everything across the climate spectrum, from scorching summers to bitterly cold winters. 

This is why we recommend knowing about the weather conditions before you decide what to pack for New York City. 


Winter months in New York City are cold and snowy, with less daylight.

Carrying heavy jackets and layering is essential if you travel between November and February.

If you plan to visit during winter, you will need

  • Warm jacket 
  • Coats 
  • Long sleeve shirt or sweater 
  • Thick pants 
  • High boots 
  • Waterproof boots
  • Thermals 
  • Hats
  • Gloves 


Spring lasts from March to May.  While March is pleasant, you can expect rain frequently in April and May. 

Your spring wardrobe should contain

  • Light layerings
  • Long pants 
  • Long sleeve shirt 
  • Maxi-dresses
  • Boots 
  • Sneakers 


Summers in NYC stretch from June to August. The weather conditions are usually hot and humid.

While traveling during summer, pack:

  • Short sleeves
  • Summer dresses 
  • Light pants
  • Shorts
  • Sneakers or sandals 


Autumn brings the best weather conditions. It is breezy and comfortable. However, late autumns get cold and require layering. 

Your must-have autumn clothing items are:

  • Light jacket for the evening 
  • Jackets 
  • Short sleeve shirt 
  • Sweaters
  • Pants
  • Shorts
  • Sneakers
  • Boots

Packing For Activities in New York City

Undoubtedly, there is a lot to do and see in New York.

There is an experience waiting for you at every corner here.

You can witness authentic NYC spirit by participating in tours, shows, and other activities. 

For your convenience, we have categorized what to pack for the New York City trip based on activities into four broad categories:

Exploring NYC On Tours

clothing while exploring new york
Image: NYC.gov

One of the best ways to experience this city is by walking through its streets.

Be it the 5 boroughs or the little culture hubs like Chinatown and others, it is best explored by foot.   

But there are many other ways as well. You can opt for food-tasting, bus tours or even some walking tours. 

However, what should you pack and carry along on this trip? 

To answer that, we have carefully designed a list of items you will need when roaming around NYC:

  • Comfortable shoes
  • Weather-appropriate attire
  • Camera
  • Batteries/Charger
  • Extra cash
  • Light jacket
  • Backpack
  • Refillable water bottle
  • Valid ID
  • Map/GPS function
  • Metro Card

Catch A Broadway Show 

new york clothes
Image: Sejma Brkovic / Getty Images

You can’t miss Broadway when in New York.

Even if you’re not into musical theatre, nothing epitomizes the New York art scene more than its Broadway theatre.  

The Lion King, Aladdin and Moulin Rouge are all iconic shows you should experience once in your lifetime.

If you’re monetarily constrained or time-bound, you can also bag many cheaper last-minute tickets and make sure you don’t miss out.

After you’ve picked out the show you want to go to and bought the tickets, then make sure to pack these items along: 

  • Appropriate attire
  • Printed tickets
  • Wallet or purse
  • Valid ID or driver’s license
  • Extra cash

One of the biggest misconceptions people tend to have while attending a Broadway show is to be glammed up and look stunning. 

However, if not fancy, it is advisable to look pleasant and presentable. 

You should also be aware of what New York theatres prohibit so that you do not violate any guidelines.

For copyright and safety considerations, certain items and activities are not allowed inside NYC theatres: 

  • Most theatres do not allow the use of cameras inside their venues or during performances. If you want a picture, you can take shots of the marquee and stage (if allowed) before the performance. After the performance, you can wait near the stage door to take a photo with the cast.
  • All theaters forbid the consumption of outside food and beverages. You can access the concession stand before the show or during the intermission.

Explore The NYC Museums And Attractions

what to pack for new york museum
Image: Lechatnoir / Getty Images Signature

NYC houses a wide variety of famous attractions, like the MET, American Museum of Natural History, Statue of Liberty, Empire State Building, One World Observatory and more.

Make sure to include these items in your backpack for a complete and exhilarating experience:

  • Weather-appropriate attire
  • Light Jacket
  • Comfortable walking shoes
  • Valid ID/Driver’s license 
  • Printed museum tickets
  • Wallet/purse
  • Extra cash
  • Camera
  • Camera batteries and charger
  • Cell phone and charger

Note: Some attractions forbid using certain items, such as selfie sticks, to ensure the security of all visitors.

We recommend you check the policies of the site you intend to visit beforehand. 

Take Part In NYC’s Outdoor Activities

what to pack for exploring new york
Image: GabrielPevide / Getty Images Signature

On a surface glance, NYC might look like an urban jungle. However, it still has a lot of options for outdoor adventures and activities. 

From bike tours to jet skiing, there are tons of things to do in the city. 

So when you are out for adventure, carry along:

  • Activity-appropriate attire
  • Sneakers
  • Swimsuit
  • Towel
  • Sunscreen
  • Picnic blanket
  • Refillable water bottle
  • Snacks
  • Hat
  • Sunglasses

What Not To Pack For NYC

what not to pack for new york
Image: Paolaroid / Getty Images

If you are visiting for the first time, we suggest you avoid some items on your packing list for New York City. 

You might also inadvertently bring along items you won’t even require on the trip. 

But don’t worry because we are here to help you out with a list of items that you should avoid packing unless necessary:

Heavy Books

Reading on the plane could be a nice idea, but they are cumbersome. 

Heavy books will be bothersome when you plan to walk around and carry your luggage from one place to another.

You can instead opt for a Kindle, which is easier and lighter to use and carry around. 

Too Many Clothes

The most basic rule of traveling is that if you can travel light, always do so. 

One of the most amateur mistakes is to pack loads of clothes and only use half of them. 

So, carefully pick the clothes and items you want to carry and travel much lighter and more comfortably. 

No Need For A Bath Towel

Most of the hotels in NYC provide towels, so you don’t need to carry one. 

But if you still wish to carry your own, we recommend packing a quick-drying travel towel because they’re lighter and don’t take up much space.

Valuable Items

On a trip, avoid packing anything extremely valuable or expensive.

The risk of losing things on a trip is very high, so you should only pack essentials and items you can’t move without.   

Uncomfortable Shoes 

We strongly recommend packing the most comfortable and lightest shoes possible. 

You will have to walk around, participate in many physical activities and need shoes that are as comfy as possible. 

To avoid foot pain and discomfort on your trip, you should pick your shoes accordingly. 

Other Packing Tips

new york travelling tips
Image: NYC.gov

Here are some miscellaneous packing tips to help you prepare for the best New York trip.

Pack In One or Two Fancy Outfits

If you’re planning to see a Broadway production, an opera, or a ballet, pack nice and decent attire.

You would like a nice dress for such events to look like a New York local and capture amazing pictures.

Note: If you want to step into fancy nightclubs, we recommend researching their clothing restrictions and policies beforehand. 

Don’t Worry If You Forgot To Pack Something

One of the biggest scares one can have on a trip is to forget essential items back home.

But NYC will come to your rescue in times like these. 

You can ask for essential items at your hotel or find the closest convenience store.

New York City has one of the best shopping outlets in the world and you will find a convenience store at every turn. 

So, you needn’t stress much because whatever you need will be available at walking distance. 

Featured Image: TortugaBackpacks.com

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