Post overview: What to wear in New York City in Fall
Fall is the best time to visit New York City, and I’ll get into the ring with anyone who says differently. Not only is the weather ideal, but the outfit options are unrivaled. Choosing what to wear in NYC in the fall is a blast!
When packing for fall in NYC you’ll notice the outfits are not only cute, they’re cozy. Maybe I’m biased but the earth tones and ability to layer makes me giddy.
And if you’re staring at a suitcase with despair I’m here to lend a helping hand.
Not only will I help you decide what to wear in the fall in NYC in this post, but I’ll sprinkle in local’s tips to keep you comfortable.
Are you ready? Because that suitcase isn’t going to pack itself. Why don’t we start this fall packing list for your trip to NYC.
Visiting New York City? If you haven’t decided where to stay (yet) check out our helpful guide on Where to Stay in New York City (The best neighborhoods for first timers +2 to avoid). Don’t have time? Here’s our favorite hotel in NYC, hands down.
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Average Temperatures in New York City during fall
September averages: high 76° | low 61° | rains on average 7 days of the month
October averages: high 64° | low 50° | rains on average 6 days of the month
November averages: high 55° | low 42° | rains on average 7 days of the month
Things to consider when deciding what to pack for New York in the Fall
Consider the weight of your outerwear
Depending on which month you’re visiting New York City packing a heavy coat might not even be necessary. September to mid-October you can get by with a light jacket or sweater.
But if you get cold easily and don’t want to leave the coat at home, I hear ya! The only thing I want you to consider is the weight of your outerwear.
Since New York City is ripe for exploring you’ll be doing a lot of walking (aka sweating) — lugging around a heavy coat isn’t always ideal.
Additionally, the subway is the easiest way to get around the city and during fall some subway platforms can get as hot as 100º.
Local’s tip: Leave the heavy coat at home, instead pack a shacket (it’s a real thing, look it up), a vest or a packable coat that’s easy to throw in a bag and carry around.
When deciding what to pack for NYC in fall, pack for the specific month you’re visiting
The weather in September and the weather in November are very different. When deciding what to pack for NYC in the fall, make sure to check the weather report and plan accordingly.
In the earlier months of fall you’re able to get away with packing a lot less because the temperatures are still comfortable. Late November brings more of a chill in preparation for winter.
What to Wear in New York in Fall (Clothing)
Packing for NYC in the fall doesn’t need to be complicated. Regardless of what outfits you choose to pack, if the weather is chilly odds are you’ll be covered up by a coat anyways.
One of the easiest things to pack when planning a trip to New York City in the fall is an overcoat. The reason I consider it easy? You can wear it on the plane! This way you avoid having to pack a big, bulky coat.
I recommend packing a trench coat or a lightweight overcoat that you can layer with a thick sweater underneath.
With all the walking the weather has a way of sneaking up on you and you want to be aware of that when deciding what to wear in NYC in the fall. You don’t want to be left peeling layers off because the walking made you warm.
Jeans & Some Fun Pants
No list of “what to wear in NYC during fall” is complete without the mention of good ol’ classic blue jeans. I recommend packing two pairs of trusty denim that are comfortable and you know you can last in.
And since we’re packing for fall in New York City, why not step up your fashion game a little and throw in a fun pair of trousers or plaid pants.
Any fans of the show Gossip Girl know how important fall fashion is in NYC, so have a little fun and let your inner fashionista shine during the best season.
Heavy Duty Boots
If you take anything away from this what to wear in NYC in the fall guide let it be that proper footwear is paramount.
There is a lot of ground to cover when visiting New York City in autumn, and while the subway is a great way to get around you can still expect to clock in over 15,000 steps a day (ouch!).
With that in mind, this is not the time to break in new shoes (especially Dr. Martens – I learned the hard way). However packing a pair of heavier-duty boots when visiting NYC in the fall is a non-negotiable in my book since the insulation helps with keeping your feet warm and dry.
My two-cents; break in your boots months in advance or pack that raggedy pair collecting dust in the back of your closet that you’ve had for years. They may not be the cutest but you know you can put miles on those bad boys without even flinching.
If you’re in the market for something heavy duty, these are my tried and true.
I’m a big believer in packing light, so if your goal for visiting NYC in the fall isn’t to turn heads with a new outfit every day, packing one or two sweaters will suffice.
I recommend packing one thick sweater (thick enough you won’t need a coat) and a lighter sweater you can easily layer with.
Or for those really looking to pack light for New York City in the fall, consider ditching the sweaters from home and going shopping in the Big Apple for a new wardrobe!
Need suggestions on where to shop for a new sweater? Check out 30 SPREE-WORTHY Stores in SoHo (Happy Local’s Guide) where you’ll find plenty to wear in NYC in the fall.
If you don’t know what to wear in NYC in the fall, a vest is always a safe option. I have a down vest I wear every year and without fail it’s the perfect level of warmth when I don’t want to lug my wool coat around.
Depending on the weather, you can layer with whatever sweater thickness you’d like. Meaning you can customize and control your warmth levels based on what feels right.
Packing a vest for fall in New York City is hands down one of the smartest things to do because they pack up nicely and don’t take up too much space.
For those looking up what to wear in NYC in the fall and have an itch to spice it up, might I suggest a sweater dress?
Not only are they fashionable, they do a great job keeping you warm. It’s a simple way to dress weather appropriate while still looking super cute.
Pair the sweater dress with a pair of sheer tights and you’re set! Dresses are some of the best things to pack for New York City in the fall thanks to the fact that it’s one article of clothing (as opposed to sweaters and jeans) which means you can pack less.
Word to the wise: Dressing up is part of the allure of visiting New York City, and a sweater dress is a cozy way to do so. If you’re going out for a taste of the city’s nightlife or on a date it’s one of the best items to pack for NYC in the fall.
Wool socks are my sweet, holy grail item when it comes to packing for New York in fall.
These socks can do no wrong in my eyes. They are comfortable, warm and offer enough padding (thanks to the thickness) that my feet don’t hurt after a day of walking miles in heavy-duty boots.
Good luck visiting New York City in the fall (or any season) without putting miles on your shoes. Between the epic skyscrapers, the holiday displays and the fall foliage, you’ll have a hard time staying inside.
If the weather allows, good, reliable sneakers are a must when packing what to wear in New York in the fall. I swear by these, they’ve never let me down!
And like previously mentioned, now is not the time to break a pair in or try something new. Bring in your go-to sneakers, they’re your go-to’s for a reason.
What to Pack for NYC in the Fall (Accessories)
Gloves & Scarf
Part of fall’s allure is the ability to cozy up with a big sweater and warm accessories. I recommend packing a scarf and gloves that you can carry around in a tote until the chill warrants breaking them out.
I love wearing a big scarf that can be styled multiple ways, and am so grateful for it when a big gust of wind blows and my neck is protected.
As far as gloves go, I suggest anything with touch screen fingers that allows you to use your phone while staying covered up.
You’ll find yourself reaching for both items when the sun sets and the autumn chill kicks in.
Beanie or Baseball Cap
Similar to the scarf, wearing a beanie or baseball cap gives you an extra layer of protection when searching what to wear in NYC in the fall.
You can forgo the bulky coat and choose to wrap yourself in other ways, like covering your ears from the wind. Who doesn’t enjoy hiding messy hair under a hat? It’s a win-win situation.
And although a ball-cap doesn’t cover your ears, it’s still an extra layer of warmth on your skull. Don’t write it off while packing for NYC in the fall, the cap might come in handy.
Backpack or Fanny bag
It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to explain the many benefits carrying a bag. Folks packing for NYC in the fall should especially consider it a tote, it’s the start of the holiday season and the city is chock-full of markets.
I also love traveling with a big backpack when I’m exploring NYC because I’m able to stuff my jacket if I get too warm and avoid carrying it all day.
You can never go wrong throwing an umbrella in to your suitcase. They take up very little space and are life savers when the unexpected (but very common) rain storm hits New York City.
And I’d say you can always just buy one when you’re out here, but chances are you won’t know you need it until you’re a victim. Not to mention the last-minute ones sold on the side of the road are usually of sub-par quality.
Best to be prepared and bring one from home when packing for NYC in the fall.
Many folks make the mistake of retiring their sunglasses after summer, but I’m here to let you know NYC in the fall is full of sunny days.
Since majority of the sight-seeing is outdoors, I suggest packing a pair of sunglasses with you everywhere you go. The glares off the tall buildings or the reflection on the water can do a number on you if you’re not prepared.
Now this isn’t for everyone, but I still felt the need to add it to our list of what to wear in New York in the fall.
If you took away anything from this post, it’s that you’ll will be doing a lot of walking. So to make the time go by or to feel like the main character in a movie, pack a pair of headphones to do the trick.
Further reading: If you want to get lost in NYC, plug in some headphones and check out The Charming West Village in Autumn or 18 Breathtaking Spots for Fall Foliage in New York City.
What to Pack For New York in Autumn (Bag Essentials)
Hand sanitizer / Sanitizing wipes
I feel like this goes without saying, New York City is dirty. Keeping hand sanitizer or sanitizing wipes on you at all times can go a long way. After the subway, opening a door, or before a meal, a quick spray and you’re on your way.
When packing what to wear in NYC in the fall: keep this bag essential in mind. A small first aid kit or a pack of bandaids. I like to keep band-aids in my bag in case I feel a blister from my shoes. It’s an easy temporary fix.
Chapstick + Lotion
With chilly temperatures comes dry weather, and your lips and skin are going to pay the price. Make sure to pack chap-stick to keep your lips moisturized and lotion to help with dry hands.
Even if you leave your hotel with a full battery, there is so much to see in New York City in the fall. You’re bound to drain your battery with all the picture-taking.
Not to mention, most folks who visit NYC use their phone as a way to get around with maps. Naturally I suggest bringing a charger. You can warm up and rest your feet at a cute coffee shop while letting your battery charge.
If stopping isn’t in the cards for you, fret not, invest in one of these.
Further reading: Need suggestions where to rest your feet? Check out 20+ Cute Cafes in New York City (Instagram Worthy Spots)
Cash goes a long way when visiting NYC in the fall. Whether it’s to shop at a holiday market or to tip a street performer, I suggest carrying a few small bills on you.
What are the best materials to wear in New York City in fall?
- Flannel: Nothing screams autumn more than a cozy flannel and bulky boots. Packing for fall in NYC doesn’t need to be difficult since flannels are a great material, easy for layering.
- Wool: The material is tried and true and has been used for thousands of years. Made from sheep hair, wool holds heat and is somewhat resistant to water.
- Fleece: Fleece was created to replicate the benefits of wool. The material is light weight and inexpensive but still keeps you warm.
- Cashmere: Cashmere is considered to be luxurious and softer than traditional wool. Although not quite as warm as wool, it’s a popular light-weight material used in sweaters and scarves.
- Silk: Silk is one of the best materials to wear in New York in the fall because of how tightly woven the fabric is when created. This acts like an insulator and keeps your body heat trapped in the fabric.
- Down: Down serves as both insulation and padding and is commonly found in winter coats. Whether you get a coat with synthetic feather or natural feathers, down is some of the best material to keep you warm.
What to Wear in New York in Fall (Post Summary)
Here’s a quick list of what to wear in NYC in the fall.
- Jeans + Fun Pants
- Heavy Duty Boots
- Cozy Sweaters
- Sweater Dress
- Wool Socks
- Gloves & Scarf
- Beanie or Baseball Cap
- Hand Sanitizer
- Chapstick + Lotion
- Phone Charger
Love New York City in the Fall? Us too!
You might find these posts helpful too:
- 35+ Festive Fall Things to Do in New York City (The Best Season to Visit!)
- 15 Epic Thanksgiving Activities in New York City 2023 (Helpful Local’s Guide)
- 10 Spooky Spots for Halloween Decorations in New York City
- 12+ Epic Spots to See Fall Foliage in Central Park
And there you have it! That is everything you need to know about what to wear in New York in fall. We hope you found this list helpful and now you can comfortably enjoy exploring NYC in autumn.
Until next time, cheers.