When to Go to New York City

When's the best time to visit New York City? Hotels in NYC have the best deals from January to April. Unfortunately, this is also the time when winter and spring are at their nastiest, so outdoor activities are a no-no. Fall is far more comfortable, and you get to see the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, but hotel rates are high. December brings great Christmas shopping and the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony, but it too is peak season for hotels, not to mention it's frequently chilly, snowy and stormy. In summer, crowds are at a minimum, hotels are still affordable and you have two fantastic concert series to look forward to (Central Park Summerstage and Celebrate Brooklyn! in Prospect Park). However, the weather may be a mixed bag, and did we mention subway stations aren't air-conditioned? So, as you can see, each season offers its own unique advantages and disadvantages in terms of weather, attractions, crowds and hotel rates. Your choice, then, should be based on your travel goals, personality and bank account. If you're still unsure of the best time to visit NYC, the following should make deciding easier:

Best Weather: From June through October, expect decent temperatures, though extreme heat and humidity may be likely.

Best Time for Hotel Deals: A great time to visit NYC is during Hotel Week, which is actually more than two weeks, Jan. 3 to the 18.

Big Must-See Events: Nothing beats the New Year's Eve ball drop or the Macy's fireworks spectacular.

Best Time to Avoid the Crowds: Holiday season is full of tourists.

Month by Month:

January: Hotel and theater prices drop. Attempt to get a seat to a Tony-winning show, thanks to Broadway Week.

February: It's still nasty, but that shouldn't stop you from gawking at all the celebs during Fashion Week.

March: The luck of the Irish will be with you as the weather gets warmer. Don't miss the St. Patrick's Day parade.

April: Beauty is on display at the Macy's Flower Show. Expect rain and the occasional nice day.

May: It's the start of shoulder season. Get patriotic by heading to a Fleet Week event.

June: The sun is here and so is the big gay pride parade. Crowds start to thin.

July: Summer can be a little too hot, so cool off at Coney Island. If you go on Jul. 4, catch the world- famous hot dog eating contest.

August: Time for the Fringe Festival featuring hip theater. Take advantage of low hotel rates.

September: The weather gets cooler, but there are still gorgeous days ahead. Check out the Brooklyn Book Festival.

October: Holiday crowds have yet to arrive, haunted houses are open and the Greenwich Village Halloween parade delights.

November: Shop at the holiday market right outside Union Square Park. Avoid malls on Black Friday.

December: Stores feature beautiful holiday windows. It shouldn't be too cold yet but dress warm just in case.

Gena Hymowech is a lifelong New Yorker and freelance writer for GO Magazine. Follow her @genah.