Visit the Big Apple
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Explore the city that never sleeps as it transforms with the seasons.
With every change in season, New York City takes on a new mood—from fiery fall to whimsical winter, stunning spring to sizzling summer. Pick your favorite time of year and dive in.
This is the time to pull on a sweater and simply wander. East side or west, uptown or down, the city’s trees are cloaked in fiery hues, usually through early November.
If you find yourself strolling amid the trees of Union Square Park downtown, stop at the Greenmarket to warm up with some hot, local apple cider and a bag of the hard pretzels that market regulars crave.
This time of year, the swamp white oaks that surround the 9/11 Memorial & Museum downtown will be awash in shades ranging from amber to golden brown. The trees—harvested within 500 miles of the World Trade Center site, including Pennsylvania and near Washington, D.C.—make a moving backdrop to the memorial.
As the fall color fades, the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade captures the nation’s attention. For an added treat, watch the giant balloons come to life as they’re inflated near Central Park the day before.
By the calendar, the first day of winter isn’t until mid-December. But in New York City, the season begins to sparkle as soon as the soaring Rockefeller Center Christmas tree is illuminated (usually in late November). It’s the first sign that the holidays are just around the corner—along with the holiday markets that pop up around Manhattan.
The season also shines bright in the holiday window displays of top shops such as Barneys, Saks Fifth Avenue and Bloomingdale’s. Each year, the stores transform their windows into dazzling works of art, using everything from animatronics to crystal embellishments—making window shopping a magical experience.
For a simpler—but no less magical—winter pleasure, head to one of the city’s open-air ice rinks for a skate under the stars. Sitting right behind the New York Public Library, Bryant Park is the city’s only rink with free admission—and a lovely spot for a nighttime spin.
Whether you’re visiting NYC for a weekend or a few weeks, learn how to get more out of your carry-on.Read More
There are two sure signs of spring in the Big Apple: Flowers start to paint the city’s parks with brilliant color, and New Yorkers happily shed their winter coats in exchange for the season’s pastels and lively prints.
While the latest fashions bloom in shop windows, real blossoms take center stage at the elegant Peggy Rockefeller Rose Garden, with its 650-plus varieties of roses. It’s part of the 250-acre New York Botanical Garden—a National Historic Landmark overflowing with millions of plants, including pink azaleas, yellow daffodils and thousands of orchids in spring.
The blooms are just as glorious—and, often, more surprising—at the annual Easter Parade on Fifth Avenue in Midtown. This seasonal tradition dates to the 1870s. But don’t expect floats and towering balloons, just people promenading in their Easter finest, including elaborate flower-bedecked bonnets.
There’s no reason to rush once languorous summer settles in. Rent a bike and leisurely pedal Central Park’s roads, which make a 6-mile loop around the iconic grounds. Or take a slow stroll along the High Line. Once an elevated rail line, the park stretches from Gansevoort Street to West 34th Street, offering public art, scenic overlooks and charming gardens along the way.
When it’s time to cool off, a free ride on the ferry to Staten Island delivers. Once you’re there, it’s a quick walk to a truly enchanting baseball outing at a Staten Island Yankees game. The minor league team’s stadium boasts views of the Manhattan skyline over the outfield.
Nearly as well-matched as summer and baseball: summer and Coney Island. This New York City neighborhood is jam-packed with fun—roller coasters, bumper cars, arcade games and more. For lunch? A Nathan’s Famous hot dog, of course.
See what AAA Travelers are saying about their vacations to New York City.
“We had a wonderful time in New York City! The memories we made will be with us forever.”
— Jude Williams, AAA Member