When to go to New York City

New York never goes on holiday, and that means this global capital is a great place to visit 365 days a year. Regardless of when you come though, unlike some European capitals, you’ll find plenty of life and activity regardless of the season.

Spring - beauty and culture

While the spring can periodically still be chilly, Central Park looks particularly beautiful in April and May. Find out why Kevin Hughes loves the park in his guide - Central Park, the heart and lungs of New York City.

Many of the city blockbuster cultural events open their doors in the spring: the Tribeca Film Festival comes to town (www.tribecafilm.com/festival/) and this year, for example, the Metropolitan Museum of Art featured a special exhibit on Picasso and MOMA presented a Henri Cartier-Bresson retrospective.

Summer - hot but fun

In the summer months of July and August, it can be uncomfortably steamy (a humid 33C) and many New Yorkers flee to the beaches of the Hamptons or the New Jersey shore on Friday afternoons. But everything still stays open and it’s often easier to get a table in top restaurants on hot summer weekends.

In terms of cultural events, even though some institutions like Carnegie Hall and The Metropolitan Opera take a summer hiatus, there are more seasonal festivals to keep you busy like the Mostly Mozart Festival (dates still to be announced for 2011) and Shakespeare in the Park (www.publictheater.org), which presented The Merchant of Venice and The Winter’s Tale.

Autumn - great weather

The crisp and clear Autumn days are perfect for walking around the city. In September each year, the cultural institutions come back to life with the season launching at the Metropolitan Opera and Lincoln Center and New York resumes its adrenaline-fueled paced after the summer holidays.

Winter - cold but iconic

Keep in mind that the city can be bone-chillingly cold (-5C and lower) in January and February, with brisk winds coming off the water, and snow periodically disrupting air and road travel. Nonetheless, for prime shopping, expect the stores to trot out their finest merchandise in the frenetic and festive weeks before Christmas with wonderful sales following in January. Plus, the iconic New York experience of ice skating in Rockefeller Center and the Wollman Rink in Central Park are not to be missed. Monique Barns offers some great advice in her guide - New York – a winter escape on a budget.