Top 3 Times to Travel to NYC With a Student Group
The most iconic city in the world also happens to have a few iconic times that make a storybook sort of trip all the better. So what are those times? And are they good for student groups? We dive into our three favorite times to do NYC trips for students below!
Affordable (January – February):
You probably wouldn’t be surprised to learn that one of the most frequent questions we get asked is how to do NYC on the cheap, which makes perfect sense. Unless you happen to be a Rockefeller, New York can get very expensive. So what’s your best bet to get the best bang out of your buck? January and February.
These two months are, shall we say….brisk. The weather can be a bit unpredictable and much colder than most folks are used to. Old man winter brings with him some serious savings though. Most people are a bit intimidated by this time of year, so it’s considered the absolute low season for New York. This means insane deals on hotels right next to Times Square, cheaper flights, and less crowded attractions. Sound good? It is! We find that our groups that travel these months are thrilled with the savings and the experience. I mean, if you want the real New York experience you shouldn’t be afraid of a little snow, right?!
Benefits: low cost, not crowded, winter wonderland.
Downside: cold and unpredictable weather, no unique experiences (like Christmas or Cherry Blossoms in Central Park)
Tips: Valentine’s Day has little to no impact on pricing, and is a really cool time to be in the city!
Few things are more iconic than holidays in Manhattan, and for good reason! If you go, be prepared for an ethereal experience that will whisk you away into the most picturesque setting you can imagine.
Between the decorations, the holly and jolly, and the special events (read: Radio City Christmas Spectacular and Rockefeller Tree Lighting)…you’re bound to walk away with the trip of a lifetime. It’s not all egg nog and candy canes though, you’ll have to watch out for a few things.
The first problem that probably comes to your mind is cost. Ding, ding, ding! Correct. December is the most expensive time of year to visit New York. Is it worth it? It’s a matter of opinion, but we gravitate towards absolutely. It’s a once in a lifetime experience that is well worth the added cost.
The second problem you’ve probably guessed is crowds. This means that activities get crammed, the streets become more packed than usual, and your hotel elevator may become your worst nightmare. Is that all bad? Not remotely. It’s part of the experience. There’s something intensely magical about being in this big city surrounded by so many other merry makers. Just be sure that you prepare for the droves of people by planning very very early. This will allow you to get the jump on some deals and activities before they become unavailable.
Watch out for Shopper’s Week! It’s the busiest time of year for NYC, and your rates will skyrocket! It takes place the first two weeks of December. Rates go down considerably after the third week of December.
Benefits: holiday magic, special events galore, prime shopping.
Downside: expensive, crowded, and chilly.
Tips: Some activities change their rates/policies during the busy season. For example, the ice skating rink at Rockefeller Center (our favorite) doesn’t accept group reservations during the holiday season. Check out Bryant Park’s Rink or Central Park’s Wollman Rink for alternatives.
The weather starts to warmd up this time of year, but there is still a comfortable and welcome crispness in the air. This is one of our favorite times to explore the city. You may just find yourself waltzing through Central Park in shorts gazing in awe of those magnificent cherry blossoms coming to life. It truly is a sight to see (http://centralpark.org/index.php/top-10/top-ten-spring-flower-spots-in-central-park/). So warmer weather, beautiful foliage, and a bunch of frosty New Yorkers finally thawing, what’s not to love? Very little.
Watch out for the first week or two of April, where you may run into crowds and higher costs due to Easter and Spring Breaks. The added cost won’t be quite what it was in December, but it’s not negligible.
You do run the risk of some showers this time of year, but we think the risk is well worth the reward.
Benefits: beautiful foliage, beautiful weather, less crowded.
Downside: potential rain, crowds/costs a bit higher certain weeks.
Tips: This is also when you’ll hear the first cracks of a bat echo through Yankee Stadium, if that happens to be on your bucket list. Oh, and don’t miss the Macy’s Flower Show (free to the public) in early April.