What to pack for NEW YORK in summer

The Big Apple. New York City. 5th Avenue. Madison Square Garden. Home to numerous TV series, celebs and countless landmarks. Millions of visitors travel to NYC every year to tick their bucket list and see everything the city has to offer.

My New York City packing list includes what worked for me during my trip in early Summer. I really wanted to be comfortable without looking like a tourist in trainers (although I did wear trainers).


Sneakers are my first choice of shoe (any day) and Adidas is my vice. My new pair of Adidas Gazelles arrived the day before I left and I am not sure how I would have handled all the walking without them. Thank goodness they fitted perfectly and didn’t need to be worn in.

Make sure you pack comfortable shoes.  New Yorkers were known for white-trainers-with-suit look in the 90s (and still is) and I know why.

You WILL walk alot!

If you are not happy to hop along with undertones of sporty styling, pumps (ballet shoes) will work well too. It often rains in summer in New York and your feet will get filthy in open shoes.

I also packed a pair of heels and flip flops. I only used the heels once (one night for drinks on a rooftop bar) and the flip flops would have been handy for time on the beach, but I forgot to pack them in my day bag. They did work well in the apartment as it is a “no shoe” policy in most apartments.


I love cotton dresses. I hate ironing. I pack accordingly. Cute dresses will make you feel feminine while travelling and they take up very little space. You can easily turn it into an evening outfit too – just add heels and jewelry (and a little more lipgloss).

Below are a few of my favourites. Navy blue is my version of a little black dress, stripes are never out of fashion and perfect for a walk along the Hudson or your ferry ride over to Statue of Liberty and floral is forever picnic friendly (great for lazy, sunny afternoons in Central Park).



You will be out all day and most likely need to take everything for the day with you. I stayed in Brooklyn for part of my trip. I would leave early morning and only return close to mid-night and wanted everything I needed with me. Although backbags are a no-no if you want to blend in and not look like a tourist, Knomo have more on-trend designs for the fashion conscious. They are stylish and well made. I use mine for work everday, but opted for a simple black Woolies sling hangbag that held my ipad, camera, passport and other personal belongings without standing out too much as a non-New Yorker. I allowed a little splurge once in New York and purchased a great two tone leather bag that was put to good use the moment I walked out of the store.


Sunscreen, shades and sandals

I had really great weather and got sunburnt! Don’t forget your sunscreen. New York is surprisingly sunny (even umongst the high rise buildings) and the streets are wide enough to choose between walking on the “shade” or “sun” side. My choice of skincare is and has been Dermalogica for years. Ask your skin therapist for travel sizes and keep it handy. You will need it. If you feel like giving your feet some sun, do it on a day where you know you won’t walk alot (or take it in your bag and change) The sandals from Poetry will complete your floral sundress look for a great day of picnic in the park.


So, without further ado, my list

My 6 day New York City Summer Packing List for Women:

  • 2 sun dresses (including party dress which I wore to a Broadway show)
  • 2 jumpsuits/playsuits
  • 1 t-shirt (You might be able to pull it off with more style than me and want to pack more. I just feel overweight and ugly when I travel in t-shirts and prefer blouses or more dressy tops. )
  • 3 blouses (including a black, dressy one that doubled up as an evening outfit)
  • 1 pair of pants – I prefer leggins/jeggings (I left my jeans at home BUT jeans ALWAYS work in NYC)
  • 1 light cardigan
  • 1 pair of shorts
  • 1 set of swimwear
  • sunglasses
  • accessories
  • 2 scarves
  • 3 pairs of socks
  • 3-4 sets of underwear (or more if you don’t plan to use the laundry service)
  • sun hat
  • 3 pairs of shoes (sandals, walking shoes and dress shoes)
  • 1 small purse






  • Don’t walk around fumbling with physcial maps. New Yorkers are friendly and happy to help, but it helps if you look like you can help yourself and you are not a total lost case. Plan your day ahead and make use of technology and the many wifi spots to navigate yourself around the city. Google maps and HERE worked a charm.
  • Don’t be an idiot with your umbrella, a selfie stick, your camera or phone. Be careful as you move through the crowds.
  • Don’t stop in the middle of the sidewalk. Simply move to the side and out of the way.

What I did not know:

I wasn’t sure how “dressy” NYC will be. I was surprised to learn that New Yorkers are much more relaxed than I anticipated. People are well dressed, but not overly dressed. Sundays are trainer and gym outfit day and you will blend right in with lycra and a sun cap.


Most restaurant, subway stations in Manhattan, tourist attractions and stores have wifi. A great help if you are not on a local network.

Shopping is big in New York, but I would advise not to get too excited too quickly. Chainstores are all around and unless you really have limited time, you should be able to make your way back to buy whatever you got excited about on the first day. I was not planning on buying anything at all, but had space (and budget) for a few treats and still think I could have done without.

Also read How 6 days in New York can get you your heart’s desire

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