Summer Weekend Packing List For New York City

How do you pack for a summer weekend in New York City? In a city with so much to do and see - and with variable weather conditions - you have to both dress and pack appropriately if you want to comfortably hit all of the sites on your itinerary. Having to stop back at your hotel to change clothes or charge your phone can throw a wrench into even the best-laid plans. 

So this week, we reached out to some New Yorker Knackpackers to learn what they think belongs on your packing list for New York City. Their excellent advice will help you make the most of any weekend trip to New York. 

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How to build your New York City packing list, key takeaways:

  • Bring layered clothing: Summer weather in New York is unpredictable. It might be cool in the morning and evening, but really hot during the day. 
  • Bring some ‘going out’ clothes: The city that never sleeps has great nightlife; bring some clothes that you can dress up. 
  • Wear comfortable shoes: Choose comfort over style during the day. Don’t get blisters!
  • Bring a phone charger: Don’t let your phone die when you need it the most. 
  • Bring a good daypack: You need something to carry everything; bring a comfortable, sleek daypack like the Knack Pack.

The Perfect NYC Getaway Packing List - Laura

Laura Gironimi is an Italian-born New York local who shares some truly helpful and inspirational content on her Instagram @vivreinnewyork. Here’s what she has to say about making a women’s packing list for NYC:

“One of the most popular questions I get is: ‘what should I pack for my NYC trip?’

Let me start with: New York summer weather is unpredictable. Be prepared for whatever the weather throws at you and check the weather forecast before your trip. 

Layered clothing is key! 

When I travel, I usually break down what I plan on doing in the city I’m visiting, and I put all the outfits I’d wear for the specific occasions on my bed to create different looks for day and night. Choose clothing items and shoes that work with each other so you’ll pack less! 

MY FORMULA for three summer days in NYC: 3 casual looks + 2 night-out looks

Examples of casual spring look: 

  • Jeans, top/t-shirt or long sleeve shirt, cardigan, jacket, and sneakers 
  • Leggings, t-shirt, sweater,  jacket, and sneakers
  • Dress, cardigan, jacket, and sneakers, flat shoes or sandals 
  • Shirt, top, cardigan, and sneakers, flat shoes or sandals

I personally don’t like to use flip flops in the streets as your feet will be dirty in a second and there are a lot of rats in NYC…! I’d wear them only at the beach or at the pool.  

Night-out outfit ideas:

  • Slip dress, light jacket, and heels, flat shoes or boots
  • Shirt, top, and heels, flat shoes or boots
  • Pants, button-down shirt, light blazer, and heels, flat shoes or boots
  • Dress pants, top, cardigan, and heels or flat shoes

Here’s the first list of items you might want to consider bringing with you. 

DRESSES

I love packing dresses because they don’t take much space, and they constitute a whole outfit; they look great day and night. For three days, I’d bring two casual dresses and two dresses for night plans like rooftop, dinner, or a show. 

BOTTOMS

Jeans: they are comfortable and versatile, you can wear them during the day, and then dress them up at night.

  • Skirt, dress pants, or faux leather pants to wear at night.
  • Lightweight linen pants, shorts, or flowy skirts for hot summer days.
  • Leggings to work out. 

TOPS

I’d wear a white button-down for the trip, so I wouldn’t have to pack it. I’d then pair it with jeans, a skirt, dress pants or even a dress! 

I’m also a cropped top fan: add a cropped top to any top or dress, and you’ll be able to create a second look!

For 3 days I’d bring one cropped top, two tops or t-shirts - make sure to pick something you’ll be able to match with all the outfits!

LIGHT JACKETS

Jeans Jackets are usually my go-to for spring and summer. I’d wear them for the trip so I wouldn’t have to pack them. 

SHOES

Comfortable shoes are a must: you’ll end up walking a lot in NYC! 

I personally love white sneakers: you can wear them both with jeans and casual dresses. 

During the day you’ll probably be sightseeing in the City, and you might want to dress up for the night. Most of the places do not require any dress code, however, some rooftops do: you just need a pair of heels, flats, flip-flop, or sandals. 

I’d wear sneakers for the trip and pack 1 extra pair of your choice (mine would be heels and maybe I’d also add flip flops to wear in the hotel, at the beach, or at the pool).  

MUST ADD ONS

  • Light collapsible umbrella
  • Colorful earrings and necklaces (they add style)
  • Swimwear: it doesn’t take much space and it’s better to have one with you; you might end up spending a day on the beach, in a spa, or at the hotel’s pool if there’s one. 
  • Sunglasses 
  • Hat: beanie or summer hat depending on the season
  • Belt 
  • Underwear + socks and stockings + sleep dress/sleep T-shirt (it takes less space than a PJ)
  • Small purse or backpack
  • Water Bottle
  • Laptop + Camera + tripod or selfie stick
  • Electronics: phone+charger, headphones, laptop+charger, camera+charges, extra light for video/pic content that could also be used as a flashlight in case of need, and a portable phone charger - it will definitely be useful!
  • Toiletry bag with a first-aid kit, travel-size toothbrush, toothpaste, floss, shampoo, conditioner, lotions, Q-Tips, sunscreen, medicines, foldable hairbrush, hand sanitizer
  • Makeup  
  • Optional: pens, notebook, magazine 

I love using packing cubes: they keep my clothes organized and I usually just pull it out from my backpack, put it in the closet, and leave it as it is after I open the zip. They are super convenient!!!”

day bag for riding on new york city subway  

What To Bring On A NYC Weekend Trip - Tom

Tom Koz is a talented New York City-based photographer. Seriously, check out his art here. This is how Tom recommends you pack for a summer weekend in NYC:

“When going to the city for the weekend, you definitely want to bring a camera to capture all the classic landmarks: Empire State Building, the Vessel, Freedom Tower, etc. So you NEED comfortable sneakers/shoes for sure, because you’ll do a lot of walking. Maybe bring an Apple Watch or FitBit to calculate all your steps. Haha.

Clothes-wise, if you’re walking around casually and sightseeing, I recommend shorts, a t-shirt, and sneakers, just cause the sun is strong and because of all the buildings, light breezes won’t be able to cool you off.

At night, it gets a little chilly because you’re by the water. Jeans, a crew neck sweater or cardigan, and Chelsea boots or sneakers. There’s nothing wrong with making sure you bring your nicest clothes for dinner, or if you’re taking a nice walk on Madison or Park Ave. on the Upper East Side. Everyone there is going to look their best, and besides, you want to look nice for pictures.”

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How To Pack For A Weekend in NYC - Sabrina

Not only is Sabrina a college student in New York, but she’s our social media manager! You can catch her posting cool Knack content on our TikTok. This is what you need to pack for your weekend trip to NYC, according to Sabrina:

“Picking the right clothing for NYC is super important….sneakers/comfortable flats are a must-have! While you might want to bring a pair of stylish shoes for a night out, pack them and otherwise rely on the shoes that will get you through the day. 

Definitely dress in layers (or keep a layer in your bag). It’s easy to overheat during the day. So be bold, start cold! And if the chill doesn’t go away with walking, pull out a light layer or sweater from your Knack. 

While shorts can be great and comfortable, keep in mind that a pair of light pants are also great, especially when it comes to sitting on the subway

For all the other stuff you should bring, these are the must-have items:

  • A small bottle of sunscreen. You’ve got to reapply throughout the day. Even with all the buildings, you are in and out of the sun as you walk.
  • Hand sanitizer - In one of the busiest cities in the world, it’s a must to stay safe.
  • Journal and pen - I always keep these with me because you never know what cool or interesting things you’ll see and it’s a great way to save memories. 
  • Water - It’s always important to stay hydrated!
  • A day bag - Knack is perfect when unexpanded. 
  • Deodorant - Helpful, especially on the subway. It might be cool and breezy sometimes outside, but the subways can get hot, so being able to freshen up is always super important.
  • A portable charger! Especially if you are looking at maps on your phone. Your battery always dies right when you need it, and sometimes it’s hard to find a place to plug in. So keeping an extra charge with you is key!
  • Sunglasses - The reflections off of buildings can get blinding. 
  • A small first aid kit or bandaids - If you are new to the pace of the city, all that walking can give you blisters. It’s so much better to have a small kit with you so you can bandage up and keep going rather than having to stop short. 
  • A small umbrella - You never know when the rain might catch you off guard! And while dancing in the rain can certainly be fun, you don’t want to be soaked through your entire day.”


Thanks, Laura, Tom, and Sabrina for your help! What do you bring with you to NYC? Let us know in the comments!

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Laptops: 15"
Outfits: 2-3
Under seat: All Jets
Overhead: All Jets
Unexpanded: 24 Liters
Expanded: 35 Liters