The 5 Things You Must Pack for Your NYC Trip

Words by Gillian Osswald, Images by Brittany Petronella

Free concerts, baseball games, outdoor plays, food festivals—there’s nothing like summer in the City. This hot town can be equal parts carnival, marathon and catwalk, so it’s important to come prepared for all kinds of adventures. That starts with a well-curated suitcase. Read on to find out which five items you must have in yours.

Photo: Brittany Petronella

A bomber jacket

Though peak summer temperatures may tempt you to pack only the shortest sleeves and shorts, don’t underestimate the importance of chic summertime outerwear. A lightweight piece like a bomber (or leather or denim) jacket is a perfect throw-on for overzealously air-conditioned art galleries, theaters and subway trains, as well as blustery rooftops and observatories. Comfortably enjoying that twilight view will make toting an extra layer well worth it.

Whitney Museum of American Art. Photo: Brittany Petronella


Sunglasses are a staple of the NYC wardrobe. New Yorkers love to sport a good pair of sunnies on days ending in “-day,” virtually regardless of the weather. To look stylishly nonchalant at all times, and to ensure you don’t fill your camera roll with squinting-into-the-sun photos, remember to pack those shades. We won’t tell if you also use them to conceal a catnap in the Central Park sunshine.

Central Park. Photo: Brittany Petronella

A backpack

Some sort of purse, tote or cross-body bag is essential for a trip to the City, when you can bet on being out and about for the majority of the day. We like a backpack for weight distribution and a little extra capacity to transport sunscreen, a water bottle and any souvenirs you pick up throughout your wanderings. Count your travel blessings that this practical accessory is still favorably within the style spotlight.

Staten Island Ferry. Photo: Brittany Petronella

A black dress

A little black dress is a timeless fashion shortcut for a reason; it’s the path of least resistance to looking put together from day to night, whether you’re sitting on the A train or taking your seat at Lincoln Center. A breathable dress in a simple cut is best for mixing and matching with the other clothes and accessories in your suitcase (read: rewearing with abandon).

Lincoln Center. Photo: Brittany Petronella


You think those strappy sandals are a good idea now (don’t even mention anything with a heel), but strolling from Soho to Chinatown to the Brooklyn Bridge will surely change your stance. Supportive kicks are the way to go with the mileage you’ll quickly rack up exploring this walking City. Whether you lean toward Vejas or Vans, embrace the sneaker trend and pack a pair or two.

Brooklyn Bridge. Photo: Brittany Petronella

Forgot something on this list? Look to our NYC Shopping Guide to fill the gap in no time.