Bear Mountain State Park, fall in nyc

Guide to Fall in NYC – Best Things to Do, Events & Tips

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Visiting New York City in the fall is an experience unlike any other. The summer is super hot and muggy, while the winter gets freezing cold, but autumn is the perfect season. Temperatures are mild, there are fewer tourists vacationing here, and some of the most unique events and fall festivals in NYC are underway.

When we lived in Philadelphia, we took regular trips up to New York, so we’ve had the pleasure of spending time in the Big Apple in all seasons. There is definitely something special about fall, perhaps because it’s such a fleeting time of year. If you can manage to come here in September, October, or November, I highly recommend it.

There are so many fall activities in New York City, so to help you out, I’m sharing all the highlights. In addition to the best autumn day trips and tours, I’m sharing tips for planning your fall getaway:

Before we dive in, if you plan on checking out several popular attractions in NYC, consider getting a New York city pass. I like the New York Pass, but you can find more options in our guide.

When is fall in New York City?

The fall season begins in late September and goes through November. In general, the NYC fall weather is very nice, so you can enjoy outdoor activities and lots of sunshine.

Botanical Garden, fall in new york city

When is fall in New York City?

A defining characteristic of fall in the city is the foliage. Central Park in the fall is gorgeous as the leaves change color, and the entire park is covered in shades of red, orange, yellow, and green. October is the month to see peak fall foliage in New York City.

Average NYC fall weather

The fall weather in NYC is quite pleasant, making this a great time to visit the Big Apple.

Harlem Meer, central park in fall

Average NYC fall weather

From late September through October, the temperatures are mild, with an average temperature ranging from 55°F (13°C) to 68°F (20°C). Going into November, the temps drop a bit, with an average temperature from 42°F (6°C) to 55°F (13°C), so you’ll want to wear more layers.

As for precipitation, there’s typically not much rain in New York City in the fall. September, October, and November each get about 7 days of rain on average.

Best fall festivals & events in NYC

In addition to the nice weather, there are tons of NYC fall festivals to enjoy. You’ll find something for everyone, from families with small children, to couples and young adults.

The fall season is the perfect time to enjoy seasonal treats like cider, celebrate the spooky season, and spend time outdoors. Below, you can see the best fall events in New York City, so mark your calendar now!





Haunted Hues

The Color Factory


Colorful displays, exhibits, and photo opportunities for all ages

New York Film Festival

Lincoln Center


Festival with new film screenings and producer talks

The Great Jack O' Lantern Blaze

Croton-on-Hudson, NY


Walk-through installation with thousands of hand-carved pumpkins

Oktoberfest NYC

Watermark Waterfront Bar on Pier 15

September 8th-October 29th

German-themed annual celebration with international beer and foods

Queens County Fair

Queens County Farm Museum

September 7th-8th

Outdoor festival with live entertainment, farm animals, and activities

New York Fashion Week

Throughout NYC

September 6th-11th

Fashion design showcase with vendors, exclusive events, and runway shows

Feast of San Gennaro Festival

Little Italy, Manhattan

September 14th-24th

Multi-day festival celebrating the Patron Saint of Naples

New York Botanical Garden Fall-O-Ween

New York Botanical Garden

September 16th-November 12th

Fall-themed events and activities for all ages

Brooklyn Book Festival

Downtown Brooklyn

September 28th

Free literary event with vendors, authors, and programs

Autumn in the Sky at The EDGE



Fall-themed installation on the 100th floor of The EDGE observatory

New York Coffee Festival

Metropolitan Pavilion

October 4th-6th

Coffee-themed festival with music, art, and samplings

New York Comic Con

Jacob K. Javits Convention Center

October 17th-20th

Comic festival themed around anime, superheroes, comics, and videogames

New York Food and Wine Festival

Throughout NYC

October 17th-20th

Multi-day festival with food samplings, wine presentations, and events

Brooklyn Bridge Park Havest Festival

Brooklyn Bridge Park

October 21st

Autumn celebration with arts, crafts, and a parade

Halloween Extravaganza & Procession of the Ghouls

Cathedral of St. John the Divine

October 25th

Ghostly parade with live organ music and costumed performers

F4P Halloween Extravaganza

Franz Sigel Park, South Bronx

October 26th

Free Halloween event with crafts, vendors, and trick-or-treating

Great PUPkin Dog Costume Contest

Fort Greene, Brooklyn

October 26th

Brooklyn's biggest dog costume contest

Halloween at Brooklyn Children's Museum

Brooklyn Children's Museum

October 26th

Kid-friendly Halloween event with trick-or-treating and activities

Howl-o-ween Pup Parade & Costume Contest

Van Cortlandt Park, Bronx

October 26th

Dog costume contest and parade with treats and prizes

Bronx Halloween Parade

Longwood, Bronx

October 26th

Community parade on Simpson St. between E. 163rd St. & Westchester Ave

Dog Day Halloween Costume Party & Parade

Greenwich Village

October 26th

Dog parade and costume contest in Washington Square Park

Halloween Pumpkin Flotilla

Harlem Meer, Central Park

October 26th

Free event with a Halloween parade, children's activities, and pumpkin lighting

Hester Street Fair Halloween

Lower East Side

October 26th-27th

Street festival with vendors, DJs, and food carts

Halloween Pier Party

Children's Museum of the Arts

October 27th

Family-friendly festival with classes, exhibits, and performances

Halloween on the Farm

Queens County Farm Museum

October 27th

Family-friendly event with hayrides, crafts, and outdoor activities

Brooklyn Heights Halloween Parade

Brooklyn Heights Promenade

October 28th

Annual Halloween parade for all ages

Halloween Costume Parade & Party

Washington Market Park

October 29th

Kid-friendly Halloween parade with crafts and music

Sutton Spooktacular Celebration

Sutton Place Park, Upper East Side

October 30th

Kids parade and dog costume parade

Cobble Hill Halloween Parade

Cobble Hill, Brooklyn

October 31st

Community parade around Brooklyn's Cobble Hill neighborhood

Dumboween: Halloween March to the Arch

DUMBO, Brooklyn

October 31st

Annual march through DUMBO & Brooklyn Bridge Park to the DUMBO Archway

Halloween Parade on City Island

City Island, Bronx

October 31st

Halloween parade from Hawkins Park to Pelham Cemetery

Hippo Playground Halloween Parade

Hippo Playground, Central Park

October 31st

Children's Halloween parade with music and sweet treats

Jackson Heights Halloween Parade

Jackson Heights, Queens

October 31st

Community Halloween parade with candy and treats

Park Slope Halloween Parade

Park Slope, Brooklyn

October 31st

Brooklyn's largest children's Halloween parade

NYU Children's Halloween Parade & Costume Contest

Washington Square Park

October 31st

Free children's event with a costume parade and Halloween activities

Village Halloween Parade

Greenwich Village

October 31st

1.4-mile-long Halloween parade through Greenwich Village

Atlantic Antic Street Festival

Atlantic Avenue, Brooklyn


Brooklyn's largest street festival with art, music, food, and vendors


South Bronx


Dog costume contest and community event

WoofFest: Howl-oween

Midtown West


Dog parade and costume contest with treats, activities, photos, and caricatures

Tompkins Square Halloween Dog Festival

East Village


Free community Halloween parade and dog costume contest

Blood Manor

Lower Manhattan


Haunted house with several spooky rooms and passageways

Children's Halloween Festival

Bleecker Playground, Greenwich Village


Kid-friendly Halloween fair with face-painting and a parade

Cider Week New York City

Throughout NYC


Week-long event with local producers, samplings, and educational presentations

Doggie Halloween Costume Party

Bushwick, Brooklyn


Dog costume contest and fundraiser for a local animal rescue

Halloween Howl & Healthy Hound Fair

Carl Schurz Park, Upper East Side


Annual dog costume event and Halloween parade

Nightmare Dollhouse

Teatro SEA @ The Clemente


Immersive horror experience with live actors

Rise of the Jack O' Lantern

Old Westbury Gardens, Long Island


Family-friendly event with thousands of hand-carved pumpkins

New York City Marathon

Throughout NYC

November 3rd

26.2-mile race through all 5 NYC boroughs

Harvest Dance Celebration

Queens County Farm Museum

November 3rd

Native American celebration with dances and music

New York Comedy Festival

Throughout NYC

November 3rd-12th

Multi-borough comedy event with hundreds of comedians and sketch artists

Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade

Central Park West

November 28th

Historic annual parade with live performers, floats, balloons, and marching bands

Taste of the Seaport

South Street Seaport


Annual food festival with vendors, live music, and family activities



I’ll share some of the most anticipated fall events in New York City below.

Other things to do in NYC in the fall

There are so many things to do in NYC in the fall, so if you’re overwhelmed by it all, I don’t blame you. To help you out, I’m sharing the top fall activities in New York City so you can narrow down the options and find the most exciting events that appeal to you.

1. Village Halloween Parade, the best way to celebrate Halloween in NYC

Halloween is one of the highlights of fall in New York City, and there is no shortage of Halloween events. Community parades are a huge part of the season, and several Manhattan neighborhoods have their own annual parades.

The Village Halloween Parade in Greenwich Village is one of the most well-known events, featuring costumed trick-or-treaters parading nearly 1.5 miles through the neighborhood. There is also the Tompkins Square Halloween Dog Parade, where you can see all the cute dressed-up pups.

Village Halloween Parade, fall events in new york city

1. Village Halloween Parade, the best way to celebrate Halloween in NYC

Other boroughs join in on the fun, too. In Brooklyn, there are parades in Cobble Hill, DUMBO, Park Slope, and along the Brooklyn Heights Promenade. Over in Queens, there is the Jackson Heights parade, while the Bronx has parades in Longwood and City Island.

Seeing all the happy kids and innovative costumes is one of the best things to do in NYC on Halloween, so you’re bound to catch one of these parades if you visit during this time.

2. The Great Jack O’Lantern Blaze

You can’t celebrate autumn in New York City without pumpkins. The Great Jack-O-Lantern Blaze is one of the coolest fall events in New York City, featuring 7,000 hand-carved pumpkins and displays.

The Great Jack O'Lantern Blaze, fall things to do in nyc

2. The Great Jack O’Lantern Blaze

This installation of lit-up jack-o-lanterns is synchronized to music and includes a pumpkin Ferris wheel and a circus sideshow. It runs from September to November, so there is plenty of time to catch the event. Keep in mind that it’s outside the city, at Van Cortlandt Manor in Croton-on-Hudson, about an hour and 15 minutes from NYC. There is a second location at Old Bethpage Village on Long Island.

Long Island is also home to the Rise of the Jack O’ Lanterns, another pumpkin-centric event. Located at Old Westbury Gardens, the attraction features thousands of meticulously designed jack-o-lanterns by local artisans.

3. Go leaf-peeping in Central Park and other parks around NYC

The fall foliage in New York City is a huge draw for tourists and locals, but you must know where to look for the best views. Without a doubt, Central Park in the fall is downright gorgeous, with shades of red, orange, and yellow creeping across the park’s green spaces. Some of the most scenic spots include Bow Bridge, Gapstow Bridge, the Mall, and Belvedere Castle.

There are tons of fun things to do in Central Park, but if you’re visiting in autumn, you can’t miss the Halloween Pumpkin Flotilla at Harlem Meer. This free event features hundreds of floating pumpkin lanterns and activities for children. For something more laid-back, rent a row boat on the Lake or take a Central Park sightseeing bike tour.

Bow Bridge, central park in fall

3. Go leaf-peeping in Central Park and other parks around NYC

There are other pretty green spaces and parks in NYC where you can appreciate the fall colors in New York City. Snug Harbor Cultural Center and the Greenbelt Nature Center are two nice places on Staten Island where you can enjoy a leisurely stroll.

Back in Manhattan, The EDGE observatory hosts a special fall-themed installation called Autumn in the Sky. From up here, you can get panoramic views of the surrounding foliage, but make sure you get your tickets in advance.

4. Fall foliage cruise, a good NYC fall date idea

For a special occasion or fall date idea in NYC, consider this fall foliage cruise. You’ll board a private yacht and depart from Manhattan’s Chelsea Piers. As you make your way along the Hudson River, your captain will share interesting facts about the area’s history.

Bear Mountain, new york city fall colors

4. Fall foliage cruise, a good NYC fall date idea

This is one of the best things to do in NYC in October when the leaves are changing color and the surrounding environment is bathed in shades of bright red, rusty orange, and sunny yellow. You’ll also get amazing views of the Grand Palisades Cliffs, which reach up to 540 feet tall.

This private cruise includes complimentary hot cider and blankets, and you can stay on deck or move to the cozy cabin. A brunch upgrade is also available.

5. Fall foliage helicopter tour, an exciting fall activity in New York City

We’ve taken a helicopter flight over the city before, and this fall foliage heli-tour seems like a must-try. What better way to see the fall leaves in New York City than from above?

This flight gives you the option of a 30 or 45-minute air tour over the Lower Hudson Valley. Keep in mind that it departs from Westchester Airport in White Plains, NY, about an hour from NYC. Pick-up service from your Manhattan hotel is also available.

Fall foliage heli-tour, fall leaves in new york city

5. Fall foliage helicopter tour, an exciting fall activity in New York City

Once you lift off, you’ll soar over some of the most beautiful places in New York State, such as Harriman State Park, Bear Mountain, Rockefeller Mansion, and Bannerman Castle. Plus, you’ll get incredible views of the red, orange, and yellow hues against the lingering greens of the Lower Hudson Valley.

If a helicopter tour is a bit much, then marvel at New York City’s fall foliage from one of the city’s observation decks. This is a cheaper alternative, and most of the observatories are included in the New York Pass. Some of the best options include SUMMIT One Vanderbilt, the Top of the Rock, and the Empire State Building.

6. Visit a botanical garden, something to do in NYC in the fall as a family

Whether you’re looking for things to do in NYC in the fall as a family or as a couple, you can’t go wrong with visiting a botanical garden.

For example, the New York Botanical Garden is stunning year-round, although, in the autumn, it hosts Fall-O-Ween. Running from September through November, Fall-O-Ween features all kinds of fall-themed activities like pumpkin carving, scarecrow-making, and hayrides. There are parades for the kids and a beer garden for the adults, plus special weekend events and spooky garden nights for Halloween.

NY Botanical Garden, fall activities brooklyn

6. Visit a botanical garden, something to do in NYC in the fall as a family

Over in Prospect Park, the Brooklyn Botanic Garden is another place to celebrate fall in New York City. During this time of year, you can walk through the beautiful maple grove, see the sweetgum trees in bloom, and admire the native grasses and wildflowers. There are nearby attractions like Prospect Park and Smorgasburg Williamsburg, so you can make a day of it, especially if you’re brainstorming things to do in NYC as a couple.

Both gardens are included in the New York Pass, so don’t miss your chance to enjoy the fall colors in New York City.

7. New York Film Festival, a popular fall event in New York City

Art and culture aficionados will enjoy the New York Film Festival, a city tradition that’s been going strong for six decades. This is one of the most popular fall festivals in NYC, celebrating the work of some of the most prestigious film directors on the planet.

New York Film Festival, fall festival nyc

7. New York Film Festival, a popular fall event in New York City

The event takes place in September or October every year and features film screenings, presentations, and Q&As with directors. Previous line-ups included Sofia Coppola, Bradley Cooper, and Hayao Miyazaki. The main venue is the Lincoln Center on the Upper West Side, and tickets are required.

There are other fall events in New York City for cinema lovers, including the Manhattan Short Film Festival. It takes place in late September through early October and features first-time filmmakers and seasoned professionals. There is also New York Film Week in the last week of October, which focuses on promoting international cinema.

8. Queens County Farm Museum, a fun place to take the kids in NYC in the fall

The Queens County Farm Museum is one of the best museums in Queens, and it’s especially fun in the autumn. Starting in September, the museum hosts a variety of fall events in New York City, offering something to do for the whole family.

The Queens County Fair begins in early September with hayrides, live entertainment, and games. Check out the delicious homemade pies or see if you can get out of the Amazing Maize Maze.

Queens County Farm Museum, things to do in nyc in september

8. Queens County Farm Museum, a fun place to take the kids in NYC in the fall

Throughout October, you can walk through the massive pumpkin patch or take part in Halloween on the Farm. This family-friendly event features music, dancing, trick-or-treating, and a spooky farmhouse attraction. After Halloween, the museum holds the annual Harvest Dance Celebration, one of the most unique things to do in NYC in November. This American Indian cultural celebration includes Native American dancers, crafts, and a food market.

Of course, sometimes the fall weather in NYC doesn’t cooperate. If that’s the case, I recommend visiting the Haunted Hues exhibit at the Color Factory. This immersive Halloween-themed experience features glow-in-the-dark crafts, pumpkins, a scavenger hunt, special treats, and photo-worthy displays.

9. Go pumpkin and apple-picking, the best outdoor activity in NYC in the fall

Visiting a pumpkin patch is one of the top things to do in NYC in October, and there is no shortage of attractions in the area. In addition to the Queens County Farm Museum, Decker Farm in Historic Richmond Town on Staten Island is a popular choice. If you’re willing to travel outside of NYC, Harvest Moon Farm and Orchard in Croton Falls, NY, has a pumpkin patch and an orchard where you can pick your own apples.

Apple picking, fall activities in new york city

9. Go pumpkin and apple-picking, the best outdoor activity in NYC in the fall

Apple-picking is a fall activity in New York City that you can enjoy from early September through October. One of the best places to go for ripe, juicy apples is Lewin Farms in Long Island. There are also orchards in the Hudson Valley, like Cedar Heights Orchards, Hopedale Farm, and Wilklow Orchards.

Many of these spots offer other activities like hayrides and corn mazes, so if you’re looking for things to do in NYC with kids, I highly recommend them.

10. Feast of San Gennaro, an annual NYC fall celebration

Whether you’re Italian or not, the Feast of San Gennaro is a fall festival in NYC that you don’t want to miss. This annual event, which occurs in mid-September, is dedicated to the Patron Saint of Naples, Italy. It takes place throughout Manhattan’s Little Italy neighborhood, where you’ll find parades and processions, live music and entertainment, and, of course, food.

Feast of San Gennaro, things to do in nyc in september

10. Feast of San Gennaro, an annual NYC fall celebration

The Feast of San Gennaro is one of the oldest festivals in the U.S., dating back to 1926. Today, the event lasts several days and celebrates the tradition of Italian immigrants who came to New York City from Naples.

One of the highlights of the festival is the food, which ranges from classic Italian specialties to popular street food. There is even a cannoli-eating contest! While you’re enjoying the atmosphere and merriment, be sure to check out some top foodie spots in Little Italy like Don Angie’s, Alleva Dairy, and Di Fara’s Pizza.

11. Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade

Without a doubt, watching the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade is the best thing to do in NYC in November. The parade dates back to 1924 and is a major part of Americans’ Thanksgiving Day celebrations, with over 40 million people tuning in to watch it annually on TV.

Of course, seeing the parade in person is a completely different experience, so if you’ll be in Manhattan on Turkey Day, consider watching the parade march past. The event starts at Central Park West and 77th Street, then travels along 34th Street to Macy’s Herald Square. Some of the best viewing spots are at Central Park West.

Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, fall in new york city

11. Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade

Throughout the parade, you’ll see dozens of balloons and floats and hundreds of performers, from clowns and musicians to marching bands and Broadway actors. There are even several celebrity guests. Santa makes his appearance at the end of the parade, and many consider it a kick-off to the winter season in NYC.

It’s free to attend the parade, but it’s very busy, so if you aren’t comfortable with crowds, it’s better to watch on TV. Either way, it’s one of those Thanksgiving things in NYC that has become a staple for people across the country.

12. Oktoberfest, one of the best things about fall in NYC for adults

If you’re visiting NYC in the fall as a couple or with a group of friends, consider celebrating in the Oktoberfest festivities. There are several venues throughout the city that hold Oktoberfest events with beer gardens, drink specials, and German classics like bratwurst and giant pretzels.

Oktoberfest in NYC typically occurs in September and October, and the most famous place to go is the Watermark at Waterfront Bar on Pier 15. In addition to traditional appetizers, they serve a variety of German beers and other goodies.

Oktoberfest, things to do in nyc in october

12. Oktoberfest, one of the best things about fall in NYC for adults

You can also check out Stone Street Oktoberfest in the Stone Street Historic District for live music, games, food, and drinks. Some other Manhattan locations include Loreley Restaurant & Biergarten in the Bowery, and Torch & Crown Brewing Company in Union Square Park.

Over in Queens, the Bohemian Hall and Beer Garden is a well-known venue, while Radegast Hall & Biergarten in Brooklyn offers a great selection of German and craft beers, sausages, and live music.

13. Take a catacombs tour

Looking for a spooky fall activity in New York City that’s not a horror house or haunted hayride? This catacombs tour inside old St. Patrick’s Basilica is one of the top ghost tours in NYC, offering an alternative to the more mainstream Halloween attractions.

This candlelight tour walks you through the church’s underground catacombs, which are usually closed off to the general public. These creepy crypts and tombs hold hundreds of years of history and serve as the final resting place for pivotal figures like Civil War-era generals, bankers, politicians, and church leaders. While it’s a bit chilling, it’s also an informative tour.

Catacombs tour, fall in manhattan

13. Take a catacombs tour

For those who do love haunted houses and ghost stories, the Big Apple has a handful of scary places that are said to have specters and supernatural features. For example, the Merchant’s House Museum is haunted by several members of the Tredwell family who died in the mansion. It’s considered the most haunted house in NYC.

There is also the Morris-Jumel Mansion, which hosts an annual ghost tour through the Federal-style estate. Another option is the Boroughs of the Dead company, which has several walking tours through the city. Any of their tours would be a great thing to do in NYC at Halloween.

14. Go kayaking for free

Even if you’re on a budget, you can still thoroughly enjoy NYC in the fall. One of the best free things to do in New York City is to go kayaking on the Hudson River. It’s something you can do with the kids, as a couple, or even on your own.

Manhattan Community Boathouse kayaking, fun fall activities nyc

14. Go kayaking for free

The Manhattan Community Boathouse at Pier 96 holds free kayaking lessons from spring until October. You’ll join a group of kayakers, led by an experienced guide who will lead you along the river. Enjoy the breeze and take in the surrounding scenery of the New York skyline and its waterfront parks.

The boathouse has changing rooms and lockers, which I recommend taking advantage of, especially if the fall weather in NYC is chilly. This way, you can have a dry change of clothes ready after your kayaking adventure. Also, these sessions are funded by donations and organized by volunteers, so if you enjoy it, consider giving them some money. No experience is necessary to go kayaking, but you should reserve your spot on the official website.

15. Bear Mountain Loop Trail, one of the best fall hikes near NYC

When the weather is nice, you can enjoy one of the best fall hikes near NYC. For example, the Bear Mountain Loop Trail is a lovely 3.8-mile circular route in the highlands of New York. It’s a little over an hour from NYC, so it’s perfect if you’re craving an escape from the busy city.

Bear Mountain State Park, best fall hikes near nyc

15. Bear Mountain Loop Trail, one of the best fall hikes near NYC

Located in Bear Mountain State Park, the trail offers nice views of New York City’s fall colors and scenery. I recommend going counterclockwise for the best vistas. It requires a bit of scrambling, but most of the trail is well-maintained, making for a moderate hike. Plus, dogs are allowed on the route, so it’s a good family hike to take after the summer heat dissipates.

Along the way, you’ll get beautiful views of the state park and the Hudson River. You can also climb up to the Perkins Memorial Tower and pass by Hessian Lake for a picturesque rest. Keep in mind that it costs $10 to enter the state park, but overall, this is a low-cost fall activity near New York City. And if you want more inspiration, check out our guide on the most recommended hikes in NYC.

16. Sleepy Hollow, one of the best fall day trips from NYC

Visiting Sleepy Hollow is one of the best day trips from NYC, especially if you travel during the fall. This town perfectly captures the spirit of Halloween, and it has plenty of themed attractions and activities to enjoy.

It’s known for The Legend of Sleepy Hollow and its haunted happenings, so while you’re here, be sure to check out the Headless Horseman Bridge and Sleepy Hollow Cemetery. There are other beautiful historic buildings here, like the Old Dutch Church, which dates back to the late 1600s.

Sleepy Hollow, best things to do in nyc in the fall

16. Sleepy Hollow, one of the best fall day trips from NYC

During spooky season, Sleepy Hollow is a Halloween lover’s dream, with haunted hayrides, ghost tours, jack-o-lanterns, street fairs, and Gothic mansions. Best of all, the town is just 30 minutes from Manhattan, making it the ideal fall day trip from NYC.

Sleepy Hollow is also very close to Tarrytown, another old Dutch village with some impressive structures like Lyndhurst Mansion, Tarrytown Music Hall, the Philipsburg Manor House, and Tarrytown Lighthouse.

If you prefer something more outdoorsy, there are other amazing places in New York State that are particularly gorgeous in the fall. My favorites are the Adirondack Mountains, Watkins Glen State Park, and Letchworth State Park, but you’ll need more than a day to explore these spots.

17. Roosevelt Island

Taking a short trip to Roosevelt Island is an underrated thing to do in NYC in the fall. While you can visit this place year-round, it’s very nice during the autumn season, thanks to its parks, green spaces, and historic sites.

Roosevelt Island Tram, new york city fall colors

17. Roosevelt Island

Plus, you can take the Roosevelt Island Tram to get there. As you ride the cable car over the East River, you’ll get great panoramic views of the skyline and New York City’s fall foliage. The tram costs $2.75 one-way, and the ride lasts four minutes.

Once you get to Roosevelt Island, take some time to explore Four Freedoms State Park. Dedicated to former president Franklin D. Roosevelt, it’s a beautiful waterfront park with seasonal boat rentals. You can also check out the Blackwell House, which was built in 1796, and the ruins of the Roosevelt Island Smallpox Hospital. Its crumbling, Gothic-style architecture adds an eerie touch to the dilapidated hospital, which opened in 1856 and closed in the 1950s.

18. Attend the New York Comedy Festival, a cool thing to do in NYC in November

Take a break from the ghosts and pumpkins, and head to the New York Comedy Festival. It takes place in early November and welcomes some of the world’s best comedians as well as some up-and-coming talent. Past guests have included Jimmy O. Yang, Trevor Noah, Stephen Colbert, and Conan O’Brien, so who knows who will make an appearance this year!

New York Comedy Festival, fall activities in new york city

18. Attend the New York Comedy Festival, a cool thing to do in NYC in November

Over the course of 10 days, NYC’s five boroughs will host stand-up comedians, improv groups, sketch comedy artists, and more. The subject matter is just as varied as the performance venues, which include the Apollo Theater, Carnegie Hall, Madison Square Garden, and Tribeca Performing Arts Center.

There is something for everyone, so if you need an indoor activity or a fun fall date idea in NYC, check it out. You can get more information on the festival’s official website.

19. The Met Cloisters, a beautiful place to experience autumn in New York City

Most people are familiar with The Metropolitan Museum of Art, as it’s one of the top museums in NYC and the entire country. That said, you may not know that The Met has a secondary branch at Fort Tryon Park in Washington Heights, Manhattan.

The Met Cloisters is the only museum in the U.S. that specializes in medieval European art and architecture. It is most famous for its four cloisters that surround a lovely open-air courtyard. These cloisters, or covered outdoor walkways, mimic those that you would see in a French monastery.

The Met Cloisters, fall date ideas nyc

19. The Met Cloisters, a beautiful place to experience autumn in New York City

The architecture here is inspired by the Gothic and Romanesque styles, and the museum is situated on a series of cliffs overlooking the Hudson River. During fall in Manhattan, it’s one of the most beautiful places to be, with the changing leaves decorating the walkways in shades of red, orange, and yellow.

There is also an indoor section with over 5,000 paintings, sculptures, and tapestries. Some of the most popular works include The Hunt of the Unicorn tapestries and a series of stained glass windows from Normandy, France.

The entire museum has a contemplative air about it, making it an excellent place to savor autumn in New York City. Admission to The Met Cloisters is included in the New York Pass, or you can take this two-hour tour of the museum’s highlights.

20. Watch a sports game, the best way to spend a fall weekend in NYC

Finally, you can always enjoy one of the fall sports events in New York City. This is the time of year to cheer on your favorite football, basketball, or hockey team, or just take in the camaraderie and excitement of watching a game.

New York’s sports teams are some of the best, and there is nothing quite like seeing a game in person. During football season, you can watch the New York Giants or the Jets, while the New York Rangers are the state’s professional hockey team.

New York Knicks game, fall events in new york city

20. Watch a sports game, the best way to spend a fall weekend in NYC

When it’s time for an NBA basketball game in NYC, sports fans flock to Madison Square Garden to see the New York Knicks. Another NY basketball team, the Brooklyn Nets, play at Barclays Center. Basketball is one of the most popular sports in NYC, so if you want to watch a game, I recommend getting your tickets in advance.

Heading to a sports event is a great way to spend a night together as a couple or with friends. Even if you aren’t a huge sports person, it’s worth attending a game in person for the experience.

Where to stay in NYC in the fall

Given all the amazing fall things to do in NYC, it makes sense to spend more than one day here. If you can, I recommend staying overnight or for a weekend so you can experience all the seasonal delights and celebrations.

We’ve stayed in the Big Apple a few times, and it truly is the City That Never Sleeps. For a more comfortable experience, these are my top accommodation recommendations:

  • Budget: Pod 39 is one of the best cheap hotels in NYC, so you can sleep soundly without breaking the bank. A variety of capsule-style rooms are available, and there are community features like a restaurant, lounge, game room, and rooftop.
  • Mid-price: For a bit more, you can stay at The Bowery Hotel, a beautiful hotel in downtown NYC with boutique-style rooms, suites, and studios. Floor-to-ceiling windows, marble bathrooms, and resort-style amenities will make you feel like royalty.
  • Luxury: The Plaza Hotel is perfect for a special occasion. As one of the top-rated Manhattan hotels, it boasts an excellent location where you can admire Central Park in the fall. The hotel has spacious rooms, several dining options, a gym, and a spa, so it’s great for couples.

Best places to eat in NYC in the fall

The Big Apple is known for having some of the best food in the country, and if you visit during the autumn season, you can try some unique dishes and specialty treats. Some of them even make for a great fall date idea in NYC!

For example, The Cauldron NYC hosts fantastical potion-making classes that any Harry Potter fan will love. The bar also has magical hot chocolate recipes and wizard-inspired cocktails. For those who prefer something creepier, the Beetle House features Tim Burton-themed drinks and decor.

I also recommend checking out the pink pumpkin patch at Magic Hour, one of the best rooftop bars in NYC. Located on the 18th floor of Moxy Times Square, the terraced bar gets dressed up for Halloween with gourds and pumpkins in various shades of pink. Over at the nearby Eataly market, the Serra rooftop celebrates autumn in New York City with beautiful decorations and Halloween-themed cocktails, along with a live DJ and dancing.

Halloween-themed restaurant, fun fall activities nyc

Best places to eat in NYC in the fall

Another unique experience is the 21+ House of Spirits: A Haunted Cocktail Soiree. It takes place in a five-story mansion that’s said to be haunted and includes a night of macabre drinks, tarot card readings, and more.

If you prefer a sit-down meal without so much fanfare, there are some lovely restaurants to consider. Lillie’s Victorian Establishment is a Victorian-era restaurant in Manhattan that’s famous for its Gothic-style decorations, complete with façade-climbing skeletons. The Slaughtered Lamb Pub in Greenwich Village offers delicious food and drinks as well as a game room dungeon and a werewolf lounge with a cozy fireplace.

In the West Village, there is One if by Land, Two if by Sea, an old carriage house that was owned by Aaron Burr in the 18th century. Some believe that the ghosts of Burr and his daughter, Theodosia, haunt the restaurant, but if you’re brave enough to visit, it’s a romantic, fine dining establishment. Finally, Oscar Wilde NoMad has the longest bar in the city (118.5 feet) and hosts an annual Halloween costume party.

Best fall day trips from NYC

One of the coolest things about New York is that it’s close to so many interesting sites and attractions. Besides the most famous landmarks in NYC, it’s worth visiting some nearby towns.

If you have a couple of days, consider taking a weekend getaway from NYC. Some of the most beautiful natural areas are just an hour or two from Manhattan and make for a lovely fall date idea in NYC. For example, Harriman State Park has some of the best hikes in the NYC area, where you can admire the changing colors of the leaves. You can also enjoy some of the best fall hikes near NYC in the Mohonk Preserve.

Hudson, New York, makes for another fun fall day trip from NYC. It has a romantic, small-town vibe with art galleries, thrift stores, coffeehouses, and small cafes.

If you’re up for a longer adventure, there are awesome day trips from NYC that you can take on your own or with a guided tour.

Philadelphia Museum of Art, fall day trips from nyc

Best fall day trips from NYC

Philadelphia is just 2 hours away and offers a distinct atmosphere of food, attractions, and communities. We lived by the city for a few years, and I highly recommend exploring its most famous landmarks at least once. You can check out more tips in our guide to visiting Philly from NYC, and if you’re short on time, book this day tour.

If you travel another couple of hours, you can visit the nation’s capital, Washington D.C. We have an entire article about taking a day trip to Washington from NYC, so be sure to read it if you’re traveling on your own. If you don’t want to do all the planning, this 1-day tour is a good alternative.

Finally, you can take a trip from NYC to Boston to discover another sophisticated city. Boston is full of food, culture, and history, so if you’re not sure what to visit, consider taking this day tour to see the top highlights.

What to wear in NYC in the fall

Early fall in NYC is still warm as the summer heat takes its time to leave the city. By the end of the month, the temperatures are more comfortable, so you can hop around the city in a T-shirt or light sweater.

Greenwich Village, best things to do in nyc in the fall

What to wear in NYC in the fall

Through October and November, the temps stay quite mild, although the mornings and evenings will be a bit cooler. Wear layers so you can stay comfortable while enjoying NYC’s fall festivals and outdoor events. Later in the season, you may want a heavier jacket or coat as well as a hat and gloves in case there’s a cold snap.

No matter when you’re traveling, I recommend keeping a pair of sunglasses handy and wearing comfortable shoes. If you’re not sure what to wear in NYC in the fall, take a hint from the locals; they’re always dressed to impress!

Other tips for visiting New York City in the fall

With a bit of planning, you can have the most comfortable and enjoyable autumn day in New York. Here are some tips to make the most of your NYC fall visit:

  • The best time to visit NYC in the fall to see the foliage is in October.
  • The most beautiful foliage is in Central Park, Prospect Park, and Fort Tryon Park.
  • The fall weather in NYC is especially nice in September, with mild temperatures and lots of sun.
Halloween pumpkins and candles, fall in new york city

Other tips for visiting New York City in the fall

  • Plan your itinerary and consider getting a New York attraction pass, especially if you want to visit some of the top sites in the city.
  • Pack the appropriate clothing and footwear since you’ll be doing a lot of walking.
  • Have a backup plan for inclement weather. There isn’t much rain during the fall in New York City, but if you’re unlucky, there are plenty of indoor activities like museums and shows.

FAQs – Fall in New York City

Let’s recap this NYC fall guide with some of the most common questions about visiting New York in the autumn:

Fall in New York City typically goes from late September to late November.

The fall foliage in New York City usually peaks in October, so if you want to go leaf-peeping and see beautiful fall colors, plan your visit for this month.

Absolutely! Fall in Central Park is beautiful, and there are all kinds of autumn and Halloween-themed activities to enjoy. Plus, the weather is quite pleasant, so you can take advantage of outdoor attractions.

In September and October, the fall temperatures are pleasant and mild, but by November, temps start to drop, and the air gets crisper.

Wear layers for your visit to NYC in the fall. Bring a T-shirt, sweater, or sweatshirt, a jacket, and boots or sneakers that you’ll be comfortable walking in. You may also want sunglasses, gloves, and a scarf for when the temperatures drop.

That’s it for this guide to enjoying autumn in New York City. I hope you feel better prepared to visit NYC during one of the most beautiful seasons. If you have any other questions, don’t hesitate to leave me a comment below. I’d also love to hear about your favorite fall activities in New York City!

Stay safe, and have a great time in the Big Apple!

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Hey there, I'm Ascen, your personal trip planner on a mission to help you craft the most incredible adventure of your life. While I'm based in Las Vegas, you won't find me there often. As a full-time traveler, I'm always on the go, exploring new destinations and capturing the world through my lens. From the enchanting shores of Almeria, Spain, where I grew up, to the far reaches of the globe, I'm here to provide you with detailed travel guides and practical tips to make your trip planning a breeze. Find out more about me here.
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