Fall guide 1200x450

Top Five Things to Do in NYC This Fall

Autumn in New York … Why is it so inviting? We finally get to feel the cooler air and the exciting anticipation of the holidays. Seasonal farmers’ markets, apple picking, and pumpkin carving give the city a cozy energy. Check out our list of activities, food, and shows that are not to be missed once the heat of summer winds down.

Classic Fall Traditions

Union Square Greenmarket. Photo by Liz Ligon.
Union Square Greenmarket. Photo by Liz Ligon.

In the mood for an apple cider donut? They don’t call NYC “The Big Apple” for nothing: We have some of the best apples in the world, and fall is peak season. If you are visiting the city, we highly recommend heading to the Union Square Greenmarket on a Saturday morning. You will find fresh flowers, delicious baked items, and the most beautiful apples you have ever seen. Check out Grow NYC for other open-air markets throughout the city, in whichever neighborhood you decide to explore.

Whether you are a local or a seasoned tourist, take a car trip north of the city to Pennings Farm Cidery in Warwick. You can pick apples, sip beer at the beer garden, grab a bite to eat at the pub, and visit their cidery (for guests 21 and older).

Enjoy the Foliage

Central Park.
Central Park.

Ready for the cooler weather to come in? Fall is the perfect time to venture outdoors, enjoy the changing leaves, and take in that crisp, cool air. Fort Tryon Park, located in Upper Manhattan, is the perfect place to take a beat and relax in the cool breeze. Central Park has plenty of annual fall traditions, including the Pumpkin Flotilla, where a parade of carved pumpkins floats across the Harlem Meer. Other places to relax are Prospect Park, Riverside Park, and the New York Botanical Garden.

If you want a breathtaking experience, we recommend a fall foliage cruise on the Hudson River. There are several companies that offer a scenic ride up into the Hudson Valley, often offering cider, hot chocolate, and other refreshments. These cruises will give you the absolute best view of the fall colors. Check out NY Waterway, Seastreak, and City Experiences.

Halloween in the City

Tompkins Square Halloween Dog Parade.
Tompkins Square Halloween Dog Parade.

Halloween in NYC is a unique holiday, and the city celebrates it like no other. Do you have a great costume planned this year? Share it with the world at the 49th Annual Village Halloween Parade, an annual tradition that attracts thousands of New Yorkers. Anyone in costume is welcome to join the parade. Click HERE for more information. Be sure to walk around the neighborhood after the parade — the brownstones in the West Village are famous for their impressive Halloween decor!

In the mood for a different kind of Halloween parade? Check out the annual Tompkins Square Halloween Dog Parade, where you’ll get to see the cutest and most creative costumes on pooches in NYC. Called the “largest dog costume parade in the world,” hundreds of adorable costumed canines take over the park, some with owners who dress up to match. Click HERE for more information.

Shows Perfect for the Season

Skyline Drive In.
Skyline Drive-In.

An old tradition has been reborn! Outdoor movie screenings, also known as drive-ins, are the throwback activity of the season. Whether you have access to a car or not, this is the perfect experience for a low-key night out. Take in the NYC view at the Skyline Drive-In, located along the East River in Astoria, Queens. You can enjoy a movie from the comfort of your car or bundle up outdoors. Also check out the Queens Drive-In, located at the New York Hall of Science in Flushing Meadows–Corona Park for another drive-in option.

If you’re looking to see a Broadway show, there are plenty that pair perfectly with the spooky fall season. Visit the Netherworld at Beetlejuice, or experience some mind-blowing magic at Wicked or Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. You can spend the day enjoying the fall weather before heading to the theatre for the evening!

The Holidays

Bryant Park Winter Village. Photo by Colin Miller.
Bryant Park Winter Village. Photo by Colin Miller.

It’s never too early to start planning your holiday festivities in NYC. In fact, many of our favorite activities start in late fall! Bryant Park’s Winter Village, with holiday shops, free ice skating, cozy igloos, and more, opens at the end of October. The Rink at Rockefeller Center, perhaps the most famous ice skating spot in the world, will also open in mid-November.

Visiting NYC for Thanksgiving? Get a truly special, up-close look at preparation for the famous Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade as teams inflate the floats in the streets near the American Museum of Natural History the day before the holiday. You will be amazed at the incredible size and detail of each balloon. Whether you watch the parade in person or on TV, be sure to tune in to watch all the Broadway performances that are part of the show!