Fall in New York City: 2024 Festivals and Foliage Guide

The Union Square Farmers Market piled high with pumpkins, cider, and syrup, the changing leaves in Central Park, and plenty of Halloween parades. It must be fall in New York City.

New York City in fall is a wonderland of warm wool sweaters, brisk leaf-strewn walks, and cozy pumpkin parades. Follow along as we take you through everything there is to do in NYC in the fall.

From blood-pumping hikes and leaf peeping at Bear Mountain to semi-private tours of the Met, fall activities NYC run the gamut.

Bring along your appetite for a midtown foodie adventure, or beeline it to Broadway for a high-spirited matinee.

Whether you catch Hudson River views on a Circle Line Cruise or take in the scenery from atop the Empire State Building, nothing beats the Big Apple in autumn!

Fall Foliage NYC

Fort Tyron Park

Take the A train uptown for a multi-hued walk at one of the highest points in Manhattan. Come fall, Fort Tyron Park is a true feast for the eyes featuring a wide array of perennials, heaths, heathers, and elms.

Designed by Frederick Law Olmsted, this gorgeously landscaped park is reminiscent of the English countryside.

Walk through the Alpine Garden, take a seat at the Linden Terrace, and soak in the sparkling Hudson River views.

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Besides a riot of vermillion and burnt sienna, visitors can explore 67 acres of sprawling park, including the infamous Met Cloisters. Part of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, this museum is a must-visit for any Game of Thrones fan, as it contains one of the world’s finest collections of medieval art.

photo credit: Fort Tryon Park Trust via Facebook

Prospect Park

Well worth a trip to Brooklyn, leaf peepers of all ages will be in awe as they revel in the fall scenery at Prospect Park.

This lush oasis is overflowing with Norway maple, London plane, white oak, elm, and weeping willow trees. This urban park offers the perfect backdrop for any number of fall activities, with over 500 acres to picnic, play, and frolic. 

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Take time to traverse the perimeter of the park’s pond, or stop by the Zoo for some animal adventures. Tire out cranky kiddies at the playground, but be sure to scope out the view from Lookout Hill before leaving. 

photo credit: Hi Neighbors via Facebook

Bear Mountain

Beep Beep! Who’s ready for a road trip? One of the top things to do in NYC in the fall is get out of town. Head North to New York State’s Hudson River Valley for some spellbinding foliage and heart-pounding hikes.

Bear Mountain State Park sits nestled in the rugged mountains rising from the west banks of the Hudson River. A little over an hour’s drive from Manhattan, this New York State forested park is a full-on family-friendly adventure. Outdoor enthusiasts can hike, bike, and cross-country ski all day.

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In addition, the park houses a large play field, picnic areas, fishing access, and a Zoo. Opt for the challenging Bald Mountain Loop, or complete the more easygoing Hessian Lake Trail.

Keep your eyes peeled on the drive, as there is plenty of red and orange brilliance to observe on the Palisades Parkway.

photo credit: Armin Kososki via Facebook

Sunken Meadow State Park

Long Island may be more synonymous with summertime cookouts and beach days. However, the Harvest Season injects this New York suburb with an array of arresting visuals.

Located just 50 miles from New York City, Sunken Meadow State Park serves up spellbinding views of both the Long Island Sound and Connecticut.

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Lots of oak forests and interesting topography are spread through the park’s over 1,200 acres. Spend a few hours kayaking and hiking, or try to spot eastern gray squirrels and deer on the woodland trails.

Birders will be in heaven, as Sunken Meadow is home to a wide range of avian life, including ospreys, eagles, and hawks. 

photo credit: Discover Long Island via Facebook

Brooklyn Botanic Garden

Founded in 1910, the Brooklyn Botanic Garden is a public urban oasis that has become a beacon of horticultural displays and city gardening. While it’s always a delight to wander through the Lily Pool Terrace or Herb Garden, Autumn brings vibrant changing hues and a bounty of gourds to the garden’s 52 acres.

Go on a hunt for the elderly Katsura tree whose leaves slowly progress from yellow to orange to pink and red during fall. Or, whip out your camera to document the Black tupelos with brilliant reddish-orange foliage in the Water Garden. Stop by the Discovery Garden to see a dazzling variety of Sumacs and Maples, or make a pilgrimage to Belle’s Brook to admire the small shrubs and perennials in their full fall glory.

New York City Hotels

Can’t wait to bust out your ‘I love NY’ t-shirt?

Before you can kick start your Empire City escape, you’ll need to secure your New York City fall lodgings.

Squeeze out every precious pumpkin spice-scented moment when you extend your fall getaway in NYC. From modern lodgings in lower Manhattan to cozy digs just opposite Rockefeller Center, we offer up several options when it comes to New York City Hotels.

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Stay within walking distance of Grand Central, the Empire State Building, and Broadway, or soak in stunning World Trade Center views. You are guaranteed our lowest rates online wherever you decide to lay your head. 

guest room with view of
photo credit: Club Quarters Hotel World Trade Center, New York via Facebook

Best Things to Do in NYC in the Fall

American Museum of Natural History

Fall in New York City might feature a drop in temperature, but it’s all the more reason to cozy up in a cafe or museum.

Uncover incredible wonders, dinosaur bones, wooly mammoths, and more at the American Museum of Natural History. A must-stop for any NYC itinerary, this renowned institution features 45 permanent exhibition halls, world-renowned dioramas, and the Hayden Planetarium.

Travel beyond Earth at the Planetarium’s 429-seat space theater, or ogle the impressive bone structure of a Titanosaur. Stand under the iconic 94-foot-long Blue Whale, or get close to the 34-ton Cape York Meteorite.

Marvel at dozens of dioramas, and don’t miss walking through the dazzling 2,500-square-foot Hall of Biodiversity

crowd of people outside American Museum of Natural History NYCMidtown Mix Guided NYC Tour With Food – Choose What You Like

Feeling hungry? You’re never too far from an incredible meal in the Big Apple, and the Midtown Mix Guided NYC Tour with Food delivers some of the city’s best eats.

Chow down on everything from pizza to devil’s food cupcakes on this tasty 3.5-hour tour. A truly authentic experience, this walking food tour ditches the tourist traps in favor of under-the-radar gems.

Sample meatballs, avocado toast, and more as you eat like a local. Listen up as your charismatic guide spills all the tea and trivia on these NYC watering holes

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NYC is full of great eats! So be sure to plan your kid-friendly or romantic culinary adventures in advance to explore all this great city has for your taste buds.

Hudson Yard, The High Line & The Vessel Tour

Nature, beauty, and architecture come colliding together on the engaging Hudson Yard, the Highline, and the Vessel Tour.

A true delight come autumn, this 1.5-hour tour takes you through some of Manhattan’s most well-known sites at their seasonal peak.

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The High Line’s elevated park is awash in vermillion, goldenrod, and rust come October. Take in the sights of the Chelsea Grasslands, Thicket, and more before you move on to New York’s Staircase, also known as the Vessel.

Located in the center of Hudson Yards, this structure features 154 interconnecting flights of stairs, 2,500 individual steps, and 80 landings. Your professionally guided tour will feature an overflow of photo ops and scenic views.

photo credit: The High Line via Facebook

The Empire State Building Experience

Create your very own unforgettable NYC memories when you reserve a special Empire State Building Experience. The world’s most recognizable skyscraper has long been considered a symbol of hope, determination, and possibility.

Whether you are set on waking up with the Big Apple or want an all-access style tour, no NY getaway is complete without the Empire experience.

Recently reimagined, the city’s only 360-degree Observatory and new 102nd-floor observatory deliver breathtaking views via their floor-to-ceiling windows.

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Guests can dive into the fascinating history and legacy behind this building in their 10 thousand square foot digital museum. Or end their day with an awe-inspiring sunset from the 86th floor.

Close up of King Kong's hands breaking through the walls of the Empire State Building and his face on the other side of the window in NYC, New York, USA
photo credit: Empire State Building via Facebook

Central Park Bike Tours

Fresh air, falling leaves, and plenty of two-wheeled fun!

Combine your sightseeing with some light exercise when you reserve a riveting Central Park Bike Tour. Pedal through nearly 7 miles of Central Park attractions and landmarks, including Strawberry Fields, the Great Lawn, and Belvedere Castle.

Your expert guide will keep you well informed on the history and facts pertaining to these storied NYC landmarks. Spend 2 hours spotting iconic movie locations, gorgeous landscapes, gardens, fields, and more.

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Have that camera ready, as you’ll want to document everything from the Alice in Wonderland statue to the Imagine Mosaic.

Want to prep for your day in the park? Check out our article, “Things to Do in Central Park: The Complete Visitor’s Guide.”

Wide shot looking out over water in Central Park with tall buildings in the background in NYC, New York, USA
photo credit: Josh Couch via Unsplash

See a Broadway Play

Take a break from skyscrapers and Central Park when you hightail it to the glittering lights of Broadway.

There’s nothing like the rush of live theater, and nothing beats a Broadway production. Sing along to the Jazz inspired numbers of Chicago, or watch your little one’s eyes light up over the incredible costumes and scenery of The Lion King.

Revel in the percussion rhythms and azure-colored antics of the Blue Men, or dive into Revolutionary War history via the raps of Hamilton.

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Whether you are seeking a drama or a Disney-inspired musical, we have countless theater options to choose from. Don’t forget to explore our in-depth guides to new, classic, kid-friendly, and musical legends shows on Broadway 

Close up photo of Elphaba from WICKED The Musical on Broadway in NYC, New York, USA
photo credit: WICKED The Musical via Facebook

Meet the Met: Metropolitan Museum of Art Tour

Escape the outside world and reconnect with artistic masters ranging from Rembrandt to Picasso when you visit the Met.

Your comprehensive 3-hour Meet the Met: Metropolitan Museum of Art Tour is the ideal way to tackle one of the world’s most extensive art collections. From ancient mummies to Monet, you’ll cover 5,000 years of art and history with your expert guide.

Stroll through the Temple of Dendur, gaze upon Monet’s dreamy water lilies, or appreciate ceremonial clothing from Papua New Guinea.

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From more modern works of Rothko and Pollock to classical pieces by Cassatt and Degas, there is no denying the MET’s prolific collection. Round out your inspiring visit with a picturesque panorama from their rooftop garden. 

Circle Line Sightseeing Cruises

Landmarks, harbor lights, and Lady Liberty, oh my! Couple your sightseeing with a wind-swept river cruise on the Circle Line. New York City’s oldest provider of sightseeing cruises has been delighting visitors and locals alike for over 75 years.

Sail past the East River, swing by Ellis Island, and scope out the Statue of Liberty whether you choose to take in the city skyline by sunset or slip under the Brooklyn Bridge by day, Circle Line Sightseeing Cruises an unparalleled level of live narration, scenery, and comfort. 

Circle Line Sightseeing Cruises - NYC, New York, USA
Jet off on a sightseeing cruise in NYC this summer

Apple Picking

What pairs better with autumn than apples?

Round up your nearest and dearest for a fun-filled day at the farm when you leave the city for a day or orchard adventure. Apple Dave’s Orchard and Distillery in Warwick, NY, opens on Labor Day for picking.

Sip on hot mulled cider, and only pay for what you pick. In September, expect sweet and crisp varieties like Gala, Honeycrisp, and Empire.

But don’t fret, as the orchard will stay open through Halloween and feature plenty of festive entertainment, music, and treats.

For a Hudson Valley-based picking option, swing by Greig Farm. Here you can gaze upon captivating Catskill scenery as you sample Ginger Golds, Red Delicious, and Empires.

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Need a giant gourd?

Pumpkin season starts in late September, and you can even feed their cuddly Pygmy goats after you finish at the patch. Be sure to eat your fill of farm-fresh cider donuts before you scuttle back to the city.

Fall Events in New York City

Bryant Park Bank of America Winter Village

It’s never too early for a little snow cheer! Welcome in the cozy season at Bryant Park’s annual winter wonderland*.

Rich mugs of hot chocolate, plenty of artisanal retail options, and the city’s only free admission ice skating rink make the Bank of America Winter Village an ever-popular locale.

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Skate through their 17,000-square-foot ice rink and explore hand-crafted goods ranging from alpaca sweaters to alpine-inspired jewelry. Lastly, stop by The Lodge by Prime Video for festive food and drink options. 
*Winter Village will open for the season in Fall

photo credit: Bryant Park via Facebook

Village Halloween Parade

Face makeup, Broadway-worthy costumes, and marching band cheer unite perfectly to create the NYC Village Halloween Parade.

This beloved annual event will celebrate its 50th anniversary this year. So perfect that costume and face paint, as this parade is an explosion of creativity, color, and Empire City pride.

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Glimpse outrageous costumes ranging from Beetlejuice to Barbie to multi-person floats. The parade takes place on October 31st at 7 p.m. This year’s theme is TBA.

photo credit: NYC Village Halloween Parade via Facebook

Halloween Parade and Pumpkin Flotilla

Craving a side of spooky to go with your fall festivities?

For a full pumpkin-themed affair, stop by Central Park for the Halloween Parade and Pumpkin Flotilla. Appreciate unforgettable fall foliage, carve your own pumpkin, or join the costume parade.

Revelers with an appetite for the paranormal will love the live ghost stories. However, the main event is always the traditional Pumpkin Flotilla, where 50 gourds sail down the Harlem Meer at twilight. On Thursday, October 27th, stop by and watch your jack-o-lantern become part of New York’s largest pumpkin flotilla.

photo credit: Hotel Beacon NYC via Facebook

Oktoberfest NYC

Dust off those lederhosen and maybe break out your best yodel because it’s time to celebrate Oktoberfest.

Get your fill of beer, music, and authentic German eats when you attend Oktoberfest NYC. This almost two-month-long celebration will make you believe you’ve been whisked away to Munich.

Held at Watermark Bar at Pier 15 every weekend from Held at Watermark Bar at Pier 15 every weekend from September 9th – through October 28th, revelers can delight in dazzling German decorations and Brooklyn skyline views. Imbibe copious steins full of Pilsner and Kolsch, as you debate whether to munch on Bratwurst or Bavarian pretzels. 

photo credit: Oktoberfest New York via Facebook

Changing leaves, warm cups of cocoa, and brisk mornings sitting on museum steps. The Big Apple’s autumn allure has been immortalized by movies, tv, and popular culture.

While there’s never an inopportune moment to visit the City that Never Sleeps, fall time brings new magic to our favorite NYC sights.

Wander through Grizzly Bear dioramas and T Rex skeletons at the Natural History Museum, or fall under the Hudson River’s spell at Fort Tryon Park.

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Recreate your own ‘Affair to Remember’ at the Empire State Building, or capture the vivid colors of the High Line gardens and grasslands. 

Surround yourself with tons of Halloween accented attractions when you don a costume and become a part of the Village Parade. Or, sit back and think of the Motherland when you down a traditional Hofbrau beer. 

Ready to uncover the enchantment of NYC in the fall for yourself? Reserve your fall in NYC escape today.

Tell us, What are Your Favorite Things to Do in the Fall in NYC?

Did we miss any of your New York city fall favorites?

Leave us a comment below!

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Written by Isis Maya Nissman

A New York native, Isis-Maya spent most of her professional life working in TV production until a vacation whisked her away to Central...

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