3 Days in New York City This Fall

October 4, 2021

Form lifelong family memories in the Big Apple and always "recall Central Park in fall" with this list of retro musical diners, morning bike rides, and world-renowned museums. 

Our 3-day guides take you to the must-see sights of NYC without exhausting anyone's legs or patience. Enjoy a mix of active adventure, cozy relaxation, and unique photo opportunities.

Serene or Spooky?

Need some time to relax in nature and step away from the computer? Or are you craving a heart-throbbing spooky weekend?

Whether you want a Leisurely Weekend Getaway, Moderately-Paced Itinerary, or an Action-Packed Adventure, we've got your three-day New York City fall trip covered!

view of skyline and autumn trees in Manhattan from Central Park in NYC, New York, USA

Leisurely Getaway Weekend

Where to Stay: Washington Jefferson Hotel

The Washington Jefferson Hotel is a clean, pleasant 1920s hotel located a five-minute walk from Times Square and a 14-minute walk to Central Park. Affordable prices for the location, although wifi usage incurs an additional fee.

Day One

Where to Go: Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island

Take an all-inclusive tour to get incredible views of the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island. Accompanied by a knowledgeable local guide, hear the history of the Statue of Liberty and the stories of immigrants who, after many long weeks on steamships at sea, finally arrived at the exact spot you’ll stand at Ellis Island. Don’t forget to snap some photos of NYC from the ferry!

Where to Eat Lunch: Westville

Walk 10 minutes from the Castle Clinton National Monument to enjoy a healthy and tasty meal with views of the Brooklyn Bridge. A spacious restaurant with a variety of options great for families -- soups, vegetables, burgers and sandwiches, vegan options, alcoholic drinks, and desserts. Try the four-vegetable plate!

Where to Go in Afternoon: 9/11 Memorial Museum and One World Observatory

Head to the 9/11 Memorial Museum and One World Observatory. If the kids aren’t too tired, the museum is a must-see. If they are getting tired, opt for the observatory instead. Take a stimulating elevator ride up to the 100th floor for breathtaking panoramic views of New York City.

Day Two

Where to Go: Central Park

A morning family bike ride surrounded by beautiful autumn colors will make you all “recall Central Park in fall” for many years to come. If you’re not a biker family, hop into a pedicab or use those good old-fashioned legs for a leisurely stroll. 

Related Post: Things to Do in Central Park: The Complete Visitor’s Guide

Here are some of the major sites you can stop and explore if you start at the Southeastern side and head counterclockwise around the park:

  • Central Park Zoo: On the southeast side of the park, a small zoo with exotic birds and owls, snow leopards, a red panda, penguins, sea lions, monkeys, and a petting zoo.
  • Billy Johnson Playground: A lovely playground with swings, a climb area, gazebo, and “one of the best slides in NYC.” 
  • Balto Statue: Fans of the movie Balto can see a sculpture of the dog who raced to deliver medicine to save Alaskan children from diphtheria here. 
  • Dene Summerhouse: Typically used for weddings, this little gazebo presents beautiful family photo opportunities with a NYC and Central Park backdrop.
  • Fifth Avenue: One of the most prestigious and expensive shopping streets in the world.
  • Ancient Playground: A big park more suitable for ages 4+. A good stop for clean restrooms with changing tables.
  • Neue Galerie New York: German and Austrian art museum that often features world-famous pieces like The Scream and the Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer. Also has a gift shop and café if anyone’s hungry.
  • Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum: Modern art museum designed by Frank Lloyd Wright.
  • Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum: An interactive design museum housed in a historic townhouse with a beautiful garden.
  • The Jewish Museum: Jewish religious artifacts with a bagel shop oft called the best in NYC.
  • The Museum of the City of New York: History and art museum exhibiting NYC and its inhabitants over the years.
  • Pilgrim Hill: The perfect spot for a picnic overlooking the park.
  • Seneca Village: Going south on the west side of the park, you’ll come across an important bit of history—a site that marks what used to be a large population of African American landowners in pre-Civil War Manhattan. 
  • Hecksher Playground: The oldest park in Central Park, located at the Southwest entrance.

Where to Eat: Ellen's Stardust Diner

Exiting from the southwest side of the park, walk 10 minutes south on 7th avenue until you get to  Ellen’s Stardust Diner. Singing servers at this 1950s retro American diner make for a memorable family meal near Times Square.

Related Post: Why Fall in NYC is The Best Time of Year

Where to Go in the Afternoon: Times Square

Walk four minutes from the restaurant to reach Times Square. Admire the lights and step into shops like M&M World and Hershey’s Chocolate World if the kids need a final pick me up.

Day Three

Where to Go: LEGOLAND® New York

About 45 minutes outside New York, LEGOLAND® New York is worth the drive. Millions of legos combine to form cities, rides, and attractions plus a theater. Great for kids aged 2-12.

Where to Eat: Hillcrest Entertainment, Inc.

A 10-minute drive from Legoland will bring you to Hillcrest Entertainment, Inc., a family-oriented restaurant with live music, mini golf, and pool. Rustic, relaxed atmosphere with American classics and seafood plus 24 beers on tap!

Bridge over the water and Fall Foliage at the Brooklyn Botanical Garden - NYC, New York, USA

Moderately-Paced Itinerary

Where to Stay: Washington Jefferson Hotel

The Washington Jefferson Hotel is a clean, pleasant 1920s hotel located a 5-minute walk from Times Square and a 14-minute walk to Central Park. Affordable prices for the location, although wifi usage incurs an additional fee.

Day One

Where to Go: Statue of Liberty National Monument

Take an all-inclusive tour to get incredible views of the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island. Accompanied by a knowledgeable local guide, hear the history of the Statue of Liberty and the stories of immigrants who, after many long weeks on steamships at sea, finally arrived at the exact spot you’ll stand at Ellis Island. Don’t forget to snap some photos of NYC from the ferry!

Where to Eat Lunch: Westville

Walk 10 minutes from the Castle Clinton National Monument to enjoy a healthy and tasty meal with views of the Brooklyn Bridge at Westville. A spacious restaurant with a variety of options great for families -- soups, vegetables, burgers and sandwiches, vegan options, alcoholic drinks, and desserts. Try the four-vegetable plate!

Related Post: 13 Exciting Things to Do in NYC with Teenagers

Where to Go in the Afternoon: 9/11 Memorial Museum and One World Observatory

If the kids aren’t too tired, the 9/11 Memorial Museum is a must-see. If they are getting tired, opt for the One World Observatory instead. Take a stimulating elevator ride up to the 100th floor for breathtaking panoramic views of New York City.

Day Two

Where to Go: Central Park

A morning family bike ride surrounded by beautiful autumn colors will make you all “recall Central Park in fall” for many years to come. If you’re not a biker family, hop into a pedicab or use those good old-fashioned legs for a leisurely stroll. 

Related Post: NYC Tourist Traps: What to Avoid in the Big Apple

Here are some of the major sites you can stop and explore if you start at the Southeastern side and head counterclockwise around the park:

  • Central Park Zoo: On the southeast side of the park, a small zoo with exotic birds and owls, snow leopards, a red panda, penguins, sea lions, monkeys, and a petting zoo.
  • Billy Johnson Playground: A lovely playground with swings, a climb area, gazebo, and “one of the best slides in NYC.” 
  • Balto Statue: Fans of the movie Balto can see a sculpture of the dog who raced to deliver medicine to save Alaskan children from diphtheria here. 
  • Dene Summerhouse: Typically used for weddings, this little gazebo presents beautiful family photo opportunities with a NYC and Central Park backdrop.
  • Fifth Avenue: One of the most prestigious and expensive shopping streets in the world.
  • Ancient Playground: A big park more suitable for ages four and up. A good stop for clean restrooms with changing tables.
  • Neue Galerie New York: German and Austrian art museum that often features world-famous pieces like The Scream and the Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer. Also has a gift shop and café if anyone’s hungry.
  • Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum: Modern art museum designed by Frank Lloyd Wright.
  • Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum: An interactive design museum housed in a historic townhouse with a beautiful garden.
  • The Jewish Museum: Jewish religious artifacts with a bagel shop oft called the best in NYC.
  • The Museum of the City of New York: History and art museum exhibiting NYC and its inhabitants over the years.
  • Pilgrim Hill: The perfect spot for a picnic overlooking the park.
  • Seneca Village: Going south on the west side of the park, you’ll come across an important bit of history—a site that marks what used to[PE1]  be a large population of African American landowners in pre-Civil War Manhattan. 
  • Hecksher Playground: The oldest park in Central Park, located at the Southwest entrance.

Where to Eat: Ellen's Stardust Diner

Exiting from the southwest side of the park, walk 10 minutes south on 7th avenue until you get to  Ellen’s Stardust Diner. Singing servers at this 1950s retro American diner make for a memorable family meal near Times Square.

Related Post: 45 Unbelievable Facts About New York City

Where to Go in the Afternoon: Times Square

Walk four minutes from the restaurant to reach Times Square. Admire the lights and step into shops like M&M World and Hershey’s Chocolate World if the kids need a final pick me up. Chocolate World if the kids need a final pick me up.

Day Three

Where to Go: LEGOLAND® New York

About 45 minutes outside New York, LEGOLAND® New York is worth the drive. Millions of legos combine to form cities, rides, and attractions plus a theater. Great for kids aged 2-12.

Where to Eat: Hillcrest Entertainment, Inc.

A 10-minute drive from Legoland will bring you to Hillcrest Entertainment, Inc., a family-oriented restaurant with live music, mini-golf, and a pool. Rustic, relaxed atmosphere with American classics and seafood plus 24 beers on tap!

Statue of Liberty in the Bay - NYC, New York, USA

Action-Packed Adventure

Where to Stay: Washington Jefferson Hotel

The Washington Jefferson Hotel is a clean, pleasant 1920s hotel located a 5-minute walk from Times Square and a 14-minute walk to Central Park. Affordable prices for the location, although wifi usage incurs an additional fee.

Day One

Where to Go: Castle Clinton National Monument in Battery Park

Take an all-inclusive tour to get incredible views of the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island. Accompanied by a knowledgeable local guide, hear the history of the Statue of Liberty and the stories of immigrants who, after many long weeks on steamships at sea, finally arrived at the exact spot you’ll stand at Ellis Island. Don’t forget to snap some photos of NYC from the ferry!

Where to Eat Lunch: Westville

Walk 10 minutes from the Castle Clinton National Monument to enjoy a healthy and tasty meal with views of the Brooklyn Bridge. A spacious restaurant with a variety of options great for families -- soups, vegetables, burgers and sandwiches, vegan options, alcoholic drinks, and desserts. Try the four-vegetable plate!

Where to Get Instagrammable Photos: Bowling Green Park

After coming back to The Battery, head up Broadway and pass through Bowling Green, the oldest public park in NYC and the spot where Peter Minuit once bought Manhattan for $24 and named it New Amsterdam. See the famous charging bull statue representing NY’s financial industry and Wall Street.

Related Post: Snap Iconic NYC Photos You Can Be Proud Of

Where to Go in Afternoon: 9/11 Memorial Museum and One World Observatory

Head to the 9/11 Memorial Museum and One World Observatory. If the kids aren’t too tired, the museum is a must-see. If they are getting tired, opt for the observatory instead. Take a stimulating elevator ride up to the 100th floor for breathtaking panoramic views of New York City.

Where to Eat Dinner: Joe's Pizza

A seven-minute walk East will bring you to Joe’s Pizza where you can enjoy top-rated New York-style pizza.

Where to Go During Sunset: Brooklyn Bridge and DUMBO Neighborhood Tour

Leaving Joe’s Pizza, head to 52 Chambers Street, just a few minutes walking East. Join the Brooklyn Bridge and DUMBO Neighborhood Tour to hear fascinating stories about the construction of the Brooklyn Bridge.

Built in 1883, the bridge has become a romantic symbol of NY, popularized by the many movies filmed there. Then, explore the trendy Brooklyn neighborhood of DUMBO, known for its galleries, shops, and scenic waterfront views.

Related Post: Current Events and Festivals in NYC, New York

Where to Get a Night Cap: Time Out Market

Stop in at Time Out Market New York to rest your legs and enjoy drinks with views.

Day Two

Where to Go: Central Park

A morning family bike ride surrounded by beautiful autumn colors will make you all “recall Central Park in fall” for many years to come. If you’re not a biker family, hop into a pedicab or use those good old-fashioned legs for a leisurely stroll.  Here are some of the major sites you can stop and explore if you start at the Southeastern side and head counterclockwise around the park:

  • Central Park Zoo: On the southeast side of the park, a small zoo with exotic birds and owls, snow leopards, a red panda, penguins, sea lions, monkeys, and a petting zoo.
  • Billy Johnson Playground: A lovely playground with swings, a climb area, gazebo, and “one of the best slides in NYC.” 
  • Balto Statue: Fans of the movie Balto can see a sculpture of the dog who raced to deliver medicine to save Alaskan children from diphtheria here. 
  • Dene Summerhouse: Typically used for weddings, this little gazebo presents beautiful family photo opportunities with a NYC and Central Park backdrop.
  • 5th Avenue: One of the most prestigious and expensive shopping streets in the world.
  • Ancient Playground: A big park more suitable for ages 4+. A good stop for clean restrooms with changing tables.
  • Neue Galerie New York: German and Austrian art museum that often features world-famous pieces like The Scream and the Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer. Also has a gift shop and café if anyone’s hungry.
  • Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum: Modern art museum designed by Frank Lloyd Wright.
  • Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum: An interactive design museum housed in a historic townhouse with a beautiful garden.
  • The Jewish Museum: Jewish religious artifacts with a bagel shop oft called the best in NYC.
  • The Museum of the City of New York: History and art museum exhibiting NYC and its inhabitants over the years.
  • Pilgrim Hill: The perfect spot for a picnic overlooking the park.
  • Seneca Village: Going south on the west side of the park, you’ll come across an important bit of history—a site that marks what used to[PE1]  be a large population of African American landowners in pre-Civil War Manhattan. 
  • Hecksher Playground: The oldest park in Central Park, located at the Southwest entrance.

Where to Eat: Via Carota

Step inside this rustic trattoria at Via Carota and suddenly you’re in Italy.  Traditional dishes in a beautifully quaint and historic setting make for an immersive Italian dining experience in the heart of New York.  They’re known for their cacio e pepe. 

Where to Find an Afternoon Adventure: Waterfront Bicycle Shop

From Via Carota, walk a few blocks west to reach the Waterfront Bicycle Shop offering trustworthy and affordable hourly and daily rentals. Rent bikes and ride north 15 minutes along the beautiful Hudson River path until you reach Pier 82.

Where to Take a Night Cruise: Circle Line Harbor Lights Cruise

The Circle Line Harbor Lights Cruise is an unforgettable 2-hour cruise to see beautiful New York light into a magical glow as night falls over the city.

Day Three

Where to Go: Wall Street

Stories from the Dark Side: Criminals, Gangs & Mafia Tour of NYC. Led by retired police officers, you will be taken through the stomping grounds of old immigrant gangs, prohibition mobsters, and bankers who scored big conning the stock market on Wall Street.

Learn More About: Top Attractions in NYC, New York

Where to Eat Lunch: Rubirosa

Ending the tour in Little Italy, pop into Rubirosa for “reinvented Italian-American classics.” Try the thin crust pizza with vodka sauce and/or the cavatelli pasta.

Where to Get a Night Cap: La Lanterna di Vittorio

Keeping with the Italian theme of the night, head over to the bar next door at La Lanterna di Vittorio. Indulge in a slice of tiramisu, a glass of wine, or a pint of beer while you listen to live jazz music in a cozy, authentic atmosphere.

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