Whether it’s hiking through the leaves in more than 1,700 parks or biking through scenic neighbourhoods on the City’s 75 bike-lane miles, there’s something special about being in New York City in Autumn as the crisp fall air returns and colourful foliage begins to peak.
“New York City comes alive during the fall, and the best part is that visitors don’t have to leave the City to feel the excitement of the season,” said Fred Dixon, president and CEO of NYC & Company. “Our gorgeous parks, free outdoor events, world-class tours and scenic sights are perfect reasons to plan a trip to New York City this fall.”
Autumn activities and events in New York City’s five boroughs include:
Central Park’s 843-acres of foliage provides the perfect backdrop for leaf peeping, and the Central Park Conservancy offers great ways for visitors to take advantage of this unique park with guided and self-guided tours throughout the fall (centralparknyc.org). Beneath the golden leaves of the trees, visitors can enjoy a Venetian gondola tour, rent a row boat or dine lakeside at the Central Park Boathouse for the ultimate fall-in-NYC moment (thecentralparkboathouse.com). On a smaller scale, Sail the Park features model sailboats racing at Central Park’s picturesque Conservatory Water in a tradition dating back more than 140 years (sailthepark.com).
On Manhattan’s West Side, Friends of the High Line (thehighline.org) offers several fall-inspired tours along the 1.45-mile-long High Line, including their Wildlife Tour on October 1 and Garden Tour on October 13—both great ways to see eye-catching fall colors. Over in Midtown, visitors to Bryant Park can enjoy free public tours of the park throughout the month and learn about its native birds (bryantpark.org).
Celebrating the famed Italian explorer, the annual Columbus Day parade on October 10 will feature 35,000 marchers, colorful floats and musical performances along a route stretching from 44th Street to 72nd Street (columbuscitizensfd.org).
Did you know that visitors can embark on a river adventure in the Bronx? The Bronx River Alliance (bronxriver.org) offers several paddling, biking and hiking excursions along the 4.5-mile Bronx River throughout the fall, including a Full River Paddle on October 15, and the Annual Tour de Bronx bike ride on October 23.
The New York Botanical Garden (nybg.org) will present Aki Matsuri, a Japanese Fall Celebration on October 15 and 16, featuring the Garden’s historic collection of maple leaves from around the world and new Japanese cultivars, as well as nature walks, cooking demonstrations and fall activities throughout the rest of the season. The hidden gem Wave Hill offers visitors several fall foliage walks throughout October and November, as well as their Harvest Weekend on November 19 and 20, complete with garden walks, harvest basket workshops and delicious pumpkin pie (wavehill.org).
NYC Parks offer free events throughout the fall at participating Bronx parks. Van Cortlandt Nature Center invites visitors for free bird walks every Saturday throughout October and November, while the Bartow-Pell Mansion Museum at Pelham Bay Park will display their dynamic outdoor sculpture exhibit on the mansion’s beautifully landscaped grounds through early November.
Surrounded by stunning waterfront views and historic parks, Brooklyn offers plenty of ways to enjoy the great fall weather. Visitors can join Get Up and Ride (getupandride.com) on their Classic Bike Tour of Brooklyn and Brooklyn Sunset Tour, or rent a CitiBike and enjoy the winding trails of Prospect Park and the iconic skyline along Brooklyn Bridge Park.
The Brooklyn Botanic Garden will feature their Chile Pepper Festival on October 1, with more than 60 food artisans and six global bands. In addition, they offer their Seasonal Highlights Tour throughout the month of October, a great way to see the blossoms and the garden’s fall foliage (bbg.org).
Open through October 23, foodies can enjoy unique bites from over 100 vendors at Brooklyn Flea’s Smorgasburg in Prospect Park, a great place to lay back on the leaf-strewn landscape (smorgasburg.com).
Known for its ties to the World’s Fair, Queens offers a taste of fall with a side of history. Visitors can join Bike New York onOctober 30 for their World’s Fair Bike Tour, which will showcase the fascinating structures built for the 1964 World’s Fair as you bike through the fall foliage of Flushing Meadows Corona Park (bikenyc.org).
At the Queens County Farm Museum, kids and adults can enjoy the Amazing Maize Maze on October weekends, a three-acre corn maze filled with clues and puzzles to solve (queensfarm.org). Also, families can pick the perfect pumpkin at the farm’s pumpkin patch. Even more pumpkin picking, music, games, crafts and more can be found at the Fall Festival at Forest Park on October 15 (nycgovparks.org).
BQE Tours offers a special Long Island City tour that showcases the waterfront neighborhood’s industrial history, as well as the local dining scene, artists’ studios, beer tastings and more (bqetours.com).
As the City’s greenest borough, Staten Island offers many opportunities to combine outdoor adventure with leaf peeping.Historic Richmondtown will present their Great American Harvest Fest on October 23. This tradition celebrates the old-fashioned ways of 19th century America with candle making and quilting, with a free shuttle to Decker Farms for pumpkin picking (historicrichmondtown.org).
Just a few blocks away from the St. George Ferry Terminal is the 83-acre Snug Harbor Cultural Center & Botanical Gardenand New York Chinese Scholars Garden. Visitors are invited to Snug Harbor on November 3 for a special Horticulture: Fall Foliage Tour, a great way to spend the day enjoying the fall weather while strolling through the colorful tree-lined paths (snug-harbor.org).
The borough’s hidden gem, the Greenbelt is highlighted as part of Cititrek’s Forever Wild Greenbelt Tour (cititrek.com), a great way for visitors to take photos of the stunning fall foliage and learn about the Greenbelt’s importance to the borough’s environment. Located along the Greenbelt is Willowbrook Park, home to The Carousel for All Children, as well as the upcoming Annual Pumpkin Festival on October 8 (sigreenbelt.org).
Several of the City’s hotels are inviting visitors to enjoy special packages with an autumn twist:
- InterContinental New York Barclay’s “Explore New York” package features 20% off stays of three or more nights, along with a special “Growler Hour” at the hotel’s Gin Parlour featuring Oktoberfest-inspired drinks and hors d’oeuvres (intercontinentalnybarclay.com).
- Loews Regency New York is offering a special New Yorker’s Guide to Central Park package through October 20, which includes overnight accommodations, 1-hour private walking tour through Central Park, a gift made in the visitor’s name to the Central Park Conservancy and more (loewshotels.com).
- Andaz 5th Avenue is inviting visitors to enjoy one of eight different suite categories at 20-50% off seasonal rates as part of their “A Suite Deal” package. Rooms include private balconies or landscaped terraces overlooking Midtown Manhattan (newyork5thavenue.andaz.hyatt.com).
- 1 Hotel Central Park is offering up to 30% off and a US$25 food and beverage credit for Jams, the hotel’s restaurant, as part of their “Fall Equinox” package (1hotels.com).
In addition to these great activities and events, Open House New York (ohny.org) invites visitors to experience some of the City’s rarely seen spaces on October 15 and 16, including lighthouses, skyscrapers, lookouts, factories, monuments and more around the five boroughs.
For more information on fall activities throughout New York City’s five boroughs, check out our Fall Guide at nycgo.com/fall. Visit nycgovparks.org for the latest information about upcoming outdoor events at New York City parks.