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Looking for Urban Fall Foliage Gems? Leaf It to Us!

best places for fall foliage
Written by Emily Cottone

The first bite of autumn is in the air and people everywhere will soon be flocking to see the beautiful array of colors that come with the changing of the season. As a fall fanatic that lives in a major city (shout out to New York!), I never seem to find the time to get far enough away to experience the plethora of beautiful spots hidden throughout the U.S. Luckily, for city dwellers, our autumn Instagram dreams can still come true. Here are some of my favorite U.S. city spots to soak in the golden and red hues of fall without the five-hour car ride.

Wissahickon Valley Park – Philadelphia, PA
best places for fall foliage - philadelphia

Experience the wilderness without leaving Philadelphia city limits, Wissahickon Valley Park boasts 1,800 acres of woods that look like they’re taken directly from a fairy-tale. A local favorite of hikers of all skill levels, the whole family could spend the day wandering the extensive grounds and taking in the views. Spend the day exploring Forbidden Drive; a no-cars allowed roadway that runs parallel to the Wissahickon Creek and connects to several different trails you can discover throughout your visit.

Bonus: after your day of exploring the wonders of nature you can refuel with a cheese steak, a classic Philly food staple found throughout the city.

Central Park – New York, NYbest places for fall foliage - new york city

This park is iconic and for very good reason. Located in the heart of Manhattan, Central Park boasts 6.1 miles of hidden walkways, sprawling lawns and most importantly: over 18,000 trees providing a full pallet of fall shades (the Elms that turn a deep honey yellow are a definite “must see”). Take in the idyllic views near the Gapstow Bridge or discover the off-the-beaten path treasure that is Belvedere Castle. Need a break? Sprawl out with a blanket on the Great Lawn and enjoy some quality people watching. Trust me, New Yorkers never disappoint.

The Esplanade – Boston, MA
best places for fall foliage - boston

While the Boston Commons is lovely, don’t sleep on the Esplanade. Located on the edge of the Charles River, the 3-mile picturesque walk is perfect for those wanting to experience autumn with the Boston skyline as their backdrop. You can sit back and watch the sail boats float down the Charles river or rent a bike and give yourself an extremely picturesque workout. The path extends all the way to Cambridge which boasts some impressive foliage of its own, especially within the grounds of Harvard’s campus. We certainly like them apples.

Lurie Garden – Chicago, IL
Lurie Gardens in Chicago

As soon as your flights to Chicago land, head for this garden Nestled within Millennium Park. It transforms into nothing short of autumnal wonderland. The two-and-half acre landscape makes for perfect mini getaway from the hustle and bustle of the city. The garden is enclosed by an impressive 15-foot shoulder hedge that is lit to perfection for the ideal ethereal feel and the footbridge is a must when it comes to snapping that necessary fall photo. The garden is also a wonderful place for a fall picnic and hosts several family friendly festival events throughout the year.

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Emily Cottone

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