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Autumn in New York: You’ll Love These Fall Experiences!

This blog post was updated on October 31, 2022.

There’s nothing quite like visiting New York in autumn. The air gets crisp, and the leaves to change to fiery shades of red, yellow, and orange. There’s a magical glow that falls over the city. You’ve seen it in movies and your favorite TV shows with scenes of coffee-holding, well-dressed professionals strolling the city streets as the brightly colored leaves swirl around them.

Whether you’ve lived in the city your entire life or you’re a tourist who’s just visiting, grab your pumpkin-spiced lattes and cider-flavored donuts, and check out our guide to fall in New York.

See Central Park in Its Autumnal Glory

Visiting New York in Autumn at Central Park

There’s no way we could leave Central Park off our list. From the West Side to the East Side, you’ll feel like you’ve entered another world with the aura that emits from the changing leaves. You’ll have plenty of photo ops, so keep your camera ready. There’s a reason why autumn in Central Park has made its way into many famous movies and television shows. You’ll find that it’s a wonderful reprieve from the hustle and bustle of the rest of Manhattan.

Some of the best Central Park spots for leaf-peeping include The Reservoir, the Mall & Literary Walk, the Ramble, and the Hallett Nature Sanctuary. There’s so much to do in Central Park, from visiting the Belvedere Castle and the Central Park Zoo to inline skating and paddle boating. Or you can just get lost among the leaves and go for a nice, relaxing stroll.

Comb Through a Corn Maze in Queens

Visiting New York in Autumn for a Corn Maze

While not technically in the city, the Queens Country Farm Museum is only about a half-hour ride from Manhattan and feels like the height of rural life. It’s fun for a family day trip, a great date spot, or just a fun fall-themed day with your friends. When you go, you’ll find a large corn maze, a petting zoo, a pumpkin patch, and a beautiful flower garden where you can take pictures.

If you’re hungry, stop by the store that has fresh apple cider and cider-flavored donuts. If you need that autumnal fix but also want to get out of the city for a day, the Queens Country Farm Museum will be a welcome respite for you. Best of all, it’s super affordable.

See the Halloween Parade in the Village

When it comes to quintessential New York City holidays, Halloween always comes to mind. The orange and black colors, the spookiness, and the festive atmosphere surrounding Halloween. And most of all, the people watching. It’s like Halloween was designed with New York City in mind. And what better way to celebrate Halloween than in the West Village? Every Halloween, thousands of costume-clad New Yorkers partake in the NYC Village Halloween Parade. You’ll find giant puppets, over 50 bands playing live music, and tons of dance performances.

Watch the Macy’s Parade

Visiting New York in Autumn During Thanksgiving

[Above image “The famous Macy’s Turkey” by Ben+Sam on Flickr – licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0]

Is Thanksgiving your favorite fall holiday? If so, then you might want to think of taking advantage of some cheap flights to check out the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade. That is, if you’re not afraid of getting up early and being among large crowds of people. Head to the parade and you’ll have the opportunity to see live performances by numerous marching bands and full-scale performances from the casts of current Broadway shows.

You’ll also get to see the famous, extravagant parade floats and giant balloons, great viewing for you and your young ones. With all of this festive fanfare, there’s a reason the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade is so iconic.

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Bask in the Brooklyn Foliage

Visiting New York in Autumn at the Brooklyn Botanic Gardens

When you think of Brooklyn, beautiful landscapes and scenes of nature probably may not immediately come to mind. But the Brooklyn Botanic Garden has fabulous fall foliage for you to see. You’ll find the multi-colored katsura tree as well as scarlet-colored oaks, brightly colored maples, and many fall blooms, from rough-leaved goldenrods to purple toad lilies.

You’ll also want to check out the pumpkins, corn, and apples in the herb garden. And before you leave the gardens, you must check out the Japanese Hill-and-Pond Garden with scenic fall views of hundreds of maple trees. The garden even offers fall-themed watercolor workshops.

Walk the High Line in Chelsea

Visiting New York in Autumn Walking the Highline

You may have already walked the High Line, but there’s really nothing like a long stroll along this uniquely urban park during the fall. At the High Line, you’ll discover a fantastic blend of city life and natural scenery. There are beautiful, lush green spaces, sundecks over the water, and the lushly packed Chelsea Thicket. Orange leaves and autumn moor grass fill the gardens of the Gansevoort Woodland, so get your cameras ready for a fall photo shoot.

Tour New York’s Foliage by Boat

Visiting New York in Autumn on Cruise

There are many options for cruising around the Hudson River during the fall. For instance, the Fall Foliage Cruise will offer you some great leaf-peeping opportunities and wonderful views of the Met Cloisters, the Statue of Liberty, the Palisades, and more.

The cruise leaves from Pier 36 every Saturday and Sunday and lasts for around three hours. You’ll have amazing opportunities to snap some scenic photos or to just sit back and relax as you sail around the fall-filled sights. If you’re willing to splurge, there are yacht cruises that offer lunch or brunch menus as well.

Experience a Festive Halloween in Harlem

Visiting New York in Autumn During Halloween

Every Halloween, hundreds of excited New Yorkers and tourists flock to the Harlem Meer to carve candlelit pumpkins and release them onto the lake, creating a spooky but hauntingly beautiful scene. Located by the Harlem Meer between 106 and 107th Streets on the northeast side of Central Park, the Annual Pumpkin Flotilla is a free event that’s great for kids and adults alike. If you love pumpkins as much as we do, this haunting Halloween glow is sure to both delight and scare you. Oh, and don’t forget to wear your spookiest costume!

Are there other fall-themed adventures in NYC that you love? Tell us about it below!

About the author

Gabby Teaman

Gabby Teaman is a content writer who loves writing (of course!), editing, food, and the Oxford comma. When she’s not writing for Fareportal, she can be found Snapchatting videos of her puppy, blasting show tunes, or watching Netflix, all while trying to read everything in sight.

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