The fall is a great time to visit New York! Why? The mild temperatures and the changing leaves let the city present itself in the most gorgeous fall foliage! During fall in NYC, the weather typically allows you to take advantage of both, indoor and outdoor activities.
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So if you are still looking for things to do in New York this fall, keep on reading! And don’t forget checking our guides to Halloween in NYC, Thanksgiving in NYC, the best activities in fall and Fall Foliage in NYC.
The 23 Best Things to Do in New York in the Fall
Though there are plenty of things to do in New York in every season, including fall, there are some New York fall activities that are very unique to this particular time of the year. Here are some of our favorite things to do this fall in New York.
1. Visit Governors Island
Though Governors Island is no longer a secret spot, it hasn’t lost its charm and remains one of our favorite places in New York. Throughout the summer, visitors can enjoy breathtaking views of Manhattan from the island, ride bicycles, and participate in a large variety of events hosted here.
Usually Governors Island closes at the end of October, from 2021 on you check it out even during winter and spring! A ferry ride to the island typically costs $3 but if you decide to come on a Saturday or Sunday before noon, it’ll be free!
2. Take a fall foliage cruise along Hudson River
What could be more beautiful than marveling at the colorful autumn leaves on board a historic ship? That’s exactly what you can do on these fall foliage tours, which are among the most popular boat tours in autumn.
This year there are several different tours to choose from. What they all have in common is the destination: the Hudson Valley. The Hudson Valley is located north of Manhattan, and on the way there on the Hudson River, you’ll pass through the famous George Washington Bridge and be able to enjoy the view of the impressive rock formations called Palisades.
Here you can find the 5 Best Fall Foliage Cruises in New York.
3. Have fun at New York’s ice skating rinks
The first ice skating rinks open by the end of October preparing you for a smooth transition into the winter. Ice skating is fun regardless of the season, so we’d recommend taking advantage of it! Ice skating in New York is always one of the most fun things to do. It’s a great fall activity, especially if you are traveling with children. Besides ice skating rinks, some Christmas markets will also be open starting in early November. The Bank of America’s Winter Village at Bryant Park (behind the Public Library), the famed Rink at Rockefeller Center and the Wollman Rink in Central Park are just three of New York City’s finest ice rinks.
These are our favorite Ice Skating Rinks in NYC.
4. Enjoy the Fall Foliage and Take a walk through New York’s most idyllic parks
Fall in NYC is the perfect time to wander through the many beautiful parks as the trees change colors. Some of our favorite parks to see the best fall foliage in New York City are Central Park, Prospect Park, and The High Line.
For an even better experience, you can consider taking a helicopter tour over New York. From up there, you’ll have the most amazing views of Central Park’s fall foliage. There are different helicopter routes, so be sure you choose one that includes Central Park.
5. Cheer on New York’s football teams
One of the best things you can do in the fall in New York is to experience a football game. Football season starts in September and ends with the Super Bowl in February. During these months, you’ll have many opportunities to see live NFL games of the New York Giants and the New York Jets in Metlife Stadium. Next to Broadway shows, sports events are simply a must-do during any New York trip. Football and Basketball are typically the most popular ones.
6. Visit Roosevelt Island
Roosevelt Island is a small island, barely 2 miles in length, located in the East River between the boroughs of Manhattan and Queens. The tramway was established as a temporary solution to the city’s commuter needs while the subway connections were constructed. Luckily, it remained in operation – New Yorkers had grown too fond of it.
We love spending time here – especially in the fall. Just look at the colors of the trees! In our article about Roosevelt Island we will share our tips, how to get there with the Roosevelt Island Tramway and most importantly, what is there to do on Roosevelt Island.
7. Visit one of the popular Fall Festivals in NYC
A visit to the many festivals in the fall is one of the highlights of September, October and November. From the world-famous New York Comic Con Festival to the New York Film Festival and to the Bryant Park Film Festival: there are a lot festivals you can choose from. If you’re in New York City at this time, be sure to add them to your itinerary!
Here you find our complete list of fall festivals in NYC.
8. The Broadway Shows are Back (starting Sept. 2nd)
The Broadway season is finally starting again: the theaters on Broadway are opening! Here you can find our list of the Best broadway Shows in New York and here the complete list of current Broadway Shows.
9. Be part of the Opening of the One Vanderbilt observation deck (October 21st)
This is THE event of October for me: the newest observation deck in New York opens! The SUMMIT One Vanderbilt is located directly at Grand Central Station and gives you a sensational view of Central Park, Midtown and the East River.
Want to know when tickets are available? Subscribe to our newsletter and we will let you know!
Find out more in our article (including impressive pictures) of the One Vanderbilt observation deck.
10. Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade (November 25th)
Thanksgiving is an American holiday and people travel all over the country to be with their family on this day. There is usually a big turkey on the dinner table and everyone enjoys the get-together. Thanksgiving is the only day in New York City where museums, shops and even some restaurants that do not offer a special Thanksgiving dinner are closed. The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade is the highlight in the city. Also, don’t miss the popular inflation the day before. It’s a great opportunity to check out the balloons before they are getting to shine during the Thanksgiving Parade the day after.
Those who can not or do not want to be there (the crowd is huge) can follow the parade on the TV channel, NBC. Check out the articles below to learn more about this American Holiday.
11. Columbus Day and the Columbus Day Parade (October 11th)
On Columbus Day, New Yorkers commemorate the “discoverer” of America, Christopher Columbus. Each year, a grand parade is organized in New York, which runs across Fifth Avenue. 35,000 people including bands, fleets, and Marines take part in this parade, which attracts around a million visitors and another million people in front of the TV in their living rooms.
The parade starts at Fifth Avenue on the corner 44th Street. It heads north up to 72nd Street (start: 11:30 AM, end: 3:00 PM). Want to get more information? This is our guide about the Columbus Parade in New York.
12. The Village Halloween Parade in New York City (October 31st)
Ah yes. Halloween. The original Celtic custom is celebrated on this day and is a popular day in the USA. Every year in New York in October, countless children are dressed in costumes and go door to door “scaring” people and yell out “trick or treat”. The major attraction on this day is New York’s Greenwich Village Halloween Parade which brings out more than two million spectators.
13. The Annual Pumpkin Flotilla (October 31st)
The highlight of the Halloween celebration, however, is the Pumpkin Flotilla. As is gets dark around 6:30 pm, priorly carved pumpkins are released into the Harlem Meer and will be float around for 30 minutes.
The spectacle draws hundreds of visitors to the northeast corner of Central Park.
Here you find more information about The Annual Pumpkin Flotilla.
14. Christmas Spectacular and the Radio City Rockettes (starting November 5th)
The famous holiday show premieres again in NYC in November and runs all the way until January 2022. Over 140 sensational dancers perform in the popular Christmas Spectacular. Sparkling costumes, unique set designs and a lot of Christmas songs thrill the audience every year.
WE LOVE THIS SHOW!
The stars of the show are the female dance group “The Rockettes” and perform next to Santa Claus and his elves. From November to early January, you can watch the dance performance and Christmas show at Radio City Music Hall. There are up to three performances per day, so there should be a time slot for you! For more information, please take a look here.
15. Book a Christmas Lights Tour (starting November 27th)
With the holiday season unofficially underway, this tour is for you. Explore NYC and check out the amazing decorations and Christmas lights on your very own private tour. It also comes with a free Christmas drink as well!
16. NYC Free Events at Little Island (August 11 – September 5)
Not far from the Meatpacking District and the High Line, Little Island is one of the newest attractions in New York and is something very special: a park on 132 beautiful tulip-shaped concrete stilts in the Hudson River.
Besides the view, you can visit various events and art exhibitions (every day except Tuesday). As a special event series called NYC Free (curated by Mikki Shepard) you can celebrate the creativity of NYC’s artists with four weeks of free live performances at Little Island. Click here for the Little Island event calendar.
17. Feast of San Gennaro (September 16th – 26th)
This Italian-American festival used to be a one-day religious commemoration when the festival first took place in the United States in 1926. Immigrants from Naples used to meet up along Mulberry Street in Little Italy to celebrate Saint Januarius, the Patron Saint of Naples. This tradition was kept until today even though the celebration is a lot different compared to how it used to be. Little Italy turns into a fair for about 11 days with Italian food and free entertainment.
For more details check out our Feast of San Gennaro Guide.
18. Bryant Park Film Festival and Bryant Park Picnic Performances
One of the best things to do in fall in New York is visiting the free Bryant Park Film Festival and picnic performances in Bryant Park. In the heart of Manhattan, people gather in the summer months with blankets and chairs they’ve brought themselves to relax at the outdoor movie theater and concerts by the New York Philharmonics.
You can get a seat from 5pm, the films start around 8pm as darkness falls, and the Philharmonic concerts 7pm. You can find out more about the events and the free concerts here with us and on the Bryant Park website.
19. Sail around the city
Many of the sailing cruises have already reopened and are back to the rivers of New York City. Sailing in New York City is one of my favorite things to do during the summer. There’s nothing better than watching the sunset and enjoying a glass of wine onboard.
Here are some amazing options that are taking place right now, with safety measures of course:
What is the Best Cruise in New York for you?
There are over 40 boat and sailing tours in New York and it’s not easy to choose the best one. That’s where our Cruise Finder comes in. It will help you find the best boat tour for you!
20. Watch an NBA game
The NBA season kicks off this month and we’re always looking forward to watching one of the many NBA games in New York. Whether it’s the Brooklyn Nets or the New York Knicks, both teams like try their best to show-out in front of the home-town crowd.
21. Visit Rangerstown: Ice Hockey in New York
October is always a very special month for sports enthusiasts like us, because in addition to the NBA, the NHL season also starts with many exciting matches. We ourselves have already been to several games of the New York Rangers in Madison Square Garden and can only recommend a visit. The atmosphere is terrific!
Let’s Go Rangers!
22. Visit one of Best Rooftop Bars in NYC in the Fall
Do you think the rooftop bar season is over in the fall? Not in New York! There are many rooftop bars in New York that offer fresh air even in the cold season, magnificent views of the urban canyons AND pleasant warmth. Check out our best rooftop bars in NYC for the autumn time.
23. Marvel at the new American Dream Mega-Mall
The American Dream Mega-Mall is the largest mall in the area, featuring 55% entertainment and 45% retail. What you will find there? Anything you can think of! The indoor theme park hosts rollercoasters, water slides, snowboarding slopes, skating and hockey rinks, an aquarium and much more. In terms of shopping, you’ll find anything from popular brands like H&M to high-end brands like Dolce and Gabbana. The American Dream Mall is located in East Rutherford, NJ, adjacent to the renowned Metlife Stadium.
New York Fall Events
In fall we celebrate Labor Day and Oktoberfest and look forward to great NYC fall events like Halloween and the New York Fashion Week. Most significantly, however, ceremonies are held across the whole country to remember the victims of 9/11. Later in November, it’s time for the famous Thanksgiving Parade!
Here are some major events that are happening in New York this fall that you should be aware of during your time in NYC.
- September 2: The Broadway Shows are back!
- September 6: Labor Day Parade
- September 8-12: Fashion Week
- September 11: 9/11 Memorial Service
- September 21: Start of Oktoberfest
- October 7-10: New York Comic Con
- October 11: Columbus Day Parade
- October 31: Halloween
- November 7: New York Marathon
- November 5: Radio City Christmas Spectacular returns
- November 11: Veterans Day Parade
- November 28: Thanksgiving
- November 29: Black Friday
And here you can find our complete list with the best events in September, October and November 👇
More fall activities in NYC
Taking helicopter tours is undoubtedly one of our favorite New York fall activities. Why? Because you will get to see the city’s incredible colors from a unique perspective. Alternatively, you could admire New York’s iconic skyline from the water by taking a cruise. There are plenty of options for you! What you may not know: Ice skating season already starts in late October, which makes fall even more adventurous. In addition to that, fall in New York is the perfect season for sports enthusiasts. You can watch it all: baseball, basketball, ice hockey, football, and soccer. Oh and by the way, it’s never too early to buy Christmas gifts, so maybe you can get some shopping done, too!
Just because it’s fall in New York doesn’t mean that the rooftop bar season is over! Most rooftop bars are still open. The weather should be pleasant for the first part of the season, but there is no need to worry about dropping temperatures at all. New York’s rooftop bars will provide you with blankets or even fireplaces. Awesome, right? It’s definitely worth it to book a trip to New York in the fall!
New York fall weather
Seasons seem to change quickly here. The transition from summer to fall typically takes just a few days. Last year, we’ve had a pretty unusual fall in New York with October almost feeling like summer. Officially though, we are talking about September, October, and November when referring to fall in New York. If you like, you can check out activities and events for each individual month. This fall, temperatures are expected to be slightly higher than usual. Here’s an overview of the temperatures you can expect during fall in NYC:
|🌡 Temperature (day)||🌡 Temperature (night)||☀️ Sunshine (hours)||🌧 Rain (days)|
|September||77 °F||63 °F||9||8|
|October||64 °F||50 °F||7||7|
|November||50 °F||37 °F||6||8|
What should I wear in New York in the fall?
In the fall, temperatures can vary quite a bit. Until November you can expect mild temperatures, so a light jacket should be enough. As we approach November, however, be sure to bring warm clothes! It’s not uncommon for the Northeast to face winter storms. At the end of November, around Thanksgiving, you will surely already need a winter jacket.
What are the fall month in New York?
September, October and November are the fall month in New York. Especially the second half of November very often already feels like winter (and the first half of September is very often still quite warm).
Where should I go in the fall in NYC?
There are a lot of beautiful places where you can enjoy the fall in NYC. Our favorite picks are Central Park, Prospect Park and the High Line.
Is it fall in NYC?
The fall in NYC is much shorter as you might expect it: until the 3rd week in October it is still warm and you can do a lot outside. But from mid-November on the temperatures drop a lot so it feels much more like Winter then Fall. There is just one month that is 100% autumn-like: the October!
Where should I go in October in NYC?
New York in October is just awesome – we put a list of more than 30 Best Things to Do in October in NYC together. When you are looking for the best spots to enjoy the fall foliage check out our article about Fall Foliage in NYC.
Does NYC have all 4 seasons?
Hm, tricky question! The official answer is YES (why not?!?) – BUT: the period where the weather and temperatures match your idea of spring and autumn is much shorter than in other parts of the country.
Usually the mid-April till mid-May is the best time to enjoy the spring, October is the best month for autumn in NYC!
Does it snow in New York City in October?
Usually not. But you never know! And yes: it is very likely to snow in November!
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I'm a true New York fan! Not only have I visited the city over 20 times but also have I spent several months here at a time. On my blog I show you the best and most beautiful spots of the city, so that you have a really good time! You can also find lots of insider tips in our New York travel guide. Also check out my hotel finder for New York!