41 Things to Do in NYC in the Fall (Ultimate Bucket List)

New York City doesn’t let go of summer without a fight. The city’s heat-soaked final days of August are marked by the return of outdoor movie nights and music festivals that double as final hurrahs for the city’s beloved green spaces.

The end of summer signals the arrival of crisp, clear fall days that puts everyone in a good mood.

It’s time to welcome fall with open arms – these are our top 41 things to do in NYC this fall.

1. Haunted Ghost Tour

If you’re looking for something to do in NYC this fall that’s a little bit out of the ordinary, why not join a haunted ghost tour in Greenwich Village?

Led by local historians, this walking tour takes you to some of the most famously haunted locations in the city, including Washington Square Park and New York University.

You’ll hear chilling tales of murder, mystery, and tragedy, and get a glimpse into the dark side of NYC’s history.

The tour is suitable for all ages and is a great way to get into the Halloween spirit (if you’re under 18, you’ll need someone over the age of 21 to accompany you).

Just be sure to bring your camera – you never know who (or what) you might capture on film!

Harry Potter A Forbidden Forest Experience
Photo by Harry Potter A Forbidden Forest Experience

2. Harry Potter: A Forbidden Forest Experience

Calling all Harry Potter fans! Gather your courage and step into the Forbidden Forest.

Located in Franklin D. Roosevelt State Park, this exciting journey takes you through a magical forest, based on scenes from the Harry Potter and Fantastic Beasts movies.

As you wander through the woods, you’ll encounter magical creatures, taste delicious food and drink inspired by the Wizarding World, and maybe even meet a few familiar faces along the way.

It’s an adventure that is sure to delight Harry Potter fans of all ages!

3. Discover the City on Bike

Rent a bike and get up close with New York City’s skyline! Not only will you be able to zip around the city with ease, but you’ll also get a front row seat to some of the most amazing views in town.

You can pedal your way through Central Park, down to Chinatown, and over to Brooklyn for stunning views of the cityscape.

And when you’re ready for a break, you can always stop for a bite to eat or do some shopping.

Next time you’re looking for a unique way to see the city, ditch the subway and try two wheels instead.

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4. Queens County Farm Museum

Queens County Farm Museum is a working farm located on 47 acres of land and is the perfect place to take a step back in time.

Visitors can learn about traditional farming techniques, see how crops are harvested, and even take a tractor-drawn hayride around the property.

The Queens County Farm Museum also hosts a number of seasonal activities throughout the fall, including NYC’S only corn maze, pumpkin picking, and an Autumn Dance event that celebrates American Indian culture.

5. Greenwich Village Halloween Parade

If you’re looking for a fun and festive way to celebrate Halloween, look no further than New York’s Greenwich Village Halloween Parade.

Held annually on October 31st, the parade features elaborately-costumed participants marching up Sixth Avenue to 16th Street.

With over 50,000 participants and more than two million spectators, it’s one of the largest and most popular Halloween events in the country.

If you want to join in on the fun, simply put on your costume and show up at the starting point between 6:30pm and 9:00pm. The parade kicks off at 7pm sharp, so be sure to arrive early to get a good spot.

And if you’re not in the mood to dress up, there’s still plenty of entertainment to be had simply by watching the parade go by.

So whether you’re looking for a spooky good time or just a festive way to celebrate the fall season, be sure to check out this parade!

The Lion King Broadway Show
Lion King Broadway Show Photo by Viator

6. Check Out New Broadway Shows

The leaves are changing, the weather is cooling down, and there’s nothing like a good musical to get you into the autumn spirit.

Broadway fans, rejoice! September ushers in a whole slate of new shows to check out. Every fall, there are several highly anticipated shows making their debut.

Or you can go for the classics – how does Lion King or Phantom of the Opera sound?

Just remember – the best seats always go fast, so it’s always a good idea to buy tickets in advance.

If you’re spontaneous, you can also get discounted tickets at the TKTS booth in Times Square.

So whether you’re a fan of laugh-out-loud comedy or something a bit more dramatic, you’ll find something to tickle your fancy.

7. New York Dinner Cruise

Looking for a unique and romantic way to spend an evening in New York City? Hop aboard a dinner cruise along the Hudson River.

This is your chance to see the city from a whole new perspective as you sail past some of its most iconic landmarks.

Take in the stunning views of the Statue of Liberty, Empire State Building, Brooklyn Bridge and more while enjoying a delicious buffet dinner.

Tickets for these cruises typically sell out quickly, so be sure to book yours well in advance!

8. Feast of San Gennaro

Are you a foodie at heart? When fall rolls around, it means that the Feast of San Gennaro is just around the corner.

For those who don’t know, this festival is a 10-day-long celebration of Italian heritage, complete with delicious food, live music, and colorful processions. And of course, there’s also the famous cannoli eating contest!

Held in Little Italy each year, the feast attracts both locals and visitors alike. So if you’re looking for a festive way to enjoy the autumnal weather, be sure to head to the Feast of San Gennaro.

Just don’t forget to bring your appetite!

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9. Roosevelt Island

Fall is the perfect time to explore New York City’s many hidden gems, and Roosevelt Island is a great place to start.

This small island in the East River is home to beautiful parks, historic sites, and incredible views of the city skyline. And best of all, it’s just a short ride away on the Roosevelt Island Tramway.

Once you’re on the island, be sure to check out Four Freedoms Park, a memorial to Franklin D. Roosevelt that offers stunning views of the Manhattan skyline.

You can also visit the Blackwell House, an 18th-century mansion that was once home to one of Roosevelt Island’s wealthiest families.

Or just simply stroll around and see remnants of the island’s past; a psychiatric hospital and a smallpox quarantine facility.

Roosevelt Island is the perfect place to spend a day exploring New York City’s rich history and natural beauty.

Roosevelt Island New York
Roosevelt Island at Dusk

10. Visit a Night Market

New York City is home to several night markets, each with its own unique flavor. At the Queens Night Market, you can sample international cuisine and browse handcrafted arts and crafts.

Or head to the Bronx Night Market for a taste of the district’s culinary culture.

So why not take advantage of the cooler temperatures and longer nights by checking out one of these nighttime hotspots? You may just find your new favorite Autumn activity.

11. Food Tour of the Lower East Side

Step into New York City’s Lower East Side and embark on a delicious journey through its colorful food scene. From Jewish delis to Chinese bakeries, this historic neighborhood is home to a diverse array of culinary traditions.

On this food tasting tour, you’ll visit markets, restaurants, and bakeries, learning about the area’s rich immigrant history and how it has shaped the neighborhood’s unique food culture.

You’ll also have the chance to sample mouth-watering dishes from all around the world. So come hungry and get ready to expand your taste horizons!

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12. Tompkins Square Halloween Dog Festival

Fall may be the best season for many reasons – cool weather, pumpkin spice lattes, and Halloween.

But out of all the great things to do during the fall season, one of the best has to be the Tompkins Square Halloween Dog Festival.

The parade is a great way to show off your dog’s costume (and your own creative efforts) and to meet other dog lovers in the community.

Plus, it’s just a lot of fun to see all of the different dogs in their costumes marching and strutting down the street!

13. Attend Oktoberfest

There’s no need to book a flight to Munich when Oktoberfest comes to New York City every fall. From traditional beer halls to rooftop parties, the city comes alive with Bavarian-themed celebrations.

The Oktoberfest festival in NYC runs every year from early September to late October.

Join in the fun by donning your lederhosen or dirndl and raising a stein of Hofbräuhaus beer. Then dance the night away to oompah music and fill up on hearty German fare like bratwurst, sauerkraut, and pretzels.

While there is a charge for reserve tables and express entry options, admission to the festival itself is free.

Just be sure to pace yourself – after all, you’ll want to come back for more next year. Prost!

The High Line New York
The High Line New York

14. Take a Stroll at The High Line

There’s no doubt that New Yorkers love their fall foliage. And what better place to enjoy the changing leaves than The High Line?

This popular park, which opened in 2009, is built on an elevated section of a former New York Central Railroad line.

Along the way, it offers stunning views of the cityscape, including the Hudson River and the New York skyline.

And in autumn, the park is especially beautiful, with its trees and plants turning a myriad of colors.

15. Go to an NFL Game

Football season is upon us, and there’s no better place to catch a game than New York City.

Whether you’re rooting for the Giants or the Jets, there’s nothing quite like experiencing the energy of a live football game alongside thousands of other passionate fans.

Football season starts in early September and goes through early January, so you’ve got plenty of time to catch a game. Just make sure you plan ahead and get your tickets early, because they always sell out fast.

With NYC’s vibrant atmosphere, plus a cold beer and some hot wings in hand, you’ll have a blast cheering on your favorite team.

16. The New York Comedy Festival

The New York Comedy Festival is a yearly event that takes place over seven days in November and features more than 200 comedians performing at venues across the city.

This year’s lineup includes big names like Conan O’Brien, Jo Koy, and Jimmy O. Yang.

With so much to see and do, the New York Comedy Festival is the perfect way to get your laugh on this fall.

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17. Pumpkin Picking & Hayrides

Fall is in the air at Sunnyside Gardens! The leaves are changing color, the air is getting crisp, and the pumpkins are ripe for picking.

The pumpkin patch here is filled with the biggest and best ones around, so you’re sure to find the perfect jack o’lantern.

Hop on a hayride for a spooky tour through the woods, or walk through the Hall of Flame to see over 300 carved jack o’lanterns.

You can also visit the monarch butterflies in the butterfly room, or take a break with a delicious, homemade cider doughnut.

Governors Island New York United States
Governor's Island

18. Governor’s Island

Fall is the perfect time to visit Governor’s Island in New York. The leaves are changing color and the weather is cool, making it the perfect time to enjoy all the island has to offer.

There are a variety of events held on the island during this season, so make sure to check the website for upcoming events.

For those who prefer a more active environment, there are also walking and biking trails.

And of course, no visit to Governor’s Island would be complete without taking in the stunning views of the Manhattan skyline.

Make sure to add Governor’s Island to your list of must-visit destinations this fall!

19. New York Film Festival

For film buffs, the New York Film Festival is the highlight of the year. Taking place every fall, the festival showcases the best in international cinema, with screenings of new films from around the world.

In addition to screenings, the festival also features special events, presentations, and Q&As with filmmakers.

For anyone who loves movies, the New York Film Festival is a must-attend event.

20. New York Burlesque Festival

The New York Burlesque Festival is the perfect place to see the art of burlesque in all its glitzy, glamorous glory.

For four nights only, some of the best burlesque artists from around the world descend on New York City to strut their stuff on stage.

The festival takes over a variety of venues, including The Bell House, Sony Hall, Le Poisson Rouge, and Brooklyn Bowl.

Whether you’re a burlesque aficionado or just looking to have a good time, the New York Burlesque Festival is not to be missed.

21. Watch a Basketball Game

That’s right, the NBA season is back, and there’s no better way to celebrate than by watching a game between the city’s two best teams: the New York Knicks and the Brooklyn Nets.

Whether you’re a die-hard fan or just a casual observer, there’s nothing quite like witnessing the excitement of a live basketball game.

Plus, with both teams boasting talented rosters, you’re sure to see some thrilling action on the court.

Ice skating in Rockefeller Center
Ice skating at Rockefeller Center

22. Go Ice Skating

Fall is the perfect time to go ice skating in New York City. The weather is cooler, but not yet cold enough to deter people from enjoying the outdoors.

And what better way to enjoy the outdoors than by strapping on some skates and gliding across a rink of smooth ice?

There are plenty of outdoor skating rinks around the city, including Wollman Rink, Rockefeller Center, and Bryant Park.

And if you get cold, you can always warm up with a hot cocoa from one of the nearby cafes. So dust off your skates and head out to one of New York’s outdoor skating rinks!

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23. Carve a Pumpkin

Pumpkin carving is a fun activity for people of all ages, and it’s a great way to get into the Halloween spirit.

There are plenty of places to buy pumpkins in New York, and many of them also offer carving kits and other supplies.

24. House of Spirits

You know what they say, there’s nothing like a good ghost story to get you in the Halloween spirit.

House of Spirits is unlike any other cocktail party out there; this immersive experience takes place in a massive haunted mansion in New York City, and it’s perfect for adults who love to have a little fun.

You’ll find tarot readings, fun games, and spooky findings in every corner while you roam the house.

This experience is 2 hours long and 21+ only, so leave the kiddos at home and come prepared for a spooktacular night out!

25. Eat Your Way Through Eataly

Eataly is the perfect place to stop and refuel while you’re exploring all that New York City has to offer during the fall season.

Not only will you find high-quality Italian food, but you’ll also be surrounded by festive seasonal decorations. And what’s not to love about that?

While you’re there, be sure to try one of their tasty pizzas or pastas. You can also pick up some gifts for your friends and family back home. We guarantee they’ll be impressed!

New York Rangers game Madison Square Garden
New York Rangers game at Madison Square Garden

26. Catch a New York Rangers Game

There’s nothing like experiencing the thrill of a live hockey game, and when you’re in New York, you have to catch a Rangers game.

The energy in Madison Square Garden is electric, and you can feel the passion of the fans all around you. The action on the ice is fast-paced and exciting, and there’s nothing like seeing a goal scored in person!

Whether you’re a die-hard Rangers fan or just looking for a fun night out, catching a Rangers game is an unforgettable experience.

27. NYC Night Bus Tour

Looking to experience New York in a whole new light? This guided evening tour offers a unique way to see the Big Apple, as you take in all the amazing sights lit up after dark.

You’ll begin with a short stroll along the city’s famous High Line Park. This elevated green space is the perfect place to enjoy stunning views of the cityscape.

From there, you’ll hop on a bus for a ride past some of NYC’s most iconic landmarks, from Times Square to Rockefeller Center, while enjoying a fun and informative commentary from knowledgeable guides.

As you weave through neighborhoods like SoHo and Chinatown, you’ll get to experience the true diversity that makes this city so special.

Lit up against the night sky, it’s a sight you won’t soon forget!

28. The Met Cloisters

The Cloisters is a must-see for anyone visiting New York City. Charming any time of the year, the fall colors paint the museum in a different kind of light.

This unique museum is devoted to the art and architecture of medieval Europe, and it is set within a stunningly reconstructed monastery.

The buildings and gardens are incredibly beautiful, and the collection is fascinating. Visitors can see everything from tapestries and stained glass to armor and weaponry.

The Cloisters is also home to the famous Unicorn Tapestries, a series of seven woollen hangings that tell the story of a hunt for the mythical beast. They are absolutely stunning, and well worth the trip to the museum!

29. Go for a Stroll Through Chinatown

Chinatown is always bustling with activity; the cool weather is perfect for a leisurely stroll, and the colorful street art and delicious food are a feast for the senses.

From steamed buns to fiery noodles, there’s something for everyone to enjoy. And of course, no visit to Chinatown is complete without a stop at one of the many bakeries for a sweet treat.

You can also find some great deals on fall clothing and accessories in Chinatown’s many shops.

Chinatown New York United States
Chinatown New York USA

30. Free Museum Admissions

New York City is home to some of the world’s best museums, and many of them offer free admission on specific days of the month.

So if you’re looking for something to do on a budget, take advantage of this great opportunity!

You can explore art from every corner of the globe at the Metropolitan Museum of Art (pay-as-you-wish if you’re a resident), see iconic American works at the Whitney Museum, or learn about natural history at the American Museum of Natural History.

31. New York Comic Con

For comic book fans, there is no greater mecca than New York Comic Con.

This annual event brings together the best and brightest in the comic book industry, and offers attendees the chance to meet their favorite creators, buy exclusive merch, and more.

The convention is also a great opportunity to dress up as your favorite character and mingle with like-minded fans.

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32. New York Botanical Garden

New York Botanical Garden is one of this fall’s must-see attractions. This world-renowned institution showcases over one million living plants, spanning 250 acres of land.

In addition to its expansive outdoor gardens, the New York Botanical Garden also features a state-of-the-art conservatory.

Visitors can explore a range of plant life from around the world, including old-growth rainforests, tropical plants, and more.

The New York Botanical Garden also offers a variety of educational programs and events for all ages.

33. CiderFeast NYC

As the weather starts to cool down and the leaves begin to change color, New Yorkers know that it’s time to start thinking about apples.

Now, you could go to your local grocery store and purchase a bottle of cider, or you could head to Ciderfeast NYC, a one-day celebration of all things apple.

This year’s event will take place on October 6th, and will feature cider tastings, workshops, demonstrations, and more.

Christmas Lights Horse Drawn Carriage Ride
Horse-drawn carriage ride photo by viator

34. Horse-Drawn Carriage Ride

What’s more romantic than a horse-drawn carriage ride through the streets of New York City? This unique experience is the perfect way to celebrate a special occasion or simply enjoy a night out on the town.

Your carriage will take you on a leisurely tour of Central Park, past some of the city’s most iconic landmarks. As you clip-clop down Fifth Avenue, you’ll feel like you’ve stepped back in time – it’s truly an unforgettable experience.

35. Visit Central Park

No trip to NYC in the fall would be complete without a visit to Central Park! The park is gorgeous during this time of year, with the leaves turning all sorts of beautiful shades of red, orange, and yellow.

There are also a ton of great activities to do in the park, such as going for a scenic stroll, renting a rowboat, or visiting the Central Park Zoo.

Be sure to bring your camera so you can snap some photos of this beautiful sight!

36. Ride the Staten Island Ferry

The Staten Island Ferry is a free ride that takes you from Lower Manhattan to Staten Island and back again.

The ferry ride itself is incredibly scenic, and you’ll get great views of the Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island, and the Manhattan skyline.

Once you’re on Staten Island, be sure to check out some of the borough’s attractions, such as Richmond County Bank Ballpark and Snug Harbor Cultural Center & Botanical Garden.

37. Visit Rockefeller Center

Rockefeller Center is one of NYC’s most popular tourist destinations, and for good reason!

The complex is home to Top of the Rock, an observation deck that offers breathtaking views of NYC; Radio City Music Hall, where you can catch a show; and NBC Studios, where you can take a tour and see where your favorite TV shows are filmed.

Rockefeller Center is also beautifully decorated for fall, making it a must-visit spot during your trip.

Rockefeller Center
Rockefeller Center Christmas Trees

38. Browse the Strand Bookstore

The Strand Bookstore is an iconic NYC landmark that houses over 18 miles of books!

The store is especially fun to browse during the fall months when you can cozy up with a good book (or two) while enjoying a cup of coffee from one of the nearby cafes.

39. Visit The Metropolitan Museum of Art

The Metropolitan Museum of Art is one of the most popular tourist attractions in NYC; housing some of the most iconic works of art in the world, there’s always something new to see.

If you’re visiting NYC in the fall, be sure to check out the museum’s special exhibitions, as they often feature works by seasonal artists.

40. Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade

The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade is an annual tradition that takes place in New York City. The parade features floats, marching bands, and large balloons shaped like cartoon characters.

The parade has been held annually since 1924, making it one of the oldest and most iconic holiday traditions in the United States. Attracting tens of thousands of spectators each year, it’s also televised to millions more.

For many people, the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade is the kickoff to the holiday season. It is a time to gather with family and friends, enjoy the festive atmosphere, and watch some of your favorite characters come to life.

So whether you’re in New York or watching from home, make sure to tune in to the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade!

41. The Great Jack O’Lantern Blaze

The Great Jack O’Lantern Blaze is a must-see event for anyone who loves Halloween! Held every year in New York from September to November, the Blaze features over 7,000 hand-carved pumpkins, all illuminated with candles.

Visitors can walk through the pumpkin displays, which are arranged into intricate patterns and scenes. There’s also live entertainment, food trucks, and other festive activities.

The Blaze is the perfect place to get into the Halloween spirit!