There’s nothing like feeling the crisp fall breeze while cuddled in a cozy sweater and sipping on a pumpkin spice beverage to warm even a cold New Yorker’s heart.
Just like we did for summer, we’re rounding up the must-dos of the season — from the obvious (yes, pumpkin and apple picking) to the more unique (weekend away in a medieval castle, anyone?).
Without further ado, here’s our ultimate fall bucket list for in & around NYC!
Before we know it, we’ll be stressing about what costume to wear this year, but you won’t have to worry about where to find the most perfect pumpkins near you since you’ve got us! From New Jersey favorites, to some within the five boroughs, check out our favorite pumpkin patches near NYC here.
2. Chow down at the Feast of San Gennaro
Running from September 14-24 in Little Italy, this Italian food and culture celebration will fulfill all your cravings! The Feast of San Gennaro is NYC’s largest and longest-running Italian festival consisting of food, parades, live entertainment and so much more. There’s even pizza and meatball eating contests. Learn more about the Feast of San Gennaro here.
3. Head upstate to marvel at Pumpkin World
Pumpkin World, an incredible fall-themed experience featuring more than 6,000 hand-carved pumpkin displays is coming this fall! It’s slightly outside NYC in Pomona, NY but it’s worth the drive! There’s magical pumpkin-scapes, pumpkin trails, scavenger hunts, photo opps, and so much more. It’s running from September 29 – October 31 and you can learn more here.
4. Celebrate Halloween on October 31
It’s no secret that New York City goes all out for Halloween… with tons of events, parties, decorative bars, and so much more headlining the festivities! Check out some of our favorite happenings below and even more events here!
- NYC Village Halloween Parade – October 31
- The Central Park Pumpkin Flotilla – October 26
- Pumpkin Nights at The Bronx Zoo – September 28 – October 29
5. Stop by New York Botanical Garden’s Fall-O-Ween
From September 16 – November 12 “Fall-O-Ween” at NYBG will be offering an array of attractions and activities for all ages, from lawn games and self-guided tours to spooky nights on select evenings and dance parties. There’s an endless amount of things to do, and the full itinerary can be found here.
Make sure to head to an orchard soon to have your pick of the crispest, juiciest apples. The real question: are you a McIntosh or Granny Smith person? Find our full list of orchards near NYC here.
7. Get a peep of NYC’s gorgeous fall foliage
Nothing says fall like witnessing the leaves change into gorgeous shades of reds, oranges, and yellows. Here are our recs for how to best enjoy it:
- Check out this map to see exactly when fall foliage is peaking across the state!
- Plan a weekend away to one of the 5 Best Places To Catch The Changing Fall Foliage In New York State
- Head to these 18 Best Spots To See NYC’s Peak Fall Foliage
- View the foliage from a mountain roller coaster in upstate NY
- Take a fall foliage cruise around NYC for the best views
8. Get totally spooked out at A Haunting in Hollis
The scariest haunted house in NYC is coming back to Queens this fall! A Haunting in Hollis is a residential home turned into three different floors of horror where goblins, creepers, and 20+ gory actors are waiting to jump out and terrorize you! You’ve got to see what these terrifying mazes are all about…
9. Lose yourself in a mysterious NYC corn maze
Since this month is flying by we can only imagine October is going to creep up on us faster than ever, and what better way to celebrate trickery than solving your way out of a corn maze?! Bring family and friends for a day of trial and error as you navigate your way through corn as far as the eye can see at mazes nearest to New York City. Find the full list here.
10. Visit the Great Jack O’Lantern Blaze
If you love carving pumpkins and all things Halloween, you’ll love the spectacular Great Jack O’Lantern Blaze. The event takes place in the Hudson Valley a quick train ride away, featuring over 7,000 illuminated pumpkins all hand-carved with various designs to create glowing sculptures. The illuminated pumpkins are turned into things such as dinosaurs, trains, carousels, snakes, skeletons, and just about anything you can think of. Read more here.
11. Munch on delicious apple cider donuts
Do you prefer apple cider in liquid or doughnut form? Doughnut, of course! Some of our favorite donut shops to grab them at when the time comes are Dough in Flatiron, Peter Pan Doughnut in Greenpoint, and at some of the city’s local farmer’s markets. Check out all the spots here.
12. Take in stunning dance moves at Authentic Flamenco
Are you ready to be absolutely amazed? Catch Amador Rojas, a renowned flamenco artist, perform a passionate flamenco show presented by the Royal Opera of Madrid & Fever. For two nights in October (27, 28), you can witness the raw power of the captivating Spanish art form inside an incredible NYC venue! Olé!
13. Celebrate Oktoberfest around NYC
Prost! There are many ways to celebrate Germany’s most famous beer-filled holiday here in NYC. From beer, lederhosen, schnitzel, and more at Loreley Beer Garden to tasty German dishes at Clinton Hall, there’s so many celebrations and Oktoberfest deals happening around NYC. Check out our favorite events happening here.
14. Explore church Catacombs by Candlelight
Nothing says fall like getting a little spooky, and this candlelit tour of the Basilica of St. Patrick’s Old Cathedral is an absolute must! With this tour, you’ll get access to normally off-limit areas…where you can explore the Catholic catacombs and learn some NY history along the way. It’s captivating, secretive and fascinating all in one!
15. Snap a picture at the Pumpkin Arch at Seaport
You have to make sure your Instagram is looking autumnal too! The Seaport’s annual pumpkin arch is returning this year to the waterfront where you and others can take special festive photos! We’re also hoping that their lovely Pumpkin Fest returns too. Learn more about the arch here.
16. Explore the best NYC neighborhoods with extravagant Halloween decor
With spooky season creeping up on us quicker than expected, it’s time to take a look at how the city has shown its spirit in years’ past. Some stoops look like the owners have been collecting decorations for at least a decade—and we love every inch of it! From mummies to massive spiders, and countless creatures in between, here are some of the best stoops New Yorkers have come upon (and tagged us in!) while wandering the city each year. Though we can only imagine these decorations aren’t up yet, save this list of neighborhoods for when spooky season officially arrives!
- Upper West Side
- West Village
- Industry City, Brooklyn
- Astoria, Queens
- Cobble Hill, Brooklyn
Theater-lovers (and just regular New Yorkers), rejoice, because Broadway Week is happening now! Score amazingly cheap Broadway tickets for half the normal price, and pick any time and day that work best for you from now until September 17. Learn more here.
18. Get spooky with these hauntingly beautiful Halloween concerts by candlelight
Fever’s wildly popular Candlelight concert series is going all out for the spooky season! This October, let the ominous yet melodic sounds of the violin possess you as you enjoy your favorite Halloween classics, from a Haunted Evening of Halloween Classics or Spooky Movie Themes.
19. Feast on delicious food at Japan Fes
On September 16 and 17, explore and eat your way through dozens of Japanese and Asian-inspired vendors like Yakitori Tatsu, Oconomi, Tiger Tai, So Sarap, Tonkatsu Me, and so much more! The event normally brings in over 10,000 visitors and is held ten times per year. Learn more here.
20. Tour this Halloween town only 1 hour from NYC
Can you believe there’s a real world Halloween town just an hour away from NYC…us either! It’s home to Gothic mansions, haunted taverns and the Headless Horseman himself! Plus, there’s ton of events happening throughout the fall including haunted hayrides, glowing pumpkins, a 5K run, and a Halloween parade. See what town it is here!
21. Enjoy festive vibes at SERRA by Birreria
Each season, Eataly Flatiron’s rooftop SERRA by Birreria transforms into a gorgeous seasonal wonderland, and the fall version is one of the most beautiful! This year’s theme (starting September 28) will take you on a journey through an autumnal Italian countryside, with bright fall decor lining the space!
22. Go on a stunning fall hike
It’s the perfect time to check out some amazing hikes that are right on NYC’s doorstep as fall kicks in. With gorgeous fall foliage set to peak across New York pretty soon, this is the time to get out and take a little adventure! Each of these hikes are accessible by public transit, perhaps with a bit of walking (or even a short cab ride if you’d prefer) to reach the trailhead…but you’re there to hike so might as well start early. Here are a few to get started, and check out the full list here:
- Franny Reese State Park
- Arden Point and Glenclyffe
- Anthony’s Nose Hike
- Camp Smith Trail
- Wanaque Ridge Trail
23. Walk through the celestial Astra Lumina
Get ready to walk amongst stars when Astra Lumina comes to NYC this fall! This enchanted night walk at Queens Botanical Garden invites visitors to discover the wonder of visiting stars. You can stroll around the mysterious grounds and discover a celestial pathway of lustrous light, cosmic visions, and astral song along the way!
24. Dress up at New York Comic Con
New York City’s annual Comic Con is set to return this October, consisting of 4 days of panels, celebrity appearances, interactive experiences, and more! It’s one of the country’s largest fan conventions, and it’s taking over the Javits Center from October 12-15. Learn more about NYCC here.
25. Welcome back the iconic “LOVE” sign
From September 13 – October 24, you can check out the grand return of Robert Indiana’s iconic “LOVE” sculpture. After standing at the corner of 55th Street and Sixth Avenue in Midtown for decades, it was removed back in 2019. Now, it’s back for a limited time at the Rockefeller Center campus, where the sculpture and tons of other works will be on display. Learn more here.
26. Take a rowboat out on Central Park’s picturesque lake
There’s nothing like a lovely afternoon rowing on Central Park’s lake, especially when the leaves change! Rent rowboats now through November, from 10 a.m. until dusk (weather permitting). It costs $20 per hour (CASH ONLY) and $5 for each additional 15 minutes, with a $20 cash deposit, and each boat holds up to four people. Find out more here.
27. Do some shopping at NYC street fairs
As the cool autumn breeze funnels in, take advantage of the last of the street fairs happening across New York City! Across the 5 boroughs there are tons of markets and street fairs serving up the best food and selling the best goods. Check out the calendar of upcoming street fairs here.
This weekend getaway will take you straight into the pages of a fairytale! Wings Castle is a bed and breakfast inside of a replica of a medieval castle right in the middle of the Hudson Valley in the town of Millbrook in upstate New York — only 75 miles north of NYC. Find out more about it here.
29. Sip drinks at this Elvis-themed pop-up bar
Calling all Elvis Presley fans! On October 5 & 6, an Elvis-themed pop-up bar is coming to NYC cheekily named Love Me (Bar)Tender. The unique experience will include Elvis-themed cocktails, music from Memphis, and acommemorativephoto booth experience. See location and learn more here.
30. Illuminate the night at the Morningside Lights Festival
For the 12th year running, Morningside Lights will proudly illuminate the night once more with tons of awe-inspiring handmade lanterns. With this year’s theme being “The Open Book,” you can expect 50+ community-built lanterns of “books that inspire, enlighten, and shape how we see the world.” It’s free and happening at September 30 at 8 pm. Learn more here.