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101 Thrilling Things To Do In New York This October

Claire Leaden Claire Leaden

101 Thrilling Things To Do In New York This October

Everyone’s favorite cozy, spooky month is here!

That’s right, New York, it’s October. The time for all of the pumpkins, apples, hot ciders, and Halloween costumes you can get your hands on.

Plus it’s still not too cold yet, so there are tons of outdoor activities you can still enjoy, along with foods to try and NYC locales to visit.

From magical pumpkin extravaganzas to spooky spectacles to munching on the yummiest fall treats, check out these 101 tips for awesome activities to enjoy all October long:

1. Attend NYC’s macabre cocktail soirée ‘House of Spirits’

Prepare yourself for a night full of mystery and magic, paired perfectly with cocktails at a stylishly eerie mansion! House of Spirits is a two-hour immersive cocktail experience that weaves a disquieting and interactive storyline certain to leave guests delightfully chilled. You’ll have the chance to explore the eerie mansion, invoke a giant ouija board, and meet mystical tarot readers, and more. Don’t miss this awe-inspiring, curiosity-filled occasion, get your tickets here!

2. Go zip-lining with stunning views of the ocean right outside of NYC

Wildplay

Up your October to-do list at this amazing adventure park with an unbelievable obstacle and ropes course, 700-foot-long zipline, and 40-foot jump, all with epic views of the beach. It’s only an hour drive from NYC, at the pristine white-sand Jones Beach on the south shore of Long Island. The adventure park is only open until the end of October, so enjoy the fresh air while you can! Reserve your spots here & use the code SECRET20 for 20% off tickets.

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3. Go absolutely mad at this Wonderland-themed gin & tea party

Join the Dormouse, March Hare, and your delightful host the Mad Hatter on an immersive, 90-minute-long cocktail crafting experience. Prepare to be welcomed by helpful wonderland assistants, who will encourage tea-party goers to assume a unique personality by choosing an outlandish hat and taking a sip of Drink Me potion (which is spiked with a bit of gin!). Don’t miss your chance to join in on the fun, get your tickets now!

4. Be Dazzled By The Great Jack O’Lantern Blaze

Facebook / 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 Hudson Valley (okay so technically not in NYC, but very close!), featuring over 7,000 illuminated pumpkins all hand-carved with various designs to create glowing sculptures. And it’s still going on for 2021, with safety regulations of course! The illuminated pumpkins are turned into things such as dinosaurs, trains, carousels, snakes, skeletons, and just about anything you can think of. Find out more here.

5. Enjoy shopping, dining and fresh new events at the shops at the Oculus

If you haven’t explored The Shops at the Oculus, then you need to get down there right now. Seriously – run, don’t walk. Grab all your fall essentials at the amazing transit hub with all the incredible restaurants, entertainment and events you can explore whilst you’re there. From a colorful beer garden, greenmarkets, and spots for every foodie, who could resist a trip to The Shops at the Oculus? Find out more here!

⭐️ Sponsored⭐️

6. Watch a spectacular free light festival illuminate Brooklyn

A brand-new festival will be lighting up Brooklyn this October for all New Yorkers to enjoy. The first-ever Illumination Light Art Festival will take place under the Kosciuszko Bridge starting October 7 at the new Under the K Bridge Park, and hopes to serve as a “visual beacon of hope and inspiration as we come out from a challenging period for NYC.” The festival will span two zones of the brand new park, allowing New Yorkers to immerse themselves in over 10 stunning light-based installations and interactive experiences. Get tickets here!

7-12. Celebrate Halloween in style

Unsplash

It’s spooky season! Which means it’s time to get ready for your favorite scary holiday: Halloween! And as NYC’s never one to hold back, there are plenty of exciting, spine-chilling ways to celebrate. Here are some of the best Halloween events across NYC:

13. This dreamy astrological nouveau circus in Brooklyn will completely amaze you

Connor Meyers for Secret NYC

Combining dance, acrobatics, theatre, music and visual arts, this immersive experience will take you on an astrological journey that immerses all five senses. From the gasp-inducing nouveau circus acts to the herbaceous cocktails and essential oil blends, it’s perfect for astrology fans, New Agers, or anyone who wants a unique and ~ethereal~ night out! Get tickets to this spellbinding experience here.

14. Partake in NYC’s 48th annual village Halloween parade

Steve Edreff / Shutterstock.com

After New York’s most iconic Halloween event was canceled last year due to COVID-19 concerns, the parade organizers have announced that it will officially be back for 2021 — and we can all thank a very gracious donor! After New Yorker, Jason Feldman heard that the annual Halloween Parade was in danger of not happening this year, he made a bountiful donation of $150,000 that practically saved the spooktacular event! Read more details about the parade here.

15. Step into a cinematic playground at this immersive ‘Army Of The Dead’ VR Experience

Enter a cutting-edge, adrenaline-fueled world where the Westfield Garden State Plaza becomes a dystopian quarantine zone, riddled with flesh-eating zombies. Your mission: Battle the dead. Save the living. Zack Snyder’s zombie-heist hit “Army of The Dead” was one of the most anticipated releases of the year and Netflix partnered with Pure Imagination Studios and Fever to bring it all to “life” in an explosive way. Whether you’re a fan or not, it’s 30 minutes of action that will not disappoint—and it’s all only 35 minutes outside of NYC. Book your tickets here!

16. Explore this gorgeous immersive exhibition of Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel

You can now see iconic frescoes that have decorated the walls in Vatican City for over 500 years, come to life in your own city! The spectacular exhibition of Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel will briefly transform SoHo’s 100 Sixth Ave. building into the Vatican’s Apostolic Palace. The industrial space will serve as a stunning, modern backdrop for the exhibition of ancient artworks through high-quality, licensed photographs and a special printing technique that reproduces the original paintings’ look and feel. Grab your tickets now!

17-21. Head out for autumn brunch

Outdoor dining is still in full swing, and what better way to experience that than a classic New York weekend brunch? Here are our favorite picks:

22-26. Sail around the city on a fabulous cruise

Instagram / @northcovemarina

You can still catch a perfect fall evening enjoying a drink on the water, sailing around Manhattan and watching the sun set over the skyline. We can feel those fresh Hudson River breezes already! Here are some amazing options still taking place, with safety measures of course:

27-29. Guzzle down beers at exciting Oktoberfest celebrations

Oktoberfest: the perfect excuse to celebrate the arrival of autumn and day drink with friends—as if you really needed a reason. Known for bringing in the fall with bratwurst, dancing, and plenty of brews, Oktoberfest is a treasured, annual German festival normally celebrated mid to late September, but because the festivities are just too fun, tons of events will carry through the month of October in the city. Here are some of our favorite events happening this month:

See the full list here.

30-33. Munch on NYC’s coziest fall treats

Chip NYC

You can already feel it in the air, now it’s time to taste it! Fall is officially here and we couldn’t be more excited! Though we’re eager to bundle up in blankets and throw on our favorite flannel, we can’t forget that the best part of fall is it’s delicious flavors! Explore sweets of the season at these NYC spots offering fun and festive treats this autumn. Here are some of our faves:

  • City Cakes Pumpkindoodle
  • Art Bar’s Pumpkin Martini
  • Chip City’s Pumpkin Spice Latte Cookie
  • Magnolia Bakery’s Harvest Apple Cake
See the full list of cozy treats here.

34. Take in a magnificent concert by candlelight in NYC’s most spine-chilling spaces

Listen to a string quartet perform a mix of classical and modern Halloween pieces at a venue bathed in candlelight for a haunting twist on classical music. Admire the stunning architecture of the iconic Church of the Heavenly Rest, and sit back for a night of intimate entertainment. Grab your tickets here.

35-39. Head to the apple orchard

Unsplash

You can pick some of the best apples just outside of the Big Apple! With the crisp, fall breeze upon us, it’s that time of year to start planning a day trip out to the orchard. Prepare for a fall-tastic day apple picking with friends and family (and safely!) at these orchards near New York City.

  • Fishkill Farms, Hopewell Junction, NY
  • Milk Pail Farm: Water Mill, NY
  • Wilkens Fruit & Fir Farm: Yorktown Heights, NY
  • Eastmont Orchards: Colts Neck, NJ
  • Dr. Davies Farm: Congers, NY
See our full list of spots right outside of NYC for some of the best picks!

40-45. Or go pumpkin picking

Friends of Governors Island

We’re finally swapping out our shorts for sweaters and ice coffees for a PSL, which means it’s time to start picking pumpkins! From New Jersey favorites, to some within the five boroughs, we know just the spots to find the most perfect pumpkins near you. Here’s some of the patches we love—all under two hours from the city:

  • Pumpkin Point, Governors Island
  • Wilkens Fruit & Fir Farm, Yorktown Heights
  • Demarest Farms, NJ
  • Queens County Farm Museum, Queens
  • Secor Farms, NJ
  • Decker Farm, Staten Island
See the full list here.

46. See the first off-Broadway musical debut, ‘A Commercial Jingle For Regina Comet’

Live theater is slowly but surely returning to NYC! Catch ‘A Commercial Jingle For Regina Comet’ for a hilarious musical “about friendship, creativity, ambition, ageism, and finding your inner voice.” It will take place at the Daryl Roth Theatre in Union Square, the newest addition to the off-Broadway scene in NYC in the former annex of the Union Square Savings Bank. Scoop up your tickets now!

47. Explore the life of RBG with a new 3D traveling exhibition now open

Official portrait of United States Supreme Court Justice Ruth Joan Bader Ginsburg. Courtesy Steve Petteway, Collection of the Supreme Court of the United States.

Uncover everything about the late Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg in her very own city! View archival photographs and documents, contemporary art, historical artifacts media stations, and interactive galleries of RBG’s life as a wife, mother, student, judge, lawyer, and feminist icon. Visitors can even explore 3D re-imaginations of RBG’s childhood Brooklyn apartment, RBG & husband Marty’s home kitchen, along with the desk in her Supreme Court chambers. Find out more here.

48-52. Dine outdoors before it gets too cold

Instagram / @fiveftpanda

With outdoor dining becoming a true staple in the city, there’s tons of restaurants to enjoy en plein air before winter creeps up. Check out:

  • Bricks & Hops, The Bronx
  • Buddakan, Chelsea
  • Boucherie, West Village
  • Milk & Roses, Greenpoint
  • Lola Taverna, West Village
See our full list here.

53. This castle bed & breakfast in upstate NY will transport you to a fairytale wonderland

Wings Castle

This weekend getaway will take you straight into the pages of a storybook! 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 — and it’s located only 75 miles north of NYC. There are five different rooms to choose from at the castle B&B, complete with truly magical features like a moat swimming pool that goes underneath the castle, tons of medieval decor, and patios with the most incredible views. Learn how to book your stay here.

54. Get lost in this little village in upstate NY made up entirely of bookstores

Tucked away next to the Catskill Mountains, is the quaint little town of Hobart Village full of the most charming range of bookstores — and (practically) only bookstores! It’s become quite a haven for readers and writers everywhere; they even host the annual Festival of Women Writers there, and also host two huge semi-annual sales the weekends of Memorial Day and Thanksgiving Day that draw hundreds of visitors. Read more about this unique town here.

55. Catch the changing foliage around New York State

Visit Finger Lakes

Fall foliage is one of the nicest things about traveling through New York State. The annual fall foliage report for the area is updated every week throughout the season indicating where and when to visit, so be sure to take advantage and schedule a weekend trip before winter officially begins.

56-61. Get spooked at the most haunted places in and around NYC

Shutterstock

This month we’re all looking to add a little mischief to our lives, and what better way to do so than by adventuring to some of the most allegedly haunted spots across the city? From popular places to chilling cemeteries there are plenty of locations to get yourself into the spooktacular spirit.

  • Washington Square Park, Greenwich Village
  • Machpelah Cemetery, Queens
  • Blood Manor, Tribeca
  • House of Death, Greenwich Village
  • White Horse Tavern, West Village
  • St. Mark’s Church, The Bowery
View the full list here.

62. Have a drink at NYC’s first-ever vinyl record craft beer bar

Facebook/ BierWax

This under the radar, Black-owned business is Prospect Heights’ most hidden gem. The establishment has over 5,000 vinyls on-site ranging from hip-hop, funk, soul and jazz, in addition to offering an extensive, yet carefully curated tap-list with a large portion of their beers sourced from local breweries found in North Fork, LI or in upstate New York. Read more here.

63-67. Feast at the best all-you-can-eat restaurants in NYC

What’s better than eating as much food as you want…for one price? NYC offers a range of incredible all-you-can-eat deals, from the typical buffets to unlimited pasta deals to sushi and more! Let’s get eating:

  • Let’s Meat, Koreatown
  • Maya, Lenox Hill
  • Becco, Hell’s Kitchen
  • Churrascaria Plataforma, Midtown
  • Crab House, Midtown East
Find our full list of favorites here.

68. Access a secret 11-story high NYC restaurant that requires a hotel room key

Coming from the same team behind Michelin-starred restaurant Ai Fiori, Sky Terrace is the Langham Hotel’s best-kept secret. This urban paradise used to be part of the 11th floor guest rooms, but has since been transformed into an enchanting dining experience in lieu of hotel rooms. Learn more about this exclusive Michelin dining experience here.

69-73. Finally settle which shop sells the best NYC bagel

Facebook/ Tompkins Square Bagels via @@somehowimnotfat

Arguing between where to get the best bagel in NYC is a never-ending feud responsible for ending friendships, cutting off family members, and yes, different plans for Sunday mornings. But it’s finally time for the argument to be settled. NYers voted on their favorite bagel shop and here’s the top 5. Do you agree?

  • Ess-A-Bagel
  • Brooklyn Bagels
  • Absolute Bagels
  • Tompkins Square Bagels
  • Tal Bagels

Not seeing your favorite? Check out the full list here.

 74-77. Go on a weekend getaway

Airbnb

We discovered some truly incredible Airbnbs near NYC! Check them out here for a fall getaway:

78. See stunning 360° views at this rooftop bar and restaurant on Roosevelt Island

Credit to Noah Fecks

Roosevelt Island now has a breathtaking new rooftop bar with never-before-seen views of four different boroughs, perfectly named Panorama Room. The 168-seat rooftop bar and lounge is Roosevelt Island’s first-ever…on the 18th floor of its first-ever hotel! Discover more about this gorgeous space here.

79. Visit this shop in the East Village that’s part bookstore, part wine bar

Book Club Bar / Lisa Balzofiore Photography

Cozy into big leather chairs and curl up with your next read at this local independent bookstore that’s also home to a bar — where you can enjoy wine, beer and snacks in between chapters. Book Club Bar spans one large floor, with tons of bookshelves filled to the brim and a bar offering an extensive wine list. Find out more here.

80-85. Go on a beautiful fall hike

Shutterstock

It’s a perfect time to check out some amazing hikes that are right on NYC’s doorstep as fall kicks in. With gorgeous fall foliage expected in New York, this is the time to get out and take a little adventure! Each of these hikes are accessible by public transport, 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!

  • Franny Reese State Park
  • Stairway to Heaven
  • Yellow Trail at Mount Beacon
  • Anthony’s Nose Hike
  • Camp Smith Trail
  • Wanaque Ridge Trail
Want more? See our full list of hiking spots here.

86. Check out the most adorable pumpkin village in NJ

Facebook / Happy Day Farm NJ

We wrote about Happy Day Farm in New Jersey when it was peak sunflower season, and turns out it’s still the perfect place to go come fall! The over 20-acre farm in Manalapan Township, New Jersey just launched their weekend fall festival, which includes everything you could need for a perfect fall day, including the perfect “pumpkin house” photo ops, and of course, tons of pumpkin picking opportunities. Read more here.

87. Ride America’s longest mountain roller coaster right here in New York

Mtvanhoevenberg.com

Called the “Cliffside Coaster,” the longest mountain roller coaster in the country (that opened for the first time one year ago) is located on Mt. Van Hoevenberg, a cross country ski, snowshoe, biathlon & mountain biking center in Lake Placid with 50km of terrain. As you ride all the way to the tippy top you’ll learn all about the area’s Olympic history for bobsledding, as you take in the incredible views of the Adirondacks and the beautiful fall foliage. Reserve your ride here.

89. Get to Sears before the last NYC location closes for good

For years, Sears was the department store of choice for American shoppers as the company sold nearly everything you could ever need. “They were doing it before Amazon,” shopper Tyrone Saunders told CBS. “You could buy houses … order houses from Sears.” But unfortunately, After 90 years of operation, the last Sears in NYC will close before the year’s end. Head to the Flatbush location before its last day on November 24th. Learn more here.

90-95. Sip on as many PSL’s as you can stomach

The autumn chill not only calls for sweaters, but an obscene amount of seasonally flavored caffeinated beverages. If you’re looking for a good cup of coffee in NYC you can surely throw a pebble from your doorstep and you’ll likely hit one. These are some of our most beloved:

Facebook / Stumptown Coffee Roasters via @gacolmenares Instagram
  • Astoria Coffee, Queens
  • Stumptown Coffee Roasters, Greenwich Village or Flatiron
  • Blue Bottle, Multiple Locations
  • Cafe Grumpy, Multiple Locations
  • Culture Espresso, Midtown
  • Devoción, Multiple Locations
Can’t get enough? Check out our entire list here.

96-100. Rejuvenate and boost your energy levels at NYC’s best crystal shops

Namaste Bookshop

Looking for good vibes? Head to these top-rated crystal, rock & mineral shops we’ve found across NYC that are sure to work their magic.

  • Crystal Garden NYC, East Village
  • Rock Star Crystals, Chelsea
  • Ruby’s House of Crystals, Brooklyn
  • Astro Gallery, Midtown
  • Botanikal, Williamsburg
Find the full list here.

101. Travel down a gigantic 20-foot slide in order to enter this NYC bar

Instagram/ @slateny

Forget the stairs, this lounge and bar is an upscale adult playground right in Chelsea! At Slate, glide down an enormous 20-ft slide that will take you from the upper floor to the lower level in seconds. Offering a unique nightlife experience hosting everything from comedy shows, live events, and musical performances, get ready to yell “weeeee” all the way until you get a cocktail in hand. Learn more here.

Tags: autumn, halloween
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