Do you have visions of chai lattes, jack o’lanterns, pumpkin pies, and Thanksgiving Day Balloons perpetually swirling through your head? Well, if you’re emphatically nodding your head, “yes”, right now then you NEED to spend fall in NYC!
I mean, I know a lot of people assume that New York City is basically just one giant urban wasteland, but that couldn’t be further from the truth.
Because if you choose to spend fall in New York City, you’ll be bombarded by vibrant fall foliage, discover amazing street festivals, encounter an abundance of pumpkin spice lattes, and will find yourself snuggling up in a cozy knit sweater as the crisp autumn air rolls through town.
But, with so much going on, it can be difficult to know where to go and what to do when spending autumn in New York City.
I mean, if you’re visiting the area, then chances are pretty high that you probably only have a few days to take stunning day trips, uncover hidden parks, and attend unique events that happen but once a year.
So, how can you possibly see it all when spending autumn in NYC? Well, leave it to me, Girl with the Passport. I’m a thirty-plus-year local who has a ton of secret tips and tricks that I want to share with you.
This way, you can quickly and easily plan the perfect autumn NYC itinerary. A magical to-do list that is filled with stunning attractions that are beloved by locals and that you won’t find in any guidebook (not even Lonely Planet).
Because in this epic guide to fall in NYC, I’m going to tell you all about:
- Average Fall in NYC Weather
- How to Get to New York City in Fall
- Getting to and From the Airport in During Fall in New York City
- How to Get Around When Spending Fall in NYC
- What to Pack for Fall in New York City
- Top Things to do this Fall in NYC
- Where to Stay this Fall in New York City
- Where to Eat this Fall in NYC
- Additional Resources to Help You Plan the Perfect Fall in NYC
So, get ready to experience NYC like a local and understand exactly why fall is the perfect time to plan your very own New York City getaway!
Dear wonderful, beautiful, and oh-so-amazing reader (Yup, I lay it on thick for my dozens of fans). Since I am incapable of making it rain money, there’s a high probability (like 99.999%) that this post may contain affiliate links. Please see my disclosure for more information. As an Amazon Associate, I earn a small commission from qualifying purchases.
If you’re booking a trip right now then I IMPLORE you to get travel insurance – even if it’s not from me.
After all, this past year has been a wild ride and I don’t want you to lose money because government regulations have changed.
Truth be told though, I’ve never traveled without travel insurance and don’t think you should either – especialy since I think we’ve all had plans drastically change because of the pandemic.
Therefore, find an insurance agency that covers travel changes related to COVID-19, like my two all-time faves World Nomads and Safety Wing. You can also read more about which policy is right for you in my full review here.
Average Fall in NYC Weather
So, there’s some good news and bad news when it comes to the weather in fall in NYC.
The good news? Because fall in New York City extends from September through November, the temperature at the start of the season can be hella warm and feel almost like summer weather – a joyous experience that can last well into October.
The bad news? Come late October and November, winter starts to roll on into the big apple and it can get hella cold in a hurry.
Therefore, definitely check the weather before you arrive and pack accordingly. Especially since this is also the time of year when hurricanes routinely come up the coast and morph into these nasty AF noreasters that can dump insane amounts of rain on the Metropolitan area (Yes Hurricane Sandy, I’m referring to you).
However, in general, you can expect highs anywhere between 54 and 76 degrees Fahrenheit and lows anywhere between 41 and 61 degrees Fahrenheit when you’re spending fall in New York City.
Or more specifically:
- September – High of 76 degrees Fahrenheit and a low of 61 degrees Fahrenheit
- October – High of 64 degrees Fahrenheit and a low of 50 degrees Fahrenheit
- November – High of 54 degrees Fahrenheit and a low of 41 degrees Fahrenheit
It’s also not SUPER rainy since we only really get about a week of rain during each month of the season. Although, that being said, the weather can vary greatly from month to month and week to week. So yeah, again, always check the weather forecast about a week before you’re set to visit for fall in NYC.
You’ll also want to pack lots of layers and wear chic but comfortable black boots (about calf-high). This way, you’ll be protected from the cold and can easily layer up or down, depending on the temperature outside.
Also, because New York City is relatively far north and practices daylight savings time (the clocks go back an hour and the days get an hour shorter on November 7th), the days will get a whole lot shorter as the season progresses.
That’s why, you can expect sunrise to be around 6:30 am at the start of the season and sunset around 7:30 pm at the end of the season.
However, as fall in New York City progresses, the days will get MUCH shorter and sunrise will be at 7:00 am while sunset will be at 4:30 pm (this is also because the clocks go back an hour).
How to Get to New York City in Fall
So, even though the weather can vary greatly, fall in NYC is still a great time visit since it’s shoulder season. Therefore, flights and hotel rooms will both be a bit cheaper than they would be at the height of the NYC travel season (i.e. summer).
Not super cheap since this is still NYC but definitely cheaper than they would be during other seasons of the year.
Also, because NYC puts the ass back in massive, we have three different airports that all service the NYC/metropolitan area. And they are:
- JFK ( or John F. Kennedy International Airport – Most international flights will arrive here. It’s also way closer to the city than Newark.
- Newark – This international airport is relatively far away from Manhattan since it’s located in New Jersey, not New York.
- LaGuardia – This airport is in Queens, is pretty close to Manhattan, and handles mostly domestic flights within the USA.
However, if you’re not a fan of flying, never fear because NYC is extremely well-connected to other parts of the US via train and long-haul buses.
That’s why, if you’re spending fall in NYC, you could always take a Greyhound Bus into Port Authority (in midtown), an Amtrak train into Penn Station (also in midtown), or an Amtrak/MetroNorth train from upstate NY to Grand Central Terminal.
Plus, since both of these stations are centrally located, it will be a short subway/bus ride to your hotel from here.
Also, please be aware of the fact that even though bus tickets into NYC can be uber-cheap, train tickets are generally NOT. So, when booking a train ticket to NYC, do your research and always double-check to ensure it’s cheaper than a plane ticket.
Pro Tip: NEVER drive into NYC. Locals don’t have their own car, and, guess what? You shouldn’t either. Not only are parking spaces ridiculously hard to find, but there are some insane street parking laws here that can be extremely difficult to follow. Garages are also next-level expensive and there is really just no need for a car since you can get anywhere you want via subway.
Getting to and from the Airport During Fall in New York City
Good news travel fans! If you plan to spend fall in NYC and are using either the train or bus to get here, then never fear because Penn Station, Port Authority, and Grand Central Terminal are ALL in midtown Manhattan.
So, unless you’re staying well-off the beaten path, your hotel should basically be a mere hop, skip, and jump away from any and all of these transportation hubs.
But, if you plan to fly into the city, then getting to and from Manhattan can get a little bit tricky. That’s why, I’m gonna outline how to travel between NYC and all three of its major airports right now.
- JFK (for more details, read this post on how to get from JFK to Manhattan) – Your best bet is to take a taxi, express bus, a commuter train, or a shuttle to/from Manhattan and JFK. That being said though, the quickest way to get into the city is probably the commuter train (it takes around 35 minutes and will cost about $15.50) while the cheapest way to get into Manhattan is via subway, which can be a long ride after a long flight (between 60 and 90 minutes and it costs $10.50).
- Newark (for the inside scoop, read this post on how to get from Newark to Manhattan) – Try to avoid grabbing a taxi since you’re all the way in New Jersey and it will be a long (lots of traffic)/expensive ride. Therefore, use the NJ Transit train at Penn Station (or vice versa) to connect with an AirTrain that will take you to Newark (the AirTrain only costs $5.50 per journey). And if you’re not a fan of the train, you could always board an NJ Transit bus in Manhattan that will take you directly to the airport (traffic makes the train faster though).
- LaGuardia – So, there are several different ways to travel between Manhattan and LaGuardia. You could board the M60 bus (from 106th street and above) and take that all the way to LaGuardia. You could also take the E, F, M, R, or 7 train to Jackson Heights-Roosevelt Avenue and then take the Q70 bus to LaGuardia (this option is ideal if you’re in midtown). Otherwise, you could always take an LIRR train to Woodside and then take the Q70 bus to LaGuardia (perfect if you’re in lower Manhattan).
How to Get Around When Spending Fall in NYC
Because exactly no one in NYC owns a car, there are about 10,000 different ways for you to get around the city without one.
So, if you’re hitting up NYC in fall, you can do any of the following:
- Walk – If you want to get a bit of exercise and are visiting NYC on a budget, then you can’t beat walking around the city. It’s also just an overall great way to see/feel the pulse of the city. That being said though, you deffo won’t be able to walk everywhere since the city is huge. And if you do decide to enjoy NYC in fall while on foot, then be sure to wear layers, carry a water bottle (drinks are pricey), wear some comfy shoes, and always keep an eye on your belongings since pickpockets are forever a problem in NYC.
- Rent a City Bike – If you can handle NYC’s notoriously insane traffic and feel comfortable riding a bike then Citibike is a great way to get around during fall in NYC. Although, you’ll for sure need your own helmet since biking through the not-so-mean streets of NYC can be dangerous (there are rogue taxis aplenty here). Biking is definitely one of the cheapest ways to get around though since an annual membership is $95 while a one-week pass is $25, and a 24-hour pass is $9.95.
- Subway – The subway is easily my favorite way to get around the city since it’s cheap and fast. But, if you’re from out of town, it can be confusing and crowded AF, so be prepared. You’ll also need a Metrocard to pay $2.75 for a ride on any subway trains or buses in the city. And if you need a brand new Metrocard, it’ll cost you $5.50 for the card and $2.75 per ride. I’d also skip the bus if at all possible since they can be really slow and get stuck in gobs of traffic.
- Taxi/Uber – So, I never really use either in NYC since they are expensive. However, they do come in mighty handy if you’re in a rush, it’s late at night, or you’re part of a group that can split the cost of a single ride. And just so you know exactly what you’re getting into, a taxi ride starts at $2.50 per ride. You’ll then pay 50 cents per 1/5 mile when traveling over 12 mph or per 60 seconds if there’s a lot of traffic or if the taxi is at a standstill. And while Uber can be cheap-ish, it’s definitely not as budget-friendly as it once was.
Pro TIp: One form of public transportation that you should NEVER use is a pedicab. You know, those giant bikes that seat a few people in the back while an actual human pedals you around iconic landmarks like Central Park. Yeah, not only are they absurdly expensive but they’re also just not a whole lot of fun either.
What to Pack for Fall in New York City
As you probably already surmised, fall in NYC is kind of a weird time – at least weather-wise. Because it can be super hot at the start of the season and then frigid cold near the end as the polar vortex of doom rolls on in.
Therefore, knowing what to add to your fall NYC packing list can be a bit of a challenge. But no worries friends I’ve never met. Because Girl with the Passport is always here to help, per usual.
And one of the most important things to pack is plenty of neutral-colored layers. This way, you can simultaneously blend in with the locals (we love black) and dress either up or down, depending on how hot or cold the weather is.
I would also absolutely pack a water bottle to help you stay hydrated since bottled water here is uber–expensive and straight-up not good for the environment.
Additionally, because it can rain for a solid week out of the month, definitely bring some rain gear to help you stay dry while you trudge through the not-so-mean streets of NYC.
Although, in general, black, tailored clothes will always help you look more like a local. So, definitely rock a black, lightweight coat or jacket, a textured sweater, and a pair of comfortable walking shoes.
A good hat will also help keep you warm, as will a pair of comfortable, but stylish, black boots that come to your mid-calf (guys can wear Tims, aka Timberlands since they are the unofficial boot of NYC).
Also, bonus points if they’re waterproof because puddles in NYC can be deceptively deep. And, if you’ve ever spent fall in New York City, then you know that there’s nothing worse than stepping into a puddle that is deeper than your boots.
Yeah, filthy runoff inside your boot is never a good look or feel.
Sunglasses and a day bag are also a good idea, as is a neutral, fall-colored dress that you can casually pair with black leggings and boots. This way, you can always look stylish while still being dressed for the elements.
- Sunglasses – I know sunglasses are kind of a weird thing to add to a fall in NYC packing list, but hear me out. I mean, it’s still sunny throughout the fall. Plus, sunglasses are forever and always an integral part of any New Yorkers’ wardrobe So, wearing a pair will help you look way more like a local. Personally, I love these sunglasses from Carfia since they’re cheap (a smidge over $20), polarized, come in a bunch of colors, are super durable, and offer UV protection.
- Backpack – Because you’ll be walking around NYC basically all day, every day, you’ll need a stylish but super functional backpack to put all your crap, I mean stuff in. It also needs to be spacious and have antitheft features since NYC isn’t exactly the safest city on planet Earth. And that’s why I always opt for this amazing Kenneth Cole Backpack. It lasts forever, (I’ve had mine for well over 2+ years even after daily use), it’s stylish, it’s less than $60, and is large enough to fit a 15′ laptop. So yeah, what’s not to love?
- Sneakers – What can I say? You need a pair of stylish but comfortable black, slip-on sneakers since you’ll be doing A LOT of walking in NYC! And these Dr. Scholl’s slip-on women’s sneakers totally fit the bill. They’re comfy AF, simple, stylish, and well-priced at a little under $70 – making them the perfect shoe for walking around NYC this fall.
- Tunic Dress – LOVE this dress right here. Because remember, the key to a fabulous fall wardrobe in NYC is to use different, stylish layers to dress up and down. And this dress comes in a bunch of different styles and colors that easily enable you to do just that. So, if it gets a little chilly outside, just pair this reasonably priced piece (a little over $20 per dress) with calf-high boots and a nice pair of black leggings to look stylish and stay warm on a chilly fall evening.
- Bomber Jacket – Full disclosure? This isn’t the warmest jacket on planet Earth. So, if it’s gonna be less than 50 degrees in NYC, definitely pair this jacket with a warm fleece or wear a nice black winter jacket instead. But, what it lacks in warmth, this Andy & Natalie women’s quilted bomber jacket more than makes up for with impeccable style. It’s also exceptionally durable, comes in a ton of colors (if black isn’t your thing), and is well-priced at around $40 per jacket. It’s also hand wash only and you will need to pay close attention to the size chart before you buy it. #justsayin’
- Hat – When that blustery winter wind whips through NYC, you’re going to want a nice hat to keep your head warm. And while I’ve owned a lot of winter hats in my time, this maroon, pom-pom hat from FURALK is hands down my fave. It’s cute, warm, doesn’t rip. comes with a removable pom-pom, and won’t cost you a small fortune since each one costs less than $15. FY, the maroon also photographs really well.
- Textured Sweater – NYC can get cold in the fall, especially towards the end of the season. So, to combat this, try packing a chic, textured sweater. I personally love the details on the sleeves of this sweater right here. Plus, added bonus? It also comes in several different colors, comes in a flattering, oversized silhouette, costs just over $30, and will actually keep you warm.
- Black Boots – You are forbidden from visiting NYC in the fall without first getting an epic pair of black boots, like this pair from DREAM PAIRS. I know you’ve probably never heard of this company but I’ve gotten shoes from them loads of time and have never had any issue. Because they’re always comfy, fit well, incredibly durable, and very well-priced. Besides, where else are you going to find a super cute pair of black boots for under $60? Yeah, nowhere, that’s where.
- Black Leggings – Not all black leggings are created equal, which is why I always recommend these leggings from American Apparel. I mean, they last forever, look super stylish (they don’t look like workout clothes), fit well (they rise just above the tummy), and cost a little over $20 a pair. Therefore, they are basically the only black leggings I ever wear.
- Water Bottle – Staying hydrated is the name of the game whenever you visit NYC. And this awesome, Nefeeko Collapsible Water Bottle allows you to do just that! It’s also easy to pack when you’re not using it, is good for the environment, and will save you a ton of money on overpriced bottled water. Other awesome features include the price tag (it’s under $15), the leak-proof body, the BPA-free plastic, and a carabineer that enables you to carry your water bottle outside of your backpack – saving you a whole lot of space in your day bag.
Top Things to do this Fall in NYC
Fall is an amazing time to visit NYC. Not only are the city’s parks overflowing with stunning fall foliage, but the weather is infinitely more enjoyable since the hot and humid days of summer are long gone.
Also, because it’s shoulder season, you can expect reduced prices when it comes to hotels and flights – making your fall in NYC trip THAT much more affordable.
So, grab a delicious chai latte, pair it with a fresh apple cider donut, and prepare for the trip of a lifetime as we check out all of the best things to do during fall in New York City!
1. Feast of San Gennaro in Little Italy
Because I’m not overly religious, the celebration of a saint’s day doesn’t typically leave me riddled with excitement. However, the Feast of San Gennaro is the total exception to that rule and easily one of the best things to do during fall in NYC.
Held for 11 days in September in Little Italy (along Mulberry Street between Canal and Houston Streets), this one-of-a-kind festival is a unique celebration of the Patron Saint of Naples.
So, expect to find insane crowds, colorful red, white, and green parades (aka The Grand Procession), free concerts every night at 7:30 pm (at the corner of Grand and Motts Street), and the immortal, cannoli-eating competition (FYI, the cannolis are from Ferrara Bakery).
It’s fun and delicious and one of those events that you do not want to miss – especially since you have the opportunity to stuff yourself silly at one of the many food vendors that routinely op up in the area.
That’s why you need to grab some extra stretchy pants (stat!) and try:
- Don Angie’s lasagna
- Di Fara’s pizza
- Regina Grocery’s arancini
- Belle’s Cafe’s rainbow cookies
- Lucy’s Palace sausage and pepper
- Morgenstern’s spumoni ice cream.
- Roll Up for Italian Egg Rolls
- Alleva Dairy for eggplant, chicken, and meatball parmigiana
- Caffé Palermo for cannolis and an almond-spun cheesecake cone.
Pro Tip: There are also zeppole and meatball eating competitions for you to watch too!
Like basically every other city in the United States, NYC has its very own version of Oktoberfest. So, if you into drinking steins full of German beer and want to rock a sick pair of lederhosen, then Oktoberfest is easily one of the best things to do this fall in NYC.
However, just in case you’re living under a pop culture rock of isolation and have no idea what Oktoberfest is, it’s basically a two-week Bavarian folk festival that celebrates all things beer and German awesomeness.
And while it originally started in Bavaria (in 1810) as a marriage celebration for the crown prince of Germany, it has since morphed into a slightly rowdy, worldwide celebration of German food and beer.
So, it should come as no surprise that NYC has its very own version of this glorious event, with unique celebrations held throughout all five boroughs – events you can drink beer, try a bit of polka dancing, and eat as many authentic German pretzels as you can stomach.
That’s why, if you time your visit right, you can enjoy awesome, Oktoberfest-related activities any time between the last week of September and the first week of October.
Now, are there a lot of events for you to attend? Umm, hell to the yeah! But, some of my faves are:
- Oktoberfest in Central Park
- Watermark’s Oktoberfest
- Bohemian Hall and Beer Garden in Astoria, Queens
- Radegast Hall & Biergarten in Williamsburg, Brooklyn
- Bierhaus NYC in Midtown Manhattan
- Zum Schneider in the East Village
- Spritzenhaus in Greenpoint, Brooklyn
- DUMBO Oktoberfest – The Manhattan Bridge archway is converted into an authentic German beer hall on the first Saturday/Sunday of October
3. SERRA by Birreria
Hidden away atop the Flatiron outpost of Eataly is this bad boy of the rooftop bar scene – the beautiful brainchild of legendary Italian chef, Mario Batali.
Known as Serra, which means rooftop in Italian, the second part of the bar’s name actually changes with the season – as does the over-the-top decor, and menu.
That’s why, if you spend fall in New York City, channel your inner Instagram maven and enjoy the stunning foliage and vibrant, orange pumpkins that take over this gorgeous rooftop space every autumn.
Just do yourself a solid and book a table well in advance since this place is no longer a well-hidden gem. And while the drinks are delish, the food is mediocre at best, as is the service.
So, skip the food, come with a fully charged camera for photo ops aplenty, and order an Aperol Spritz ( Prosecco, club soda, and Aperol) if you want to know what beverage perfection really is.
Pro Tip: Since the decor here changes with the season, you’ll find a charming, Swiss chateau in the winter and walls full of vibrant flowers, that resemble the hills of Tuscany, in the spring.
4. Boroughs of the Dead Tour
Looking for a beyond haunting walking tour that gives you all those macabre, Halloween feels that you can’t seem to get enough of?
Or, do you just love learning about NYC’s often ignored, dark past? If so then one of the wicked (get it?) awesome things to do this fall in NYC is to go on a Boroughs of the Dead tour.
I mean, you know it has to be good when LOCALS make up a solid 80% of the clientele.
More than that though, what really sets these tours apart is the fact that they are led by expert storytellers who know all about NYC’s wealth of dirty little secrets – info that is shared in an altogether bone-chilling manner that instills abject fear in all who attend.
It’s also the ONLY ghost tour company in NYC that is compromised of super professional guides whose sole mission in life is to create an experience you’ll never forget.
So, check out one of their amazing tours, which are conducted in each of NYC’s five boroughs and cover topics like:
- The Ultimate Greenwich Village Ghost Tour
- Weird Tales of the West Village
- The Forgotten Dark Histories of Lower Manhattan.
- Frights and Phantoms of Flushing Tour (Queens)
- And so much more!
Hours: Tours are conducted every evening, from 7:30 pm to 9 pm.
Price: Tickets are $25 per person and meeting locations based upon the location of your tour.
5. Edgar Allen Poe House
Want to keep the spook-taculiar vibes of Halloween going all autumn long? If so then head on over to the historic Edgar Allen Poe house this fall in NYC.
Because this quaint little country cottage was first constructed in 1812 and is now located in the Fordham section of the boogie down Bronx.
Truth be told though, Poe didn’t actually become a resident here until 1847, when he rented the house for just $100 per year! Gosh, I wish houses were still that affordable today.
Anyway, he moved in with the eternal hope that some of the area’s “country air” (it really was rural back in the day) would help his wife Virginia, who was suffering from Tuberculosis.
Sadly though, the fresh air didn’t really do all that much to help Virginia since she eventually died from her disease, causing Poe to move back to Baltimore.
Before he left though, the famous author was able to write “Annabel Lee” and “The Bells”.
And while the nouse did have a few more, not-so-notable residents, it was eventually transformed into a museum by the state of New York in 1913.
That’s why, you can swing on by and do an audio tour of the building – during which you can see the exact bed that Virginia passed away in
and marvel at the rocking chair that Poe sat in.
Because, like with most museums today, the entire residence has been completely restored to look exactly as it did when Edgar Allen Poe was here.
Address: 2640 Grand Concourse, Bronx, New York, 10458
Hours: Open Thursday and Friday from 10:00 am to 3:00 pm, Saturday from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm, and Sunday from 1:00 pm to 5:00 pm.
How to Get There: Take the B or D train to Knightsbridge Station and walk to the cottage from there.
Price: Tickets are $5 for adults and $3 for children.
6. Visit A Pumpkin Patch in NYC
Visiting a Pumpkin patch is probably the top activity all across the USA during the season. If you are in NYC and feeling a bit low because you are missing out, don’t worry. NYC has its own pumpkin patches. Surprised? I was too!
So what are the best places to head to? It’s a bit hard to pick. The Queen’s farm is one of the oldest and has been around since 1697!
Governors island on the other hand is a huge 172 acre island that is super close to Lower Manhattan. The great part about this place is that it has public parks and recreational spaces which makes it a great family friendly location!
Green Meadows farm in Brooklyn and Decker farm pumpkin patch are two other popular places that can also be visited.
7. Village Halloween Parade
When autumn rolls around in the USA, there are two holidays that instantly come to mind – Thanksgiving and Halloween. And while I do love Thanksgiving, Halloween is definitely my holiday of choice since no cooking is required of me.
I also get to dress up in a super sweet costume. So yeah, that’s pretty rad too.
Therefore, if you love Halloween almost as much as I do, then you CANNOT spend fall in New York City without attending the Village Halloween Parade.
Trust me, it’s an iconic part of Halloween in NYC since it’s been around since ye olde 1973, is now attended by more than 2 million people, and is the ONLY parade in the US held on Halloween night.
It also features more than 80,000 participants who dress up in costumes and march through the streets (they go up Sixth Avenue from Spring Street to 16th Street) along with a series of vibrant puppets and energetic bands.
For the best views though, get to Sixth Avenue early (like early afternoon) so that you can grab a premo spot before the parade starts at 7:00 pm.
Pro Tip: To avoid the insane crowds, try watching the parade anywhere between Spring and West Houston Street and 14th Street, and 16th Street.
8. Fall Foliage Cruise
Did you know that one of the best ways to see fall in NYC is by boat? There are loads of cruises that take you through some of the most picturesque vistas of the world. I kid you not! You’ll find loads of photographers on these cruises trying to get the best photographs of the city line.
Me… I honestly believe that no photograph can replicate the true feeling of watching the colorful landscape with your own eyes. In fact, despite seeing it so often, I tend to make it a point to catch the views at least once every fall.
If you are thinking of a fall foliage cruise then you can choose from a number of different options. The luxury cruises are one of the most popular trips. You can even choose between a sailboat or a yacht.
If you aren’t looking for luxury then there are a number of autumn ferries that are much cheaper. These are usually four hour trips with views from both indoors and outdoors. You can choose your spot based on the weather!
Pro Tip: Carry something warm because it can get pretty nippy when the wind picks up!
9. The MET Cloisters
Equal parts creepy and enchanting, The Cloisters outpost of The MET museum is a great place to go if you want to get off the beaten path this fall in NYC.
It’s also perched atop a quiet little hill in Fort Tryon Park and provides visitors with sweeping views of the majestic Hudson below.
So, after savoring the views, step inside this underrated branch of the Metropolitan Museum of Art (purchase a ticket to the MET since you can use that ticket to visit the Cloisters as well), which was first built by John D. Rockefeller in 1917.
It features a wealth of sometimes seemingly random artifacts that are all housed inside a stunning structure – a place that was originally constructed as a storage area for an overflow of medieval antiquities from the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Today though, The Cloisters has become a premiere NYC museum in its own right and now features a selection of frescoes, tapestries, and paintings that are just waiting to be explored.
And added bonus? All of these beyond beautiful pieces of art are housed inside galleries that surround a quaint courtyard with stunning, interconnected archways that are adorned with Moorish-style, terra-cotta roofs.
Although, the real highlight of any visit here is seeing The Hunt of the Unicorn, a 16th-century tapestry that is a true delight to behold for anyone who enjoys art…even a little bit.
Plus, I mean, hello? If you don’t like unicorns then I don’t think we can be friends (kidding…sort of).
Pro Tip: While the MET USED to be, “pay what you wish”, that is no longer the case. Because now only residents of New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania can pay what they wish, with the presentation of a valid form of ID. Everyone else needs to buy a ticket to get inside. And since the lines here are insanely long, pre-book your skip-the-line ticket to the MET now!
Address: 99 Margaret Corbin Dr, New York, NY
Price: $25 for adults, $17 for seniors, $12 for students, and free for members/kids under 112.
Hours: Open every day from 10 am to 5:15 pm
How to Get There: Take the A Train Uptown (like to the Bronx Uptown) and get off at Dyckman Street Subway Station. You can then walk from there.
10. Do the Catacombs by Candlelight
I know exploring decrepit catacombs probably isn’t the first thing that comes to mind when visiting NYC in fall, but it really should be!
Because this 90-minute, Catacombs by Candelight tour takes you through the long-forgotten, subterranean network of tunnels that lie beneath St. Patrick’s Cathedral.
No, not that St. Pat’s. It’s another one that isn’t quite as famous and that definitely isn’t on Fifth Avenue.
But don’t worry because this tour is still hella cool since you’ll get to explore the secret, slightly mysterious parts of St. Patrick’s Cathedral that no one else EVER gets to see – a set of catacombs that are actually the only ones open to the public in all of NYC.
Yup, I bet your mind is totally blown right now. LOL.
Anyway, definitely check this tour out since it gives you all those awesome, super creepy, Halloween vibes as you make your way through a labyrinth of off-limit vaults, walled cemeteries, abandoned choir lofts, and ancient tombs from Civil War-era generals.
Address: 32 Prince Street ( in between Mulberry and Mott Street. Look for the Catacombs by candlelight tent in the courtyard of the Old St. Patrick’s School).
Hours: Tours are 90-minutes and start every day at 11:00 am, 1:00 pm, and 3:00 pm.
Price: $35 per person
How to Get There: Take the 6 train to Bleeker Street Station, the Q to Prince Street Station, or the D to the Broadway/Lafayette Station and walk from there.
11. Visit The Morris-Jumel Mansion
Guess what? The oldest residence in NYC is now a super snazzy, Washington Heights area museum – a place that you can visit with a few of your closest, supernatural friends since this is also supposed to be one of the most haunted buildings in the city.
But, if you’re brave enough to visit this fall in NYC then you’ll be treated to stellar views of the Harlem River (the mansion sits on a hill) and explore a home that was first built in1765 as the private residence of Roger Morris, a British Army Officer.
Later, once the building was confiscated during the American Revolution, it was transformed, in 1776, into an army headquarters for none other than George Washington himself – who I’m sure loved the gorgeous, Palladian-style architecture that he saw all around him.
So, see history unfold right before your eyes as you explore a series of period-decorated rooms inside this stately home.
If you’re lucky, you might even run into some resident ghosts, including a servant girl, a British soldier, an elderly woman in a dress, and even Aaron Burr himself,
Address: 65 Jumel Terrace, New York, New York, 10032
Price: $10 for a self-guided tour, $16 for a mansion and grounds tour, and free to members/kids 12 and under.
Hours: Open Friday through Sunday from 11:00 am to 5:00 pm. They also hold private tours on Thursday at 11:00 am and 2:00 pm.
How to Get There: Take the C train to 163rd street station or the 1 train to 157th street station and walk to the museum from there.
12. New York Comedy Festival
As the name so aptly suggests, this is a festival that showcases the comedic talents of some of the BEST comedians in the world. So yeah, no second-rate hacks telling knock-knock jokes here.
Instead, you’ll hardcore laugh your ass off as you enjoy performances from a wide array of comedic disciplines like stand-up, improv, sketch acts, and more.
So, if you’re in town any time between November 8th and November 14th then definitely give this festival a try since comedy legends like Trevor Noah and Stephen Colbert have performed here in the past.
Just be forewarned that you will have to do a fair amount of traveling since shows are held at comedy clubs all across the city, including the Beacon Theatre, BMCC Tribeca Performing Arts Center, Madison Square Garden, Carnegie Hall, etc.
You can also click here for the most up-to-date information on this epic festival.
13. The Great Jack O’Lantern Blaze
Look, I’m gonna be totally real with you right now. If you only do ONE thing this fall in NYC, let it be the Jack O’Lantern Blaze in Hudson Valley, New York.
Because real talk? This insanely awesome, Halloween-inspired event is one of the few, over-hyped things in NY that actually does exceed any and all of your highest expectations.
So, head on over to historic, Van Cortlandt Manor and watch as more than 7,000, hand-carved pumpkins glow to life and come together to create stunning, life-size sculptures that the whole family will love.
And while you’re here, do a bit of stargazing in the Pumpkin Planetarium, watch in awe/horror as ghosts soar through the air, and see Sleepy Hollow’s infamous, Headless Horseman himself.
Afterward, head on over to the refreshment area for festive, holiday treats like Captain Larence pumpkin beer, hot cocoa, apple cider, candy apples, pumpkin cookies, and fresh popcorn.
Address: 525 S Riverside Ave, Croton-On-Hudson, NY 10520
Hours: Open daily after dusk.
Price: Tickets start at $24 per person (so worth it) and kids 2 and under are free.
How to Get There: Take a Metro-North, Hudson line train from Grand Central to Croton-Harmon station. The ride will be under an hour and you can do a quick, 10-minute walk to the blaze from here.
14. Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade
Even if you’ve never been to New York City, I can almost guarantee that you know all about the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade and one of the best things to do this fall in NYC.
I mean, after all, it’s streamed live on national television and is basically the only thing that people watch on Thanksgiving morning. You know, before they have to suck it up and get all down and dirty in the kitchen while preparing a delicious, Thanksgiving Day feast.
And while watching the parade on tv is nice, there’s something really special about being there in person and watching all the bands, floats, balloons, and musical performers walk/roll on by.
You’ll also get to see live theatrical performances from your favorite Broadway stars while freezing your butt during NYC’s notoriously cold Novembers.
Just be sure to get there early (like before sunrise since the parade is from 9:00 am to 12:00 pm on Thanksgiving day) and secure yourself an awesome spot along the parade route – a 2.5-mile path that goes from 77th Street and Central Park West to 34th Street and Herald Square.
This way, you’ll actually be able to see something as hordes of tourists, and locals alike, inundate the area with their selfie-sticks of horror.
Pro Tip: If you want to see the parade on Turkey day, try and nab a less crowded spot along the parade route that is as far away from Herald Square as possible. Because, as you probably already guessed, everyone and their brother’s, sister’s, cousin wants to be in Herald Square, Instead, try to camp out along Central Park West,between 59th to 75th streets,
And if you loathe getting up early (like me) try seeing the parade balloons get blown up the night before! It happens between 1:00 pm and 8:00 pm on Thanksgiving eve and occurs all along the streets that surround the Museum of Natural History. Just enter on 74th street and Columbus Avenue and marvel at all the enormous balloons that take up space between West 77th and West 81st street. Truth be told, I actually like doing this WAY more than seeing the parade live.
Other Fun Things to do this Fall in New York City
- Attend the New York Film Festival – Held from late September through early October every year, this famous film festival is hosted by the Film Society of Lincoln Center and features world-premiere viewings of some of the most cutting-edge productions in the film industry today. Highlights also include lectures and presentations from various industry leaders – making this a must-attend event this fall in New York City for anyone who loves film.
- Stop by the Brooklyn Cider House – They serve up some of the best hard cider in New York since all of their apples come directly from an orchard in New Paltz. So, if you feel like taking a two-hour drive outside of the city, then give this place in New Paltz a try! And while they have a ton of ciders on offer here, I personally like the Rose and Half Sour.
- Visit The Merchant’s House Museum – Throughout October, this awesome NOHO museum features a whole lot of ghostly goodness with a whole lot of paranormal events that investigate the supposed hauntings of this building by former resident, Gertrude Tredwell.
- Explore Richmond Town – Located on Staten Island, this historic settlement is the site of many paranormal activities, during which visitors can hear all about the area’s many haunted locations.
- Visit the Smallpox Hospital Ruins on Roosevelt Island – Located on the southern tip of Roosevelt Island, these ruins are from the Renwick Hospital. it was first built in 1856 and was used to treat Small Pox patients until it closed in 1875. And if you visit the site today you’ll discover haunting remains of the hospital’s outer walls and foundation – making this a great place to visit for all my fellow dark tourism lovers out there.
- Go Apple Icking at Harvest Moon Farm and Orchard – Located in North Salem, this is a great place to go apple picking just outside of the city. So, hop on a Hudson line, MetroNorth train from Grand Central, and take it to Croton Falls station where you can enjoy apple picking with your family. The journey will take about an hour and a half and is well worth your time.
- Attend Brooklyn’s BAM Next Wave Festival – Held between October and early December, this yearly event is hosted at the Brooklyn Academy of Music (aka BAM) and showcases some of the best and most avant-garde musical, theatrical, and dance performances that you ever did see.
- Check out some of NYC’s Halloween-Themed Bars – Some of the spookiest gin joints in NYC are Beetle House (Beetle Juice-themed bar), The Cauldron NYC (you can make magical cocktails here a la Harry Potter), and the Jekyll and Hyde Club (kitschy, animatronic decor and the food is mediocre).
- TCS New York Marathon – Watch the New York City Marathon take place on the first Sunday of November. For the best views though, try Fifth Avenue between east 90th and east 105th streets and Fourth Avenue in Park Slope (Brooklyn).
Where to Stay this Fall in NYC
I want this to be the section of this fall in NYC post where I tell you all about this amazing, super-secret, 5-star hotel I found that costs just $30 per night. You know, because I’m a super savvy local like that.
Sadly though, that is not the case since hotels in NYC are notoriously expensive. But, if you want to get all technical about it, fall is actually the off-season. Therefore, hotel prices will be a little cheaper than they would be in the summer season (minus holidays like Thanksgiving).
However, don’t get crazy excited because finding anything (hostels included) that costs less than $100 per night can be a real challenge, especially since taxes on hotels in NYC are out of control.
Luckily for you, I’m a local who knows all about some of the most reasonably priced places in all of NYC. And I’m got to share that expert knowledge with you right now since I really don’t want you to be broke like a joke after your trip to NYC.
So, without further adieu, here are some of my have hotels in New York, listed from the least to the most expensive.
Pod 39 – This budget-friendly, Murray Hill area hotel is perfect for anyone who wants a nice place to stay that won’t completely break the bank. Plus, it’s situated inside a historic home from 1918 that is within easy walking distance of some of the best Indian food in NYC. So yeah, that’s pretty rad too.
Modern, well-appointed rooms here also start at around $120 per night – a price that is super cheap by NYC standards – and come with queen size beds or stainless steel bunk beds with TVs and bedside shelves,
Now, are these rooms kind of small? Yeah, but, let’s be real. That to be expected in an aptly named pod hotel. Although, what the rooms here lack in size they more than makeup for with modern amenities, friendly staff members, and wonderfully clean facilities.
414 Hotel – I love 414 Hotel, yes I do, I love 414 Hotel, how about you? Especially since it’s conveniently located in Hell’s Kitchen and is an all-around, super snazzy hotel with well-appointed rooms that start at $159 per night.
And FYI, all of the rooms here come with a ton of fantastic amenities like mini-fridges, flat-screen TVs, iPod docks, and so much more. Also, just in case you were wondering, the reasonable price tag doesn’t mean that they limit the quality and cleanliness of their facilities.
In fact, it’s quite the opposite since 414 Hotel has a working fireplace in the lobby that you can get all cozy around while relaxing after a hard day of sightseeing in NYC.
The James New York – Want to live the supremely luxe life without the help of a super nifty trust fund? If so then say hello to the supremely awesome, James New York – aka one of the best places to stay during fall in NYC.
Not only is it located in the posh beyond belief neighborhood of SOHO, but it’s a chic, supremely modern place that prides itself in its clean, and comfy rooms – which start at $177 per night.
So, what are you waiting for? Book your room now and enjoy gorgeous high ceilings, floor-to-ceiling windows, glassed-off bathrooms, high-end complimentary toiletries, and wonderfully soft linens that are manufactured with nothing but all-natural fibers,
The Bowery Hotel – Now, I know the word Bowery isn’t normally associated with over-the-top opulence. But it really will be if you decide to stay at The Bowery Hotel.
Because, this place? Well, its a supremely stunning,, well-reviewed, five-star, hotel in Nolita that is basically opulent with a capital “O”. And I would 110% stay here if I was on the show, The Real Housewives of New York City.
Sadly though, I am not that affluent and really can’t afford t stay in a hotel where rooms start at $300 per night. But, if that price is within your budget, then book a room here for a wonderfully special getaway in NYC.
Because all of the beyond gorg rooms here include free Wifi, free bike rentals, and exquisite city views. Guests will also love the impeccable service and a convenient location that makes all of NYC’s top attractions incredibly accesible.
Where to Eat this Fall in NYC
So, as you probably already know, NYC is one of the most prominent food capitals in the world. Therefore, this city is absolutely brimming over with world-class restaurants that you NEED to try this fall in NYC.
But with such a rich and varied assortment of cuisines on offer, it can be almost impossible to decide where to go and what to eat first.
And that’s where this perpetually hungry New Yorker comes in mightly handy! Because I’m going to introduce you to all of this city’s best eateries and show you exactly where the best grub in NYC can be found, regardless of your budget and the type of food you’re into.
- Two Little Red Hens – This epic bakery on the upper east side is known for its delicious apple and chocolate pecan. This place also has tons of freshly baked, fun, seasonal specialties, including apple plum pear spice, strawberry rhubarb, and ginger plum cherry crumb. And although this place sells primarily whole pies, you can actually grab yourself a mini-pumpkin harvest cake if you want a single serving of something seasonal (FYI, Blue Stove’s in Brooklyn also has really good apple cardamom crumb pie).
- Little Pie Company – Go to this phenomenal Hell’s Kitchen bakery and order their sour cream apple walnut pie. It’s this beautiful mix of sweet apples and tart sour cream filling that is perfectly paired with a generous, walnut crumb topping. Yup, a generous slice of this pie is the stuff that foodie dreams are made of when spending fall in NYC.
- Peter Pan Donut and Pastry Shop – So, even though everything at this Greenpoint, Brooklyn bakery is absolutely delicious, the freshly made donuts here are something extra special. And since it’s fall in New York City, you should obviously get their apple cider donuts. It’s also a super old-school bakery (think egg creams) so they definitely only accept cash. And if you don’t feel like schlepping out to Brooklyn, then you can always get a seasonal doughnut from Doughnuttery or Doughnut Plant instead (both have locations all over the city).
- Maman – Looking for a delicious pumpkin spice latte this fall in NYC? Then mosey on over to Maman since they easily serve one of the best pumpkin spice lattes I’ve ever had. Period. And if pumpkin in your coffee isn’t your idea of a good time, then you’ll love that they also serve specialty caramel apple butter lattes and spiced citrus cold brew (FY, Coffee Project, Birch Coffee, 12 Corners Coffee, and Black Fox Coffee all make really awesome pumpkin spice lattes too).
- Murray’s Cheese Bar – Nothing warms you up on a cold fall day quite like a delicious, piping hot, grilled cheese sandwich. So, run, don’t walk, to Murray’s Cheese Bar in the West Village and get a Murray’s Melt now. Trust me on this. These cheesemongers have been around for 70+ years and know exactly what they’re doing. Plus, their supremely awesome grilled cheese is a super-secret blend of three cheeses – some of which come from their very own cheese caves in Long Island City – that are pan-baked inside a Pullman loaf for ultimate deliciousness.
- 11th Street Cafe – Looking for a seriously good chai latte to ring in the fall season? Then beeline it on over to 11th Street Cafe in the West Village. Because I hardcore dream/salivate over their vanilla chai latte. Yes, this place is small but their chai lattes are so worth your time. Seriously, go here NOW (Harney and Sons also serves a good, but strong, Chai latte)!
- Ess-a-Bagel – These guys have been around since 1976 and make amazing bagels that you can easily get after visiting Grand Central Terminal. So, if you’re looking for an authentic, NY-style bagel, then this is THE place to go. I also love the awesome selection of cream cheeses that they have on offer here, like chocolate chip (perfectly paired with a cinnamon raisin bagel).
- Prince Street Pizza – You can’t visit NYC without getting a delicious slice of pizza. So, stop by this informal pizzeria and order a slice of Sicilian pizza. And yes, those are the thick, square slices of pizza.
- LeVain Bakery – Without a doubt, this place makes the single best chocolate chip cookie that I’ve ever had in my life. So yeah, you DEFFO need to visit this place on the upper east side. And yes, there will be a line out the door. But, the chocolate chip walnut, dark chocolate chip, and dark chocolate peanut butter chip cookies are all 100% worth the wait, They’re also huge and just so moist and delicious.
- La Bonne Soup – This French restaurant in midtown (right near Central Park) is the perfect place to warm up on a supremely chilly day. So, grab a table and try some authentic cheese fondue, a bowl of French Onion Soup, or a sublime helping of mushroom barley soup (it tastes way better than it sounds).
Pro Tip: For out-of-this-world, traditional NY-style pizza, you’ll have to go to Lucali in Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn. They serve some of the best Margherita pizza ever since their slices are the perfect combination of sauce, fresh mozzarella, thin crust, and fresh basil on top.
Additional Resources to Help you Plan the Perfect Fall in NYC
- Best Places to See Fall Foliage in New York
- One Day in New York City itinerary
- 30+ Free Things to do in New York City
- 25 Best Views in NYC
- 22 Cool Museums in NYC
- 16 Best Breweries in NYC
- 16 of the Best Indoor Activities in NYC
- 19+ Fun Things to do in NYC at Night
- 25 Most Romantic Getaways in the USA
- 20 Best Gifts for a Road Tripper
- The Ultimate NYC Solo Travel Guide
- 20 Best Places to Shop in NYC on a Budget
- 22 Romantic Getaways in Upstate NY
- 21 Fun NYC Brunch Spots