If we can make a bold statement here, there’s nothing quite like fall in the northeast. After the hot, stifling sensations of summer have worn off, the time for a change in seasons is typically welcomed by locals with open arms. Not to mention, autumnal activities offer a plethora of unique opportunities to explore the outdoors and to indulge in new traditions. From apple picking and pumpkin carving to leaf peeping, beer and wine festivals, holiday hoopla and much more, here are must-do activities and events to keep on your radar while planning a trip to New York City during the fall.
Apple Picking: If you want to get a true feel for fall in the northeast, then apple picking should top your list. While there may not be many enticing options in the city, there are a plethora of orchards you can access via public transportation followed by a short taxi ride. What’s there to do besides apple picking? Look forward to enjoying apple cider, cider donuts, farm animals, hayrides, live music and much more – easily a solution for a full day of fun!
Oktoberfest: What would fall be without a good old-fashioned brew fest? And what better way to celebrate than with the inspiration of the most prominent beer festival in the world? For several weekends throughout September and October, you can proudly sport your lederhosen, participate in or witness epic stein holding contests, and enjoy a family friendly experience complete with decorations and games. In addition to traditional Hofbrau as well as Weihenstephan and Radeberger beer, you can also look forward to sampling local fare, including brats, giant pretzels and more. This 3,500 square foot venue features amazing views of the Brooklyn and Williamsburg bridges as well as the Brooklyn skyline.
NYC Autumn Wine & Food Festival: Treat yourself to the finest wines and artisan food, all in the heart of Manhattan! If you make your way to Chelsea in mid-October, you’ll be able to enjoy NYC’s annual wine and food festival, which has been touted by the likes of GrubStreet and New York Magazine as a destination wine and food event. With access to over 100 exceptional wines and food crafted by artisanal makers, you can expect everything from full-bodied reds to crisp whites and perfect pairing items like cheese, crudite, pasta and more.
Halloween Festivals: Halloween festivals around New York City are perhaps best punctuated by the tri-state area’s biggest, most electrifying fall event: The Great Jack O’Lantern Blaze. Housed at The Van Cortlandt Manor, you can meander through an 18th-century landscape and discover a breathtaking display of more than 7,000 illuminated jack o’lanterns, all designed and hand-carved on site. Tour the new Museum of Pumpkin Art, see the Pumpkin Carousel twirl, and pop into the Pumpkin Planetarium for a unique star show.
New York City Marathon: Every November thousands of runners from across the globe enter into a lottery to participate in the world’s largest marathon. Founded by Fred Lebow in 1970, the course design was initially repeated laps around Central Park. It has since expanded to span across the five boroughs. The notorious race begins in Staten Island and culminates in Central Park by the iconic landmark Tavern on the Green. Cheer on the runners, enjoy the experience and revel in this amazing feat… pun intended.
Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade: Planning to be in town for the holidays? If you’re in New York City for Turkey Day, you can’t miss the parade spectacular! In operation since the 1920s, the 3-hour extravaganza operates from 9a.m. til noon in Manhattan. Need a visual? Picture this: over-the-top fun, epic balloons & floats, major stars & MUCH more. Plus, at the end of a festive morning, you can look forward to indulging in a traditional American meal if you’re so inspired. A typical Thanksgiving dinner will include foods like turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, gravy, squash, candied yams, green bean casserole, cranberry sauce, and fresh dinner rolls, among a variety of other delicious treats. For dessert? Pies like apple, pecan and pumpkin often take center stage, but the options are endless.
While these activities and events only scratch the surface of everything going on in the Big Apple, they provide a helpful starting point. If you’ve been to New York City during the fall and have a recommendation for where to go or what to see, share your thoughts in the comments!