We fall in love with autumn every year in New York City. The crisp city air, the vibrant colors of changing leaves, the replacement of your daily cold brew with a steaming-hot oat milk latte …
But you have only so long to envelop yourself in the fall spirit. Here are the 11 things you must do in NYC during our most colorful season.
Check out a local farmers’ market while sipping hot apple cider
From Fort Greene to Union Square, farmers’ markets are all over the city — and fall is one of the best times to hit them up. There’s nothing like poring over baskets of upstate-grown organic apples and bushels of freshly cut autumn flowers while sipping hot spiced cider in the crisp early morning air.
Watch the leaves change color in your favorite park
Sure, you could take a mini day trip to somewhere upstate to leaf-peep. But you could also just bring a blanket and a book to your closest park to enjoy the vibrant foliage we’re so lucky to experience every year right here in the city.
Get a pumpkin-flavored treat from your fave NYC dessert spot
Maybe it’s not “cool” to get a pumpkin spice latte at Starbucks, but our local dessert spots consistently kill it in the fall flavor department. Embrace the season by grabbing a pumpkin donut topped with spiced pepitas from Doughnut Plant or a pumpkin ice cream sundae at Brooklyn Farmacy.
Go vintage shopping for some cozy sweaters and plaid goodness
Nothing says “fall” like adding luscious layers of leather, knits, flannel, and wool to your wardrobe, and vintage fall clothing is the best kind of fall clothing. Check out our list of the top five vintage stores in NYC to start your seasonal shopping spree.
Get dressed up and watch the Halloween parade
It’s not Halloween without this crowded costumed romp. Put on your most ridiculous disguise and head down to the Village on October 31 to participate in this nearly 50-year NYC tradition. Alternatively, Tompkins Square hosts the dog version on the same day, which is just as fun (and maybe even cuter).
Grab a hot cocktail at The Dead Rabbit
The dim, cozy ambiance at this always-packed, world-renowned cocktail bar is perfect for cooler temperatures, and the mixologists behind the bar are eager to make something special just for you. Ask for a warm cocktail with your favorite flavors, and it’ll come in a teacup like at a real speakeasy.
Pick a pumpkin or walk through the corn maze at Queens County Farm
A perfectly autumnal farm, only 30 minutes from Midtown? Yes, please. Queens County Farm on Long Island is on the largest piece of undisturbed farmland in NYC. During fall weekends, they have a pick-your-own pumpkin patch and corn maze for idyllic autumn day trips.
Go to Oktoberfest in Central Park
Enjoy one of the best Oktoberfest celebrations in NYC at Central Park’s SummerStage with a pitcher of German beer in one hand and a bratwurst in the other. Wear your lederhosen (it’s totally encouraged) or just enjoy the sounds of live polka all afternoon.
Check out a fall festival
NYC’s love of autumn is unrivaled, as seen in our multitude of fall festivals. The 36th annual Queens County Fair offers classic open-air fair activities like carnival rides, pie-eating and corn-husking contests, and a beer garden with live music.
For something a little less country, NYC’s Cider Week celebrates this autumn-y drink across a wide range of restaurants and bars in the city. Finally, Time Out NY’s Fall “AF” Fest aims to be the most Instagrammable of all, with complimentary drinks on the Long Island City waterfront overlooking the city.
Cheer on the New York City Marathon runners
What better way to spend a Sunday morning than on the sidewalk, enjoying a latte and doughnut, watching people who have been awake since 3am try to run 26.2 miles? Seeing the marathon pass through your borough every fall is so inspiring, even if you’re still half asleep (and maybe a little hungover, too).
Have a Friendsgiving
Thanksgiving is the last hurrah of autumn before winter comes, and the ideal way to celebrate this holiday in NYC is to throw a Friendsgiving with all your favorite people. Whether you schedule it for the weekend before or stay up all night cooking on Wednesday, give thanks to the best people in your life with the most delicious dishes of the season. Think of this as your excuse to head to the farmers’ market.