Published September 21, 2021
Though fall may feel like New York’s shortest season, sandwiched between relentless heat and frigid temperatures, it’s one we cherish and hold close to our plaid scarf-adorned chests. But as the humidity fades and the leaves begin to change, we swap our aperol spritzes for pumpkin spice lattes and prepare for the spookiest season of all. And as if 2020 hasn’t been scary enough, we’ve rounded up 16 of the best fall and Halloween activities around New York City.
(Not so) bold take: fall is Central Park’s most beautiful season. You’ll need frequent walks to see all the majesty: from the photo-favorite Gapstow Bridge to the enchanted-forest-esque Ramble and North Woods areas, there’s an entire world of golds, browns and reds to see.
You definitely don't want to be late to this epic Alice In Wonderland themed cocktail adventure! Come along on a 90 minute topsy-turvy, theatrical AR experience that will take you down the rabbit hole and through the looking glass! Across 90 minutes you will: create two bespoke wonderland cocktails, solve riddles, devour “Eat Me” cake and much, much more!
Tickets: $50 per person
When: Wednesdays - Sundays starting September 23rd, Times Vary
Where: Pekarna, 594 Amsterdam Ave, New York, NY 10024
There’s some horrors in this house. *If you didn’t sing that to the tune of WAP, please go back and try again* Come in from the cold to enjoy a signature ale at McSorley’s! Established in 1854, NYC’s oldest saloon is proudly home to plenty of fun ghosts, stating: “the spirits of ex-presidents, society figure heads, entertainers and athletes mingle with the working class, the poets and the artists” alike!
Where: 15 E 7th St, New York, NY 10003
(photo courtesy of Historic Hudson Valley)
Nothing gets you in the spooky spirit quite like 7,000 jack o’lanterns. Each pumpkin is designed and hand-carved on site by professional artists so you know they’ve got to be gourd. And because two spooks are better than one, The Great Jack O'Lantern Blaze has taken over a TWO locations – Hudson Valley and Long Island.
When: September 17-November 21 (Hudson Valley) | September 22-November 7 (Long Island)
Where: Van Cortlandt Manor at 525 S Riverside, Croton-on-Hudson, NY 10520 (Hudson Valley) | Old Bethpage Village Restoration at 1303 Round Swamp Rd, Old Bethpage, NY 11804 (Long Island)
Grab your closest witches and ghouls—NYC’s annual Village Halloween Parade was approved for 2021! Parade organizers are hoping to light up Greenwich Village again with parades of costumes, cars and fantastic giant puppets—but they need a little help fundraising to make it happen. If you feel like getting a headstart on the season of giving, you can donate here.
When: 7 pm Sunday, October 31, 2021
Where: Beginning on Spring Street New York, NY 10013
Try to name a more iconic duo than 🥓 and 🍻. Okay, stop trying – nothing better exists. On Saturday, October 9th, the pavement at The Lot @ 107 Morgan Street in Jersey City is getting lined with local breweries, gourmet bacon dishes, and Hormel® Black Label® bacon strips. Follow along the one-way tasting trail during your semi-private time slot, as you sample 7 bacon entrees, 2 sweet treats, 50+ beers & ciders, oh and PLENTY of bacon-y surprises.
When: Saturday, October 9th
Where: The Lot, 107 Morgan St, Jersey City, NJ 07302
Step aboard the luxury yacht Manhattan II or Manhattan – two cozy, elegant, 1920s-style yachts – and travel north-bound on the Hudson River in style. Admire the Palisades of the Hudson River through the skylights of the ship’s heated and enclosed observatory, or while catching the breeze on her bow. Observe New York's most dramatic natural wonders and foliage as the seasons change.
When: Through November 14th
Where: Departs from Chelsea Piers
Sunnyhues Entertainment has revamped its wildly popular high-tech art exhibit for fall. Happy-Go-Lucky uses LED lighting and projections to transform rooms into glorious sensory experiences. Look out for fan-favorites: The Diamond Palace and Silver Ocean, and a brand new 360° installation called the Kaleidoscope.
When: Through October 17th
Where: 32 Mercer Street, New York 10013
Pumpkin carving, spooky stories, a costume parade, and the signature Pumpkin Flotilla at the Harlem Meer at twilight! Need we say more? The pumpkin flotilla––fun for all ages––returns to Central Park this year.
When: Sunday, October 31, 2021 At 1 PM – 4 PM
Where: Central Park, Manhattan, New York City79th Street, New York, NY
For a day in the crisp Autumn air, head to Pennings Orchard to their plentiful orchard. Find your favorite apple and stock up – or grab a medley! Each guest is welcome to pick 10 pounds of apples to take home—hello apple pie heaven. These trips include round trip transportation from NYC, plus a pour of cider at their on-site Cidery.
Tickets: Starting from $125 per person
Where: Pick Up From Lower East Side or Hell's Kitchen
Celebrate NYC's most iconic food and drink specials at the Food Network & Cooking Channel New York City Wine & Food Festival! Join us on Manhattan’s Westside Piers, complete with remarkable views and the most legendary NYC bites you’ve ever dreamed of. You’ll be among the city’s most sought-after restaurants, celebrity chefs, and an unmatched spread at a special Bucket Listers’ ‘Best of New York’ event curated by Goldbelly.
Best of all: 100% of the Festival’s net proceeds benefit New Yorkers facing severe illness and hunger with God’s Love We Deliver and Food Bank For New York City.
Tickets: $170 per person - Best Pricing Available
When: Saturday, October 16 at 7 PM - 10 PM
Where: Pier 86, home of The Intrepid Museum, New York, NY
Eataly’s widely popular rooftop restaurant is all the buzz this season. While we anticipate yet another fall makeover, come enjoy the greenhouse-themed restaurant's all-new selection of Spiedini (“skewers”), and the botanical cocktail menu of our dreams this time inspired by local and italian honey. We’ve already fallen in love with this insta-worthy spot.
When: Monday-Thursday from 4:00 PM - 9:30 PM; Friday-Sunday from 11:30 AM - 9:30 PM
Where: Located on the 14th floor of Eataly NYC Flatiron
Runners of New York: it's your time. NYC’s marathon is not only the premier event of New York Road Runners, it's the world's greatest road race. New York Road Runners, whose mission is to help and inspire people through running, serves 695,000 runners of all ages and abilities annually through races, community runs, walks, training, virtual products, and other running-related programming.
Where: 320 West 57th Street New York, NY 10019
When: Sunday, November 7th
A walk yoga sesh in the park is enjoyable 365 days a year – okay, maybe not during a polar vortex – but nothing quite compares to Central Park during autumn. In these coming months, Central Park’s 20,000 trees turn to hues of red, yellow and orange, transforming the Concrete Jungle into a colorful one. Disconnect from the hustle and bustle from the city and take in the fall foliage (and your steady breathing). Namaste!
When: Every day in September & October; Weekends in November
Where: Meet at Le Pain Quotidien by Sheep Meadow inside Central Park
Get ready to *prost* because Oktoberfest is back in NYC this fall. With authentic German beer and traditional Oktoberfest food, it'd probably be in your best interest to order that lederhosen at least one size up. The Oktoberfest extravaganza takes place at the downtown waterfront bar, Watermark. It's free to enter and seating is on a first come first serve basis; however, you can reserve a VIP pre-booked table for guaranteed seating.
When: September 10th to October 24th
Where: Pier 15 at 78 South St, New York, NY 10038
Trick or treat yourself to a happy day at Happy Day Farm. Enjoy pumpkin picking, sunflowers and Happy Day’s very own pumpkin house installation.
When: September 11th to October 31st
Where: 106 Iron Ore Road, Manalapan, NJ 07726
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Situated just over 60 miles north of Manhattan is Storm King Art Center, an open-air museum with unrivaled autumn views. Bike through the grounds, set up a picnic, get off the grid and forget about how you really, really need to switch out your summer closet for the sweaters under your bed.
When: Varies per season
Where: 1 Museum Road, New Windsor, NY 12553
New York’s quintessential fall festival…a dill-ightful collection of merchants fill Orchard Street, offering everything from the simple pickle on a stick, to ice cream churned with dill and garnished with gherkins. A kid and kid-at-heart friendly event with a gamut of free activities: giant games, coloring tables, a photobooth and even a giant pickle mascot!
Where: 54 Orchard Street New York, NY 10002
When: Wed., Oct. 6th, 2021 at 9 AM–6 PM
Take a leisurely stroll along the prettiest walking path in NYC. And no, we’re not talking about Central Park. Traverse from Meatpacking to Chelsea along the High Line, open every day, with social distancing measures in place.
When: Everyday from 12:00PM - 8:00PM
Where: Main entrance located at Gansevoort Street and Washington Street.
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Soak in the seasonal sights at the NY Botanical Garden. Discover plentiful pumpkins and hordes of gourds along the twists and turns of their Great Pumpkin Path on the Conservatory Lawn, culminating with some of the largest pumpkins in the world with the arrival of giant pumpkins later next month.
When: Tuesday-Sunday from 10:00AM - 6:00PM
Where: 2900 Southern Blvd, Bronx, NY 10458-5126
Finally! The largest dog costume parade returns to the East River. What’s more exciting than a weiner dog dressed as a hot dog? Answer: An entire showcase of pups in costumes. This year, the parade returns to in-person, at the East River Amphitheater – and we’re pretty pawsitive you’re not going to want to miss it.
When: Saturday, October 23 from 12:00PM - 3:00PM
Where: East River Amphitheater
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Fall is the perfect time to visit the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s lesser known Met Cloisters. Along with rotating museum exhibits and stunning architecture that will transport you to straight to ancient Europe, the Cloisters’ sea of autumn foliage make it a bucket list worthy spot.
When: March–October from 10:00AM - 5:00PM; November–February from 10:00AM - 4:30PM
Where: 99 Margaret Corbin Drive, Fort Tryon Park, New York, NY 10040
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