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50 things to do in New York City with kids in the fall

Get ready for fall! Our list of things to do in New York City this season—exhibits, shows, festivals and more—will keep your family busy through Thanksgiving.

  • Photograph: Taso Hountas

    50 things to do with kids in New York City in fall 2014

    Tompkins Square Park Halloween Dog Parade

  • Photograph: Filip Wolak

    50 things to do with kids in New York City in fall 2014

    Central Park Halloween Parade and Pumpkin Sail

  • Photograph: Alex Strada

    50 things to do with kids in New York City in fall 2014

    Ghouls & Gourds at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden

  • Photograph: Alex Strada

    50 things to do with kids in New York City in fall 2014

    Haunted High Line

  • Photograph: Virginia Rollison

    50 things to do with kids in New York City in fall 2014

    Annual Village Halloween Parade

  • Photograph: Jane Hobson

    50 things to do with kids in New York City in fall 2014

    Cirque Alfonse presents Timber!

  • Photograph: courtesy Oran Etkin

    50 things to do with kids in New York City in fall 2014

    Family Concert Series at the Jewish Museum

     

  • courtesy A Viel Les Films du Nord

    50 things to do with kids in New York City in fall 2014

    FIAF Family Saturdays

  • Photograph: Grace Chu

    50 things to do with kids in New York City in fall 2014

    Big Apple Circus: Metamorphosis

  • Photograph: Keith Pattison

    50 things to do with kids in New York City in fall 2014

    The Magic Flute

Photograph: Taso Hountas

50 things to do with kids in New York City in fall 2014

Tompkins Square Park Halloween Dog Parade

Things to do in New York City with kids in the fall

31

Meet kooky canines at the Halloween Dog Parade

  • Price band: 1/4
  • Critics choice

The Village Halloween Parade is fun and all, but does it have a plethora of puppies in adorable outfits? For that, you’ll have to head to the East Village for this annual dog parade. The getups are remarkably elaborate and conceptual. Enterprising families stand to win prizes if their pooch is selected Best in Show, so start planning your pup’s outfit now. All ages.

  1. Tompkins Square Park Ave A, between 7th and 10th Sts
  2. Until Sat Oct 25
More info
32

Let pumpkins set sail in Central Park

  • Free

Of all the Halloween festivals in the city, Central Park’s is the only one that involves sending your homemade jack-o’-lanterns afloat into the Harlem Meer, an annual tradition that’s back after a Sandy-induced hiatus in 2012. Before the main event at dusk, kids are invited to show off their most creative costumes in a parade, dance to the Monster Mash and other Halloween songs by live musicians, ogle live pumpkin-carving demos and work on creepy crafts. See website for pumpkin decoration restrictions. All ages.

  1. Central Park, Charles A. Dana Discovery Center enter at E 110th St and Fifth Ave
  2. Sun Oct 26
More info
33

March in a spooky parade at Ghouls & Gourds

  • Price band: 1/4
  • Critics choice

Your little goblins can showcase their eye-catching costumes alongside gigantic puppets at this daytime parade and festival. Dance to live music acts, get crafy in hands-on workshops and hear readings from children's book authors on the garden's spacious lawn. Grab your camera and deck them out in their best ensembles—Halloween fanatics pull out all the stops for this festive fete! All ages.

  1. Brooklyn Botanic Garden 990 Washington Ave, at President St
  2. Until Sat Oct 25
More info
34

Have a very High Line halloween

  • Free

Spirits are lurking at this elevated destination's Halloween festivities, where kids are encouraged to dress up in costume and learn about the haunting history along the Hudson. Trick-or-treaters can craft creations, journey through a haunted train tunnel made by students from the School of Visual Arts and join characters like the Mad Cookie Man and the West Side Cowboy in a quest for yummy goodies. All ages.

  1. The High Line Washington St at Gansevoort St, to Tenth Ave at 30th St
  2. Until Sat Oct 25
More info
35

Venture into the Village Halloween Parade

  • Critics choice
  • Free

Don your creepiest costumes and join in on this downtown parade, celebrating its 41st anniversary. On top of the endless entertainment provided by more than 100 puppets, 53 bands, and countless dancers and artists, Sixth Avenue will transform into a green oasis thanks to a new theme: The Garden of Earthly Delights. Puppeteers drooping with shoots, blossoms and moving boughs will form a giant Tree of Life. If you don't want to join in, grab a spot along the route and watch New Yorkers gallivant in their getups. Sixth Ave from Spring St to 16th St. Subway: A, C, D, E, F to W 4th St. All ages.

  1. 6th Ave 6th Ave, Spring Street and Canal Street, 10013
  2. Until Fri Oct 31
More info
36

See a lumberjack-themed circus

  • Price band: 3/4

Lumberjacks might not be the first thing that comes to kids' minds when they think of the circus, but Quebec-based troupe Cirque Alfonse will change that. Wielding axes, logs and saw, performers will entertain kiddos with lumberjack-themed acrobatics and Canadian folk tunes. Ages 5 and up.

  1. Skirball Center for the Performing Arts 566 La Guardia Pl, at Washington Sq South, 10012
  2. Until Sun Oct 19
More info
37

Groove to family concerts at the Jewish Museum

  • Price band: 2/4

Little ones are invited to a fall family concert series, featuring the folky, bluegrass music of Astrograss (10/12), a special two-show day featuring silly songs from the Funkey Monkeys (11/16), an interactive, artsy WeBop! Family Jazz Party in partnership with Jazz at Lincoln Center (11/23), hybrid kindie music from Josh & The Jamtones (12/7), Hot Peas 'N Butter's multicultural tunes (12/21) and another two-show concert and party, Oran Etkin's Timbalooloo, on the day when many other kid-friendly institutions are closed (12/25). Ages 3 to 8.

  1. The Jewish Museum 1109 Fifth Ave, at 92nd St, 10128
  2. Until Thu Dec 25
More info
38

Say bonjour to FIAF Family Saturdays

  • Price band: 2/4

FIAF kicks off their fall family programming on Nov 1,inviting kids to an Enchanted Hour of interactive songs, games and stories that bring regular old fruits and veggies to life. Afterward, the fantastical food theme continues with a CineKids screening of four new animated shorts—"The Scent of Carrots," "Carrot Jam," "The Giant Carrot" and "The Little Hedgehog." On Dec 13, return for festive French music and entertainment and a hands-on cooking workshop with Sylvie Berger just before the holidays commence. Young gourmands will have a chance to brush up on their French vocabulary while baking some tasty holiday treats. Ages 3 and up.

  1. French Institute Alliance Française 22 E 60th St, between Madison and Park Aves
  2. Until Sat Dec 13
More info
39

Be wowed by the Big Apple Circus

  • Price band: 3/4

Gotham's favorite circus troupe kicks off an all-new sawdust spectacular for its 37th season, astounding families and young circusgoers with quick-chance transformation acts and enchanting illusions under the direction of Ringmaster John Kennedy Kane. You can duck under the Big Top to witness fearless trapeze flyers, gravity-defying acrobats, a mind-bending contortionist and a diabolo and foot-juggling team from no more than 50 feet from the action. Francesco the Clown and talented creatures including camels, horses and pups will also enter the ring, performing to tunes from the Big Apple Band. Kids get in free on Wednesdays (two-for-one offer, with purchase of adult ticket) for a 75-minute show with no intermission. Ages 3 and up.

  1. Damrosch Park at Lincoln Center W 62nd St, between Columbus and Amsterdam Aves
  2. Sun Dec 28 - Sun Jan 11
More info
40

Watch a South African twist on a Mozart classic

  • Price band: 2/4

Isango Ensemble of Cape Town, South Africa reimagines Mozart's famed opera, adding an African twist to the classic fairytale. Over two dozen voices belt out arias including an impressive interpretation of "Queen of the Night," backed by marimbas and powerful percussion to bring new life to the story for young audiences. Don't miss pre and post-show activities at select shows, including a Q&A session with the performers and a text message scavenger hunt. Ages 8 and up.

  1. New Victory Theater 209 W 42nd St, between Seventh and Eighth Aves
  2. Until Sun Nov 9
More info


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