Fall foliage in NYC: Where to see fall colors around the city

See spectacular fall foliage in parks and gardens across the five boroughs and beyond, with our guide to leaf-peeping around NYC.

0

Comments

Add +
  • Photograph: Courtesy of Central Park Conservancy

    Fall foliage in NYC: Central Park

  • Photograph: Courtesy of Central Park Conservancy

    Fall foliage in NYC: Central Park

  • Photograph: Courtesy of Central Park Conservancy

    Fall foliage in NYC: Central Park

  • Photograph: Courtesy of Central Park Conservancy

    Fall foliage in NYC: Central Park

  • Photograph: Courtesy of Central Park Conservancy

    Fall foliage in NYC: Central Park

  • Photograph: Courtesy of Central Park Conservancy

    Fall foliage in NYC: Central Park

  • Photograph: Dorothy Reilly

    Fall foliage in NYC: High Rock Park, Greenbelt

  • Photograph: Mick Hales

    Fall foliage in NYC: Wave Hill

  • Photograph: Courtesy of Wave Hill

    Fall foliage in NYC: Wave Hill

  • Photograph: Mick Hales

    Fall foliage in NYC: Wave Hill

  • Photograph: Paul Nelson/Prospect Park Alliance

    Fall foliage in NYC: Prospect Park

  • Photograph: Paul Nelson/Prospect Park Alliance

    Fall foliage in NYC: Prospect Park

  • Photograph: Paul Nelson/Prospect Park Alliance

    Fall foliage in NYC: Prospect Park

  • Photograph: Paul Nelson/Prospect Park Alliance

    Fall foliage in NYC: Prospect Park

  • Photograph: Courtesy New York Botanical Garden

    Fall Foliage in NYC: New York Botanical Garden's Thain Family Forest

Photograph: Courtesy of Central Park Conservancy

Fall foliage in NYC: Central Park

Leaf-peeping is one of the most popular things to do in New York in the fall, along with a slew of seasonal events and traditions like Oktoberfest. Though the leaves have already started to change color upstate, you can see abundant fall foliage in many gardens and parks in NYC—but you might have to wait a few weeks.


Fall colors are at their peak in the city from late October to mid-November, though the timing and the quality of the hues are dependent on weather conditions. Feast your eyes on rich shades of red, orange, gold, purple and yellow in these arboreal destinations.


RECOMMENDED: All things to do in New York this fall


  1. Fall foliage in NYC
  2. Fall foliage outside NYC

Fall foliage in NYC

Central Park

  • Rated as: 4/5
  • Critics choice
  • Free

Start at the Conservatory Water, near the entrance at Fifth Avenue and 72nd Street, where you can spot hawthorn trees covered in red berries. Then continue to the 38-acre Ramble in the middle of the park, where you'll find a large tupelo tree, at the southern end of an area known as Tupelo Meadow; the leaves appear in various shades—red, yellow and purple—throughout the season. Continue your nature trek in the North Woods, a rustic landscape alongside the Ravine featuring brooks, various oaks, elm, red maple and black cherry—enter at the eastern edge of the Pool (between 100th and 103rd Streets) and follow the trails north. Near the Great Hill, look for European beech trees, whose leaves turn a warm shade of orangey-red.

  1. 59th St to 110th St, (between Fifth and Eighth Aves)
Book online

New York Botanical Garden

  • Rated as: 4/5
  • Price band: 2/4
  • Critics choice

For the best leaf-spotting, get lost in the garden's Thain Family Forest. The 50-acre woodland area is the city's largest patch of old-growth forest (with some trees dating to the 18th century), and numerous species—including a high concentration of oak, red maple and tulip trees—can be found within the site. Keep an eye out for sweet gums, whose star-shaped leaves turn red and purple as autumn progresses, and scarlet oak trees, which are rich in tannins and display brilliant shades of orange and red. To learn more, head to the garden for two Fall Forest Weekends, which include guided foliage-themed tours among other activities.

  1. Bronx River Pkwy, (at Fordham Rd)
More info

Prospect Park

  • Rated as: 4/5
  • Critics choice
  • Free

Sugar and red maples—which you can spot around the park's lake—are the first trees to change, turning orange and red, respectively. The rest of the park's foliage should follow by late October, with species like elm, sour gum and sassafras all displaying fall colors. Head to the Ravine, a densely wooded area at the center of the park, for the highest concentration of plants. Seen enough trees? Climb the hill behind the Audubon Center; there you'll find a wildlife garden filled with plants such as holly shrubs, whose berries also transform in cooler weather.

  1. Prospect Park West to Flatbush Ave, (between Prospect Park Southwest and Ocean Ave)
More info

Greenbelt

  • Free

Consisting of 2,800 acres of interconnected open space in suburban Staten Island, the Greenbelt offers 35 miles of trails through parks and woodland. Start your expedition at the Nature Center, where you can pick up a copy of the trail map (which can also be downloaded from the website) and talk to naturalists. The eight-mile Yellow trail passes the ironically named Moses' Mountain, which was created from debris from Robert Moses's nixed plan to construct a highway through the area. From the 260-foot hill, you get a panoramic view of the surrounding treetops—the mix of oaks, sweet gum, tulip, sassafras and red maple provide a blaze of autumnal color. On the other side of the Mountain, cross Manor Road and head back into the woods toward the 90-acre High Rock Park, where you'll glimpse ponds and clusters of red maple.

  1. 700 Rockland Ave, (at Brielle Ave)
More info

Wave Hill

  • Price band: 1/4

Vivid foliage is in evidence as soon as you enter the grounds of Wave Hill—look out for a golden larch south of the main entrance. It's best viewed from beneath its branches on a clear day when the sun shines through the gilded leaves, says horticultural interpreter Charles Day, who leads foliage walks on November 2 and 6 at 2pm (free with admission). A katsura tree on the lawn south of the Glyndor Gallery has heart-shaped leaves that turn pale yellow on the tree, and once fallen, emit a fragrance similar to caramel. In the Wild Garden small trees such as cutleaf sumac (copper-orange), dogwood (red) and shadbush (orange) contrast beautifully with evergreens and late-blooming asters in blue, purple and pink. Also look out for for the narrow upright English oak, whose leaves turn coppery brown, near the gazebo. Take a seat in the open-sided structure to admire the fiery palette of the New Jersey Palisades on the other side of the Hudson—the pristine oak-hickory forest is scattered with maples, sweet and sour gums, black birch and tulip trees, resulting in an impressionist patchwork of rich hues. If you still crave more, venture into Wave Hill's eight-acre woodland to stroll amid sugar maple and hickory trees.

  1. W 249th St, (at Independence Ave), 10471
More info

Van Cortlandt Park

  • Free

This enormous Bronx park can overwhelm, with more than 1,000 acres (and an estimated 80,000 trees) within its borders. But that also makes it ideal for leaf-peepers, who can see species such as oak, sweet gum, and hickory displaying rust and orange leaves. For superlative views, take a stroll along the Old Croton Aqueduct Trail, a 1.1-mile nature walk built atop a former tunnel that shuttled water from the Croton Reservoir down to New York City. Check out tulip and maple trees in shades of goldenrod and scarlet.

  1. Broadway, (at 242nd St)
More info

Alley Pond Park

At just over a half-mile long, Tulip Tree Trail is a great place to spot this species. The park is home to what's purported to be the oldest and largest tulip poplar in the city (called the "Alley Pond Giant"), at a towering 133.8 feet tall. Other varieties that you'll spot within the Queens green space include white oak, red maple and sassafras trees, which turn yellow and red.

  1. 76th Ave, (at Springfield Blvd)
More info

  1. Fall foliage in NYC
  2. Fall foliage outside NYC

Users say

0 comments

Time Out videos



Subscribe to Time Out New York on Spotify for playlists and recommendations from our Music team.

Check out New York's best restaurants, hottest street style, cool apartments and more.