These amazing fall activities for kids ensure a wonderful cool-weather season for all! Sure, we're mourning the warm rays of summer, but in their place we get to bask in the joy of beautiful orange leaves, warm cups of cider, cozy sweaters and...well, pumpkin spice everything.
RECOMMENDED: More things to do in the fall with kids
Fall is also many NYC kids' favorite time of year for another big reason: Halloween! Use our ultimate guide to Halloween for kids to help you make time for the coolest Halloween events, harvest festivals, and other great stuff. Don't forget to explore our favorite fall activities for preschoolers, too!
Things to do in New York City with kids in the fall
When the fall foliage starts to appear in NYC parks and chatter of this year's Halloween costumes begins in your household, you know autumn has arrived! That means it's time for some essential fall festivities, and one of our favorites is scouring pumpkin patches for the perfect would-be jack-o'-lantern. These scenic local farms have some of the best pumpkin picking NYC has to offer, plus they keep your clan entertained with corn mazes, hayrides and more fun activities.
We love a good cider mill! And now that fall is upon us, bringing with it shorter days and the gnawing fear of interminable winter, we're even more motivated to visit one. Before you move into your nearest indoor play space, there’s still time to get out of town and enjoy some folksy autumnal fun as your rosy-cheeked kids hit the farms to learn how rosy-cheeked apples are pressed into delicious fresh cider. Many spots are also located in the orchards themselves, so there's plenty of opportunity for apple picking. Be sure to check times and availability before you set out and also browse our list of the best things to do in the fall with kids and our pick your own guide.
Kick off some spectacular fall fun with a visit to one of the best corn mazes NY has to offer. Special picks like the Amazing Maize Maze mean a full day of family fun—many mazes even run several miles long! While most options listed below are stroller-friendly, corn mazes are usually best-suited for kids with lots of energy that are ready to explore on foot (you never quite know trail conditions before you go). Last, while you're at it (and if the timing's right), you should also try going pumpkin picking in the farm's patches, apple picking in the best local orchards and make sure to stop by for seasonal harvest festivals for the whole family (usually held in September and October every year).
There's nothing that gets your kids more pumped for autumn than harvest festivals—well, except Halloween for kids of course. At these fun-filled fall festivals, you'll be able to taste delicious homemade cider, go pumpkin picking, explore corn mazes and sample delicious locally-grown foods. You'll also be able to enter contests (wear your costumes!)—some fests even offer Halloween costume contests for your pets, too!
During the autumn months, Mother Nature tends to be on our side making it the perfect time for hat-free romps in the park, strolls on awesome hiking trails and photo ops against the New York fall foliage. This fall, take a break from city life by planning a day trip for your family—everything from apple picking excursions to historic steam train trips and sculture garden outings. Scroll through the slide show, below, to find out about our favorite day trips from NYC this fall—all are within 2 1/2 hours are the city.
Wacky West Coast transplant World Maker Faire displays way-out-there experiments that will have your little mad scientists in awe. Past lineups have involved running through a life-size mousetrap, watching a Coke Zero and Mentos mountain explode, shooting marshmallows, flying model drones and powering your own DIY rides. Family passes (5 attendees) are available for Sunday, online advance purchase only.
Many of the best Halloween events for kids in NYC offer spooky story times to get families in the spirit, but spine-tingling tales are best told right before bedtime! Stock up on these Halloween books for kids at home and read them together before lights-out—our top 10 picks include tot-friendly reads that aren't too scary, as well as a few that might even give a few grown-ups nightmares! Keep the freaky fun going by visiting eerie haunted houses or popping in one of the best Halloween movies for kids.
When the frigid temperatures roll in, warm up with a mug of hot cocoa. A taste of the toasty drink is almost enough to chase the shivers away after a day of ice skating, holiday shopping or apple picking. It’s also a delicious treat for a movie night in with any of the best kids’ movies while cuddling on a comfy couch. Check out our picks for the best places to get a yummy cup of hot chocolate.
Ditch the sidewalks and subways! It’s time to pack a light picnic and set out on one of NYC’s coolest hiking trails with the kids for an afternoon of outdoor fun. Little ones will love checking out birds, frogs and other creatures that might be hiding around the paths, and while you’re at it, you might even want to stop by one of the city’s best playgrounds. If you simply can’t get enough of all the fresh air, it might be time to pay a visit to one of these awesome carousels as well. Last, in cooler weather, these trails are an excellent place for leaf peeping—they’ll have some pretty fall foliage in September and October.
Looking for the best family shows and movies on Netflix? We curate a comprehensive list of the best things out there every month when the news comes in, so you're the first to know about all the great stuff to watch on family movie night. Browse our guide to see what came out this month (and what's coming up next month, too!)
Autumn in New York can take anyone’s breath away—the air is crisp, the harvest is aplenty and the landscape puts on a beautiful display of red, gold and orange. It’s no secret that kids love jumping into piles of crunchy leaves or making craft projects out of their nature collection so why not take the fun a step further and plan a whole activity or trip around the colorful foliage. These fall itineraries offer the best scenic drives, mini escapes and tours of local gardens and parks that will make all ages fall in love with NYC this time of year. Add visits to these locations to your list of fun things to do with kids in the fall along with apple picking near NYC, harvest festival events and helping your tykes find the perfect jack o’lantern while pumpkin picking near NYC.
Making Halloween for kids a spooktacular time is totally easy—pack your month with the best apple-picking adventures, harvest festivals, haunted houses, Halloween parades (don't miss the Halloween dog parade!), corn mazes and more Halloween events for kids to get everyone in the spirit. There's also plenty more to think about besides your bursting event calendar: Be prepared to stock your apartments with plenty of candy (little ghouls and goblins might come to visit) and start prepping the kids' best Halloween costumes ever.
If eerie haunted houses and winding corn mazes aren't enough to get your little ones in the spirit for the spookiest holiday of the year, our all-time favorite Halloween movies for kids are sure to do the trick. From animated favorites like The Nightmare Before Christmas to live-action classics like Ghostbusters, these kids' movies provide just the right amount of chills and thrills—just be sure to use your own judgement, as a few choices could give some tots nightmares!
NYC has an amazing selection of museums for those big and small—in fact, it has some really stellar kids museum offerings—just take a look around! There are plenty of kid-friendly exhibits (art, history, science, math and more) to keep the little ones busy. While you're at it, drop by our favorite outdoor art in NYC, neat interactive play spaces and browse our list of 101 things to do with kids in NYC.
Settle in for sweet story time events throughout NYC. Little ones will be captivated by tales of adventures, meet fictitious animal friends and follow the trails of curious tots much like themselves. If you’ve got a bookworm on your hands—or are aching for a new story to tell come bedtime—then these are the story time activities you need to put on your calendar.
Nothing warms the soul like a bowl of soup! Have you and the kids enjoyed the best ramen NYC has to offer? If you haven't (or if you're an aficionado looking for your next great bowl with the kids in tow), here's where to look. These sweet ramen joints offer everything from kid-friendly meal options to stroller storage and cozy seating. Don't forget to explore our other favorite family restaurants, farm-to-table restaurants and restaurants where kids eat free!
Preparing for back to school means shopping for fun school supplies: pencils, notebooks, backpacks, crayons and more. But getting the kiddos ready for the new school year can be stressful if family resources are low and there are multiple tots in the house. Thankfully, there are spots around NYC that offer free school supplies so no child is left behind come first day of class.
Right along with cravings for warm apple cider, pies of all types and super cozy sweaters is the wish to see how the landscape turns into gorgeous shades of red, orange and gold. These amazing scenic drives for fall will guide the family along pretty country roads lined with falling autumn leaves, lakes, hills and jaw-dropping vistas. Don’t forget to bring the camera!
In the dead of winter, it's normal to dream about tropical locations far from NYC, but your family's budget might limit you to winter getaways within driving distance. If the thought of more family ski trips chills you to the bone, consider these fun-filled indoor water parks near NYC. The kids will be thrilled with all the water slides, pools, obstacle courses and more, and you'll just be glad to be in your bathing suit—plus, it's the perfect way to warm up without breaking the bank!
There are so many amazing things to do in the fall in NYC, but once Halloween passes by we can't keep Thanksgiving dinner off our minds! Whether you're cooking a feast at home or hitting up some great family restaurants open on Thanksgiving Day, your family will need some after-dinner entertainment for when the Tryptophan kicks in. Track down one of our top 10 favorite Thanksgiving movies for kids and have a holiday-themed screening while you and the youngsters digest.
Get ready to stretch! A favorite indoor activity for parents and kids alike, yoga is a great way to keep your kids active, engaged and relaxed year-round. Many studios in the city offer kid-specific classes, "Mommy/Daddy and Me" classes and even "Baby and Me" classes! Isn't it a great time to be a New Yorker?