RECOMMENDED: More things to do in the fall with kids
Get in on the best fall activities for kids with our ultimate list! New Yorkers, rejoice!
As you enter the season of hot chocolate, sweater layering and pretty leaves, you'll certainly want to explore these top-notch opportunities for pumpkin picking, navigating epic corn mazes and even checking out the best Halloween for kids events. Even though summer's over, there's still plenty to look forward to—even fun fall day trips and epic family vacations!
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).
In celebration of history and art (not to mention the Smithsonian’s free admission policy), over 1,300 museums around the country open their doors to the public free of charge. Previous years included family-friendly favorites like the Children’s Museum of Manhattan, the Skyscraper Museum, El Museo Del Barrio, the NYC Fire Museum and the Museum of Arts and Design.
Time-travel back to the Middle Ages and enjoy its ancient forms of fun. Wandering Fort Tryon Park's lush grounds, families can rub shoulders with performers and festivalgoers dressed in clothing typical of the era, listen to authentic period music, and watch the antics of jugglers and jesters.
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.
Atlantic Ave closes down for New York City’s largest street fair, now in its 42nd year and featuring over 500 vendors and 15 stages. But there’s more to see here than stands hawking crepes and roasted corn (although there are plenty of those, too): visitors can expect a lineup of activities about as long as the avenue itself, including an entire block dedicated to kids with pony rides, a bouncy house, face painting, a photo booth and more.
Get ready for a sticky, sweet weekend at Wave Hill’s annual honey celebration in which kids make their own insect ensemble and march in a bee parade through the gardens. Families can also make beeswax candles ($15), catch honey extraction demonstrations, peek inside a hive and try on beekeeping gear throughout the weekend, before sampling the sweet stuff from local apiaries in the garden’s shop.
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.
Consider this your ultimate guide to family movies on Netflix! We're here to tell you what's coming and going on your favorite on demand movie service every month, so check in regularly to get the scoop. These picks are perfect, especially when it gets a little chilly outside!
Whether they pick them up from the sidewalk, on the way to school or plunge into a pile of them; brightly hued, crunchy leaves can provide hours of amusement for kids. This autumn, take the family for a stroll through these NYC parks, gardens and other locales to see the New York fall foliage at its most brilliant. Along with apple picking and harvest festival events, it's one of our favorite things to do in NYC with kids in the fall.
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.
We've kept you plenty busy with our list of 101 things to do with kids in NYC, fun indoor activities for kids and even events at our favorite book stores—but have you attended a story time with the kids yet this season? If you haven't (or if you just can't get enough of them like us), these are the ones you really need to see.
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!
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.