The best fall activities for kids in NYC

It's no secret that NYC offers the best fall activities for kids. Enjoy apple picking, corn mazes and so much more!
Photograph: Courtesy Brooklyn Botanic Garden
Advertising

'Tis the season for sweaters, scares and all-things pumpkins. We've rounded up the best fall activities for kids in NYC, and your crew will not be disappointed with the epic selections. 

From the best spots for a sip of cider, to windy corn mazes that deserve a peruse, these adventurous options will surely make autumn your kids' new favorite season (or at least cheer them up after summer's departure). 

If you're trying to win the Halloween costume contest or need a jack-o-lantern for your apartment, we're certainly here to help you embrace autumn with the best of the best. In addition to seasonal offerings, there are plenty of fun happenings coming to NYC, such as the Trolls exhibit—something you definitely can't miss. Mark your calendars—September kickstars a whole lot of adventure in NYC!

RECOMMENDED: More things to do in the fall with kids

If you're looking to stay inside when the cooler weather hits, check out these family attractions, take advantage of these free museum days for kids or catch up on the best Disney princess movies for kids. 

Fall Activities for Kids

1
Photograph: Courtesy Shutterstock
Things to do

Apple picking near NYC

The only thing crisper than the autumn air will be your Granny Smiths. We've rounded up the best apple picking NY and the surrounding areas have to offer, so if you're looking to get the whole family in a fall state of mind, we have you covered.  These orchards and farms not only offer the chance for visitors to pick their own fruits and veggies, but many of the venues feature fun activities like hayrides and Halloween attractions, so it's a win-win if you have little ones in tow.

2
deckerfarm1.jpg
Photograph: Decker Farm
Things to do

Pumpkin picking

‘Tis the season to put Charlie Brown to shame (no hard feelings, Charlie). Grab the whole gang and head to a local farmstand for a pumpkin that’ll suit your carving, painting or decorating needs. After all, no autumn is complete without a home full of gourds and jack-o-lanterns.

Advertising
3
Photograph: Courtesy Brooklyn Botanic Garden
Things to do

Ghouls & Gourds

icon-location-pin Prospect Park
icon-calendar

The colorful harvest celebration returns to the Brooklyn Botanic Garden to host Halloween revelers of all ages. Visitors can participate in a wacky costume parade, play festive games, hear the best children's stories and listen to live performances. Ghouls and goblins of all ages will get a kick out of this spooktacular event. 

4
Photograph: Julochka/Flickr
Things to do, Markets and fairs

Cider mills

Autumn is prime time for all-things apple. When you and your crew are not bobbing for Granny Smiths or indulging in a PYO offering, make sure you’re sipping on the best cider in town.

Advertising
5
Things to do, Festivals

Corn mazes

Let the kiddos zig-zag their way through the best corn mazes NY has to offer. After they conquer the seasonal labyrinths, most venues offer other fall fun such as hayrides, pumpkin picking and even haunted houses for those who are brave enough to enter.

6
Brooklyn Harvest Festival on Pier 6
Photograph: Courtesy Etienne Frossard
Things to do, Festivals

Harvest festivals

Celebrate the season with an epic harvest festival, complete with irresistible cider, pumpkin picking and all-things Halloween. These events are a perfect way to ring in this time of year with your whole family.

Advertising
7
2010_09_29_sk_visitors with lichtenstein.1.jpg
Travel, Getaways

Fall day trips

When temperatures cool and the fall foliage surfaces, out-of-town adventures beckon you away from NYC. Fortunately these locales—including West Point, New Paltz—are within striking distance of the city and make for the perfect day trip.

8
Visitors
Photograph: Joshua Bright
Things to do, Walks and tours

New York fall foliage

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.

Advertising
9
Photograph: Shutterstock
News, City Life

Free school supplies for NYC kids

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. Thankfully, there are spots around NYC that offer free school supplies so no child is left behind come the first day of class.

10
Photograph: Courtesy Mike Ratliff
Things to do, Festivals

Chile Pepper Festival

icon-location-pin Prospect Park
icon-calendar

Adventurous eaters descend upon the Chile festival, where taste-testing is reserved for the brave, to send off summer with a bang. Try some artisanal spicy snacks and desserts featuring products exclusively created for the festival (like chile chocolates). While you nosh, take the sizzling tunes from bands from all over the world while your kids enjoy fun activities. 

Advertising
11
Photograph: Courtesy Kristine Foley
Museums

Smithsonian Magazine Museum Day

icon-calendar

Nothing beats an afternoon wandering through galleries and stumbling upon cool artifacts. This fall, the Smithsonian Magazine Museum Day will allow visitors all over the country to do just that. Participating institutions in all 50 states will offer free admission in honor of the 14th annual celebration. The theme for 2018 is “Women Making History.” Free access will be given to those who present a Museum Day ticket, which grants free admission for two visitors. 

12
World Maker Faire
Things to do

World Maker Faire

icon-location-pin Queens
icon-calendar

This wacky West Coast transplant displays unbelievable experiments that will have your little mad scientists in awe. Budding innovators are invited to craft and build by using the world around us as their inspiration. Allow the DIY Tesla coil kits that shoot lightning and the 3-D chocolate printing machine to inspire your kiddos' creations. 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. 

Advertising
13
Courtesy Jim Kay/Bloomsbury Publishing
Museums, Special interest

Family Programs for "Harry Potter: A History of Magic"

icon-location-pin Upper West Side
icon-calendar

Ready your wands, young wizards: All-things magical and mystical are heading to the New-York Historical Society for the London transplant, "Harry Potter: A History of Magic," a can't-miss exhibit for history buffs and bibliophiles. But a celebration of Harry and all that he means to us wouldn't be complete without a variety of family events. Here's a full lineup of what parents and kiddos can attend when the exhibit opens on Oct 5.  Hogwarts House Badges, Saturdays and Sundays from 1–4pm, free with museum admission, all ages.  Harry Potter Family Book Club, various dates from 4–6pm, $15, $12 members, ages 14 and under.  Writing Historical Fantasy with Writetopia Lab, Oct 21 2–6pm (ages 8–10) and Nov 3 2–6pm (ages 11-13), $125/student.  History of Magic Family Days, Nov 18 and Dec 9, free with museum admission, all ages.  Harry Potter Trivia for Families, Oct 14 at 2:30 pm, $25, $22 members, all ages.  Historical Hallowe'en, Oct 28 at 5pm, $20, ages 18 and under. 

14
Photograph: Courtesy DreamWorks Trolls The Experience
News, City Life

"DreamWorks Trolls the Experience"

Poppy, Branch and other beloved Trolls characters are Manhattan-bound for "DreamWorks Trolls the Experience," an interactive exhibit that's slated for a Times Square debut. Poppy's Party Roomwill include augmented reality and 3D technology in the midst of musical fun. Before getting wrapped up in the hustle and bustle of Troll Village and playing in the life-size Caterbus, you'll want to hit the bright, imaginative Hair-We-Go Salon and Barbershop. Don't miss all the colorful fun!

Advertising
15
Photograph: Courtesy Friends of the High Line
Things to do

Halloween for kids in NYC

This spooktacular time of year is a complete blast! Pack your calendar with the best Halloween parades, scary movie marathons, costume ideas and more!

16
Photograph: Courtesy Warner Bros. Pictures
Movies

Scary movies for kids

Eeek! Our lineup of fantastic scary movies for kids will make you shriek! Grab the popcorn and pizza and buckle up for a wild ride, because we went on a mission to round up the coolest scary movies to thrill and—on occasion—totally disgust—your kids, tweens and teens. 

Advertising
17
Haunted High Line Halloween
Photograph: Rowa Lee
Things to do

Trick-or-treating with kids in NYC

Finding the perfect costume, walking through haunted houses, marching in Halloween parades and participating in other Halloween events in NYC is fun and all, but nothing beats going out into the night in search of candy. These trick or treating spots for kids will not disappoint! Not only will the little goblins go home with bags full of delicious sweets, but many of the events on our list offer games, activities and live performances to make the whole experience one that the family will remember.

18
Things to do, Literary events

Halloween stories

Looking for something creepy, kooky, mysterious and spooky? The best Halloween stories for kids offer spine-tingling goodness that ensures all nightlights are left on when darkness hits.   

Advertising
19
Photograph: Courtesy American Broadcasting Company/CBS
Movies, Family and kids

Thanksgiving movies for kids

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.

20
52.ea.lamaisonduchocolat.x4.jpg
Restaurants

Best hot chocolate in NYC

A hot chocolate is a sweet alternative when you’ve had one too many cups of apple cider. We rounded up the best spots in NYC that offer the tastiest hot chocolate offerings for a fall day.

Advertising
21
Restaurants

Ramen in NYC

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.

22
Children's Museum of the Arts
Photograph: Courtesy Children's Museum of the Arts
Museums, Special interest

Kids' museums in NYC

Use the cooler weather as an opportunity to explore the fun indoors. NYC’s best kids’ museums will teach your little ones about a variety of subjects—art, history, math—and make for a great weekend adventure.

Advertising
23
Photograph: Courtesy FunFuzion
Attractions, Arcades and amusements

Indoor amusement parks and fun zones near NYC

No warm weather, no problem—just head inside. Practice your Pac-Man, Donkey Kong and Street Fighter skills, try your hand at Skee-Ball or hop in some go-karts at these indoor amusement parks and fun zones near New York City. Some spots are specialized and focus on games while others offer a variety of fun attractions for all ages.

24
Photograph: Courtesy of Recess Dumbo
Sports and fitness, Gyms and fitness centers

Indoor playgrounds

Indoor playgrounds are a great option for kids when it's rainy, snowy or their favorite schoolyard playground may be closed! Expect awesome features like activity tables, mini slides and plenty of cool toys to share with new friends.

Advertising
25
Photograph: Courtesy Coco Key/ The Hotel ML
Things to do, Play spaces

Indoor water parks

In the dead of winter, it's normal to dream about tropical locations far from NYC. 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.

More fun things to do

Advertising