Best fall festivals and fairs for NYC families

Enjoy the perks of the season with NYC's best fall festivals and fairs. Say hello to an autumn state of mind!
Photograph: Courtesy Shutterstock
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Don the flannel and grab a pumpkin-spiced treat. Autumn is upon us, and the best fall festivals and fairs will return to put NYC in a festive spirit. With all of the goodies coming our way, you won't be sorry to see summer go. 

Weekends during September and October mean seasonal goodness at Luna Park in Coney Island. Don't forget for all-things creepy, cooky and fun at Brooklyn Botanic Garden's annual Ghouls and Gourds extravaganza. 

Find the perfect pumpkin for your family's Jack-o-lantern and sip on some delicious cider—there's nothing quite like fall in NYC! 

RECOMMENDED: Full guide to things to do in the fall with kids

While you're planning your calendar, don't forget to check out the best apple picking near NYC, the most adventurous corn mazes NY and the surrounding area have to offer and, of course, binge on the spookiest scary movies for kids

Best fall festivals and fairs

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Courtesy Museum of Chinese in America
Things to do, Festivals

Mid-Autumn Moon Family Festival

icon-location-pin Little Italy
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Celebrate one of the most important holidays on the Chinese calendar, traditionally marked by farmers as the end of the fall harvest season. The event offers mooncake-tasting, moon-themed craft workshops, a scavenger hunt around the museum's galleries, a shadow puppet performance about the Moon Goddess Chang-Er and much more. Advance registration is highly recommended. All ages.

Things to do

Queens County Fair

icon-location-pin Queens
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At this annual outdoor fest, kids will get a glimpse of farm life firsthand—or at least a wonderful re-creation of it. Pie-eating and corn-husking contests, hayrides, carnival rides, midway games, a Bavarian garden, German band, pig racing and the three-acre Amazing Maize Maze will make the big city seem far, far away to little ones. All ages.

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Things to do

World Maker Faire

icon-location-pin Queens
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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. All ages.

Things to do, Festivals

Atlantic Antic

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Atlantic Ave closes down for New York City’s largest street fair, now in its 44th year and featuring hundreds of amazing vendors. Expect children's activities, delicious food of all kinds, live performances and more! All ages.

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Fri Sept 30
Things to do

The Great Jack O’Lantern Blaze

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There's nothing else quite like the Great Jack O’Lantern Blaze for experiencing the magic and wonder of Halloween with your family. The attraction is set along the beautiful 18th century riverside landscape of Van Cortlandt Manor, and you can stroll along the Pumpkin Promenade to take in over 7,000 Jack O' Lanterns (all of which are hand-carved)! This delightfully eerie walk is also set to cool sound effects, synchronized light displays and an original soundtrack. Expect to see spiders and snakes, animals of all kinds on this spooky stroll. Be sure to get your tickets early—they sell out fast and required to gain access to the event! Also note that the tickets you purchase are for specific times. All ages.

Things to do

Little Red Lighthouse Festival

icon-location-pin Morningside Heights
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This adorable Manhattan lighthouse fetes its special day with free tours, live music, theatrical performances, arts and crafts and fishing clinics along the Hudson. As always, families can listen to a reading of the 1942 children’s book, The Little Red Lighthouse and the Great Gray Bridge by Hildegarde H. Swift, which prompted an effort to save the lighthouse when it was decommissioned in 1948 after the “gray bridge” (the George Washington Bridge) was built overhead. All ages.

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Things to do

Harvest Festival

icon-location-pin Randall's Island
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It’s been another bountiful season at the Urban Farm! Celebrate all the Earth gives us at this annual festival, brought to you by Randall’s Island Park Alliance. There will be live music, self-guided tours of the Urban Farm, face painting, kite-flying and other fall fun! All ages.

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Photograph: Yvette I. Turner
Things to do

Medieval Festival at Fort Tryon Park

icon-location-pin Washington Heights
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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. All ages.

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Photograph: Courtesy Brooklyn Botanic Garden
Things to do

Ghouls & Gourds

icon-location-pin Prospect Park
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With harvest and All Hallows’ Eve festivities galore, Brooklyn Botanical Garden’s annual bash promises spooky good fun. Come flaunt your witchiest looks in a parade through the garden, then do the “Monster Mash” to live musical performances. Kids will love the giant puppets, nature-themed activities, hands-on workshops that star creepy-crawly insects and, of course, pumpkins aplenty. All ages.

Photograph: Courtesy Ben Hider
Things to do

Spooky Pumpkin Garden

icon-location-pin The Bronx
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The blooms at NYBG are given a spooky touch during this seasonal extravaganza. The Everett Children’s Adventure Garden will transform into a Halloween hotspot with pumpkins, scarecrows, puppets and eye-popping pumpkin carving demonstrations. Guided activities will be held on weekdays from 1:30–5:30pm and on weekends from 10:30am–5:30pm. Giant Pumpkin Weekend (Oct 20–21 from 10am–6pm) and Spooky Pumpkin Nights (Oct 26 and 27 from 6:30–8:30pm) are other can't-miss Halloween happenings. Check out NYBG online to learn more about the offerings. All ages. 

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Children's Carnival at Queens County Farm Museum
Photograph: Fiora Watts
Things to do

Children's Fall Festival

icon-location-pin Queens
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This annual fall fest is filled with bounce castles, carnival games and a family-friendly haunted house. Tots can meet farm animals, hop on a pony ride and dance to live tunes. Refuel with grub from on-site food vendors—or, for those with a sweet tooth, the pie-eating contest—then race through a three-acre corn maze. Costumes are encouraged! All ages.

Things to do, Classes and workshops

Fall Forest Weekend

icon-location-pin The Bronx
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Join NYBG for Fall Forest Weekends this season, where guests can check out the 50-acre Thain Family Forest, see live birds of prey demonstrations, go for a paddle in a canoe and enjoy some Shakespeare at the head of the Ridge Trail! Themed discovery walks will also be available and cover topics such as birds and forest ecology. All ages.

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Photograph: Courtesy Luna Park
Things to do

Halloween Harvest at Luna Park

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Head to Coney Island for some Halloween fun! The annual event kicks off mid-September and runs on weekends through October with kid-friendly activities and fall fun. Little ones can get their faces painted, ride ponies, participate in arts and crafts, magic tricks, karaoke, games, story time and dance. And no need to head to a farm to find your Jack O’Lantern—the park will have a pumpkin patch onsite. Head to Luna Park's website for more event information as its announced! All ages.

Things to do

Halloween Harvest Festival

icon-location-pin Astoria
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We love a good spooky theme—and good thing, because this year’s Halloween Harvest Festival theme is Día de los Muertos! There will be a performance by Ballet Folklórico Mexicano de Nueva York, and the opportunity to add personal mementos to ancestral altars set up throughout the park. Shaman Mama Donna will be on site giving harvest blessings to pets. Pooches are welcome of course, for the annual Canine Costume Contest. All ages.

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