Best fall festivals and fairs
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.
The movies are on the move! The best of the New York International Children's Film Festival—Kid Flicks One (ages 3–7), Kid Flicks Two (ages 8 and up) and ¡Viva Kid Flicks! (7 and up)—is returning to the big screen. The flicks will be screened at various theaters throughout the five boroughs to give children a taste of other cultures, and budding film buffs need to get tickets. Learn more about the tour here. Ages 3 and up. Queens: Oct 13-14 — Museum of the Moving ImageStaten Island: Oct 13-14 — Staten Island MuseumEast Harlem: Oct 20 — El Museo del BarrioHarlem: Oct 21, Nov 18, Dec 16 — Sugar Hill Children’s Museum of StorytellingWashington Heights: Oct 25 — Kid’s CinemaFest/Dominican Film FestivalBronx: Coming soonBrooklyn: Coming soon
Forty unique vendors come together in one of NYC's most gorgeous architecutral attractions to provide a can't-miss holiday experience. If your daily commute's got you down, the Grand Central Holiday Fair is surely one way to make you feel merry and bright. Explore the wide array of handmade goods—toys, games, accessories and more—before boarding your train home. Chances are, you're bound to find some great gifts for loved ones. Even better? You also have the option to snag a sneak peek at the holiday train show too, so you're truly entering a winter wonderland. You'll be spending a lot of time wandering the train station this season! Note that the market won't be open on Thanksgiving or Christmas Eve, so plan your shopping ahead of time. All ages.
Brookfield Place is embracing the holiday spirit with its beloved event, Light Up Luminaries. As we usher in wintertime festivities, guests at the holiday kickoff wil enjoy a gorgeous light installation, ice skating, delicious sweets and entertainment from the Loser's Lounge and the Original Dickens Carolers. All ages.
The annual fair returns to the Martha A. and Robert S. Rubin Pavilion at the Brooklyn Museum for its 12th year with 40 Brooklyn-based authors and illustrators of picture books, storybooks, novels, and graphic novels. Check out readings and various hands-on activities appropriate for different age groups from toddler through middle schoolers. All ages.
Grab a cup of hot cocoa or cider to beat the chill as you navigate this holiday market, a favorite among shoppers looking to support local businesses. Foodies can grab a taste from a variety of vendors here before browsing through kiosks featuring jewelry, artwork, candles, home goods, beauty products and gifts for kids. Here, you’ll find many artisanal products that are NYC-made, USA-made, Fairtrade/Organic Certified and made from recycled, reused or vintage items. All ages.
More than 60 makers will help shoppers usher in the holiday season at this special weekend market at 452 and 501 Union Street in Gowanus, Brooklyn. The curated market will feature food and drink vendors, a live DJ, photo booth, kids’ crafts and more. But while you’re having all that fun, don’t forget to shop from the selection of local and indie makers. There are so many amazing shops selling wares for kids including JamJamsJam and Fairyland Amigurumi. All ages.
Amid the messy streets and cold temps, we may sometimes forget that winter in New York is supposed to be awesome. (Seriously.) The Parks Department reminds us why we should love the colder months thanks to Winter Jam, its annual winter sports festival in Central Park. Families can learn or take part in snowshoeing, skiing and sledding. Bring your own snow sports gear or borrow the equipment on load at no cost, then while away the hours sipping hot chocolate and enjoying the outdoors during this ultimate snow day. The rain date for the 2019 event is Feb 2. Enter the park at 72nd St, as the festivities will take place in the Bandshell area. All ages.
Every year, Bryant Park transforms into a winter village complete with an outdoor ice skating rink right at the center. Shop from local vendors selling food and drinks and get an early start on those holiday wish lists. Wonderful pop-up shops for kids include Kubiya Games for those who enjoy a good brainteaser and New York Puzzle Company for jigsaw puzzles based on classic children’s book covers. All ages.