Now that the autumn season has arrived, it’s time to visit harvest festivals taking place around the city! Join in on fall festivals that offer families a chance to taste farm fresh goods, go pumpkin picking, get lost in a corn maze and enjoy outdoor activities to celebrate the harvest.
RECOMMENDED: Full guide to things to do in the fall with kids
If the kiddos have this year’s costumes picked, enter them in costume contests in some of these harvest festivals and then browse though our list of the best activities on Halloween for kids.
The best harvest festival events
Check out 2017's Amazing Maize Maze at the Queens County Farm Museum! The American Maze Company builds a labyrinth every year that that stretches over several acres, with the length of the course often stretching two miles! Previous years’ themes of the American Maize Maze’s celebration have included a violin, a riverboat, a train, a farmscape and the largest living sundial. Be sure to check americanmaze.com for the full list of Amazing Maize Maze locations (PA, NC and NY). All ages.
On this special day at the Wyckoff Farmhouse Museum, visitors can join in on a day-long fete complete with crafting and agricultural events including planting activities, a pop-up farmers’ market and compost activities courtesy of NYC Compost Project. There will also be Wampum demonstrations, a puppet show courtesy of Puppetmobile, cider pressing, house tours, games and music! All ages.
We love a good circus theme—and good thing, because this year’s Halloween Harvest fest is bringing the spooky to you with jugglers, clowning, acrobatics and clowning! There will be costume-making with Socrates artists, plus a cool large-scale sculpture workshop hosted by Free Stule Arts Assocition and Face Painting by Agostino Arts. Pooches are welcome too—there’s even a puppy costume contest! All ages.
Take food adventurers to Brooklyn Botanic Garden’s Chile Pepper Festival, where taste-testing is reserved for the brave. Families get the chance to try some artisanal spicy snacks and desserts—chile chocolate, anyone?—while listening to sizzling tunes from the likes of Lost Bayou Ramblers, Aurelio and Élage Diouf. Expect appearances from Combustible Condiments, Piquant Pickles, Hi-Scoville Sweets and a whole lot more—even fire-breathing entertainers from Robbins & Ringold! All ages.
Chef Carla Hall, co-host of ABC’s The Chew, leads this outdoor culinary adventure, which includes some fabulous perks (namely a picnic featuring her signature fried chicken). Located in the Ruth Rea Howell Family Garden, the activities for younger foodies run the gamut: organic vegetable gardening, cucumber pickling, honey harvesting, apple pressing, tree climbing, crafts, live music and more. All ages.
Enjoy a day on the farm—in NYC! The South Street Seaport transforms into an interactive farm at this free fest where kiddos can eat healthy fruits and veggies, meet farmers and farm animals, learn sustainable practices, watch live music performances and participate in fun games and arts and crafts. All ages.
Raise your heart rate and your spirits with some good old-fashioned outdoor recreation at Brooklyn Bridge Park’s Family Field Days. Happening once a month from June to August, each event offers a different set of activities tailored to the location. These athletic events have something for every member of your team, including Hula-Hoop races, volleyball clinics, soccer drills and bocce. Family Field Days are free, and all necessary equipment is provided—just bring some good sneakers, a nutritious snack and a whole lot of energy! Between Adams St and Atlantic Ave. All ages.
These orange heavyweights make their way to the New York Botanical Garden from around the country, and some of the mighty fruits weigh more than one ton! The pumpkins on display are winners of the global pumpkin weigh-offs; be sure to bring your camera since NYBG guests can take photos with the giant gourds. All ages.
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 and a photo corner where you can snap a shot of the family on the moon! Advance registration is highly recommended. All ages.
Ready your baskets and little red wagons! It's officially time for apple picking. If you're not busy going on one of these fantastic getaways from NYC, venture out for a sweet day trip to visit one of the dozens of orchards opening to the public for apple picking season. It's one of our favorite things to do with kids this fall, and many also have pumpkin patches and other pick your own fruits and vegetables, too. Times, prices and availability vary, so phone ahead or you may find yourself, well, up a tree! For additional info on apple picking in the area, visit nyapplecountry.com or pickyourown.org. P.S.—some of our picks even have their own cider mills!
More fun activities for kids
There are plenty of outdoor activities for kids in New York City—many you'll even love doing as a family! When you're not busy cuddled up with our favorite family movies on Netflix and our list of the best kids movies (come on—it's time to head outside!), you'll love exploring the coolest family attractions and the other amazing outdoor activities this amazing city has to offer.