Get us in your inbox

Search
nyc fall foliage central park
Photograph: @212sid

NYC events in October 2021

Plan your month with the best NYC events in October 2021 including Oktoberfest, freaky haunted houses and more

https://media.timeout.com/images/105796570/image.jpg
Written by
Shaye Weaver
Advertising

'Tis the season to get spooky! But beyond the best Halloween events, but there are also plenty of other awesome NYC events in October 2021. Use our events calendar to plan the quintessential month for leaf peeping and spotting fall foliage, pumpkin picking and more things to do in fall.

Kick off fall with some epic cultural events, you don't want to miss happening like Open House New York, Oktoberfest and new haunted pop-up drive throughs.

RECOMMENDED: Full NYC events calendar for 2021

Featured events in October 2021

  • Things to do
  • Central Park

A special day of performances and programs, art-making and behind-the-scenes tours, food and more will take place at the Metropolitan Museum of Art to celebrate NYC's resilience and the inspiration art brings to our lives. Head over to The Met’s David H. Koch Plaza and inside the Museum’s Fifth Avenue location—from noon to 6 p.m.—for the free party.

Superfine boasts accessible pricing and representation of LBGTQ+ artistsartists of color, and other traditionally underrepresented groups. This year, see work by more than 180 artists across three fairs—"Superfine (wo)man," the largest women-only commercial art fair showcasing 80 top female artists, "Superfine MAGICK," a platform for LBTQ+ artists, and "Superfine Myth," representing emerging surrealist talent. Center 415 (415 5th Ave.); September 30-October 3, Friday-Sunday, 11am-9pm; $36.

Advertising
  • Things to do
  • Literary events
  • Downtown Brooklyn

This annual literary celebration brings together 140-plus spectacular writers from across the globe for a full week of talks, shopping and even yoga to satisfy the borough’s brainiacs. Bookend events will be taking place all week, including a celebration of childhood reading at its Children’s Day (October 2) with authors David Levithan, Mahogany Browne, Sophie Blackall, Sayantani DasGupta, Brian Floca, Gayle Forman, R.J. Palacio in Brooklyn Commons in MetroTech in Downtown Brooklyn. Don't miss the Literary Marketplace (Sunday, October 3), or its virtual Festival in the evenings until 11pm.

  • Things to do
  • Festivals

Get your silicone ears and Infinity Gauntlets ready: The biggest pop culture event in North America is back—New York Comic Con 2021! It's back in person this year (and online) and filled with can’t-miss panels, celebrities and all the cosplay you could ever fantasize about, this event is one of the best things to do in fall. Don't forget to binge the best superhero and action movies on Netflix before you tune in to get in the spirit!

Advertising
  • Movies
  • Movies

New York's biggest LGBTQ+ film festival, Newfest, will return this autumn, with a new hybrid model of in-person and virtual screenings. 2021 marks the 33rd annual rendition of the event.  The 2021 hybrid edition of Newfest will include a robust lineup of films, premieres and panels, including in-person screenings at The SVA Theatre and The LGBT Community Center. For the first time ever, Newfest will also add Brooklyn screening locations, at Nitehawk Prospect Park and The Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM). Those who prefer to watch the latest in queer cinema from the couch can also subscribe to Newfest's limited-time, on-demand platform, which was launched in 2020 to continue the festival safely.  This year's Newfest runs from October 15–26, with a robust schedule of documentaries, feature films, shorts and more. A few highly anticipated films on this year's lineup include the documentary "Mayor Pete" which chronicles Pete Buttigieg's 2020 campaign to be the first openly gay president of the United States; a tenth-anniversary screening of the lesbian coming-of-age classic "Pariah"; and "Bring Down The Walls", a documentary telling the story of a political collective and anti-incarceration dance party in Lower Manhattan. 

  • Dance
  • Burlesque
  • Gowanus

This world-renowned festival, now in its 19th year, features burlesque artists from around the globe pulling out the stops (and tassels) to showcase the finest the art form has to offer. This year's lineup of festivities includes The Teaser Party at The Bell House (Sept. 30), The Premiere Party at Brooklyn Bowl (Oct. 1), The Saturday Spectacular at Sony Hall (Oct. 2) and The Golden Pastie Awards at Le Poisson Rouge (Oct. 3).

 

Advertising
  • Things to do

Contrary to its moniker, Oktoberfest, the annual autumnal celebration anchored in Munich, Germany, with satellite festivities all over the globe, kicks off in the last days of summer. Lucky for you, New York City hosts some of the best boozy, musical sausage fests in the world. This year’s events include weeks-long waterside parties, backyard blowouts and brewery bashes—all with plenty of German (and local!) beer to start your fall eating and drinking plans out right.

  • Restaurants
  • Eating

This fall, the 2021 restaurant forecast is particularly promising. In the weeks and months ahead, we’re looking at three new openings from one of NYC’s best restaurant groups, a long-awaited and highly-regarded British import, offshoots of sushi favorites, exciting cocktail programs, glamorous dining rooms and unending new chances to nab reservations before they run out. Dig out your boots, dust off your most convincing faux-leather jacket and plan your leaf-crunching route to the most anticipated restaurant openings in NYC this fall.  

Advertising
  • Things to do

The Great Jack O’Lantern Blaze is back with surreal creations this year, like a giant pumpkin sea monster and NYC streetscape made of hundreds of pumpkins each. The massive blaze has two locations—Hudson Valley returns to its location at Van Cortlandt Manor in Croton-on-Hudson for the 17th year and Blaze: Long Island returns to Old Bethpage Village Restoration in Old Bethpage for the second year. This year, the blaze is bigger and better than ever with thousands of hand-carved jack o’lanterns lit up in elaborate displays throughout historic landscapes. The Blaze: Hudson Valley will include a New York City streetscape and an immersive river walk-through experience. Blaze: Long Island will show off an 80-foot circus train, a new sea monster and more creatures from under the ocean. There will be plenty of nights to see each Blaze — Hudson Valley will run for a record 59 nights from September 17 through November 21, and Long Island will run for 36 nights from September 22 through November 7.  

  • Restaurants
  • Eating

The first bagel was baked sometime during the 15-century, in either Poland or Germany. But despite their Old World origins, these fluffy halos of activated yeast, water, and salt have operated as a particular point of pride—dare we say, obsession—for New Yorkers, owed undoubtedly to the diverse communities of Jewish immigrants woven into the city’s history. And yet, in a city that hosts hot sauce, coffee and tea and hot dog expos, there were no mass celebrations of New Yorkers’ most popular morning fuel to be found. Enter: Bagelfest Brooklyn

Advertising
  • Things to do
  • Fort Greene

Vote for the cutest doggo in the best Halloween costume during this year's virtual 23rd Annual Great PUPkin Dog Costume Contest on October 30. Held every year by Fort Green Park Users and Pets Society since 1998, the event is held at the bottom of the Prison Ship Martyrs’ Monument stairs, where more than a hundred dogs run around in silly and creative costumes from RBG to hot dogs and more.

  • Things to do
  • Two Bridges

The Village Halloween Parade is fun and all, but does it have a plethora of puppies in adorable outfits? For that, you’ll have to head to the East Village for this annual dog parade. The getups are remarkably elaborate and conceptual—no surprise given the thousands of dollars worth in prizes up for grabs for Best in Show. FYI: This year's location is not at Tompkins Square Park. The parade has moved to East River Park Amphitheater along the FDR at Grand Street and East River Park. 

Advertising
  • Music
  • Fort Greene

Enjoy a weekend of free, live R&B music at Fort Greene Park, Saturdays and Sundays, October 2—3 and October 9—10, at BAM's festival, which has grown to become one of Brooklyn's beloved outdoor traditions since 1995. It brings together the community and groundbreaking artists—from music legends to bold new voices across the genre of R&B. This year, hear from Memphis singer-songwriter Valerie June, Tony Award-winning playwright Stew with his band The Negro Problem, jazz pianist Matthew Whitaker, and the Grammy Award-winning singer Mykal Rose, formerly of Black Uhuru. The fall concerts also feature dashing jazz saxophonist Lakecia Benjamin and her band the Soul Squad, Queens-born soul surrealist duendita, and more. All concerts are free and require no tickets. The concert stage is located on the lawn at Myrtle Avenue. Visit BAM.org for updates.

  • Things to do
  • Hell's Kitchen

Photoville is back in its 10th year and the second to bring photography to every borough of New York City. You won't want to miss this year's Photoville because it is packed with 75 exhibits outside and free online programming for photo lovers between September 18 and December 1, including panel discussions, interactive workshops, one-on-one safety clinics,  professional development opportunities with Diversify Photo and Leica Camera, Photo Wings and the NYC Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment.

 

Advertising
  • Theater
  • Experimental
  • Fort Greene

Starting in 2023, the Portuguese playwright and actor Tiago Rodrigues will take the reins at France's world-famous Avignon Festival. This fall, New York audiences have a chance to see him in a far more intimate capacity: performing an interactive solo piece at BAM's cozy Fishman Space, in which Rodrigues invites 10 members of the audience to join him in a personal exploration of poetry, memory and the transmission of ideas. The text of the show includes fragments of works by William Shakespeare, Ray Bradbury, Boris Pasternak, George Steiner and Joseph Brodsky, among others. 

  • Attractions
  • Sightseeing
  • Midtown East

A heart-pounding experience in the sky is coming to midtown October 21 and it's unlike any other experience atop a skyscraper. Summit One Vanderbilt sits atop the new 67-floor One Vanderbilt super-tall—a 1,401-foot-high—skyscraper. As the city's fourth-tallest building after One World Trade Center, Central Park Tower and 111 West 57th Street, it sits just west of Grand Central Terminal, where you first enter the experience underground. After a trip through a mirrored hallway with its own immersive elements, visitors take an elevator up to the 91st floor, where they're 1,000 feet over the streets and sidewalks of NYC. Kenzo Digital has created a totally mirrored infinity room called "Air" that reflects the sky and city views over and over, making you feel like you're walking in the sky or on another plane of existence. After you ascend to the third level of this experience, guests are introduced to "Levitation," a series of transparent glass sky-boxes that jut out of the building at 1,063 feet above Madison Avenue. Here, you can stand over the street with just glass between you and the ground. It's certainly not for the faint of heart. Up and around the building one more time and guests are whisked up into one of two all-glass elevators called "Ascent" that travels up the outside of the building to 1,210 feet (and 120 feet off the observation deck, which is taller than Edge at Hudson Yards). Our knees buckled on this experience, so beware!

Advertising
  • Museums
  • Fashion and costume
  • Prospect Park

The Brooklyn Museum is establishing itself as a destination for major surveys of fashion. This year, "Christian Dior: Designer of Dreams" continues that trend. The major exhibit thoroughly explores the high fashion history of The House of Dior, which dates back to the turn of the 20th century, when the brand's namesake Christian Dior founded the label. The multi-gallery exhibit brings many of Dior's sources of inspiration to life, including flowers, nature, classical and contemporary art, featuring artwork from the Brooklyn Museum's collections. Objects on display will be primarily from the extensive Dior archives and some 200 haute couture garments as well as photographs, archival videos, sketches, vintage perfume elements, and accessories.

  • Movies

Each year, the New York Film Festival (which runs from Friday, September 24, to Sunday, October 10, 2021) sweeps up the best of the year’s international cinema. In 2021, the festival will open with the world premiere of Joel Coen’s The Tragedy of Macbeth, close with Pedro Almodóvar’s Parallel Mothers and squeeze in a midway gala of Jane Campion’s The Power of the Dog. In between, there’s a long list of new movies from around the globe, many of them from the best directors working today, including South Korea’s Hong Sangsoo, France’s Céline Sciamma and the UK’s Joanna Hogg. But which films are genuinely worth trying to get tickets for? That’s where we can help. These are Time Out’s picks of the program.

You’ll find the full NYFF program and information on times and tickets here.

Advertising
  • Music
  • Queens

Citi Field is hosting the world's largest hip-hop festival straight from Miami. Some of the biggest names in the business have already played this festival including Kendrick Lamar, Future, Lil Wayne, A$AP Rocky, Travis Scott, Young Thug, Lil B, Post Malone, Migos, Kodak Black, Lil Uzi Vert, 21 Savage, Lil Yachty, and more. This year's headliners include 50 Cent, J. Cole, Travis Scott and special guest Bobby Shmurda. Tickets are going fast, so snap yours up asap!

  • Shopping
  • Shopping & Style

Admission is free to one of fall's must-see fashion exhibits. The Museum at FIT's "Ravishing: The Rose in Fashion," explores "how the rose has influenced the way we look, dress, feel, and fantasize" with over 130 rose-centric garments, accessories and more. The first major exhibit in the space since the museum closed in March 2020, "Ravishing" will run through November 28. Luxurious, hand-woven and embroidered 18th-century silks, 1960s-era stilettos, 1980s Halston gowns, contemporary gender-neutral catwalk trends and more are featured in the galleries.

Advertising
  • Music
  • Prospect Heights

After selling out in California, the Lights On Festival curated by H.E.R. is headed to Brooklyn for two days on Thursday, October 21 and Friday, October 22 with performances by H.E.R. and friends, Maxwell, 6lack, Bryson Tiller, Ari Lenox, SWV, Queen Naija, Lucky Daye, Chloe Bailey, Blxst, Victoria Monet, Skip Marley, Joyce Wrice, and Tone Stith with more to be announced. Lights On made history as the first female-owned-and-curated music festival to take place in decades with its inaugural event in 2019, according to Hypebeast.com.

Advertising
  • Things to do
  • Exhibitions

The famous weekend-long festival where more than 250 fascinating sites across New York open their doors to the public is back. The two-day event offers glimpses into spaces that are usually off limits to the public, from sky-high rooftop gardens to palatial apartments. This year’s extravaganza will feature a hybrid of virtual experiences and outdoor self-guided explorations like digital sneak peeks and crowdless elevator rides.

Advertising
  • Things to do
  • Festivals

The Village Halloween Parade—NYC’s creative and spooky procession—is one of the best Halloween events in Greenwich Village and it's coming back this year...if it raises enough funds. Each year, more than 50,000 zombies, ghouls, witches, monsters, robots, Jedis, giant puppets and more things that go bump in the night take to the streets for a night of costumed revelry. And while New York's freaks missed out when it was canceled last year, it has secured its permit for October 31. Click through here to learn all about this year's parade! 

Advertising
  • Attractions
  • Arcades and amusements
  • Tribeca

Garish zombies, monsters and other ghoulish creatures await in this 5,000-square-foot labyrinth of horrors, deemed too scary for children under 14 to enter without supervision. Pass through themed rooms such as The Crypt (where no one rested in peace) and Hannibal’s Hell (with 1,000 ways to die). It’s popular, so lines are likely to be long—consider shelling out for an “R.I.P.” express-access ticket.

  • Things to do

The historic oceanside Berkeley Hotel in Asbury Park, NJ has transformed 13 of its rooms into immersive haunted scenes later this month. Guests who check into The Haunting experience will be guided through the rooms on the "haunted" floors of the hotel with their cameras to capture "unexpected frights, spine-tingling thrills, and surprises around every corner."

 

Advertising

Looking to get the most out of fall?

Recommended
    You may also like
      Advertising