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Photograph: Courtesy Watermark

The best food and drink festivals in NYC this fall

From oyster shuckathons to a whisky-fueled bacchanal, get your bellies ready for the top fall feeding frenzies

By Dan Q Dao and Time Out New York contributors

Don your stretchiest pair of pants and get ready to eat and drink your way through our list of epic food and drink festivals in NYC this fall! As summer comes to a close, New York is rife with larger-than-life gatherings to celebrate the city's world of culinary offerings. From the best events for Oktoberfest in NYC to an all-you-can-eat pork fest and a three-week oyster affair at our top seafood restaurants, sip and snack your way through these booze-and-food events happening now through autumn. Since many of these fests take place outside, use this time to admire the scarce amount of fall foliage you can spot in the city.

RECOMMENDED: Full guide to things to do in the fall in New York

Food and drink festivals this fall

Photograph: Courtesy Watermark

1. Watermark Oktoberfest

Things to do

Escape to Munich without ever leaving NYC thanks to Watermark’s annual Oktoberfest extravaganza on Pier 15. You’ll get a killer arm workout while carrying one-liter steins ($16) filled to the brim with Hofbrau, Weihenstephan or Radeberger beer (and that means you won’t have to feel too guilty about gorging on German cuisine such as brats and pretzels). While you’re munching and getting tipsy, enjoy amazing views along the East River. Make sure to reserve your spot or book the two-hour tasting before you go.

new york coffee festival
Photograph: Rodney Bedsole

2. The New York Coffee Festival

Restaurants Coffee shops

New York is one happily caffeinated city—its love of java is well documented, from cold brews at your neighborhood café to spiked Irish coffees at the best bars in NYC. We even have an entire festival wholly dedicated to coffee—you can spend a perked-up weekend in awe over live latte art, sipping espresso-laced, non-classic martinis and sidling up to a steampunk brew bar.

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Food trucks
Photograph: Clay Williams

3. Vendy Awards


It’s a celebration of food trucks and all of the delicious and cheap eats they offer at the annual Vendy Awards showdown, taking place yet again at Governor’s Island. The best mobile grub across the boroughs—Bengali specialties in Jamaica, Indonesian coconut cakes in Corona—will duke it out for the prestigious Vendy Cup, as well as wins in categories like Best Dessert, Best Rookie, and—new this year—Bad Hombres, aka best taco truck.

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The Feast of San Gennaro
Photograph: Shutterstock

4. The Feast of San Gennaro

Things to do Festivals

Out-of-towners and locals are getting psyched for the Feast of San Gennaro 2017, and for a good reason—the annual event includes touristy spots in Little Italy that are actually good. We’ll give you the low-down on what incredible Italian dishes you can munch on during the feast, the best Italian restaurants to celebrate as well as some of the awesome things you can do every day during the 11-day bash.


5. Passport to Portugal presented by TAP Air Portugal

Things to do

You don't need to hop on a flight to take in all of the best parts of Portugal. We've already got your perfect layover planned! Join Time Out New York and TAP Air Portugal to experience the smells, tastes, sounds and views of our favorite parts of Portugal. And if you do feel like packing a suitcase, guests will have the chance to enter a contest to win a free trip for two to Portugal! What are you waiting for? Experience the real Portugal without ever leaving New York! Powered by Eventbrite

Photograph: Courtesy Jonathan McPhail Photography

6. Munich on the East River

Things to do

Bavarian bier haus Zum Schneider brings Oktoberfest to the East River, where a German-speaking staff—outfitted in lederhosen—serves liter steins of Oktoberfest suds while a slew of snack stands hawk cotton candy, gingerbread and brezel. There will be live music provided by Mösl Franzi and the JaJaJa's as well as special guests throughout the event. DJ Volka Racho will keep the haus rocking between sets.

Photograph: Shannon Sturgis

7. WhiskyFest New York

Things to do Festivals

Take a trip around the world with more than 400 globally sourced whiskies, bourbons and scotches—including Welsh, Canadian and Taiwanese varieties—at this 20th annual brown-spirits blowout. Sip limitless samples of top-shelf booze, then get schooled at workshops from whisky-making bigwigs. Beyond the peaty stuff, find selections of gin, tequila and cognac.

8. Oysterfest

Things to do

Join Time Out New York and Blue Point Brewing Company for our third annual Oysterfest! We'll be at Freehold in Brooklyn on Thursday, September 28 shucking and shooting oysters, and throwing back crisp Blue Point beer. You don't want to miss this!

Chile Pepper Fiesta at Brooklyn Botanic Garden
Photograph: Michael Ratliff

9. Chile Pepper Festival

Things to do Classes and workshops

Heat-seeking capsaicin lovers won’t want to miss this fiery festival. Tour the pepper plants in the Brooklyn Botanic Garden's Herb Garden and ignite your palate with gratis tasting samples, including hot sauces, chili-infused chocolates and salsas from more than 40 local vendors. While you nibble, watch performances by Red Baraat, Lost Bayou Ramblers, Battle of Santiago, Ladama and Mariachi Tapatio de Alvaro Paulino. If you want to experiment with the incendiary veggie on your own time, stop by the Chile Pepper Farm Stand, which will feature goods from local purveyors such as East New York Farms.

The John Dory Oyster Bar
Photograph: Courtesy of The John Dory Oyster Bar

10. New York Oyster Week

Things to do

Oyster Week has two equally important components–either attend bivalve-focused events, or slurp some special oyster dishes from your favorite restaurants. While this year’s events are still pending, restaurants participating with shellfish dishes include Grand Banks serving Blue Point Number 9 Oysters with roasted shisito peppers, cucumber and shiso, Gramercy Tavern with Roasted Island Creek Oysters with peppers & leeks and Grand Army dishing out baked oysters with chipotle, breadcrumbs and lime.

Photograph: Courtesy Lower East Side BID

11. L.E.S. Pickle Day

Things to do Festivals

An area rich in history with more unique traditions than can be documented, the Lower East Side smiles back on the past today. In the heart of the old Pickle District, this Orchard Street fair features samples of the green delicacy from India to Haiti, from Malaysia to Brooklyn, and of course, those good old fashion kosher dills from the LES.

12. NYC Craft Beer Festival

Bars Beer bars

Bottoms up at this weekend-long brew fest, pouring unlimited tastings from nearly 75 breweries nationwide, including Brooklyn Cider House, Coney Island Brewing Doc's Draft and more. Then soak up all that booze with meatballs, pulled pork sliders and more hearty goodness.

NYC Food Film Festival
Photograph: Ryan Jensen Studios

13. NYC Food Film Festival

Things to do Festivals

Feast your eyes—and belly—at this annual fest showcasing more than 20 gastro-minded flicks and serving up those same dishes seen on screen. One thing's for sure, this will be the tastiest film fest you've ever attended.

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