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The best fall festivals in NYC

Get your fill of amazing food, culture, music, film and multicultural events at fall festivals this season

Photograph: Ryan Jensen Studios
By Tolly Wright |

We can all agree that fall in New York is the best and for good reason: From Oktoberfest through Thanksgiving, it’s nonstop festival season. Whether you’re hoping to feast on samples from some of the best restaurants in NYC or get all sorts of spooky for Halloween, brave the dropping temperatures for these awesome fall festivals.

RECOMMENDED: Find more things to do in New York this fall

Complete list of fall festivals

Things to do, Film events

New York Dog Film Festival

For those of us who cried harder in Homeward Bound than we did in Precious, there's finally a film festival about the wonder of seeing man's best friend on film. Pretend you've got something in your eye while you watch two sessions of animated, documentary and narrative short films centered around dogs.

David Remnick and Jonathan Franzen at the New Yorker Festival
Photograph: Courtesy The New Yorker
Things to do

The New Yorker Festival

The New Yorker is sending its finest staffers around town to talk with fascinating figures in literature, film, TV, music, theater, tech, activism and beyond. Preview upcoming shows and films, hear concerts from star acts like HAIM, and learn about tech innovations from the creators of apps like Soundcloud. Just be sure to do your research before taking the mic during the Q&A section.

Things to do, Festivals

Medieval Festival at Fort Tryon Park

Life was tough in the Middle Ages, what with feudalism, the Crusades and that whole plague business. But it did have some cool aspects to commend it—like castles, Chaucer and pointy hats—which are celebrated at this annual throwback fair. Explore an anachronistic village in the area around the Cloisters, where you can listen to bards and minstrels, wash down a fire-roasted turkey leg with mead and watch riders unseat each other in a jousting tourney.

Photograph: Courtesy Lower East Side BID
Things to do, Festivals

L.E.S. Pickle Day

icon-location-pin Orchard St,

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. Plus, in keeping with the spirit of Halloween, kids will get their faces painted and compete in a costume contest.

Deepavali at South Street Seaport
Photograph: Amar Arts
Things to do, Festivals


Celebrate Deepavali, a.k.a. Diwali, with more than 100,000 revelers at one of the largest cultural Indian events in the city. Feast on regional specialties; browse clothing, crafts and jewelry; and catch performances from top intercollegiate dance teams during the Naach Inferno competition. Take part in one of the planet's largest outdoor bhangra parties in history, led by Sarina Jain. The "festival of lights," which commemorates the end of Hindu king and deity Rama’s 14 years of exile, culminates in a dazzling fireworks display.

Things to do, Markets and fairs

Autumn Crafts Festival

This gathering of artisans brings together a selection of leather, textile and brass crafts from all across the United States as well as Australia and Israel. For two weekends, 250 stalls showcase woodwork, glassware, ceramics and other mediums. Demonstrations in pottery, metal and other crafts are offered on both days. Refreshments, including poached pear tarts or strawberry stack cakes from New Amsterdam Baking Company, will be available when you finish perusing the stands.

New York Comic Con 2013
Photograph: Filip Wolak
Things to do

New York Comic Con

Last year's glorious geek assembly brought in more than 151,000 visitors, beating San Diego Comic Con and making NYCC the second-biggest event in the city. Wear a Batman T-shirt or a full cape-and-cowl at this packed pop culture mecca, where anyone can be a superhero.

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

New York Oyster Week

This annual, three-week extravaganza features 15 bivalve-based tastings and soirees to immerse yourself in the journey those succulent slurpers take from dock to dish. The second annual Brooklyn Oyster Riot ($125) starts things off with 10 oyster farmers showcasing and live-shucking all-you-can-eat East and West Coasts shells from Cape May to Shigoku to Blue Point. Throughout the month, there'll be oyster-topped Bloody Mary brunches, an evening cocktail cruise and regatta benefitting the New York Harbor Foundation ($125) and an outdoor festival at Rockaway Beach ($20), offering four hours of limitless beer and bivalves as well live music from local Irish folk outfits (Lost Tribe of Donegal, the Narrowbacks).

Newtown Creek
Photograph: Donald Yip
Things to do, Walks and tours

Open House New York

This annual event gives attendees access to 150 of the city’s coolest and most exclusive architectural sites, private homes and landmarks, as well as behind-the-scenes tours and programs. This year, get a sneak peek of the newly renovated Great Hall of the New York Hall of Science, which has been under restoration by the Ennead Architects for several years, see the inner workings of the Sims Sunset Park Recycling Facility, designed by cutting-edge firm Selldorf Architects, and tour the Spitzer School of Architecture’s Solar Roofpod, which was completely designed by its students.

Marco Polo Festival
Photograph: Courtesy Sunny Kam Photography
Things to do

7th Annual Marco Polo Festival

This annual fest kicks off with a street parade through Chinatown and Little Italy, celebrating the relationship between Manhattan's Chinese- and Italian-American communities, as well as the Silk Road. Produced by the Two Bridges Neighborhood Council, the street fair is ornamented with giant marionettes of Kublai Khan and Marco Polo. This year, catch traditional Chinese and Italian opera, folk dances, acrobatics and more.

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