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The 20 best fall events in NYC

Check out the festivals, live acts and holiday throwdowns you definitely don’t want to miss this season

You may have to trade in your tank top for a cardigan, but don’t think that the party’s over just because it's fall in NYC. Keep the fun going with awesome fall concerts and movies, and geek out with the best of them at events like the Medieval Festival and New York Comic Con. So go on and embrace autumn, because fall in New York is the best!

RECOMMENDED: Find more things to do in NYC this fall

1
Bushwig
Photograph: Jena Cumbo
1/20

Bushwig

For the past three years, drag queens Horrorchata and Babes Trust have been building the community of drag artists to bring you Bushwig. The festivities warm up at LoveGun on Friday night and then continue at Onderdonk House for the rest of the weekend, which boasts more than 150 performers, 26 musicians and tons of enticing games. It’s bound to be both electric and eccentric.

September 11–13; Lovegun; $30–$40

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Sept 11–Sept 13
2
Vendy Awards
Photograph: Clay Williams
2/20

Vendy Awards

Street food is classier than ever these days. That’s why 25 of New York’s most popular trucks are pulling up to Governors Island to earn your votes for this year’s favorite. With popular picks like Home Frite, bite-size doughnut dugout Doughnuttery and last year’s Rookie of the Year winner Snowday Food Truck, you’ll get unlimited tastings (plus drinks!) and maybe even the chance to meet the infamous baby foodie @foodbabyny, whose dad is one of this year’s judges.

September 12Governors Island, 12:30–5pm; $100

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Sept 12
3
Justin Vivian Bond: Dixie McCall's Patterns for Living
3/20

Justin Vivian Bond: Dixie McCall's Patterns for Living

You may have seen Mx Justin perform at Joe’s Pub several times over the last few years, but her latest showcase, “Dixie McCall’s Patterns for Living,” celebrates the 25th anniversary of V’s career and cabaret.

September 18–October 4Joe's Pub at the Public Theater, 9pm; $25 plus two-drink minimum

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Sept 18–Oct 4
4
A$AP Rocky + Tyler, the Creator + Danny Brown + Vince Staples
Photograph: Red Bull Content Pool/Drew Gurian
4/20

A$AP Rocky + Tyler, the Creator + Danny Brown + Vince Staples

Catch the rocketing rise of A$AP ROCKY as he brings his shocking avant-garde rap to the enormous venue. Backup from Vince Staples, Danny Brown and Tyler, the Creator guarantees an unpredictable night.

September 22Madison Square Garden, 8pm; resale tickets available

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Sept 22
5
New York Film Festival
5/20

New York Film Festival

While most film festivals tend to be more exclusive and costly, the 53rd annual edition of this highbrow fest provides reasonable prices to members and non-members of the Lincoln Center Film Society. Get the know on Oscar-bait treasures like Carol and The Walk.

September 25–October 11$20–$25

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6
Atlantic Antic
Photograph: Alex Strada
6/20

Atlantic Antic

The largest street fair of the season consumes four Brooklyn neighborhoods with more than 500 vendors and 16 live stages. This year’s fair showcases local youth talent from companies such as Brooklyn Ballet, Mark Morris Dance Group and Wicked. Download the app to map out all the places to snack between performances.

September 27Brooklyn, 12–6pm; free

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Sept 27
7
Eclipsed
Photograph: Dalim
7/20

Eclipsed

Before she was turning heads on the red carpet, Lupita Nyong’o performed onstage at the Yale School of Drama. Now, the Mexican-Kenyan actress is heading Off Broadway to to star in this compelling true story about the women who fought to end the Second Liberian Civil War in 2003.

September 29–November 8Public Theater; $80–$110

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Sept 29–Nov 8
8
Medieval Festival at Fort Tryon Park
Photograph: Courtesy Creative Commons/Flickr/Chris Gampat
8/20

Medieval Festival at Fort Tryon Park

Sport a pleated kilt and cloak and head up to the hidden Washington Heights park for a day of die-hard DIY adventure. If you’re not feeling ubercrafty, purchase a wide selection of medieval-style attire, henna and temporary tattoos from craft vendors and artisans. The daylong festival includes traditional Irish music, chess tourneys and quintessential medieval eats like potato pancakes, bratwurst and pork shank.

October 4Fort Tryon Park, 11:30am–6pm; free

 

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Oct 4
9
Tame Impala
Photograph: Maciek Pozoga
9/20

Tame Impala

You’ve definitely jammed out to hit song “Elephant” since the rising psychedelic rock band became a festival-circuit sensation in 2012. The Aussie crew brings tracks from their moody new album Currents to Radio City.

October 6Radio City Music Hall, 8pm; sold out

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Oct 6
10
Cider Week NYC
10/20

Cider Week NYC

It wouldn’t be Fall without the throat-warming sensation of apple cider— better yet, spiked cider. Throughout the week, stop by various shops like Murray’s Cheese Bar, The Queens Kickshaw and Astor Wine & Spirits for free tastings, or splurge on a five-course dinner at The Farm on Adderley in Brooklyn.

October 6–15times, prices and locations vary

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Oct 6–15
11
New York Comic Con
Photograph: Filip Wolak
11/20

New York Comic Con

The second-biggest event of the year in NYC (and perfect primer for Halloween) is where genre, anime and comic fans unite. Bring your best Sailor Moon, Immortan Joe or Poison Ivy for this glorious cosplay gathering and line up for signatures from hundreds of industry stars like X-Men writer Chris Claremont, cover artist J. Scott Campbell and even some actors from Game of Thrones. Check out Comic Con’s slate of Super Week events to extend the convention madness.

October 8–11Javits Center; $40

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Oct 8–11
12
New York City Wine and Food Festival
Photograph: Caroline Voagen Nelson
12/20

New York City Wine and Food Festival

It’s time to abandon the notion that having “eyes bigger than your stomach” is a bad thing. Choose from four days of rooftop feasts, all-you-can-eat tastings, cooking classes (with the likes of master ramen iconoclast Ivan Orkin) and even a jazzy midnight brunch hosted by Rev Run and his wife Justine Simmons. While some of the ticketed events are more costly than others, there are still plenty of $95 options—like Napa Valley wine tastings and ómbre cake decorating classes. Expect to see some big-name celebs turned chefs throughout the weekend like Haylie Duff and Chrissy Teigen as well as culinary icons from Food Network’s Chopped. The festival is partnered with No Kid Hungry and the Food Bank for New York City (they donate 100 percent of the net proceeds to them), so you’ll be eating for a good cause.

October 15–18times, prices and locations vary

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Oct 15–18
13
Open House New York
Photograph: Nicolas Lemery Nante
13/20

Open House New York

Meander around all five boroughs for an an inside look on the sites that keep the city operating, including the NYC Sanitation platform, the Gowanus Canal, Brooklyn Army Terminal and many more. This year’s tour includes City Hall, Google headquarters and the New York State Pavilion. Some sites require advance reservations, but you also have the option to volunteer or buy all-access tickets to avoid long lines and max capacity (more than 40,000 people attended last year’s event!).

October 17–18prices, times and locations vary

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Oct 17–18
14
American Ballet Theatre Fall 2015
Photograph: Gene Schiavone
14/20

American Ballet Theatre Fall 2015

It’s ABT’s 75th anniversary, so if you’ve never experienced the historically acclaimed company before, this is your calling! You can anticipate big performances, including a special premiere from Mark Morris during five of the 12 shows.

October 21–November 1David H. Koch Theater; $25–$155 

Book Online

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Oct 21–Nov 1
15
China Doll
Photograph: Cristiano Laruffa
15/20

China Doll

With the return of fall comes Al Pacino’s long-awaited return to Broadway in David Mamet’s China Doll. In his fourth collaboration with the prolific playwright, Pacino plays the role of tycoon Mickey Ross, a man whose overconsumption of money and sex results in a life-altering realization that starts with an unexpected phone call.

October 21–December 30Gerald Schoenfeld Theatre; $72–$157.50

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Oct 21–Dec 30
16
Thrill the World NYC Zombie Masquerade Ball
Photograph: Marissa McGrody
16/20

Thrill the World NYC Zombie Masquerade Ball

If you’re a “Thriller” pro or have always wanted to learn the infamous dance, sign up to partake in one of this year’s largest dance events hosted by Thrill the World New York City. Once you sign up, you can learn the choreography at a meet-up class or via YouTube, then show up for a zombie makeup treatment and take your MJ-claws out for the manic masquerade ball.

October 24Location TBA, 2–6pm; $10–$40

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Oct 24
17
Tompkins Square Park Halloween Dog Parade
Photograph: Lauren Spinelli
17/20

Tompkins Square Park Halloween Dog Parade

If you have a pup (or even if you’re secretly just a park bench pup-watcher), you have to catch all the cuteness of dogs dressed in Halloween apparel. The annual parade offers raffles, costume contests (sorry, humans, it's dogs only) and even the opportunity to adopt via Friends of Animal Rescue.

October 24Tompkins Square Park, 12pm; free

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Oct 24
18
Giant Pumpkin Carving Weekend
Photograph: Courtesy Creative Commons/Flickr/nolagrrlnyc
18/20

Giant Pumpkin Carving Weekend

Have you ever gone pumpkin picking in the dark? Navigate by flashlight on these haunting sightseeings walks and awe at the magical gourds and carved pumpkin pieces (some of the largest pumpkins in North America travel all the way to the Bronx for this annual event.) Check out pumpkin carving sessions right before Halloween and take them home to add your own bit of spook to your stoop.

October 24–25New York Botanical Garden; $20–25

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Oct 24–25
19
Village Halloween Parade
Photograph: Filip Wolak
19/20

Village Halloween Parade

If you’re feeling bold this Halloween, join thousands of New Yorkers (and more than 50 bands!) and walk the 42nd annual village parade. The costumed crowd will meet at Sixth Avenue, but if you just want to watch the chaos and creations, grab a spot anywhere between Spring and 16th Street. This year’s theme is “Shine a Light,” so if you’re going for the morbid look, at least set your phone camera to flash.

October 31Sixth Ave at Canal St, 7pm; free

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=Oct 31
20
New York Comedy Festival
Photograph: Koury Angelo
20/20

New York Comedy Festival

See every household name in comedy you’ve always wanted to see—including Billy Crystal, Kathy Griffin, Norm MacDonald and Sarah Silverman—as Comedy Central takes over the city for this week of top-tier sets from the best names in the industry.

November 10–15; various prices and locations

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Nov 10–15

Comments

2 comments
Lorin D
Lorin D

Hey, Bushwig is actually at the Onderdonk House this year and not Lovegun!

Lorin D
Lorin D

Wait, sorry! I was half wrong! Lovegun on Friday night, Onderdonk House for the actual festival on Saturday and Sunday.