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The best things to do in the fall in NYC

We have the ultimate list of things to do in the fall—NYC's Halloween events and autumn activities can't be beat

Fall in NYC
Photograph: Shutterstock
By Collier Sutter and Jennifer Picht |
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Fall in NYC is everything you could hope for in a season. First, the city gets delightfully spooky for Halloween. With thrilling Halloween events and Halloween festivals happening in every borough, it’s easy to get in the spirit of things! Aside from pumpkins and funky costumes though, you can keep the autumn excitement going by slurping down oysters during Oyster Week, leaf peeping around the city, warming up with whiskey at the Irish Whiskey Festival, attending the biggest NYC street fairs, parades, parties and so much more. Autumn in NYC is tough to match!

Best things to do in the fall

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Clay Williams
Things to do

Taste of the Seaport

icon-location-pin Pier 17, Financial District
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Down in the Seaport District, enjoy the 10th year of this family-friendly food festival with bites from over 40 of the best restaurants in Lower Manhattan, all in one place. Little ones can keep busy with pasta-making lessons and arts & crafts while parents snack on food from The Fulton, CUT by Wolfgang Puck, Hole in the Wall, Barbalu, Fresh Salt, Financier, Cowgirl Seahorse, Taco Playa, The Fulton, 10 Corso Como Restaurant & Café, Cobble & Co, Malibu Farm, R17 and Suteishi. The whole family can shop local vendors, artisans and enjoy live music and performances throughout the afternoon. While eating and drinking through the day, keep in mind that it’s all for a good cause too. The annual community event raises much needed funds for the arts and enrichment programs at Public School 397 (The Spruce Street School) and Public School 343 (The Peck Slip School) and is sponsored by The Howard Hughes Corporation. All ages.  

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Photograph: Courtesy Jennifer Mitchell
Things to do

The Great Jack O’Lantern Blaze guide

The Great Jack O’Lantern Blaze is one of the best things to do in the fall in New York, during which you’ll witness an army of more than 7,000 glowing pumpkins. This is the tristate area’s most spirited Halloween happening, with the most impressive and intricately carved pumpkins shining along the riverside near Van Cortlandt Manor. It's also one of the best and easiest day trips from NYC! 

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Things to do, Festivals

The New York Coffee Festival

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—so get buzzed, because the legendary New York Coffee Festival is returning. Taste your way through the vibrant local coffee scene with hundreds of exciting coffees, witness the latte art throwdowns and see roasters like Brooklyn Roasting Company, Café Integral, Joe Coffee Company, go head-to-head for the sought-after Roast Masters title. Thirsty for more? Discover incredible brews at the Brew Bar and experience workshops to gain some tips to bring back home. With exceptional coffee, delicious culinary creations from spots like Two Hands and The Butcher's Daughter and coffee cocktails to top things off, no coffee-loving connoisseur should miss this. New York is one of the greatest coffee cities in the world, so where better to kick-start your Fall celebrations? Two standard tickets for $48! Use promo code TIM777. Offer available for a limited time only. Catch the New York Coffee Festival at the Metropolitan Pavillion, 125 W 18th St, 10011, on October 11th–13th 2019.   

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Things to do

New York Irish Whiskey Festival

icon-location-pin The Oyster House at Pier A, Battery Park
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Cooler weather in NYC calls for loads of whiskey to warm you up. The New York Irish Festival, headed up by Irish Whiskey experts Sean Muldoon and Jack McGarry of The Dead Rabbit, is kicking off for the first time ever. At the festival there will be over 25 Irish Whiskeys to try, live music to jam to and food to snack on (which you’ll probably want to soak up all that good liquor). If you’re hoping to nerd out among other whiskey-loving folks, you’ll be in the right place too. You can join seminars on various topics like speciality Irish whiskey cocktail trends. For the novices of the clan who need some hand holding, there will also be Irish Whiskey 101 sessions. At the end of the festival, all guests are gifted a commemorative glass so you can take it out at parties and brag about all of your whiskey wisdom.

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TWA Terminal at JFK
Photograph: Nicolas Lemery Nante
Things to do, Festivals

Open House New York

Open House New York is a weekend-long festival where more than 250 fascinating sites across New York are open their doors to the public. The incredibly popular two-day event offers glimpses into spaces that are usually off limits to the public, from sky-high rooftop gardens to palatial apartments.

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Oktoberfest NYC
Photograph: Filip Wolak
Bars

Oktoberfest

Strap on those lederhosen—really, people will be wearing them—and raise a mammoth, beer-filled stein to Oktoberfest NYC. The Bavarian celebration is one of the best NYC events in September, featuring some of the best beers in NYC as well as traditional favorites and delicious food. Take in the beautiful fall foliage while guzzling brews at some of the best beer gardens and beer halls in New York, or outside like under the Dumbo Archway. Prost! 

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Bushwick
Photograph: Time Out New York/ Ali Garber
News, Art

Check out Elsewhere’s new immersive art show about smells

Ever wondered what Bushwick would smell like if it was perfume? A new exhibition launching on October 22nd at the music venue Elsewhere will feature the work of Marissa Zappas, a Brooklyn-based perfumer who is a year-long artist-in-residence, crafting ethereal scents inspired by the space’s seasonal programming. Though there is not much to see in her installation save for a diffuser, the room will be scented with ingredients like jasmine, mushroom fleuressence and myrrh. (Not exactly the sweat and Juul smoke you may have imagined.)  “The essence of Bushwick is already reflected within the Elsewhere space... spilled alcohol, sweat, a mishmash of trendy perfumes, perhaps even a little sewage, just really primal... it's a dance club, after all. For the fall installation I really embraced what in perfumery we refer to as ‘repulsive’ or 'animalic' notes," says Zappas, who has worked at a commercial perfume lab and has been creating a private collection of olfactory art for the past two years. "For the Fall installation at Elsewhere, the art in general is darker and more sensual compared to summer, so I wanted to create a scent which reflected that. I'm interested in how life transforms at night, particularly through smell." The exhibition will run in the space until January 15th 2020 and is curated by Molly Surno, the art director behind Elsewhere’s creative gallery model called Landscape, where shows are subsidized through the club's ticket sales. 

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NYC Marathon Main
Things to do

New York City Marathon

More than 40,000 marathoners hotfoot it (or puff, pant and stagger) through all five boroughs over a 26.2-mile course. Stake out a lively spot—we recommend along Fourth Avenue in Park Slope, Brooklyn; First Avenue between 60th and 96th Streets in Manhattan; or Central Park South near the finish line—to cheer on the passing throngs.

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Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade 2014
Photograph: Filip Wolak
Things to do

Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade

For the 92nd year, the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade will usher in the holiday season with familiar sights like giant balloons, high-kicking Rockettes and Santa’s sleigh, plus celebrity appearances. Begins at W 77th St and Central Park West; for the complete parade route, visit macys.com/parade.

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Yvonne Orji
Comedy, Stand-up

The New York Comedy Festival

The New York Comedy Festival is a bonanza of comedy shows, drawing national headline acts and the cream of the local scene. It’s also one of the best NYC events in November. Use our guide as your go-to for everything you need to know about the hilarious spectacle, hitting somes of our favorite NYC comedy clubs. This year you can catch shows from Trevor Noah, Jenny Slate, Stephen Colbert, Nate Bargatze, Bill Maher, Nicole Byer and many more. 

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More fall stories

Photograph: Courtesy Steve Acres/Into the Veil
Things to do

The best fall date ideas in NYC

We’re familiar with “summer loving,” but once you take a gander at our list of fall date ideas, you’ll soon see that “autumn loving” is what it’s all about. Just think of all the possibilities! From admiring fall foliage at the best NYC parks, to holding your S.O.’s hand during New York’s spookiest ghost tours, we think these activities are the foundation for a long-lasting relationship. And, hell, these date ideas will get your through cuffing season at the very least. RECOMMENDED: Full guide to the best things to do in the fall in NYC

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Things to do in New York by month

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