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 Jennifer Picht |
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Witches, assemble! There are some amazing Halloween-themed things to do in the fall. NYC has plenty of events from killer Halloween festivals to places to go leaf peeping. But there’s more to autumn than pumpkins and dressing up in costumes. Aside from all the spooktacular activities, check out one of the biggest NYC street fairs, incredible culture and food festivals, fall concerts and so much more. There is nothing we love more than fall in NYC! 

Best things to do in the fall

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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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new york coffee festival
Photograph: Rodney Bedsole
Restaurants, Coffee shops

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—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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Photograph: Courtesy Getty Images for Refinery29/Nicholas Hunt
Things to do

29Rooms

When 29 doors close, another 29 open! At least that’s how the phrase works according to Refinery29. The major media brand’s totally interactive art exhibition is back for its fourth run for two sure-to-be-sold-out weekends. Ticket holders can wander through 29 rooms designed by retail brands, artists and other creatives inside a large Boerum Hill space under a new theme, “Expand Your Reality.” The premise is meant to inspire guests to open themselves up to a world of endless possibilities while ditching self-limiting beliefs. We like the sound of that!

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

Open House New York

The Metropolitan Opera House is one of the spots you can tour during Open House New York, the weekend-long festival where more than 250 fascinating sites across New York 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, not to mention more celebrations taking places at NYC parks, like Central Park. Prost! 

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Yvonne Orji
Comedy, Stand-up

The New York Comedy Festival

The New York Comedy Festival—2018’s biggest laugh-fest—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.  

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Greenhouse Holistic
Photograph: Courtesy Shutterstock
Shopping

Spa Week

Treat yourself to a facial, massage or other service for just $50 at more than 100 different venues around the city. We recommend signing up for relaxing treatments from a few of our favorites that have participated in the past include Haven Spa, Red Door Spa and SKN Spa.

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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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Blood Orange
Photograph: Courtesy Stacey Mark
Music, Pop

Blood Orange

It's been two years since Dev Hynes released his stunning 2016 effort, Freetown Sound. A complex, swirling affair, Freetown cemented his status as a multi-talented alt-pop visionary. Back in April, Hynes teased the release of a proper follow-up to that album, as well as a new mixtape and eight singles. Count on hearing from that treasure trove when he takes the stage for this Summerstage gig.

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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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