On the hunt for some stellar things to in the fall here in NYC? The weather may be cooling down, but Gotham’s cultural scene is just heating up! This guide will help you find the best things to during the season of all things pumpkin spice, including the hottest festivals, NYC street fairs, autumnal treatments at the best spas in NYC and seasonal events happening at some of the best New York attractions.
Best things to do in the fall
Strap on those lederhosen—really, people will be wearing them—and head to this German wunderland. When the display of intricate Karneval costumes and the cheerful Austrian tunes during New York’s Steuben Parade end, quench your thirst with pitchers of Bavarian brews (Hofbräu, Erdinger), and cheers to lively sets from Spitze! and the Polka Brothers. Wunderbar! Presale tickets already sold out (omigod), but more drop around September 12, so get ready.
Fact: Nothing says autumn like an intricate corn maze, wooden bins filled to the brim with just-picked apples and a pumpkin patch overflowing with gourds. All three of these iconic seasonal staples are present at this annual festival, which celebrates the season’s return to Queens County Farm Museum. Tap your toes to country & western band Savannah Sky while sipping crisp apple cider, get lost in the Amazing Maize Maze, and watch the farm’s flock of Cotswold and Romney sheep get a new hairdo during a shearing demonstration. (It’s going to be baaadass.)
There are many types of apples (Honeycrisp, McIntosh, Granny Smith), but the best variation of everyone’s favorite autumnal fruit is clearly the fermented kind. And for seven glorious days, you can guzzle bushels of the good stuff at more than 50 bars and restaurants in NYC and indulge in free tastings, events and workshops at popular drinking dens such as Chelsea Wine Vault and Craftbar.
Ain’t afraid of no ghost? That’s good, because you might spot a few spirits (hopefully the friendly kind) during this Urban Park Rangers tour that blurs the line between history and Halloween. Use the lanterns provided (not your iPhone flashlight, bro) to explore the creepy Water Battery Gate at Fort Totten Park in the pitch-black while your guide shares goose-bumps–inducing stories about the phantasm-infested grounds. Enter at Shore and Abbott Rds.
In its 90th year, the celebration of the patron saint of Naples will fill the streets of Little Italy with carnival games, a cannoli-eating contest, parades and live music, while Mulberry Street eateries like Balaboosta will serve street snacks from booths outside their front doors. Mulberry St between Canal and Houston Sts; Grand St and Hester St between Baxter and Mott Sts.
Kings County exhibition producer United Photo Industries takes over a new location this year—Brooklyn Bridge Plaza—to create a pop-up village honoring the art of picture taking. Dozens of shipping containers, which double as venues for curated gallery installations, will contain works such as "Flint is a Place," "On the Street with Bill Cunningham," and "Political Theatre." And get excited, because the Smorgasburg Beer Garden is returning this year; you'll find more than 100 vendors selling all sorts of food and drinks. Outdoor exhibitions include "Brazil's Battle Against Zika," "#OrlandoStrong," and "Where Will We Go: The Human Consequences of Rising Sea Levels."
Get a little rural living without leaving the city limits at the 34th iteration of this down-home festival. For two days, the Queens County Farm Museum will become even more agrarian than usual with livestock competitions, pie-eating contests, awards for the fastest corn huskers and pig races and Irish and German musicians to keep your feet stomping. While there, try to make your way through the Amazing Maize Maze, a three-acre labyrinth, or take a spin on carnival rides. Glean tips on fashioning your own farm-to-table fare at a colonial cooking demo, or knock back a few at a Bavarian beer garden. You can even register online to enter your own craft, vegetable, or baked or canned goods in one of the blue-ribbon contests.
More than 500 food and craft vendors and 15 stages will close down a busy Brooklyn artery for the 42nd Atlantic Antic. Spanning ten blocks and cutting through four neighborhoods, it's billed as NYC’s largest street fair, so there’s more to see than stands hawking pashminas and MozzArepas. The eclectic musical lineup brings together diverse local talent and you can graze on grub from a delicious variety of artisanal vendors—washed down some fab locally brewed ale, of course. Check for announcements at atlanticave.org.