Get us in your inbox

Search
Fall in NYC
Photograph: Shutterstock

The 31 best things to do this fall in NYC

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

https://d32dbz94xv1iru.cloudfront.net/customer_photos/b20db166-2aa2-4b93-bcd8-18b43b89731f.jpg
https://media.timeout.com/images/105796570/image.jpg
Written by
Will Gleason
&
Shaye Weaver
Advertising

Just being in NYC in the fall is an experience in itself—for a few brief months, we all channel Meg Ryan in You've Got Mail and breathe in the crisp air filled with the smell of leaves and pretend we're in the middle of a love story for the ages (maybe we are). It's true that NYC is one of the most sought out places to experience the best that fall offers, from delightfully spooky Halloween events and festivals to gorgeous leaf-peeping opportunities and some of the best festivals.

Autumn in NYC is tough to match!

Best things to do in the fall

  • Things to do
  • Hell's Kitchen

Photoville is back in its 10th year and the second to bring photography to every borough of New York City. The free, outdoor, pet-friendly photography exhibition is packed with 75 exhibits outside and free online programming for photo lovers between September 18 and December 1, including panel discussions, interactive workshops, and a "Community Day: Photo Festival Opening" on September 18.

Advertising
  • Things to do
  • Events & Festivals

As the days get darker, a sprawling, multimedia experience that explores light as an artistic medium will roll into Brooklyn October 7-9 underneath the K Bridge Park in Greenpoint, Brooklyn. Guests will have the chance to view ten light installations crafted by artists Paolo Montiel, Robert Montenegro, and Darrel Thorne along with artworks showcased at the popular Burning Man festival. And there will also be a dance floor experience and performances! The best part? It'll be free!

Advertising
  • Things to do
  • Events & Festivals

Escape your same-old rooms for some exciting ones at Refinery29's popular 29Rooms experience this December in Manhattan (for the first time ever). It'll celebrate 2021 with a "Make Contact" theme, i.e. the opposite of social distancing. The event is renowned for ample selfie opportunities with sensorial experiments, disarming first encounters and art-based installations that explore new ways of dating, dancing, socializing and celebrating.

Advertising
  • Comedy
  • Comedy

The week-long festival, November 8-14, is set to feature some of the most exciting voices in comedy right now, such as Vir Das, Tim Dillon, Colin Quinn, Michelle Wolf, Norm MacDonald, Megan Stalter, Ronny Chieng, Jon Lovett’s Lovett or Leave It, Nick Kroll, Alok, Marc Maron, Brian Regan, Gary Gulman, Bill Maher, Michelle Buteau, Andrew Santino and more. It'll be a chance to laugh hard and often, which is what we need right now.

 

  • Music
  • Music

There's a new music venue on the scene starting September 30 called Brooklyn Made. The 500-person capacity space in Bushwick will offer all musicians who play there pretty awesome perks, from access to a private outdoor swimming pool to a second-level carriage house and a loft apartment with unparalleled views of the Manhattan skyline. For audience members, Connie's offers a late-night bar next door and Standing Room, also next door, will be where you can get a cocktail, wine and tapas. Singer/songwriter Jeff Tweedy will kick off the opening with two nights of performances beginning September 30. 

Advertising
  • Things to do
  • City Life

There's a heart-pounding experience opening above Manhattan at the massive Summit One Vanderbilt 1,401-foot-tall skyscraper. Starting October 21, guests will be able to look over NYC from at least 1,000 feet with only glass between them and the view. "Ascent," is an all-glass enclosed elevator that travels up the outside of the building to 1,210 feet while "Levitation," is a series of transparent glass sky-boxes that jut out of the building at 1,063 feet above Madison Avenue. The Summit aims high with a forthcoming all-day cafe and bars, too, by Danny Meyer’s Union Square Events.

Advertising
  • Art
  • Art

Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel at the Vatican is one of the must-see artworks of a lifetime, and for a limited time, its likeness will be right here in New York City. "Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel: The Exhibition" will bring New Yorkers close to a high-res replication of the fresco that draws about 5 million people each year. It's the next best thing.

  • Things to do
  • City Life

The Brooklyn Botanic Garden is bringing a gorgeous, new after-dark illuminated spectacular to its grounds in November, where you can walk through the Cathedral of Light tunnel, a Fire Garden on Lily Pool Terrace, a Field of Light and an animated light installation covering Cherry Esplanade (and visible from the Robert W. Wilson Overlook). Colorful light displays highlighting the garden’s trees, landscapes, and architecture with more than 18 distinct works of light art and a series of light-based artworks by local artists will be installed in the Plant Family Collection.

 

Advertising
  • Things to do
  • Festivals

Comics fans across the city have been waiting with bated breath to see if New York Comic Con would return this year — it is! While it's back in person, it's also online again because that capacity is limited. That being said, it's set to be a great one with can’t-miss panels, celebrities and all the cosplay you could ever fantasize about.

  • Things to do
  • Walks and tours

Going upstate to see fall leaves is great, but it's a trek. Luckily, if you know where to look here in NYC, there are some truly stunning foliage to see in many parks and gardens across the boroughs, including at Fort Tryon Park, the Greenbelt Nature Center, and Sunken Meadow State Park. Happy peeping!

Advertising
Watch the Tony Awards
  • Theater

The Broadway shutdown in 2020 meant that only about half of the productions that had been scheduled to open in the 2019–20 season actually got to do so. This year’s Tony Awards are a return to form. Experience the show followed by a special Broadway's Back presentation.

Advertising
  • Things to do
  • City Life

Head to the garden's Seasonal Walk, where you'll find yellow lace flowers, dahlias and 'Midnight Dancer' daylilies or get lost in the Thain Forest, where you'll hear the trickling of the Bronx River and its waterfall. In the fall, the forest is an incredible setting to see the leaves changing. Also, don't miss the duck families in the Conservatory Courtyard Pools that feed on small plants and insects around the water lilies.

Advertising
  • Things to do

Grab an empty basket and don your best plaid for a fall PYO adventure. At local farms in the tristate area, you'll find a generous offering of apple varieties and fun seasonal activities like petting zoos and corn mazes. We guarantee you're bound to stumble upon some apple cider doughnuts along the way.

Advertising
  • Restaurants
  • Eating

New York's hottest pop-up is opening this fall. Flame, a dining experience led by "pyro-chefs" will bring culinary adventure to the city, at an undisclosed location, starting November 18. The pop-up restaurant lets diners watch their food being "flamed to perfection" in a two-course adventure paired with themed cocktails and plenty of fire, designed to spark your palate's curiosity. Blowtorches and molecular gastronomy will pair up for this dinner that's part eating, part performance. 

Advertising
  • Restaurants
  • Eating

Although new restaurants have been opening in New York City at an exhilarating rate all year long, fall is prime time for new eating and drinking destinations. This fall, the 2021 restaurant forecast is particularly promising. In the weeks and months ahead, we’re looking at three new openings from one of NYC’s best restaurant groups, a long-awaited and highly-regarded British import, offshoots of sushi favorites, exciting cocktail programs, glamorous dining rooms and unending new chances to nab reservations before they run out.

  • Art
  • Art

This year's delayed Costume Institute exhibition is all about the U.S. of A. It's also (for the first time) going to be divided into two different parts. Part one, “In America: A Lexicon of Fashion,” is scheduled to open to the public on September 18 (complete with an early September version of the iconic Met Gala.) The exhibition will dive into ideas around American identity by featuring a fictional American home constructed with transparent walls that blur the boundaries between rooms. Examples of twentieth and twenty-first-century fashion will be found throughout the interiors, designed by pioneers of American sportswear.

Advertising
  • Movies

Easily one of the best things to do in the fall, the annual New York Film Festival dates back to 1963, when it established a mission of bringing the best work from around the world to Lincoln Center. Excitement is already feverish for this year’s 59th edition, thanks to the August announcement of this year's main slate lineup which will include new works from Céline Sciamma, Pedro Almodóvar, Joel Coen, Jane Campion and more big-name directors. We've got a full rundown of what you should see.

  • Things to do
  • City Life

Opening at The Seaport on Sunday, September 12, a new exhibit will honor the late photographer Bill Cunningham, with an exhibit highlighting his career and most popular work. Experience the Times of Bill Cunningham will bring the photographer’s six-decade-long career to life, exploring his work capturing everyday New Yorkers and celebrities like Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis and Anna Wintour, all on the streets of Manhattan. The exhibit is inspired by The Times of Bill Cunningham, the documentary by filmmaker Mark Bozek, narrated by Sarah Jessica Parker, and currently streaming on several platforms. 

Advertising
  • Theater
  • Theater & Performance

The Brooklyn Academy of Music is bringing a piece of Lithuania to Fort Greene this fall. The performing arts venue will be hosting the climate change-focused opera Sun & Sea, a daring, experimental work that depicts a large cast of characters enjoying a beach day as large-scale climate crises rage on. The timely opera was originally written and performed in Lithuanian and shown at the revered arts extravaganza Venice Biennale, where it won a prestigious Golden Lion award in 2019 and was called “a critique of leisure and of our times” by the biennale’s jury.

  • Museums
  • Special interest
  • Queens

This Queens County treasure is well worth the bus trek or car ride. As the city’s longest continually farmed site in the city (it’s been in operation since 1697), the 47 acres feels like an entirely different world compared to Manhattan. Feed and pet the barnyard animals, including sheep, ponies and goats, hop aboard a hayride and take advantage of the fall harvest season when you can go pumpkin picking and attempt to find your way through the Amazing Maize Maze (yes, that’s a corn maze).

Advertising
  • Art
  • Art

The artistry behind Disney cartoons will soon be the focus of an upcoming exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, where the studio’s revered animations will sit under the same roof as paintings by Monét and Van Gogh. Titled Inspiring Walt Disney: The Animation of French Decorative Arts, the exhibition will examine “Walt Disney’s personal fascination with European art and the use of French motifs in Disney films and theme parks.” 

 

Advertising

More fall stories

  • Things to do

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

Advertising

Things to do in New York by month

Advertising

Archive things to do in the fall content

Advertising
Recommended
    You may also like
      Advertising