Ultimate Fall Guide to New York City

October 1, 2019

Here in New York autumn is the time for warm apple cider donuts at farmers markets, pleasant walks through Central Park and postcard scenes of brownstones amid colorful fallen leaves. This kid-friendly fall fun list is sure to keep you busy whether you want to stay in the city or venture outside of it.

Activities Within the City

Dad and Baby at Pumpkin Patch

Photo by Derek Owens

Pumpkin Patches

Mingle with animals, hop on a hayride and participate in fall activities at Green Meadows in Brooklyn or Queens County Farm Museum, among many others!

Fall Foliage Walks

Now’s a wonderful time to explore a random NYC park. Make a game of it by hunting for and identifying specific fall leaves with the kids. And don’t forget to keep up with the fall foliage report.

We like to explore the High Line at least once every season to see how the gardens evolve throughout the year. For bonus family bonding points, refer to this Plants of the Moment list when you head there with the kids.

If you feel like adding a ferry adventure to your fall foliage stroll, Governors Island is another option.

Seasonal Sports

Whether you’re a diehard hockey, basketball or football fan, or you’ve never been to a game, autumn is great time to be a part of the action and cheer on an NYC sports team.

Rather play a sport than watch one? The city is full of kid-friendly bike trails ideal for fall breezes. Don’t own a bike? Rent a CitiBike for older kids or try Blazing Saddles, Unlimited Biking or your local bike rental shop if they’re under 16.

Kids in Halloween Costumes

Photo by Conner Baker

Halloween for Kids

Prospect Park Zoo, Queens Zoo and Bronx Zoo each have an annual Boo at the Zoo celebration with costume parades, mazes, pumpkin carving and other family-friendly activities. Opt for the Staten Island Zoo Spooktacular if you live closer or want to try something new.

Throughout October, Luna Park is home to the Halloween Harvest featuring stilt walkers, magicians, caricature artists, character appearances and more—not to mention the usual rides, food and games.

Other events that excite us:

Pug in Costume in Stroller

Photo by Vitor Fontes

Halloween for Dogs

If you aren’t one to trick-or-treat with your dog, there are other ways to involve them in seasonal fun.

Foodie Favorites

Drowning in pumpkin pie and pumpkin coffee? Check out the these flavorful festivals—no pumpkin spice required.

Bonus Picks

Dance fans: Did you know New York City Ballet offers $30 select tickets for anyone between ages 13 and 30?

Architecture enthusiasts: October is also Archtober, NYC’s architecture and design monthlong festival with a few events centered on kids and families.

Activities Just Outside the City

The Great Jack O’Lantern Blaze

Every fall in Croton-on-Hudson, a spooktacular display of more than 7,000 jack-o-lanterns illuminates the night. There’s also a new Museum of Pumpkin Art.

The Great Jack O’Lantern Blaze
Van Cortlandt Manor
525 S Riverside Ave
Croton-on-Hudson, NY 10520

Storm King Art Center

Adults love Storm King because we can marvel at magnificent sculptures. Kids love it because they’re free to run around the rolling hills and pristine meadows. And since the 500-acre estate is outdoors, you can enjoy the crisp air and fall trees.

Storm King Art Center
1 Museum Road
New Windsor, NY 12553

Fall Foliage Sightings

One of the best ways to fully experience New York’s changing leaves is to drive the hilly, winding roads upstate. But if you don’t have a car or you’d rather sit back and relax, try one of the many fall foliage cruises.

Rather travel on foot? While hiking isn’t as popular here as it is in Los Angeles, it’s still a thing. And there are a ton of gorgeous kid-friendly hikes throughout Hudson Valley.

Girl Eating Apple at Orchard

Photo by Patrick Fore

Apple Picking

New York farmers produce about 31 million apple bushels annually, in more than 20 varieties. Take advantage of the many apple picking opportunities just a short drive from the city. Most apple orchards offer hayrides, pumpkin patches, warm apple cider donuts, seasonal crafts, face painting, live music and even corn mazes. So you can make a full day of it.

…and if you decide not to leave the house, there’s always pumpkin carving.

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