Ultimate NYC Fall Bucket List Guide

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How to Spend Fall in NYC Bucket List Guide

If you didn’t already know, New York City in Autumn is just amazing! Offering some of the best fall foliage in the United States, New York offers tons of fall vibes and activities. So if you are planning on heading to NYC in the Fall, here is your ultimate bucket list of things to do!

Keep in mind this list covers some of the best fall activities in NYC, but if you are looking for NYC staples such as Top of The Rock, The Statue of Liberty, etc, you can find the overall best things to do in NYC here!

Fall in Central Park NYC

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Stroll through Central Park

Central Park should easily be at the top of your Fall NYC bucket list! While Central Park is arguably great all year round, it’s especially beautiful during the fall foliage.

Central Park is encompassed of 843 acres situated between the Upper East and Upper West side of Manhattan. Some of the most notable places to visit in Central Park include Bow Bridge, Bethesda Fountain, Strawberry Fields, and Belvedere Castle.

Additionally, you must also walk through “The Mall” in Central Park which is most photographed during autumn because of how the trees cover the walkway!

Central Park NYC at Bow Bridge
Bow Bridge in Central Park in fall
Bow Bridge in Central Park should be on your NYC Fall Bucket List

Explore the Highline

I have mentioned the Highline in past New York guides, and I will say it again in this NYC Fall bucket list! Similar to Central Park, the Highline is nice all year (maybe not as much in Winter) and is especially nice during the Fall!

The Highline was a railroad track, transformed into a 1.45-mile elevated green space that is totally free to enjoy!

Now with NYC’s newest additions of the Edge and Vessel at Hudson Yards, you can easily enjoy all 3 at the same time since the Highline starts right after.

From the Vessel, you can walk all the way down the Highline to Gansevoort St. However, if you don’t feel like walking the full stretch, I’d suggest walking the Highline to the Chelsea Market at the very least!

One of the best things to do in NYC is walking the Highline in fall
View of the Empire State Building from the Highline

See Brooklyn Botanic Gardens fall Blooms

Love Botanical Gardens? Add the Brooklyn Botanic Garden in Prospect Park to your Fall NYC bucket list for their fall blooms!

This gives you a chance to get out of the hustle and bustle of the city to enjoy 52 acres of beautiful blooms. They even have a bloom calendar you can check before your visit.

After making your way through the garden, you can explore more of Prospect Park.

Currently, tickets must be purchased in advance. Check the Brooklyn Botanic Garden site for tickets and additional information on your visit.

Central park in Fall in NYC at Bow Bridge.

Take a Hiking Day Trip from NYC

Hiking is a very popular activity among New Yorkers in Fall for good reason. Because the weather in NYC is so pleasant during fall, it makes hiking the perfect bucket list activity!

There are quite a few places you can go hiking close to NYC. Some popular places to consider are Bear Mountain, Appalachian train to Anthony’s Nose, Breakneck Ridge, and many Greenways in Long Island.

Some helpful apps to use for hiking in NYC are AllTrails and Maps.Me.

Go Apple Picking

Another Fall NYC favorite and totally bucket list-worthy activity to do is apple picking! There are quite a few orchids near NYC including those in the Hudson Valley and tons of apple picking locations out East on Long Island!

Some of my favorite farms to go apple picking are:

Apple picking is generally from the beginning of September through October. It is always best to check with the farm before visiting!

Apple Picking in NYC during the fall
Warwick Apple Picking
Apple picking at Lewins Farm
Apple Picking at Lewins Farm

Experience the Halloween Parade

Spending Halloween in NYC? If you are not already attending a Halloween party, make your way over to the Halloween parade in the Village! Everyone and even their pets get dressed up and celebrate down the streets!

The Parade is usually on Halloween, October 31st from 7 PM to 11 PM. After, you can find tons of parties and events happening all over the City.

Furthermore, if you love Halloween festivities, you can experience one of the Jack O’ Lantern events happening in New York.

Rise of the Jack O’ Lanterns at Old Westbury Garden in Long Island has around 5,000 hand-carved Jack O’ Lanterns creatively placed down a walking path with music and all the spooky feels! (Dates for 2021 haven’t been announced yet.)

The Great Jack O’Lantern Blaze in the Hudson Valley in New York is planning over 7,000 Jack O’ Lanterns this year and new for 2021 will be a fire truck making a special rescue and witches stirring up a spell! The dates for 2021 will be September 17-October 31; November 3-7; 10-14; 18-21 Advance reservations required.

The Great Jack O’ Lantern Blaze is happening from September- November and you can learn more about the Jack O’ Lantern Blaze here!

Pumpkin Picking in Long Island New York. Field of pumpkins
Pumpkins in Long Island, New York

Go Iceskating in NYC

Exploring the City around the end of October? You have your choice of several outdoor ice skating rinks to choose from!

Outdoor skating rinks include Wollman Rink in Central Park, Rockefeller Center, and Bryant Park rink! All of which are in amazing areas in the city, so enjoy!

Wollman Rink Address: 830 5th Ave, New York, NY 10065

Rockefeller Center Address: 600 5th Ave, New York, NY 10020

Bryant Park: 5th Ave, New York, NY 10018

Watch the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade

Around NYC for the Thanksgiving break? Then you should consider adding the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade to your Fall NYC Bucket list!

This parade is one of the largest in the world and the second-oldest Thanksgiving parade in the USA.

Watch giant balloons make their way through NYC from 9 am – 12 pm on Thanksgiving starting by Macy’s in Herald Square.

Fun Fact, I actually use to work at Macy’s Herald Square in Men’s shoes in my college days!

After Thanksgiving, you can also join in on the madness of Black Friday in New York City where people will be storming the stores.

Macys window displays are one of the best places to see in NYC during December

Eat Your Way Through Eataly

One of the new and trending places to visit in NYC and across the USA is Eataly. They offer high-quality Italian food and go all out on their seasonal decorations!

So after you finish obsessing over their fall decor, enjoy some gelato at the Flat Iron location!

While you are in the area, you should also check out the Flat Iron building, one of the most unique buildings in NYC! From there, you can digest all the pasta and gelato in Madison Square Park (right across the street).

See the Cloisters at the MET

The Cloisters are easily an underrated gem of NYC and fall bucket list-worthy! Located in Fort Tryon Park in Washington Heights, this charming place boasts European medieval art and architecture, with a focus on the Gothic Romanesque periods.

It is a bit of a hike from mid-town, just to keep in mind. You will have to take public transportation or car service.

Address: 99 Margaret Corbin Dr, New York, NY 10040

Experience Smorgasborg

If you are a foodie, you will definitely want to add Smorgasborg to your bucket list of NYC Fall activities! Basically, they are an outdoor food hall with tons of great stands to choose from which include some must-eat places in New York.

There are 3 locations that often rotate. They are located at the Oculus Center, Prospect Park, and Williamsburg. Smorgasbord is not open every day, so you will want to double-check.

Smorgasburg is generally open starting in the Spring throughout the Fall. For more about visiting them, stay up to date with the Smorgasburg website!

Williamsburg, Brooklyn New York City Skyline view
Williamsburg, Brooklyn at Smorgasburg

See the Winter Village at Bryant Park

So why would a winter village be a part of a fall NYC bucket list? Well because it’s awesome and it starts soon after Halloween.

The Ice skating rink opens, their European holiday shops emerge, the winter village bar opens and tons of other amazing food vendors open up shop! Plus, the Winter Village is also across the street from the NYC Public Library so you can also take a peek in there.

Visiting New York City in December? Make sure to visit the Bryant Park Winter Village!

Experience the Holiday Displays Without The Crowds

If you are heading to NYC after Thanksgiving, you have the opportunity to see a lot of the Christmas window displays without huge crowds!

While you might not get the full effect, (like you would closer to Christmas in NYC) the tree at Rockefeller Center will likely be up (but not lit) Holiday villages will open and Big stores will start to put up their decorations such as Saks 5th Ave, Cartier, and Macy’s.

Radio City Music Hall in NYC Photography

NYC Fall Bucket List Review

This concludes some of the best things to do in New York City and everything that should be added to your Autumn bucket list!

Additional New York resources including the best things to do in NYC can be found below!

Where to Stay: MOXY NYC Times Square | Hyatt House Chelsea | Hotel Edison Times Square | New York Marriott Marquis | Lotte New York Palace | NYC Airbnb

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NYC Fall Bucket List best things to do in New York

8 thoughts on “Ultimate NYC Fall Bucket List Guide”

  1. What a wonderful list! As someone who just moved to NYC last year, these were all on my list of things to do! Central Park and the High Line are two of my favorite fall activities, as well as finding cute cafes with fall themed treats and drinks!

    Reply
  2. We’re moving to Philadelphia in a few years and I can’t wait to finally visit NYC! I definitely want to go for Thanksgiving one year!

    Reply
  3. This is such a great guide for NYC in the fall. I would have never known about Smorgasborg that’s so cool. Adding to the list for sure!

    Reply
  4. So many amazing spots in New York City for the fall! I love NYC in the fall because the weather is beautiful, and of course, the foliage is incredible. I haven’t done the hikes you mentioned, so I’m adding those to my bucket list!

    Reply
  5. I’ve probably been to NYC about 15 times now, but never in fall! The city looks so beautiful with the fall colours. Pinning in hopes I can visit in the future!! Thanks for sharing.

    Reply

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