New York City Fall Fam Fun Guide
We believe in the mood-lifting power of fairies and fallen leaves, which is why fall—in all of its gilded splendor—is pure magic to us. Being able to experience this sensory time of year through a child’s eyes gives us major joy. Watching trees change from green to gold, creating Halloween costumes from scratch, and even the warm hug of a scarf stir feelings of deep gratitude. There's so much to be thankful for right here, in this moment. These are the things that make us feel enchanted in New York City now.
Everything Under The Stars
There’s a bonus to the shorter days: all things celestial at High Line. Long evenings make stargazing events and outdoor film screenings all the more memorable. Peer through high-powered telescopes provided by the knowledgeable members of the Amateur Astronomers Association to see rare celestial sights. Or simply bring a cozy blanket and let a spontaneous evening unfold.
FREE, no RSVP required
Amazing Maize Maze
NYC’s only corn maze is honestly the only one we’ll ever need. The Queens County Farm Museum hosts an adventure that kicks off with a Stalk Talk to prepare you for the challenge of finding clues, solving puzzles and mazing your way to Victory Bridge. The reward is a stunning vista view of the 3-acre living labyrinth. Amazed indeed.
$ $12, $8 (ages 4–11), FREE for ages 3 and under
Boo At The Zoo
The furry are in rare form at the Bronx Zoo. During harvest season, animals and little critters are programmed to gather, build and provide endless entertainment. Say hello and skip merrily down the candy trail, partake of spooky crafts, pumpkin carving and magic shows and show off those kiddie costumes in the ultimate parade. This must-see festival includes animal-themed stilt walkers, puppets and a graveyard for extinct animals that is both educational and fun.
$$ $41.95, $31.95 (ages 3-12), FREE for ages 2 and under
Your little pumpkins get to hold baby animals and feed the goats and sheep with baby bottles at White Post Farm. This prime petting zoo boasts two massive bird aviaries where you can feed and observe parakeets, lorikeets, budgies cockatiels and love birds. Topping our list of to-dos: hayrides, pony rides, train rides, playgrounds and oh yessss selfies with giraffes.
$$ $27.95, FREE for ages 15 months and under
Whale Watching Cruise
This is how we do autumn aquatic. Charismatic humpback whales, bottlenose dolphins and sea turtles are awe-inspiring via Seastruck Ferries. Most of us never imagine seeing these animals from the deep swim along our concrete shores, but it turns out these tours will forever change the way you look at the city. Choose your departure port and time from New York or New Jersey on Saturdays and Sundays.
$$ $59, $34 children under 12
Get in the haunted spirit and feast your eyes on an 18th-century landscape done up with glowing bees and 7,000 illuminated jack o’ lanterns all designed and hand-carved by the most talented artisans. The synchronized lighting, larger-than-life installations and soundtrack make Blaze events in Hudson Valley and Long Island beyond captivating for all ages.
$$ $48, $40 children ages 3-7, FREE for children 2 and under, $2 fee for same-day ticket
Orchard Apple Picking
Barton Hudson Valley Farm is one of the most popular spots for apple picking because 120 acres of trees never run out of the ripest apples due to rotating picking areas. Expect lots of pie, apple cider and farm-fresh produce, along with attractions including petting zoos, hay rides and corn mazes, plus local craft beer, cider and wine. Keep an eye out for Oktoberfest, fall festivals and the occasional country music jamboree.
$ $15, $10 ages 4-12, FREE for ages 3 and under
Apple Cider Doughnut Tasting
Apple cider season means apple cider donut tasting in Westchester. These are among the sweetest treats we look forward to all year, perfect for breakfast with a piping hot cup of tea or coffee. Stop by Acorn Farm Outdoor Living Store in Harrison to shop for everything from wood-crafted playhouses to outdoor furniture—on the weekends, this country store sells homemade donuts.
FREE to visit
Authenticity prevails at this mythic fest. Fort Tryon Park is transformed into a full-fledged medieval market town for a fair complete with bright banners, processional flags and jousting knights on horseback. Guests dress in costume to enjoy crafts, food and drink while dancing among jugglers, jesters and minstrels. The Met Cloisters and Hudson River make a stunning backdrop to this beloved event.
Hike the remnants of a real ghost town. Twice-abandoned Tahawus is guaranteed to give you the chills. Desolate and creepified, this town is found in the village of Newcomb, just a short drive from its original homebase in Tahawus. The village was first abandoned in 1857 after it failed to produce enough iron ore to thrive as a mining town. Walk through the McIntyre Blast Furnace, still intact and standing at roughly 50 feet tall. New York is riddled with ghost towns: try hiking North Brother Island, Doodletown or Hart Island.
Long Island Fall Hike
The South Shore is most known for its summer stunner beaches but don’t overlook the majesty of Connetquot River State Park in the fall. The preserve has 50 miles of hiking, horseback riding and nature trails, as well as fishing on the Connetquot River. Consider it living proof the northeast is unlike any other region in the United States when the days shorten and temperatures drop.
Mystic Seaport Museum + Aquarium
This charming New England town promises to renew you with country-fresh air and epic maritime history. Sail an ’81 classic wooden schooner along the scenic coastline and surrounding islands. Clyde’s Cider Mill, the oldest steam-operated mill of its kind in the country, is open to the public. Peek the Old Lighthouse Museum, it’s only seven minutes away in Stonington and climbing the 29 stone steps to the top gives you an exceptional panoramic view of Connecticut, New York and Rhode Island.
$$ $27, $23 ages 13-17, $19 ages 4-12 [Rebby rating]
New York Botanical Garden
There’s no better place to appreciate the glory of autumn than Thain Family Forest. Amber and gold foliage create a 250-acre woodland spectacle, dotted with old-growth maples, oaks, tulip trees and unexpected surprises to get lost in. Immerse yourself in the spectacularness of the season, including red and purple star-shaped leaves from the sweet gum trees.
$$ $30, $15 ages 2-12, FREE for ages 2 and under
Brooklyn Book Festival
Adored by bookworms from all over the world, you’ll quickly see why New York’s fest is the best. Mingle among authors and find a novel to curl up with by the fireplace, but don’t forget the annual Brooklyn Book Festival boasts a Children’s Day on October 1. Kid’s literature icons are read aloud for free.
A free 7-minute ferry ride is all that separates you from the most idyllic seasonal setting. When the summer crowds fade, former military outpost Governor’s Island becomes a relaxing oasis for glamping. Collective Governors Island is a unique way to stay in a luxury tent with views of the Statue of Liberty and Manhattan. Reset and get removed from city life with yoga, bike rides, culinary explorations and cocktails. Swoon.
$$$$ $588 and up per night standard rate
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