51 Awesome Things to Do This Fall in New York City

Pull your sweaters out of storage and pour yourself a cider: It’s almost fall—our favorite time of year. Why? Because between the food fests, cutting-edge performances and immersive art, there’s something awesome to do every day from now until December. (Also: dogs in costumes.) 

The Prettiest Places to See Fall Foliage Near NYC

fall in new york black tap friends crazyshake
Courtesy of Black Tap

1. Order A ‘friends’-inspired Shake At Black Tap

The Friends pop-up (honoring the 25th anniversary of the show) sold out faster than you can say “Pivot!” but you can still partake in the ’90s nostalgia at Black Tap Soho through October 6, where you can order a special coffee-flavored shake (served in a giant mug, natch) topped with an ice-cream sandwich made with Phoebe’s grandma’s “Nestlé Toulouse” cookies.

2. Take A Mini Vacation On Governors Island

Treat yourself to a fall getaway—sans the traffic—by booking one of the glampsites at Collective Governors Island. Along with luxe-as-hell tents (and one stand-alone hotel room), you’ll find seasonal activities like pumpkin painting and campfire ghost stories. 

3. Fill Up On Cannolis At The Feast Of San Gennaro

Little Italy’s Feast of San Gennaro is in full swing through September 22, so stop by to grab a cannoli—and if you’re feeling ambitious, enter the meatball-eating contest on September 21.

4. Pick Up Some New Reads At The Brooklyn Book Festival

Head to downtown Brooklyn this weekend for the Brooklyn Book Festival, which includes a children’s day on September 21 and a giant literary marketplace on September 22 with more than 300 authors, so you’ll have plenty of opportunities to get your books signed.

fall in new york il fiorista restaurant
Courtesy of Il Fiorista

5. Dine Amid The Flowers At Il Fiorista

Part flower shop, part sun-dappled restaurant, the newly opened Il Fiorista in NoMad is like an IRL Pinterest board. Stop by for food and cocktails featuring edible flowers, a bouquet (made with locally picked blooms) from the boutique and, starting in October, classes on all things floral.

6. Say Goodbye At The Last-ever Vendy Awards

After 15 years, the pioneering Vendy Awards is closing things out with a final street-food extravaganza (September 21). In addition to categories like Best Dessert and Best Freshman, there will be a special All-Star Vendy Cup, where past winners and finalists (including NY Dosa and the Arepa Lady) compete for the ultimate bragging rights.

7. Laugh Your Butt Off At The Harlem Comedy Festival

Catch some of the funniest acts in the biz at the fourth annual Harlem Comedy Festival (September 23 to 30), which celebrates hilarious comedians of color (who are all too often underrepresented elsewhere) in the historic nabe.

fall in new york lizzo
Scott Legato/Getty Images for Live Nation

8. Catch Lizzo At Radio City Music Hall

Don’t be the only person who misses seeing the inimitable Lizzo at Radio City Music Hall (September 22 and 24) and then has to hear her friends talking about it for the rest of the year.

9. Hit Up The Vendors At Urbanspace Garment District

Outdoor market season isn’t over yet: Dine alfresco on empanadas or vegan barbecue at Urbanspace Garment District, which returns September 23 through October 28.

10. Have A Spa Night In Brooklyn

Head to Clinton Hill bathhouse CityWell for a guided meditation workshop with Vanessa Lianne Jewelry on September 25. Afterward, you’ll get to use the onsite hydrotherapy (cedar sauna, soaking tub, aromatherapy steam room) and take home a custom-engraved signet ring.

11. Eat All The Oysters During Oyster Week

If your version of happiness includes a dozen Montauk Pearls on the half shell, you’re going to love Oyster Week (now through September 29), a series of events dedicated to the briny, delicious little bivalves, including an oyster-and-cocktail pairing and shucking championship.

fall in new york everlane brooklyn store
Guillermo Cano

12. Check Out Everlane’s Massive New Brooklyn Store

Browse the mostly online brand’s denim, tees and sweaters IRL at its brand-new, two-story location in Williamsburg. (And if you know any stylish dudes, let them know there’s an entire floor dedicated to the men’s collection.) 

13. Pick Up Some New Wall Decor At The Affordable Art Fair

Upgrade your gallery wall with some new pieces from the Affordable Art Fair (September 26 to 29).

14. Expand Your Cinematic Horizons At The New York Film Festival

The New York Film Festival returns to Lincoln Center from September 28 to October 14. We’re looking forward to Marriage Story (which centers around a divorcing couple played by Scarlett Johansson and Adam Driver), Atlantics (a supernatural romance set in Senegal) and The Booksellers (a deep dive into NYC’s bookstores and book collectors).

fall in new york serra dautunno eataly
Courtesy of Eataly USA

15. Toast To Fall At Serra D’autunno

There’s an exact halfway point between summer patios and holiday-themed pop-up bars—and it’s the current incarnation of Eataly’s rooftop bar, Serra d’Autunno. (Think a canopy of leaves, a build-your-own cider menu and a cocktail served in a pumpkin.)

16. Feel The Heat At The Chile Pepper Festival

Not happy unless your mouth is on fire? Head to the Brooklyn Botanical Garden for its annual Chile Pepper Festival (September 28), which features peppery talks and tastings, cooking demos, live music and, if you really want to test your limits on the Scoville scale, a hot-pepper-eating contest.

17. Eat Crullers At Daily Provisions Uws

What’s better than an apple cider doughnut? A caramel apple cruller, available at the new Daily Provisions Upper West Side location (opening in late September). While you’re there, grab one of the superb breakfast sandwiches.

18. Help Fight Extreme Poverty At The Global Citizen Festival

The annual activism-driven Global Citizen Festival returns to Central Park on September 28, bringing a lineup that includes Pharrell Williams, Alicia Keys, Carole King and Ben Platt.

fall in new york lucy sparrow delicatessen1
Courtesy of the artist

19. Check Out Lucy Sparrow’s ‘delicatessen’

Remember the all-felt bodega that popped up at the Standard a few years ago? The artist returns with more hand-sewn anthropomorphic foods at Lucy Sparrow’s Delicatessen at Rockefeller Center, October 1 to 20.

20. Grab A Dollar Slice For A Good Cause

Slice Out Hunger’s $1 Pizza Party (October 3) brings together the city’s best pies (including not-usually-by-the-slice spots like Di Fara, Emmy Squared and Lucali), with 100% of proceeds supporting Citymeals on Wheels.

21. Celebrate Oktoberfest In Dumbo

Can’t swing a trip to Munich? Head to the Dumbo archway, which will be transformed into a German beer hall complete with Bavarian brews, oompah bands, pretzels and brats on October 4 and 5.

22. Attend The First ‘new York Times’ Food Festival

The inaugural edition of the New York Times Food Festival (October 5 and 6) promises plenty of treats, like talks with renowned chefs and food journalists, a Bryant Park marketplace with some of the city’s best restaurants and even a “New York Times ice cream flavor.” (We don’t know what that means, but they had us at “ice cream.”)

fall in new york hocus pocus movie
Walt Disney Pictures

23. Get Witchy At Nitehawk Cinema

Nitehawk Cinema always goes big for Halloween month, and this year doesn’t disappoint with “All of Them Witches,” a cinematic celebration of spellbinding women, including screenings of The Witches of EastwickHocus Pocus and The Craft.

24. See Crazy Pumpkin Art At The Great Jack O’lantern Blaze

Admire pumpkin-carving handiwork that puts your basic triangle-eyed smiley face to shame at the Great Jack O’Lantern Blaze in the Hudson Valley (select dates September 20 through November 30).

25. Sample Pies From All Over At The New York Pizza Festival

The New York Pizza Festival returns to the Bronx’s Little Italy on October 5 and 6 with an all-star lineup of pizzerias from NYC, other cities across the country (yes, some of them have good pizza) and even Naples, Italy.

26. Bring Your Favorite Mini New Yorker To Kidsfest

Bring your kid/niece/babysitting charge to Kidsfest for a day of creativity-fueled activities, including face painting, a dance party and hands-on art workshops. Best of all, proceeds support Free Arts NYC’s efforts empower underserved youth through art and mentoring programs.

27. Sip Local Brews At The Queens Beer Festival

Drink some of the best suds the outer boroughs have to offer at the Queens Beer Festival (October 5 and 6), hosted by one of our favorite outdoor markets, LIC Flea & Food.

fall in new york new yorker festival toni morrison
Reg Innell/Toronto Star via Getty Images

28. See Illuminating Talks At The New Yorker Festival

Put some coins in your brain bank at the 20th New Yorker Festival (October 11 to 13). This year’s lineup includes Dua Lipa, Patti Smith, Alison Bechdel, Pete Buttigieg, Terry Gross, Zadie Smith, Teju Cole and a look back at the life and works of Toni Morrison.

29. Take A Road Trip To See Peak Fall Foliage

We’re not saying you should do it for the ’Gram, but we’re not not saying it. (We do know some of the best vantage points, though.)

30. Indulge Your Inner Gastronome At The New York City Wine & Food Festival

Tacos? Dumplings? Rosé? You’ll find events dedicated to all three, plus pretty much every other food imaginable, at the New York City Wine & Food Festival (October 10 to 13).

31. Take A New Kind Of Boot Camp At Rowgatta

All these food fests have us in need of some cardio. New studio Rowgatta is just what the doctor ordered with a hybrid workout that’s similar to Barry’s, only it combines rowing and resistance training (and it’s low-impact).

fall in new york arcadia earth
Courtesy of Arcadia Earth

32. Explore The Environmental Crisis At Arcadia Earth

There’s a new Instagrammable pop-up in town, but this one’s different: Arcadia Earth, open now through January, uses its immersive installations and augmented reality to draw attention to the devastating impact of humans on the environment—and what we can do to change our ways.

33. Fuel Up On Caffeine At The New York Coffee Festival

Live and die by your morning java? At the New York Coffee Festival (October 11 to 13), you can learn all about the magic beans, watch latte art throwdowns, sip cold-brew cocktails and even nominate your favorite barista to be put in the running for New York’s best.

34. Peek Inside Off-limits Buildings During Open House New York Weekend

Architecture buffs are already counting the days until Open House New York Weekend (October 18 to 20), when we can get a glimpse inside the city’s most stunning (and usually closed-to-the-public) spaces. 

35. Head To A Waterfront Block Party At Taste Of The Seaport

Sample eats from Lower Manhattan's best restaurants—like the Fulton, Cowgirl Seahorse and 10 Corso Como—at the tenth annual Taste of the Seaport (October 19), which raises money for local public schools. 

fall in new york tompkins square park halloween dog parade
Eduardo Munoz Alvarez/Getty Images

36. See Dogs In Costumes At The Tompkins Square Halloween Dog Parade

It’s no longer held in Tompkins Square Park, but the canine costume showcase is thankfully still going strong (it’s now at the East River Park Amphitheater, October 19). 

37. And More Dogs In Costumes In Brooklyn

You’ll find even more dogs in costumes (because we’ll truly never tire of them) at Luna Park’s parade (October 13) and Fort Greene’s Great PUPkin (October 26).

38. Check Out The New And Improved Moma

After a four-month summer hiatus, the Museum of Modern Art will finally unveil its extended revamp on October 21. Expect new galleries, a space dedicated to “performance, process and time-based art” and a focus on spotlighting more diverse voices (like assemblage artist Betye Saar, whose work will be among the opening exhibitions). 

39. Commune With The Spirits At Green-wood Cemetery’s Nightfall

Skip the haunted houses in favor of an authentic ghostly experience: Nightfall at Green-Wood Cemetery (October 25 and 26), an immersive candlelit evening of music, performance, storytelling and film along the cemetery’s winding paths. 

fall in new york mckittrick hotel halloween party
DrielyS for the McKittrick Hotel

40. Dress Up For A Hitchcock Halloween Party At The Mckittrick Hotel

Don your finest Old Hollywood glamour for the McKittrick Hotel’s Hitchcock Halloween Party (October 25, 26 and 31), which features live performances and art installations inspired by the master of suspense, plus special guests and a late-night dance party.

41. Watch Groundbreaking Works At Bam’s Next Wave Festival

BAM’s Next Wave Festival (October 15 to December 15) has been pushing the envelope for almost 40 years (NBD). On this year’s docket: The Second Woman, in which one actor performs the same scene 100 different times with different men; User Not Found, a site-specific play that unfolds via smartphone (really); and 32 rue Vandenbranden, a dance-theater mashup set in a trailer park.

fall in new york new york city marathon
Mark Bonifacio/NY Daily News via Getty Images

42. Cheer On The Runners In The Nyc Marathon

Even if the only running you do is to catch the G train, you have to admit the New York City Marathon (November 3) is one of the most inspiring days of the year. (Plus, the signs.)

43. See ‘jagged Little Pill’ On Broadway

If you were an angsty teen in the late ’90s/early 2000s, you oughta know about Jagged Little Pill, the musical adapted from Alanis Morissette’s iconic album. (Previews start November 3.)

44. Catch Big Names At The New York Comedy Festival

This year’s New York Comedy Festival (November 4 to 10) packs a lot of hilarity into one week with a lineup that includes Nicole Byer, Trevor Noah, Stephen Colbert and Jenny Slate.

fall in new york guggenheim works and process
Works & Process Rotunda Projects Gala, 2016. Photo: Courtney Collins

45. See Innovative Performances As Part Of Guggenheim’s Works & Process

One of the most striking buildings in the city becomes a venue for cutting-edge theater, dance, opera and more during the Guggenheim’s fall performance series, Works & Process (now through December).

46. Drink An Apple A Day During Nyc Cider Week

Drinking cider in the fall is practically a seasonal requirement. Make sure you fill your quota during New York City Cider Week (November 8 to 17).

47. Browse Upcycled Goods At Grand Bazaar Nyc

Year-round flea market Grand Bazaar NYC hosts the ReCreate. RePurpose. ReUse. Pop-Up (November 10), a special marketplace devoted to goods made from recycled materials (like reclaimed-wood tables and Bluetooth-enabled vintage radios).

fall in new york macys thanksgiving day parade
Gary Hershorn/Getty Images

48. Join The Crowds For The Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade

You already know how we feel about the iconic annual event (November 28). Now you just have to decide whether you prefer to see the balloons at their best on the day itself or in a much more, ahem, vulnerable state at the inflation the night before.

49. Have A Joke-filled Night At The Janelle James Comedy Festival

Not yet familiar with the Janelle James Comedy Festival (December 5 to 7)? You should be: The comic who took over the fest formerly hosted by Eugene Mirman is a riot, and last year’s sold-out edition included guests like Amy Schumer.

50. Dress To The Nines For The Great Gatsby Party

Beads, fringe and champagne abound at the Great Gatsby Party on December 6 and 7. (Consider this an opportunity to re-wear the flapper dress you bought for last summer’s Jazz Age Lawn Party.)

51. Wish Margaret Atwood A Happy 80th

We’re kicking ourselves for not getting tickets to the New York Public Library’s 80th birthday celebration for Margaret Atwood (December 11, sold out), but the website says standby tickets may become available at the door. Praise be.

purewow author


From 2016-2019 Carolyn Kuang-chen Stanley held the role of Editor covering food, travel and all things nyc.