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Where to see fall foliage in NYC

Of all the things we love about fall, nothing beats the beautiful range of colors it brings.

But before you rush out of the city to get an eye-full of foliage, take note: spots all over the five boroughs will soon be ripe with crimson, yellow and orange leaves galore.

NYC's average peak time for fall foliage is late October, Northeast Regional Climate Center climatologist Jessica Spaccio says. The best days to see colorful foliage are dry and sunny, she adds, with cool, but not freezing, nights.

The city is currently abnormally dry, Spaccio says, though not in a drought, which could lead to an earlier falling of leaves.

Here are some of the best places in NYC to take in the view this season.

Inwood Hill Park

This rare piece of mostly-untouched land along
Photo Credit: Flickr/steveguttman

This rare piece of mostly-untouched land along the Hudson River is rich with Native American history and dramatic terrain that includes caves, marshes, ridges and valleys.

It also offers tree-lined trails through Manhattan's last naturally occurring hardwood forest, plus plenty of planted tulip poplar trees, which boast bright yellow leaves every fall.

Find it: Dyckman St. and Hudson River, Inwood, Manhattan

Van Cortlandt Park

This expansive Bronx park (it covers more than
Photo Credit: Flickr/stevenpisano

This expansive Bronx park (it covers more than a thousand acres!) offers a number of prime foliage-viewing trails, including the Old Croton Aqueduct Trail, where you can see a native oak-hickory forest along with the remnants of the aqueduct.

The Putnam Trail runs along a former railroad route and a native hardwood forest, and the John Kieran Trail is home to red and gold foliage along with views of Van Cortlandt Lake.

Find it: Broadway and Jerome Avenue, Bronx

Staten Island Greenbelt

Put on your hiking boots and wind your
Photo Credit: Emilio Guerra

Put on your hiking boots and wind your way through one of the city's rare undisturbed forests, with tree species ranging from maple, tulip and beech to oak and hickory, for a complete palette of fall hues.

Find it: Richmond and Brielle Avenues, Staten Island

Alley Pond Park

The diverse landscape at Alley Pond Park includes
Photo Credit: Emilio Guerra

The diverse landscape at Alley Pond Park includes wetlands, meadows and forests with both native and non-native plant species, for a unique mix of fall foliage.

When you've had your fill of the views from eye-level, head to the park's adventure course and strap yourself in for a view from above, via zipline.

Find it: Between Springfield Boulevard and Douglaston Parkway, Queens

Pelham Bay Park

Urban Park Rangers tout this Bronx park as
Photo Credit: Flickr/annemarlow

Urban Park Rangers tout this Bronx park as having some of the best foliage in the city. Must-see fall sights include the ancient oaks-- a 400-plus-year-old tree stands on the Split Rock Golf Course-- to the tall spruce and pines along the Kazimiroff Trail, which runs through Hunter Island.

Find it: Hutchinson River, Long Island Sound between Bronx County Line and Middletown Road, Bronx

Owl's Head Park

Your eyes will be torn between the New
Photo Credit: Flickr/ceonyc

Your eyes will be torn between the New York Harbor views and the array of colorful trees at this Bay Ridge park, where you'll find rolling hills and peaceful paths full of oaks, beeches, maples and tulip poplars.

Find it: Shore Road, 68th Street and Colonial Road, Brooklyn

Highbridge Park

Though it's been marked by man with its
Photo Credit: Emilio Guerra

Though it's been marked by man with its iconic bridge and tower, Highbridge Park's natural beauty is a treasure all its own. Gaze in awe at its vast cliffs and rock formations, while taking in the colorful trees and other plant life along the Harlem River.

Find it: W. 155th and Dyckman Streets, Edgecombe and Amsterdam Avenues, Manhattan

Prospect Park

Brooklynites can't get enough of Prospect Park's delights
Photo Credit: Flickr/gigi_nyc

Brooklynites can't get enough of Prospect Park's delights all year-round, but the NYC Department of Parks and Recreation says one of the best spots in the park to enjoy fall foliage is the Ravine, where you'll find rustic trails that run through a mix of forest and woodland, with views "reminiscent of the Adirondacks."

Find it: Parkside Avenue between Flatbush and Ocean Avenues, Brooklyn

Central Park

Central Park comes alive in the fall, as
Photo Credit: Emilio Guerra

Central Park comes alive in the fall, as bright colors adorn its already picture-perfect bridges, lakes and boulders. To truly surround yourself in foliage, take a stroll down the Mall and Literary Walk, between 66th and 72nd Streets, beneath a canopy of American elms. Or, for a more rugged experience, head to the Hallett Nature Sanctuary, now open every Tuesday from 1 to 3 p.m., near the Wollman Rink.

Find it: Fifth Avenue to Central Park West, 59th Street to 110th Street, Manhattan

Brooklyn Botanic Garden

This 52-acre space is one big foliage hot-spot,
Photo Credit: Flickr/flatbushgardener

This 52-acre space is one big foliage hot-spot, with paved pathways, themed gardens, specialty plant pavilions and native species as well as varieties from all over the world. We especially love seeing the colors of fall reflected peacefully in the waters of the Japanese Hill-and-Pond Garden.

Find it: 990 Washington Ave., Brooklyn

New York Botanical Garden

This 250-acre nature-lover's destination within Bronx Park is
Photo Credit: Flickr/mebphoto

This 250-acre nature-lover's destination within Bronx Park is home to 50 different gardens and plant collections set against serene landscapes just waiting to be photographed in the fall.

The possibilities seem endless, from the tall pines, firs and spruces in the Arthur and Janet Ross Conifer Arboretum to the 50-acre forest, which lets visitors take a walk through the woodlands that once covered New York City. Explore on your own, or take a tour, included in the All-Garden Pass admission.

Find it: 2900 Southern Blvd., Bronx

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