9 things to do this fall in and around New York City: Festivals, leaf-peeping and more

9 things to do this fall in and around New York City: Festivals, leaf-peeping and more
Now is the time to take advantage of the cozier side of autumn with whale watching, apple picking and more.

Now is the time to take advantage of the cozier side of autumn with whale watching, apple picking and more.

The leaves are changing, there’s a slight chill in the air, and before you know it, the cold will force us indoors.

But there’s fun to be had, so we’ve gathered some ideas for the best ways to spend the brightly colored fall days. 

Go whale watching

The New York Aquarium has released a list of the top 10 locations to see whales from the shore. Starting with the best area, the list includes Coney Island, Amagansett, the Hamptons, Fire Island, Jones Beach, the Rockaways, Sandy Hook, Long Beach Island, Lavallette and Point Pleasant Beach. So even as the weather cools down, head to the beach to catch a glimpse at nature’s marine giants — North Atlantic right, sperm, sei, fin, blue and humpback whales.

Go leaf-peeping on a long weekend 

At Eastwind in the Catskills, you can take in the sights from glamping cabins.
At Eastwind in the Catskills, you can take in the sights from glamping cabins. Photo Credit: Eastwind Hotel & Bar

Get some fresh, crisp air in your lungs with a trip outside of the city. We’ve rounded up a few places that offer beautiful views, comfortable lodgings and a chance to reconnect with nature, from a resort in the Catskills to a B&B in Lenox, Massachusetts.

Raise a stein for Oktoberfest

Beer drinkers’ favorite time is here — Oktoberfest is on through the end of October, and many bars and restaurants are busy holding their own German-themed celebrations, from Lower East Side’s German beer spot Loreley, which is doing free keg tappings and pig roasts each weekend through Oct. 13, and Zum Schneider’s party tent with live oompah bands, beer from HB Traunstein Festbier and more. We can fill you in on the best parties

Loreley Beer Garden gets into the fall spirit with a pumpkin keg.  
Loreley Beer Garden gets into the fall spirit with a pumpkin keg.   Photo Credit: Michael Tulipan

Check out the city’s coolest movie theaters

As the season changes, sometimes it’s nice to stay indoors and catch a flick. The city really is one of the best places to go to the movies because it has a lot of unique theaters, like the beautiful BAM Rose Cinema, the intimate Video Revival, or the new Nitehawk Cinema at Prospect Park housed in the old Pavilion Theater.

Plan your Halloween 

Thousands of costumed characters march up Sixth Avenue in the Village Halloween Parade on Oct. 31, 2018.
Thousands of costumed characters march up Sixth Avenue in the Village Halloween Parade on Oct. 31, 2018. Photo Credit: David Handschuh

Spooky, scary skeletons are just around the corner. It wouldn’t hurt to start prepping your costume and planning where you’ll get frightened this year, whether it’s at The Village Halloween Parade, "A Cynic’s Guide to Ghosts" tour, or at the Merchant’s House Museum. For those who don’t know, the museum transforms into an 19th-century house in mourning. Make sure to check out our guide to Halloween for more ideas.

Restock your closet with cool vintage threads

As cooler weather moves in, it may be time to consider your wardrobe. Instead of draining your bank account buying new clothing, why not stop at any one of the city’s thrift or vintage shops? Chances are, you’ll find some cool styles for a fraction of the price. Here’s our list of some great shopping around town.

Pick fresh apples from a nearby orchard

There’s no better way to celebrate the harvest than picking crisp apples right off the trees they grew on. There are several farms just outside of the city that are only a day trip away, including Wright’s Farm in Gardiner. Or if you just want to taste some hard cider, you can make a trip to Angry Orchards’ barrel room in Walden.

Hit up fall festivals 

The Downtown Brooklyn Arts Festival returns Oct. 4-6 and will feature a slew of artists, musicians and performers.
The Downtown Brooklyn Arts Festival returns Oct. 4-6 and will feature a slew of artists, musicians and performers. Photo Credit: Giles Ashford

When it gets colder, it may be more difficult to brave the weather, but right now there are festivals to head to, including the New York Film Festival through Oct. 13 and the New York Coffee Festival starting on Oct. 11. Don’t miss out.

Catch beautiful leaves along Staten Island’s Greenbelt

In mid- to late October, fall colors are at their best along the Greenbelt. Put on your hiking boots and take a calming jaunt through one of the city’s rare, undisturbed forests, with tree species that include maple, tulip, beech, oak and hickory. Find it at Richmond and Brielle avenues.

Shaye Weaver