The nice thing about fall in NYC (AKA, autumn in New York) is that the summer tourists and temps have mostly departed, but the city is as busy as ever and especially beautiful. There is no way you can do all of these family fall activities with kids (although we suppose you could try). Look through our list of the things you must do with kids in New York City in the fall (festivals, shows, museum exhibits, music and more) and custom create your most awesome autumn ever!
photo: Lotzman Katzman via Flickr
1. Start the season off right with a trip to pick apples at a local farm or orchard.
2. Show your kids how a savvy New Yorker does the city by heading to one of these free events in September.
3. Dance the tarantella at the Columbus Day parade on October 8.
photo: Color Factory
4. Get some culture at a kid-friendly museum exhibit, or dive in to one of the city’s visiting immersive pop-up experiences.
photo: Thanksgiving Macy Parade by cogito ergo imago via Flickr
5. Nothing is more New York than watching the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade. (Or watching the balloons get inflated the night before.)
6. Hurry to Madison Square Eats for tummy-filling culinary treats before it closes on Oct 5th.
7. Get out of town with a day trip to one of these family-friendly destinations close to NYC.
photo: San Sharma via Flickr
8. Fall Kids’ Fest at Madison Square Park has a full day line-up of fun, food, crafts and more.
9. Meet and greet some of your kids’ favorite authors at the Brooklyn Book Festival. Children’s Day is Saturday, September 15!
photo: Witches of the Great Jack-O-Lantern Blaze in Ossining New York by Anthony Quintano via Flickr
10. Where else will you find 5,000 individually hand carved, illuminated pumpkins? The Great Jack O’ Lantern Blaze at Van Cortlandt Manor, of course! (Tickets on sale now—get them before they sell out!)
11. Spooks on at the New York Botanical Garden until Oct 31, but be sure to stop by for their special Giant Pumpkin Carving Weekend.
12. Hop in the car and take scenic drive to view the prettiest fall foliage.
photo: Disney Junior Tour via Facebook
13. Rock out with Mickey, Fancy Nancy, Doc McStuffins and more at Disney Junior’s Dance Party on tour at the Beacon Theater.
14. Get indie and sit in for a movie at the New York Film Festival.
15. Head to the Whitney to check out Warhol, then take a stroll on the Highline.
photo: Governors Island
17. Explore another city right across the river in Jersey City, home to tons of family-friendly fun.
photo: brooklyn flea by mararie via Flickr
19. Join the Harvest Festival at Brooklyn Bridge Park for Halloween fun.
photo: Tamara McCauley via Flickr
20. Head upstate, or to New Jersey, or Long Island, to load up on some farm fresh produce and goodies, and of course, a pumpkin or two.
21. Make your way to the Queens County Farm Museum, where fall is in full effect with a seasonal farmstand, the Queens County Fair, the Amazing Maize Maze, Kickoff to Fall, and a big pumpkin patch!
22. Blow your kid’s mind (and maybe yours, too) with a trip to Candytopia.
23. Take in the fall weather and an architectural gem on an Open House New York weekend architecture tour, featuring many spaces not typically open to the public.
photo: 2010_ING_NYC_Marathon by emilydickinsonridesabmx via Flickr
24. Compete for high-fives along the sidelines of the New York City Marathon.
25. Get a look at birds big and small as they come through New York while migrating.
26. Putt-putt around these mini golf courses for hole in one fun.
photo: Hibiscus doughnut by Jeremy Keith via Flickr
27. Warm those bellies with food from Smorgasburg.
28. Explore Storytelling Through Music with a Fall Family Day at Carnegie Hall.
30. Rock out to the music of Madonna, Beyoncé, The Talking Heads, ABBA and more at the Rock and Roll Playhouse at Brooklyn Bowl and Industry City.
photo: Halloween Fun 2008 by Erik (HASH) Hersman via Flickr
31. Try some German foods at the Children’s Pumpkin Patch and Oktoberfest Festival at Sunnyside Park.
32. Take in some fall color by boat, and hop a ferry to the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island.
photo: Prospect Park Zoo by Eric Skiff via Flickr
33. Enjoy special nature-themed activities at the Prospect Park Zoo.
34. Get lost in the gorgeous hidden forest of Greenburgh Nature Center.
35. Head to the new aquarium at Coney Island before the chill sets in.
36. Love festivals? Spend your October weekends at these fall fairs.
photo: ferris wheel at coney island by Dennis Yang via Flickr
37. See autumn leaves from a ferris wheel high vantage point.
38. Sit outdoors for a nice meal at these kid-friendly eateries.
photo courtesy of Molly Rosen
39. Don’t be afraid to let your kids run free at the Storm King Art Center. It’s allowed!
photo: via New York Hall of Science Facebook page
40. Get inspired to create at Maker Faire at the New York Hall of Science September 22 and 23.
41. Head to the Village Halloween Parade for the most wild and ghostly creative sights.
— Mimi O’Connor