Fall is here, and so is the cooler weather, harvest time, and tons of ways to celebrate that the long, hot summer is over! Ring in the autumn season with these fantastic (family-friendly) fall festivals happening all around NYC.
photo via: NYC Unicycle Festival Facebook page
Four days of “one wheel madness,” fun, and games, await those who visit Governor’s Island during this fest. This fest promises lots of fun events to watch: unicycle sports like hockey, basketball, and sumo (!?), public shows, and even a safe space to give it a try yourself.
Free. Thurs., Sept. 1-Sun., Sept. 4, Governor’s Island (the festival will also run from Battery Park to Central Park, and from Brooklyn Bridge to Coney Island).
photo: Brooklyn Bridge Park Kite Festival
Join hundreds of other kite flyers and turn the sky into a mosaic of color at the annual Brooklyn Kite Festival. Bring your own kite, or buy one on site if you don’t have one. Whether you take part or just watch, the festival is a treat for any age.
Free. Sat., Sept. 10, 11 a.m.-3 p.m., Harbor View Lawn, Brooklyn Bridge Park, Brooklyn Heights.
photo: Chinatown Partnership
Celebrate autumn with a different culture at the Chinatown Mid-Autumn Moon Festival. Bright decorations, great food, and a family-friendly lantern parade will take over the streets of Chinatown during the celebration. Keep in mind that this event does get very crowded and loud.
Free. Sat., Sept. 10, 1:30 p.m.-8:30 p.m., Forsyth St. between Division St. and East Broadway, Chinatown.
photo: Southwest Brooklyn Fall Festival
Cobble Hill’s autumn festival is family-oriented, and features face painting, rides, pottery, and even a bookmobile where children can sign up for a library card. Representatives from local organizations will be in attendance, to share information about community services like housing, education, and nutrition. There is plenty more to do with local vendors, performances, good eats, and lots more.
Free. Sat., Sept. 10, 12 p.m.-5 p.m., Columbia St. between Degraw and Union, and Union St. btwn Columbia and Hicks, Cobble Hill, Brooklyn.
photo: Belmont Bid
Visit the original Little Italy, up in the Bronx, for the Ferragosto festival. Ferragosto marks the end of the harvest season, and is celebrated by coming together as a family and enjoying good food. Watch traditional Italian street performances, eat delicious Italian fare, and take part in the lively celebration — which features celebrity guests and live music.
Free. Sun., Sep. 11, 12-5 p.m., Arthur Ave. btwn Crescent Ave. and 187th St., Belmont.
Every year, this huge 11-day celebration draws crowds, both secular and religious. Families can partake in the festivities at food and entertainment stalls, colorful parades, live entertainment, and much more. This year’s festival, like those before it, is expected to draw over a million people from all over the world. Be prepared for lively crowds and authentic Italian food.
Free, with fees for certain activities. Thur., Sept. 15-Sun., Sept. 25, 11:30 a.m.-11 p.m. Sun.-Thur. & 12 a.m. Fri.-Sat., Mulberry St. btwn Canal and Houston St., Grand St. btwn Mott and Baxter St., and Hester St. btwn Mott and Baxter St., Little Italy.
Infuse your fall with some art and culture at the Astor Alive! festival. Performances from over 20 acclaimed local artists will be scattered across four stages in Astor Place, including plenty of kid-friendly entertainment. Stop by the square to see East Village artist Jim Power unveil the restored mosaic poles installation, then take your kids to a beat boxing or mini-cube making workshop. Visit the festival on the final day to watch a parade of banners, paper cubes, and puppets.
Free. Fri., Sept. 16, 5-8 p.m., Sat., Sept. 17, 1-5 p.m., Astor Place, Greenwich Village.
photo: Brooklyn Book Festival
Tiny bookworms will love the full day of fun set aside for children at Brooklyn’s Book Festival. The festival will feature guest appearances by beloved children’s authors like Peter Brown and Kate Milford, workshops and children-oriented panels, and other book-themed fun. Children ages 2-11 can try their hands at making mustaches for themselves (or their family members), making special signs, NYC-themed activities, and plenty of other hands-on activities.
Free. Sat. Sept. 17, 10 a.m.-4 p.m., 209 Joralemon St., MetroTech Commons.
photo: via NYC Honey Week Facebook page
Honey Fest celebrates an underappreciated hard worker: the bee. This free festival presents a day full of buzzing children’s activities, from face painting and bee-themed crafts, to honey-tasting and a honey product marketplace. Children can watch bees at work with demonstration hives, and see how honey is extracted right in front of them. A fun and educational day trip for any family.
Free. Sat., Sept. 17 (rain date Sun., Sept. 18), 11 a.m.-5 p.m., Boardwalk 86th, Rockaway Beach.
For a calmer and more intellectually stimulating festival, take the older kids to Art Slope, Park Slope’s nine-day art festival. Artwork on display will range in medium and style, and will draw on NYC’s rich community and culture. Various venues will have different art installations on display, including live performances, interactive art, and hands-on exhibits for children (and adults).
Free. Sat., Sept. 17-Sun., Sept. 25, various locations, Park Slope.
Eat, dance, and eat pizza at the annual Flatbush Frolic in Brooklyn. Children’s activities will be held at a designated kids area. For the first time this year, the Flatbush Frolic will also be home to a crafts fair, featuring local craft vendors.
Free. Sun., Sept. 25, Cortelyou Rd. btwn Coney Island Ave. and Ocean Ave., Flatbush.
photo: 92nd Street Y
The 92Y Fest has plenty of entertainment lined up for multiple stages set up along a 15 block stretch of Lexington Ave. With the little ones in tow, head for the KidCentral Stage, where young performers take center stage with ballet, tap, jazz, and musical theater. Children will also enjoy taking a turn at the Tiny Tumblers Toddler Obstacle Course, drawing stations, and a calmer space for kids under 5 years of age. The festival boasts over 225,000 people in attendance last year, and hopes for an even larger turnout this time around, so steel yourself for a lively crowd.
Free. Sun., Sept. 18, 12-5 p.m., Lexington Ave. btwn 79th & 94th St., Upper East Side.
photo: via Fort Tryon Park Facebook page
Take a step back in time as Fort Tryon transforms itself into a Medieval village for a day. Watch knights jousting and blacksmiths forging swords, see trained birds of prey in action, take a mini lesson on swordsmanship from a pro, and try on a chain mail hood for size (you might be surprised at how heavy it is!). Break out that prince or princess dress for this one: dressing up in era-appropriate attire is just part of the fun.
Free. Sun., Sept. 18, 11:30 a.m.-6 p.m., Fort Tryon Park (enter at Margaret Corbin Circle at Fort Washington Ave.), Inwood.
Pay a visit to the city’s final remaining lighthouse on this special day to celebrate the legacy of the Little Red Lighthouse. NYC Urban Park Rangers will be present to educate families about the lighthouse, which will be open for exploration and tours. Live musical performances and related book readings will be held at various points throughout the day.
Free. Sat., Sept. 24, 12-4 p.m., West 181 St. & Plaza Lafayette, Fort Washington Park, Washington Heights.
The Transit Museum returns to Atlantic Antic with the 23rd annual bus festival. Over a dozen vintage busses will be on display, and families will be welcome to board and explore the historic vehicles. Children’s arts and crafts stations will be set up along the festival. When your future conductors get hungry, there’s plenty to eat in the rest of the festival, which spans through four Brooklyn neighborhoods.
Free. Sun., Sept. 25, 11 a.m.-6 p.m., Boerum Pl. btwn State St. and Atlantic Ave., Downtown Brooklyn.
photo: via Maker Faire Facebook page
See the DIY movement in action with over 600 exhibits about art, science, creativity, and innovation. See creativity in action and inspire your kids to make something of their own. In keeping with Hall of Science tradition, plenty of the Maker Faire creations are hands-on, so kids can touch as well as see — and learn.
Prices vary, $30-$80 for Weekend Passes and $20-$45.00 for single day passes. St., Oct. 1-Sun., Oct. 2., 10 a.m.-6 p.m., NY Hall of Science, 47-01 111th St., Corona, Queens.
Cultures merge in the Marco Polo festival, which celebrates the neighboring Italian and Chinese communities of NYC. A puppet parade starts the day, followed by cultural performances on Grand St. and Mott St. which provide the perfect opportunity to learn about different cultures in a fun way.
Free. Sat., Oct. 15, 11 a.m.-3 p.m., Mulberry St. btwn Grand St. & Bayard St., Chinatown and Little Italy.
photo: Queens Botanical Garden Facebook page
The Queens Botanical Garden comes alive with a flurry of festival activities. Live music, food and games for the whole family, bouncy houses and a petting zoo for the kids, a beer tent for the parents, and other entertainment. Enter the popular Pumpkin Patch and choose a pumpkin to take home.
Free with admission, additional fee for Pumpkin Patch (tbd). Sun., Oct. 16, Queens Botanical Garden, 43-50 Main St., Flushing.
Celebrate the harvest in a Halloween-themed festival at Socrates Sculpture Park. Events will include costume-making, the creation of a large collaborative sculpture, face painting, circus performances like juggling and stilt walking, and improv performances by Circus Amok. Don’t forget to bring the family dog along for the fun, dressed in his best Halloween attire, for the Annual Juried Canine Costume Contest.
Free. Sat., Oct. 29, 11 a.m.-3 p.m., Socrates Sculpture Park, Long Island City, Queens.
Nothing says harvest like seeing the actual harvest brought in on a farm. The Queens County Farm Museum celebrates this year’s harvest with games for children of all ages, bounce houses, and professional costumed characters. Live country music, pig racing, and hayrides add to the down-on-the-farm atmosphere.
$5, additional fees for certain attractions. Sun., Oct. 30, 11 a.m.-4 p.m., Queens County Farm Museum, 73-50 Little Neck Parkway, Floral Park, Queens.