Maybe work has you yearning for an upcoming vacation; and let’s face it, the movies have gotten you thinking of New York City as your next stop. After all, there’s got to be some reason why so many call NYC “the center of the universe.” But for first-timers and seasoned New Yorkers alike there’s plenty to explore in the Big Apple. From borough to borough, you’ll find a mind-boggling amount of things to do in NYC. Our advice? Skip the summer heat and visit NYC in autumn.
You might be tempted to hoof it up to the city for July and August, but you’ll miss out on NYC’s most beautiful (and, usually, somewhat less crowded) season: fall. Changing leaves and brisk weather make the New York skyline all the more beautiful; and quite a bit more comfortable than New York in July. As long as you’re visiting early in NYC’s change of the seasons, you’re nearly guaranteed some beautiful days, and you’ll find plenty to do. If you’re going towards the end of the season, though, be sure to bundle up–New York City’s winters are known to be bitterly cold. On the other hand, though, with fall comes many flea markets in NYC. You might just end up grabbing a new winter coat.
5 Reasons Why You Should Visit NYC in Autumn
1. You can catch an autumn festival
You may have heard the winter season is one of good cheer; but there’s plenty of cheer to go around in fall with the city’s many festivals. When you visit NYC in autumn, make a stop at some of NYC’s most famous events, such as New York Fashion Week, the New York Film Festival, NYC’s Wine and Food Festival or even the Big Apple’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. And then there’s Harvest Festivals, Oktoberfests and even a Cider Festival for the beer enthusiasts. You’re bound to find a few local favorites along the way, too, if you keep your eyes peeled, including plenty of family-friendly gatherings.
2. You’ll have the best pictures
In New York, the city’s beautifully turning fall foliage may as well be the season’s main event. Stroll through Central Park to see some red and gold leaves and peek in at the Conservatory, or grab a hot coffee and a snack for a walk along the Brooklyn Bridge Park, just along the bank of the East River. Or, take a picnic and a friend (or a date) out to Prospect Park. Whatever the borough, there’s bound to be a view. Bring an instant camera with you to document some of the sights and keep your snaps as an NYC keepsake. If you’re feeling extra adventurous, you could even rent a car and drive out to Storm King Arts Center, an open air art exhibit an hour outside of the city.
3. You can tour museums for free with Museum Day Live
It’s the one time a year tourists and New York natives can access museums across the city–for free. Download a voucher from the Smithsonian website. You and your travel partner will be able to access over 20 different New York City museums, art centers and cultural institutions for one day in September. Previous participating museums have included the Queens Historical Society and Asia Society Museum. Even if you miss a chance to participate, it’s still worth your while to stop in at MoMA for a look at famous works, and a break from New York City’s icy cold. Registration opens in August, so grab tickets fast!
4.You can skate at Rockefeller Center
The iconic ice skating rink at Rockefeller Center may have a wait, but it’s well worth it. The Rink opens in October, just in time for you to catch the last of the season’s foliage. It allows only 150 people on the ice at any given time; which leaves plenty of room for a few jumps and double axels. Grab an indulgent cup of hot cocoa at Jacques Torres Chocolate to keep you warm while you wait in line with a friend or your family. Then strap on your skates and try a few of those Olympic tricks, if you dare.
5. You can drink and eat pumpkin (or apple)
Fall signals but one thing–the return of all pumpkin-flavored foods. When you visit NYC in autumn, you must sample some seasonal flavors at the Brooklyn Brewery, such as their Post Road Pumpkin Ale, or take in a brisk fall day with the outdoor beer garden at Bohemian Hall. Try a few New York-specific treats like Fat Witch Bakery’s pumpkin brownie, or pumpkin whoopie pies (two soft pumpkin cookies encased delicious cream cheese frosting) at One Girl Cookies. If you’re a bit worn down by all the pumpkin, never fear: this is also apple season. Pick your own just outside the city, or head to one of the city’s many farmer’s markets to take in a little local flavour.
There’s plenty more autumnal goings-on in the city, too–you need only look!