30 Fall Activities We Can't Wait To Do in NYC
With Labor Day behind us and a full-time back-to-school schedule looming on the calendar, it's official: Fall has arrived in NYC. An optimist by nature, I've decided that instead of lamenting the summer that was, it's time to look forward to the changing of the seasons and all the fall activities that await.
With that in mind, here's our season-long look at the family-friendly fall activities we can't wait to enjoy. After all, we've got assorted school holidays, plus a few long weekends to fill before the weather really changes. Without further ado, here are 30 fall activities we can't wait to do in NYC with kids. For more seasonal fun, be sure to bookmark our Fall Fun Guide.
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1. Back to School
The first day of school. Granted, there are still restrictions in place, but I'll be happy to add my kids' school pictures to the adorable ones peppering my social media feed and to find a little more routine in our day-to-day!
2. Grab a Bite
Take a night off from dinner duty and show some love to one of our favorite family-friendly restaurants. Fall is the perfect time to check out one of these waterfront eateries or restaurants with backyards before the weather turns and alfresco dining returns to bubbles, parkas, and space heaters.
3. Crack Open a Geode
Discover your inner geologist at Astro West, where you can peruse and purchase a mind-boggling array of fine minerals, crystals, fossils, dinosaur teeth, and stunning crystallized meteorites.
Paint the walls mess-free as you explore The Nature of Color. Photo by A. Mickens/courtesy of AMNH
4. Visit a Favorite Exhibit at a Favorite Museum
5. Go to the Edge
Put on a brave face and take in the stunning views at Edge, the outdoor observation deck in Hudson Yards.
6. Visit Little Island
The city's newest public park is an absolute wonder. Little Island looks like a floating leaf thanks to the tulip-shaped platforms rising from the Hudson River. Explore the winding paths, beautiful landscaping, and much more. Bonus: After Labor Day, the free, timed-entry tickets are only required on weekends and holidays!
Take a trip around the Queens County Farm Museum. Photo by Sarah Meyer
7. Go to the Farm Museum
8. Traverse a Maze
9. Have an Outdoor Adventure
See how many outdoor adventures you can tackle before the weather turns.
Fall in love with animals at the Bronx Zoo. Photo by the author
10. Have a Special Zoo Visit
11. Play Laser Tag
Spend an action-packed day with your tween or teen at one of Area 53 NYC's three locations.
12. Dust Off Your Wand
With its 15 different themed rooms, Harry Potter New York has everything your little witch or wizard needs.
It's sharks galore at the New York Aquarium. Photo by Julie Larsen Maher
13. Explore Underwater Worlds
Reserve timed-entry tickets for the New York Aquarium to explore its Spinless exhibit, plus see its stunning shark exhibit, and the rest of the seafaring fun.
14. See a Broadway Show
The show must go on! And it will as Broadway reopens in September after being shuttered for more than a year.
15. Go Apple Picking
Take in the foliage at one of NYC's amazing parks. Photo by the author
16. Take in the Colors of Fall
17. Choose a Great Pumpkin
Nab the perfect pumpkin at one of these nearby patches.
18. Talk to the Animals
Visit a local petting zoo to get some face time with the animals.
RELATED: Best Fall Festivals in NYC
Kids can join parents in kayaks at Brooklyn Bridge Park. Photo by Etienne Frossard
19. Get Out on the Water
Glide across the water with FREE kayaking in Brooklyn Bridge Park.
20. Discover the Garden
Visit the New York Botanical Garden to help prepare the Edible Academy for a new growing season with its Dig! Plant! Grow: Pollinator Pals event, and catch one last glimpse of Yayoi Kusama's work, including the newly opened Infinity Room, before it all closes on Halloween.
21. Take a Ferry to the Governors Island
One of the most picturesque times of the year in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, autumn brings in a bounty of colorful foliage. Photo courtesy of Visit Bucks County
22. Hit the Beach
Who says beach season is over? Activities abound in the offseason at these Jersey Shore towns.
23. Take a Weekend Away
Sneak away for a long weekend at these fall-friendly haunts around the Northeast.
24. Visit the New Attractions
Check out the Sea Life Aquarium and Legoland Discovery Center at the over-the-top American Dream Mall.
25. Go to an Art Park
Take in larger-than-life art at these outdoor art parks near the city. Bonus: You'll see some stunning fall foliage, too.
The Great Jack O'Lantern Blaze opens its 2021 season Friday, September 17. Photo by Susan Miele
26. Check Out Excellent Pumpkin Art
27. Take a Safari
28. See The Obamas
President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama are holding court at the Brooklyn Museum—in portrait form—through Sunday, October 24.
29. Trick or Treat!
One word: Halloween. Even though we're not quite sure what the night will hold, we know New Yorkers will find a way to celebrate!
30. Relax at a Resort
The year-round Camelback Resort in the Poconos is a blast for everyone, regardless of the season.
Originally published in October 2018.