The Guide to Visiting New York City in the Fall

Perhaps New York City isn’t the first destination people think of when considering travel in the fall, but it should be. Leaf peepers will get their fill of autumnal foliage in Central Park, at Columbus Circle and on the High Line, while adrenaline junkies still have myriad activities to choose from. If you’re thinking of visiting NYC in the fall, this information will help you plan your trip.

Average Weather

New York City sees an average precipitation total of approximately 4 inches every month, no matter the season. In September and October, that’s mostly rain, though the city has seen surprise snow in October in recent years. November is a mixed bag of rain and snow.

Temperatures in September average in the mid-70s with nighttime lows in the 50s. Most years see some type of “Indian summer” in early to mid-September, when temps can climb to the 80s and even 90s. By October, average day temps drop to the low 60s, and in November they’re mainly in the low 50s.

Fall NYC

Central Park in Fall – Credit: Shutterstock

Clothing You’ll Need

Because of the possibility of summer heat in September, you’ll likely want to pack a pair of shorts or a skirt, along with some short-sleeved shirts. Layering is the name of the game for autumn travel to New York City, so be sure to bring sweaters, sweatshirts and/or a light jacket, especially for nighttime activities. Jeans, slacks and/or long skirts are all perfect for daily sightseeing.

A waterproof jacket is a good idea in any season, as well as footwear that encloses the whole foot, like sneakers or comfortable walking shoes. November travelers to NYC should strongly consider a pair of waterproof boots, just in case. When it does snow, traversing curbs can become a messy affair.

If you plan to eat at any fine restaurants while here, be sure to bring appropriate clothing — check ahead with the restaurant via phone or on its website to find out the required dress code. You’ll also want to pack fancy dress for any planned night at the Metropolitan Opera or Lincoln Center. But if you intend to stick with casual eateries and Broadway or Off-Broadway plays, you can likely leave the dress shoes and heels at home.

Seasonal Activities in NYC

So you’ve got everything packed … what should you do? Besides the millions of things to do in the city on any given day, don’t miss these only-in-the-fall events and activities:

New York Film Festival: The Film Society of Lincoln Center will host the 56th annual New York Film Festival from September 28 through October 14. The festival includes mainstream, short and documentary film screenings, roundtables, talks and retrospectives. It’s perfect for movie buffs, and for any rainy fall day.

Go to a Football Game: Fall is football season, so go cheer on either the Giants or the Jets! Don’t forget to tailgate beforehand; it’s an essential part of the experience. If you don’t have a car, you can pay to join groups like Big Blue BBQ.

Browse a Farmers Market: Nothing says fall like the foods of the season. Check out city farm markets for your fill of apples, and apple cider donuts.

 Central Park's Oktoberfest

Credit: Shutterstock

Celebrate Oktoberfest: The Watermark Bar on Pier 15 plays hosts to Oktoberfest New York over four long weekends in September and October. Go not just for the authentic beers and German food, but also the view of the Brooklyn Bridge. Or visit the fifth annual “Munich on the East River” Oktoberfest celebration from September 28 through October 7. It’s put on by Zum Schneider, “the original Bavarian Bierhaus in NYC.”

Watch the Halloween Parade: There is no parade quite like NYC’s Village Halloween Parade, now celebrating its 45th year. If you’re in town on October 31, you must get down to the East Village to either watch or participate.

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