Are you thinking of flying to New York City this autumn? The Big Apple is a magical destination no matter the season, and you definitely won't regret opting to discover it in autumn! In this post, I talk about the city's weather at this time of year and all the best things to do in New York in autumn 😊
New York climate in autumn
Before the onset of a harsh winter, autumn is a much better time to travel to New York in terms of weather. It is a time that visitors particularly appreciate.
Temperatures are still very good in New York in September and during the first half of October – over 20 degrees on average in the middle of the day. It rains less than in the summer (although it rains quite regularly in New York all year round), the days are long and you will really enjoy your stay.
As the days pass, the trees in Central Park turn gold and orange while the days get shorter and the temperatures gradually drop. Still, the average daytime temperature stays close to 14 degrees in November – a far cry from the freezing cold that can hit the city in winter.
Why go to New York in Autumn?
To be honest, the fall is definitely one of the best times to go to New York, especially during the first half of the season. The sun is there, the weather is fairly mild and there are less tourists than during the busiest times of the year (except around Halloween 🎃).
You'll be able to do all the amazing things New York has to offer and attend some of the big annual events besides. In addition, you'll get to enjoy the colourful scenery in Central Park and other green spaces around the city 🍂🍃
Another advantage is that you will probably be able to pay a little less for your airfare to New York if you go in the autumn – especially if you book it early enough, at least 10 weeks before your departure date. Hotel rooms can also be more affordable in the autumn ✈️
Remember to book your activities in New York 🍁
You’ve decided to go in autumn for sure? Excellent idea! If you're wondering what to do in New York, know that there will be plenty of activities and tours to enjoy, as the temperatures will be mild and there won't be as many tourists as in the summer or during the holiday season. Whether you want to take a helicopter ride over New York to see the beautiful fall colours from above, visit the Empire State Building or attend a Broadway musical, you'll have enough to keep yourself busy. Do remember to book your activities beforehand to avoid disappointment though 😉
The best things to do and see in New York City in autumn
Discover New York's most beautiful parks
Autumn is a great time to explore New York's most beautiful parks and green spaces:
- Central Park, the world's most famous city park, is a must-see site that you will be able to see changing day by day at this time of year.
- Bryant Park, in Manhattan, is one of the most popular parks for locals, and you can even find an ice rink there from late October to late January.
- The High Line is a park on a former elevated railway, where it is possible to take a beautiful walk and enjoy breathtaking views of Manhattan.
- Battery Park, one of the city's oldest parks, is a small, peaceful haven in lower Manhattan with a great view of the Statue of Liberty.
- Prospect Park is a great park for walking or relaxing on the lawns, and is home to the Brooklyn Botanical Garden – which is lovely at this time of year.
Resumption of the NBA, NFL and NHL seasons
Autumn marks the start of the championships for three of the most popular sports in the United States. The NFL (American Football) regular season starts in September, while the NBA (Basketball) and NHL (Ice Hockey) regular seasons start in October.
Autumn is therefore the perfect time to see the Giants, Jets, Knicks, Nets, Rangers and Islanders play.
The basketball (Knicks and Nets) and hockey (Rangers and Islanders) teams play their home games at the famous Madison Square Garden, while the American football teams play at MetLife Stadium.
You're bound to have one or more opportunities to see an official game if you're in New York for a few days during the fall. Don't wait until you get there and instead book your ticket to see an NBA, NHL or NFL game in New York as soon as possible!
Seeing a Broadway show is a must-do, no matter what time of year you visit New York 🎭 During Broadway Week (a twice-yearly event that takes place in September and January), you can sometimes get two-for-one tickets, but also premium seats for less.
And by the way, although the event is called Broadway Week, it usually lasts about 20 days.
New York Marathon
The New York City Marathon is one of the world's most important running events, and New York's largest sporting event. It is traditionally held on the first Sunday in November. Every year, about 50,000 runners, both professional and amateur, come to participate in this event.
Foreign participants are allowed, but places are limited and only available through lottery, or are reserved for members of associations or people on organised trips (Marathon Package). Registration for the lottery is done directly on the official New York Marathon website.
If you are in New York City on the day of the marathon and simply want to watch the race, there are several strategic locations where you will be able to watch and cheer on the runners:
- On Staten Island, where the race starts,
- On the Queensboro Bridge, to watch the runners arrive in Manhattan,
- On 138th Street in the Bronx – a street that climbs quite steeply and pushes many runners to their limits,
- In Central Park, to watch the finish of the race.
hALLOWEEN IN nEW yORK
In New York, Halloween is celebrated in style on the night of 31 October 🎃 This celebration is much more important in the United States than it is in the UK and for the occasion, the streets of the city and many shop windows are decorated from mid-October onward with pumpkins, bats, spider webs and such🦇
On Halloween night, everywhere in the city one can see people dressed as witches, vampires, skeletons, devilish creatures and many famous characters from popular culture 👻
Lots of activities are organised for the occasion – you can participate in the Village Halloween Parade (a costume parade in Greenwich Village), check out the beautiful decorations at the JaNew York Botanical Garden, or participate in costume workshops and a costume contest at Coney Island.
Halloween is also the perfect opportunity to sign up for some tours and activities that will be perfectly in theme:
- The Catacombs Candlelight Tour🕯️
- A ghost tour of Greenwich Village,
- The walking tour of New York's darkest places,
- Seeing Phantom of the Opera or Wicked on Broadway.
Where to sleep in New York in autumn? 🛏️
You are leaving soon but you still aren’t sure of where to sleep in New York? As you probably know, New York is one of the most expensive cities in the world, and that goes for accommodation too! That's why it is quite important to book your hotel room well in advance – so as to get the best price possible. Amongst the affordable hotels is The Flat NYC, not far from the Flatiron Building. This establishment offers clean, well-equipped rooms for 2 from £160 🙂
Tjanksgiving in New York
Along with Christmas, Thanksgiving is the most important holiday in the United States. It takes place on the fourth Thursday in November. The day is a bank holiday, which doesn't mean there's nothing to do in New York – quite the opposite in fact!
The famous Macy’s Day Parade is held on Thanksgiving. It is a big parade with huge balloons in the shape of famous people, which starts near the American Museum of Natural History and goes all the way to Herald Square.
Many places are closed for the occasion, but you can still enjoy the day with a pleasant walk along the most beautiful streets of the city, in Central Park or on the Brooklyn Bridge.
Some restaurants in the city also offer typical Thanksgiving meals, but you'll need to remember to book a table. For example, the Central Park BoatHouse, a restaurant in the middle of Central Park, offers a traditional meal, and so does Sylvia’s Soul Food, in Harlem, where one can enjoy a typical Thanksgiving meal 😋
Black Friday and autumn sales
The day after Thanksgiving happens to be Black Friday. This event has existed in the UK for a few years now, but the sales are on a completely different scale in the United States. It goes without saying that New York is the place all shopaholics want to be at this time of year!
Black Friday is the Friday after the fourth Thursday in November. It marks the start of the holiday shopping season. It is possible to get great deals on brand name products of all kinds in the shops and malls of New York. Don't hesitate to get up early though – because the best deals won't be available for long! 😉
That's it for this article on New York in autumn! Now that you know when to go to New York and what to expect, why not consider taking a New York pass? This will help you save both money and time on your visits and activities 😁