They say Christmas is the most wonderful time of year and then every April I say no, it’s spring; but then as the end of August nears and the city is heavy with the lingering summer heat, my heart begins to long for fall. Perhaps because it’s so fleeting we are forced to slow down and enjoy every moment of autumn whereas in summer, I could swear time slows down, stops even. If you go away for one weekend in late October, you might miss your favorite tree at its peak and come home to its leaves already fallen around it- so for that reason I feel this urgency to not miss a single moment of the season. When we are observant we are forced to slow down and open our eyes, to take long walks in the crisp air and enjoy the last warmth from the sun as slips lower and lower into the horizon. Fall in New York City is probably the most romantic thing there ever was, so here are my favorite ways to enjoy it:
The Best of Foliage
First of all, when is peak foliage? Fall comes a bit later than you’d probably expect- September has an average temperature of 70 degrees, although its not uncommon to still be in the 90’s, October can feel like summer or fall depending on the day and you’re usually fine with just a sweater. November is when you really need to bring out the jackets. The leaves start to turn in early October but don’t reach their peak until the first-second week of November. So if you’re looking for pictures so perfect they look photoshopped, I’d aim for around November 5th.
It goes without saying that the best place in NYC to experience fall is Central Park. See this blogpost for more details about my favorite spots in the park, but really you can’t go wrong- but here’s an itinerary you can do: enter at W 67th street, walk over to Le Pain Quotidien to grab a warm beverage to sip as you walk. Bonus-if you have kids or want to feel like a kid- don’t skip the Carousel! Head north towards Bethesda Terrace, then over to The Lake and the Bow Bridge- this is the money shot! Afterwards, I would just wander around this area. You can head into the Ramble, the wooded area of the park, over to the Boat Pond (Stuart Little & Breakfast at Tiffany’s have scenes shot around here), see the Alice in Wonderland Statue, wander down to the Central Park Zoo, or head up to 79th street and 5th Ave. to visit the Met, or any of the museums on Museum Mile, more info on museums and the surrounding area in this blogpost.
Located near Central Park on the Upper West Side is Riverside Park. It’s smaller and less touristy though equally as beautiful and featured most prominently in You’ve Got Mail. As the name suggests, Riverside runs parallel to the Hudson River. I would start at 72nd Street and walk up to 116 Street. You can either walk in the park or along Riverside Drive, one of my favorite streets in New York because of the many Gilded Age mansions that were constructed on it to rival their counterparts on 5th avenue. If you make it up to 116 St, you can grab a bite of lunch at Le Monde, one of my favorite French restaurants.
One of my favorite fall pastimes is just strolling around and admiring the seasonal decorations. Since we don’t have front yards here, New Yorkers opt for decorating their stoops (if they have one!) The best neighborhoods for a leisurely and aesthetically pleasing stroll are: the West Village, the Upper West Side, the Upper East Side, Brooklyn Heights, and Park Slope.I’m sure there are many more but I’m just naming a few! A fun weekend activity is to grab a [spiked] hot cider and walk around admiring the pumpkins on cute little side streets.
Take a Sail on a Foliage Cruise
This company offers sightseeing cruises both around the city and up the Hudson River. Board at Chelsea Piers in Manhattan and you’ll be taken north where you can observe the coastline’s foliage from the river. The skyline cruises run around the city all year but the foliage cruise takes place just October-November. Book here!
Getting Out of the City
Fall in New York State is arguably the most beautiful time of year, so I highly recommend getting out of the city! Whether you drive or take the train, there are so many cute towns nearby with charming fall vibes you don’t want to miss. More on nearby towns & activties in this blogpost.
What to Wear
New York fashion, in my opinion, is all about. the classics. So be sure to pack timeless pieces that are comfortable enough to walk miles in and still look chic going out to dinner in. Below are shoppable products!
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- Wool camel trench coat
- Indestructible (really!!!!!) tights
- The most versatile (and comfortable) scarf you’ll ever own
- Sneakers for walking- I LOVE this brand
- A classic blazer- truly a closet staple, instantly dresses up an outfit or good for the not-so-cold days
- Comfy Chelsea boots to for day and night wear
- A sweater dress
- A cute sweater for daytime
- My go-to straight leg high waisted jeans
- Leather pants because why not?!
- A large crossbody bag is SO essential in NYC
- A cute top for dinner or going out
- Dressy boots