Sports fans stay busy in fall when football, tennis, and the start of basketball and hockey seasons start filling calendars. The horses keep running and the slots keep spinning at casinos and gaming centers across the state. Autumn foliage brings a bright new dimension to outdoor sports like fly-fishing, kayaking and cycling. And everyone enjoys lacing up to hit the trails amid brilliant colors.
As baseball and soccer wind down, football, hockey and basketball and just warming up. In Madison Square Garden the New York Rangers hit the ice and the Knicks begin their season. Home to three NFL teams, New York loves its football. New York City is home to the Giants and the Jets, though the Buffalo Bills might be on more lips in western New York. More local sports fans cheer Albany's Great Danes and Niagara's Purple Eagles.
Fall brings the U.S. Open Tennis Tournament to Billie Jean King National Tennis Center. The final leg of the Grand Slam, it's two weeks of pure adrenalin for players and fans, teeming with drama-on and off the court.
As Saratoga Race Course ends it thoroughbred season, the world's fastest horses return to New York's Aqueduct Racetrack and Long Island's Belmont Park, and the trotters keep racing at harness tracks and racinos across the state. Simulcast wagering keeps the action hot at spots like Vernon Downs, Monticello, and Batavia Downs Casino where hundreds of games keep the jackpots coming.
The fishing season is just warming up as hooks find their marks in streams, lakes and rivers lined with fall colors. Fly-fishing peaks in autumn and savvy fishers have secret spots we probably shouldn't mention like the Beaverkill River and the Esopus and Rondout Creeks-oops.
Fall is a breathtaking time to kayak, canoe or raft through the stunning foliage. Western New York's Zoar Valley and the Genesee River through Letchworth State Park are favorites. Rivers in the Central Region, Adirondacks, Hudson Valley and Catskills keep paddles busy, and ocean kayaking is popular off Long Island.
Another big hit with leaf peepers are fall bicycle tours along countless networks of on- and off-road bike trails. Download a route map or join a local cycling club to trace the shoreline along Long Island's Wantagh State Parkway to Jones Beach path. Or bike the Black River Trail, Allegheny River Valley, or Lake Ontario State Parkway Trail. The NYS Canalway Trail banks the State Canal System on a 365-mile path between Albany and Buffalo. In big cycling cities like New York where a bike can often get you there faster than a car, look for Citi Bike NYC self-serve bike vending stations throughout the city, available 24/7.
You can run a marathon most any month of the year in New York, but fall brings some of the best to Schroon Lake and Rochester, Yonkers and Syracuse. In November, the giant New York City Marathon invites 100,000 world-class athletes and first-timers to cover 26.2 miles of NYC streets past two million cheering fans and a TV audience of 300 million. This is an open event so run or cheer, the choice is yours.