Autumn is a big deal in New York when balmy weather, brilliant foliage, bountiful harvests and fall celebrations lure visitors from every state and across the globe. Who can blame them? New York has a unique energy that no other place can duplicate, and our parties and festivals are second to none.
Celebrate the season with dazzling foliage runs, classic car shows, fresh-picked harvest events, lively Oktoberfests and rousing block parties. As the landscape bursts into color, Mother Nature competes with fine art events that dot every corner of New York.
Orchards and vineyards seem to carpet every spare mile, and wine trails offer the finest impossible-to-resist New York vintages. Halloween happenings at zoos and aquariums bring out your wild side, and everywhere is the sound of music at New York’s endless fall music festivals.
September: Vintage & Classic Street Meet, Clayton
Oceans of chrome await classic car and motorcycle fans in downtown Clayton. A soap box derby, car hop competition and burn out contests all weekend are sure to exhaust.
October: Oktoberfest, Alexandria Bay
Follow the strains of a German “oompah” band to this great big Alexandria Bay tradition with limitless wine and beer, traditional foods, grape stomping and winery tours.
October: Great Pumpkin Festival, Oswego
Where else can you see a thousand-pound pumpkin while enjoying pumpkin carving, scarecrow building and a farmers’ market, rides and games for kids. Free admission.
October: Remington Arts Festival, Canton
Free admission to outdoor galleries of fine art and hand crafts by regional artisans, serenaded by strolling musicians in Village Green Park. Children can dress up in historical costumes.
October: Autumn Festival, Wellesley Island
The Minna Anthony Common Nature Center welcomes craft vendors, farm animals, a scarecrow contest and lots more seasonal hyjinks.
October: Punkin Chuckin’ Festival, Clayton
Watch mechanical wizards compete to launch pumpkins the farthest using trebuchets, a siege engine used in the Middle Ages. Admission is free to day-long competitions.
September: Jazz at the Lake, Lake George
A weekend of contemporary jazz. Chill out as Shepard Park celebrates three decades of established and emerging jazz masters.
September: Adirondack Balloon Fest, Queensbury
Watch scores of giant hot air balloons take to the skies and don’t miss the Big Balloon Breakfast. Balloon launches are weather permitting.
October: Oktoberfest, Lake George
Plenty of local and regional artisans will feature handcrafted wares. Music and family activities too.
September: Tugboat Roundup, Waterford
Waterford’s famous waterfront hosts the Waterford Tugboat Roundup that attracts 25,000 people to wood-bumpered, smoke-belching tugboat tours, music, boat rides and fireworks, the weekend after Labor Day.
September: Art in the Park, Saratoga Springs
Admission is free to two days of exhibits in Congress Park. View works of 70 regional artists in two- and three-dimensional creations and functional art in a beautiful setting.
September: LarkFest, Albany
One of the state’s largest street festivals features visual arts, live music, poetry and kids’ activities. Free admission makes this a must-party.
November: Turkey Trot, Troy
Register to run in the annual Troy Turkey Trot, or wake up early Thanksgiving morning to cheer from the sidelines. This annual Troy fixture canters past some of Troy’s most historic neighborhoods.
September: Harvest Festival, Cooperstown
There’s no harvest fest like a Farmers’ Museum harvest fest. This old-time agricultural fair puts a historic spin on folk music, artisans, animals, wagon rides, games and races.
September: Zoo Brew, Binghamton
Join some party animals at this Binghamton Zoo bash where you can tip a glass or two, or three, with some wild friends. A selection of local and specialty beers complement a tasty BBQ dinner.
October: Stone Fort Days Re-enactment, Schoharie
Meet soldiers, settlers and Native Americans as they go about their 18th century activities at this annual Revolutionary War encampment. Experience camp life amid the boom of cannon and musket fire. Under 18 get in free.
September: Keuka Lake Wine Trail Harvest Celebration
Taste the exquisite wines of Keuka Lake, tour wineries, learn from the tasting room staff and enjoy a first sip of recently released wines.
September: Finger Lakes Cork & Fork
A field-to-feast event that serves fine culinary creations and the wines to pair them. Sample local produce and taste chef-prepared dishes paired with local wines. Seminars and tasting tips.
October: Greek Peak Fall Festival, Cortland
Greek Peak Mountain Resort welcomes autumn at its annual Fall Festival featuring chairlift and carnival rides, face painting and performers, and plenty of refreshments.
October: Apple Harvest Festival, Ithaca
Samples regional delicacies from 100 vendors, a dozen local farmers and select wineries. Farm-fresh produce, home baked goodies and wine tastings in Ithaca commons.
November: Wine and Chocolate Festival, Syracuse
Taste selected paired wines and chocolates, accompanied by music, at the New York State Fairgrounds. Designated drivers get a discount and calorie counting is not allowed.
September: Niagara County Peach Festival, Lewiston
Peaches are honored in early September with a parade, music and carnival rides, peaches, peach cobbler and, of course, a Peach Queen.
October: Aquarium of Niagara Halloween Happenings, Niagara Falls
Wildlife goes underwater during Halloween Happenings at the aquarium with a costume party, scavenger hunt and Spooktacular Sea Lion Show. Kids dressed as a sea creature get in free.
October: Haunted Fortress, Youngstown
Each October, Old Fort Niagara welcomes Haunted Fortress days when ghosts from the fort’s storied past return to walk its ramparts. Spooky fun.
September: Jazz at Chautauqua
One of the region’s top jazz festivals at the Athenaeum Hotel gathers 30 musicians for 30 hours of music over four September days. Sets fill mornings, afternoons and evenings with solos, duets, trios, bands and vocals.
November: Harvest Wine Weekend
Celebrate the fall harvest over two weekends when hearty fare and wine pairings await at each Lake Erie Wine Country Winery. Pre-sale tickets only and they go fast.
October: Fall Festival, Sugar Loaf
Voted a top Hudson Valley festival, the Sugar Loaf Annual Fall Fest showcases terrific arts and crafts, food and live music throughout Columbus Day Weekend.
October: Warwick Applefest, Warwick
A massive craft fair, street fair and farmers’ market welcomes 30,000 visitors to a delicious day of Warwick apples, multi-stage shows and a Kid Carnival.
October: Rhinebeck Antiques Fair, Rhinebeck
If antiques are your thing, you’ve found your place at the annual fall edition of this ongoing antiques marketplace at the Dutchess County Fairgrounds. Held indoors, rain or shine.
October: Woodstock Film Festival
This bold showcase for film celebrates celluloid with movies, concerts and special events in Woodstock, Rhinebeck, Kingston, Rosendale and Saugerties.
October: Headless Horseman Hayride & Haunted Houses
Work up your courage to explore 45 acres of foreboding woods, surreal ponds and orchards, a harrowing hayride and six haunted houses in this spooky valley, throughout October. You’ll be very afraid.
November: Taste of the Hudson Valley, Poughkeepsie
Amazing wines and incredible foods come together at this premier food and wine pairing event held on the banks of the Hudson at the Grandview. Nearly 100 exquisite food and wine matches await you.
September: SkiTember Fest, Highmount
Belleayre Mountain brings together all the ski vendors you need to gear up for the winter season, plus kayaking demos, guided hikes, mountain biking and the SkyRide.
September: Catskill Mountain Thunder, East Durham
A huge motorcycle expo over three days with stunt shows, the Wall of Death, live music, rodeo games, cash prizes and a Bike Build-Off. Just follow the roar.
October: Wine, Wing & Brew Fest, Hunter
Hunter Mountain’s annual wing fling is an explosion of craft beers and craft vendors, regional wines and lip-smacking gourmet chicken wings. The Skyride and Zipline are open.
September: Feast of San Gennaro, Little Italy
It doesn’t get more Italian than this 11-day fest that draws more than a million souls. Thirty-five of Little Italy’s restaurants dish out to-die-for foods, with music, games and rides.
October: Village Halloween Parade, 6th Avenue
Those in costume are invited to join hundreds of puppets and dancers, dozens of bands and thousands of New Yorkers on the 6th Avenue parade route between Spring and Broome Streets.
October: New York City Wine & Food Festival
No one with an appetite should miss an overstuffed four days and 130 events brimming with the city’s best wine, food and spirits, plus celebrity chefs.
November: New York City Marathon
Over 100,000 world-class athletes and first timers cover 26.2 miles of NYC streets past two million cheering fans and a TV audience of 300 million. Start training now.
November: Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade
One of the most famous holiday events in the world, it defines the start of the holiday season with celebrities, Broadway performers, enormous balloon creatures and the official arrival of Santa.
October: Oyster Festival, Oyster Bay
Long Island’s largest outdoor fest brings 200,000 visitors to the downtown waterfront for live entertainment and artisans, pirate shows, midway rides, and its famous oyster shucking contest.
October: Hamptons International Film Festival
Five days of top-notch film at a variety of theaters from Montauk to Southampton. Slumdog Millionaire had its east coast premiere here. Live celebrity cameos have included Martin Scorsese and Steven Spielberg.
October: Long Island Fall Festival, Huntington
Hundreds of craft booths, a carnival, four stages of entertainment, a beer and wine tent, farmers’ market and kids’ activities keep things hopping at Heckscher Park. Free admission.