Can fall in New York get even more colorful? Besides the changing leaves, come experience epic outdoor adventures, family-friendly farms, historic sites, and so much more! Whether you’re sipping locally made wines or fall-themed craft beers, picking your own apples, hiking to scenic summits, or looking for new ways to celebrate Halloween, this season will surpass your expectations. Get ready to breathe in that crisp air—fall in New York is a time to create vivid memories.
Masks are encouraged, but optional in most settings per New York State guidelines. Individual businesses or attractions may require mask wearing. Call ahead and check websites and social media to make sure attractions and amenities are open and available.
Find the Apple of Your Eye
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McIntosh, Empire, Fuji, Red Delicious, Macoun—the list of New York-grown apples goes on and on. Don a sweater and sip on crisp artisan ciders and sparkling wines at Finger Lakes Cider House while enjoying views of the changing leaves and the shimmering Cayuga Lake. There's acres of fun at Ellms Family Farm with over 40 delightful attractions including pumpkin bowling, an amazing corn maze, trolley rides, and more! Pick your own apples or purchase them in the Apple Barn at Beak & Skiff (pictured) in Lafayette. While you’re there, taste-test the orchard’s 1911 ciders, spirits, and wines. Find apples in the Capital Region at Indian Ladder Farms in Altamont, where you can also get homemade pies, cider, produce, and more. For freshly made cider donuts, head to Fly Creek Cider Mill & Orchard in Cooperstown, Cider Belly Doughnuts in Albany, and Mayer Brothers Cider Mill and Bakery in West Seneca.
Spend the Day With New York’s Most Adorable Animals
Zoos from Rochester to Buffalo to NYC all offer visitors the opportunity to see different species of animals while highlighting the importance of conservation. Take a step into Africa or discover creatures from the river’s edge at Seneca Park Zoo (pictured). See epic fall foliage and exotic animals on a monorail safari tour at the Bronx Zoo or celebrate Halloween at the Buffalo Zoo. Now in its 10th season, Central New York’s Animal Adventure Park houses more than 300 animals including giraffes, squirrel monkeys, and red eared slider turtles. If you want to get up close and personal, book an unforgettable African lion or kangaroo encounter or embark on a new drive thru experience at its sister facility, The Preserve. Looking for a more active experience? Spend the night and take advantage of 500+ acres of horseback riding at the all-inclusive Rocking Horse Ranch Resort.
Explore the Home of Baseball
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While the minor and major leagues end their seasons in September and October respectively, baseball is always in season in Cooperstown no matter what the calendar says. Discover the history and cultural impact of America's pastime at the National Baseball Hall of Fame (pictured) through exhibits that honor the legacies of Babe Ruth and Hank Aaron, pay homage to female players, and document the rise of the game in Caribbean nations. Cooperstown is also home to Doubleday Field, widely recognized as the birthplace of baseball, and the sport is at the heart of many restaurants, including Doubleday Cafe and the cozy Cooperstown Diner, where many Hall of Famers have sat down for a meal.
Discover Incredible Fall Foliage
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Imagine yourself breathing in crisp mountain air and soaking in fabulous fall foliage views while sitting in a rocker on the porch of a lakeside Victorian castle with a cup of freshly brewed tea in your hand. That's exactly the type of experience you can have at the Hudson Valley's storied Mohonk Mountain House (pictured)—an award-winning National Historic Landmark resort tucked in the beautiful Shawangunk Mountains. No matter how you prefer to take in the sights, the all-inclusive resort features a catalog of activities including hiking, mountain biking, golf, and tennis. You can even explore the grounds with a horse-drawn carriage ride. To discover more weekend retreats, check out our guide to cozy fall getaways in New York State.
Go on a Haunted Adventure
Looking for a spine-chilling activity this Halloween season? New York State has you covered! Follow Ichabod Crane’s flight from the Headless Horseman on a hair-rising hayride through the Hudson Valley’s Sleepy Hollow and tour Sleepy Hollow Cemetery (pictured) to learn the history behind the well-known burial ground, Washington Irving and The Legend of Sleepy Hollow. Make your way through five creepy haunted houses at Frightworld in Amherst. Bring your family to Fright Fest at the Great Escape & Hurricane Harbor in Queensbury, select days Oct. 1-30. Family-friendly activities such as trick-or-treating, a costume contest, and a scream contest will be held during the day. If you’re looking for more fright, walk through the park after 5 pm to explore a blacklight maze and halls filled with zombies. For even more eerie fun ranging from ghost hunts to guided tours, explore the attractions on the Haunted History Trail of New York State.
Celebrate Cultural Months
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The fall is a great time to experience culture in New York State. Mark Hispanic Heritage Month (September 15-October 15) exploring vibrant neighborhoods from Washington Heights to Buffalo’s Avenida San Juan (pictured), tasting authentic cuisine from Puerto Rico, Cuba, and Mexico, and catching amazing theatrical and dance productions by Latino performers. See the site of the 1969 Stonewall Uprising in Greenwich Village and visit other historical landmarks to learn about New York’s unparalleled role in advancing LGBTQ rights during LGBTQ History Month (October 1-31). Central New York’s Iroquois Museum and NYC’s National Museum of the American Indian are among the many places you can learn about the traditions and contributions of Native Americans during Native American Heritage Month (November 1-30).
Fly Among the Treetops on a Zipline
CREDIT: BEAUTIFUL DESTINATIONS
Follow your adventurous side ziplining above and through the season’s changing leaves. Take a wild and exhilarating ride through the sky with New York Zipline Canopy Tours at Hunter Mountain (pictured) on one of the fastest, highest, and longest zipline canopy tours in North America. Tours are offered daily, and reservations are strongly recommended. Zip through the trees at Holiday Valley Sky High Adventure Park in the Chautauqua-Allegheny region and Bristol Mountain's Zipline Canopy Tour in the Finger Lakes, or whiz between Buffalo’s Historic GLF Silos 110 feet in the air at Buffalo RiverWorks in Greater Niagara.
Experience Fall Festivals and Epic Light Shows
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Don your best flannel shirt and head to Macedon in the Finger Lakes to watch professional lumberjacks face off in ax throwing, hot saw, and other competitions at the Lumberjack Festival (September 10-11). Navigate a corn maze and hop on the zombie paint ball train at The Great Pumpkin Farm Fall Festival in Greater Niagara’s Clarence (September 17-October 31); a tractor-pulled train ride and singing chickens await at Pumpkinville in Chautauqua-Allegheny’s Great Valley (September 17-October 31); and see who takes home the title of “Biggest Pumpkin of the Year” at The Saratoga Giant Pumpkinfest (September 24). See pumpkins get catapulted into the St. Lawrence River at Clayton’s Punkin’ Chunkin’ (October 15) and celebrate fall’s bounty at the Marion Fall Fest (September 11), Lewiston Harvest & Hops Festival (September 24-25), and Peek’n Peak Fall Fest (October 8). See thousands of hand carved illuminated jack o’lanterns light up the night at the Hudson Valley’s Great Jack O’Lantern Blaze (pictured), Blaze: Long Island, and the new Pumpkin Glow & Light Show Drive-Thru at Ellms Family Farm. Binghamton’s LUMA Projection Arts Festival is also one event that’s not to be missed.
Satisfy Your Taste Buds at Food Festivals
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This fall, enjoy a cornucopia of food festivals. Celebrate everyone’s favorite fuzzy stone fruit at the Niagara County Peach Festival where you can sample peach shortcake and witness the crowning of the “Peach Queen” during the 64th annual event being held September 8-11. The Lewiston Harvest & Hops Festival, happening September 24–25, is home to more than 130 food and craft beer, wine, and distilled liquor vendors, along with a farmers’ market, this is not to be missed. For a unique experience you’ll never forget, visit the Hudson Valley Garlic Festival October 1-2 in Saugerties. From October 15-16, have a shucking good time at Long Island’s famed Oyster Festival (pictured) where you can sample stewed, fried, and raw oysters while enjoying live music, pirate shows, and more.
Sample Farm-Fresh Produce at a Farmers Market
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If a laid-back trip to a farmers market is more your style, pick up some fresh off-the-farm goodies to take home from the famous Ithaca Farmers Market (pictured) located right on Cayuga Lake. While you’re there, be sure to try the breakfast burritos or a variety of global cuisine ranging from Sri Lankan to Korean while you listen to live music. Or visit the Union Square Greenmarket to pick up ingredients for the perfect fall picnic where New York City’s top chefs do their shopping.
Travel the Path Through History
Photo Courtesy of Wayne Peters/Old Fort Niagara
With 13 themes covering everything from the Revolutionary War to New York’s leading role as a beacon for civil rights, New York State has plenty for history buffs to discover. Explore the oldest continuously occupied military site in North America at Old Fort Niagara (pictured), or visit the Lucille Ball Desi Arnaz Museum to see the “I Love Lucy” set in living color and learn about how Jamestown, NY native Lucille Ball went on to become the first woman to own a major television studio. October 8-10 is Path Through History Weekend, which makes it an especially good time to visit the many historic and cultural destinations across the state.
Find Your Way Through a Corn Maze
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Test your problem-solving skills during the back-to-school season by navigating through a corn maze. In Ballston Spa, try the Amazing Maize Corn Maze at Ellms Family Farm, which takes about 90 minutes to complete. Bringing younger kids? Have them follow along the Kiddie Maze, where there is no getting lost! At Long Acre Farms, outside of Rochester, navigate the five-acre logic cornfield where you’ll have a gameboard, and staff members stationed throughout the maze to keep you from getting lost. You can also experience the popular attraction under the stars with moonlight maze nights every Friday.
Experience Art & History Outdoors
See the incredible colors of fall as you explore Storm King Art Center, a 500-acre outdoor museum in the Hudson Valley. Tickets are currently available for visits through Sept. 19. Art Omi, located in Ghent, features paintings, drawings, as well as sculptures and architectural pieces by several different artists both in a gallery and across more than 100 acres. The Farmers’ Museum (pictured) in Cooperstown will take you back in time with a mix of demonstrations, hands-on activities, and exhibitions showcasing rural life in the United States, featuring more than 20,000 artifacts. The museum is open through October 31.
Explore Magnificent Castles
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Live like you’re in a fairytale at one of New York State’s majestic castles. The Thousand Islands’ Singer Castle is an impressive structure with detailed architecture and furnishings—on your visit, try to find one of the castle’s many secret passageways! The 120-room Boldt Castle on nearby Heart Island offers tours through Oct. 10. Venture to the Hudson Valley’s Bannerman Castle (pictured) to learn about the significant history of the Scottish-style castle. Both guided and self-guided tours are offered through October. For a self-guided tour, board the Estuary Steward boat from Beacon or Newburgh to get to the castle. Long Island’s Gold Coast is home to OHEKA Castle, a French Chateau-style historic mansion built 100 years ago. Take a tour of the estate and gardens, or perhaps spend a night or two in one of the castle’s lavish guest rooms.
Hike Short-But-Scenic Trails
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Head to the mountains to experience the brilliant colors of fall. For an Adirondack hike with scenic summit views of mountains filled with fall foliage, try Mount Severance in Schroon Lake, which is approximately 2.4 miles round trip. A leisurely hike through Long Island's Mashomack Preserve on Shelter Island will take you along mature oak woodlands, tidal creeks, and freshwater marshes. Edged in white by a dozen miles of coastline, you’ll also be treated to stunning views of the Peconic River and Gardiners Bay. The shimmering Ashokan Reservoir (pictured), which supplies drinking water to New York City, has numerous hiking options that include a paved ADA-accessible 2.8-mile loop offering panoramic views of the Catskill Mountains and the colorful fall scenery.
Say Cheers to Harvest Season with a New York State Wine
Credit: Walter Arnold
Wine lovers rejoice! Harvest season is underway in New York State, which means it’s time to tour Long Island Wine Country and Finger Lakes Wine Country. Sample red, white, sweet, dry, and dessert wines at Duck Walk Vineyards while overlooking 30 acres of vineyards in the Hamptons. In the Finger Lakes, drink a glass of wine while taking in the sunset over Seneca Lake from the deck at Atwater Estate Vineyards (pictured) through Columbus Day. Sample world-class wines during a tasting experience at the Dr. Konstantin Frank Winery along Keuka Lake. Venture to nearby Heron Hill Winery to enjoy live music throughout the fall months. Through September, Johnson Estate Winery in the Chautauqua-Allegheny region hosts its annual Great Grape Walk. Tour the vineyard and fill a basket with grapes before enjoying a wine tasting paired with a small cheese and charcuterie board.
Sample Seasonal New York State Beer
Try unique seasonal beers or stick to year-round favorites like Rare Vos or Witte at Brewery Ommegang (pictured) in Cooperstown. The Adirondacks’ Lake Placid Pub and Brewery always has 10-12 house beers on tap, and pub food options to choose from. For a seasonal beer, try the Pumpkin Ubu Ale, Lake Placid Festbier, or Autumn Rye. Brooklyn Brewery, located on the north side of the borough, offers Brooklyn Oktoberfest and Post Road Pumpkin Ale during the autumn season. As the temperature begins to fall in the Capital region, Druthers Brewing Company brings out their Oktoberfest beer, a traditional German-style lager. On Nov. 12 in the Chautauqua-Allegheny region you can taste offerings from numerous New York-based breweries at the 18th annual Holiday Valley Beer and Wine Festival.
Cheer on Runners or Participate in Seasonal Races
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Fall is a perfect time for running—cool temperatures, crisp air, and a beautiful backdrop of changing leaves. On October 2, the 41st Annual Guthrie Wineglass Marathon will take runners on a picturesque course through the Finger Lakes from Bath to Corning. Walk, run or ride a 5K or 10K on October 15 at the Great Pumpkin Challenge (pictured). Encourage your family and friends to join in and register for $25. See spectacular foliage as you run through the village of Rhinebeck at the Fall Foliage ½ Marathon & 5K on October 9. The half marathon begins at 10 am and the 5K starts at 10:15 am. Additionally, be inspired by more than 50,000 runners at the New York City Marathon on November 6! Runners from around the world will test their stamina as they run 26.2 miles through the five boroughs of New York City while the entire city cheers for them on the sidelines.
Binge on Cinema at a Film Festival
‘Tis the season for film festivals. Watch incredible films and celebrate talented filmmakers at the 60th New York City Film Festival September 30–October 16. Among this year’s highlights is the world premiere of “Personality Crisis: One Night Only,” a documentary from director Martin Scorcese about New York Dolls frontman David Johansen. Single tickets go on sale on September 19 at noon. Attend the Woodstock Film Festival Sept. 28-Oct. 2 to see independent film premieres, listen to panel experts and connect with other film lovers. Five films will have their world premiere screenings at the 30th Annual Hamptons International Film Festival October 7–16 in the Hamptons. In addition, you can attend the Lake Placid Film Festival, October 20–23 in the Adirondacks.
Cheer on Your Favorite New York Sports Teams
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Deck yourself out in your team’s colors, grab some nachos, and get ready to watch your team win! With three major sports seasons overlapping, you’ll have no problem finding a game to attend this fall! Football Sundays (and Saturdays for college games) are some of the best things about the weather changing. Catch a professional game at Highmark Stadium watching the Buffalo Bills or wear your orange to the JMA Wireless Dome at a Syracuse University football game. Finish out the baseball season at a New York Yankees or New York Mets game in New York City. Can’t wait to be sitting against the glass? Watch the puck drop at a New York Rangers, New York Islanders, or Buffalo Sabres professional hockey game, as the preseason gets underway in late September.
Take a Scenic Fall Foliage Train Ride
One of the best ways to experience New York’s gorgeous fall foliage is on the rails. The Adirondack Railroad will take you through forests and over rivers and streams with a colorful trip from Utica to Thendara. For more mountain views, hop into an open-air car and take a fall adventure train ride on the Catskill Mountain Railroad (pictured). At the end of October, the railroad runs the Pumpkin Express where passengers choose their own pumpkin to take home and decorate. The Cooperstown & Charlotte Valley Railway will also take you on a fall excursion along the tranquil Susquehanna River and through farm fields and forests. Amtrak, Metro-North, and the Long Island Rail Road also provide ample opportunities to explore fall foliage by rail.
Experience Larger-Than-Life NYC Fall Events
Credit: New York Comic Con/ReedPOP
New York City is host to some of the most world-famous events in the fall. Sample classic Italian dishes and catch the annual cannoli-eating competition on the streets of Little Italy at the Feast of San Gennaro (September 15-25). Superheroes, villains, and other costumed characters will descend on Manhattan for New York Comic Con (pictured) on October 6-9 and the iconic Village Halloween Parade will march its way through Greenwich Village on October 31. Before the turkey is trimmed on November 24, giant balloons, Broadway stars, marching bands, the Rockettes, and Santa will spread joy through the streets at the iconic Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, ushering in the winter holiday season in epic fashion.
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