5 Things To Do in New York City This Fall

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By Jordan Elizabeth

It’s safe to say that Fall is everyone’s favorite season. The air is crisp and clean, the leaves start to turn, and you can layer clothes and start eating more carbs now that summer is over. Now, in New York City, you may have to seek out the leaves a little more, but it’s a great time to visit the city! When you visit the city, there are things like seeing a Broadway show and walking around Times Square that everyone does, but there are so many more things New York has to offer! As a New York resident of nearly 9 years (I think one more year and I can call myself a “New Yorker.” Although I still don’t say “bagel” like a real New Yorker), here are some of my favorite things to do in the fall.

1. Go to Central Park

This is where you will find those elusive trees and leaves in a concrete jungle. Central Park is actually huge - it covers 843 acres in the middle of Manhattan - and there’s so much to do inside. A stroll around the Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Reservoir is a picturesque 1.58 mile jaunt that may not make you feel exactly like a First Lady, but it is great exercise! You can rent row boats on the Lake (or if you don’t care for manual labor, dine at The Boathouse Restaurant, which was featured in When Harry Met Sally!), see Bethesda Fountain (before they drain it for the winter and it becomes a corral for snow - not so pretty). There are also two ice skating rinks that open in October (Wollman Rink and Lasker Rink), where you can rent skates and even take lessons from a pro! As a former skater and instructor there, I can tell you first hand that there is nothing more beautiful than ice skating surrounded by red-orange trees and the city skyline. Talk about a postcard! 

2. Eat at The New York Food and Wine Festival

Please don’t come all the way to New York and eat at Bubba Gump Shrimp in Times Square. You’ve come to a city with some of the best restaurants in the world, don’t choose a place that’s also featured at The Mall of America. Visit this festival for a one-stop tasting of NY’s best! If you need another excuse: 100% of the proceeds go to end hunger in New York, through Food Book for New York City and No Kid Hungry. This event only goes from October 15th through October 18th, but they sure pack in a lot of activities: tastings, demonstrations by celebrity chefs, intimate dinners, wine tastings, brunches, classes, and more. Plus, seeing Mario Batali's orange Crocs in person is a pretty great celebrity sighting.

3. Catch a Movie at The New York Film Festival

For cinephiles and casual fans alike, The New York Film Festival runs from September 25th to October 11th this year. Located at Lincoln Center’s Alice Tully Hall, there’s really no better place to see a movie. The glass building is gorgeous, and one of the classiest places I’ve seen a movie (imagine: no sticky floors covered in popcorn, no surly teenagers ripping tickets in half like this is their prison sentence, no arcade sounds blasting in the lobby). The films played during the festival may not be the huge blockbuster titles you’ve heard about, but it showcases the best films that have been made this year. Ones to look out for: Carol, starring Cate Blanchett, and The Lobster, starring Colin Ferrell. 

4. Walk The High Line

I think there’s nothing better than a scenic walk in the fall (coffee in hand, naturally). The High Line is an elevated walking park that was once a railroad track for freight trains and runs from Gansevoort Street in the Meatpacking District to West 34th Street. The path is really a sight to be seen: the rail beds are still there, but covered in trees, grasses, and perennials - it looks like it was abandoned…by a master landscaper. With great views of the Hudson River and Manhattan Skyline, it’s a great place to have a picnic - there are tables and benches, and you can grab food at Chelsea Market, just below - or just walk and check out the art installations! Plus, every Tuesday night through October, telescopes provided by the Amateur Astronomers Association are set up and anyone can get a peek at constellations - just go to the High Line between dusk and 11pm and look for a telescope!

5. Get Country at the Queens County Farm Museum

If you want to get out of the city and get the “real” Fall experience, head to the borough of Queens for the County Farm Museum! As a Midwest transplant, anything featuring a corn maze is a home run in my book. This is especially a good stop if you are traveling with grandkids, because there are a lot of family-friendly activities: the 33rd Annual Queens County Fair (think meats on sticks and livestock competitions. As far as I’m concerned, you haven’t lived until you’ve seen a cow win Best in Show), farm stands, a pumpkin patch, and a haunted house. 

So if you plan on visiting New York City this Fall, remember to pack good walking shoes - walking a city and ditching cabs for the Subway is the best way to really "see" it. And don't be afraid to walk off the beaten path of Broadway! 

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Jordan Elizabeth is a comedian, TV Writer/Producer, collector of hobbies, and master of putting off adulthood. She can be heard on the Podcast "3 Dudes and a Broad" and performs stand-up comedy with "Girls Gone Funny." She lives in Manhattan with her fiance and two dogs. Read more about her life at Jordie Elizabeth and follow her on Twitter at@JordiElizabeth.