Whenever someone asks me what's the best time of year to visit New York, I often hem and haw, pointing out the benefits of each season. Ultimately, though, I recommend fall. It is, without a doubt, my favorite time of year. The air becomes crisp and refreshing while the leaves float and flutter around you as you go about your day. It is, quite simply, magical.
After what is often a very swampy and gross August, the air starts cooling down throughout September (another great time of year to visit New York and travel in general) and slides into an invigorating October. Once fall hits the city, I try to get outside early and often, as well as head out to the New York suburbs to see autumn in action. In particular, there are five places I think are amazing for experiencing fall in New York:
The centerpiece of Manhattan is gorgeous any time of year, but I think the park shines most in spring and fall. Springtime brings cherry blossoms bursting on the trees while fall gives you vibrant yellows, oranges, reds and browns blending and swirling around each other in the trees and on the ground. It's particularly beautiful when you veer off the main walkways of the park and meander along the less populated sidewalks. This is a must-do activity for anyone visiting New York in the fall.
Another great place to experience fall in New York that I'm particularly fond of is Astoria Park in Queens. Like many other parks, the leaves turn and create a rainbow of colors, but what I think sets Astoria Park apart is the uniquely beautiful combination of fall foliage and stunning riverside scenery. On a beautiful autumn day, the park becomes packed with people taking advantage of the outdoor track, the cycling and running paths along the East River and the benches with sweeping views of the city.
I adore the West Village pretty much any time of year, but there's something special about walking through this neighborhood in the fall. The quaint cobblestone streets combined with beautiful brownstones and quiet autumnal trees makes you feel like you're on the set of some romantic comedy (or maybe that's just me). The already cozy restaurants feel even cozier and there are nice, subtle touches found throughout the neighborhood, like a pumpkin here and a fall wreath there. Like I said, the perfect backdrop for a rom-com.
Storm King Art Center
About one and a half hours north of NYC by train is Storm King Art Center. This year-round open-air museum features large sculptures scattered across 500 acres and offers both art and nature lovers something to appreciate. Like many other places, Storm King is beautiful in any season but is spectacular in the fall when you can truly appreciate the changing colors without the city backdrop. It's the perfect fall destination for a day trip from NYC.
Stone Barns Center for Food & Agriculture
This is my newest favorite fall destination, and with good reason. The Stone Barns Center for Food & Agriculture is a working farm that also happens to have one of the most well known, critically acclaimed restaurants in the world, Blue Hill at Stone Barns. While there you get a glimpse into the farm's operations while also appreciating the beauty that is fall in Westchester. Between the crisp air, beautiful foliage, amazing food and farm animals (cows, goats, pigs, sheep), it's a perfect getaway from the city.
Do you have any favorite places to experience fall in New York?