By: Stefanie DiMartino
It is officially fall in NYC and Halloween is right around the corner. Even though things have been a little different this year, it doesn’t mean there aren’t still tons of fun things to do, all while staying safe and following health/safety guidelines. For the top autumn and Halloween Activities in (or near) NYC, check out my top picks below.
Watch my video guide!
The Top 13 Autumn and Halloween Activities in NYC
Visit Mohonk Mountain House’s Hiking Trails and Lake
New Paltz is a short 1.5-hour bus ride from Manhattan. There, you can see some of the most beautiful autumn foliage at Mohonk Mountain House. This picture-perfect resort is located on a lake, and you can take rowboats out for only $20 per 30 minutes! Reservations are not needed in advance for the rowboats.
To get to the resort, you can drive or walk the trails. I recommend hiking their 2.5-mile trail that leads to the stunning resort. It is an easy walk through the woods and the fall colors are amazing! Make sure you reserve in advance to walk the trail because it gets sold out this time of year. It is a very easy walk (I saw kids as little as 4 doing it).
Please note that the only way you can visit the resort this time of year (since it is peak season) is by buying a hiking pass, spa package, or having a meal there. Their brunch was unimpressive and overpriced, so I recommend doing the hiking or spa package option. For more details on visiting this area, check out my friend Laura’s blog post all about it.
With autumn and the cooler weather upon us, there is no better activity than to go apple and pumpkin picking. Certainly, apple and pumpkin picking is sure to get you into the autumn spirit, especially since there are so many great farms and orchards to choose from. You can read more about my Top 7 Best Apple and Pumpkin Picking Farms here.
CLASSIC HARBOR LINE: FALL FOLIAGE CRUISES
October 15 – November 15 | $106+
Surely, one of the best ways to get excited for fall and Halloween is with a cruise on the water, especially a fall foliage cruise. “Celebrate Autumn on one of our NYC Fall Foliage Cruises. Join us for the last leaves of fall and jump aboard one of our classic boats and head north up the Hudson River to take in the beautiful fall foliage. Escape from the chaos of the city and join us for a 2.25 – 2.5 hour fall foliage cruise on luxury yacht Manhattan or hop aboard a 3.5 hour fall foliage sail aboard Schooner Adirondack! Feel the crisp autumn air upon your face and take in the brilliant crimson red, pumpkin orange and a golden yellow of the Hudson Valley for an afternoon of leaf-peeping.” – Classic Harbor Line
COLOR ME MINE UPPER WEST SIDE: WITCHES PAINT AND WINE
October 28 | 6-8pm OR 7-9pm | $20+
177 Amsterdam Avenue, New York, NY 10013
If you enjoy ceramics and letting your artistic side shine through, Color Me Mine is a fun and unique experience. Located on the Upper West Side, grab your favorite Witches and have fun painting Halloween decor, wine glasses, pumpkins and more.
THE GREAT JACK O’LANTERN BLAZE: HUDSON VALLEY + LONG ISLAND
Hudson Valley: Now – November 20 | Van Cortlandt Manor, 525 S Riverside Ave, Croton-on-Hudson, NY 10520
Long Island: Now – November 6 | Old Bethpage Village Restoration, 1303 Round Swamp Rd, Old Bethpage, NY 11804
Price: $40+ depending on location
The Great Jack O’Lantern Blaze has become a beloved autumn activity. The pumpkin blaze is like no other experience and you get to enjoy the outdoors while admiring 7,000+ illuminated pumpkins and pathways. The displays are beautiful and it’s a fun activity, which is why it is on this best autumn and Halloween activities list!
Note: Tickets do sell out fast, especially for the Hudson Valley, so be sure to get tickets right away!
Now – October 31 | $40+
Bell Works, 101 Crawfords Corner Road, Holmdel, NJ 07733
Haunt O’Ween is a brand new immersive Halloween experience. “You’ll find an expansive all-ages-friendly Halloween playground with over 200,000 sq ft. of immersive activities and entertainment. Expect trick-or-treating, potion-making, dance-offs, bounce houses, games, rides, and much more.” – Haunt O’Ween
BOO AT THE ZOO
Saturdays + Sundays, October 1 – 30; Monday, October 10 | $41.95+
Bronx Zoo, 2300 Southern Blvd, The Bronx, NY 10460
Head north of NYC to the Bronx Zoo for Boo at the Zoo, which is sure to be tons of autumn and Halloween fun! Some of the activities include a candy trail, a costume parade, Halloween crafts, magic and mind reading shows, an extinct animal graveyard, pumpkin carving demos, and lots more!
HALLOWEEN ON THE FARM
Sunday, October 30 | 11am-4pm | $20+
Queens County Farm Museum, 73-50 Little Neck Parkway, Floral Park, NY 11004
“It’s a monster mash! Wear your costume to the farm for this Halloween spooktacular for kids and their grown-ups. Halloween on the Farm Tickets include: The Amazing Maize Maze, spooky hayrides, trick-or-treating with the farm animals (find eight stations located throughout the farm’s 47 acres to safely experience Halloween), and an Adopt-a-Worm composting program, ghastly crafts, and recycling tips at the Con Edison Ecology Booth.” – Queens County Farm Museum
CENTRAL PARK: 59TH STREET TREE WALK
East 59th Street, New York, NY 10022
Certainly, one of the best autumn activities, and one that is free, is taking a stroll through Central Park. There are so many trails and landscapes to take in while walking. A particular favorite during fall is the 59th Street Tree Walk. “Visitors on the 59th Street Tree Walk will see many species of trees, each with a unique identity. Signs on tree trunks or nearby on the ground teach visitors about the trees along the path, giving walkers the opportunity to learn something new while they enjoy a stroll past Central Park’s most popular sights.” – Central Park Conservancy
October 7 – November 5 | $40+
Blood Manor, 359 Broadway, New York, NY 10013
If you’re looking for Halloween scares and screams, Blood Manor is the place for you.
“Blood Manor is a first-class haunted house attraction comprised of approximately 10,000 square feet of themed rooms, corridors, and a labyrinth of passageways designed to to maximize one’s fears. Designed to be the most intense, creepy, and scream inducing haunted house attraction in the New York tri-state area.” – Blood Manor
Note: Not recommended for children under 14.
DARE TO RIDE: THE HORSEMAN’S TRAIL
Now – October 30 | $59.95+
Headless Horseman Hayrides and Haunted Houses, 778 Broadway, Route 9W, Ulster Park, NY 12487
“Headless Horseman Hayrides and Haunted Houses is located in Ulster Park, NY, part of the Historic Haunted Hudson Valley. The historic manor circa 1793 incorporates over sixty-five acres of naturally landscaped property including foreboding woods, surreal ponds, fruit orchards and more. Headless Horseman Hayrides and Haunted Houses is a unique, immersive experience with a theme that changes each Halloween season. Headless Horseman continually evolves with unusual monsters, amazing illusions, stunning special fx, unique and original costumes, makeup, animations and frightening detail. Only the courageous will survive the intense encounters with the infamous Headless Horseman.” – Headless Horseman Hayrides and Haunted Houses
Note: Not recommended for children under 13
SEAPORT PUMPKIN FEST + PIER 17 PUMPKIN ARCH
October 1 – November 7
Heineken Riverdeck at Pier 17, 89 South Street, New York NY 10038
For all things fall, don’t miss out on the Seaport Pumpkin Fest. And for the most instagram-worthy fall/Halloween photos, you must check out the Pier 17 Pumpkin Arch. “Featuring more than 500 pumpkins, and other autumnal accoutrements, the Pumpkin Arch is the perfect way to get into the holiday spirit and celebrate the harvest season and Halloween. Cozy up, take a stroll down to the Seaport and let the arch bring all the fall feels to your feed.” – Pier 17
Now – November 17 | 10am – 6pm | $24+
New York Botanical Garden, 2900 Southern Boulevard, Bronx, NY 10458
“The tricks and treats of fall come to life this year with plentiful pumpkins, gourds and ghouls, and fun-filled activities to celebrate this season of frights and foliage. There is something for everyone during the day or at night. Our Conservatory Plaza and adjacent lawn are now home to hundreds of pumpkins and gourds of all sizes, offering picture-perfect moments to capture your fall photos!” – NYBG
I hope this Top 13 Best Autumn and Halloween Activities in NYC list helps to get you into the spooky season spirit! Have fun and stay safe! For more advice check out my favorite things to do in autumn here.