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25 Things To Do In New York This Fall

Whether you're drawn by the high-powered glitz of Fashion Week or the classical offerings at Carnegie Hall, you'll find something to get excited about on our definitive list of things to do in New York this fall.
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New York City is an exciting place any time of year, but the ideal time to visit is fall. Following the relatively slow summer months, the cultural calendar swiftly kicks into high gear with film festivals, Broadway openings, and more, all while the trees in Central Park turn beautiful shades of orange. It's not just the city that's worth a visit in autumn -- vineyards on Long Island and Hudson Valley towns will also be at their most picturesque in the coming months. Whether you're drawn by the high-powered glitz of Fashion Week or the classical offerings at Carnegie Hall, you'll find something to get excited about on our definitive list of things to do in New York this fall.

By Michael Alan Connelly

THE 53RD NEW YORK FILM FESTIVAL
​Courtesy of Universal Pictures Organized by the Film Society of Lincoln Center, the New York Film Festival (September 25–October 11) is one of the season’s most highly anticipated cultural offerings. Now in its 53rd year, the lineup includes 26 films plus four programs of cinematic shorts, with new work from filmmakers Steven Spielberg, Robert Zemeckis, Todd Haynes, Michel Gondry, and others. Among this year’s hottest tickets are Steve Jobs, the biopic starring Michael Fassbender, directed by Danny Boyle, and with a script by Aaron Sorkin; and Michael Moore’s Where to Invade Next, which considers the current state of the nation. Tickets go on sale to the general public September 13 and sell out fast, so book as early as possible. (Film Society of Lincoln Center members can purchase tickets starting September 8.)
NEW YORK FASHION WEEK
Julie Angel Saad / Shutterstock Twice a year, some of the world’s biggest designers converge on New York to show off their new collections during Fashion Week (September 10–17). This edition will showcase the Spring 2016 presentations of dozens of designers, including Ralph Lauren, Anna Sui, Monique Lhuillier, Carolina Herrera, Nicole Miller, Tommy Hilfiger, and more. Access to shows is tightly regulated and limited to members of the press, celebrities, and industry insiders, but the city is full of special events and parties that non-glitterati can attend. Even if you don’t attend any Fashion Week events, it’s fun to be in the city when it feels even more chic than usual.
NYC WINE & FOOD FESTIVAL
Billy Farrell Agency With proceeds going to hunger-relief charities, the New York City Wine & Food Festival (October 15–18) features the best of the citiy’s dining scene as well as celebrity chefs from around the world. Mario Batali, Emeril Lagasse, Michael Symon, Giada De Laurentiis, Bobby Flay, and many other food-world stars all appear on this year’s lineup, while chef-led classes cover everything from making chocolate and to mastering the art of butchery. Admission doesn't come cheap at these events, but the world-class talent and noble cause makes the price well worth it.
ART MUSEUMS
Courtesy of Whitney Museum of American Art, Photo by Ed Lederman As always, there’s much to see at the city’s legendary art museums. At the Museum of Modern Art, Picasso Sculpture (opens September 14) examines at the artist’s oft-overlooked three-dimensional works, Jackson Pollock: A Survey (opens November 22) traces the artist’s evolution over the course of his career, and, for the first time at MoMA, Andy Warhol’s Campbell’s Soup Cans (through October 18) are presented in a straight line rather than a grid, mirroring how they were first presented in an L.A. gallery in 1962. At the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Costume Institute will present a collection of haute couture and ready-to-wear owned by the international style icon Jacqueline de Ribes (opens November 19). Downtown, the new Whitney Museum of American Art (pictured) will mount a Frank Stella retrospective (opens October 30) and a career survey of Harlem Renaissance painter Archibald Motley (opens October 2).
SINGAPORE50
Courtesy of Singapore Tourism Board Singapore was founded 50 years ago, so the nation is celebrating its Golden Jubilee all year long. Meanwhile, on the other side of the world, New York City will also be celebrating with a series of events designed to highlight the best of Singapore (September 12–27). Highlights include Singapore Restaurant Week, during which 20 restaurants will feature Singaporean-inspired food and cocktails; Singaporean custard at Shake Shack; a pop-up street-food market and Singapore: Inside Out, a traveling creative showcase, in Madison Square Park; and more. For complete details, visit the official website.
STARGAZING ON THE HIGH LINE
Courtesy of Friends of the High Line; Photo by Liz Ligon Every Tuesday night through October (last date is October 27), take a peek at the stars, planets, and moon from the High Line. Thanks to high-powered telescopes provided by the Amateur Astronomers Association, anyone can get a closer look at celestial bodies from dusk until 11 p.m. No reservations are required and it’s free, so just enter the High Line at 14th Street and look for the telescopes.
BROADWAY SHOWS
ChameleonsEye / Shutterstock Summer is generally a slow season for Broadway, but that all changes in September, when a new production premieres seemingly every week. This season includes notable revivals of Spring Awakening, Fiddler on the Roof, and The Color Purple, director Ivo van Hove’s celebrated production of Arthur Miller’s A View From the Bridge, a new David Mamet play (China Doll) that stars Al Pacino, and much more. During Broadway Week (September 7–20), you can purchase two-for-one tickets to many shows.
CENTRAL PARK
Rabbit75 | Dreamstime.com If you can’t get out of the city, there’s no better urban retreat than Central Park, with its 843 acres of paths, lakes, ponds, and open meadows. The park is at its most gorgeous when the leaves start to turn in the autumn months, inviting long walks around the Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Reservoir, picturesque boat rides on the Lake, and lazy afternoons spent sitting beside Bethesda Fountain. (If you want to enjoy a picnic without the hassle of putting it together, stop by Herb N’ Kitchen in the New York Hilton Midtown, located a few blocks from the park, for a ready-to-go, $68 basket that includes a Murray’s Cheese plate, two sandwiches, two signature salads, New York cheesecake and a bottle of wine.) While many locals and visitors rarely make it above the Met, it’s worth a trip uptown to the northern boundary at 110th Street to see the park’s more rugged features, like the North Woods and the Harlem Meer. For an unbeatable view of Midtown Manhattan, climb to the top of the Great Hill (enter at 106th Street and Central Park West).
METROPOLITAN OPERA
Ken Howard/Metropolitan Opera Even if you have no interest in arias, it's worth a trip to the Metropolitan Opera House at Lincoln Center just to see the auditorium awash in deep reds and golds, and the Marc Chagall murals in the lobby. Opera fans will be rewarded this fall with performances of The Barber of Seville, Otello, Die Fledermaus, Tosca, Turandot, and Rigoletto, among other productions.
NEW YORK CITY BALLET
Paul Kolnik The former stomping ground of Mikhail Baryshnikov, the New York City Ballet is one of the most illustrious dance companies in the world, founded by George Balanchine and Lincoln Kirstein in 1948. The company has a reputation for its contemporary style, but ballet purists should seek out the annual performances of George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker starting after Thanksgiving. This fall, highlights include productions showcasing the choreography of Justin Peck, Christopher Wheeldon, and Myles Thatcher. Young travelers should take advantage of the $29 for 29 program; NYCB gives away rush tickets to anyone 29 years old or younger for $29 beginning September 22.
THE NEW ST. ANN'S WAREHOUSE
Courtesy of St. Ann's Warehouse / Marvel Architects, PLLC Cutting-edge arts venue St. Ann’s Warehouse officially opens in its newly refurbished space, the Tobacco Warehouse, in November, following two years of turning the remaining shell of a historic building into a performance venue with two theaters. Though St. Ann’s has been around for 35 years, this is its first permanent home, and the new space’s inaugural season features an exciting lineup, kicking off with the Donmar Warehouse’s production of Henry IV (November 6–December 6), set in a women’s prison.
SPORTS EVENTS
Mike Liu / Shutterstock We’ll see if the Yankees and Mets make it to the postseason, but if you definitely want to see a game before the regular season is out, the last home game at Yankee Stadium is October 1, and the last one at Citi Field is October 4. Throughout the fall, Madison Square Garden is the home of Knicks games starting October 29, and the Barclays Center is where you can see the Brooklyn Nets shoot hoops starting October 28. If you’re a football fan, the New York Jets’ first game is September 13 at MetLife Stadium in New Jersey.
QUEENS COUNTY FARM MUSEUM
Courtesy of Skyviews Survey If you want a taste of farm life without leaving the city, head to the Queens County Farm Museum for a lot of family-friendly fun in the fall, including a three-acre corn maze (open weekends, September 19–October 25). Also of note: the 33rd Annual Queens County Fair (September 19 and 20), the pumpkin patch (open October 3–25), a Halloween haunted house (October 24 and 25), and more. Check out the events calendar for full details.
STORM KING ART CENTER
Storm King Art Center by Melodie Mesiano Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic Ranked as one of the best sculpture parks in the world, Storm King Art Center (open through October 31) features more than 100 works of art spread out over 500 acres of fields, hills, and woodlands. Just 90 minutes north of New York City, Storm King is a great day trip (you’ll want at least four hours to explore the grounds) that perfectly marries art and nature. In addition to its distinguished sculpture collection, this year feature two seasonal exhibitions of work by artists Lynda Benglis and Luke Stettner.
DAY TRIP TO THE HUDSON VALLEY
Nancy Kennedy / Shutterstock With many towns accessible via Metro-North or Amtrak, the Hudson Valley is an ideal place to visit thanks to its beautiful riverfront scenery and abundance of fall foliage. Depending on where you go, there are also museums, state parks, historical sites, and quaint villages; our top picks include Beacon, Cold Spring, Hudson, Hyde Park, Poughkeepsie, and Rhinebeck. You can also pick apples at many of the region’s farms and orchards, including Barton Orchards and Greig Farm.
BROOKLYN BOTANIC GARDEN
Courtesy of Brooklyn Botanic Garden; Photo by Liz Ligon A verdant 52-acre oasis in Prospect Heights, the Brooklyn Botanic Garden is a stunning retreat any time of year, especially in fall. In honor of its 100th anniversary, the Japanese Hill-and-Pond Garden will feature an exhibition of six large sculptures by renowned Japanese-American artist Isamu Noguchi (September 8–December 13), whose other works will be installed at different locations throughout the BBG. Spice lovers, meanwhile, should flock to the garden for the Chile Pepper Festival on September 26.
BROOKLYN BOTANIC GARDEN
Courtesy of Brooklyn Botanic Garden; Photo by Liz Ligon A verdant 52-acre oasis in Prospect Heights, the Brooklyn Botanic Garden is a stunning retreat any time of year, especially in fall. In honor of its 100th anniversary, the Japanese Hill-and-Pond Garden will feature an exhibition of six large sculptures by renowned Japanese-American artist Isamu Noguchi (September 8–December 13), whose other works will be installed at different locations throughout the BBG. Spice lovers, meanwhile, should flock to the garden for the Chile Pepper Festival on September 26.
ARCHTOBER
Courtesy of Archtober; Photo by Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum The fifth annual Archtober is a month-long festival of architecture activities, programs and exhibitions held throughout October. Each day of the month has a corresponding Building of the Day that you can tour on that day, while the rest of the program consists of a mix of conferences, exhibitions, talks, and walking tours. Many events are free, but some require advance registration; check the calendar for more information.
OPEN HOUSE NEW YORK WEEKEND
Ben Helmer Every October, the Open House New York Weekend (October 17 and 18) takes people behind locked doors to get a look at some of the city’s most important buildings. Now in its thirteenth year, OHNY Weekend offers unparalleled access to hundreds of sites across the five boroughs, with tours, talks, performances, and other special events taking place throughout the weekend. The list of participating sites and programs won’t be available until early October, but in 2014 the weekend featured 300 sites and tours all over the city, including inside the abandoned TWA terminal at JFK Airport. For updates via email, sign up for OHNY’s mailing list here.
LIVE MUSIC
Juan G. Aunion / Shutterstock With stunningly clear acoustics, Carnegie Hall is the ultimate venue to enjoy classical music, devoid of the usual heavy curtains, chandeliers, and frescoed walls that interfere with crystal-clear sound distribution. Celebrating its 125th anniversary season, the illustrious venue sounds as good as ever and will host Lang Lang and Evgeny Kissin, among countless other renowned musicians. Not far away, Jazz at Lincoln Center features a wonderfully diverse lineup of performers all season long.
BAM NEXT WAVE FESTIVAL
T photography / Shutterstock If avant-garde performance attracts you, don’t miss the 2015 Next Wave Festival (September 16–December 20) at the Brooklyn Academy of Music. An annual event, the festival features cutting-edge music, theater, and dance from around the world. Some events are already sold out, but you can still get tickets to Dutch visionary Ivo van Hove’s Antigone and Mark Morris Dance Group’s The Hard Nut, a retro-inspired take on The Nutcracker.
GOVERNORS ISLAND
R.A.R. de Bruijn Holding BV / Shutterstock This 172-acre island in Upper New York Bay is easily overlooked in a city overflowing with tourist attractions, but the view of the lower Manhattan skyline from Governors Island on a crisp fall day is unrivaled. Take the ferry from the Battery Maritime Building to the island (open through September 27), which served as an important American fortification during the Revolutionary War, and rent a bike from Blazing Saddles. The island is easily explored on two wheels thanks to extensive bike paths, and the lawn near Fort Jay makes for the perfect picnic spot when you’re ready for a break.
LOCAL VINEYARDS
Jennifer Arnow Fall is a perfect time to head out to the North Fork of Long Island for fine wine and dining. Before you go, check the Long Island Wine Council’s site to see a full list of wineries and upcoming events. Where you go is up to you, but standouts include Shinn Estate Vineyards, Bedell Cellars, and Croteaux Vineyards. If you want to do an overnight trip, book a room at The North Fork Table & Inn in Southold. Alternatively, you can head to the Hamptons for wine tastings at Duck Walk Vineyards, Channing Daughters Winery, and, our favorite, Wölffer Estate Vineyard.
VILLAGE HALLOWEEN PARADE
Gary718 | Dreamstime.com New York’s annual Village Halloween Parade (October 31 at 7 p.m.) is an unforgettable experience, with thousands of costumed parade participants and spectators lining Sixth Avenue. A stunning display of creativity, the parade is known for its over-the-top costumes that don’t resemble anything you can find in a store. To make the evening even more unforgettable, march in the parade itself; all you have to do is wear a costume and line-up between 6:30 and 8:30 (see official website for details).
MACY'S THANKSGIVING DAY PARADE
lev radin / Shutterstock If you can't stand crowds or the cold, this may not be the event for your, but despite the inevitable chaos that accompanies this annual tradition, the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade (November 26) is a raucous, have-to-see-it-once experience. Now in its 89th year, the three-hour spectacle will offer 2.5 miles of public viewing space along Central Park West and Sixth Avenue. Head to the Upper West Side the night before the parade to watch the enormous balloons being inflated at 79th Street and Columbus Avenue.

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