New York City NYC Moving Guide

6 Reasons to Love Fall in NYC

Trees in fall loosing their leaves in New York City

Fall in New York is unlike any place else. Vacationers return to the city; the streets pulse with more energy than they do in other seasons, and the parks and streetscapes take on brilliant autumn colors. Nora Ephron had it right when she said. "Don’t you love New York in the fall? It makes me want to buy school supplies. I would send you a bouquet of newly sharpened pencils if I knew your name and address." And like her, I adore fall in NYC for so many reasons.

1. Colorful Foliage Around the City

Remember – the country isn't the only place where you can view gorgeous fall foliage. Believe it or not, New York City offers a stunning tableau of bold earth tones when the leaves change colors. Whereas leaves peak earlier (probably October) in areas outside of NYC, city trees hold their leaves longer, so you probably won't notice distinct changes until late October or even early November. In fact, it's not uncommon for New York's leaves to peak around or just before Thanksgiving.

If you catch a glimpse of Central Park, Prospect Park, or any of the city's green spaces this fall, you'll also catch a chance to take some of the best photos of New York parks that you'll ever see. Just don't forget to bring your camera.

2. Cooler Temps

Summers in the city tend to be on the sticky side. One of the best things about fall is that the temperatures begin to dip. Typical day temps range from 70 to 80 degrees in early fall (or September, which, technically is the end of summer), with nights dropping into the 60s. How great it feels to wear a cardigan again! As the season goes on, daytime highs might reach 60 or 65 degrees, and nighttime lows are pleasant in the 50 or 55-degree range. Unless rain is in the forecast, humidity is typically lower too, making the weather –– day and night –– just all around pleasant, if not nearly perfect, in my opinion.

3. Warm & Stylish Fashion

woman dressed in fall clothes in the city

Sweaters. Boots. Scarves. Leather jackets. Fall fashion swings into full force in NYC. Sundresses make their way back to storage, or they get paired with a casual blazer. Ankle booties replace strappy sandals, while ponytails and topknots come down. The fashion in NYC changes drastically from summer to fall, and by the time September rolls around, I know that I'm ready for a wardrobe change, if not an excuse to go clothes and shoe shopping so that I can update my closet. Look out Century 21! It's the perfect time to put your summer threads in storage so they're not taking up room in your closet.

4. Autumn Menus

Chefs begin taking advantage of cool-weather ingredients, and light summer dishes transition to heartier fare. Fall-time favorites like pumpkin, root vegetables, and apples make their way into menus. Salads get traded for soups while gravies and delicious recipes become more popular as the temperatures cool. Food in New York restaurants doesn't disappoint at any time of year, but fall brings the opportunity to experiment with new and unusual flavor combinations –– those that we crave as winter approaches.

5. Activities Around Town

runners participating in the New York Marathon

Fall activities in NYC are plentiful. While the Mets and Yankees are winding down, the Jets and Giants are going strong. The Knicks and Nets are gearing up for basketball, and the Rangers and Islanders are awaiting the start of their hockey season.

Don't miss the ongoing street fairs, the New York Film Festival in early October, and the New York Marathon at the beginning of November. The city and the world come together to cheer on the runners, who travel from around the globe to race through NYC's five boroughs. The marathon is an amazing experience for the athletes, their families and friends, and even the spectators.

The Village Halloween Parade takes place on the evening of the holiday, and the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade is a tradition in NYC, readying us for the Christmas season, which begins in fall too.

6. Holidays

Although Christmas takes place at the beginning of winter, Thanksgiving in New York officially launches the holiday season. The city's magnificent décor is a highlight every year and begins to appear about the second week in November. City lights shine brighter than ever since visual display teams deck out boutique and department store windows to the nines. Favorites include Bergdorf Goodman, Barney's, Bloomingdale's, Macy's Ralph Lauren, Cartier, and Henri Bendel. But, there are literally hundreds of shops and attractions that decorate for the Christmas season, such as Rockefeller Center (the annual tree lighting happens the week after Thanksgiving), Lincoln Center, Bryant Park, and Columbus Circle. Christmas finally arrives and fall in New York comes to an end but goes out with a bang.

About the author

Tracy Kaler

Tracy Kaler is a ballet dancer turned interior designer turned lifestyle and travel writer who blogs at tracysnewyorklife.com. A former Atlantan, you can now find her byline in The Telegraph, IN New York Magazine, TravelMag, National Geographic, Mabuhay Magazine, am New York and others. When she's not glued to her laptop, you'll find her wandering the streets of New York City or off discovering another part of the planet.

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  • I think my favorite thing about visiting New York in the fall is the fashion. Where I live I can’t wear cozy thick sweaters of anything of that sorts because is always hot but when I go to the big city I can and I completely love it. I can’t wait to go to NY next month.