We're not exactly sure where summer went, but there are so many fun fall activities to do in NYC that we hardly miss the muggy weather. This autumn, there's a cornucopia of green things to do in all five boroughs, from a spooky haunted pumpkin garden to Oktoberfest on a mountaintop to a labyrinth of corn. Read on to see all of our top picks!
Bavaria in the beer garden photo from Shutterstock
Okay, so Bear Mountain is a little outside of New York City, but it’s a whole lot closer than Germany, right? This year, the state park is holding an enormous Oktoberfest celebration, and you’ll be able to enjoy the crisp mountain air while you sample German nibbles, brews, crafts and more (and admission is free). The organizers really want to cut down the carbon footprint of the event so they’re asking guests to carpool or better yet, cruise up the Hudson on a Circle Line boat right from Manhattan’s Pier 83.
If you really want to try something different this fall, we highly recommend getting lost in the Amazing Maize Maze at the Queens County Farm Museum. More than just a clever alliterative name, this giant labyrinth of corn stalks is a wonderful way to escape the city and put your sense of direction to the test. To make matters even more interesting, you’ll find brainteasers and “magic” mailboxes along the way to help guide you through. Don’t worry though – each mazegoer is given a tall flag so that they can wave for help if they find themselves completely stuck.
It’s baaaaaaack. The New York Botanical Garden’s infamous Haunted Pumpkin Garden will be open from October 6-October 31, and promises to be a thrilling and chilling experience for adults and kids alike. The garden will come to life with ornately carved pumpkin sculptures of spiders, bats, and who knows what else? Plus, don’t miss the Food Network’s master carver Ray Villafane as he expertly chisels some of the largest pumpkins on the planet into zombies and other undead beings on October 20th and 21st.
On October 10th, GrowNYC will turn Union Square into a New Green City filled with an array of eco-conscious programs and products where New Yorkers can learn, sample and eat their way to a greener lifestyle. The festival will be free to the public and events will include action-oriented workshops led by The New School, local and sustainable cooking demonstrations, DIY tutorials on weatherization techniques, a “Recyclarium,” a chance to learn more about New York City’s bike share program, a Solar Cook-Off with locally grown, seasonal food, green art, and the chance to purchase farm fresh greenmarket produce.
Stock image of fall foliage from Shutterstock
Fall Foliage Viewing
This wouldn’t be a fall activities roundup if we didn’t include checking out beautiful fall foliage, but this year, why not take public transportation to reach your leafy destination? There are many state parks, sanctuaries and preserves that are accessible by train from the city, and ditching your car for the day will make your trip even greener. Here are some great suggestions from the Nature Conservancy for nature reserves that can be reached via Metro North Railroad or the Long Island Railroad.
Beer into glass on a old stone photo from Shutterstock
Sample Locally Homebrewed Beer in Brooklyn
Fall is a wonderful time to enjoy seasonal beers and it’s even better when they’re made right in NYC. If you’ve never tried a homebrewed beer, Strong Rope Brewery is offering up the opportunity to try a whole line of them at 61 Local in Cobble Hill on Sunday Oct. 14th, so stop by for a taste.
Boy picking a pumpkin for Halloween photo from Shutterstock
Buying a pumpkin at the local bodega is fine but it really can’t compare to getting out there and picking your own right off the farm. One of the best places in the city to accomplish this favored fall feat is Decker Farm in the Historic Richmond Town area of Staten Island. In addition to plucking a plump pumpkin up into your arms, you can also tour the historic 1800s farm, take a hayride or run through the cornfields M. Night Shyamalan-style.