Who doesn’t love New York City in the Fall? It’s the season that makes you want to buy school supplies as Nora Ephron famously put it. People who have seen “You’ve Got Mail” or admired the changing leaves in Central Park know exactly what I mean. As someone living in Manhattan, I am fortunate to experience the city year-round (yes, even with the sweaty subway platforms), but nothing beats the magic of autumn here. If you’re planning a trip to NYC in the fall and want to make the most of this enchanting time of year, keep reading for some festive things to do in New York City during the fall, including visits to cozy bookstores, enjoying pumpkin spice treats, and more.

1. Sip on a seasonal drink while you shop

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A post shared by Ralph’s Coffee (@ralphscoffee)

If you’re looking for a drink more special than your usual Starbucks order, head to Ralph’s Coffee’s flagship location on the Upper East Side. Enjoy a seasonal drink like the new maple spice latte as you browse around the adjacent Ralph Lauren store, which offers both high-end fashion and design inspiration.

2. Enjoy world-class art at The Met

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A post shared by The Metropolitan Museum of Art (@metmuseum)

For a cultural experience, spend a cozy fall day exploring The Metropolitan Museum of Art, home to over 1.5 million artworks. Don’t forget to strike a pose on the steps for that iconic “Gossip Girl” photo op before you leave!

3. Channel your inner academic at the NYPL

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If the fall weather has you feeling nostalgic for school days, visit the picturesque New York Public Library. The building itself is a remarkable landmark to behold, and it houses millions of books. Take a picture with the famous marble lions outside, then explore the stacks inside. Whether you want to work, journal, read for pleasure, or simply admire the magnificent 52-foot-tall mural-covered ceilings in the Rose Main Reading Room, it’s an experience not to be missed.

4. Grab a pumpkin spice cookie (or two) at this popular bakery

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A post shared by Levain Bakery (@levainbakery)

Levain Bakery, with locations in Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Queens, is renowned for its large, gooey, and mouthwatering chocolate chip cookies. During this time of year, be sure to try the Fall Chocolate Chunk cookie, perfect for sharing with a friend (or keeping for yourself!).

5. Relive You’ve Got Mail on the Upper West Side

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A post shared by Amanda Roskvist (@amandaroskvist)

If “You’ve Got Mail” is your go-to fall movie, spend some time exploring Kathleen Kelly’s New York City. While the Shop Around the Corner may not exist in real life, Cafe Lalo (where Kathleen waits for NY152 with a rose and a book) is a must-visit. You can even order a “Mochaccino decaf, nonfat,” just like Joe in the movie. Afterward, grab brunch at Barney Greengrass (featured in the movie) or take a stroll through Riverside Park to relive the iconic scenes from the film.

6. Spend a leisurely afternoon browsing through a bookstore

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A post shared by The Corner Bookstore (@cornerbookstorenyc)

After feeling inspired by Kathleen’s story, head to a bookstore and get lost amid the shelves for a couple of hours. Check out Westsider Books, a fantastic used bookstore packed with titles, and The Corner Bookstore, which feels like a setting straight out of a movie.

7. Wake up early for a NYC bagel

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No trip to NYC is complete without enjoying a mouthwatering bagel (or two). Ess-a-Bagel is a favorite among Manhattan locals, but be prepared for long lines! To beat the crowd, arrive early in the morning and treat yourself to a dozen bagels to take home and savor.

8. Shop for unique finds at NYC’s finest flea markets

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Fans of thrifting should explore the city’s flea markets. Spend a weekend afternoon browsing the Chelsea Flea (open Saturdays and Sundays) and the Grand Bazaar (Sundays only), where you’ll discover a treasure trove of vintage goods, from clothing to jewelry to home decor and more.

9. Indulge in delectable treats

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Food enthusiasts visiting the city in early fall should make a stop at Smorgasburg in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. This weekly open-air food market operates from April to October on weekends, offering a variety of delectable bites from numerous vendors. Grab a seat and enjoy your culinary delights with friends while soaking up stunning views of the Manhattan skyline.

10. Take a leisurely stroll through Central Park

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There’s nothing quite like a fall walk through Central Park. Set aside ample time to meander from East to West or vice versa, taking in the vibrant foliage and autumn hues. Keep in mind that the colors in Central Park tend to peak later than in other parts of the city, so plan to visit in late October or early November for the best views.

11. Treat yourself to a viral sandwich and enjoy a picnic

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A post shared by Milano Market (@milanomarketnyc)

If the weather permits, grab a mouthwatering sandwich from Milano Market on the Upper East Side and head to a nearby park for a delightful picnic. Prepare for long lines, especially on weekends. Don’t miss out on the viral chicken Caesar wrap, a TikTok sensation that lives up to its fame (it even includes delicious croutons!).

12. Take the tram to Roosevelt Island

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A post shared by Anthony Quintano (@anthonyquintano)

For a budget-friendly adventure, hop on the aerial tram from East 59th Street to Roosevelt Island and back. The tram offers breathtaking views of both the island and Manhattan as it crosses over the East River. Running every 7 to 15 minutes at the cost of a subway ride, this scenic attraction is not to be missed. Roosevelt Island is also home to the Graduate New York City hotel, featuring a rooftop bar with stunning views.

13. Relax on the High Line

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Take a leisurely stroll on the High Line in the afternoon, a park elevated 30 feet above street level offering views of the Hudson River. Whether you want to relax and read a book or enjoy a snack while admiring the scenery, this is a perfect spot to unwind.

14. Explore Chelsea Market for unique finds and delicious treats

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A post shared by Chelsea Market (@chelseamarketny)

Adjacent to the High Line, Chelsea Market is a bustling hub featuring an array of food stalls offering everything from donuts to oysters to tacos. It also houses a mix of shops selling housewares, books, clothing, and more. Don’t miss Artists & Fleas for unique jewelry, art, and crafts from independent creators. Visit Brooklyn Charm to design your own necklace as a special memento.

15. Capture photos of Manhattan’s charming homes decorated for fall

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A post shared by Meghan Donovan (wit & whimsy) (@meghandono)

Explore the beautifully decorated neighborhoods of Manhattan to admire the festive pumpkin displays that will inspire you to snap some photos. The West Village and Upper East Side townhouses are particularly enchanting during Halloween, and Grove Court in the West Village is a standout attraction during this time of year.


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