Autumn in New York is iconic. Tree leaves are just starting to turn shades of orange, yellow and crimson, and there’s a fresh crisp feeling to the air. Summer’s tourist hordes have dissipated and you’ll find there are plenty of festivals and special events kicking off every week. Here’s our list of some top events and happenings to check out—you’re going to love October in New York.

Open House New York

Visitors often feel like outsiders in cool NYC, that’s why Open House New York (Oct. 18-20) is such a great idea. For one weekend only, more than 250 sites—including rooftop farms, boardrooms, bedrooms, crypts, clubs, factories, firehouses, lighthouses, monuments, mansions and skyscrapers—open up to the snoopy public in a series of special events celebrating design and architecture (it is Archtober after all…). Details about where and what don’t get released until Oct. 1, so keep an eye on the website.

woman solo traveller standing against brick wall in New York City
Solo traveller sitting and waiting in New York City

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It’s Festival Season!

The minute summer is over, New York is all over festivals, and there is quite literally something for everyone. Wild, zany, sometimes musical and always independent acts hit the stage for the New York International Fringe Festival Oct. 1 to Oct. 31. Don’t forget to pack your monocle, The New Yorker Festival (Oct. 11-13) celebrates all the biggest names in fiction, journalism, poetry, graphic novels and more for discussions, walking tours, performances, tastings and film screenings. Also Oct. 11-13 is the New York Coffee Festival, which will be delighting bean lovers with hundreds of coffee samples, plus food, cocktails, workshops, live music and art. The NYC Autumn Wine Festival delivers exactly what it promises with a full day of wine tasting (100-plus international sips) and food eating in Chelsea’s Altman Building, Oct. 19. NewFest is NYC’s LGBT Film Festival (Oct. 23-29) that will show more than 50 films, shorts and docs showcasing LGBTQ+ films from around the world.

couple holding hands in New York City, New York

The Vintage Halloween Parade

Ghostbusters, white walkers, witches—there will be no limit to the scary sights you’ll see when this massive Vintage Halloween Parade rolls through town. Thousands of people go ALL OUT (creatively, theatrically, emotionally) and you can expect to see the city completely transformed. You can simply watch this widely popular event (now in its 47th year) or even participate ($25 buys you a spot in the Wild Thing section). 

couple on the Brooklyn Bridge in New York City, New York

Hello, Skating Rinks!

Skating outdoor ice rinks in the Big Apple is often a big bucket list travel item, and we’ve got great news—the skating rinks finally open in October! The Rink At Rockefeller Center, Wollman Rink and the Bank of America Winter Village at Bryant Park are a few of our favourite options for practising your toe-pick spins and clean stops—don’t forget your mittens! 

Family with a baby walking in New York City, New York

Grand Vintage Bazaar NYC

Talk about the perfect opportunity to source never-forget-you-NYC keepsakes for your collections AND pick up one-of-a-kind holiday gifts for your lucky friends and family. The Grand Vintage Bazaar is coming to New York Oct. 6 and will be packed with finely curated racks of vintage dresses, mid-century modern furniture, lamps, vinyl records, ’80s graphic Tees, handbags from the 1920s to 1960s, costume jewelry, comic books, rugs, art and more. (Note: packing the big suitcase is recommended.)

family sitting in central park, New York City, New York

Gorgeous Fall Photos

Not only does shoulder season mean more accommodation deals and fewer tourists, this is the time of year when you get to break out the outerwear (yet you won’t freeze your butt off): picture you and/or your travel companion dressed smartly in new fall coats, bright blanket scarves and chic boots against a backdrop of Brownstones and changing fall leaves—it’s classic New York and you’re going to love doing a destination photo shoot during one of NYC’s most beautiful seasons. (Check out Flytographer reviews here.)

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