Whether you bike under Manhattan’s foliage while breathing in the crisp fall air, cruise around the color-drenched island with a cocktail in hand, stroll down Brooklyn’s tree-lined streets while sipping on hot cider or soak in the Hudson Valley’s seasonal sights from the comfort of a climate-controlled bus, you are sure to come away with warm memories – and dazzling photos – of New York in autumn. Read on to find an excursion, attraction or tour perfectly suited for enjoying a fall day in New York.
Escape the confines of New York City for a day while experiencing the breathtaking sights of the fall season during a bus tour of the Hudson Valley. On Board Sightseeing Tours’ four-hour Fall Foliage Tour excursion, with its scenic stops in countrified surroundings, offers a nice break from the frenetic pace of Manhattan. One such place is the Lookout Inn, which is perched atop the Palisades cliffs, more than 530 feet above the Hudson River. This lofty spot offers a captivating vista of the many trees – including red oaks, hickories and birches – that flaunt their fall colors along the craggy ridges of the Palisades. Other tour highlights include views of the landmark Bear Mountain Bridge and the historic Fort Montgomery, as well as a walk around the West Point Military Academy campus, awash in fall colors.
Perfect for: Explorers and military history fans
Get your nature fix on two wheels during this six-hour, guided bike tour of Central Park, which is home to more than 21,500 trees and 152 species. You’ll cruise by a varied spectrum of fall hues – from brilliant golds to vibrant crimsons – and ride under a colorful canopy of leaves provided by trees like turkey oaks to sugar maples. You’ll also soak up plenty of famous sights, as the two-hour, family-friendly excursion features stops at iconic Central Park landmarks like the Bethesda Fountain – featured in movies including Enchanted and The Avengers – and the John Lennon memorial known as Strawberry Fields, whose majestic American elms boast striking fall foliage.
Perfect for: Central Park lovers and biking enthusiasts
Get your fill of gorgeous autumn scenery while cruising alongside – and above – New York City’s revitalized waterways during this guided bike excursion. The 14-mile tour kicks off in Hudson River Park, home to leafy specimens like the sweet gum tree, black tupelo and willow oak, which together provide a hypnotic fall palette infused with vermilion, plum, russet and gold. After cycling through this wonderful waterfront spectacle, you can soak up additional seasonal sights from the unique vantage point of the Brooklyn Bridge during the last leg of this three-hour ride. Brooklyn Bridge Park, which stretches along the banks of the East River, boasts more than 100 species of trees and shrubs, including oaks and sumacs.
Perfect for: Biking enthusiasts and waterfront fans
Soak in Brooklyn’s vibrant fall foliage at your own pace with a trip through the borough via Gray Line New York. You can hop off the double-decker bus at various points along the route, which gives you the perfect opportunity to explore such seasonal gems as Prospect Park and the Brooklyn Botanic Garden. Prospect Park is home to more than 30,000 trees, including sassafras, flowering dogwood, ginkgo and red maple trees. Brooklyn Botanic Garden’s diverse ecosystems season include everything from tiny Japanese maple bonsai to towering sugar maples and explode with color during the fall. Grand Army Plaza is near both spots and is a great place to find a hot cider and delicious treats during greenmarket hours on Saturdays.
Perfect for: Brooklyn-minded explorers and botanic enthusiasts
Gaze upon the glory that is New York City in the autumn during this leisurely boat ride around the island of Manhattan. Sit back and relax with a drink in hand as you glide across the Hudson, East and Harlem Rivers while listening to the tour guide’s narration and taking in splendid seasonal sights. Keep your camera at the ready to capture the explosive reds, oranges and yellows that color Manhattan’s northern point; this section of the island is home to more than 500 acres of parkland dotted with a multitude of trees that include everything from red oaks to tulips. You’ll also have the chance to spy exquisite fall colors along the shores of Brooklyn, Queens, the Bronx and New Jersey – and enjoy a fantastic Statue of Liberty photo opp – during this three-hour journey.
Perfect for: Boat aficionados and photographers looking to capture the Statue of Liberty
Enjoy the fall spectacle that is Central Park from one of the best viewing points in the city – the Top of the Rock Observation Deck. Housed in an airy perch that encompasses floors 68 through 70 of the 850-foot-tall GE Building in Rockefeller Plaza, the Top of the Rock Observation Deck offers awesome aerial views of Central Park ablaze with fiery hues in the autumn months. Central Park’s more than 21,500 trees – which include elms, oaks, maples, cypresses, lindens, cherries and gingkos – form a variegated patchwork of leaves that looks absolutely stunning from these soaring heights. This elevated vantage point also offers panoramic views of Manhattan and beyond, so you can easily spot famous landmarks like the Statue of Liberty – and perhaps even spy the fall foliage that surrounds her on Liberty Island.
Perfect for: Landmark Lovers and photographers