Ten ways to enjoy fall in the city

Below is a list of ways you can experience fall in New York that don’t involve a pumpkin patch.


Sirui Wu

Yellow leaves hanging above people’s heads is a typical fall scene. In this cozy season, there are many things to do in the city. (Staff Photo by Sirui Wu)

The Culture Desk

If comfort were a season, it would be fall. The air is crisp and filled with the scents of pumpkin spice lattes and apple-flavored everything. The warmly-hued leaves breathe life into your daily walk. Not to mention, you can finally pull out your flannels. While the city lacks autumn hallmarks such as pumpkin patches and hayrides, there are still plenty of exciting ways to celebrate the season. Like always, the Culture Desk has you covered. Below we have listed a variety of ways, ranked from least to most expensive, through which you can embrace fall in the city. 

The Union Square Greenmarket has delicious apples grown by local farmers. (Staff Photo by Shaina Ahmed)

Union Square apples – $

Pumpkins usually get all the glory when it comes to seasonal produce, but that doesn’t make apples any less deserving of our attention. Pop by the Union Square Greenmarket for a delicious fall treat. Try up a variety of apples, a six-pack of cider donuts or a gallon of apple cider, all produced by local farmers. The market is open every Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday year-round.

Amazing Maize Maze – $

Indulge your inner child by getting lost in a New York City corn maze! Located at the Queens County Farm Museum, the maze spans three acres. If you want to make the maze more challenging than it already is, you can bring a flashlight and try the Maze by Moonlight.  You do have to buy tickets in advance for either event. It’s $12 for the Amazing Maize Maze and $15 for the Maze by Moonlight. The Amazing Maize Maze is open until Oct. 30, but the Maze by Moonlight has limited hours/days: Saturday; October 2 & 23, Thursday; October 28 5:30pm – 7:30 pm; 7:30 pm – 9:30pm. 

Miniature golf at Pier 25 – $

For only $10 per person, you and your friends, or a date, can play a round of mini golf at Pier 25. The courses appear simple, but don’t be fooled; you will not make par without a fight. And yes, miniature golf exists everywhere, but where else can you play with the Hudson River as your backdrop?


Central Park during fall offers the city a pleasant pocket of nature. (Staff Photo by Manasa Gudavalli)

Central Park – Free/$$

While the weather’s still nice, take the time to venture up north to Central Park. You can bring a book and relax among the fallen leaves or take a Citi Bike for a spin through the park to see Belvedere Castle or Strawberry Fields. There’s nothing more exhilarating than feeling the chilly autumn wind on your face while taking in the colorful landscape. You can also head over to the Loeb Boathouse and rent a rowboat. Rentals start at $20 and are available until November. Just be aware that the boats can only seat up to four people and there are no reservations.

Other parks – Free/$$

Pelham Bay Park, one of the city’s largest parks, is located about an hour and a half away from Washington Square Park through various forms of public transportation. Despite the distance, it offers a well-needed chance to reconnect with nature. In addition to the deer, rabbits, coyotes, foxes and owls that have been spotted there, the park also includes habitats ranging from forests to wetlands to the Long Island Sound.

In the Bronx, the New York Botanical Garden is currently hosting an exhibit of the work of Japanese contemporary artist Yayoi Kusama, known for her series of Infinity Mirror Rooms and Pumpkins. From now until Oct. 31, check out Kusama’s indoor and outdoor installations for $32 with a student ID, which include — you guessed it — new pumpkins and a brand-new Infinity Mirrored Room.

Brunch cruise – $$$

If you want to splurge on brunch off-campus — like, way off-campus — go on a scenic 2-hour-long cruise! You can indulge in a brunch buffet, play interactive games and dance to the on-board DJ while experiencing the city from a completely different perspective. Prices range from $70 to $93. Yes, that’s expensive, but if it makes you feel any better, you’re paying for unlimited alcohol and a view.

The islands

The Roosevelt Island Lighthouse, built in 1872, is a sight to see on Roosevelt Island. (Staff Photo by Ryan Kawahara)

Roosevelt Island – Free

Take the Roosevelt Island Tramway from 60th Street and 2nd Avenue to get to Roosevelt Island. The main attraction, besides the scenic tram ride itself, is Roosevelt Island Lighthouse, built in 1872. The two-mile-long island is squeezed between Manhattan, Brooklyn and a little bit of Queens, perfect for a peaceful walk and a pretty view of the different boroughs.

Governor’s Island has plenty of fun activities, such as walking tours and kayaking. (Staff Photo by Ryan Kawahara)

Governors Island – Free/$$

Governors Island is open to the public year round. Ferries start from Manhattan daily at 10 South St. and from Brooklyn on weekends at Pier 6 or Atlantic Basin. Tickets are free before noon on Saturdays and Sundays, but otherwise they cost $3 per adult. The island is a tranquil oasis with activities and food trucks. Kayak for free, reserve a grill for $26, go on a guided walking tour or simply sit on the beautiful lawns and read a book while colorful leaves fall down around you.

Wineries – $$$

For those 21 and over, Long Island Wine Country is a great place for a weekend getaway. Some wineries to check out include Paumanok Vineyards, Jamesport Vineyards, Martha Clara Vineyards and Pellegrini Vineyards. Located on the east side of Long Island, it takes about two hours to get there from campus. This is an exciting way to explore other parts of New York and escape from the concrete jungle for a day or two.

Contact the Culture Desk at [email protected].