Ultimate NYC Fall Bucket List for Families 2021
Fall is here, and there is no better place to be than New York City. And while COVID is still very present, unlike last year, we can finally get out. So head over to see a Broadway show, go on a hayride, or perhaps make a family road trip. Whether it’s hopping on the free Staten Island Ferry to get a sneak peek of Lady Liberty or using your Culture Pass to visit a museum- New York has many things to do!
So go apple picking or hop on the train for a closer adventure, we have the ultimate fall bucket list for the season!
City Fall Foliage
Head over to Central Park, where the park’s 18,000 trees turn into a beauty of fall hues; the best part is that the change of seasons happens a bit later than Upstate. Official Fall Foliage Map is here.
Enjoy Hot Chocolate
While Levain Bakery cookies are iconic, their hot chocolate is also a treat. This is the perfect cold-weather treat made with hand-shaved Valrhona dark chocolate and the steam milk of your choice.
Ride a New York Carousel
Head over to Brooklyn Bridge Park and, for $2, take a ride on Jane’s Carousel while enjoying the East River; if it isn’t too cold, pack a picnic and break for lunch before heading home.
Walk the Brooklyn Bridge
If you have done this walk before, then you know-walking the Brooklyn Bridge is not only one of the most iconic things to do in New York; it is gorgeous. So don’t forget the camera or phone as you can also check your holiday card off the list with this adventure.
Go to the Top of Rock
The entire family will appreciate our gorgeous city even more at seventy floors up with the stunning views of the city that can be seen from Top of Rock. There are three floors (67th, 69th, and 70th) where you can check out picturesque views of both the Hudson and East Rivers and the iconic Brooklyn Bridge and Chrysler Building.
See a Broadway Show
Broadway is back, so hop on a train and take in some big Apple favorites like The Lion King, Aladdin and Harry Potter, and The Cursed Child, which is kid-friendly and helps support the theatre district.
Visit the Lego Store
Check out the new-ish Lego Store on Fifth Avenue location (636 Fifth Avenue), where kids will have a fun experience at the brick Lab or customizing a Minifigure at The LEGO Minifigure Factory or just doing the free stuff and enjoying the store.
Fall at Prospect Park
Spend a fall day and enjoy nature and pockets of woodlands at Prospect Park. Visit Lefferts Historic House, Prospect Park Zoo, or take the kids on the Carousel Carousel ( the only wheelchair accessible CarouselCarousel in the nation)located at Prospect Park’s Children’s Corner or head over to one of the parks seven (!) playgrounds.
The Great Jack O’Lantern Blaze
Visit the Hudson Valley and go back to the 18th century at Van Cortlandt Manor 525 S Riverside, Croton-on-Hudson, NY 10520, with a magical night of more than 7,000 pumpkins that light up the landscape in what is The Great Jack O’Lantern Blaze; the events run until November 17th but hurry, they sell out fast.
Culture Pass is Back
Use your Culture Pass for some free fun. Culture Pass is back after being on hold during the pandemic. Museums require vaccinations, and if you are 13 and older with a Brooklyn, Queens, or New York Public Libray card, you can reserve a pass for free admission to many of NYC’s museums, public gardens, and more!
Take a Gondola Ride or Row Boat on the Central Park
Head over to Loeb Boathouse and take a Gondola or rowboat ride. Boats are $20 per hour (CASH ONLY) and $5 for each additional 15 minutes, with a $20 cash deposit; boats hold four people per boat. Gondola rides are $50 per half hour and need to be reserved in advanced 212.517.2233. Boats are available until November with weather permitting. Located at Park Drive North, E 72nd Street.
Make it Fashion: Dior Exhibit
Visit the Brooklyn Museum’s Christian Dior: Designer of Dreams exhibit for a mom (or dad!) day out and a dose of French culture. Learn about the history and legacy of the House of Dior via haute couture garments, photographs, archival videos, sketches, and more.
Harry Potter Store
Take your wizards to the Harry Potter Store, where they can visit three stories of 21,000 square feet of magic and have an in-store experience via digital technologies that integrate with the Harry Potter Fan Club app.
Drink Apple Cider
Is it even Fall yet if you don’t enjoy some cliche treats, like hot apple cider? Pick a cup up at your local farmers’ market this season.
See a Movie Outdoors
See a Drive-in Movie. Head over to Skyline Drive-In and watch one of their family-friendly movies. Do not have a car? Check out their outdoor seating!
The Brooklyn Botanic Garden
Explore The Brooklyn Botanic Garden after dark while walking through their illuminating light display, Lightscape. This colorful experience is put together across a one-mile trail of the gardens and showcases 18 works of light art! Lightscape opens on November 19th, but tickets are on sale now.
Little island at Pier 55
Visit the Little Island off of Pier 55 for a unique public park experience. This small island uses stunning architecture and landscaping to create a peaceful escape from busy city life.
Ride the East River Ferry
Ride the East River Ferry and explore NYC – check out Governors Island, South Brooklyn, and more!
Summit One Vanderbilt
Take in the beautiful city skyline from 1,000 feet in the air! The new Summit One Vanderbilt is the latest skyscraper opening on October 21st that allows visitors to look over NYC in their all-glass enclosed elevator and transparent glass sky-boxes.
Walk the Highline
Explore the Highline, one of the hands-down most fun-filled free outdoor spaces in NYC. This elevated park, built on an abandoned train, is perfect for a stroll, yummy eats, and a warm drink when the food court is open.
The American Museum of Natural History is always fun, and frankly, exploring the museum never gets old. The best part is New York residents decide what they pay for general admission.
Van Gogh: The Immersive Experience
Check out 20,000 square feet of a gorgeous light and sound experience. Showcasing the artist’s most compelling works in incredible installments and the main attraction projects his work in 360 degrees.
Queens County Farm
From pumpkins, mazes to livestock, the Queens County Farm is not far from the city and an easy way to enjoy the outdoors.
Tea at the Plaza
If looking for a splurge, head over to The Palm Court In Plaza Hotel. Waiters are happy to see you and are incredibly accommodating. Kids will love the English cucumber sandwich, cookie, and cream Oreo macaroon, all topped with pink cotton candy.
See the Statue of Liberty via The Staten Island Ferry
Get on the Staten Island Ferry, first because it is the Staten Island Ferry and it’s iconic; secondly, it has one of the best views of The Statue of Liberty, and it is *FREE*. Catch it at the Whitehall Terminal in Manhattan.