New York Attractions: What to See and Do in Autumn

new yorkSoo Kim, The Daily Telegraph, September 9, 2013

Our New York expert suggests what to see and do in the city this autumn, including suggestions on where to stay.

Why go?

New York is a year-round destination with four distinct seasons and autumn being among its best, with clear skies and a crispness to the air, the leaves in Central Park turning a beautiful golden red by October.

Autumn attractions

Central Park

The 843-acre green belt in the heart of the city, has a zoo, two public ice rinks, a reservoir, a theatre and, not least, the romantic Boathouse Restaurant (212 517 2233; ).

  • Hotel pick: The Four Seasons - a luxury hotel offering two sublime restaurants, including L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon, and views over Central Park. 


Nine great museums lie between 82nd and 105th St, most famously the Metropolitan Museum of Art ( . Don’t miss the Greek and Roman galleries on the first floor.

A few blocks further north is the iconic, shell-shaped Guggenheim ( ), with the latest exhibitions including Sixty Years of Living Architecture: The Work of Frank Lloyd Wright until September 25.

The Guggenheim, NYC

From the enormous model of a blue whale to the giant space rocks in the Hall of Meteorites, the American Museum of Natural History ( is a world of wonder.

Brooklyn Bridge

Completed in 1883, the 1,595ft-long suspension bridge, is as iconic a symbol of the city as the Empire State Building. Start at Center Street near City Hall, and take in views of Governors Island to the south and the Manhattan Bridge to the north. Once in Brooklyn, head to the esplanade in Brooklyn Heights, for great views of Manhattan.

Day trips

Governors Island
When: through October, on weekends and Holiday Mondays

This 172-acre island south of the Brooklyn Bridge off the southern tip of Manhattan was opened to the public in the summer of 2009 and soon became one of the city’s most beloved green spaces. On weekends and Holiday Mondays through October, you can access it by water taxi from the Battery Maritime Building (10 South St) on Manhattan, or from DUMBO in Brooklyn.

With bikes for hire ( ), acres of lawns, and a 2.2-mile promenade around the perimeter, it’s perfect for a stroll and stunning views of Manhattan, Brooklyn and the Statue of Liberty. 2013 will see a series concerts, food festivals, and the NYC Unicycle Festival. Visit for events.

  • Hotel pick: World Center hotel - a cheap hotel option offering easy access to Wall Street, Brooklyn Bridge and Battery Park. 

Brooklyn Bridge

Hike Rockefeller State Park Preserve, Tarrytown

It’s 35 minutes by train from Grand Central to Tarrytown (on the Metro North Hudson Line), where this 1,400-acre preserve was established by the oil baron John D Rockefeller in the early 1900s. The park is open all year and features several miles of carriage paths, woodlands, hills and meadows, with stunning views of the Hudson. Tarrytown is adjacent to the legendary village of Sleepy Hollow, the setting for Irving Washington’s famous gothic story. Contact: 914 631 1470.

Exhibitions and events

The Frick Collection: Vermeer, Rembrandt, and Hals: Masterpieces of Dutch Painting from the Mauritshuis
When: October 22-January 19

The former home of robber baron Henry Clay Frick is a remarkable Upper East Side mansion, with a Roman atrium, garden courtyard, and an outstanding collection of works by Rembrandt, Vermeer’s and Renaissance masters. It is the best small museum in New York.

The townhouse will present collection of Dutch master painting from the Royal Picture Gallery Mauritshuis, in The Hague. Paintings will include Vermeer’s Girl with a Pearl Earring and The Goldfinch by Carel Fabritius, neither of which have been seen by American audiences in ten years. Visit

  • Hotel pick: The Surrey hotel - a luxury hotel offering art-filled interiors, an exquisite in-house spa and a private rooftop garden. 

Celebrate Brooklyn
When: through September

This year is the 35th anniversary of this arts and music festival, much of it based around the famous Prospect Park Bandshell. Featured artists for 2013 include Belle & Sebastian, Yo La Tengo and Robert Plant presents The Sensational Space Shifters – the legendary Led Zeppelin front man’s new band. Visit for listings and ticket information.

  • Hotel pick: The Bowery House - a cheap hotel option offering Italian marble interiors and comfortable cabins, bunks and dorms to create a cool youth hostel vibe.

More events and activities in autumn Where to see foliage

New York City's five boroughs are full of park spaces for viewing foliage in autumn. Central Park's Great Lawn, the 55-acre centre of the city's most famous park, is popular for seeing ginkgo and sweetgum trees, while the Bow Bridge is great for red maples.

Bow Bridge, Central Park

Further north, along and outside Manhattan, are the 196-acre forest Inwood Hill Park and the renown New York Botanical Gardens in the Bronx.

Brooklyn's Fort Greene Park boasts 40 different species of trees, from ginkgo and green ash to London plane, while Staten Island's Clove Lakes Park features a 300-year old, 107-foot tall tulip tree - the borough's largest living organism.

More information:

Sarah Brightman at Radio City Music Hall
When: September 21

The English classical crossover soprano will be bringing her Dreamchaser world tour to the Big Apple this autumn at Rockfeller Center's Radio City Music Hall.

CBGB Festival
When: October 9-13

New York's legendary rock club is hosting its second annual music and film festival next month, featuring performances from 700 music acts, workshops and film screenings (including the CBGB: The Movie, a behind-the-scenes look at the US punk era) across different venues in Manhattan and Brooklyn.

Compiled by Soo Kim