Its official – autumn is here! One of our favorite times of the year! We are obsessed with Autumn. From crunchy pile jumping, apple and pumpkin picking, and colorful city exploring – fall’s activities are incredible fun for little ones. Read on for our 8 Great Ways to Fall in Love with Autumn in the City, and how to get the most out of this terrific season with your family!
Autumn in the City – Leaf Peeping
Can’t travel upstate by car? There’s no need to travel far – there’s plenty of colorful leaf peeping fun in the parks of our beautiful city. Central Park, Prospect Park, Brooklyn Bridge Park, are all absolutley magical this time of year. Not just the parks, the many botanical gardens are blanketed in a sea of colors too. The New York Botanical Garden is even live-streaming the leaves changing colors (watch the color-ific action HERE) . The timing of the leaf changing all depends on weather of course – but the leaves typically change the second or third week of October, and peak right around Halloween. Don’t miss exploring the changing of the seasons – there’s so many options we actually wrote a whole article on where to go! Read it HERE.
Take the little apple of your eyes for a day of apple picking at a local farm! We love Harbes Family Farm in Long Island and Alstede Farms in New Jersey because their trees are low enough to the ground so little ones can find their perfect picks themselves. Each farm has a number of apple varieties to choose from, and offers a lot of extra fun for kids (pony rides, corn maze, bounce house) and they didn’t forget about the adults (wine tasting!). The best of both worlds! No car? No Problem, Alstede Farms is easily accessed by New Jersey Transit.
Cider Mill Exploring
Fall is synonymous with many things; golden leaves, harvest festivals, family gatherings, pumpkins, and of course, Apple Cider! But just how is this delicious juice made? There are a number of farms around New York City that have working cider presses on display for little ones to learn about how their favorite fall juice is made. Some of our favorites: Alstede Farms Cider Mill Tour, Huckleberry Farm, and Jericho Cider Mill, are must visits. Check out our latest tour of the Cider Mill machines at Alstede Farms HERE!!
There’s nothing more fall then getting lost in a corn maze on a farm! An annual tradition for our family, and each year (we luckily) get a little bit faster at finding the exit. New Yorkers are lucky – we have so many great corn mazes right here near the city! The closest being the Queens County Farm Museum, and their “Amazing Maize Maze,” a 3-acre corn labyrinth! The adventure at this farm begins with a “Stalk Talk” to prepare you for the challenge of finding clues, solving puzzles, and making your way out of the maze. A must visit!
There’s nothing more fall then a hay ride to the other side of the you-pick orchard. An absolute prerequisite for any fall harvest fest, and a super fun experience for city kids (how often do they get to see hay, or a tractor for that matter?) Most farm harvest fests have a tractor ride for kids., however not all of them have actual hay bales to sit on. Alstede Farms is shown here, is one of the real ones!
Perfect Pumpkin Hunting
We are pumpkin fanatics! We love pumpkins so much, that we are pretty close to becoming Linus and sleeping outside in a patch awaiting the great pumpkin to appear. We have been to more farms then I can even remember, and most definitely have our favorites that we return to year after year. We are a stickler that pumpkins must be on a vine (I want to pick my pumpkin, not choose from a line up of someone else’s picks) and I always like a good gimmick of a wheel barrel or fun wagon that can assist. Our favorites: Fishkill Farms (shown above) for their large, gorgeous pumpkin grounds (not on the vine, but in a field and with a view like this its worth it). Lewin Farms and their rows and rows of vine ready pumpkins, and our absolute favorite is Stakey’s Pumpkins in Long Island. One of the largest pumpkin farms on our list, with rows and rows of pumpkins (on the vine!) in every shape and color you could wish for. They have wheel barrows to borrow, furry doggie friends are allowed, and they even have a fun “As many as you can carry” pricing strategy which makes for a fun game of watching Dad try to balance pumpkins on his head. Our top pick for pumpkins every year!
Harvest Festival Hopping
There are AMAZING harvest festivals that happen right here in New York City, and the best part – most of them are free! We love Jefferson Market’s Harvest Fest, pictured here. Each year children are allowed to take home a pumpkin to decorate and can partake in a wide variety of arts and crafts, dance with stilt walkers, and decorate their own Cookie, courtesy of gourmet market neighbor, Citarella. Its a charming event that we never miss. Other great festivals include Brooklyn Harvest Festival on Pier 6, and the Meatpacking District Harvest Fest that happens the last weekend of October. Friendly Harvest Tip: Get their early! Just as all free NYC events, they become packed quick.
Turkey Parade Watching
Autumn in the City is amazing – and all of fall’s fun activities all lead up to the grand turkey of them all – The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. If you have never watched it in person, you are missing a wonderful family tradition. No matter how grand the camera angle on television, nothing compares to seeing the larger then life balloon and intricately designed floats make their way through the streets of the world’s greatest city. Grab a coffee, get the kids up early, and make your way to the parade. You won’t be sorry.