Fall Foliage in NYC – Our Complete Guide

I think fall is just awesome and there are many places in New York where you can see the colorful fall foliage. I’ll tell you everything you need to know about autumn foliage in NYC here in our ultimate guide.

We’ll show you the best places to see the colorful fall foliage in New York City, when the best time is to visit NYC in the fall, and what destinations are within easy reach of New York City to see the fall foliage.

The best places to see fall foliage in NYC

Of course, you have to visit one of the many parks of New York. Central Park is definitely one of the most beautiful places to see the colorful autumn run. But also Prospect Park, the High Line and Bryant Park are worth a visit!

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    Central Park

    Park in Midtown Manhattan
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    Central Park spans from Midtown Manhattan all the way up to Harlem. There are about 340 hectares of land and is a popular meeting place for New Yorkers. With about 35 million visitors per year, the man-made park is an attraction not only for tourists. New Yorkers love Central Park and its tranquility. Many events are held here such as the NYC Marathon. There are also tons of green spaces, walking lanes, and bike lanes. Central Park is home to Sheep’s Meadow, Bow Bridge, Bethesda Terrace, Central Park Zoo, and many other things as well.

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    High Line

    Park in Meatpacking District
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    There are few parks as unique as the High Line. The elevated freight rail line was repurposed as a public green space that opened in 2009 and now offers amazing views of the city, as well as a place to relax and unwind. Its plant life is based directly off what was growing there while it was abandoned, giving this park a unique and interesting atmosphere! The High Line stretches from The Meatpacking District all the way to Hudson Yards-34th Street.

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    Prospect Park

    Park in Park Slope
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    The park is the counterpart of Central Park. Both parks were designed by the same architect. The 2.4 km² large park has a lot to offer. Just like Central Park, Prospect Park has numerous green spaces, a lake, the Litchfield Villa, a zoo, courts for sports, entertainment possibilities and even a botanical garden. Prospect Park is a great alternative if you would like to escape the busy lifestyle in Manhattan.

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    Grand Palisades Fall Foliage Yacht Tour

    Cruise in Chelsea
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    Grand Palisades Fall Foliage Yacht Tour
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    On this tour you are on board the Manhattan, a beautiful boat in the style of the yachts of the 1920s. Lots of wood and glass await you and you can either enjoy the view of the colorful autumn leaves in the heated salon or go out on the outside deck.

    The cruise starts at Chelsea Piers, not far from Hudson Yards. Afterwards, you can relax and cruise north along the Hudson River. On the way you can enjoy the view of the New York skyline and the ride under the George Washington Bridge.

    On your left and right you will see the forested banks of the Hudson River.You will be surprised how many colorful autumn leaves you will see.  And the best part? The price of the 2.25-hour cruise even includes a free drink!

    👉 Here you find all fall foliage cruises that we can recommend!


When is the best time to visit NYC for fall foliage?

When the leaves are colorful depends on many different factors. Therefore, it is not easy to say when the peak of coloration is. However, since Central Park, for example, has over 18,000 trees of different varieties, the Fall Foliage period stretches from early / mid-October to early November.

The best time to visit NYC for fall foliage is October!

In my experience, the second and third weeks in October are ideal for seeing many different colors of leaves.


Best way to experience autumn in NYC

You can experience autumn in New York in many different ways: either you stroll through the parks on foot in a relaxed way. There are very popular guided tours, where you learn a lot about the special features of the park from a guide. These are the most popular ones:

I really like the Fall Foliage Cruises, which we have done ourselves. You take a boat from the Chelsea Piers on the Hudson River to the Palisades. We’ll show you which are the best fall cruise here.

How about seeing Central Park with all its colorful trees from the air? With a helicopter flight over New York you can combine this with sightseeing. You can read more about this in my article about the best helicopter tours over NYC.


Central park fall foliage

The most famous and impressive place in New York City is Central Park, which in autumn is full of colorful foliage. I find The Mall & Literary Walk as well as the North Meadow very beautiful, as there are especially many different types of trees here. Thus, you see not only yellow leaves, but also light red and very dark red.

The 8 best places in Central Park to see fall foliage

These are the best places to see fall foliage in Central Park (from South to North)

The best places in Central Park to see fall foliage
These are the best places in Central Park to see fall foliage
  1. Hallett Nature Sanctuary (East Side at 60th – 62nd Streets)
  2. The Mall & Literary Walk ( (Mid-Park at 66th Street, my personal recommendation #1)
  3. The Ramble (Mid-Park at 73rd – 79th Streets)
  4. The Reservoir (Mid-Park at 86th – 96th Streets)
  5. North Meadow (Mid-Park at 97th – 102nd Street, my personal recommendation #2)
  6. The Pool (West Side at 104th – 106th Streets)
  7. Conservatory Garden (East Side at 100th – 103rd Streets)
  8. North Woods (Mid-Park ar 101st – 110th Streets)

Central Park Fall Foliage Map

Here you can download the fall foliage map of Central Park.


Fall foliage in Prospect Park (Brooklyn)

We love Prospect Park in Brooklyn because it’s worth a visit any time of year. This is also the case in autumn, when the trees can be seen in many bright colors. There are four particularly impressive sections of Prospect Park where you can see them:

The 4 best places in Prospect Park to see fall foliage

These are the best places to see fall foliage in Prospect Park
These are the best places to see fall foliage in Prospect Park

(from South to North)

  1. Peninsula to Lookout Hill
  2. Lullwater and Nethermead
  3. Ravine to Long Meadow
  4. Grand Army Plaza to Meadowport Arch

Fall foliage near NYC

You can find an article with the best day trips and weekend getaways for the fall season here. Be sure to check out the Fall Foliage Cruises that depart from Pier 62 on the Hudson River.

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About the author
Steffen

I'm a true New York fan! Not only have I visited the city over 20 times but also have I spent several months here at a time. On this blog, I want to share everything I have learned and discovered, so you can have the best time in the greatest city in the world. By the way: Did you like my article? Then think about becoming a supporter of us on Patreon!

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