Macy's Thanksgiving Parade © Creative Commons / benandsam

Autumn in New York is a sight to behold. Crisp fall air and a rainbow of russet and gold leaves provide a striking backdrop for lively festivities; see the streets of Manhattan overrun by the ghoulish and ghastly at the Village Halloween parade, and then fill with giant helium balloons and flamboyant floats for Macy's Thanksgiving spectacular.

On-the-pulse city buzz reverberates throughout the bars and vintage stores of up-and-coming Brooklyn, while for open spaces and glowing fall foliage as far as the eye can see, head out of the city into New York State, to the burgeoning vineyards of the Finger Lakes wine region.

Autumn foliage

From late September through to November, a majestic orange wave sweeps through New York State. The region's striking fall foliage - spanning glistening gold to deep crimson - is a massive draw for visitors. Watch the leaves change colour in the parks of New York City, or venture across the diverse and beautiful state, westwards towards lakeside Buffalo, or north to the state's capital, Albany. Ensure you visit your chosen area at its most beautiful by checking I Love New York's up-to-date foliage report for the whole of New York State.

Burgeoning vineyards

The Finger Lakes region in west-central New York State is one of the most revered wine regions in the country, and at its most striking during this time of year. The vines are bursting with fruit during September and October, and several wineries invite visitors to become involved in the winemaking process. Try a tasting at Rooster Hill and pick up a bottle or two. (We particularly liked the Estate Gewurztraminer.) With harvest festivals and farmers markets a plenty, the bountiful produce is easily sampled, and visitors can garner their own supplies of apples, berries, pumpkins and more at the numerous pick-your-own farms.


The New York City borough of Brooklyn transforms by the minute, with new bars and eateries opening weekly. The area of Williamsberg is particularly buzzing, with plenty of chattering cafes and colourful night spots to liven up dark autumn evenings. For those organised enough to be planning their Christmas shopping, this area teems with eclectic boutiques and vintage outlets stuffed full of original gift ideas. A walk across the Brooklyn Bridge is a must - just remember to wrap up warm - and the area under nearby Manhattan Bridge, DUMBO (a much needed acronym for the catchy Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass) boasts more great shopping and restaurants.

Festive parades

For the residents of New York City, ‘tis the season to don flamboyant costumes and party in the streets. Join the largest Halloween celebrations in the country at Manhattan's Village Halloween Parade, Saturday 31 October. More than 2 million eager onlookers line the sidewalks to see a bevy of weird and wonderful costumed characters parade through the streets. More flamboyant costumes, colourful floats and music erupt for Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade on Thursday 26 November, this time accompanied by massive helium balloon creations of favourite cartoon characters. This year marks the 83rd parade and the adoption of a new route along 7th Avenue, which organisers believe will better cater for the ever-increasing crowds.*

* For cheap airline tickets within the US, see

Visa and passport information is updated regularly and is correct at the time of publishing. You should verify critical travel information independently with the relevant embassy before you travel.