The Ultimate New York City Fall Bucket List: 10 Must-Do Activities

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The Ultimate New York City Fall Bucket List: 10 Must-Do Activities

As a desi immigrant, experiencing a fall in the United States is a unique journey. The colorful leaves create a beautiful mosaic; you’ll feel a new connection to this autumn season. 

From embracing cherished traditions from back home to discovering the beauty of American fall festivities, this season offers a unique blend of nostalgia and excitement for desi immigrants. 

So, let’s embark on a colorful journey through the fall season in the USA, celebrating the rich cultural diversity that makes this experience exceptional.

From spine-tingling Halloween events and lively festivals to breathtaking leaf-peeping spots and unforgettable cultural celebrations, autumn in NYC offers a cornucopia of delights. Prepare for a season of exploration, adventure, and creating memories that will last a lifetime. 

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So, whether you’re a newcomer or a longtime resident, let’s dive into how to make this New York City fall your best!

1. ‘Pumpkin Nights’ at the Bronx Zoo

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“Pumpkin Nights at the Bronx Zoo” will kick off on Thursday, September 28, and will be held on Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays until Sunday, October 29, from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. 

This fall festival will feature an impressive display of over 5,000 animal-themed carved pumpkins along a half-mile-long jack-o’-lantern trail. Visitors can also enjoy live pumpkin carving demonstrations, games, delicious fall treats, and food trucks suitable for all ages.

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Tickets for “Pumpkin Nights” are priced between $26.95 and $36.95 for adults, and for kids, tickets range from $24.95 to $26.95. Additionally, alongside the new “Pumpkin Nights,” the Bronx Zoo will continue the “Boo at the Zoo” tradition, which will be held on Saturdays and Sundays from September 30 to October 29 and Monday, October 9.

2. Visit Governors Island

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Plan a visit to Governors Island before it closes for the season. Locals adore it for its well-known art installations, lush parks, and peaceful atmosphere, but tourists frequently pass it by.

Situated south of Manhattan and west of Brooklyn, this 172-acre island was accessible only from May 31 to October 31. However, it’s now open year-round for exploration!

3. Party with the Great Gatsby: An Immersive Experience in NYC

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Party organizers Rosé Lifestyle and experience creators Bucket Listers bring the immersive “The Great Gatsby” event from 2015 to six cities across the United States, including its story’s base—New York.

On October 6 and 7, ticket holders will gather at the iconic downtown venue Capitale, located at 130 Bowery. You can enjoy an evening filled with live music, performances by burlesque stars, theatrical acts, aerialists, and much more. For an exclusive experience with better stage views and table service, you can even reserve a “Jay Gatsby Table.”

4. Go apple picking!

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Enjoy apple picking just outside the city by grabbing an empty basket and dressing in your finest plaid for a fun fall “pick your own” adventure. Local farms in the tri-state area offer a wide selection of apple varieties and exciting seasonal activities, including petting zoos and corn mazes. And don’t forget to treat yourself to some delicious apple cider doughnuts while you’re there!

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5. Enjoy films at the New York Film Festival

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Experience the New York Film Festival, an annual event dating back to 1963, dedicated to showcasing the finest cinematic works from around the globe at Lincoln Center.

This year marks the 61st edition, with excitement building since they announced the main slate lineup in August. The lineup features acclaimed films like Justine Triet’s “Anatomy of a Fall,” Jonathan Glazer’s “The Zone of Interest,” Wim Wenders’s “Perfect Days,” and many more.

The New York Film Festival is a delightful annual tradition highlighting the city’s sophisticated taste in cinema with a touch of elegance. Don’t miss the opportunity to attend fantastic movie screenings and events. The festival is scheduled to run from September 29 to October 15, 2023.

6. Rent a Rowboat and experience Central Park 

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Experience the beauty of Central Park in the fall by renting a rowboat. Whether exploring the park solo, on a romantic retreat, or enjoying a family vacation, a rowboat ride from the Loeb Boathouse is memorable. At just $20 for a rowboat that can accommodate four people for an hour, it’s a fantastic deal in NYC. Keep in mind that the boathouse is open only until November, so make sure to enjoy a ride while you still can.

7.  Attend the iconic NYC Halloween Parade

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Don’t miss the Village Halloween Parade, one of NYC’s must-see fall events that’s been captivating audiences since the 1970s. This parade is the largest Halloween celebration globally, drawing hundreds of thousands of spectators annually. You can participate in the parade, but you must be in costume. You’ll march alongside massive puppets, numerous music bands performing global tunes, and seemingly every New Yorker dressed in their finest costumes.

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Each year, the parade adopts a theme, and all the puppets are designed to fit that theme. If you prefer to watch, catch it on Halloween night from 7 to 10 along Sixth Avenue, stretching from Spring Street to 16th Street.

8. Enjoy a free outdoor movie.

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Enjoy free outdoor screenings of romantic comedies and fantasy films from the early 2000s at Hudson Yards this fall. The Backyard at Hudson Yards will host these screenings every Friday until the end of October, featuring films like “Miss Congeniality,” “What A Girl Wants,” “Practical Magic” (technically 1998), and “Corpse Bride.”

These films will be shown on a massive 30-foot screen, ensuring a great view for everyone in the Public Square & Gardens. Here’s the screening schedule:

September 22: “Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants”September 29: “Crazy, Stupid Love”October 6: “What A Girl Wants”October 13: “Practical Magic”October 20: “The Witches”October 27: Tim Burton’s “Corpse Bride”

9. Are you a comic nerd? You can’t miss New York Comic Con 2023

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Prepare your geekiest costumes and superhero gear because New York Comic Con 2023 is returning in person (and online) from October 12 to October 15 at the Javits Center. It’s North America’s largest pop culture event, featuring must-see panels, celebrities, and all the cosplay you can imagine. Get your tickets now!

10. Enjoy a Farm Day and a ‘Barbie Corn Maze’!

Get ready to explore a 10-acre Barbie-themed corn maze at Happy Day Farm in Manalapan, New Jersey. This unique attraction is part of the farm’s annual Fall Festival and perfectly expresses our love for Barbie.

The corn maze consists of a shorter 15-25 minute path and a more extensive section for maze enthusiasts that can take up to 45 minutes to an hour to navigate, especially if you’re looking for that perfect Instagram moment in the Barbie corn maze. The Barbie corn maze is open from September 10 through October 30 during the Fall Festival, with daily hours from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. 

Tickets for the Fall Festival are $25 on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays and must be pre-booked online. On Mondays, tickets are $21 and can be purchased with cash at the door. Don’t miss this fun fall experience!

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