Looking for the best places for NYC fall foliage? We’ve got you covered during this magical time of year in the city! From our parks to tree-lined neighborhoods there are approximately 5.2 million trees in New York City! WOW, right?
With so many trees you can bet when autumn rolls around you can find stunning shades and hues of crimson, copper, and gold from popular spots like Central Park in the fall through our parks across the boroughs and neighborhoods.
When most people think of fall colors in New York they probably think Upstate, which is full of scenic drives and beautiful places to witness the autumn magic, but don’t forget about NYC foliage – we’ve got them here and it’s quite a mesmerizing experience to see the colors of autumn among the sea of skyscrapers!
We’ve picked out our best fall foliage in NYC locations for you to check out during your trip during fall in New York City. Don’t forget your camera and get ready for some next-level leaf peeping. And don’t forget that jacket that looks great with the colors of fall! If you’re not sure what to wear this time of year, refer to our full guide on what to wear in New York in fall!
When are the fall colors in New York?
The best fall foliage in NYC typically occurs during late October through mid November, depending on the season. Believe it or not, there are millions of trees throughout the city, from the parks to residential neighborhoods and NYC foliage is fantastic during this peak season!
If you want to see the vibrant orange, red, and yellow leaves, the fall colors in New York will be at their best plan a trip towards late October and early November.
Best Fall Foliage in NYC locations!
Many say that Central Park in the fall is the most beautiful this time of year due to the gorgeous changing of the leaves and NYC foliage! With over 18,000 trees you can imagine how magical it is when the shades of red, yellow, and orange are in full force!
One of the best places to see the fall foliage in Central Park is The Mall and Literary Walk. Near the Bethesda Terrace and Fountain, this pathway includes the Statues of Shakespeare and many elm trees. This walk is a must at Central Park in the fall!
While you’re walking The Mall, don’t miss the newest addition to the statues that are placed along this gorgeous line of trees, the Women’s Rights Pioneers monument. The cast bronze statue depicts Susan B. Anthony, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, and Sojourner Truth, and is the first statue erected in the park to depict real women and celebrate the 100th anniversary of the ratification of the 19th amendment, which granted the right to vote to women.
From The Mall, continue down to Bethesda Terrace for one of the most beautiful and famous spots in the park that also happens to be extra magical during the fall!
Walk through the arcade, listen to a busker and continue to the fountain where you can witness a gorgeous location for fall foliage in Central Park and photos.
Another great spot to see the fall foliage in Central Park is Belvedere Castle. This old folly contains various exhibit rooms and an observation deck that is a great spot to admire Central Park in the fall!
Continue to more fall foliage in Central Park spots at Bow Bridge. This cast-iron bridge is a pedestrian walkway that crosses over the lake at Central Park. Again, this is a great spot to admire the fall colors in New York on the bridge and off to the side looking at the bridge!
Lastly, to see the fall foliage in Central Park, be sure to visit the Gastapow Bridge. This bridge lies over the pond in Central Park and is a great spot to stop and admire the fall colors in New York!
Basically, the entire park is a dream to see fall foliage in NYC, so spend some time wandering by foot and if you want to cover a lot of ground quickly, be sure to rent a bike and scope out our favorite hidden gems of Central Park while you’re at it!
Just like Central Park, Brooklyn’s sister park, Prospect Park is one of the best places to admire the NYC fall foliage. There are so many wonderful things to do in Prospect Park and there are over 30,000 trees here so you can imagine once the fall colors change this place really gets colorful in autumn hues.
Some of our personal favorite spots to check out are the Prospect Park Boathouse and the Cleft Ridge Arch right behind it which leads to the Concert Grove sculpture park where you can find statues and monuments of famous musicians and composers and a few other creatives like American author Washington Irving and even Abraham Lincoln.
Continue to Long Meadow for more leaf peeping and check out the newly and beautifully restored wooden Endale Arch continuing out of the park to Grand Army Plaza.
If you’re up for an adventure and more fantastic NYC foliage continue to the Ravine, Brooklyn’s only forest that designers Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux (the same designers behind Central Park) made to mimic the landscape of the Adirondack Mountains in Upstate New York right here in the city.
Along this way you will find peace and quiet plus waterfalls!
From the trails, Boathouse, historic arches, and abundance of trees, Prospect Park is a great add-on to see the best fall foliage in NYC. In addition, the numerous green spaces, botanical gardens, and bridges are great spots to admire the NYC foliage.
One unique way to admire the fall colors in New York is to visit the Green-Wood Cemetery. This almost 500-acre cemetery is known for its Gothic architecture, famous permanent residents interred here, and NYC foliage during the fall.
This rural cemetery, well once rural cemetery as it’s in the heart of Sunset Park, Brooklyn is a great place to explore during the fall.
Not only can you join a historic walking tour with Green-Wood Cemetery, which we highly recommend and is really interesting, but you can do a DIY tour through Green-Wood Cemetery finding some of the fascinating points of interest, viewpoints, and historic sites including the famous battle sites of the Battle of Long Island (aka Battle of Brooklyn) one of the largest devastations during the American Revolutionary War.
An interesting fact, the cemetery was built in the 19th century and predates Central Park and Prospect Park. In the Victorian era, locals used this rural cemetery as a park because its so beautiful including architectural features like the Gothic-style Brownstone Gate at the main entrance.
The cemetery is also a class III arboretum making it a great place to stop and enjoy the fall colors in New York.
Brooklyn Bridge Park
Another great place to admire the NYC foliage during the fall is the Brooklyn Bridge Park! This 85-acre park is located along the East River in Brooklyn with some of the best views of the NYC skyline, Brooklyn Bridge, and Manhattan Bridge the city has to offer.
However, the best places to admire the NYC foliage are more towards the Brooklyn Heights section of the park and away from the DUMBO neighborhood section near the bridges, although there are a few pockets of trees that change colors and are beautiful to witness.
Many pathways throughout the Brooklyn Bridge Park are great for seeing the NYC fall foliage. The Pier 1 Pathways and Pier 3 Greenway Terrace offer secluded trails and immersive ways to see some of the best fall foliage in NYC! If you want to surround yourself with the various leaves of the season, these pathways and playgrounds are a great place to start.
One of the most gorgeous walks in Brooklyn starts at Brooklyn Bridge Park and makes its way up to the Brooklyn Heights Promenade, which offers unobstructed vistas and views of the Statue of Liberty, Lower Manhattan skyline, and the Brooklyn Bridge among the historic mansions behind you lined with giant trees that are extra beautiful in the fall.
New York Botanical Garden
Some of the best fall foliage in NYC can be seen at the New York Botanical Garden in The Bronx. In fact, they even host fall foliage tours here in late November through their 250-acres!
Besides hosting conservatories and gardens of rare plants from all over the world, you can find a fine collection of maple, oak, and beech trees that turn to shades of orange, gold, yellows, and crimson in autumn,
Be sure to check out their website to see when the fall foliage tours take place! As mentioned, typically these happen in late November, when the best fall foliage in NYC is still visible here. And if you’re more of an independent leaf peeper you can totally just explore the grounds on your own!
Don’t miss one of the most impressive waterfalls in NYC either on the Bronx River inside the Botanical Gardens too! This area has a beautiful bridge and a canopy of trees that are insanely beautiful when the leaves change colors.
Met Cloisters & Fort Tryon Park
The Met Cloisters & Fort Tryon Park are great places to admire the NYC fall foliage and beautiful architecture. Located along the scenic Hudson River in Washington Heights located in Upper Manhattan.
Fort Tyron Park is a public park where visitors can find excellent fall foliage and with unbelievable views of the Hudson River and the dramatic cliffs of the Hudson River Palisades across the river along the 8 miles of pathways to take a stroll.
Don’t miss the Heather Gardens, one of the best secret gardens in NYC that grows wild heather and be sure to enjoy the views from one of Manhattan’s highest points at Linden Terrace.
You can also find the Met Cloisters here! Inside of the Met Cloisters, aka The Cloisters, an architectural gem and museum which is a branch of the Metropolitan Museum of Art and included in your ticket, which is a steal of a deal as these are some of the best museums in NYC.
The Cloisters also have various medieval gardens, themed galleries, and old chapels that celebrate European architecture along with a rare collection of 15th-century tapestries.
Van Cortlandt Park
Some of the best fall foliage in NYC can be seen in the Bronx! At Van Cortlandt Park, you can enjoy over 1,146 acres of a beautiful urban oasis that feels completely removed from the city!
During autumn you can find fantastic fall foliage and a stunning view of the tranquil water of the Croton Reservoir. To see the best fall foliage in NYC at Van Cortlandt Park, it’s best to explore the center of this hot spot and walk through Woodlawn Cemetery for more gorgeous fall foliage.
Toward the center of Van Cortlandt Park are an abandoned rail line and a freshwater marsh. On these secluded pathways, you’ll be able to see great NYC foliage and views of the water! You’ll also be able to check out the historic water line and the Van Cortland House, the oldest standing house in the Bronx.
Also, while you’re here, you’re not far from the New York Botanical Garden so you can hit up two of the best places for fall colors in New York located in the Bronx at once!
Also, since you’re visiting in the fall if you’re interested in spooky things or the paranormal, there are areas in this park that are some of the most haunted places in NYC to check out.
NYC foliage is always a show-stopper during the fall at The Highline in Manhattan. The Highline is an elevated park, greenway, and rail trail that stretches from 34th St. in Chelsea to Hudson Yards.
This 1.4-mile walkway offers great, elevated views of the city skyline, gorgeous architecture, murals, and art installations, and of course some great fall foliage in the heart of NYC!
Not only can you see the city from up above, but The Highline has lots of plants and trees on the path itself that you can admire from up close.
Before or after your leaf peeping, check out some of the famous galleries in Chelsea or head to the Spanish Market at Hudson Yards. You can also witness more beautiful fall foliage along the trees at the Vessel too!
Owl’s Head Park
Another great spot to explore the NYC foliage and outstanding NYC views is Owl’s Head Park in Bay Ridge. Owl’s Head Park is a waterfront park in Brooklyn that has barbeque spots, a skate park, playground, and sports courts. Walk along the riverfront of the New York Bay for unbelievable views of Lower Manhattan, the World Trade Center, and in the opposite direction the Verrazano Narrows Bridge that connects Brooklyn to Staten Island.
This is one of the more under-the-radar places for fall foliage in New York City as many tourists don’t travel this way. You can expect to an impressive display of red, orange, and yellow leaves as well as a view of the Verrazano Bridge!
For another great viewpoint, head to the Old Glory Lookout too and spend some time walking through the neighborhood admiring the mansions like the Gingerbread House, one of our favorite hidden gems in Brooklyn.
Fort Greene Park
Another one of the best parks in Brooklyn that offers great fall colors in New York is Fort Greene Park and an easy walk from the popular neighborhoods of DUMBO and Downtown Brooklyn to visit in Fort Greene.
Fort Greene Park is a large, 30-acre park that’s a popular hang out spot on the weekends as well as a place to take a scenic stroll. One of my favorite things about this park is that it’s lined with beautiful, historic brownstone homes that you get a peek-a-boo view of between the trees of the park.
Be sure to also walk up and down the neighboring streets like Elliot Place, Fort Greene Place, Portland Avenue, and Oxford Street for the gorgeous tree-lined streets for additional NYC foliage along the historic and beautiful homes.
In the park, make your way up to the centerpiece of the park, the towering Prison Ship Martyrs’ Monument which is essentially a giant mausoleum that commemorates over 11,000 American prisoners of war who died in captivity aboard sixteen British prison ships during the American Revolutionary War.
The stairs on the one side of the monument and mausoleum offer beautiful views lined with trees that look especially beautiful during autumn when the leaves change.
Pelham Bay Park
Pelham Bay Park is a municipal park located in the Bronx and another great place to witness NYC foliage in autumn. With over 2,700 acres of land, Pelham Bay Park is the largest park in all of New York City and is more than three times the size of Central Park just to give you an idea of how much land there is to explore here including many of the oldest trees in the city in their woodlands and forest.
One great spot to admire the NYC foliage in Pelham Bay Park is at Hunter Island. Located on the northeast corner of the park near Orchard Beach, this island is accessible by nature trail and is the largest continuous oak forest in the entire park!
Even if you don’t make it all the way to Hunter Island, exploring the nature trails throughout Pelham Bay Park will allow you to immerse yourself in all of the fall foliage that this popular spot has to offer.
Stroll Through Tree-Lined Neighborhoods
Some of the best fall colors of New York can be found in the picturesque tree-lined neighborhoods of the city with historic homes from brownstones to rowhouses and even neighborhoods full of mansions!
One of the best tree-lined neighborhoods in Brooklyn is Victorian Flatbush. Known for its Victorian mansions in an array of architectural styles from Queen Anne, English Tudor, Swiss Chalet, to even a beautiful Japanese Pagoda-style mansion.
Take a stroll in autumn and you’re rewarded with the hues of autumn when the leaves change.
Some of the best tree-lined streets to admire this type of fall foliage include Westminster Road, Albemarle Road, and Rugby Road. However, it’s best to give yourself at least an hour to explore Victorian Flatbush, as you will want to walk up and down all the streets. Once you’re there, there’s a good chance you’ll keep on stumbling across more fall foliage and pretty tree-lined streets, then you can head towards Prospect Park for more leaf peeping.
For Brooklyn, you can also doing some great fall leaf peeping through the historic homes and tree-lined streets of Park Slope. We are biased as we used to live here, but this is one of the most gorgeous neighborhoods in the country, not to mention there are tons of dining and shopping options too among the sea of brownstone homes and flickering gas lanterns and jaw-dropping stoops.
Head to the historic blocks, which are indicated with the brown-colored street signs close to Prospect Park.
Cobble Hill is another relaxed neighborhood in Brooklyn that’s known for its brownstones and single-family homes that lie on the tree-lined streets. In fact, according to a study done by Localize, Cobble Hill has the most trees out of any neighborhood in New York City!
You can expect to see beautiful fall foliage on any residential road in this area and check out Cobble Hill Park, one of the most quaint and picturesque parks in the city lined with beautiful homes and of course fall foliage!
Over in Manhattan, you can explore the West Village, one of the most desirable neighborhoods to live in Lower Manhattan that’s known for its cobblestone streets, landmarked brownstones, Federal-style townhouses, and the birthplace of the LGBTQ+ rights movement.
Some of the best places to for views in the West Village include Morton Street, Grove Street, and Charles Street. Be sure to peek into the courtyards for the fall colors and take a stroll over to Washington Square Park for more fall foliage plus be sure to catch a view of the Empire State Building through the arch here.
All of the neighborhoods that line Central Park have beautiful homes and trees that line the park and some even in the streets. You can’t really go wrong with the Upper West Side or Upper East Side.
The Upper West Side is a neighborhood known for its large brownstones and quiet tree-lined streets. Some of the prettiest streets to walk along in the Upper West Side are 74th, 81st, and 87th!
One of my absolute favorite places to go to in NYC for fall foliage (and anytime of year) is Governors Island in the New York Harbor. This easy day trip from Lower Manhattan or Brooklyn (using the Governors Island Ferry or NY Ferry) you can take a scenic walk, bike ride, or picnic around the former military base turned public park.
The island used to close for the season at the end of October, which meant that up until it opened year-round most people missed seeing the changing of the leaves and fall foliage in this NYC spot.
Walk through the tree lined streets where the homes of the former high ranking officers lived (which are now mostly artist residencies and art installations), hike up to the viewpoint for sweeping views of the Statue of Liberty and city skyline, or enjoy the fall foliage from the outdoor heated pools at the QCNY Spa.
See our full guide to things to do on Governors Island to plan your day here. It just might become your favorite spot for fall foliage in NYC too!
Also, while you’re here you can also check out the best pumpkin patches near NYC – and yes we do have a pumpkin farm in the city too!
Did we miss any of your favorite spots for fall colors in New York or NYC fall foliage? Let us know in the comments below and have a happy leaf peeping time!