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What to Do in New York City in October 2021

By Brittany LeitnerSep 28 2021

If you blink, you might miss it. There’s only one month a year when you can enjoy the changing colors of the leaves and crisp air of fall before winter comes and makes everything bare again — and that’s the month of October. There’s a sort of stillness that envelops the city as you quite literally feel the seasons change. Just deciding to go on a walk through Central Park can turn into an all-day affair as you bask in the picture-perfect weather.

But if you’re looking for something more concrete to do with your days, there’s no shortage of fall-inspired activities to choose from. Don’t worry; this city may take Halloween seriously, but this month is more than just spooky stories and costumes. If you’re searching for fun things to do in New York City in October, you’ll find there’s something to do and see for every interest. Whether you want to spend it outside enjoying the fall foliage or at your favorite stadium rooting for a New York team, there’s something for everyone on this list.

Below, find our recommendations for the best things to do in New York City in October.

Wondering what’s going on at Rockefeller Center in October? Scroll through our upcoming events, and sign up for The Center Newsletter to get the latest news delivered to your inbox.


1. New York Film Festival

September 24 - October 10

Film buffs have gotten used to watching new releases from the comfort of their homes while wearing sweatpants, but nothing beats the experience of watching a movie in theaters. There are multiple VIP package experiences available, and even all-access passes, like the Currents all-access pass. This allows movie-goers to see all of the 15 features and 36 short films representing cinematography from over 27 countries.

You can explore all pass options here.

Reopens with regular programming, ongoing in October

In September, Broadway reopened in full swing, and the Metropolitan Opera followed suit with the unveiling of tickets for the 2021-2022 season. All shows take place at the Metropolitan Opera House, which is worth visiting for the iconic architecture alone (it dates back to the 1960s). To attend a show, you must be 12 years or older and present proof of vaccination. Tickets to shows like Turandot and Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg start at just $30.

See the full lineup of shows here.

October 31

Perhaps the most iconic event on this list is the Village Halloween Parade, which takes place on the boisterous streets of the West Village. Every year, the parade has a different theme; this year, it’s “Let’s Play,” which pays homage to the children of New York City and the inner child within us who can let loose for this special night. The parade will be in full swing between 7 and 11 pm (but it’s recommended to get there around 6:30), and VIP tickets are available. Otherwise, it’s completely free to watch from the sidelines. If you want to participate in the parade itself, you must be in full costume.

@dannynanni via Unsplash

October 16, 17, 23, 24, 30, 31

Even the most concrete jungle-obsessed New Yorker finds solace in the ethereal moment when the leaves change, and if you want to celebrate the turning of the seasons (or just making it through another year!), you can toast to New York in style on this foliage cruise up and down the Hudson.

The boat itself is heated, but there are large windows so you can catch a glimpse of New York City sights, skyscrapers, and, of course, the trees. One ticket includes a complimentary drink — beer, wine, soda, champagne, coffee, or tea — with the option to purchase light snacks while on board (bringing your own snacks is also allowed).

Tickets are $106 per person, and you can purchase them here.

@sethhoffman via Unsplash

Begins September 26

Sports fans have had a hard year with limited capacity arenas and other restrictions, but live audience games are finally coming back. Catching a preseason game brings all the excitement of the regular season events, but tickets are heavily discounted compared to regular season games. This year, tickets to preseason New York Knicks and New York Rangers games at Madison Square Garden start at just $31 and $24, respectively.

Reserve your preseason tickets here.

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