Fall Foliage In New York City
As summer days wane and the brutality of winter approaches, New Yorkers are gifted a few weeks of comfortable temperatures and natural beauty that many consider the most amazing time of year, but blink and you’ll miss it.
It’s still a bit too early for the leaves to start changing colors in New York, but it doesn’t hurt to be prepared for one of the region’s more stunning seasonal displays. Central Park, along with New York City’s many other parks, there are parks in every single borough that have stunning fall foliage. But if you’re planning to travel further afield to see delight in the changing foliage, now is the time to plan it.
Here, we help you choose the best spots in New York City for leaf-peeping:
- Central Park
The Central Park Conservancy, the organization overseeing the maintenance of the park, recommends visiting a variety of spots in the park including the Pool, the North Woods, and the Ramble.
While the entire park has color, there are some spots that provide exceptional views. On the southern side of the park head to the pond, the mall, or the ramble. At the reservoir, situated in the middle of the park, you’ll see the trees reflected in the water. If you’re at the north end head to the north meadow, north woods, the conservatory garden, and the pool.
Fall is one of the most photogenic times at the Central Park as 20,000 trees change into shades of yellow, red, and orange. Whether you are walking, biking, or hiking through the park, you’ll be sure to see some color. You’ll see a variety of trees including cherry trees, hickories, gray birches, and American elms.
Not feeling adventurous enough to wander through the park by yourself? Book a BUY 1 GET 1 FREE customized fall foliage tour which will lead you to leaf-peeping paradise: 1-Day Fall Foliage Tour from New York
- New York Botanical Garden
For the best leaf spotting, get lost in the New York Botanical Garden. The 250-acre Bronx garden has introduced a Fall Color Cam, where you can follow the changing of the leaves from the comfort of your home. It’s the city’s largest patch of old-growth forest, and numerous species which includes a high concentration of oak, red maple and tulip trees that can be found within the site.
Keep an eye out for sweet gums, whose star-shaped leaves turn red and purple as autumn progresses, and scarlet oak trees, which are rich in tannins and display brilliant shades of orange and red.
- Fort Tryon Park
One of the best places to see fall foliage is the 30,000 acre Fort Tyron Park that overlooks the Hudson River, which has 20 miles of cliffs that will be covered in vivid copper and orange foliage.
It is also home to the Cloisters Museum, which is part of the Met and showcases medieval art. After a stroll into the Heather Garden’s vast swath of perennials and a walk through the Cloisters, hike through the arching trees and take a seat at the Linden Terrace, one of the highest points in Manhattan, where you’ll be able to gaze across the water at the Hudson River Palisades.
- Wave Hill
In addition to brilliant trees found throughout this Bronx botanical garden, the Wave Hill is best viewed from beneath its branches on a clear day when the sun shines through the gilded leaves, says horticultural interpreter Charles Day.
Take a seat in the open-sided structure to admire the fiery palette of the New Jersey Palisades on the other side of the Hudson, the pristine oak-hickory forest is scattered with maples, sweet and sour gums, black birch and tulip trees, resulting in an impressionist patchwork of rich hues. If you still crave more, venture into Wave Hill’s eight-acre woodland to stroll amid sugar maple and hickory trees.
- Hudson River
Biking up the Hudson River waterfront is easy with wide, bike lanes that stretch from lower to upper Manhattan where there are plenty of places to pull over and see the foliage on your journey.
You’ll see sweeping skyline views as well as spectacular, 360-degree view of fall in all its colorful glory along the banks of the river and panoramas of the Hudson River and New Jersey waterfront.