Hello, Autumn: Best Places to See New York's Fall Foliage

Fall Leaves NYC

It’s that perfect time of year again! Fall is my favorite season, not only because it promises cups of hot coffee and sublime traveling weather, but it also is one of the best times to see natural beauty in so many locations across the globe. I’m currently in New York City (and about to enjoy a Billy Joel concert tonight), and I can’t get over how wonderful the city is in the fall—must be those New England trees. Here are some of my favorite places to see the leaves change in New York other than the obvious Central Park:

The Highline

Some years ago, developers and environmentalists came up with the idea to transform some abandoned train tracks to a park. You won’t have towering oaks above you, but it has a gorgeous view of the surrounding buildings and the river—in a city where there is very little space, this feels like a safe haven away from the sometimes overwhelming crowds.

New York Botanical Garden

Although you have to pay a small entrance fee in order to get in, it’s worth it in order to see some of the most well-kept foliage around. It’s 250 acres, so you will have plenty of breathing room and things to see as you stroll through the garden. You can also take tours, which can help you when you have trouble telling some trees apart from others (um, guilty).

Prospect Park

When you want to see some magnificent red leaves, this is the place to do it. The best time to go is in late October, just when the chilly winter winds start to pick up in the city. To get the full effect, you’ll want to head over to the Ravine, where you’ll be completely surrounded by foliage. The Audubon Center is also located here and is definitely worth checking out if you’re a nature lover stuck in the big city.

Van Cortlandt Park

This Bronx park boasts an impressive trail weaving through several different species of trees, including sweet gum and oak. (I had to look this up. Again, I kind of know nothing about trees.) You don’t necessarily have to be in the midst of Manhattan to see some of the best fall colors, and the nature walk Van Cortlandt offers is worth stopping by if you are in the area. I’d usually say avoid the Bronx at all costs, but I think this is a fair exception.

Where is your favorite place in New York? Your favorite season?

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